By Jess O’Brien and Isaac Kamins
Revolving around a central point is at the core of Ba Gua Circle Walking. Revolution after revolution, we continue to circle around a central point in space that remains stable and unchanging. With each rotation we find ourselves traversing the same ground as before, yet every time it is a new experience. We trace the same steps over and over but each second greets us afresh.
In a sense, we are circling a point in time as well as space, for as much as things change, the moment we are in always remains the same. There is no past or future in Circle Walking, there is only the eternal present, the space where what is to come flows into what has gone.
In Taoist Circle Walking, the endless chatter of our mind begins to soften its grip on us. Again and again we return to the present, to the awareness of our breath, of our sensations and our energy, alive within our bodies. There is a flow of feeling as each inch of the foot contacts the ground, accepts the weight of our body ounce by ounce and then the spring as it releases and lifts to step again.
The feeling of being a living being in motion draws us back out of the fantasies and obsessions that our minds constantly create and destroy. Yet, inevitably we again drift off into the nether realms of our minds, the endless array of images that crowd our consciousness. Again and again we recognize each arising thought for what it is, and return to what is actually happening. For the experience of our actual aliveness is a reward far richer than the most opulent imaginings.
Again we step and turn around the middle point, the stillness at the core of all movement. The center of the circle as well as the central axis of our own body, around which our muscle, tissue, bone and chi continuously spirals. As we walk the circle, our bodies are continuously in motion, a never ending cycle of energy flowing in its natural pattern, balanced by the utter stability of its central core.
If we are able to calm our minds in the midst of this walk, on this path that is always changing yet ever present, we are able to recognize more and more of what is present in our minds and bodies. Who we are, what we are made of and what surrounds us.
Without the endless stream of images blocking our view, we can come to a much deeper awareness of life as it really is. At times like these we catch a glimpse of that still center, that unchanging axis around which everything is moving and manifesting. And in that still space there is a moment of deep satisfaction and openness, an appreciation of things as they are, and a joyfulness that comes from simply being alive and unique in this time and place.