Zen and Tai Chi

During Zen Sesshins we often make time for some Tai Chi. This is a practice that can help us integrate the energy of Zazen into our movements.

Tai Chi integrates physical movements, breathing and concentrated alertness. We learn to stand and move fully present on this earth – a moving meditation. It is rooted in a Taoist reverence for Nature.

We move in harmony with the cosmic energy of the universe, solid like a mountain, flowing like a river, still like the moon. We connect with the entire inner energy field of our bodies, and this becomes an anchor for presence. As we move, we retain a stillness inside, grounded in the movements, yet empty and spacious in the mind. Movement and stillness become one, like the heron “wading without seeming to move” – aware of the presence that pervades the entire universe.

Tai Chi is a deep listening. We learn to inhabit the silence that’s listening. We stand between earth and sky, conscious that the breath of the universe is breathing us. This is a helpful preparation for Kinhin (walking meditation).

 We learn to embody this stability and clarity when we return to the world of daily activities and interactions. This helps us bring Zen mind into everyday life.

We more readily notice the beauty that is “so silently woven through our ordinary days”. (J. O’ Donohue)

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