Your Natural Strength: Creativity
Your creativity is a natural expression of your energy. When you cultivate your inner power, you are opening up your ability to work with the tremendous energy that surrounds you. This is the secret of the living arts, from parenting and cooking to singing, dancing and all the other performing arts.
Your daily practice gradually enables your Chi to flow smoothly through your system. It opens your mind and heart and develops your sensitivity. You begin to be more intuitive and perceptive. You experience higher levels of energy, and are less nervous in the midst of swirling movement and emotion.
In classical Chinese culture, the mastery of integrating stillness and motion is seen in the work of the great calligraphers. It's no surprise that Master Li Jian Yu, one of the oldest and most respected calligraphers still working today, studied directly under Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai in Beijing. He is seen at his art on the facing page. Master Li's calligraphy of Da Cheng Chuan opens this book.
"Grand Master Wang was very calm and elegant," recalls Master Li. "When you saw him like that, it was difficult to imagine that he was a practitioner of Chinese boxing. He was not only concerned with daily physical training. He wanted us to have a correct vision of the world, seeing things from different angles. He often talked to me about philosophy."
Musicians and performing artists who are my students have told me how Zhan Zhuang helped their art. One of my European students is a classical singer, Monika Riedler (seen on stage in an opera below). She says: "Zhan Zhuang has extended my capacity. The change is fundamental: you can hear the difference. I am stronger, breathe deeper and project my voice further. Zhan Zhuang has changed my awareness of my inner space. I couldn't have learned this just from taking singing lessons."
"Zhan Zhuang is the best possible training for anyone working with a musical instrument," declares pianist and teacher, Robin Rubenstein. "My
YOUR NATURAL STRENGTI H:
experience of the music is far deeper. Instead of using up my energy, I feel I am releasing it - the instrument becomes my voice. Performing takes less out of me physically and I no longer have the same nervous tension. I feel the power flowing from my body through my arms into the keyboard." Composer and violinist Wilfred Gibson agrees: "It's like riding a horse. You feel you are working with that power. If I spend nine hours in a recording studio, I do half an hour of Zhan Zhuang in the lunch break. Then even when everyone else is flagging, I find I have a reserve of energy I can draw on."
Grand Master Wang Xiang Zhai took a great interest in all manner of arts. The imagery in his poetry reflects his own creativity. Whatever you do, remember that the possibilities of your energy are limitless. In the words of Grand Master Wang:
With your heroic spirit you can shake both heaven and earth With a broad mind, you have all the universe in your mind.
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