Zen View By: Mary Layton

Tolerance When I think about the meaning of tolerance I find it is like a complex dish made of these different components: self control, absence of judgement, kindness, patience, endurance and love. One person I know who practices tolerance in an exemplary way is our teacher, a 3rd generation T’ai Chi Master from China.

First of all, he treats everyone the same, regardless where they come from, how long they studied T’ai Chi or how good (or bad) they are in their practice. No special treatments, even if you happen to be a diligent, serious student, even if your movements and understanding are correct. I have studied with this teacher for 30 years and know about his ability to tolerate our many mistakes and character flaws. Rather than reprimanding, he insinuates correct and appropriate behavior through his own quiet and self-controlled conduct. One feels uplifted in this atmosphere of tolerance, or absence of judgment and learns and discovers things easily. It is by his example that we learn to tolerate each other in and outside of class. Tolerance, in my view, so often deals with people’s comfort zones. The weather may be too hot or too cold, the practice may be too hard and painful, or not challenging enough; everyone’s judgment creates a certain limitation of how far they may ultimately go. I think it’s o. k. to be a little too hot or a little hungry or thirsty, if you can tolerate it for a while, it will make you stronger. So may be tolerance has something to do with going beyond what you perceived as your limitations.

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About the Author:

Mary Layton has practiced T'ai Chi for 35 years and co-founded T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academy of Modesto in1995. She and her partner have taught hundreds of students. Mary travels frequently to learn from her teacher Grand Master Kai Ying Tung. Interested in every aspect of health Mary likes to follow a natural path. She loves writing, painting, gardening, hiking and playing piano.