Serenity and the Martial Arts by Instructor Ma
While studying Tai Chi with my aunt and her friends in Beijing I learned that part of our training was for Serenity. I would learn that Serenity refers to a state of peacefulness where the mind is calm and unruffled by the external environment. This higher spiritual echelon, or inner peace, is accompanied by a sense of contentment and bliss. Human beings are distinct from all other life forms due to their intelligence and consciousness. The conscious mind perceives the external world and feels various emotions based on experiences and perception.
These feelings, emotions, and sentiments, in turn, determine our inner equilibrium or “inner life.” Consciousness, which stems from internalization of social values and morals, also plays a major role in directing the inner equilibrium. Most of the time, the inner life or equilibrium of a human mind is in a disturbed state. The mind is never at peace, and chaos reigns due to anger, shame, feelings of guilt, and sadness. The human mind strives to achieve the right balance or equilibrium. The eternal quest for the goal—bliss—proceeds in many directions.
Some seek respite in various forms of addiction, or others by passionately submerging themselves in work or pleasure. These paths, however, never satiate the true desire for peace or tranquility. Serenity, or peace, is achieved by striving for inner peace first. The most important step in this direction is to recognize the inner child of the mind. The second step is emancipating the inner child from all forms of abuse and loving it unconditionally, like a child.
Self-love is the key to serenity. Self-love doesn’t require one to be directed by the inner child. One should take control as a conscious being and love one’s self, yet not be dictated by it. Some find serenity in nature; for others, serenity is found in visiting with family and friends. True serenity is achieved by empowering the inner life and allowing it to reflect the external life. This is a life lesson from our martial arts training.
About the author: Instructor Ma is a 3rd Degree Black Belt in the Korean self-defense art of Hapkido and a 2nd Dan in Traditional Taekwondo. She is a professional sports and fitness model and full-time Nursing student. She is the language, culture, and leadership development teacher for the World Martial Arts Congress. www.worldmartialartscongress.com