Spirit is agent of the event. It breaks with the past, and stimulates the future. The present is passage into the future, but it is a passage through which the future spews against me with such ferocity that my spirit needs to be charging forward just to squeeze past and through. If I stand still, or even slow down, then time will catch me and I'll be swept away into history.
Meditation – a category that includes taiji – is about looking into time. In particular locating – or even extracting – the present from the lazy flow of time. It would seem we have no choice but to be in the present, but in fact most of us do all we can to avoid its revealing glare. The present moment is red hot – or ice cold – and when I am truly in and of it I contain no past and no future – I am unclothed of them and stand naked, bereft of the possibility of escape or avoidance. This razor's edge requires all the intensity and concentration I can muster to sustain and bear, because the true present is in fact the absolute future opening up before me – a future untainted by the past – the unextrapolatable future – a place and time of novelty and creativity – pure spirit.
Most of us spend a life in anticipation. We deal with the future by anticipating it. In fact intelligence is the ability to anticipate – to see order in the past and thereby second guess what's coming. The problem with this is two-fold: firtsly it lessens the impact of events and reduces the energy of our interactions, and secondly not only does it reduce our ability to deal with whatever cannot be anticipated, it denies and suppresses the unanticipatible. Life then becomes the very thing it shouldn't: under control, and hence boring, weak and unsatisfying.
Tradition is an ocean of energy and experience waiting to be stirred up so that its secrets resurface and expose themselves. If I wish to be agent to such awakening then I must submerge myself in that tradition and cause a stir. This means not just obeying, but wrenching, wringing, rupturing its principles in order to discover what they contain. I must do what my teacher instructed me to do whilst being what he entrusted me to be – as creative and unorthodox as humanly possible.