You do this... this happens. You do that...
teacher Ray used to say that the only difference between 'good'
and 'bad' Tai Chi is that the 'good' knows why he/she does
this that or the other - and the 'bad' does not. This does
not mean that there be any difference whatsoever in the appearance of the form manifest by the 'good' and the 'bad'; but they
should nevertheless themselves be aware that there are similarities
and differences in every human being. How could anyone ever
claim anyway to know what they are doing if they have
no idea why they do it! It is like me claiming to 'know'
Winston Churchill because I read about him in a history book;
whereas in truth I only know what he did and I can only then
hazard a guess as to why and how he achieved the many things
he did. I can make assumptions and even content myself with
the answers that I give myself, but this acquaintance is utterly
superficial and meaningless.
There is a phrase/suggestion in Tai Chi that points towards
this theory of 'knowing' a thing and then 'doing' (or being)
that thing. It goes: "Practice a posture a thousand times
and it becomes Yours".
My job as Instructor is not to tell you 'why' you should do
this, that or the other; that is for you to decided and then
understand. As instructor I may be able to tell you how to
go about your study, but I can't understand it or know it
for you! This 'getting to know' comes some time after the
committing to memory and when that is - is up to you entirely!
Getting to know any particular posture is more than just
remembering and then repeating that pattern or sequence over
and over again in exactly the same fashion every time, because
every moment in our lives should be appreciated as unique
and unrepeatable. NO TWO MOMENTS ARE IDENTICAL.
Stagnation encourages decay, just take a look at water that
has for whatever reason remained stagnant for a day or two
to confirm this fact for yourself. This by the way is the
basis of Feng Shui (the arrangement and placement of objects
within an environment to encourage a constant 'flow' of energy)
and indeed those words "Feng Shui" translate simply
as "Wind and Water".
So, at first, the purpose of this mechanical repeating over
and over of postures that you may think you already 'know'
is only a means to an end and simply a part of the process
of gaining a far deeper knowledge and personal relationship
with the form. Compared this to the process that transforms
a new acquaintance into a lifelong friend. You should know it like your
best friend or your partner, and you would not expect them
to behave, be or 'appear' exactly the same forever would you!
They will change and you will change. Allow your form to change
or adapt, and practice nondiscrimination and patience.
Zen Phrase: "First, there are mountains and there are
streams. And then, there are no mountains and there are no
streams. And then ... there are mountains and there are streams!"
The 'stages' that one must go through from Beginner to Advanced
is simply a matter of time, and in the customary paradoxical
way - it is easier to do than to say. To say it, simply so; one 'learns' a sequence one way round ... the way one is taught.
Next, when this is 'remembered' and performed "without
thinking" (Wu Shi/No Mind) one should be encouraged to
perform that sequence the other way round, that is to say
'left-handed' or mirror image.
When that sequence is likewise
remembered and performed that way round - without thinking
- one should be encouraged to practice the sequence from last posture to first, first right handed
and then left.
So, there is plenty for you to practice isn't there? And
you don't need to be 'taught' on each occasion afresh how
to do it each way round; the practice is that you learn
to adapt [it] yourself.
First you mimic, then you remember, and later you become so
well practice in this mimicry that you 'become' what you mimic.
You become more real that what you mimic. You mimic yourself,
thus you simply "become".
Karmic Law: You do this... this happens. You do that ...