Perseverance in Taiji
By Eric Borreson
Perseverance is an important element of learning taiji. When you start learning taiji, you will probably find it slow, and even awkward. This is because taiji is very different from most western exercise and sports. Taiji puts emphasis on soft flowing movement while delivering powerful internal energy. That is why we move slowly. In nature, slow and fast and soft and hard complement each other. The slow yet controlled movement of taiji provides a complement to the stressful fast pace of today’s life.
Taiji can appear easy but it really does take time to get used to. You should practice regularly. Making the time and effort to practice regularly tests your character and develops strength of mind. This is closely related to the ideas of morality expressed in martial arts training. Morality of the mind includes will, endurance, perseverance, patience, and courage. Persevere and soon you get used to the rhythm and feel of taiji. Begin to enjoy the wonderful feeling of well-being and serenity from within.
In traditional Chinese thinking, we have 2 minds. The emotional mind (xin), also called the monkey mind, is the part of the mind that jumps around from one idea to another and lacks focus. The wisdom mind (yi), also called the horse mind, is the calming, strong, and stable part of the mind. Without training, xin dominates yi. When someone fails at something that requires long-term effort, it is usually because the emotional mind has overcome the wisdom mind.
With training and practice, the yi can learn to control the xin. This means that you have to fine-tune your wisdom mind in order to control your emotions and become calmer and more focused. Different meditation styles use different methods to train your mind.
This article is primarily about learning taiji. However, the lessons apply to all aspects of life. According to a translation of the I Ching, “Perseverance demonstrates how, faced with the complexity of things, one yet does not give way to cynicism.” Sometimes we hit rough patches in life and become distracted from practice. However, achievement comes from steady effort at improving. Improvement comes from perseverance and continued practice. Success comes to those who endure and have faith in themselves because of their long hard work.
Eric Borreson – a student and teacher, finds teaching taiji, qigong, and meditation to be a path to a more meaningful life. Eric is the founder and director of Meditation in Motion, specializing in teaching about living healthier and happier lives. He is a Senior Trainer for the Tai Chi for Health Institute and teaches taiji (Yang 24, Sun-style taiji, and Dr. Lam’s Taiji for Arthritis and Taiji for Diabetes). He conducts workshops and teaches private lessons on request. He writes a weekly wellness column at http://eric-taichi.blogspot.com .