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Stillness and Tranquility

posted 3 Aug 2020, 16:21 by WestDevon Tai Chi   [ updated 4 Aug 2020, 06:19 by Mandy Moor ]

‘Take a quiet walk with Mother Nature.
It will nurture your mind, body and soul’

Nature and wildlife are my greatest teachers, they inspire my life and Taiji practise. They help me to keep a balance and focus on where I am going on my journey through life and to accept changes on the way, negative as well as positive ones-the yin and yang. They are all part of the learning. Walks with my dog Sky are precious moments to observe and absorb natures’ wonders-it is my daily tonic! If you ever get an opportunity to see a heron elegantly poised by a riverbank, stop and observe-it will enhance your Taiji tremendously. This is exactly what I did whilst walking along the canal at Bude. As a heron gracefully flew ahead and landed the other side of the canal, I knew there was a lesson to be learnt. With one leg slightly bent like ‘White Crane Spreads Its Wings’ it was relaxed but alert, totally focused and intent on looking down into the water, waiting patiently for the moment to take its catch of a passing fish; people and dogs walking by were not a distraction. Observing this beautiful bird led me to observing myself inwardly. My mind and body still and tranquil, fully in the moment, as was the heron. That focus and intent keeps your Taiji movements soft but strong and alert, not collapsed. It is important to use your mind/intent in your learning. The heron symbolises stillness and tranquility-Zhan Zhuang (standing meditation) comes to mind. Whenever an animal or bird crosses my path, I look up the spiritual meaning and the heron is very apt to what is happening in the world today.

 ‘The Heron comes to us with a message of meditate and contemplate. You are exactly where you need to be right now in this moment! When this graceful bird crosses your path, stop and think - just pause. Sometimes that is all we need to do when we are in the middle of a chaotic situation or a difficult decision’

I have read many books about the indigenous cultures-the Native American Indians, Aboriginals, Mayans-they are also are great inspiration to me. What stands out to me in all these ancient cultures was the primary regard for nature with everyday life. It is something I feel many modern humans have lost-this connection to Mother Nature. We have much to learn from the indigenous perspective that can help reorient the modern world to our humble roots of balance and connection.

 One should pay attention to even the smallest crawling creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us’
(Black Elk-Oglala Lakota Sioux)

The last few months have been an immense time of reflection for me, in all aspects of my life, as I am sure it has been for many of you. I have no idea where West Devon Tai Chi is going in these uncertain times but sharing Taiji and Qigong with others is my offering, this is what I love to do. When I started the outdoor sessions, the energy was heavy and did not feel right-I felt the journey was coming to an end for us. As the weeks have passed it feels different and stronger and an ‘all knowing’ that this coming back together is for a greater reason, like a ripple effect that can spread out to others. Not being able to use the halls has been incredibly positive, sharing our practice together outdoors, in nature, is the best place to be and has, I feel, given us a sense of freedom. Bratton Hall have kindly offered me the use of the indoor space, but I have made the decision not to sign the conditions/guidelines of use. So, my friends, we are in the hands of Mother Nature and the weather for the next few weeks and months but maybe that is the way forward in this ‘new world!'

‘Create each new day anew by clothing yourself with Heaven and Earth, bathing yourself with wisdom and light and placing yourself in the heart of Mother Nature’

(Moriha, founder of Aikido) 

Thank you all so much for your support, kind words and inspiration
 to keep this journey going. Lammas blessings and love.