Monday, 25 May 2015

Keeping calm

When the American author - Josiah Gilbert Holland wrote, "Calmness is the cradle of power", he uttered a truly profound statement. This is a valued state of being within many cultures across the world, yet has been lost in our modern lifestyle in a subtle and pervasive way.

'Busy' is the new 'happy', and calm has been submerged in a torrent of emails, text messages, to do lists, social media posts, manipulative media, telephone calls, businesses and conflicting demands. The promise of technology setting us free has largely removed a lot of the physical effort. For many people, that reduction of manual work has been replaced with a barrage of information overload.
Many people's only contact with martial arts are through films and TV shows, so they can be forgiven for thinking that martial arts are only about fighting and stomping your opponent into the ground! Nothing could be further from the truth. The meditative approach to Tai Chi is not necessarily about being calm for calmness' sake. It is a valuable tool for self defence.

When the mind is calm, the body movement follows intention better. You are able to defend yourself better. When there is confusion in intention, there is confusion in movement.Therefore, it is vital to be calm at all times. Without calmness, you cannot effectively comprehend the movements of your opponent. Without calmness, you cannot discern the correct and appropriate action.

So how do you embrace calmness? It must be a total lifestyle approach.

Discover meditation, or any gentle focusing activity that makes you calm. Do it at least once per day. Treat it like your 'reset' button.

Choose an exercise that calms you as well as making you fit. Make sure you have genuine useful goals, rather than goals that are based upon vanity and insecurities.

Rest regularly
If you work, split your day up. Take regular breaks. Ensure that your sleep is undisturbed and restful.

Do the right thing
When your values are not in line with what you are doing, you will experience enormous conflict. If you are in a job that is against your beliefs, stop it. Examine what goals you are chasing. Are they truly your own? If you are not living your values, find the right way of living.

Learn the danger signals
There are clear signals that your calmness is being disrupted. Learn them and watch yourself keenly for any signs that you are slipping:
  • Physical tension (everyone keeps their tension in particular places. Learn where you keep yours and watch out for it.)
  • Agitated thoughts
  • Repetitive thoughts 
  • Headaches
  • Increased eating and drinking
  • Tiredness that rest does not solve
  • Inability to just sit without thinking "I must be busy".
Above all else, calmness is the first step on a transformational journey
that will affect you on multiple levels.