In Tai Chi we strive to balance root and heart – form and feeling. Too much heart and I become carried away with emotion, too much root and I become heartless and unfeeling – detached from my humanity. This balance is not a cancelling out but a growing together in the sense that as one strengthens then so does the other, but also in the sense of entwinement. My struggle to keep root and heart always together pays off in the transformation of each: root softens and lightens and takes on an ethereal quality, and heart becomes gradually physical – almost concrete – in its insistence.
Extend a welcome: invite the other into the hospitality of the heart. The ensuing embrace is the receiving – the bringing in – the realization and acceptance that that moment of melting together is the whole moment – complete and full to overflowing. The excess spills into our future togetherness, and is largely responsible for the becoming – the renewal – of my own heart.
When I do Tai Chi I leave an energetic trace – lines surfaces and sweeping trails – in the physical space I share. I also leave an affectionate trace – an honest profile of how I feel to be fully immersed in the doing of Tai Chi – in the heart-space I share. Softness allows these two realities to merge so that my physical movements flow as much from my heart as from my root, and my feelings emanate as much from the Earth as from my heart.
Softness is the most mind-stopping, earth-shattering, heart-wrenching, revolutionary concept. It throws the known world sharply out of focus and opens up unknown worlds so numerous that any attempt to enumerate and define – grasp – necessarily limits and distorts. It becomes clear when confronted and opened by softness that even the will to understand closes – hardens – separates.