The Wind

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I often heard Taiji students asking their teacher if the various sensations they experienced during and after their Taiji practice were actually “qi”. I heard many responses given by the Taiji teachers when they were asked such question. So far the best answer I have heard takes reference to a very simple phenomenon; the wind.

We often enjoy a nice breeze brushing against our skin during a hot sunny day. While we can feel the presence of the wind blowing against our body, it is not right to conclude that the cool sensation itself is the wind.

Similarly, the sensations we experience during and after the Taiji practice are caused by the qi-flow; these sensations themselves are not qi. If we have the wrong idea that these sensations are qi, we would run the risk of focusing too much on certain sensations. The result would be that our mental balance may be affected, and Taiji becomes a sensation game.

So how do we know if our qi is flowing correctly during and after our Taiji practice? This is a good question, and the answer from the teacher is equally brilliant. Qi is present in all living things. As long as we are alive, our qi will continue to flow. This is the law of nature. So why worry about how our qi flows? The Taiji literatures passed down by our forefathers always remind us not to focus on qi. For example, the Ten Taiji Essentials focused on maintaining a balance posture, and not a word on qi.

So the next time we feel a soft breeze against our skin, we would be reminded not to focus on the wrong thing when we are doing our Taiji practice.

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