I’ve been very conscious of my arms as they move through space these days. They’re more solid and more real to me at the moment than when I wasn’t practicing tai chi daily. My kinesthetic sense is very alert to where they’re hanging and what they’re doing. I realize it sounds crazy to say that to people who don’t practice martial arts every day — how can you be more aware of your arms? They’re attached to you! —but it’s like the Zen koan – first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is a mountain. I’m possibly misinterpreting it, but my arms and legs and other body parts like my ankles are currently hyper-sensitive: it’s like I’ve installed broadband nerves after having only a dial up connection for decades. I am getting more information back about my body’s condition, and my brain is paying more attention to those signals.
But it didn’t happen all at once. It happened in fits and starts, slow degrees, by deciding to do Taiji everyday. My friend C is struggling with motivation right now, and all I can really say is do it. All the rewards of a daily practice come from the slow build-up of capacity and skill; not from springing full-grown from the Head of Zeus, like Athena. Some stuff will spring fully-grown, of course — but daily practice is about enriching the soil.