"Letting go" as part of TCC practice

In our November 2018 e-newsletter, TCC teachers and students explain how “letting go” is both a part of the practice and a result. Inspiration follows.

November 2018

Inspiration from The Vital Force 

This month: Letting Go


"Trust your inherent, intuitive wisdom.”

– Justin F. Stone, TCC Originator

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This e-newsletter offers inspiration between quarterly issues of the T'ai Chi Chih (TCC) journal, The Vital Force. TCC is a series of 19 movements and one pose, a moving meditation practice that helps circulate the Vital Energy, the Chi. Practitioners experience peace, health benefits and more. 

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From a recent issue of The Vital Force:
 

“I just found a note written to myself months ago after practice. ‘It’s not about solving all the problems in my head, or whether or not I’m perfect. What’s real (the present moment) is what matters. Trust is a big part of letting go, and coming home to myself.’ Sometimes I get ahead of myself when moving; I’m not with myself. It might be getting into my head, anticipating the next movement and rushing the close, my hands getting ahead of the weight shift. Do you know the feeling of being ready for action, queued up and ready to jump at a moment’s notice? We let that go in T’ai Chi Chih, which is a subtle but very important shift. Getting ahead of ourselves or over-extending causes effort and tension. If your shoulders are ahead of your waist, for example, that will probably cause tension somewhere in the backside of the body, as it holds you up…. When I’m with myself, all of me moves and arrives at the same time. I can let go and trust my body and the Chi to hold me up.” – LS, Fort Collins, CO

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“After several years of using the tool of thinking about what I was grateful for when in Cosmic Consciousness Pose, I observed that there was a direct effect on my brain and the content of my consciousness. Other thoughts came to a full stop, and gradually ‘I’ became quiet; the mind quiescent. Over years of practice there have been intervals where the content of consciousness was empty – empty of all but Light – the ‘Uncarved Block’ of consciousness. Justin assigned the name to this pose – Cosmic Consciousness Pose. I do not make it happen. It is attained immediately when I understand intuitively what it is – the mind’s great action, acquiescence. The paradox is only verbal.” – JR, Oxnard, CA

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“Zen Master Danxia said: ‘In the “function which is identical to essence,” holding still and letting go rest completely in one’s self. In the “Essence which is identical to Function,” bringing forth and throwing away depend on no one else.’ He is saying that it is all there with you, in your actions and your thoughts. You are complete. T’ai Chi Chih is helping you uncover that completeness. I say learn to live with and in that completeness and have absolute faith in it.” – Justin F. Stone

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Teachers, please forward this email to your students.
Students, please forward this email to your friends.

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Want more inspiration? Connection with the global TCC community? Tips for a better practice? Join us:

1) Subscribe to The Vital Force at http://www.taichichih.org/the-vital-force. Our quarterly journal offers engaging stories, hints and insights from TCC teachers and students. We also highlight wisdom by, and photos rarely seen of, originator Justin Stone. 

2) Subscribe to this monthly e-newsletter by sending an email.


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What's It Like to Become a TCC Teacher?

The process of becoming a T'ai Chi Chih teacher helps make our practice stronger, more accurate, and of more benefit to ourselves as well as future students. It's also a process supported by members of the TCC community worldwide, bringing new friends and surprises along the way.

Passing The Test

by SQ, Poinciana, FL

What in the world should we do to prepare to attend a T’ai Chi Chih teacher accreditation course? In my case I live in Florida, and my first teacher, AV, had moved to Costa Rica, so I had no teacher nearby. Yet I wanted to do my utmost to be well prepared to go through the rigorous accreditation process.

 I’m one of those people who didn’t plan on becoming a teacher for a while. But after AV moved and my connection to Zen Buddhism changed, I realized at the end of 2013 that our community would benefit greatly from having a teacher. So I told AV, who was very pleased, and I figured out my next best steps.

 I had practiced for seven years (and daily for the last two) and also had a small group with whom I practiced weekly. That approach gave me grounding from which to work. Looking ahead, I decided to attend A's Santa Barbara retreat in March 2014. When I first inquired, though, the retreat was already booked. Two weeks later PT let me know that there was a cancellation; I could attend and was very excited. I had also talked to an accredited teacher-friend, KG, in southern California about being my second-signature. I didn’t appreciate (initially) that she actually needed to see how well I knew the movements. She decided to attend the same March retreat (bless her).

At the retreat I told A and P that I would take all the feedback I could get because I wanted to register for the accreditation course in May. (Retreats aren’t designed for this purpose.) I received lots of feedback not only from P and A, but from all the teachers attending. That was the upside. The downside was that I realized I had a long way to go, and that I would not be ready for accreditation in May. I also realized that there was really no need to hurry.

 Meanwhile, I convinced K that she was my best choice as a second teacher. She hadn’t previously taught long-distance (via Skype), so she was hesitant but finally consented. We had a wonderful time working together. Beginning in March, we worked together every second week: she gave me specific and insightful feedback. In between lessons I practiced twice a day, in the morning and evening, and studied my reflection in a sliding glass door. Her skill at giving just the right kind and amount of feedback suited me beautifully. I also continued meeting with my weekly group. My practice deepened and became more refined; I was enjoying it more than ever. Instead of attending the May accreditation, I went to a May intensive and received even more feedback. By the end, I believed I would be ready to attend the next accreditation in California in October.

In mid-summer K suggested we Skype weekly; I concurred. She also recommended that I schedule a Skype session with P to receive further input on my progress; that was very helpful. I also realized I could ask my husband, J, for some coaching. He practices T’ai Chi Ch’uan and could see the relationship between our practices; he also understands what the tan t’ien is. I would share the feedback K gave, and J did a wonderful job helping me integrate the changes during the rest of the week. Imagine my surprise when he told me I wasn’t moving from the tan t’ien and that my head should not be turning. We actually had a fun time working together; every evening at 7 p.m., he would ask, “Ready?” and I would change into my practice shoes.

 Three weeks before accreditation, I had a minor meltdown wondering if I would be ready. My Zen training reminded me that these were just thoughts, and I allowed myself to feel my fear and just kept working. With encouraging words from K, A, and J, I moved forward.

 This past week, I became accredited. I’m very excited about being a part of the TCC community and being able to offer my services to my own community here in Florida. My thanks to everyone, including P (our teacher trainer) for all the love and support, and for this wonderful opportunity.

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SQ is a TCC teacher in Poinciana, Florida. Her story is reprinted with permission from the November 2014 issue of The Vital Force journal.

Find free, downloadable, older issues, more recent issues for sale and subscription information here

New Podcast: What 17 Years of TCC Practice Brings

What motivates someone to practice this moving meditation for so many years? Marie Dotts of Colorado tells what brought her to Tai Chi Chih and the many benefits that keep her going, year after year. Thanks to Peggy Freeh at SimpleDailyPractice.com for this interview. Download or listen to the podcast here.

From the website:

Starting as a teenager, Marie has been on a lifelong journey to answer the questions, “Who and what am I really?” and “How do I flow from that truer center within myself?”  In this interview, she shares how that process has unfolded for her over the years, and how her two current practices support her in her ever deepening journey.

Marie has studied and taught Tai Chi Chih for over 17 years.  Even from the moment she walked into her first class, she recognized Tai Chi Chih as home for her.  That recognition helped carry her through her resistance to the practice, including panic attacks as she started to move energy down into her body.  Tai Chi Chih is not just a practice Marie does now.  She lives the principles every day in all areas of her life. 

Marie is passionate ... finding the support for her lifelong quest to learn how to find what is true in her and flow from that center all the time.