This is for Forrest Curo and others, like myself, who have aches and soreness of muscles. Recently my wife and I were in China and we noticed that the older folks meet in small groups in the morning in small quiet parks, or a quiet part of a larger park, and do Tai Chi. It appears to be like a gentle and slow motion dance or simple ballet steps. It also appears to be a state of mind. But these oldsters were in better shape than us and limber. We tried it too and it seems to give a sense of peace. It is worth a try, and I do not pretend to know all that is behind it. But it seems to include a love of flowers, and birds, and quiet strolls. Probably the communion is with God, however conceived, and nature and a making of peace with the rest of the World that is a bit more jarring while you are at it. We saw this in 4 or 5 cities there. My guess is that some are Buddist, but many have no specific religious practice except maybe this is. Quakers there? I doubt that.
Marv Ostberg

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Hello again Marv. Glad you have found something that helps you.
I'm still young but have had a health condition with pains in my joints since I was a teenager. I've got to say I try not to think about what it will be like as I grow older and have the normal ones of aging added to those or when the condition worsens.
It's difficult for me to explain but when I feel like I am being properly faithful, my spiritual experience is very much embodied - I feel the necessity of dancing and stretching regularly, to move my body through exercise as well as through prayer and song and acts of service and so on, and that helps me stay mobile and makes the pains more manageable. I guess as I understand it Christ invites us into more life and what healing we can find as well as it being a road of active peacemaking.
Tai Chi is a good way to move. Knees bent--You're always using your leg muscles, so they get stronger to support you without strain. Weight on one foot-- You are forced to stay balanced on that one foot, until your weight goes abruptly & completely to the other one. You move your body--not your arms or your legs as such. (It looks as if you're moving arms and legs, but they actually don't move far relative to your trunk. You shift your weight from your center, using your hips, and most of the force of a kick or arm movement is simply transferring that motion through whatever limb. When my back went out, I couldn't "walk" through the house without pain, but I could painlessly tai-chi from one end to the other, because all I was doing was shifting my weight.

Chinese religion, as I understand it, is not a matter of spiritual politics: One doesn't have to be "a Buddhist", for example, but can practice Buddhism along with whatever Taoism and/or Confucianism he finds useful. The roots of Tai Chi probably go way back into Taoism; it's supposed to be a sort of defanged version of martial arts (although bad things can happen to someone who tries to attack anyone who's practicing it) which suggests (to me, anyway) that the principles were derived from the seemingly paradoxical principles of go strategy... ie Attacking something strengthens it etc.
A relative has Parkinson's and she was told that the best thing she could do (aside from medication) to slow the progress of it was to do Tai Chi every day. (Peer reviewed blind studies said so!) My very rudimentary understanding of the word, "Chi," is that it describes the life energy within you. The movements of Tai Chi are effective in integrating the whole body and mind with its energy.

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