Song, song, song…(Relax, relax, relax)

Authored by Richard H. Workman, MD Here are some thoughts and related quotations that I find meaningful in my practice of Tai Chi Chuan. I hope you will find them inspiring and enjoyable. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao-Tzu, Laozi, or Li Er, ancient Chinese philosopher and poet. “Gravity is the root of lightness; stillness, the ruler of movement.” – Lao-Tzu “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” King James Bible, 1-Thessalonians/4/4 My Tai Chi Chuan Laoshi (teacher) told me I was like a 5-year-old, and that I just needed to relax.  I interpreted that, like a child (not one with ADHD), I was curious and anxious not to miss out on any new and wondrous Tai Chi thing.  Now retired as a psychiatrist, approaching 70 years of age, and so very well defended, I took her criticism as a compliment.  I responded that it was my boundless enthusiasm for learning (Chen Style) Tai Chi Chuan.   “Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher, and poet. Having just learned Chen style Lao Jia Yi Lu (Old Frame First Routine), I could “sing the body electric” now from the heart of an advanced beginner.  Her comment has inspired this article. Richard Workman, MD “But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face, It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists, It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him,” -Walt Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric. American poet. I perceive the practice of Tai Chi Chuan as a never-ending journey: a quest of immense enjoyment and satisfaction, and at least partial enlightenment understanding and self-mastery.  We can approach a profound appreciation of the biodynamics of the Tao.  Tai Chi Chuan has become my path.  “Well, everybody does something, some people race cars, others collect stamps, I find tai chi to be philosophically, aesthetically, physically and spiritually fascinating.” – Lou Reed, American musician, singer, songwriter and poet. “Every step is on the path.” – Lao Tzu From first-hand experience I know that practicing/playing Tai Chi Chuan promotes health and well-being of body, mind, and spirit. The intention is to align and relax inner vision through harmonization of the breath with meditation and precise movements: Neigong (internal or soft style of Chinese martial arts). “There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter.  Everything is within.  Everything exists.  Seek nothing outside of yourself.” – Miyamoto Musashi, Japanese swordsman and philosopher.  Poet Walt Whitman said, “Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”   Tai Chi Chuan continues to provide that truth for me.  It makes all my pistons pump.  I always feel better after practice. I see my Tai Chi path: uncovering new trails; an intriguing, challenging, endless puzzle of self; repeating ever widening steps; and reaching and achieving new milestones: delightful nourishment.  When you relax, embrace stillness, and focus on your senses then you are able to experience the Tao, like bathing in an almost magical pool. “Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.You must travel it by yourself.It is not far. It is within reach.Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass When I meet others as Tai Chi paths cross, I realize that all share and all are teachers.  Some may share your philosophy closely, others may not.  We are all part of a family.   Lou Reed, photographed by Grandmaster Ren Guangyi “Approach others with an open mind and warm heart.” – President Jimmy Carter “To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.” – Thomas Merton, American Trappist monk, writer, and theologian.  When meeting someone along the path, “To those who are good (to me), I am good; and to those who are not good (to me) I am also good; – and thus (all) get to be good.  To those who are sincere (with me), I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere (with me), I am sincere; – and thus (all) get to be sincere.” – Lao-Tzu  “There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the advantage arising from non-action.” – Lao-Tzu. “Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” – Robert Heinlein, American science fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and naval officer. “There are countless waves rolling in the vast ocean. Each wave is distinguished from the other and each wave can be p

Song, song, song…(Relax, relax, relax)

Here are some thoughts and related quotations that I find meaningful in my practice of Tai Chi Chuan. I hope you will find them inspiring and enjoyable.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao-Tzu, Laozi, or Li Er, ancient Chinese philosopher and poet.

“Gravity is the root of lightness; stillness, the ruler of movement.” – Lao-Tzu

“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” King James Bible, 1-Thessalonians/4/4

My Tai Chi Chuan Laoshi (teacher) told me I was like a 5-year-old, and that I just needed to relax.  I interpreted that, like a child (not one with ADHD), I was curious and anxious not to miss out on any new and wondrous Tai Chi thing.  Now retired as a psychiatrist, approaching 70 years of age, and so very well defended, I took her criticism as a compliment.  I responded that it was my boundless enthusiasm for learning (Chen Style) Tai Chi Chuan.  

“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher, and poet.

Having just learned Chen style Lao Jia Yi Lu (Old Frame First Routine), I could “sing the body electric” now from the heart of an advanced beginner.  Her comment has inspired this article.

Richard Workman, MD

“But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face,

It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists,

It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees, dress does not hide him,” -Walt Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric. American poet.

I perceive the practice of Tai Chi Chuan as a never-ending journey: a quest of immense enjoyment and satisfaction, and at least partial enlightenment understanding and self-mastery.  We can approach a profound appreciation of the biodynamics of the Tao.  Tai Chi Chuan has become my path.

 “Well, everybody does something, some people race cars, others collect stamps, I find tai chi to be philosophically, aesthetically, physically and spiritually fascinating.” – Lou Reed, American musician, singer, songwriter and poet.

“Every step is on the path.” – Lao Tzu

From first-hand experience I know that practicing/playing Tai Chi Chuan promotes health and well-being of body, mind, and spirit. The intention is to align and relax inner vision through harmonization of the breath with meditation and precise movements: Neigong (internal or soft style of Chinese martial arts).

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter.  Everything is within.  Everything exists.  Seek nothing outside of yourself.” – Miyamoto Musashi, Japanese swordsman and philosopher. 

Poet Walt Whitman said, “Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”   Tai Chi Chuan continues to provide that truth for me.  It makes all my pistons pump.  I always feel better after practice.

I see my Tai Chi path: uncovering new trails; an intriguing, challenging, endless puzzle of self; repeating ever widening steps; and reaching and achieving new milestones: delightful nourishment.  When you relax, embrace stillness, and focus on your senses then you are able to experience the Tao, like bathing in an almost magical pool.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
― Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

When I meet others as Tai Chi paths cross, I realize that all share and all are teachers.  Some may share your philosophy closely, others may not.  We are all part of a family.  

Lou Reed, photographed by Grandmaster Ren Guangyi

“Approach others with an open mind and warm heart.” – President Jimmy Carter

“To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.” – Thomas Merton, American Trappist monk, writer, and theologian. 

When meeting someone along the path, “To those who are good (to me), I am good; and to those who are not good (to me) I am also good; – and thus (all) get to be good.  To those who are sincere (with me), I am sincere; and to those who are not sincere (with me), I am sincere; – and thus (all) get to be sincere.” – Lao-Tzu 

“There are few in the world who attain to the teaching without words, and the advantage arising from non-action.” – Lao-Tzu.

“Never attempt to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” – Robert Heinlein, American science fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and naval officer.

“There are countless waves rolling in the vast ocean. Each wave is distinguished from the other and each wave can be perceived separately, one by one. But all are water only, and are not separate from the great ocean. All are one only in reality. The difference is only apparent.” – samudra-taraṅga nyāya — Waves on the ocean,Nyaya-sutras, Hindu philosophy.

Each of us is a wave in the ocean, different but yet the same; all part of the Tao, all part of the Tai Chi family.

Walt Whitman said, “Let your soul stand cool and composed before a million universes.”  Remain steadfast, composed, and satisfied in your truth.  Forge onward towards your dream.

As I strive to stay on my path, it inspires and nourishes me.  When I stray off the path, it is easier to return the longer I have traveled it. 

Tai Chi Chuan is like peeling an onion. You peel away each layer to reveal another.  I have discovered that like moves in chess, Tai Chi movements anticipate the next as well as the unexpected movements of an opponent. 

My meditation centers on my breath, and I sometimes I chant, “song, song, song (relax, relax, relax)”, consciously willing my mind free of thoughts by focusing on stillness.  Once my mind is still, free of thoughts, I open my senses to my immediate surroundings, bathing in the river of the Tao.  I visualize stillness in a forest, keenly aware, listening to what alters the silence.  “Wei-wu-wei,” means action without action or effortless doing; conscious non-action, the deliberate and principled decision to do nothing for a reason.

Richard Workman, MD

      “When meditation is mastered, 
The mind is unwavering like the 
Flame of a lamp in a windless place. 
In the still mind, 
In the depths of meditation, 
The Self reveals itself. 
Beholding the Self 
By means of the Self, 
An aspirant knows the 
Joy and peace of complete fulfillment. 
Having attained that 
Abiding joy beyond the senses, 
Revealed in the stilled mind, 
He never swerves from the eternal truth.” – Bhagavad Gita

“Nowhere can man find a quieter or more untroubled retreat than in his own soul.” – Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher.

Tai Chi Chuan makes me realize how I have aged, and yet makes me feel like I did when I was young.  How incredibly fortunate am I.

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.  When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” – Lao-Tzu

“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao Tzu 

“When things have attained their strong maturity, they become old.  This may be said to be not in accordance with the Tao and what is not in accordance with it soon comes to an end.” – Lao-Tzu