Re-evaluating René

I’m working my way through various yiquan standing positions, gradually working up to shi li exercises as and when I feel I’ve understood the essence of each zhan zhuang pose. It’s incredible how even a small shift in the position of the hands loads different muscles, ligaments, etc all the way up the arms and into the shoulders…

This morning was rather chillier than it’s been of late, but no problem. I was trying to incorporate mindfulness into my routine, with limited success. I observed the patch of sunlight on the grass grower larger as the sun rose. Pigeons launched themselves from trees and rooftops with a heavy thwack of their wings. A pair of blackbirds foraged for nesting materials. I’m not sure where exactly their nest is, but it’s close by; I’ve seen them mobbing a magpie; they obviously don’t want him knowing where the nest is either, for fear that he’ll raid the eggs later on…
The mature cherry tree has been shedding its leaves for a few days now; whenever there’s been a breeze the petals fall like snow, and form banks among the grass. As of this morning, though, it’s shedding whole blossoms instead of just petals. They’ll all be gone soon. The apple trees flowered for a couple of weeks, but have now lost pretty much all of their blossom as well.

This too will pass…

I’m still tangled up in the house move; pretty much down to cleaning now. Soon it’ll all be over. I can’t wait .

In addition to the yiquan, I’ve been reviewing my ZMQ-37 taijiquan, and my bagua lately. I’ll practise for a few more weeks and then try to take it out of the garden. There’s a “hippy shop” in town, so I’ll stick a notice up to see if anyone is interested in taiji in the park on weekend mornings… That’ll encourage me to get up out of bed, hehehehe.

There was an interesting article in the paper this weekend: How meditation might ward off the effects of ageing. I linked recently to a study showing that meditation restructures the brain; now we find that it also affects the chromosomes. What is odd about the article is how apologetic the author is about meditation, and about how the researchers are also meditators etc etc. I suspect it reflects a certain cognitive dissonance in which the author is struggling to overcome the belief that this is ‘Asian nonsense’, ‘hippy mysticism’, etc and therefore undeserving of ‘serious’ scientific consideration. After all, this kind of research surely undermines the Cartesian separation of body and mind; if that happens then a certain re-evaluation of Western thought, science and medicine has to take place. It also opens the possibility that TCM theories – derided as being ‘unscientific’ – may also be valid after all… Of course, these thoughts won’t be new to readers of this blog, but to the ‘ordinary’ Westerner, unaware of the cultural limitations of their knowledge, this could be rather threatening…

If it isn’t clear already, I rather think that such a re-evaluation is long-overdue!

There was another article, on a totally different topic, which I also thought relevant: Economics is far too important to be left in the care of academics… I mention this as it’s rather close to home; it seems to me to embody many of the current problems of western thought…

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