Saturday, August 10, 2013

Antaeus, Tai Chi and Being Firmly Rooted

Hercules kills Antaeus
Picture kindly provided by Klearchos Kapoutsis
The legend of Antaeus talks about a giant who had incredible strength just as long as he had contact with the ground.  Antaeus challenged many that came across his path and defeated them all, they would throw him to the ground and he would only get stronger thus slay his opponents.  Hercules discovered the source of his strength and held him up in the air, thereby was able to slay the demi god Antaeus.

In Tai Chi the classics talk about being rooted firmly into the ground, balancing on one leg sinking into it, drawing strength from it, then moving only from this position of stability.

On a mental level it has some validity as well, it means that one should root themselves in a firm experience of strength, being un-shakeable, being un-moveable until one puts the next foot down heel down to sense if it is where one should move then shift weight totally on it being rooted on that leg.

Confucious says 'A man stepping on tip toes cannot stand firm' if we are doing the wrong things, it does not matter how much we kid ourselves, we are not standing on solid ground to begin with...

I emphasize the word experience until we can see a path that works for us, until we can see a path that we can model, until we can see a path that we can imitate, until in our guts and bones can feel that this is the right path only then can we have or develop this root, this firmness, this strength supporting us...otherwise we are easily uprooted, being lifted off the ground like Antaeus, our spirits are easily distracted or crushed!

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