Principle Seven

Always seek stillness when you do your Tai Chi practice. Use quiet surroundings, still the mind, and still the emotions. Let the movement arise out of the stillness. We work with Chi, the subtle energy. Our awareness of Chi and of our senses comes with a quiet mind, focused and alert.

The fingertips are the part of the body which is most sensitive to the feeling of chi. When the movement is smooth and flowing we can feel the flow of chi through the form. To feel the chi we bring awareness to the fingertips and maintain our focus as we carry the chi through the movement. When you lose the feeling of chi it is usually a sign that that part of the sequence needs working on. Analyse the movement using the tai chi principles until it is smooth and you can feel the flow of chi.

The flow of chi is natural. As we develop we become more aware of this flow. To become aware of chi the body needs to be relaxed and the mind quiet. As we become still and empty the flow of chi naturally arises. Eventually we are aware of the chi without thinking of chi. The feeling is maintained but the mind is not involved.

As we move through the Tai Chi form we seek inner stillness. The body ceases to demand attention, the emotions are settled and the mind is quiet. All the senses are alert, the mind is quiet, the movement is effortless. We discover a sense of peacefulness and expansion within the movement. Tai Chi becomes a moving meditation, it opens the energetic patterns within the body and raises the vibration.

“If we are to know ourselves as we truly are, we first need to find stillness and peace inside. It is only through this stillness, through knowing our true self that we can make sustained change in our life. Only in the stillness can we find our true nature. ”

There are two parts to our nature, the human side and the spiritual side. These sides operate in quite different ways. While the human side is constantly changing the spiritual side is still and unmoving. Only when the human activity diminishes can we get in touch with our spiritual nature. To know our spiritual side we need to become still. The busy activity of the mind normally hides our spiritual connection. Once the mind becomes quiet we start to hear a still quiet voice inside us. Meditation is a way bringing the mind to stillness.

Tai Chi brings together the spiritual and human sides of our nature. We begin to recognise our spiritual nature, experiencing inner peace, a feeling of connection and a sense of expansiveness, beyond our physical being. We experience these through the senses, the emotions and the conscious mind.

Practical Exercises
1. At the start of the form, stand for a few moments tuning in. Wait for the energy to rise before moving.
2. Bring your attention to the fingertips, try to feel the sensation and maintain it for as long as possible through the form
3. Practice meditation, bring that meditative state of mind into tai chi practice