You Can't Diddle the Tao
A Tai Chi blog
A Tai Chi blog
I have noticed that beginner tai chi students are often restless to learn the next part of the form. Sometimes even, before they have thoroughly memorised the portion that has been shown to them. If you are one of these people, I hope this article brings you some peace. I also hope that it will give your teacher a break as you learn to slow down a little :)
No matter what Tai Chi form you practice, our single and constant reference point is Wu Chi. Wu Chi is the primal singularity, the state that existed before the Big Bang. From it comes everything that is known and all that is not yet known. Wu Chi itself is perfect stillness, perfect silence, complete absence - no-thing; and yet the most potent state there is, pregnant with all possibility. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken away from it.
The story of creation, according to Taoist thought, is this:
In the beginning was Wu Chi, the void. Into Wu Chi came something, call it a spark, an intention, consciousness, God if you like? From the one, came two - Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang began their eternal dance thus creating 'the ten thousand things" - all that exists in the universe. We call this dance of Yin and Yang, "Tai Chi." One translation of Tai Chi is, "Movement with intention"
When we practice our form, we start in Wu Chi and move to Tai Chi, carrying Wu Chi with us in every action. Moving with stillness at our core, with no agenda we can respond with natural fluidity to whatever we encounter.
Standing at the beginning of the form, before I even have the idea to move, I must contact The Stillness. Now, in the silence of the void, I allow an intention to form. My intention coalesces into energy. The energy has a direction and a force, it fills my body with potential power. Holding fast to the centre I allow the force to build. Then, when the moment is right, I let go and my limbs move, without effort, following exactly the path mapped out by my intention. And with this, I shift my weight, ready now to take the first step.
All this before the first step! Each thought, each breath, each tiny gesture a fractal containing all of creation.
There really is no need to hurry if you think of your practice in this way.
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet - Tao The Ching - ch 64