The very first of the Ten Essences of Taiji is called “Lifting the Head to Raise the Spirit”. What is so important about the first essence? When we practice Taiji, we are on a journey. Each step we take on a journey gets us closer to the final destination.
Remember that the first five of the essences have to do with physical form and the last five move more and more inward with the ultimate goal of becoming a better person. We make our body strong with a calm mind and then our spirit is heightened. We go from the outward frame and gradually inward into ourselves. The final destination is to have a good spirit. This is the Taiji journey.
We can never forget that we are practicing with this goal of achieving a good spirit. In the Taiji form, the very first move, the “Preparation”, brings the awareness that “I am preparing myself to begin this practice, to begin this journey”. The inhale and exhale are designed to regulate our body, to make our minds calmer and therefore allow us to go inward. Every move we do, we adjust our bodies to balance our body frames so that our spirit is not disturbed and the spirit can continuously rise up.
No matter what we do, we have a destination. We are going through this journey but don’t forget why we started. We all want to be good people with good spirit. So when we practice we practice with that in mind, pure and good spirit is the final destination.