“…if lives are enhanced, that is enough and no more has to be said.” – Justin F. Stone, TCC Originator
[T’ai Chi Chih] is not meditation, though it seems to bring the serenity of the most successful meditation – a serenity that teachers often notice in the faces of their students near the end of classes. Indeed some students who come to class under a lot of tension are then embarrassed to begin yawning, [which is] obviously a release of tension. One who is tied in knots does not yawn.
And T’ai Chi Chih is not exercise, though it seems to be the easiest and most effective form of exercise. It is one of the few practices that exercise the internal organs. …
One is naturally gratified to receive these benefits from regular practice of T’ai Chi Chih, but there are deeper effects that must be experienced personally. The practicing student will first notice a tingling in the fingers, and soon a slight shaking of the fingers as the Chi spreads. Heat may appear at points where there is blockage or has been an injury. And often this heat (which is very healing) will appear sometime after practice – while walking down the street or engaging in some other activity. A surge of energy is common, and students are advised not to practice T’ai Chi Chih after the evening meal, as the heightened energy may interfere with sleep.
The tingling in the fingers may appear in the very first practice session of T’ai Chi Chih. And the inadvertent trembling only confirms the flow of the energy, which the student feels quickly. This is the first manifestation of the circulation of the yin and yang Chi, which separate when we begin to do the movements, and then come together when we rest.
If we practice regularly and get the habit of doing the movements when we arise in the morning, we will probably continue faithfully because we will notice the effect in our lives, and experience the ‘joy thru movement.’ As we continue we should one day have the ecstatic feeling that nobody is doing anything, that the Chi is flowing by itself, and T’ai Chi Chih is doing T’ai Chi Chih. I first had this experience at dawn in a Japanese garden. And it was almost like a Satori or enlightenment experience. It will take some time before this occurs.
The third confirmatory sign of our success in T’ai Chi practice will come only after we have been doing T’ai Chi Chih for a long time, to the point where the balanced Chi begins to flow the moment we lift our hands – and probably flows through us most of the day while we are carrying out other activities. Then we will be surprised to learn that we can do T’ai Chi Chih mentally. We can be sitting at a boring lecture or on a plane and, closing our eyes, begin to do the movements in our minds. The Chi then begins to flow just as if we were standing and moving. No one around us will even know we are doing it, but we are getting the benefits of T’ai Chi Chih practice while sitting quietly.
Starting at the point of the circulation of the Vital Force we have now arrived at the point where it is completely influenced mind. I leave you to imagine how wonderful such a realization will be, but it will only come after considerable time. One of the first effects we will notice is the absence of fatigue in activities that usually tire us.
I remember hearing from a former student, a nurse, who said, ‘I don’t seem to yell at the kids anymore or kick the cat. And when I come home from work, fixing the evening meal doesn’t seem to be a chore. This doesn’t have anything to do with T’ai Chi Chih, does it?’
‘What’s the difference?’ I replied, ‘As long as it’s happening.’
I’m not going to burden her with the information that I’ve heard scores of such comments. If lives are enhanced, that is enough and no more has to be said.
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From Justin Stone Speaks (a CD), transcribed from an oral talk; excerpted and reprinted with permission from Good Karma Publishing.