Sensory Awareness and Taiji

Sensory Awareness is a field of health science that emphasizes that awareness of our sensory perceptions can contribute positively to our physical and mental health, as well as a positive outlook on life and a more caring attitude toward others and the society as a whole.  Sensory Awareness sharpens our senses to provide a more heightened connection of our senses to ourselves and everything else around us.  Sensory Awareness can also facilitate our body’s inherent healing ability.

Sensory Awareness is also known as mindfulness or part of the human potential movement.  The emergence of Sensory Awareness in the U.S. is usually credited to Charlotte Selver (1901-2003), originally a German music teacher who studied with Elsa Gindler of Berlin, and then emigrated to New York in 1938.  Beginning in the late 1950s to early 1960s, she started to teach what later became known as Sensory Awareness at the New School for Social Research in New York and the Esalen Institute in California.  She and  other leading intellectuals of that period (e.g., Erich Fromm, Alan Watts, Fritz and Laura Perls, Shunryu Suzuki, and many others) helped to establish and grow the human potential movement that is now often part of the portfolio of physical therapy and psychotherapy treatment options.

At the suggestion of a relative that Sensory Awareness could be beneficial to my Taiji practice, I participated at the “Sensory Awareness:  Meditation in Action” Workshop at the Garrison Institute in NY October 7-9, 2016. [1]  In this article I would like to share my thoughts on some of the relationships between Taiji and Sensory Awareness.
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An Inspirational, Crucial Battle in Shanghai in 1937: The Battle of 800 Heroes

A famous battle in Shanghai at the boundary of the International Concession Area in front of the world’s mass media that lasted five days (October 26-31, 1937) inspired the whole Chinese nation in a dark hour in Chinese modern history.  That is known as the “Defense of the Sihang Warehouse (四行仓库),” or “The Battle of 800 Heroes,” and sometimes referred to as “China’s Alamo.”

Japan invaded China on September 18, 1931 and started the Second Sino-Japanese War that lasted until the end of WWII in 1945.  However, massive wide-scale military battles did not begin until the July 7, 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident when Japan crossed the Marco Polo Bridge and invaded Beijing.  Shortly after that, Japan’s forces descended on Shanghai   Although Japan at that time openly proclaimed that they would conquer all of China in three months.  But it took them more than three months (August 13, 1937-November 26, 1937) just to conquer Shanghai.  The Battle of Shanghai showed Japan and the world that the Chinese people would not give up easily and would resist Japan’s aggression with their hearts and souls.
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