Dec 9, 2013
A warrior is literally someone who wages war – a fighter. In the context of spiritual work a warrior is someone who struggles to face things as they really are, whereas a coward is someone all too willing to retreat into their own (or other peoples') thoughts, feelings and opinions about things. The warrior strives to always engage with spirit whereas the coward with ego. Spirit and ego are not complimentary opposites, they are mutually exclusive, they destroy each other. So a warrior is a gleaming spirit, and a coward a selfish ego.
Many are called but few are chosen. This potent aphorism certainly applies to taijiquan. Of the thousands that start, how many continue with it through their life? A tiny percentage for sure. And what is it that compels those that continue to do so? What, deep down, motivates them? I suspect that the feeling of taiji – that beautiful, soft, relaxing flow – that yielding to pretty much everything – reminds the student of something they had once but have long since lost: the warmth of the womb, a mother's protective love, the excitement at being around a long departed father, a time of peace and contentment lodged vaguely somewhere in the distant past. So taiji is a search for lost time, a time that our subsequent experiences and our present misery won't let us access. This isn't dwelling in the past, but coming to terms with it and putting it to rest so that we can stand before the Other, complete and open.
Dec 8, 2013
The present is the connexion – the juncture – between future and past. By dwelling in the present we shore up time and enable life to flow. This is our duty as meditators. In no way do we ignore past or future, we just begin to be aware of them differently. The future is no longer an abstract plane where we dump our fears and expectations, but a vast sea of energy, and the past is no longer an inventory of memories and experiences but an outlet for the future as it passes through us. In this sense time does not exist, or only as misconception. When we live truly in the present then our actions have an ineradicable finality – a power unavailable to those who don't. We effectively heal the wound of time.
True relaxation is always a relaxation into community, never into self. A release of bad tension into good tension – into connexion. In this sense none of us are individual, we are all eminently dividual – not only am I member of community but I am also community myself. The only thing that cannot be divided is nothing.
Consider the Form a vessel that your work – your taiji – fills with energy. To start with the Form must be created – learnt – and then repaired and corrected when it starts to leak. The Form will begin to fill with energy when the mind can keep a thread going, when the mind has learnt to be continuous through time.
In taiji – indeed in life – we distinguish between two types of tension. One – the good type – is the tension between opposing tendencies, a tension responsible for energy, for movement, for change, and indeed for life. It is the tension, or rather the interaction – the play – between yin and yang that the taiji symbol so elegantly depicts. The other tension – the bad one – is a chronic locking up, a withdrawal from community and from life – a disconnexion – that blocks the flow of energy. Once you start working with the good tension, the bad one becomes revealed and can be tackled. The roots of bad tension are always psychological, and always painful to confront, but, unfortunately, there is no other way.