One of our student’s brought this up in class recently. I haven’t thought about this topic in a while, but I’ve found that it’s very true how this works. It was the concept of bringing her Tai Chi practice to the next level.
We think we’re doing something well, and we usually are, but we really don’t know what it feels like to do something “right” until we do it “right”. Here we’re doing Tai Chi “right” when we are following its principles. Like adhering to the concept of the form, being mindful of our balance, upper & lower body coordination, having a slow steady speed and continuously moving.
Once we do “feel it”, then we have reached that next level when practicing. This will be like doing the form, and connecting with the balance aspect deeply. Where we know the set so well we can focus our attention on noticing how we are off balance. Whether we’re leaning forward with our shoulders, or more accurately our hips have pulled back behind our shoulders. We connect to what we’re really doing, and we can adjust ourselves to do it “right”.
We are always reaching for doing Tai Chi perfectly, but we always find something else to improve upon. This may seem frustrating on the surface (to never be done), but it is the right way to practice. Knowing that we can do the set well, and being happy about that, but also knowing that we can do it better. We however, don’t let that deter our positive outlook on our practice. We learn to enjoy the process of learning. That tends to be a greater joy than to doing it really good once. It will continue to offer happiness as we continue to train.
To look at this from another angle, it’s a false belief to think that at some point we will be done. I don’t know about anyone else, but I do not come close to thinking that. I’d rather to never be done, but to continue to improve throughout my life. Especially if I know the concept in my mind, but have not put it into practice fully. That means I don’t practice enough. But If we continue to practice throughout our lives, we will continue to reach new levels where our practice deepens and offers more to us. There’s no rush here; all in due time, and no matter what, it will take time.
This coupled with the joy of learning keeps bringing more and more peace and ease in my life. I hope that we all practice enough to reach that next level at some point in our lives, and to then strive after the next one.
This is the will to be an expert. We all know it in some area of our lives. Where we’ve gotten better and better at something in our lives, to a point where others come to us for help on that topic. That’s reaching the next level at work, or gardening, or mathematics, or anything we’ve excelled at in life.
There are many levels to pass through. If you’re patient with yourself and practice, you’ll pass through them and see Tai Chi from a different perspectives. Over time You’ll see many subtle areas, and some not so subtle, where it provides great benefit to our lives.
2 thoughts on “The Next Level”
I’ve been surprised by comments from people that I talk to about tia chi. They started but stopped, and feel that they have lost their place. I tell them, you begin at the beginning and then continue from where ever you are, even if that is again at the beginning. Sifu is patient and kind.
Thank you Kathy! Even if people have stopped and have “lost their place”, they’re always amazed as to how easy it comes back to them, if they start again. If they give it another month, I’m positive it would feel good to be doing it again.