TAI CHI: HOW TAI CHI CAN POSITION US TO CHANGE THE WORLD (Issue 25)
in honor of: World Tai Chi and Chi Kung Day 2012 – Apr. 28 – 10 am
by Diane Gold
This coming Saturday, April 28, is my birthday. Oh, wait. Broadcasting this fact is the very opposite of our message here: that of getting away from me, me, me. This article is about the power we have as developed individuals to make a difference on global issues.
Tai chi, chi kung and other mind/body training teach us self-cultivation. Alone, the training can make us remarkably well-tuned, aware and healthy. However, we may classify it as the “what’s in it for me” attitude if we don’t take it further. With continual training, the true goal of mind/body teachings – to inspire, cultivate and motivate change for humanity – is realized and embodied. When people dabble, they rarely learn this true purpose. So, let’s begin again.
Of interest to all is that World Tai Chi and Chi Kung Day, April 28, 2012, is a world event, the 14th annual. It is a coming together of tai chi and chi kung teachers, students and community members to do tai chi and chi kung and view lively demonstrations.
What’s bigger about it than just doing tai chi and chi kung as a group is how it can make change. Although it introduces people to tai chi and chi kung that can heal our bodies, minds and spirits; the real treasure that most people don’t get to, because they see it as an exercise program, is that the strength and understanding we get from the program gives us the power and the incentive to do good. If we stop at fixing our arthritis, our weight or our mental stability; the world is still better off because we are better human beings from the training. But, that is small scale. If, however, we take it to the next level, which comes with “time, experience and inner balance,” we will find it our duty to take humanitarian action to cause and be change.
Nicole Brochu, journalist at the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, opens her coverage of World Tai Chi Day by saying,
“Think of it as the yoga version of a tandem flash mob.”
I like that image. Let this flamboyant vision not lead us away from the grand ultimate purpose of tai chi in 2012, which is not a display for publicity, a way to get a date, a way to be cool or marketing for consumerism; although all of these things may happen as a result of doing the training in a public place. The point is to spread peace, harmony and unity through exposing people to movement that changes mindset leading to global action. Change in mindset, as with any discipline, is a process.
Tai chi is a way of being. World Tai Chi and Chi Kung Day is an event to harness the harmony, compassion and balance of the tai chi way. What we do with the embodiment of harmony determines how and whether we will make a difference in the world. If we keep our tai chi-found bliss for ourselves, our opportunity to impact our world is minimized. We are still younger, more vibrant, happier people; but it has been scientifically shown that, if we give of ourselves, we get it back exponentially. And if we don’t, it may not grow.
When people do tai chi once, it’s rare that they gain enough wisdom and momentum from it to become landmarks of social change because of tai chi energy. With experience doing tai chi; commitment and understanding grow in a way where practitioners are more driven to help humanity. The rooting learned as a physical exercise transfers to personally ground the motivated leader.
Similarly, when we go on a weight loss program and gain wisdom through the success of action; we gain a spiritual connection with ourselves. When we choose to keep our stories to ourselves, meaning the “what’s in it for me” attitude; we have improved ourselves only. If we share what we have accomplished – our story, our knowledge – we help others.
Another example is that, when we attend a seminar, we become motivated to act. The internal motivation we get usually dissipates within 48 hours into non-action. It’s not that we are lazy lugs; it is because we need continued exposure for the motivation to stick and develop our minds. If we study the seminar subject for 3 hours every week for 52 weeks; we have an arsenal of knowledge that will stay with us.
When the physical work of tai chi causes us to become more tranquil, we have made the first change.
The second part is that we take this peace we have created and give it back to the world. This can be in a number of ways:
1) Through being a positive influence in the world, which causes more positive energy to exist.
2) Through being kind to others.
3) Through mediating arguments in day-to-day life using the skills that personal balance supplies.
4) Through teaching others how to live a harmonious existence.
5) Through volunteering services or choosing a business that helps the world.
MAKING WORLD CHANGE
When someone has a belief system and talks about it, isn’t this a step toward change? Since we know marketing is everything, it depends upon how many people hear about the idea and its benefits.
Take any large religious group. The spread of a belief system caused changes in behavior. These changes cause mindset change. This mindset change causes global action.
Take any political system. The spread of support for a system causes change in behavior. These changes mindset change, which, in turn, cause political change.
Take tai chi. Its personal benefits help personal struggles. People minimize depression, arthritis, vertigo and anger, by doing tai chi. Without this help, people wouldn’t be available as thinking, acting, supporting, inspired individuals; they would be busy struggling. The tai chi causes biological changes. These changes cause spiritual development. This development takes us to pursue personal and global passions.
People who do tai chi and chi kung, like many who are committed to other studies, are privileged. They can do meditation-on-demand (similar to Dish TV on demand) by accessing their own internal renewable energy. And there’s no monthly bill for the energy.
There is nothing more special than this ability to harness our own power, focus and noise buffering. We become tai chi, rather than doing it. Analogous, we go from waving hands and doing movement to becoming responsible to our world.
Some of us are socially conscious leaders who have become popular. We have best-selling books, make appearances as motivational speakers and mentors. We engage the masses, command an audience and have built an access point to change the world. After all, isn’t changing the world, changing many minds at a time so that they take action and keep taking action until a goal is met? Without the popularity, we can be creative to make a global change, as long as we are heard.
If I do tai chi and teach 8 students, then 8 minds get changed. If these 8 students have 8 students, then 64 minds get changed. If these 64 have 8 students, then 512 minds get changed. If this group of 512 goes to 1 of the 300 World Tai Chi And Chi Kung Day events and mingles with the 512 students of each of 10 other teachers; that’s 5,632 minds at 300 events. That’s over a million changed minds, which is the power of community.
In our consumeristic society, why do we hire celebrities to campaign for us? It is because listeners, buyers and joiners act because they see others acting. The concept of “social proof” is, oh, so common.
If the popular people are doing it, others will follow. If the obscure people are doing it, although it may be just as valid, others usually will look away.
Tai chi training teaches us to act based on ourselves. The knowledge of right and wrong leads to global action.
Because tai chi is a martial art, I will mention one tenets of a true martial artist. And that has to do with caring for humanity. Skills are honed for the betterment of the world. Martial artists train to fight for social justice, whatever brand it is, whether this means temperance and patience or assertion and mobilization. Their actions change the world.
We each change the world by the minute actions we take, by the minute thoughts we have, by our very connections to each other. We bring ourselves with us when we act. When we develop ourselves through going to an event such as World Tai Chi Day, taking a seminar or studying auto mechanics; we cultivate ourselves and bring that development with us. The more advanced we are, the higher the synergy created, the bigger the action that ensues. The more we work on change, the more change occurs.
Pick one goal related to a passion, and study it for 30 days, whether it’s saving the world or saving yourself. Write down what you have achieved in that short time and, somehow, keep going.
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DIANE GOLD, AUTHOR
Diane Gold, Founder of Warriors of Weight, Moms For Healthy Daughters, is a mentor in tai chi, kung fu and meditation, a music and stress expert and a dedicated mom. She believes we can all make a positive difference in the world. She says, “Some go about it from the inside out; others self-develop through fixing the world. Either way its done, we are all on the human mission. Decide whether you will get side-tracked.”