The Importance of Letting Go
Another important aspect of your Taichi training involves the ability to let go. This is a key factor in your Taichi training, and will have a direct impact on your energy development. It is therefore important that you understand what is meant by letting go, and how to make this an integral part of your practice. Remember that any Taichi concept is speaking to you on many different levels, so that your understanding will evolve over time through dedicated practice.
First we want to take a look at some of the things that the Taichi Classics have to say on this subject. Remember the guidance to remain light and limber. To do this, you must let go of all physical tension. You will not be light, or limber if you are holding even the smallest bit of physical tension. That is only a start though. Remember your three levels of practice, Physical, Mental and Spiritual. You have to release any "tension" on the other two of these levels also. Any mental tension will block the mind’s ability to direct the energy flow, so you will not be mentally light and limber. The same applies to the Spiritual level. Your ability to truly connect outside can be blocked by any Spiritual tension.
Remember the article about the mind. The importance of a calm, concentrated, clear mind was pointed out. This is another example of mentally letting go. The mind tends to be very busy, so it becomes blocked. That is why you learned to start clearing the mind of routine thoughts in the very beginning as part of the instruction on your Preparation form. This starts you on the road to a calm mind, this letting go of those routine thoughts. You learn to focus on the energy flow once you have learned any form, and this helps your mind to become concentrated, but in a relaxed manner, by letting go of your wandering mind. You must also have that clarity of mind, so that it is pure, letting go of all mental pollution.
Purity then, is essential. Here again, you must let go. You want to release all of your artificial thinking. Let go of beliefs, and learn to let only true experience be your guide. It is very difficult to let go of the many artificial ways that you have been taught to think and act, in order to purify your mind, as well as your energy, and will required very sincere, correct, dedicated practice. This will take a lot of time and practice on your part, and must be done in gradual phases. Do not give up if you find that you fail. We all do, and this is all part of the process. It is our artificial thinking that defeats us, not our lack of ability to succeed, so keep letting this unnatural thinking go, and you will get there.
Letting go of the ego is central to all That we have discussed. In order to let go, you have to completely release your ego. This most often arises in Two Person practice, where we feel we need to "win", by defeating our practice partner. We talked about softness in Two Person practice in our last article, and only this type of letting go will allow that type of softness to develop. You have to let go in this way to get beyond mere physical pushing in your Two Person practice, so that you are practice partners, rather than opponents. You must let go of that ego so you flow together as one, and really experience and benefit from that joint energy flow.
Keep looking for other ways that this applies to your practice. These articles are to get you started, but remember that Taichi is a very personal journey, that consists of many different paths, as no two people are exactly alike. You must study what you are taught diligently, but ultimately, find what works for you. You can only do this if you let go of any preconceptions you have about the art, as well as any limits you may feel that you have. A major goal of your journey is to achieve emptiness, because to make gains, you must be empty. This is why you must let go on all three levels of your practice in a diligent sincere manner every day. Remember, relax, let go, and flow.