With regularity of practice, the deeper meanings of T’ai Chi Chih become evident after some time. If one does not practice regularly, it is like a pianist who does finger exercises once every two weeks, or an athlete who eats only intermittently; there is no real nourishment.
As people learn T’ai Chi Chih, they become attracted to it be- cause of the way they feel. Some then want to go on and become teachers, passing along the good feeling and enjoying the reactions of their classes. Early on there is great enthusiasm: so why do people drop away from practice?
In our society there is a great restlessness, a desire for diversity and titillation. Even when something is going well and satisfaction is being attained, there is a desire to look far afield and seek something else. The far-off fields may look greener, but more is not better. If a chela (disciple) is told by his or her guru to follow a certain discipline, the chela does it faithfully. This may go on for years. If a potential opera singer wants to really polish his or her talents, it is necessary to make great effort. Ballet dancers are famous for being up early the morning after a performance, even a triumphant one, working at the bar in the practice room. Such motivation is necessary to make a successful performing artist. The point is that T’ai Chi Chih results are cumulative. Regular practice leads to the Chi firming the bones, and the Chi is progressively stored in the tan t’ien. The changes in personality then often become remarkable, as the evolving power of the circulated and balanced Chi takes hold. One can literally remake himself or herself – if there is the sticking power.
All teachers, of course, must practice regularly so that they are led by an inner wisdom (prajna). T’ai Chi Chih skills develop with practice, and it is easy for the experienced teacher to tell who is practicing by watching the performance. (Others, more experienced, can tell just by looking at the teacher.)
If you will remember that T’ai Chi Chih benefits are cumulative, and that, in my opinion, the circulation and balancing of the Chi (Prana) is the most important of activities, perhaps you will be motivated to practice regularly, and even step up the length of time that you practice. It is well worth the effort, because the rewards are great.
This article is published in Spiritual Odyssey.