T'ai Chi: Moving into Wholeness
By Michael Ketterhagen, PhD
“Moving to wholeness,” which means “healing” at The Center for Spirituality and Healing, does not only mean pulling together our body, mind, and spirit, but it also means experiencing “balance” in our out-of-balance body and mind. According to yoga, the Spirit, which is our core self, is always in balance.
So, the task in front of us is balancing our body and our mind. That means teaching ourselves to move with the light and dark aspects of life. It means to learn how to stay connected to our core self when life sends us some incredible challenges that send us into a major panic and agitation. It also means stabilizing ourselves so we don’t fall into deep catatonic-like depression where we are stuck in the valley of the challenge. It means realizing that the darkness always becomes light, the night always moves into day.
That is the law of nature, the Law of the Divinity of Nature.
But how can we learn that? My T’ai Chi teacher has shown me that by teaching me T’ai Chi Chuan, the practice of staying centered while moving from one posture to another, from one side of my body to the other side, from two feet on the floor to one reaching high to the sky.
The playing of T’ai Chi helps the student move through the yin and the yang, the dark and the light sides of life, while staying firmly rooted in the present of the core breathing self. It becomes a moving meditation that begins to be driven by our core self, our spiritual center.
The player of T’ai Chi moves into an experience of wholeness as s/he moves through the form. When I played T’ai Chi regularly twenty years ago during my doctoral study, I found, just like I have found now in yoga, a discipline that balanced me and brought me joy, strength and wholeness.
In this time of much imbalance, perhaps an experience of learning T’ai Chi might help you as well. I know another person who is and always has been struggling with his mental balance. T’ai Chi has made his life much more tolerable and much healthier. It moved him into a balance with his mental struggles due to past family traumas. It certainly helped me navigate my way through my doctoral work as I was living in community, raising a family and working sometimes 60 hours a week.
May you have an opportunity to move yourself into wholeness with the experience of T’ai Chi.