Harmonizing – Post 3
In the last post, I discussed aspects of 神 Shen. Although this term translates as God, deity, spirit it is not limited to its religious connotation. Shen is also consciousness and a term of TCM psychology dealing with the mind. Understanding Chinese culture would clarify this better. As a western, it is far too easy to simply superimpose our own cultural concepts and think we understand another’s view fully and correctly.
In this post, we will examine the harmonizing of 意 Yi and Qi 氣. Now that the emotions are inline with intent, how does this clear and focused mind lead the Qi?
Qi is a term of TCM. The smooth and regulated flow of Qi is the paradigm of TCM. Expressed simply, illness and disease are caused when Qi flow is restricted resulting an imbalance in the system causing organs to be either deprived of vital energy, or bombarded with too much Qi flow. After diagnosis, treatment protocols, based on the same Qi flow paradigm, is through five healing modalities; herbology, acupuncture, tui-na massage, qigong, and dietary. Qi is sedated or tonified.
Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art, but due to its steady, soft, slow, yin exercises, today the majority of practitioners study and practice it to glean its therapeutic benefits. Clearly the hard, fast, spontaneous yang aspects that make it a method of real boxing can be dangerous, resulting in injury during training. A boxer not only needs to be able to deliver a punch, but must be able to take one too and continue the fight. Boxing is like professional full contact football in that injury is systemic, despite rules and equipment promoting safety.
We take it for granted that our mental intentions are carried out, so seamlessly by our body. Practice is intended to examine this process in greater detail. Learning choreography is the first step. We develop greater motor skills by directing the body using the mind in a very precise fashion. Qi is the energy that animates our body. We can feel Qi through the sense of feeling. Through the nervous system, we perceive sensations in the mind. Limp / stiff, cold / hot, ease of motion in the joints / tightness and restriction in motion, stability / shaky and wobbly, lethargic / overexcited, etc.
When the choreography is clear and well rehearsed this forms a powerful intent. We can feel the energy of its actualization. The Yi as the mind of wisdom, which is earned through many experiences, leads the body energetically. The term Qi is vast. It can also apply to breath. How does breathing affect the mind? How does breathing affect the body. This is another aspect of Yi and Qi harmony to explore.
Please see my book:
A 52 Week Tai Chi Perennial Digest