No Concept: Keeping Taiji and Meditation Practice Simple


Sometimes we make things complicated with too much thinking, speculating about metaphysical questions and complex, imaginative concepts. All of which is a waste of our time. None of that gets us any better at taiji or meditation. In fact, it leads us farther and farther away from real practice with false promises of deepening our understanding. While it might make us feel terribly clever digging through knotty concepts, it will not accomplish anything of real value. There is no replacement for direct experience gained through practice.

There’s an old story about a man who shot by an arrow. Before he would allow the doctor to remove the arrow he had to have several speculative questions answered. Who shot the arrow, who were the parents of the person who shot the arrow, what’s the arrow made of, why did he shoot the arrow … and on and on. What do you think happened? While he chased after these useless questions he died.

Do we want to be like that man wasting our precious time on speculative thinking which leads us nowhere? Or would we rather practice taiji and meditation and cut to the heart of things as directly as possible? Why not spend as much of this time as we can living and practicing to see the truth, easing our difficulties and living with peace, happiness and harmony.

When we practice meditation and taiji keeping to a simple routine is helpful. When we do the form over and over, aiming for 1000 times, 2000 times, 3000, staying present in each moment, mindfully as possible, we bring the mind and body together, the speculation stops, the mind returns to its natural state, quiet, full of joy and boundless generosity.

And that, to steal from Robert Frost, will make all the difference.

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Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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