bone matters

From elsewhere in these pages:

Imagination is valid awareness and may be as substantial as action…

It is relatively easy, given time, to develop awareness in the External ways of Tai Chi, by our senses and especially through partner work: the softest touch, an advance turned away, a cracking blow… Each of these leaving behind their resonance of energy – of their having been: as warm as breath, as cool as air, as bruise to the bone

Yet, in the Tradition of our training we are constantly reminded that Tai Chi (Hsing I, Pa Kua, Taoyin) are Internal arts, indeed that their external forms are a manifestation, or demonstration, of this; at which thought, and if we can be open to it, a half-seen multi-patterned mirage shimmers before us: it comes from our interior landscape…

How shall we enter it? Where start?
How may we orientate ourselves and then navigate?

There are signposts, I think: I have found that a certain kind of Imagination provides both map and compass; that it pays to go slowly, take time; to be patient, persevering, and as practical as possible. As to a starting place: there is no where better to begin than with our working frame, our bones  – these at least having a ‘felt’ density, where so much of the internal posture is either largely soft (‘unfelt’ organs, tissue etc), or hidden, or subtle.

Even imagining of the bones, and of their joints, presents difficulty.  Firstly, we must ‘see’ (as in: see within) just how alive they are. It is so rare for us ever to witness live bone: most bone that we come across has either been butchered, or is inert and utterly dead – unless we follow a surgery or see the injuries of a war-zone, maybe. Yet bone in the body is teeming with living-ness. It is in fact growing life into us, continuously, and with self-healing; and it is only through imagination, by giving it breath (a clue), that we can really know this.

Each of us will respond differently to the developing of this interior imagination, however. My imagined bone will not be as yours; the awareness that comes may not be imagistic, as mine is. But the kind of clear-minded imagination that produces it – we might call it clear imagining – will, by and large, be similar; it is because of this that these practices and skills can be passed between the generations. Proceeding from an absolute sincerity, born of practicality, yes, but also of light and stillness, and directed in the body, at first, by the breath; later breath-with-clear imagining, producing the felt-flowing awareness of chi*… that which we all share in common.

And once we have given life to our bones we can travel on, take to the many by-ways of our interior landscape where we may experience discoveries both divers and particular… knowing at the last that ONLY THE MIND MOVES…

*If I feel compelled to use hyphenated words
to convey the energy of my thought it is because we
are at a border here, where words on their own begin not
to work – where symbols/rebuses properly take their place.
From the earliest of days it was not unusual for
these clear imaginings to be described in
calligraphic diagrams or schematics,
in time becoming talismans of Virtue.
I have reproduced one such here.

©April 2014