One of the most well known Tai Chi teachers was T.T. Liang who wrote a book entitled, “Imagination Becomes Reality”. It is closely related to the idea, “What you think shall come to pass.”
What both these thoughts express is the power of the mind to channel and focus energy in order to accomplish goals. If you want to increase the size of your muscles, you can lift weights. Or one can imagine lifting heavy weights, and if you imagine clearly enough, the muscles will develop, as if, you were actually doing the work. If you want to relax more deeply when playing the form, you might imagine being a puppet, controlled by strings attached to various parts of your body. You aren’t moving – something else is controlling you and you can just let your mind sit back and observe what is going on. There is much scientific evidence to support the truth behind this idea.
My two published books use the idea of imagery to attain Tai Chi skills. Martin Melish wrote an excellent book, “Tai Chi Imagery Workbook” devoted to harnessing the power of the mind through the use of images. All of this material has been written to help your Tai Chi practice become more focused and powerful.
The latest image I have been exploring is the idea of having combustion car engines in my hip/kua area. This might not work for young people nowadays because of the increasing use of electric motors. They might not know what an internal combustion engine is! I’ll have to come up with some new imagery, but for now, the gas engine works well for me.
The car engine creates power by mixing gas and air in a confined space, then it is ignited by a spark plug, and the resulting explosion creates gas vapor, which pushes a piston down, which moves a crankshaft, which ends up moving the wheels. This is of course a simplification, but I hope you can get the general idea.
So my engines are in each hip. When I squat or sit, it is like compressing the fuel in my hip. The air is added to my mix by the use of breathing. The fuel by squatting. Then the spark (my imagination/mind) is added, and the result is an explosion that moves chi in a direction my mind decides. When doing Bow and Sit stance (the body moves from one bent leg to the other), I visualize one piston pushing down (yang, explosion), while the other piston rises up (yin, adding fuel). This happens simultaneously. For instance, when moving from right foot sit stance (the piston is up ready for the spark) into left foot bow stance, my breath, and mind, spark the mixture and the piston moves downward and I am propelled forward. The opposite is true for moving from bow to sit.
Working with imagery stimulates the mind, thereby making us smarter. It is excellent exercise for the brain, increasing its size and helping with creativity, just like exercise helps bones, muscles, connective tissues, circulation, and more. So increase the mind/body connection when practicing and enjoy the results. Of course, one needs to memorize the moves in order to apply imagery effectively. One can do the moves and gain some of the benefits, but applying imagery will open up new areas never before accessible. What fun!
What do you think?
I love the morning time for practice. It gets me going for the rest of the day, plus my mind is sharper. When I had the studio I taught five mornings there, and when I sold it, the buyer, a yoga instructor, needed some morning time for her classes. It gave me alone practice time, but I do love sharing with the community of Tai Chi players. So I had a thought.
How about if the instructors offer to lead a practice/learning session, like Saturday in the Park, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 to 10 AM in Chetzemoka for the months of June and July? It would be informal to allow for anybody taking time off for vacation. We would keep the Mon, Wed, Fri. at the studio. There wouldn’t be any extra charge for the added classes. We would then take the month of August off so the instructors can work together and expand our own abilities. Then back to regular classes, with new beginning, in September.
I would love to hear your feed-back. Just email me, as it will help me to decide what to do. I appreciate it.