Your body is an important gift.
With this gift, you sense, feel, and know yourself from the inside out. The gift of embodiment is important because you learn through the body’s feedback system. You need feedback in order to sense, evaluate and respond immediately to what’s happening. The feedback you receive through the human body provides you with a perfect learning environment to awaken your consciousness.
When you move your body and arms entirely in Tai Chi practice, you feel the resistance of the air in order to sense your own movement. When you step and shift, you feel the Earth’s field of gravity in order to sense the support coming from the ground to meet your feet. Your body provides you with a feedback system that is in real-time, and you can learn from it. Tai Chi is a way for you to know your body from the movements you make with your body.
Now in life, you may develop bad habits and they may last long. The longer you live with these bad habits, the worse your body gets and the harder it becomes to self-correct. Tai Chi practice helps you to self-correct so that you are aware of the bad habits. It utilizes the feedback system to support you in making tiny shifts in awareness that alters the course of your life.
Tai Chi can be developed as your guidance system, especially before your bad habits wear you out or worse, lead you to a place where you cannot return from.
For example, you work so hard and allow stress to reside in your body every day for so long that you develop ulcers in your body. You may find yourself ignoring these health problems, so it gets worse.
By practicing the self-help practice of Tai Chi, you deal with the pain by responding with sensing, opening, and shifting. Eventually, the pain will go away because you sense yourself from the inside out. By feeling the movements within the Tai Chi movements, you notice and feel tremendous aliveness and freedom. You no longer feel your body as something relatively fixed and solid.
You’ll be able to see your body as pure movement and sense its rhythm.
Sometimes, it’s unstable and chaotic. Other times, it’s coherent and coordinated. The more you practice Tai Chi, you become attuned to the different rhythms and your movements become more coherent. You begin to go deeper and sense more of your underlying pain in doing so.
You realize that your pain is not fixed or solid. Rather, you could feel the waves moving through your organs and tissues. You’ll begin to sense yourself as a movement within movements.
You start to see the bad habit of tensing up and how this tension has a way of manifesting negative emotions in your daily life activities. In a lot of ways, you realize that tensing up was an early attempt to maybe protect you. In actuality, it had the opposite effect.
The practice of Tai Chi enables you to get past the pain through sensing your connection to something larger, to go beyond your limitations, and beyond your bad habits and conditionings of the past.
Tai Chi provides you with these interpenetrating movements through which you can renew yourself.
Let’s do some Tai Chi and begin the renewal process.
1. Sink into your right foot.
2. Step with the left foot and shift the weight.
3. Turn in, exhale, relax, and sink down.
4. Energize, wake up to the shape. Bring your hands up in front of you.
5. Exhale, relax, and fall asleep.
6. Energize the fingers.
7. Relax back down, exhale all the way.
Now onto the next few movements.
1. Turn, energize.
2. Step and shift the weight, exhale.
3. Energize. One hand up one hand down.
4. One hand faces the other hand. Heel up, turn, step, exhale.
5. Energize. Ward off.
6. Turn, shift the weight back, exhale.
7. Energize. One hand follows the other. Roll back.
8. Shift the weight, exhale.
9. Energize to press.
10. Shift your weight back and open, exhale.
11. Energize and push.
12. Wind up, then unwind. Energize the fingers.
13. Shift the weight back, exhale.
14. Turn and stretch.
15. Step, shift the weight, exhale.
16. Spin the fingers out, turn into Single whip.
Now, what if you can reclaim the gift of being embodied into your finely tuned feedback system?
What can you do with your body to prevent it from being a machine that wears down over time?