The Subtle and the Mysterious

Throughout the many surviving texts on T’ai-chi Ch’üan and Taoist Alchemy, references are made again and again to a point of attainment where divine speed is manifest and actions flow impeccably, without thought, without the slightest clumsiness.  This is the realm of the subtle and the mysterious.  This is the mysterious female, the yellow woman or the valley spirit that you find when you enter the mysterious pass, but what is this thing that is so obviously the ultimate exfoliation of years of Taoist alchemical movement disciplines.  Is it ineffable or esoteric, therefore non-existent?  Does it have to be tangible to be real or is it simply the recovery of our naturally endowed, innate abilities as human beings?  I certainly believe it is the later, and that these texts that state, “When your training has reached this level of emptiness, then the distinction of offense and defense no longer exists.”  or “If you thoroughly grasp the thirteen postures, each posture will reveal its infinite marvels.”  or “one ultimately transcends the form and attains the realm of the highest technique.”  or “In this way we develop within and without, the fine and the gross, and with penetrating understanding, we realize the work of the wise men and sages.  Wisdom and knowledge, sagehood and immortality, these are what we mean by fulfilling our intrinsic nature and establishing life.  Herein lies the perfection of spirit and divine transformation.  The way of heaven and the way of humanity is simply sincerity.”*, point to a practice whose highest state is active, non-dualistic enlightenment.

* – Quotes are from the writings and translations of Douglas Wile from The Lost T’ai-chi Classics of the Late Ch’ing Dynasty and T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Prepare for anything. Expect nothing. Accept everything.