The attractive girl with the short, spikey, black hair jumped out of her car; phone firmly glued to her ear. She came into the convenience store (where I was deciding what to buy) and padded around, quickly, gathering various snacks and drinks, never for a moment breaking the tapestry of conversation she was weaving with whomever was on the other end of the line.

She continued talking as she got in the check-out line just ahead of me, never pausing or breaking concentration even when it came time to slide her debit card through the reader. She gathered her purchases and exited, still talking intently. I followed her out, visually, as I paid for my Diet Coke (not very "tai chi" of me, I guess, but it's my only vice!) and watched her get in her car, maneuver one-handed out of her space and speed off, phone still firmly affixed to the side of her face.

As someone who spends a good deal of time with his own thoughts, I'm still amazed when I see a person who, seemingly, has no "inner life." By that, I mean someone for whom their own head-space and internal dialogue is something to be escaped rather than indulged. The reality of being left alone with only their own thoughts for company is something that causes panic rather than peace. Unfortunately, I sometimes suspect that the cell-phone, iPod, gameboy age has spawned an entire generation of such creatures.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love my iPod as much as the next person. In fact, I frequently use it to listen to slow, relaxing music while doing Tai Chi, (you knew I'd get to Tai Chi eventually, didn't you?) since it helps to block out the outside world a little better when I'm practicing in a noisy place. However, I think it's important for people to come to terms with being alone inside their heads. Tai Chi is a great tool for this. Since Tai Chi ultimately becomes a form of moving-meditation, it's a great way to become comfortable with your inner self and your own thoughts.

I believe that a big part of stress and our stressful lives is the failure (or inability) to slow down and quiet our minds for even a short period of time each day. This is where I find Tai Chi (and Chi Gung) so helpful. Even five minutes taken for slow, deep breathing and relaxation during the course of a stressful day can have tremendous benefits.

However, you don't need to worry about losing out on productive time. In fact, you may find that as you learn to relax and let go while performing Tai Chi, some of the best ideas you've ever had will float to the surface in your newly quiet mind.

Author's Bio: 

Pete Glaze is the creator, webmaster and principal author of the website, a site written for tai chi students and potential students.

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