Your respiratory system is critical not only to your longevity living but also to your mind relaxation, which contributes to clarity thinking.

In Tai Chi, breathing is valued more than physical power because it uses breathing, not muscular strength, to propel the movements of your body. Western physical exercises, on the other hand, emphasize muscular strength instead of the spontaneity of breathing and natural body movements. In Tai Chi, your mind directs the qi, letting it sink down into your abdomen, where natural breathing takes place. According to Tao wisdom, you breathe through your abdomen (like babies and young children), not through your lungs. This explains why people in the West limit their breathing to the lungs; as a result, their lungs tend to enlarge as they grow older, crowding their hearts, leading to heart disease and cardiovascular problems.

Your circulatory system is connected to your respiratory system. Tai Chi enhances your deep breathing, which guides your qi to move your blood (which cannot move by itself) to different parts of your body for transporting oxygen and nutrients. By regulating the circulation, Tai Chi exercises through natural movements and deep breathing provide a healthy heart for longevity living.

Hormones in your thyroid gland are responsible for physical growth of your body. In Tai Chi, you keep your neck erect without pressure, centered without inclining to the left or to the right; you integrate the slow and smooth movements of your head and neck. These natural and spontaneous movements not only enhance the activity of your thyroid gland but also act upon your kidneys to remove wastes for body detox.

In summary, you need the spontaneity of TAO expressed in physical movements as well as in natural breathing of Tai Chi exercises to reap physical health benefits to promote longevity health and wellness.

Remember, Tai Chi is all about movements to circulate your body invisible energy called qi. Smooth circulation of qi energy ensures a healthy body. Stagnant and blocked qi energy causes all sorts of chronic diseases. Tai Chi is an ancient exercise that has been practiced for thousands of years as an effective alternative healing for the body and the mind. By strengthening the immune system, Tai Chi can improve your chronic disease slowly but steadily. More importantly, it can relieve your stress and calm your nerves.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Nothing Lasts

All human attachments are the raw materials with which we both consciously and subconsciously create our own identities through a period of confusion and uncertainty that may eventually lead to not only the identity crisis but also the attachment illusions that distort our perceptions of the realities of life. Without human attachments, there will be no identity crisis, and no illusion of the mind.

For example, does the attachment to money bring happiness?

According to Harvard Business Review, money and happiness are not positively correlated, because money may make people less generous and more demanding and domineering. In addition, money may not bring out the best of an individual: the more money that individual has, the more focused on self that individual may become, and the less sensitive to the needs of people around, as well as the more likely to do the wrong things due to the feeling of right and entitlement.

The bottom line: any attachment to money only creates an illusion in the mind.

An illustration

Barbara Woolworth Hutton
, also known as “the poor little rich girl”, was one of the wealthiest women in the world during the Great Depression. She had experienced an unhappy childhood with the early loss of her mother at age five and the neglect of her father, and thus setting her the stage for a life of difficulty in forming relationships.
Married and divorced seven times, she acquired grand foreign titles, but was maliciously treated and exploited by several of her husbands. Publicly, she was much envied for her lavish lifestyle and her exuberant wealth; privately, she was very insecure and unhappy, leading to addiction and fornication.

She died of a heart attack at age 66. At her death, the formerly very wealthy Hutton was on the verge of bankruptcy as a result of exploitation by others around her, as well as due to her own lavish and luxurious lifestyle.
She was the unhappy poor little rich girl! She was widely reported in the media, and her story was even made into a Hollywood movie: “The Poor Little Rich Girl.”

The reality is that Barbara simply had too many attachments in her life: beauty, celebrity, fame, love, and above all, wealth-they had created too many illusions that they all ultimately brought about her unhappiness.

Remember, the more attachments you have, the greater is your ego-self; unfortunately, an ego-self is not the real self, and so the so-called “happiness” is nothing more than just an illusion in the mind. The ultimate truth is that nothing lasts, and everything remains only with that very moment.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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Buddha’s Perspective of Impermanence

According to Buddha, life is like a river. The water flowing in a river is like a progressive and a successive series of different but unified movements of water, all joining together to create the impression of only one continuous flow of water. Likewise, human existence is moment to moment, with each moment leading to the next. It is also an illusion that the person in this moment is the same person in the next moment; just as the river of yesterday is not quite the same as the river of today. To think otherwise is human illusion.

Even from a scientific point of view, Buddha’s perspective is true. We know that cell divisions take place in each living being continuously: old cells in our bodies die and are continuously replaced by new ones.  Technically speaking, all individuals are constantly subject to change, and the change is a continuous movement, just like the flowing water in a river.

Remember, in life, everything remains only with that very present moment; ultimately, everything is nothing.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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