Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip – #302
A Tai Chi Journey
I love hearing from my fellow Tai Chi players. Many write to ask me how long will it take to learn the forms – short, long, partner, etc. Here is my answer.
It all depends. One can never guess, nor should they wonder how long. Tai Chi is a process, a journey to one’s true self. The Tai Chi learning process doesn’t have a destination, an end. Each and every practice session is Tai Chi. There is never a time when you can say – “now I know Tai Chi. I’m done with my study”. Stay open to each and every moment, feel what is going on inside, applying principles as you learn them. Realize that you are doing Tai Chi perfectly for where you are right now. If you have your mind on a destination, you’ll surely miss the mystery and magic of the journey. So celebrate the fact that your Tai Chi study never ends.
Tai Chi meditative practice is about the mind observing and feeling what the body is doing. If you practice enough to have memorized the sequence, you then have the opportunity to leave the thinking mind behind and moving into the observing mind.
Just think about driving a car. At first one has to learn all the basics, how to and how much to press on the gas, the brakes. When I learned to drive I learned on a stick shift. That took a lot more coordination than an automatic. We used hand signals out the drivers window to signal turns and stops. Even with all that, driving became automatic. No thoughts about what one should do, just doing.
Tai Chi is like that. Put the time and energy into learning what and why you are doing each and every move, practice until you don’t have to think about what comes next, let the mind sit back and marvel at the body and mind coordination.
There is so much Tai Chi has to offer as an activity – physical, philosophical, spiritual. Trust me and other long time instructors of this art, when we counsel you to play with your forms, and let your mind sit back and go along for the ride. I guarantee you’ll be better off in the long run.