Internal harmonies

Shen fuels intention which in turn directs the energy:
  1. Shen (spirit)
    emotional content: "
    the shen is like that of a cat about to catch a rat" (Wu Treatise)
    vitality "
    When the shen is raised, there is no fault of stagnancy and heaviness." (Wu Treatise)
    - at one with the moment/immersion "
    The shen is relaxed and the body calm. The shen is always in the mind." (Wu Treatise)
    - loss of selfego, self-consciousness, vanity, pride
    The Tai Chi Classics speak of shen being the focus, not qi
    - shen can be seen in every movement and in your eyes
    - not machofearfulangryfrustrated or aggressivecompetitive - "
    Inwardly make the shen firm, and outwardly exhibit calmness and peace." (Wu Treatise)
  2. Intention
    - intention is not to be confused with 'willpower' (forcing)
    - it is about coordinating mind and body; having your mind in the here and now, feeling your body itself and relative to another person
    clarity, awareness, presence
    going with the flow; yielding
    adaptchange and improvise
    - respond to what is taking place, not to thoughtsopinions or ideas

    - intention enables the student to manifest specific jing - "
    If the mind wants to move upward, it must simultaneously have intent downward." (Chang San-feng)
    "Throughout the body, the intention relies on the shen, not on the qi. 
    If it relied on the qi, it would become stagnant.(Wu Treatise)
  3. Energy
    - bad poise/posture putting the body under duress
    - the need for moderation; not too much, not too little... just enough
    - failure to rest, relax, stop
    time management/commitmentspersonal life, work
    gaps & deficiencies "
    The whole body should be threaded together through every joint without the slightest break.(Chang San-feng)
    - "
    In motion the whole body should be light and agile, with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together.(Chang San-feng)
    - removal of impediments: tensionstiffness, compressed cavities, closed joints, collapsed muscles, pushing (physically & mentally), hands too close to the body or too far away, thinking 
    - 'dead movement' - when a movement ends and then a new one must begin afresh "
    Taijiquan is like a great river rolling on unceasingly.(Chang San-feng)
    - failure to perpetuate the use of energy is a mistake in taijiquan (solo/form or partnered/application)
    stretchingexaggeration, over-commitment, disconnected movement and exertion are all physically taxing; wasting energy
    applications of a start/stop variety fail to use energy skilfully

    jing-based practice- lightness, agility & grace "
    A feather cannot be placed, and a fly cannot alight on any part of the body." (Wang Treatise)- not li (force against force, more than 4 ounces of pressure exerted by you or expressed by you, localised arm and shoulder movement, deep, long or wide stances, fixed legs - disconnected upper & lower, tensed muscles, over-emphasis of the hip joint, incorrect use of the pelvis and hips, pushing upon impact, aggression)

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