Does “Quiet” in Tai Chi Mean Being Still?

People perceive being still for being quiet, but there is another way of understanding “quiet.”

Trying to hold still is only one kind of quiet. It can lead to clenching and tension, pain, and poor balance, especially in beginners. That kind of tension can’t be held long.

“Quiet-in-movement” offers better balance, less clenching, reduced or no pain, and much more. Quiet results from the mind letting the body move according to its own rules.

Not just quiet mind, but quiet body. No anticipation, no judgment, no projecting, no hesitating, no forcing.

The mind provides the intention and the body provides the results. Quiet mind means suspending habitual thinking, or internal dialogue. Observe moves as though from a distant promontory, like scanning a distant landscape for wildlife, or the ocean for whales.

Quiet body in motion means getting out of the way of the qi so it can flow through. Something must “let go.” Some describe it as “controlled falling.” Allow yourself to feel it. It’s as though you are seeing with a part of you that is not your eyes. Your mind’s eye perhaps. The heart perhaps.

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