Monday, August 30, 2010

Sometimes Things Are Just A Little Out Of Focus

Sometimes when you are looking at something too hard or for too long, the image will blur and will look just a little out of focus.  Sometimes you may even catch a glimpse of something just out of the corner of your eye and not realize it was even there in the first place until that moment you see it that way.  And, sometimes, you can't actually see something unless you don't look directly at it. 

As I get deeper into the 103 form of tai chi I am learning to look at, and see, things differently.  Now I am discovering, slowly, that I don't like some of the things I see both in myself and in others.  My gut reaction to people is strong and I trust my gut reaction, and when I go against that gut feeling I have made pretty bad mistakes.  It works the same way with decisions about myself as well - when I go against my gut instinct for decisions concerning myself I usually screw up and make the wrong decision.  With tai chi, I am learning to trust the energy people put off and the energy's intent - which means I am trusting my gut more and more than I had before, and on a deeper level, as well as a wider expanse of area (although not as wide an area as I hope to be able to do one day).  In myself I am learning to trust my own energy on a more in depth level physically as well as emotionally and mentally, which is very different for me.  It is beginning to get easier for me to examine my stamina and go, "I am tired.  Am I too tired to go a little further without causing damage or pain?"  Usually I can go further, and when pain does come or if it comes I can stop now without some of the pride pushing me further until it hurts and cause damage; soreness doesn't keep me from doing the exercises the next day, only damage.  Since I have minimized the damage drastically I can see a huge development in my strength and beginning to see a huge development in my stamina.  All of this means progress.

There is also a calmness developing in learning the form, even though I am truly not very far along at all in Section One.  I am not purposely going slowly - this is just the way things are working out.  I am learning something new each week.  For example, I am now up to the point to where I was when I was forced to stop going previously to the Saturday classes and have made it passed white crane spreads wings and the first set of brush knees with a modicum of confidence.  (If the crane had been a real bird I could possibly have fried it by now it was so annoying!)  Was it the annoyance that has helped develop the calmness or the movements themselves? 

The main thing I have noticed really is how I am learning and how some of the other people are learning in class (and I can't attribute it to difference in age either).  There are people taking tai chi with me who seem to be wanting to learn the form only on their terms.  It is as if they do not have respect for the art, form, teacher, or even for learning in general.  It is as if because it is merely tai chi, it can be learned in any way and the benefits will still be the same.  One person will complain about not learning a new move, yet they do not know the form well enough to know where they are in the form to know what the name of the last move they were at to say "I am at the last brush knee in Section I and am ready for some new movements."  Another proclaimed "I am not going to learn 103 any longer, I am going back to the 16 form" and yet that person doesn't know the 16 posture form either!  And yet another person is convinced they know everything about how a movement is supposed to be and misses out on the subtleties and is in a hurry to get through the 103 posture form so they can get into the advanced classes not realizing that in order to get into the advanced classes you have to first know the 103 posture form quite well, because the advanced sections build upon the 10 principles and the 103 posture form!  Each person is missing out on so much because they want to learn tai chi on their terms instead of just wanting to learn tai chi.

I look at myself and see how much I have learned and see how much there is yet to learn with tai chi and qigong and it's immense!  Instead of looking at it and thinking, "I'm never going to learn it all" I find myself finding details that makes me go "Hm, I never thought of that before" which leads me to different questions than I had before and opens up even more knowledge.  This is a wonderful experience, one that isn't over as you learn the movements - it is just a beginning, but some of the people don't seem to comprehend this.  All tai chi is, to them, is just a set of movements.  Perhaps this will change the further they go, but Remember what I said about trusting my gut?  My gut says they aren't going to change.  They aren't going to get it no matter how far they go because all tai chi is going to be to them is just a set of movements, and perhaps terms.  I hope I am wrong. 

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