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Our Perspective of Time

Who is Moving?

Most of us think of ourselves ‘travelling through time’ – we start the day, the sun has risen; we finish the day, the sun has set. It’s as though we’re in a car and moving from A to B – starting the journey, passing various sights and events along the way, and arriving. The road stayed where it was, and we moved along it, and, in doing so, other things changed simultaneously… e.g. we passed a variety of sights, we stopped for a coffee, it rained, and so on.

However, what if we didn’t move at all, but everything moved through us. That’s not possible, you might well think, just by getting into the car and driving means we’re moving.

But how we can alter our perspective on this.

The first question to ask yourself is who you are… what/who is your ‘essential self’, the being that you actually are. This has nothing to do with your ego, or being male or female, or blue/brown/white/pink or green, or with blue/blonde/brown hair or whatever. This is about your ‘essential you‘, the part of you that, once everything else has been cleared away, still remains; the core of who you are. Maybe you have no problem with this concept and have considered it before, and maybe this is all double-dutch and at this moment you’re thinking of stopping reading any further.

The ‘essential you’ isn’t something, or somewhere, in your head – that’s your mind; it’s not a thinking part of you. Neither is it a part of your body.

Those of you who have meditated will likely as not know what I’m talking about, and those of you who have been involved with mindfulness might also know, as might those of you who have a lot of experience in Tai Chi and Qigong. You have to ‘feel’ this place, not ‘think’ it, and to do so you have to be in the present.

“Sitting Quietly Doing Nothing”

Try looking at it this way. Imagine you are sitting in a chair, and let’s say that you’re sitting in the middle of the pavement in your local High Street. You are completely calm, sitting with the ‘essential you’ (imagine, if you like, that no one can see you), and people are walking past, traffic is driving past – horns blaring occasionally, people are talking to each other, or on mobile phones, some are stopping to talk, some are hurrying, others sit on a bench, occasionally there’s a bit of drizzle, then the sun comes out… etc.

You are completely calm, gently breathing, allowing the hubbub of life to carry on around you. Gradually the morning passes and turns to afternoon, and eventually the sun starts to set. All this while, you have stayed still, and life has continued around you.

You get up, still staying with the essence of who you are inside, and wander into a shop to buy some food. As you do so, people move past you, sounds are all around you, colours change around you as you move through the shop – you only observe without comment – you are seeing, hearing, and smelling everything without judgement, without a viewpoint; this is just what IS.

If you’ve ever sat on a beach on a hot day, with the sound of the sea in the background, and let the sounds of life pass by you, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Everything around you is moving; you are still.

Of course you don’t have to be in the middle of the pavement on the High Street. You can experience this walking, sitting in a café, or on a bench… but that’s the point… you can experience it anywhere, and those of you who have experienced it, will know the amazing sense of calm that you arrive at (or return to).

You may think it’s a ‘waste of time’, but when you’ve been there, you realise that you have totally engaged in Life, and have stopped running after dreams of what you think Life is really about, and have met the real thing.

Life has literally come to you to show you its multitude of manifestations, and your mind, limited by its pre-conceptions, hasn’t had a chance to tell you what, or in what way, to view everything.

What about Tai Chi or Qigong?

The tai chi ‘form’ is a set of of predefined movements, not so different from a piece of music that’s been written down.

At first glance it seems as though there’s no opportunity for improvisation… in a preset Form, you can’t change which movement or posture comes after which. However, there IS plenty of scope for 1) interpretation, and 2) for bringing the body, mind, and spirit into the same state as described above.

1) Interpretation: It’s not necessary to spend much time in describing this, and perhaps it’s enough to say that the way that you perform the movements, the way that you think about what the movements are intending, will automatically change the performance.

2) “Moving quietly, feeling everything”: When you start to move from the inside, when the internal part of you starts to create the movements, and when you allow that internal movement to spread outwards to the limbs, the body and mind start to work as one unit, and in a strange way, there is only one thing that the body can possibly do whilst keeping within the framework of the form. For example, if, whilst doing a movement, you allow (for example) one arm to lag slightly behind by mistake; the connection between the inside and outside of your body is broken.

Your personal universe

When connected correctly, your own personal universe revolves and rotates, moving left or right, forwards or backwards. You don’t need to worry about balance, it is automatically okay; there’s no tension in the body and you are upright and relaxed. Your breathing sorts itself out, and becomes slow, smooth, calm and continuous. Your central nervous system settles, and your centre of gravity lowers.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________ James Drewe teaches Taijiquan and qigong in both London and in Kent and online. Details of weekly classes can be found on the website, and there are classes for 2-person Taijiquan on one Saturday a month.

CONTACT: Email: Phone: 07836-710281 __________________________________________________________________________________________________

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