“Soft sinews are a special characteristic of the infant. If people who are not far from death (old people) are to have any hope of returning to youthfulness, it is only through concentrating on the chi and becoming soft.” This quote from the Tai Chi Chuan master Cheng Man Ching evokes a concept of “softness” of the body movements, and it expresses a cncept that outdo the practice of a martial art. These words expresses a concept of softness that we often ignore during our dayly physical movements. And, softness implies also a concept of “gentleness”.
Our physical body is anything but rudimental, and his potentials are far from being expressed by humans as we know them. It’s a matter of fact that anyone taught us how to use our physical mean the best we can, and this is maybe the main reason of why the most of the social influences bring to a significative reduction of health.
We are so convulsive, disharmonic while moving our body, and this physical attitude reflects a condition of inner disharmony.
It’s enough to observe ourselves during any action, even the most simplest, to percieve that. How much is our body relaxed during an action? Hw much energy we use during the same action? How much our thought-emotional field harms the harmony of our body?
If we perceive that this is our case- and in the most of the cases it is so- this means that, if we want to become and act in a more relaxed way, we have to change our behaviour starting from the most touchable mean that we have: our physical Body.
There’s a strict connection between our body and our feelings, so, if the feelings can change our physical state harming even the movements, then an intentional movement can influence our feelings.
It’s said that if we don’t love ourselves, we can’t love the others- a true statement! But it’s also right tosay that,if we are not gentle with ourselves, we can’t be gentle with the others! And, gentleness towards ourselves means just this: become more relaxed,harmonious, to achieve a state of relaxation that should be a state of Being, not just as a moment of release from the daily stressful situations.
How to perfoerm such “conversion”? Trough a conscious, intentional use of our physical body: this means develop a gestual aesthetic that should reflects gentleness. For example, while walking, we could pay attention on how we put our feets on the ground, how we move in the space-like a dance, like Tai Chi Chuan movements. The simple act of put intentionally a glass on the table, becomes a ritual to achieve more relaxation, more gentleness.
In Japan exists a discipline that is enhanced to the rank of Art, called “natural awareness”, and the well known Tea Ritual is only one example of this Art. So, becomemore aware of our movements, brings us to a development of a more relaxed state.
“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul…” said once the American Writer Max Ehrmann. A very wise quote! Maybe,we have all to learn from these words, and take a look to the movements of a child, the harmony of these movements, the gentle interaction a child has with the environment who surrounds him.
It’s true… our life gives us somuch possibilities of being stressful than to be relaxed- bills, work and family problems,problems with friends….
but, maybe, we should have to take the life situation in a different, less rigid way:in fact,even this rigidity doesn’t change anything.
Something, I find myself thinking about that the Buddhist Middle Way fits like a glove for us, modern men who take their lives so seriously…. but not too much.
Giving too much “weight” to our life problems, makes us also weighty….