As I observe my 20th year of teaching Tai Chi, I have been reflecting on what I have learned over two decades. In a recent blog I talked about “patience,” a quality that takes paying attention to every single day. Another life lesson from Tai Chi is “silence”.
Take a few moments to be silent every day. Our health and outlook depend on it.
In our daily world of noise all around us, our nervous system and psyche are under assault at worst, distracted at best. From the moment we get out of bed until we crawl back in at the end of the day, we face noise, from our phone, TV, other people at home, work or on the subway. We are in traffic noise driving to work. Even scrolling through our laptop or mobile device creates, watching videos, even texting is not silent for our minds because we are flooded with thoughts about what to say and how quickly to respond to a request.
Tai Chi is often called a moving meditation, because it creates stillness within through gently flowing movements and intentional shifting of weight. Our thoughts, the chatter ofs internal noise moves out of head into our body allowing us to relax. The lesson from this is that a healthy body and mind depend on these moments of letting go, being in the moment.
Tai Chi, yoga and seated meditation are healthy ways to de-stress, slow down, be still. Short of a class or a practice, there are many options available each day to be still—watch a sunset, the moon rise in the evening, look out the window at a tree, a bird. One of my Tai Chi students told me her stillness each days comes in the shower. Rather than thinking about what she will do during the day, she takes that time to feel the water, listen to water, notice the temperature, feel the cleansing of the soap on her skin. She is in the moment and experiences stillness in her mind to start the day.
The key is taking a few minutes each day to be present in the moment, to de-clutter the mind and feel centered. Each of us has the opportunity to do this. What it requires of us is to be intentional in creating the space to let silence in. It feels so good when we do.