The benefits FELT during each new session of T’ai-chi Ch’üan, each excursion through the 216 breaths of the 108 long form, bring me closer to some wonderfully evolving feeling, I experience with each repetition of that fine art. Beyond difficult to explain, something akin to feeling like you’re becoming an elf or woodland sprite, that dances from fern to fern, is blooming further out of me with each new set. Maybe it is a 15 minute journey or the quicker livelier adventure that may only take 6 minutes, but I come out different on the other side.
They say (think) I’m a bit crazy, maybe obsessed is the word they would choose, but they would just be, being kind. Not everyone, mind you! My precious students, the awakened ones who found the door, are my port in the storm of doubt that seems to pervade my close friends and family. Oh, they’re kind enough about it, but they’d rather not hear about it and only a few have any desire to learn it, regardless of how well I do it, what I discovered about it or how unique the form is that I gave resolved, as I was rescuing myself from me.
ANYWAY, what I am saying is that they can think what they like, disbelieve and shake their heads; I know for CERTAIN, what I found, because it felt more like it found me. All I had to do was dance with an open mind. And it unfolded before me like it was being taught by the ancient masters. So obvious it felt, that I went ahead and asked them for the next step, asked for their support in finding the Tao of the form. It was an evolution of questions, that led to uncontrived results and further questions, until it settled down into its own groove, with the weekly changes reducing in number from 8 to 12, until there were only 1 or 2 changes in 3 or 4 months, all the way to where there are rare yearly, fine adjustments in the bedrock structure, but mainly it is just improving me now. Each time. Each run, through the marvelous mill of T’ai-chi Ch’üan’s wondrous 108 Yang Long Form. Defined as it may have never been before, certainly lost for years, now, has surfaced again in the digital age of lasers, 3D graphics and robotics. Will it be captured in a medium that it will not be lost from? Will it have to be found again 200 years from now, as I have found it here? Can such a thing be revered enough, to be preserved? No one can say. Only I say this is the form, because only I was there at every step of the way through the re-visitation of the origins of the form, but I was there. I did see it and all of the various tests, trials and research that went on before any change was verified and clarified enough to be made manifest in the form. I saw it unfolding before me and it would not allow me to turn my gaze until it was done! What ultimately sifted down out of that process was a sequence of component patterns and variations, whose method of assembly was easily obvious. What can I say about that? Yes, I am obsessed, but only with living, and I’d like to do it a long time and T’ai-Chi, especially this form, allows me to access the youthful, vital me, that I need to make that long journey to the future.
So, call me crazy for my obsession if you wish. I will not waste anymore of my precious time, not making more time! Vitality first, then to the day’s business, and then vitality last, for good measure and a proper thank you to your being for carrying you successfully through your day. Be at peace knowing the night will pass quickly in sound sleep and morning will once again bring the opportunity to put vitality first, and dance in the dawn’s clear light!