(III) Concentration and use of the mind to guide the movement.
Tai Chi Chuan calls for the concentration of the mind from beginning to end. After you are skilled in doing the exercises your attention should become focused on the application of force. For example, when you do the stroking exercise, you must have the consciousness of drawing or stroking an object. When you do the pressing exercise, you must have the imagination of pushing and pressing forward. From this related mental activity guiding the application and change of the force, you can make sure that “once there is an idea, the body moves” and “force is applied as soon as an idea occurs.” When these mental activities P1ay a dynamic role in guiding the movements, it not only helps apply the force more fully and make the movements more accurate, but also to Produce a direct effect in regulating the central nervous system, strengthening the functions of the organs, and improving the medical effect. Therefore, some people call Tai Chi Chuan an “exercise of consciousness. As to how the mind guides the movements in Tai Chi Chuan, special attention should be paid to the following points in both understanding and practice:
First, concentration of the mind does not mean nervousness and stiff movement. The mental activities must be in harmony with the hardness and softness and the tension and relaxation of the force to form the movements with rhythmic changes. The mental activities and the application of force are two aspects of a unity. They should both reflect the characteristics of “being heavy but not stiff and being light but not floating.”
Second, though the mind, force and movement are identical, there are nevertheless primary and secondary elements.
The mind guides the force, and the force leads to the movements. Tai Chi Chuan calls for “first the mind, and then the body.” The force is continuous when the movement change, and the mind is continuous when the force changes. However, relations between the primary and the secondary should not be undef5tood as discontinuity. The changes of mind should be demonstrated in the force and movements. In practicing Tai Chi Chuan, you should not seek “empty quietness” or “the mind with circles and the form without circles.” In that case, the mental activities would be unfathomable and incapable of transmission to others.