Practice, Stress, and Building Outward Connections

“At some point, don’t we have to ask ourselves, “Aren’t I healthy enough?”  Don’t I need to work on “waking up”, on manifesting kindness and patience, and being other oriented?”

That’s from a conversation we’ve been having in the Inner Form discussion group and it got me thinking.

You might be learning to cultivate your chi to heal old injuries or for the inner experience of meditative exploration, but at some point, shouldn’t your practice extend into the world around you, to the people in your life, and your work?

Now, I’m often in favor of letting these connections emerge naturally, but the comment above and this TED talk on stress are pushing me to make “practicing in the world” a little more explicit.

Making Stress Your Friend

Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal gives a great talk on transforming your relationship to stress. And it could save your life.

From the video description:

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case.

Practicing in the World

From this perspective, cultivating your internal energy is not about getting some horrible disease out of your system. It’s a way to process, digest, and to grow from what’s useful while shedding what’s not.

Practice homework this week: you know what it’s like to find a special, quiet place to practice to build your chi, but what about your next interaction with another person as the best place to practice? Can you pause, hold the mind the same way when you do in your practice and let the encounter unfold the same way the qigong mind allows chi to resolve itself?

You might draw some inspiration from Push Hands or Tai Chi-style conflict resolution.

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Comments

  1. carl guhman says:

    A timely topic. To move taiji practice out into wider arenas this way is very difficult for me, but very rewarding. Doing so requires a lot of internal practice. Thanks for the post and video.

  2. Adam Medley says:

    On the subject of outward movement towards other people, possibly in serving them with the healthier you. I’m in the process of developing an Christian based internal art. There’s a connection to the perfect example of outward extension of the spirit through supernatural power in Yeshua. My background is in taiji meihua tanglangchen( my systems name) Any thoughts?

  3. Interesting! Yeah, I feel like building those outward connections has to be a natural outgrowth of deep internal practice. You see it all traditions that extend solo work to healing and martial arts. Good luck with your project!