towards Solstice, Centre, Stillness

Three practical tips to guide any meditation, moving or still

  • Where is the centre? (or: Where is the centre weighted when moving?)
  • Where is the breath?
  • Where is the Mind?

The ‘Where?’ of these questions may be replaced with ‘How?’, and the questions themselves transposed into any activity, as a means of developing thorough awareness; particularly something ordinary such as walking or cleaning a surface (traditionally, a mirror).

In the application of Tai Chi to your daily life (also Hsing I, weapons etc) Centre can be placed where it is needed or useful, in this sense: that as everywhere is the centre of somewhere an aware person can connect with it.

In practising Stillness

  • Where is the obstacle? From whence, why, and how does it manifest?

Unlike the Koan set as a challenge at Easter, this is not a puzzle-question that points to a specific response. Perhaps it is not a question at all, really, but an enquiry that moves us toward understanding, to realisation rather than answer.

And why is the practice of finding stillness so hard when it should be our birthright, common to all? There are clues. All around us there are instances of it: trees can have an intense stillness, water too, an entire landscape. This is the lovely balance, Tai Chi, and our finding of it is, must be, natural.

Lastly, stillness in self-defence should not be under-estimated; though it is important to note that in this respect there is a world of difference between being stiffly still, and having Stillness.

You might like this:

The temple bell hangs in emptiness; and is the heart so still…

(after Dogen)

Dogen was born and lived in and around Kyoto in the early 13th century, at some stage becoming a monk. Unsatisfied in his progress toward Truth he was prompted to travel to the mainland of China and there studied Ch’an (Dhyana in Sanskrit); it was this teaching with its deep Taoist underpinning, that the Way is the practice, with which he returned to Japan there forming his own community and with it the beginning of the flowering of Zen – an arduous journey, but a beautiful gift. This little phrase I have put into my own words from a short poem of his (or in fact his Chinese teachers’); it points to wu-hsin (mushin in Japanese).

May 2012 ©