It's mid-morning as I sit at my computer desk and feel my energy waning. I slept well last night and ate breakfast, but already I feel the drain of "information overload" – a series of meetings, emails, phone calls and internet searches that have kept the neurons in my brain firing non-stop since I arrived at the office.
To reach the full potential as a martial arts practitioner, you must begin by training your mind. One way to accomplish this task is through sitting meditation. Through meditation your awareness, calm, and focus will increase.
Most people find the benefits of meditation elusive, and in this short article I will show you what meditation is and what it isn't. And once you understand how and why it works, suddenly all your efforts will be magnified a hundred fold.
Traditional Taoist meditation originates from the I-Ching and includes both the water and the fire methods. The water method, passed down from the sage Lao Tse, was taught to me by Taoist Lineage Master Liu Hung Chieh. The principles of the water method encompass relaxing, letting go, balancing and dissolving tension without strain or force.
Sitting meditation and t'ai chi (taiji) complement each other. I believe the deepest, ultimate goal of both is to knit together our conscious and subconscious so that we become all one thing. By transcending the separation between material and immaterial, we can indeed become one with the universe.
A man who does me the honor of coming to see me for spiritual direction once said: "I really like coming here. You really do it!" (Spiritual direction, in the Christian tradition, involves helping a person to clarify the spiritual promptings within him or her and is typically carried out through one to one sessions, listening, and encouraging. It is similar to the relationship a person might have with a guru or master in many of the Eastern traditions but is more focused on the existential experience of the directee.) I asked this person what it was that he though "I did."