Finding Our Center

Tai Chi gives us the opportunity to discover ourselves

Each of us has a center of gravity. That place where we truly reside, both mentally and physically. The Chinese call it the Tan Tien. The Japanese call it the tanden. It is a place located in the center of our lower abdominal region, approximately 2-3 inches below our naval and 1/3 the distance between the front and back of our body. In Japan the whole lower abdominal region is called the Hara. In order to find this special place, we need to sit or stand in a meditative posture while putting our concentration at this point. The Tan den or Tan Tien is something we all were all born with, however we never knew it was there and what function it served. The following is my experience in finding the Tan Tien.

I had been studying Tai Chi for about 3 years and was well aware of the Tan Tien, however I never could find it, so I stopped looking for it. Then one day at practice my teacher instructed us to stand in a hip width stance and do the following adjustments to our stance.
1) Slightly bend the knees
2) Slightly rotate the pelvis up
3) Slightly rotate the shoulders forward.
4) Move the chin slightly up and back. (As if your head was hung from a string attached to the ceiling.
5) Relax the entire body and envision your upper body supported by your lower body. (This state of relaxation takes a long time to master. That is why I had to wait 3 years)
At the moment I set my chin in proper position and relaxed my body, I felt a pulling sensation in the lower abdominal region, much like a wide rubber band stretching and opening up. Then the rubber band like feeling began to vibrate and slightly expand. This feeling stayed with me as the class practiced the form and has never left me.

I had found my center, which was always there. To me our life gives us the opportunity to discover within us those attributes like love, compassion and honesty, which are needed for self-realization. These attributes were always within us awaiting our discovery. We just need the will and discipline to keep searching. In time happiness surfaces and we become that which we truly are, complete human beings.