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To those of you who thought you’d never see another post out of me I’ve got one word…… Wrong!  Rumors of my early retirement have been exaggerated and I’m back at the keyboard, somewhat amazed that over a month has gone by without writing.  Besides procrastination, which tends to be a constant companion, I must admit that there was also an internal feeling present that anything I should write about T’ai Chi would end up being either extraneous or superficial at best or misleading or dead wrong at the other extreme.  Anyway, for whatever reason, today happens to be the day to get started again….

Perhaps the most apppropriate subject upon which to reenter the blogging community would be to answer a question that Marc had posed as a comment to a past post.  Essentially that question was, “Could you comment on what the phrase ‘Heart-Mind-Connection’ means to you?”  I just love the “means to you” part of that question as it doesn’t let me off the hook with meandering through abstract theory and definitions.  But, for the general reader to whom this might be a new concept, allow me to provide some background.

At the risk of oversimplifying a bit, the Chinese concept of Mind (read,intelligence) has two aspects.  The first can be called Hsin and is usually translated as heart. It refers to the entire range of conscious experience, including desires, emotions and intuition.  It’s character is vague, nebulous and unifying. In a way it can also be considered the flow of vital energy.  The other aspect is referred to as Yi (sometimes just, ‘I‘) and is commonly translated as ‘mind’. Yi has to do with things like focus, abstract ideas, and ‘projecting mind’ (wanting to get something, wanting a certain outcome).  It’s character is separating, specific and reasoning.  There is, in fact, a famous martial art system called Hsin-Yi (or Hsing-I) that is based around these ideas.

For those of you who have been in my classes lately you know I’ve been speaking a lot about Gong and Fu and how they relate.  Along these lines, in a way you can look upon Hsin as the ‘Gong’ aspect of the mind and Yi as the ‘Fu’ aspect of mind.  (For those of you to whom this makes no sense, I apologize and perhaps have just created a subject for another post….) Another way to consider is that it’s Hsin that tells you that you really, really want ice cream right now and it’s Yi that tells you that you don’t really need the calories and then decides between rocky road and mint chocolate chip.

So, what does the heart-mind-connection mean to me?  Couple of things…The closer I am to having Hsin and Yi be unified and in harmony the more I find the following:

  • No Internal conflict
  • No doubts or concerns about what I ‘should’ do
  • Action flows automatically
  • Accomplishment happens naturally
  • A sense of wholeness or fullness

It would be nice to say I experienced this all the time.  Fact is, it comes and goes in varying degrees. If you want to really see this operational I’d suggest spending time with a 5 to 10 month old.  Watch how their attention and energy are connected.  There is no duplicity or doubt in what they do.  Attention and desire are one in the same.  Perhaps this is yet another reason Lao Tzu admonishes us in the Tao Te Ching to become as children.

Think right and happy practice!

Paul