Creating Sacred Space Within
 
   The Spiritual Practice of QiGong and T'ai Chi Ch'uan
and Sacred Dance -
 Creating Sacred Space Within   - 
Rev. SierraLynne White, MFT   Oct. 1997

I use T'ai Chi,  QiGong and Sacred Dance as spiritual practices.  They are moving  forms of meditation or prayer. They are ways of going into quiet inner space for the purpose of calming, grounding and centering.  In Tai Chi, QiGong and Sacred Dance, we experience ourselves as center, and we move from the center.  Our inner center is Sacred Space - the place from which all things emanate.  The Center is silent and pure potential - it is God, seed, atom, awareness.  From this still center, our life energy, (our Chi), spirals out.  We breathe and move from this center to promote a clear, smooth flow of chi.  Chi is variously interpreted as: spirit, life energy, breath, God.  We intentionally cultivate inner peace, balance and harmony by directing our chi with movement and breath.

Unlike sitting meditation practices, Tai-Chi and QiGong are "movement meditations".  Rather than locate the focus of prayer/meditation inside our head, (our "mind" and thoughts only), T'ai Chi and QiGong locate the focus in our body and our movements.  I think of it as Embodying the Spirit.  Where is Spirit located?  It is in BOTH the mind and the body.  It is BOTH inside of us and outside of us.  The movements and breathwork are intended to connect mind and body - to connect inner chi with outer chi in harmonious flow.  The movements are intentionally graceful and fluid.  They are slow and steady, making continuous circles and spirals in wavelike connections from the beginning move to the end.  Focusing on breath and body, these movements become like a mantra which takes our ego-mind away from past and future - (away from regret, worry and planning) - and into the calm and "awake" present.

A gift from China, Tai-Chi and QiGong are also effective martial arts. QiGong is considered to have come first - the Mother of all martial arts.  Rather than for fighting, the real purpose is to understand the nature of the energy of the universe.  When one attempt to attune to and align with this spiritual, universal energy, one begins to knowd how to get out of the way, how to be in the right place at the right time, how to deflect an negativity, how to set gentle yet firm boundaries, and most importantly, how to live in HARMONY with the flow of Chi that is internal and external.

Tai-Chi, QiGong and Sacred Dance become spiritual practices because, rather than fight external opponents, we must come to meet and master the inner enemy - "Busy Mind".  Busy-mind (ego) fills us with nagging judgements and critical comparisons that destroy our harmonious relationships to the world, to each other and to ourselves.  Qi Gong and T'ai-Chi are spiritual practices because, in them, we take the sword of "stillness in movement", and cut to the center.  We create our first and most important sacred space - our own inner Soul-Selves, which gives us peace and rest from the multitude of inner and outer demands and voices.  This sacred space at our center is more important than cathedrals, temples, mountain tops or quiet woods.  For if our inner spaces are not available for Divine Spirit, Wisdom, Compassion to enter, then all the churches and prayers in the world cannot reach us.  Opening ourselves and letting go into the flowing silent movements of Tai-Chi and QiGong, or of any sacred movement or dance practice, we open ourselves to inner calm and quiet.  We cultivate clear, unobstructed and flowing energy that balances mind and body, inner and outer.

As sacred dancers we need to remember that our movement is, first of all, not a performance, but a prayer - a meditation.  It is not from our egos, but from our spirits.  To breathe consciously, to move and to dance from the center is to be an expression of the Divine - an embodiment of spiraling and clear flowing Spirit, of balanced and harmoniously flowing Chi (or Qi).  The form and beauty of sacred dance, T'ai-Chi and QiGong movements are art forms that comprise a universal language of meditative movement in which we can awaken to find precious peace, harmony, strength, openness and balance.    

 

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