What is Tai Chi?

A literal translation of the Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan 太極拳 is the 'Supreme Ultimate Fist (or 'force')'.

The Supreme Ultimate for me is 'God'... The Chinese idea is that the Supreme Ultimate encapsulates everything, produced everything and was before anything. It therefore has a dark side and a light side - a yin-yang concept. So I guess that for those of western philosophy, the idea of the Supreme Ultimate is God and the Devil combined - not cancelling each other out, but balancing each other.

Yin and Yang is a Chinese concept of the dynamic duality we find in everything: male/female, active/passive, dark/light, good/evil, forceful/yielding, positive/negative etc. As a physicist I totally get that! Nothing can 'be' unless there is a state of it 'not being' for us to contrast with it and therefore be aware of its 'being'.

'Fist' can be thought of as meaning the means or way of 'using/channelling' or 'controlling'.The idea of 'controlling' or' using' God is a big 'no-no' with the Western Religions... but the idea of allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through us is very acceptable. I take it as learning how to 'control' the 'Supreme Ultimate' so that there is a good outcome.

The concept learning to control supreme ultimate force in the Universe is not that far from the idea of 'using the Force' in the Star Wars Trilogy - I 'kinda think' that Lucas was travelling along the Chinese thought train when he spun his yarn!

So. for me Tai Chi Chuan is learning the way to allow God's positive force to flow though us more efficiently. I have found it helps physically, emotionally and spiritually, in that it promotes a clarity and inner peace that makes you able to pray with increased focus.



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