Humans are social creatures.  We seek out relationships with others to shape our lives through love, belonging, empathy, compassion, and value.  But many people feel lonely and socially isolated, which are frequently linked to serious health conditions.   Matter of fact, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health, and the World Health Organization have documented the severe impact of loneliness upon our overall well-being.  

When all of my T’ai Chi and Qigong classes and lessons were only online and virtual, I missed being with my students and the opportunities to chat and come together, the ability to demonstrate principles in person, and the enthusiasm shared with my students.    In short, I missed the camaraderie and fellowship.

An old saying about  T’ai Chi is that fellowship is at the heart of the practice.   The goal is to be part of a friendly environment that dissuades comparing and competing with others and, instead focuses upon sharing openly and freely in support of each other.    As Cheng Man Ch’ing says, “There are no secrets in T’ai Chi.”    Perhaps this should be qualified that there shouldn’t be any secrets in any authentic T’ai Chi class.    An open approach works against the isolation of individuals and encourages each person to expand and learn through social collaboration, which creates a sense of shared happiness.

The hexagram for “Joy” from the I Ching speaks directly to the vital importance of such social sharing:

                The knowledge of one person is limited whereas the views of man people are endless.  When

                there is something one does not know oneself, one needs companions to explain and clarify

                it [through] mutual explanation and practice.

Fellowship has the potential to expand understanding and wisdom for each person’s practice, but even more importantly , as in the name of the this Hexagram, such open companionship is the foundation of  joyful living.

T’ai Chi is a valuable path to fellowship, and engaged joyful living.  It is a means to the health of body, mind, and spirit, and as such it is a way to fully actualize our humanness.  To be healthy find your fellowship and your joy.