|> Issue 34||
|The german magazine for qigong and taijiquan|
Issue 34 4/2008
Meditative practice as self-knowledge
Different cultures have seen the development of various paths to meditation and inner knowledge. At the same time, the experiential processes associated with these methods are quite similar. Working from this perspective, Alexandra Tschom combines her experiences with Qigong and Taijiquan with the insights of Western mysticism. The latter, just like the Eastern teachings, emphasizes the need to »forget oneself«, although here a deeper and more complete sense of self is assumed. This provides a basis for self-knowledge and self-consideration. A patient, day-to-day practice can become a journey to new aspects of personality, to discovery of deeper levels of the self.
»The arts must be preserved«
This year the internationally established teacher for Chinese martial arts and Qigong Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming commenced his long-planned ten-year retreat with five students in a newly built centre in California. In an interview with the Taijiquan & Qigong Journal he recounts how this project was conceived and what conditions the participants need to fulfil. He hopes that this intensive training programme, which follows the teaching methods for martial arts and Qigong as applied in earlier times, will preserve his full knowledge and his abilities for future generations.
In addition to her intensive Qigong practice, Cornelia Lambert has also discovered tango dance as a further path to enjoyment, harmony and self-knowledge. She describes her encounters with tango and the relationships she experiences between the two movement arts. The mindfulness that she develops in Qigong is, in tango, focused chiefly on her dance partner.
The five movement directions in Taijiquan
The five movement directions, together with the basic energies, form the `basic techniques’ of Taijiquan. As with the energies, the deeper meaning of these is first revealed in the course of long-term training. Frank Marquardt explains their interaction from the perspective of the Chen style. The foundation is a stable equilibrium, created by a harmony of centre of gravity and position, or also of mind and body. On the balance of central equilibrium, the body moves in not just one direction but, in accordance with the harmony of yin and yang, simultaneously in the opposite direction as well. A synthesis of various directions leads to a spiralling strength that in its complexity is difficult for a potential opponent to understand.
Healing from the heart
The heart plays a major role in the human organism as a whole and is thus also described as the »emperor« in Chinese medicine. In addition to its physical role, the heart’s regulating effect on the emotions is also important. Christoph Stumpe has developed a special Qigong form that is said to influence the heart favourably in all its aspects. Through still exercises that cultivate and connect the three dantians and increase the flow of shen into the body and root it there, stagnation of heart energy is said to be dissolved and powers of self-healing strengthened. This is achieved above all through greater awareness in the heart centre.
A path to emptiness
In the previous issue Jan Silberstorff introduced the three-phase meditation developed by him in consultation with Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang. On this basis he now explains the practical realization of each individual phase and its specific effect in relation to the path of Taiji evelopment. From the simple, constantly repeated movement in the sitting position, this meditation leads to motionless concentration on the dantian and ultimately to mental emptiness, which in the course of practice is experienced ever more deeply.
Mao Dun – the contradiction
Our Chinese `life arts’ are strongly influenced by the yin/yang principle, the harmony of opposites. However, in Chinese philosophy there is also another image that stands in contrast to this: Mao Dun, the contradiction symbolized by shield and spear. During the Mao era it was used to excess to emphasize the irreconcilability of different viewpoints and various segments of the population. Even though the striving for harmony is now being given greater priority again, Mao Dun illustrates the source of conflicts and the difficulty of following the principles of yin and yang in all situations.