What if we could live our lives with our mind/body still, like a pond on a quiet morning, the surface like glass. When we act, complex dynamics come into being, but that internal stillness remains. When we practice our Tai Chi, we’re training the basic building blocks of this state, we raise the spirit, relax the body, move from the centre etc. We train all these pieces with individual focus, so that we may bring them together, in just the right quantities, when they are needed. Have you ever noted the feeling in the body when anxious, upset or in a hurry to get to a destination? The breath rises, instead of breathing to the centre, just below the navel, we breath to the chest, almost gasping for air. If we were to observe someone arrive into a meeting, late, chest heaving up and down with breath, we would hardly look at them and think, ‘wow, they look composed’. Breathing to the chest raises the energy in the body, we become top heavy, easily unbalanced. If I was to take a Pyramid of Giza, turn it over and balance it on its tip, it would stand there, perfectly balanced, until the first stiff breeze… Before it fell, we could say that it was in balance, but was very unstable. Now let’s turn that pyramid over again, now it’s broad at the base with the point at the top. Nothing on earth could move that pyramid now. Balance, unmoving, versus stability, unmovable. Through the practice of Tai Chi, we seek to embody not only balance, but stability. When I’m balanced everything’s fine, but if all it takes is one sideways look from a colleague to upset me, then what use is that balance? But if I’m stable, anyone can look at me anyway they like, no problem, let’s go and have a cup of tea… Challenge #15 Use the breath to the centre of the body to help drain tension away from the upper body. Separate to your normal Chi Kung practice, stand in Wuji posture, visualise rain falling inside your body, everything from the top, falling downwards, it’s sticking to the inside of your body and running down, like rain running down a windowpane. Feel the settling within the body and the resultant density increase at the centre. Remember that feeling. Now, when you practice Chi Kung and Form, forget about the visualisation, bring that feeling. Enjoy!