Trying to Maintain the Quietude

Ralph wrote a post titled Peace and Quietude which he stated:

My teacher said to me recently that one of the keys to understanding Taijiquan is attitude of mind, this is one of the first things to learn.

I realized that developing Zhan Zhuang is not necessarily about physical endurance [although I accept that it may be for some] it is about state of mind, meaning that in order to stand for extended periods of time, one needs to be in a state of quietude.

I’m sure we’ve all heard stories of how yi (intent) leads qi, but the question often arises, how can we gauge our level of yi? I remember back in my college days, I was easily able to stand for 40 mins without a problem. The first time I tried zazen (zen meditation training), I didn’t really have any issues calming the mind, I had issues with my knees and ankles hurting.

Fast forward a bit to more present time and I can definitely notice a difference. Life is not as simple as it was during my college days. Work, family, world of warcraft make their way into my thoughts regularly. I’m constantly trying to ‘take the mind back to the breath’ during static posture training.

Another thing I’ve noticed is the years of working at a computer is starting to manifest itself in my shoulders and neck. Sure, I try active sitting and reminding myself to relax, but when we’re playing fire fighter in our daily routines, it’s hard to keep the lessons of taiji in mind.

Today is Friday, and as such, I’ve put on a nice Hawaiian flower type shirt to remind myself to slow down a bit. To quote a comment by Rick Matz:

“Speed” is quite often an illusion.


About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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8 Responses to Trying to Maintain the Quietude

  1. n0s0ap says:

    Nice post and I agree with your desire to slow down. I often find that most stress is in my mind and that if I just relax and take it easy a bit, I can stay on top of things more. That is partly why I’ve latched onto Hawaiian Shirt Friday. I live my fridays on “Hawaiian time” now. Anyways, check this out if you want to connect with other HSFrs:

  2. wujimon says:

    Awesome idea about Hawaiian shirt fridays! I like and I’ve clicked on the number to show my support!

  3. Rick Matz says:

    I find that when I am practicing zhan zhuang regularly, my head tends to be in the right place, and I am a better person in just about every way.

    BTW, I’m planning on beginning with the Wu Taiji people right after the 4th of July.

  4. wujimon says:

    Hey Rick.
    I forgot to note how my wife can often tell if I’ve stopped taiji as I’m not quite as calm and patient.. hmm.. I wonder if that’s a good thing 🙂

    Awesome to hear about the starting up with the wu folks! I’d love to hear some first impressions!

  5. zenmindsword says:

    how can we gauge our level of yi?

    the answer can be found in the taiji classics 🙂

  6. taijiquestion says:

    WM quote: “when we’re playing fire fighter in our daily routines, it’s hard to keep the lessons of taiji in mind”

    Man, that’s the truth! I’ve been under pressure at work lately and discovered I had evolved a new way to express tension – after having weeded out some some bad habits like rigid posture, gritting my teeth, “death grip” on the telephone, etc. – over the years. But one day recently I found my lip quite sore and realized how much I must have been working it and even biting it over a period of several days! It hurt and also as a taiji person I was embarassed by this.

    But your mention of Firefighter holds answers perhaps. A lot of us have crazy workplaces. Sometimes though I remember to mind the example of medical professionals. They can’t afford to manifest bad stress-habits on the job while peoples’ life and health hang in the balance. So most of them seem to master that perfect “working calm” that puts them back in charge of chaos.

    And they use humor and also unconventional attitudes as relaxers, much like “Hawaiian shirt”. Thanks for the topic about maintaining Quietude despite all the obstacles.

  7. puredoxyk says:

    When excrement threatens the spinning blades of the climate-control device, I remember the brilliant phrasing of Michael Valentine, who never hurried, but knew how to “wait faster”.

    The rest of the time, I just remind myself that the taiji frame of mind really is more pleasant than the alternatives — It actually takes effort to remember that, since I can tell my Psychology likes it’s usual bed of thorny roses. But if I DO remember, then I’ll try it, and if I try it, I always feel better. (The same argument keeps me going to class when I just feel too worn out!)

    Great post!

  8. wujimon says:

    Definitely agree the taiji mind is better than the alternatives! As I was reading a story of the turtle and hare to my son last night, I couldn’t help but think about the moral:

    The slow and steady will prevail over the fast and hurried.

    While it sounds easy, very hard to implement as it’s easy to have the rabbit and monkey take over the mind 🙂

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