My Chinese Connection

My Chinese Connection

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Saturday 17th June 2009, Wuhan, China Chinese Text

As the warm wind enters my room, I wipe off a small amount of sweat from my forehead while writing this short account of my Chinese experience.

Today is a very hot day, but the best is yet to come, as many local people have told me the summer here in Wuhan is a kind of inferno with more than forty degrees heat and high humidity. They call it the “hot-pot” from the name of a famous local spicy dish.

When in London, I replied to a post advertising “teach English in China.” I didn’t know I was going to spend one or more years in this city in the middle of China.

Busy City of Wuhan in China

Busy city life in Wuhan, China

Although it is one of the biggest cities in China, Wuhan is not well-known in western countries. Like the country itself, Wuhan is developing very fast. But that development is very much a relative transformation because development today also means the creation of artificial needs and the advertisement of a lifestyle which brings us far away from our roots.

It is this little word “roots” – which the Chinese are moving away from – which caused me to decide to come to China to reconnect with mine.

As a matter of fact, I keep on reminding myself that this world is running backwards from me. This is something I should have known in Europe when I was working as an IT consultant for small and medium companies. Everyone should know that if you really want to be happy, if you want to reconnect yourself to the source, you must change from the inside and let that little spark shine no matter where you are.

But despite this truth, there are places which attract me and leave me with a feeling of deep connection, a familiar taste.

Just after a month of my new Chinese life, I have started studying Kung Fu, an obsession during my childhood and a wonderful means of expression and self-awareness now that I am a “grown up.”

When practising Tai Ji Quan, also known as Tai Chi, one focuses on every single part of the body in order to express a harmonious movement. Every single movement requires the use of the entire body in order to be efficient. It trains the attention, as does Sahaja Yoga. It trains the body, the mind and the spirit.

Tai Ji, like Sahaja Yoga, requires practice. It does not require words or books, but practice and experience. From this comes the ability to improve ourselves. The making of mistakes is allowed and welcome as long as we can see what is wrong and correct it.

If my intentions are pure and I put myself in the correct state of mind, I can find a connection with the world and with reality.

In my practical experience of these two disciplines, Tai Ji and Sahaja Yoga, I can spot some subtle but important differences.

Tommaso Sora practicing Tai Ji Quan in Wuhan, China

Tai Ji Quan

Tai Ji is dynamic and is a focus on the movement of Qi, meaning air. The Qi is a subtle energy which is half-inherited from the sky. It dwells in us since birth. It is half-collected, stored and cherished during our life. If this energy flows in our body, we are healthy and strong. This energy is part Yin and part Yang, meaning empty and full, Moon and Sun, etc. When the balance is lost, we feel uncomfortable and our body becomes sick.

The place where the Qi is stored is called dantian, which is in the middle of our body, about three fingers width in distance from the belly button. The energy from that spot can be “squeezed out” and sent to all our body, nourishing it until it is finally expelled. The most important path of the energy is the one which starts from the dantian, goes through the spine and the head and then goes back in the dantian.

At a higher level of practice in this circuit, the Qi transforms itself in Shen energy, which is the highest form of energy and can be called “celestial.” This energy cannot flow if our body is tense. The body is like a soft pipe which becomes strong when the water flows through it.

Reaching this higher level of awareness is not easy and requires practice and more practice. Overall, it can be easily practised in the wrong way – both the movement and the correct mind attitude. At the end of an incorrect Qi Gong practice, which is the basis of Tai Ji and consists in moving the Qi through the body, one can become mentally exhausted. Being the master of oneself is always the key in this entire process.

Sahaja Yoga

Sahaja Yoga practice does not require any strange movement of the body and can be done by everyone without any side effect. The result of Sahaja Yoga thoughtless awareness.


Sahaja Yoga Meditation

The subtle energy which moves inside us and connects us to the whole universe is called the Kundalini and it is a feminine energy. She dwells in the sacrum bone and from the time of our birth is dormant, waiting to be awakened by our pure desire for evolution and complete connection with the Divine.

Sahaja Yoga is simple and is based on our own desire to ascend spiritually. Once the Kundalini is awakened, she takes care of us. She nourishes and cleanses our body, mind and spirit. When the Kundalini reaches the top of the head and pierces through the Sahasrara chakra, our mind is silent and the connection is established. In the silence of our being, the awareness grows without the need to “squeeze” or move the energy through the body. We just put our attention somewhere and it works.

The biggest difference between Tai Ji, as the original philosophy teaches, and Sahaja Yoga is that in Sahaja Yoga we become a pure instrument of the Divine Power. We become collective and boundless. In Tai Ji, at least as it is taught nowadays, it is more selfish and focused firstly on the awareness of the body, then on the spirit.

The key to understanding

I can say that the opening of the Sahasrara plays an important role in every aspect of life and in the practice of Tai Ji gives me the chance to understand more about it. It is now six years since I began practising Tai Ji and five years for Sahaja Yoga. In the last few years, my practice of Tai Ji has been much improved by a higher “vibrational awareness,” which helps me to feel the Qi and becoming more and more the master of myself in this discipline.

I should also say that Sahaja Yoga meditation, which really made me grow during these years, is the most important key in this process. Meditation is also part of Kung Fu and the aim is always the same. In the end, we all want to find ourselves at the conclusion of our journey. Combining these two disciplines helps me to understand their common roots and the benefit that they both bring to us.

To understand myself, I need to stay in the silence of my being. I learn to watch myself in the good and bad things. I learn to find my deeper connection with myself, my deeper connection with the Divine.

As I sit in my room overlooking the city of Wuhan, I realize that my roots lie not in China or Europe, but in my understanding of the truth of who I am, how my body and spirit effect my well-being. As I feel this, the sweat is no longer on my brow, despite the heat.

Chinese Text 2

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A couple of years ago Tommaso finally decided to follow his heart, as a side effect this has brought him first from Italy to England and then to China where is currently studying Chinese language and Kungfu and working as part-time teacher and freelance web developer. 'Home' is something within oneself, when he practice Sahaja Yoga he said: "Is like feeling home". Loves to walk, write, practice Kungfu and wasting time as well as daydreaming.

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4 comment(s) so far, want to say something now?

  • nirmala magazine
    Jun 18, 2009
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    so neat,thank you!



  • axinia
    Jun 18, 2009
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    thank you Tomasso, that is very insightful and the comparisson it so interesting!

    It is nice you can enjoy both things, for your spirit and your body.



  • Ioana
    Jun 19, 2009
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    Great article! really “cool” and I will recommend to others that’s sure.
    Very useful the insight about Tai Chi and Sahaja Yoga..

    Thank you.. Probably that environment will inspire you for other articles :-).. and your writing has a fan in me that’s sure.



  • Mind Space
    Jul 4, 2009
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    Its true silence is so important – through experiencing silence we can find real peace



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