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Push the Sky, Open Your Wings, Take Off
Fetch Your Breath Up From Deep Below
Just Stand Still to be in Sync with Nature
The Lasting Benefits of T’ai Chi
T’ai Chi Strengthens the Mind-Body Link
Emotional and Spiritual Balance with T’ai Chi
Good Teaching Inspires Flowering of the Mind
T’ai Chi is the Difference Between Life and Death
Gains from Independent Practice of T'ai Chi
Sit Like A Bell And Walk Like The Wind
T'ai Chi Is Effective In Sharpening Concentration
Remove All The Pressure That Builds Up Within You
Relaxed & Competitive with T'ai Chi
T'ai Chi for Energy is Absolutely Seamless
T'ai Chi Is Effective In Sharpening Concentration

2nd January, 2008

Concentration is necessary for advancement in any form of creative endeavour. When the thought process becomes disjointed, the end result falls short of our expectations. To be able to truly concentrate even as long as one minute takes a fair amount of perseverance. However, with persistence and self-discipline, concentration can become natural and effortless and you can retain the awareness of one or multiple thoughts in your mind without feeling as though you are being pulled in different directions.

The untrained mind, because of its short attention span, keeps galloping in all directions without conscious control. Why do many people find it so difficult to concentrate? One possible reason is that we, in our effort to use time efficiently, take on more than one thing at a time. As a result, we may get diverted. We tend to veer from one task to another, completely different task. The end result of our jumping from one task to another is that we don't accomplish as much as we would have if we had given our complete attention to one thing.

On the other hand, it is possible that we may get a valuable idea in the process. The purpose of concentration is not to become fixated with one thought or become rigid in our outlook. The purpose of concentration is to help us make creative use of the mind. At each point, we must retain an awareness that we are drifting from our original task and evaluate whether this shifting is a good idea. If it is, then we should go ahead. If not, then we should revert to the task at hand.

Far from being a fixation, concentration involves a higher degree of flexibility that makes the thought process smooth rather than scattered. The practice of T'ai Chi is good for developing concentration.

T'ai Chi movements help you to become aware of the extremely subtle tensions that exist between your spinal cord, internal organs and brain. Mental relaxation brought on by the slow and gentle movements helps your mind to settle, freeing it from the thoughts of the past and the future. For when the mind is relatively empty, we are more present, centred, open and sensitive.

Additionally, the movements of T'ai Chi are intricate enough to fully occupy your mind. Whether you are doing a form that takes one hour or one that takes five minutes, you are expected to do the movements without physical stops and starts without wavering or losing concentration from whatever you are focusing on during each movement.

However, this can only be done efficiently if you are truly able to relax your mind and let go of anything extraneous to the task at hand. This increases mental stamina and also trains your mind to cultivate the same relaxed, but alert, quality at work. Being able to think with clarity and not have your thoughts jangle your nervous system allows you to focus on whatever you are doing.

Many of us tend to suffer from shrinking attention spans, possibly on account of a stressed-out lifestyle that exerts undue pressure on us. Or it could be that with so many activities and distractions, we tend to get bored easily. Whatever the reason for lack of concentration, T'ai Chi could help focus your energy on the task at hand.