We are certainly living in extraordinary times, given today’s state. There are external conditions that cause us to feel anxiety, make us feel insufficient, and this produces a lot of stress that can lead to disease and illness.
Survival Instincts and Tai Chi
Somedays, we may feel like we are trying to survive. You may be asking yourself, what can Tai Chi teach me or anyone about survival? The first thing that we teach in Tai Chi is, drop.
Imagine that you’re just standing around, maybe you’re in the park, you’re looking at the trees, watching the birds and the people strolling by. All of a sudden, you hear an explosion.
What do you do?
The first thing that you likely will do is, drop. That is the natural instinct that we have in response to something that is unknown to us, or that catches us off guard. This is very important because this drop helps us to root into the earth. It helps us to feel stable and feel grounded. It gives us a foundation so that we can actually respond to the external condition that has caused us to drop.
The Two Forces within Us
There are two basic forces happening within all of us. One is this instinct of self-preservation, which compels you to build walls and to protect yourself. The other is this desire to expand and to become boundless. The idea of self-preservation is a sense of protection, a way to survive, and to use this as a means of survival, we have to use gravity, as gravity is related to the fundamental instinct of self-preservation, in human beings. We are rooted because of gravity and gravity is an act of force that acts upon us. You have no choice, but to work with it. In Tai Chi, we work with gravity to help us feel rooted. We want to be able to sink down into our feet, feel the earth, feel the ground or floor wherever you may be.
So, once we have this notion of being stable and being rooted, this is how we handle the body in response to an external threat or an unknown situation. It’s important that we have this ability to respond rather than react. When we react, we have a tendency to get into a routine to think and feel negatively and this is chaos. We don’t know what we’re doing, and we just do anything and everything to prevent us from getting hurt. However, with this simple drop that we teach in Tai Chi, it allows us to have the ability to respond rather than react. When we have this ability to respond, it means that we have unlimited possibilities to work off of.
What are the possibilities?
When we hear an explosion we drop, then we look around and we see what’s going on. What made that noise? Where did that come from? When we drop, there is that sense of security and establishment of stability. We are now able to use our senses to determine what is the next proper move. That is a basic force, a human longing, a natural way for us to grow.
Avoid Barriers to Reach Spiritual Growth
It’s natural for us to aspire to stability because we have to maintain a certain physical balance and receptivity in our bodies. This takes our bodies to the edge. When we drop and relax and sink down, feel the earth, we’re now able to take the body to the next logical step. There is no hurdle. There is a chance where you might drop and then feel stuck. Feeling stuck is caused by building walls around us to protect ourselves and these walls can be barriers rather than stability.
When we become aware of the barriers and avoid building them, the body becomes a means for spiritual growth. So, you have to dedicate time and effort to make your body a place for spiritual growth and not a barrier.
The Journey Inward
When we drop, we are not trying to make a barrier or obstacle for ourselves. At that moment while we are dropped to the Earth, we’re able to now look around. We are not searching for a particular object or an answer, but for a way to see what’s around us. At this moment, we are gathering information and begin the journey from taking what’s outside of us to the inside.
The greatest adventure in our life is when we do that, the voyage inward. When we drop to the Earth, we are sinking down and going inside, not contracting. What we want to avoid is freezing up and dropping out of permanent fear where we are unable to move or respond.
What we want to do is actually create inner situations so we can properly respond in the way that we want to respond. Your aim is to bring certain harmony and vitality to your body. This takes care of disease, illness, and stress because you are exploring this incredible life. This is the essence of intelligent living, because once you drop, relax and sink down, focus inward, and listen, then you have a greater chance of surviving.
That is the natural force that works within us.
This instinct of self-preservation compels us to build walls, but we must be careful not to build permanent walls around us. It’s a way to actually be in perfect alignment with existence. This drop allows us to use the spine and keep it straight and drop it towards the earth so that we can receive a grounded-ness and some energy from the earth to determine what our next steps should be.
We have to look at this as a tool to break free from compulsive patterns in our lives, from reacting in a cyclical manner. It’s important to have a nice solid base so we can think things through, observe, concentrate, and make good decisions from it. This is how we survive in Tai Chi.
Please leave a comment down below. I’d like to start a conversation and see how Tai Chi can help you survive in these times of chaos.