Tai Chi and Meditation for Stress Management

Any form of stillness, quietness or indeed silence is almost frowned upon today. Noise and loud activity surround most of our waking hours. High stress levels are commonplace and accepted as normal in western society today. We all know the simple answer is to slow down a lot more. I would argue that few of us really place such a high value on it to make slowness, meditation and Tai Chi important in our daily lives. Martial arts from the earliest times have taught us to harness energy for health and survival. At the most basic of expression I see martial arts and Tai Chi practice as cultivating our energy levels to these ends.

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OK, let’s get as they say really “Real” .There’s a few more stress hurdles to avoid especially if you, like me live in today’s Ireland. Economic uncertainty, climbing suicide rates, I won’t frighten you with the staggering crime statistics, political instability, extortionate fuel prices, and a whole generation of educated, bright, mostly young folk leaving reluctantly every month, for a life abroad. Now if you know me personally, I am positive 99% of the time, but people are getting stressed in Ireland today more than any other time that I can remember. Yes, there’s news of sporadic optimism with job creation, and perhaps a few houses selling, only to be drowned again by more news that the banks here continue to treat people badly, after getting unprecedented tax payers support while newly elected politicians, who recently promised a bright future, make the daily headlines with more and more shocking revelations of their abuse of position and power. OK, rant about to finish soon…Breathing in everyone!

Before we all shave our heads, put on the meditation robes and sit with our legs crossed in remote caves chanting some mantra, maybe we can start with a good night’s sleep and asking ourselves some serious questions. A little tip to avoid stress; do not believe everything on TV, and newspapers, as low energy sells like hot cakes and bad news is always first on TV. However another reality if you want to be realistic is that large chunks of good news is left out. Like falling dictatorships, better environmental awareness is rising, race relationships have made significant strides so for each bit of low energy there are a lot more higher energy levels. Look for high positive energy and sure enough you will find it.  Like why do we feel we have to drive ourselves so hard and so fast anyway? Is the word convenience, a lame description of all our modern gadgets?

In our quest for more and more convenience, are we accelerating today faster than previous generations? Most are looking too much to the future, without enjoying the present moment? which is the key to meditation. Apart from, keeping a business, a job, a family, or our relationships on even keel, the reason we neglect quietness and slowness may be the result of our forefathers looking upon any slow or quiet activity, and placing the negative label of idleness on it. Many times I have made the mistake of viewing activity, in fact any activity as a measure of progress or some form of advancement just as long as I was busy.

Whatever our relationship with speed, noise and stress, the human race today needs more than any other previous time in our history, reason to slow down. Squeezing some quiet, tranquil time for ourselves is important for us all in this 21st century and not just in Ireland. You owe it to yourself to go into a tranquil and silent place for even a few moments each day and meditate. If you never did this before it will be difficult at the first and second attempt. Because we have allowed ourselves to become conditioned to the inner dialogue going on inside our busy brains and not switching off. But in silence ignore that inner voice, give it no judgement, do not even “try” anything. Just let yourself “BE” in the present without any judgement on thoughts that barge their way into your silence. Relax, let your body from your toes to the hairs in your head relax, surrender to gravity. I suggest you sit in the upright position if your health allows and slowly breath in and out as you relax your body.

I practise Tai Chi with my spine upright, as I feel this is important to allow the Chi to enter easily. Relaxation, deep relaxation, is quite hard to achieve. Like everything else it comes with practise. Life, no matter where you live will always have dips and valleys. Life would be boring if it were not so. But Tai Chi and meditation even in there simplest form can give your mind a refreshing break from the world and stress. You emerge clearer and decision making will become easier, and you can tackle life with more energy and clear thinking if you invest in just a few minutes each day. If you can’t do this, try and reduce loud noise in your day and be in control of how much discordant sounds you expose yourself to. Let me know how you get on, because as a student of relaxation I find some days more challenging than others. Visit this site often and do take the time to write back a brief note of your rise to those higher frequencies.

Thank you for reading and pardon the pun, but…… Take it Easy…!

Frank Murphy

If you are interested to know more about Tai Chi classes in Cork or Munster, please do not hesitate to contact Frank on 087 2704478.

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