Monday, May 6, 2013


*  "Forgetting is More Precious than Remembering,"  Paul Lam, M.D.

Paul is a Family Practice Physician and Tai Chi expert.  Our conversation begins:

"When introducing my workshops, I often ask participants to allow themselves to forget any new material throughout the workshop.  In our modern world, we place too much demand on not only ourselves but also everybody as we are required to know so much and are bombarded with facts."  

"I recently heard a famous author say that over the last few years he found it important to keep away from the Internet and Television because he found that there was too much information and not enough knowledge.  I found this fascinating.  Knowledge is acquired from thinking not just remembering the facts....[Knowledge] is internal like Tai Chi."

"In our busy lives we try to learn many things, and we end up getting a lot of information that is relatively superficial.  The real knowledge is deep inside us.  Imagine when you forget what you have to say when you are speaking publicly.  You have to start thinking  and re-organizing your thoughts.  That is where you really exercise your thinking.  Your thinking ability can be applied in different places and situations whereas facts remembered do not wok in different situations.  This is why forgetting is an effective way to learn."

"The Power of Mindful Learning written by Harvard Professor Ellen Langer says it is good to forget because when you do, you become more mindful and you learn more quickly.  Professor Langer has studied various people from children leaning to play the piano to older people with Alzheimer's....She found that through scientific studies, by being mindful, learning is much more effective than just remembering." 

Learning About Tai Chi and Life
"Why is it advantageous to forget while we are studying Tai Chi?  Should we not give it our all and get it right the first time?  When learning a new concept or a new movement, participants often find it difficult to understand the full concept and to incorporate it perfectly.  It is important to understand that we can't do everything perfect to start with.  Actually there is no perfection in Tai Chi practice.  It is a journey." 

"What is important is that the human process of leaning always goes through failures [and questions]...and retrying is where we improve and find better ways.  By trying to remember everything and thinking you need to do everything right then you set yourself up for failure." 

"There is no need to know know everything about Tai Chi.  I find it helpful to let knowledge permeate through osmosis to you, and when you relax into it, allow yourself to fail.  Allow yourself to forget and simply do what is comfortable and right for you.  Think about what works for you and why.  By doing this, your Tai Chi will gradually develop and grow much quicker.  And it will be more enjoyable without placing excess pressure on yourself." 

"Tai Chi is based on the law of nature.  Like nature, learning step by step without forcing, and with your mind open, the knowledge will be acquired more easily and naturally.  If we never allow ourselves to forget, similar if we don't 'empty our cups,' we won't be able to accept new knowledge.  A quantum leap in Tai Chi development is more likely to come naturally. There is a whole world of possibilities waiting  for us if we are willing to take a couple of steps backwards before we move forwards."

"I have been learning Tai Chi for over 40 years, and I have allowed myself to forget many of my earlier impressions... with forgetting, new insight and understanding comes to me." 

**"Letting Go of the Form is the True Essence of Tai Chi,"  Shelia Rae

**** "You must be present to win!" Debra Basham

*** "I'll be right backwards," Daniel Tiger


Related Posts:  
Search Key Words:  Tai Chi and Meditation
Posts:  Carry Water Chop Wood, attending Dr. Lam's workshop (June 2011), Fully Present (May 2012), Tiger Tales (Mar, 2013)

* Forgetting is More Precious than Remembering, Dr. Paul Lam, Director, Tai Chi for Health Institute, Narwee, NSW, Australia.  Excerpts from Dr. Paul Lam's article in his free online newsletter Dec 2012 and photo reprinted with permission.  Learn about Tai Chi to empower well being in all areas of your life.  Video, Music, Workshops and more

** Book by Dr. Paul Lam, Teaching Tai Chi Effectively, quote by Shelia Rae, Master Trainer in Dr. Paul Lam's Internationall Tai Chi for Health Teaching Team.

***  Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood:  Playing Backwards Day at School reminds me of Repel the Monkey movement in Tai Chi.  Practice  "Backwards Walking" with Daniel and His Friends, a cartoon show for kids of all ages.  

**** Post Water Reflects (May 2013) quote from Debra Basham's Blog   Joel P. Bowman, Ph.D., and Debra Basham, CHTP, NLP, HTt, RMT create your healing journey for you and your pets.

Super Brain, book by Deepak Chopra, M. D, endocrinologist, with Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Ph. D., neuroscientist. 
The Power of Mindful Learning is by Ellen Langer, Psychologist and Harvard Professor.  Other books by Ellen include Mindfulness, On Becoming an Artist, and Counterclockwise.
See Ellen's art work on the site!
Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor

Dr. Paul Lam smiles and relaxes (2012), photo of Paul
Monarch with Marigolds photo by Dahlis
Turtle photo by Maddy, "Slow and Steady Wins the Race."