The 7th Pillar for Supporting your Tai Chi Form
We have arrived at the 7th pillar that is needed to support a powerful mind-body practice, such as doing a Tai Chi form. I hope that you have found the previous 6 pillars to be informative and that you have gained some small insight into the basic principles behind making a Tai Chi form, more than then just physical exercise.
After you have established the principles of being Upright, Aligned, Tranquil, Centered, Open, and Expanded or Full, you can begin to focus your attention.
The most common area to begin focusing attention is the lower dan tian, which is located midway between the naval and opposite point on the lower back, known as the mingmen or “gate of life”. The lower dan tian is where you can build and safely store any energy you gather while practicing a form.
There are many other powerful ways to use the idea of focus in your meditations, qigong exercises, or tai chi forms, but the central concept always remains the same. Use one thought to replace all other thoughts. Focus must be concentrated on just one single thought at a time to shift away from monkey-mind.
You will find that distracted thoughts continue to enter your mind, especially when first starting a meditation, but don’t let them bother you. Simply let them come, let them go, and let them be, and return your focus to the one single thought you are using as your focus.
The single thought could be anything from simply concentrating on the lower dan tian, holding a spinning ball between your arms, expanding your hearing to take in all the sounds around you and be present in the moment, focusing on an area of concern for healing intentions, feeling your body expand and stretch, imagining a force pushing against you to become more grounded, etc.
The list of single thought focus is probably endless, but only one thought should be used at a time, depending on what aspect of your practice you are attempting to develop.