CULTIVATING SPIRIT TRAINING ENERGY
In Taijiquan there is stillness in movement, and movement in stillness. In the pattern "Nebula Evolving Round", for example, you keep your mind still while performing the movement of the technique. When you stand still in meditation in the pattern "Cosmos One Energy", your form is still but your energy is flowing.
Movement and stillness are not separate, they are integrated, and they mutually act and react without any break in between. The movement of your form and the stillness of your mind, and vice versa, are integrated. It is not that first you move your form, then you still your mind.
Stillness and movement are symbolic. They do not just refer to stillness and movement. They refer to two opposite yet complimentary aspects of reality, expressed as yin-yang harmony. For example, you do not first train your energy, then you cultivate your spirit, or first cultivate your spirit, then train your energy. You do them simultaneously. When you train your energy, at the same time you also cultivate you spirit, and vice versa.
You do not practice Taijiquan for health first, then you practice Taijiquan for combat. Or worse, you do not injure yourself first by practicing Taijiquan for combat, then attempt to overcome your injury by practicing Taijiquan for health. You practice Taijiquan for health and combat simultaneously. In daily life, you do not first work hard, then enjoy yourself. You work and enjoy yourself simultaneously.
Only when you have attained yin-yang harmony in all aspects, not only in your Taijiquan training but also in your daily life, it can be said that you have been successful in your Taijiquan practice.
In the practice of Taijiquan, internally cultivate your spirit, and externally train your energy. When you practice zhan zhuang, for example, the external form will help you to build your energy, and the internal stillness will enable you to cultivate your spirit. When you practice a Taijiquan set, the external form will help you to build energy, and your not thinking of any thoughts will enable you to cultivate your spirit.
In your daily life, while you plan a marketing programme, for example, letting your thoughts flow without struggling with them will nourish your spirit. Your being physically relaxed in your external form will build up energy. When you are engaged in any physical activities, being focussed will nourish your spirit, and letting your flowing energy instead of tensed muscles doing the work will train your energy.
Before you make any physical movement in your form, you must have intention. Intention leads form. When you want to execute a particular pattern, for example, focus your mind and have a gentle thought of the pattern. If you are well trained, your mind will direct your energy flow, which in turn will move the form of the pattern. In your daily life, if you want to go up a flight of stairs, for example. gently focus your mind and have a gentle thought of going up the stairs. Your energy flow will move you up the stairs without you having to tense any muscles, resulting in you accomplishing the task without feeling tired and without panting for breaths.
What is intention? It is the agent of your spirit. Obviously, when your spirit is strong, like when your mind is fresh and clear of any thoughts, your intention will be strong, and you will have good result in whatever you do. Reversely, if your spirit is weak, like when you are distracted by many thoughts, your intention will be weak and you may have no purpose in whatever you are doing. The result will not be satisfactory.
When you have the unity of spirit and energy, you have accomplished the essential practice of Taijiquan and in life. It is a sign showing that you have practiced correctly and live your life well. It is a sign that you have attain the essence of Taijiquan and have a meaningful, rewarding life.
Wong Kiew Kit
26th August 2011