As we practice our taijiquan forms we will all go through various transformations that will develop and effect our physical, mental, emotional, energetic and spiritual strengths and qualities. These so called transformations do not happen quickly they take a long time to develop and for each individual to become aware of, obviously the more you can practice on a regular basis the quicker these transformations will happen. Sadly many individuals are only happy to settle with simply learning to relax in their practice of taijiquan and are not interested in pursuing the more deeper aspects that Taijiquan practice has to offer.
The Chinese like to term the practice of taijiquan as a method of “Moving Meditation” (Dong Ming Xiang) but not to many people actually achieve the level where they are purely in a state of mediation while performing their taijiquan movements. At first when you begin to learn taijiquan you mainly focus on developing your physical structure which includes correct posture, good leg strength, balance, light nimble stepping, precise, accurate movements etc. Then the individual will begin to combine their breathing with their movements, this then transforms the individual from the physical level into the mental stage. This stage includes the slowing down of the movements,lengthening the breathing, which begins to strengthen the individuals concentration. This will then transform the individual into another subtle stage as their concentration grows they will then use their “Intent” or ” Will” to guide their energy ( Qi) and begin to develop an internal power within their taijiquan actions this subtle stage is called ” qi merges with the mind”.
The next transformation the individual must take in their progression to master taijiquan as a method of ” Moving Meditation” is called the ” Spirit merging with the movements” as the individuals concentration become really strong to the point were they do not have any distracting extraneous thoughts and their mind becomes calm, still and empty. The spirit (Shen) is then allowed to expand, and because we are all spiritual beings we should let our spirit move us. In the practice of taijiquan the individuals is now guided by their spirit and not their mind. The final stage or transformation in the development and mastery of taijiquan is where the ” spirit then merges with the void (Dao)” at this highest level the individual can connect their energy to the environment, sensing the atmosphere they are led by their intuition.