The Essence of T’ai Chi Chih
by Justin Stone
Excerpt from “The Spiritual Odyssey”
p. 23 – 25 (1st edition)
Softness and continuity are the essence of T’ai Chi Chih. It is the soft water that wears away the hard rock, the tongue outlasts the teeth. Hardness and confrontation are brittle and destructive, softness and a gentle manner of thinking are life-enriching.
Look at the contrast between the oak tree and the bamboo. When a storm comes, the sturdy oak stands solid against the wind until it is overcome and breaks and dies. The bamboo, however, bends with the wind, and when the storm has passed, snaps back into place, unharmed. Softness proves more durable than hardness. Assertiveness takes a back seat to gentle firmness.
T’ai Chi Chih becomes a way of life. It is true that the gentle movements of T’ai Chi Chih form a moving meditation and an exercise of great efficiency – exercising the inner organs and promoting healing – but eventually it goes beyond these and permeates the life-style of the practitioner.
With the gentle movements of T’ai Chi Chih, even if we do only a few of them repetitively, comes a quieting of the emotions as the Chi (Vital Force) circulates and is then balanced. When the Yin and the Yang Chi are brought into balance, we are in a relaxed and meditative state.
Since this is cumulative, the practice of T’ai Chi Chih in the morning upon rising, or in the afternoon before dinner, or both, can become a very pleasant habit that builds up the Vital Force stored in the bones and below the navel.
With this accumulation we begin to notice the rapid growth of intuition, of creativity, and energy, and a strength far different from muscular strength … we find a growth of confidence, a belief in ourselves and our centre of being.