Archive for the ‘Taiji Principles’ Category

Wu Wei…Non-Striving   Leave a comment

There is no "try" only do, or not do (Master Yoda)

Recently someone said to me, “I need to learn to relax”, after apologizing for laughing at the remark, I poised the comment, “Realize that you can’t learn to relax, you need to un-learn being discontent.”

When things are going well, they just flow correctly. A pro athlete never forces anything; neither does a pro musician, or an artist.  If they did, you could tell it was not quite right. When things flow from your heart it is true and correct and it shows. When we are balanced within and we are in harmony with our surroundings there is no “effort”

Every time I “try real hard” in life, I usually mess things up. So will you if you don’t understand the principle of “Non Striving”

Among the basic Taoist principles that can improve our lives “Wu Wei” is the most important and pervasive concept of all.  Not forcing things seems like an obvious concept to most of us and yet our competitive nature often encourages us to do so.  It’s not that “force” is a bad thing but unnaturally forcing things usually is.  Make things right with the universe and effortlessness is an indication that you “get it”.
Any feeling of “forcing”, “striving” or “contrivance” tells you that you do not get “it”.

The “it” I am referring to is the understanding that you are (or not) coming from your heart.  Do not think this is easy however, I’m no Pollyanna; you might say “It’s simple, it’s just not easy”.  The Tao Te Ching is full of commentary on this subject in fact almost every one of the 81 verses contains a statement about Wu Wei.

“The sage does nothing and yet nothing remains undone”
“My way is simple, yet no one can follow it”
“An infant can follow the way. But can an eighty year old?”
“To manage a large country is like frying a small fish, the less you poke it the better.”
“The sage leads by following”
“Water is the softest thing in the universe yet it overcomes the hardest things”
“The greatest misfortune is discontentment.”
“The sage never contrives greatness that is why he is truly great”

The other day someone said to me, “I was told (by a qigong teacher) to force the qi downward during qigong”, holding back a laugh I smiled and went on to explain “Wu Wei” a guiding principle.

When we relax, the qi will flow effortlessly, using “force” causes muscle tension that uses up more qi then it allows to pass through, resulting in less movement of the qi.

Again I recommend getting your very own copy of the Tao Te Ching (see my reading list) the philosophy of Taoism provides a foundation for understanding reality.

First, learn all you can; then forget it all. Learning is prejudice and contrived and will limit you. Having expectations can lead one to disaster. Knowledge is only a starting point, when we apply the principle of “Wu Wei” we turn knowledge into something far more valuable…Understanding

Posted February 13, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Qigong, Taiji Principles, Tao, Taoist Meditation

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Qigong Lesson #2 “Wuji” A Physical Reality   6 comments

You need to know where you are in order to find your way.

Your place in the universe is often twisted away from the ideal; it may be physical, mental, emotional,and/or spiritually misaligned.

Let me first explain that in the “physical world” you can be  physically, mentally, emotionally,and/or spiritually misaligned  and you can also be misaligned in the “celestial world”. This is because all things have Yin and Yang elements to them. Our goal is harmonizing Yin/Yang, not just balancing Yin and Yang .

To keep things simple, my objective in this article is just to start with the body, the physical within the physical.

The most important overriding principles in Qigong and Taiji and Meditation for that matter revolve around alignment. As stated in the second paragraph of this page, alignment could mean spiritual, emotional. mental, or physical.

As we work ever inward to the higher levels of understanding we need to start somewhere. The starting point is the physical alignment of your body, starting with your feet. When we learn this basic skill called “Wuji Stance” we will have a working model of alignment that we can “clone” into our thinking to restructure our bodies, minds, emotions, and ultimately our spirits.  Then we can keep feeding back that spiritual energy to continually strengthen our bodies, minds, emotions. The cycle continues until we have the “rarefied qi” of original Spirit known as “the gold pill” a spiritual embryo that grows within us until such time as it “becomes” us and we are reborn into Tao.

It is simple really. Just start under your feet.  We want a totally natural alignment of our skeleton so we can relax all of our muscles. The following list is an example of what I tell my students. I probably say this list fifty times a week in my classes…..

1.     Feet parallel and shoulder width apart

2.     Knees slightly bent

3.     Tailbone tucked in so your lumbar spine is vertical

4.     Relax the hips and “sit” into your legs

5.     Let the “golden thread from heaven” lift your head

6.     Tuck in your chin so that your cervical spine is vertical

7.     Relax your shoulders, let your arms dangle at your side

8.     Contain your chest, don’t “puff out” your chest

9.     Bring your breath  to your dantien, just below the navel

10.   Bring your mind down to your dantien

11.    Put your tongue at your palate

12.    Keep your eyes soft, don’t strain your eyes

In addition I tell students to:  keep their hearts open, explaining that there is no need for any emotional energy, and to keep their mental energy redirected inward,  reviewing the 12 points on the list.  Then I repeat the list….

Now you can start right away by learning to Tune your Breath

Copyright Cory williams 2009

more here: Qigong lesson #3

Qigong Lesson #1 “Wuji” A Philisophical Perspective   1 comment

Wuji

“The journey of a thousand miles, starts under your feet.”

For all people on the Way, there are many paths with side excursions and a few distractions and even some “deviations”.

Any well thought out journey starts somewhere; indeed today even scientists think they can explain the origin of the universe. As fantastic as “the big bang theory” is….would you believe  that well over 2500 years ago the planet’s original “scientists” the Taoists, had a similar theory?

According to the Taoist cosmology, before anything “existed” there was something they called “Wuji”.  This (literally) means “the Void” or “without form” or “the beginning.” From this  “Void”,”Tao”  emerged, Tao being translated as “the Way” or “path”.  An interesting side note corresponds to religious texts….”God created the Heaven and Earth”. For the Taoists you might look at it this way…’From the void, Tao emerged and created the heavens and Earth’.

Is it not sort of enlightening that Taoist thought can merge science and religion and validate both simultaneously? I tread lightly here  so as to not evoke sensibilities, but let’s assume that the science of things is always open to scrutiny, and admit that religious texts were written thousands of years ago and are famous for using metaphorical language. Anyway, I’m only attempting to give some perspective to Wuji.

If you are still following me (and wondering what this has to do with Qigong) consider this, finding a “place” without form gives us a connection to divine origins. Notice my choice of words, crafted somewhere between the scientific and religious terminology. It is here where we see one way that “all things are connected”.

Along the Way we often find that science and religion merge into philosophy. By extrapolation it is easy to see that our physical self’s are connected to an understanding of the merger of the two (science and religion) into a philosophy. In the Taoist arts this philosophy is applied to the physical realm so that practitioners can assimilate cosmic energy directly into themselves.

One can see that practicing Qigong is an endeavor using a philosophy combined with science and spirituality, to nurture the physical self that contains our “Self” self.

Now don’t ever get put off by the talk of spirituality or the word “cosmic” as Taoists define these words in a general sense, for instance, tonight I am “inspired” to write this page,  and so these words are coming from my “spirit” and as I post this message it is sent (via satellite) into the cosmos.

This stuff is not rocket science, nor is it some intangible “cosmic” thing; the fact is, this concept is so simple it is woefully misunderstood.  My approach to Qigong (energy cultivation) is equally pragmatic, I’m not asking anyone to make any leap of faith; only to see the truth. With this understanding, we can now “start” the journey, also know, that by reading this, you already have…..

Copyright Cory Williams 2009

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