Taichi and Tao - Part 2
In the last installment, we talked about how the Martial Arts, health benefits and healing practices of Taichi are but aspects of what true Taichi really is. This month we will delve deeper into what the art truly is, and talk about some of the practices at this higher level. The purpose here is to help lead you to higher levels in your Taichi practice, as well as allow you to experience the fullness of what the art has to offer.
One prime thing to keep in mind is that Taichi is moving meditation. Over the years in my studies, this point was always emphasized. You must first, move, in order to get your energy flowing. Movement however is not enough. You must move in a meditative manner, otherwise you are only doing partial Taichi. Likewise, if you just meditate, you will not learn to move the energy, causing it to flow in the body. One without the other is not complete Taichi. This is critical in the beginning stages of your practice, so that you build a strong, energetic foundation from which to progress to the higher levels of practice, or to support the Martial or healing applications.
Moving the energy is just the beginning. It is also critical that you then refine and purify that energy. There are people who become very powerful in the art, particularly in the Martial applications, but power does not necessarily equal clean, refined energy. This is a trap that is easy to fall into, so that calm, clear concentrated mind we discussed in a past article now becomes very important. The object is to raise the frequency and purity of your energy. If you want to be able to connect with high level pure energy, you must be at the same frequency. Think of it like a radio station, if Tao is at FM 1000, and you are at FM 150 how can you receive that signal. Refining and purifying that energy is the only way. Then, in Two Person practice, you learn to not only feel the other persons signal, but to broadcast your own signal, Jing, to the outside. Remember from our last installment that you can feel your Chi, but not your Jing.
After Two Person practice, the next level you will want to try is meditating in a group circle. Ideally you want eight people of relatively the same level of progress, four men, and four women alternated in the circle. Here the object is to connect as a group, at the center of the circle. You started alone, then combined your energy with a practice partner, and now you build a "fireplace" of eight to build an even larger energy field. It will be very difficult to find enough people to do this for many of you, so you may have to use different numbers and combinations of people, but at least you know the ideal to try for. As a group, you can generate an even larger stronger field, as well as to be able to distinguish different energies, as you now have eight to work with.
All of this practice is designed to set you up, so that you can once again return to your individual practice. This is where the relationship between Taichi and Tao become the main focus in your practice. Up to this point, everything that you have done was to prepare you to first, experience your internal energy. Then you had to to work to be able to flow that energy, and develop the ability to transmit a signal (Jing), outside of your body. which is where your Two Person practice comes. From here, in the Meditation Circle, you worked with a group energy to further develop your own energy. Returning once again to your individual practice, you now put your efforts into locating your Dan Tian and reconnecting with your Teh, that small piece of Tao that we all have. This requires a sincere heart and pure intention in your practice. It is also helpful to have a qualified Master to guide you in your work at this level.
These steps are not mutually exclusive, and are only presented in this step by step manner to outline the areas that you will need to work on before you get to the level of practice we have been discussing. Taichi, it is important to remember, is not "it", but one path that you follow to reach this level of development, referred to as the Spiritual level of Taichi. This is the ultimate level of achievement, far above Martial Arts, Healing, or any of the types of application most commonly associated with Taichi. You will have to put in a significant amount to time and diligent practice before you can begin this type of work.
In the final installment of this series of Taichi and Tao, we will give a more detailed outline of the steps you will need to take to build a good foundation to go on to higher levels of practice. It is vitally important that you build a good strong foundation on the Physical and Mental Levels of Taichi practice, before you attempt to move on to the Spiritual level. Like building a house, if the correct steps are not followed, and a strong foundation built, the house will fall down.