The Degrees Of Emptiness In Tai Chi Chuan


Tai Chi Chuan is the art that espouses emptiness. One must move without force to realize true Tai Chi. And, in Tai Chi, you never run out of emptiness.

One must realize, of course, that there are degrees of emptiness. The beginning student will have one idea concerning this concept, and the advanced master will have another, and there is plenty of room in between. Indeed, one could almost say there is a different viewpoint of this great nothingness as there is students to perceive it.

In the beginning there is much confusion. The beginning student tries to get in the way, has realizations of the mechanistic nature of the universe, and works his way through confusion. Eventually, the beginner starts to realize that there is more to this idea of space than he at first thought.

There is space inside the body. The apparent concreteness of muscle and bone gives way to perception. Awareness can float unhindered through the contrivances of the seemingly real body.

This reflects in practice. The beginning student becomes advanced as he loses reaction time and begins to move in concert with the incoming attack. It is a short journey, once started, until the student joins his body to that of the attackers, and is able to draw upon the energies of two bodies in harmony, as opposed to just one in conflict.

Eventually the space of the body gives way to the realization that there is a great space. Indeed, the body stops being a dividing line between the student and the universe. The student becomes master, and his perceptions are not stopped at the threshold of space, but rather are unlimited and as far as he can perceive.

The new master touches arms with beginner, and he speaks of great space, and he gives way that the beginner may fall into a new arena of perception, an entire and new and glorious perception of the universe. Slowly, the new student accepts the journey of the master, accepts gravity only to refuse it in his thoughts, and the circle continues. The fresh sprout grows, becomes tree, seeks the heavens, undergoing cycles of existence that enliven the mind throughout time.

This is the journey of Tai Chi Chuan, endless, immutable, hastened only by the striving towards knowledge of the student. This is the tai chi of a race, of a humanity, and it is a goal and a method and a principle that should be sought by all. What would happen if all governments gave way to the kindness of the people?

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