Training Tips for Going Deeper Into Tranquility
by Yang Yang, Ph.D.
Taiji insights sometimes come from unexpected places. It happened to me earlier this year on a visit back home to Illinois. The occasion was a conversation with a good friend who had just retired from the University as a professor. I asked him how his life was now that he had retired. He said, “It is a special kind of feeling: I wake up in the morning without pressure to teach any classes, to meet any deadlines for grant application, to attend administrative meetings, to meet my graduate students . . . I do not have an agenda for today.” Afterwards, I wondered about that feeling because I had never experienced it. These days my efforts are focused on initiating more Taiji/Qigong research projects and disseminating our evidence-based Taiji and Qigong program. On a typical evening, I summarize what I have done during the day and come up with a list of what I am planning to do the next day. I wake up every day with a busy agenda.
I usually practice my sitting meditation in the early morning for about 45 minutes. During the sitting session, thoughts about different projects and other issues pop up. I had been using different techniques to lead myself into tranquility. After the visit, I decided to try this method. At the beginning of my meditation, I now say to myself, I am retired and I do not have an agenda for today. I remind myself at the very beginning and a couple times during the sitting session. It is amazingly effective.
You might have heard the famous Chinese saying regarding the mechanism of Qigong healing: “Why does Qigong have a healing effect? It is because of song (mental and physical relaxation) and jing (tranquility of mind).” You may have practiced meditation for 20 or 30 years, and you may think you know relaxation well and you can enter into tranquility easily. You are correct, but you can go deeper by using this technique: say to yourself at the beginning of your meditation: I am retired and I do not have an agenda for today.
Everyone has his or her own favorite techniques for going into tranquility. This is simply another method you can try. It might generate additional Song and Jing. You might come out of your sitting session with a clearer mind and a better focus, and you might have a more tranquil and efficient day.
[Yang Yang, Ph.D. is one of the few individuals who are recognized within the traditional Taiji and Qigong community as a master practitioner and instructor, as well as an academic researcher who is using western science to explore evidence-based Eastern philosophy and healing arts. He is author of the highly acclaimed book “Taijiquan: The Art of Nurturing, The Science of Power”, and in 2006 was honored as the “Qigong Master of the Year” at the 9th World Congress on Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yang trained in China under several of the 18th generation grandmasters of the Chen style – Chen Zhaokui, Gu Liuxin, and Feng Zhiqiang. He was a three-time Taiji champion at the Shanghai collegiate tournament and former instructor at the Shanghai Chen Style Taiji research association. To understand the power and mechanics of Taiji and Qigong beyond traditional explanatory frameworks, Master Yang completed a doctorate degree in kinesiology at the University of Illinois, where he remains as an adjunct faculty. Dr. Yang is currently the Director of the Center for Taiji and Qigong Studies (www.centerfortaiji.com) in New York City.]