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Listening Behind

posted 20 Mar 2020, 04:02 by WestDevon Tai Chi   [ updated 20 Mar 2020, 04:07 ]

These are challenging and unsettling times for us all as we are in the grips of the coronavirus and the changes it is bringing to our lives with every passing day. Classes at Lifton and Lydford are now suspended as the halls have taken the decision to close for the foreseeable future. Bratton Clovelly hall is remaining open as Devon Communities are encouraging village halls not to close as they are the hub of the community.
Still having a venue to use, I feel spurred on to continue running the Friday morning class for those who wish to come along. The hall is following the government health guidelines and we know what measures to take to protect ourselves. Weather permitting the class will be held outside in the fresh air. My decision to keep this class going is to offer people a choice and I becoming increasingly concerned about the mental well-being of many. Fear is being generated at an alarmingly rate and I am seeing more and more anxiety and stress amongst people, and within my own family, as more restrictions are being put in place. This has a knock-on effect to our immune system and it is vital that we do all we can to strengthen it, not weaken it.

On a lighter note, what a great day we had at last Saturdays workshop-a mixture of fun and learning which was just what we all needed! The feedback, as always, has been fabulous and thanks to all who came along. I am at a stage of my learning that when observing Ben, I could see that every spiralling motion is generated internally and his high level of teaching continues to inspire me. Having practised meditation from an early age his understanding and knowledge of the mind aspect of Taiji enables him to explain it in a clear and concise way. He talked us through the six points to prepare ourselves for standing meditation (Zhan Zhuang)-head up, shoulders relaxed, chest hollow, dantien full, sitting into the hips and listening behind. We spend most of our time in the frontal lobe of our brain-external stimuli in this world today is vast-mobile phones, social media, television, the list goes on. Then we have the ‘chatter monkey mind’-the internal dialogue of the ego that just does not want to stop! Standing practise encourages us to focus on listening behind creating Wuji-ultimate stillness. To come away from the frontal lobe, he led us away from the third eye, over the top of the head, down the spine, between the legs to the perineum and to the dantien where all Taiji moves are generated from.
Most people live in the sympathetic nervous system-the fear or flight mode-which depletes our energy. The parasympathetic nervous system restores our energy. Energy follows the mind, so if you keep your attention focused inwardly, energy will collect internally. Intent is the master of the mind; intend your attention to focus on body and breath instead of thoughts, and that is what it will do. It takes practise and focus-but the goal is so worthwhile.

We are at a time now when we really need to bring these practises into our lives to help ourselves and others. I encourage you to practise all you have taken from the classes and workshops and build up a daily routine-warm up exercises, standing, silk reeling and Taiji form. The website will be kept updated as and when we get any information about the halls and a glimmer of light when all classes may resume.
 Keep calm, centred and grounded-and an open mind. 
Wishing you and your families continued safety and wellness. 


Spring Equinox blessings, love, light and healing to you all 

Mandy-Instructor