I had a private lesson with my Tai Chi teacher yesterday and he brought my awareness to an interesting concept. That concept is observation. This is a word that has meaning in the english language but has lost its significance. When we think of observation we think of a scientist in a laboratory conducting experiments and making hypotheses. People tend to forget that every day we are observing our environment, making judgments about our surroundings, and then behaving accordingly (or at least we hope so).
Drew, my teacher, was explaining to me how this awareness tied into the formation of Chinese Medicine. He said that Chinese facial diagnosis came from acupuncturists and herbalists observing many patients over years of practice. These clinicians began to notice that people with certain diseases also had specific facial features. This led them to hypothesize that different constitutions were more susceptible to different diseases. Drew went on to tie this to recognizing patterns within Tai Chi and by extension also life. I know many of you reading this may not be interested in martial arts or Chinese medicine for that matter, however, this idea is extremely important in any facet of life.
I was born in the early eighties. Computers, Cell Phones, and much of the technology that has led to the modern pace of life did not yet exist. My mother limited our intake of T.V., made us go play outside, fed us food out of the garden, and we spent family time together. Growing up this way has made me very aware of the shift in society away from this paradigm. I know not everyone was as fortunate as I to have had such a childhood. However, many more people in my generation did have experiences similar to this. Today I see families mesmerized by T.V. and their phones. A family will be siting together at a restaurant and they will all be on their phones barely talking to one another. We are becoming a society of distracted people continually entertained from one moment to the next. My problem with this is that we are living our lives unconsciously. We are not observing what is going on inside of us or in the world around us. I could go on about what I see happening to our planet but I will spare you my personal angst. The point I am making is that without removing distraction from our lives and taking time to reflect we do not know ourselves or our environment. That is the power of observation. It deepens our character and intellect and it allows us to make our lives and the world a better place.
I have found that paying attention and reflecting helps me to not just be a better person but it helps me to go where I want in life. My wife and I have taken a different path from the norm by starting our own business practicing an unconventional healing method. Without continual observation we would never make progress. By observing and adjusting our strategies and plans we are able to move closer to what we want.
I implore all of you to take some time out of your day. Turn of the electronic devices, go to a park or someplace in nature. Reflect on your life and what you want. Pay attention to what you observe around you. Pay attention to what is going on inside of you emotionally, intellectually, even dare I say spiritually! Start to notice on a daily basis what is happening in your lives and how you can move towards the life you want. The longer we stay asleep the longer we stay away from creating our dreams in the waking world.
Bradley is a NASM certified personal trainer, a NCCAOM licensed acupuncturist/Herbalist, and Qi Gong practitioner. He specializes in corrective exercise, functional exercise, strength training, Qi Gong training, and Chinese medicine. He is the co-owner of Chasing The Wind Acupuncture & Holistic Medicine