Before we explore the next Tai Chi move, let's apply an element of Tai Chi to the basic stance we discovered in the last post. The element of Tai Chi this post will explore is patience. Tai Chi is a potent tool for cultivating patience because of the constant mental attention required to control the body in slow and steady movement.
By practicing the basic stance of Tai Chi, one must wait from one breath to the next. Withstanding this wait between each repetition while maintaining a focus on your bodily sensations and slight movement from breathing will gradually increase your stores of patience.
A voice may arise during practice that says, "this is doing nothing for me," "this is a waste of time," and "I need to move on to the next thing." When this voice begins to speak, simply take another slow breath and feel your body rise and fall in the basic Tai Chi stance. Eventually the voice will disappear and you will discover a greater sense of peace beneath it. This sense of peace is a sanctuary that you can extend to all facets of life that require greater patience. Practicing Tai Chi is a way to directly discover this sanctuary, so that you may use it elsewhere.
Another voice may speak between repetitions of breathing in the basic stance. This voice says, "let's start the next repetition now," and "just two more repetitions and then I'll stop." The problem with this voice is that it narrows your experience of the present moment by focusing on a future event. Instead of concluding your repetition or practice by naturally feeling for a good concluding moment, this voice creates plans that force you to conform. Again, simply ignore this voice and continue with your practice- feel for the right moment to start the next repetition rather than trying to think of when the next repetition should be, and feel for when you should end your practice rather than setting plans to end them. Your practice will become more beneficial, and this will also become a familiar skill in other areas of life. For instance, your cooking might improve by benefit of discovering the perfect mixture of tastes by feel, rather than by conforming absolutely to a planned recipe.
Patience is a virtue! We can cultivate patience through practice, and the slow movements of Tai Chi is a very potent practice to increase your stores of this highly valuable attribute.