The mind is capable of many amazing things: puzzling through challenges and information, guiding decision making, and helping us to get what we want. However, the mind is a Jekyll and Hyde kind of a deal. When you're not paying tons of attention, it will start misbehaving: grinding over a problem that is beyond your control. Replaying troublesome conversations. Thinking over everything and anything that could go wrong. The mind is fully capable of making your life miserable.
The spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has this to say about the mind: "The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive. To put it more accurately, it is not so much that you use your mind wrongly - you usually don't use it at all. It uses you." Eastern philosophy calls this "monkey mind" - mind out of control, jumping all over the place, wrecking your fun time, kicking sand in your face.
When you practice Tai Chi and Qigong, you are only giving the mind one thing to do at a time, which encourages it to slow down, to just pay attention to that one thing. One thing at a time. Doesn't that sound nice? Over time, you develop the habit of slowing down. It's a whole new way to enjoy life, and to turn your mind into an instrument that serves you, rather than an abusive taskmaster who wants to comb through all your old misgivings. It's a better way to live.
This post is part of a series called What Tai Chi and Qigong Can Do for You. Look for more parts in the coming weeks, or click "What Tai Chi and Qigong Can Do for You" at the bottom of this post.
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