"I have often spoken of the 'Reciprocal Character of Mind and Chi' ('Prana' in Sanskrit). The character of the Chi greatly influences our State of Mind, and our State of Mind greatly influences 'our' Chi. How can we break into that circle to change influences for a more desirable effect? We do T'ai Chi Chih, circulating and balancing the Chi. As the Yin-Yang elements are brought into better balance, this not only balances the Chi but it also influences how we think. Ultimately we are what we think; this creates our Karma.
"...In this respect TCC has the same deep purpose as Yoga and Zen, but it is a much easier practice. Few are capable of following either Zen or Yogic life to its deepest levels, particularly in our busy society. But we can practice TCC and have the deepest Spiritual effect on ourselves."
Fall 1987, The Vital Force
Justin's quote (above), which Sr. Antonia included in her June 2012 Newsletter, bears repeating. If we think of TCC practice as simply moving our bodies and circulating the Vital Force energy, we are missing a huge aspect of what we gain from this practice.
Sister elaborates further in her newsletter:
"It is difficult to find the quality of integrity in modern-day culture when the focus of individuals can be reduced to greed and the drive to 'get ahead,' whether it is behind the wheel or climbing the corporate ladder. This focus can be driven by the false-self, often referred to as 'ego.'
"Integrity on the other hand, is a quality of the true-self, the transparent self, the ego-less part of our way of thinking, acting and being. It is a spiritual quality of the spiritual practice that has been given as a gift to us by Justin. Integrity is what brings us to regular T'ai Chi Chih practice, as well as being one of its spiritual benefits.
"It has been said that: 'Integrity is what you choose to do when no one is looking.'"
A lot of direct quotes, I know. Still, the spiritual benefits we derive from our practices may be subtle but they are also life-changing. I know that I am not the same person I was when I began studying T'ai Chi Ch'uan and then T'ai Chi Chih almost 25 years ago. Something in me has opened, softened, and become more trusting and more loving. These changes cannot be easily measured or articulated. They simply are. It's wonder-full.
Speaking of ... today's T'ai Chi Chih practice was a half-hour mental rehearsal while I lay on the Migun table and an additional 20 minute physical practice afterwards. Both practices helped relax me into myself or, should I say, into my-Self?