Harmonizing – Post 2

From our study of Tai Chi theory, we will comprehend the relationship of absolute and relative. Relativity is two parts that create the whole. They are interdependent and interconnected. If there is yin, there must be Yang, and if there is Yang, there must be yin.

Learning terms are not simple definitions in isolation, but must be viewed as parts of a greater whole. Many terms have wide applications. It is also important to consider the root of a term. For example, 氣 Qi in our discussions as the “intrinsic energy of human life force” comes from TCM; Traditional Chinese Medicine. Qi has vast applications, although not totally unrelated, but different like 天气 Tian Qi (here I am using the modern character) which means weather, we must be careful not to limit our perspectives. Clearly Qi outside, affects us inside. “As above, so below. As without, so within, as the universe, so the soul” – ancient Chinese alchemy tenet.

Instead of TCM, we may also learn the same terms used in Spiritual practices like Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. It is important to understand terms in relationship to what we are studying because their definitions can be further illuminated by other factions, or may be paradoxically different. Martial artists use the term Qi liberally, but from where are they sourcing it?

心 Xin is usually translated as mind or heart-mind, but this is referring to the emotional element of consciousness. The Chinese character itself is heart. We commonly understand when a person has a lot of heart, or say I love you with all my heart. In TCM, the 5 major organs of the body are linked with the 5 major emotions. The Heart (organ) is linked with the emotion of over exuberance (joy). In this content, we can understand how when our emotional state is positive and high it is empowering to our mind (although its extreme can be problematic too). This is linked to Yi intent in a Yinyang relationship. Due to quick and easy fluctuations of our emotional state of mind, Xin is referred to as a Monkey Mind; often very unsettled jumping here and there seeking excitement and contentment or getting embroiled in other negative states of sadness, anger, worry, and fear. It is traveling to the extremes of these states and getting stuck that is the real problem.

意 Yi is usually translated as Intent. It is referred to as the Wisdom Mind that is steady and dependable like a horse pulling a plow, carving row after row in a field all day long. It is easy now to understand from a Tai Chi perspective how the volatility of the emotional mind can impact a mental intent to do something effectively and efficiently. If we are over excited (not calm), sad, angry, worried, or frightened how can we pursue a clear intention in any endeavor? Medical conditions makes this even more complex. Healthy first, athletic second.

This is the meaning behind Xin harmonizes with the Yi. They must be in accord with each other. Gaining control of the emotions, that are considered to be “of the body” is artistically rendered as “Tame the Tiger”. When the Wisdom Mind reigns supreme this is to “Ride the Dragon”. The Tiger and Dragon are symbolic of Shaolin Kung Fu physicality and spiritual unification.

Please see my book:
A 52 Week Tai Chi Perennial Digest
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