Qi is where the Heart is

What enriches your taiji practice? Is it your environment? Or is it within?

I used to feel a strong pull to travel to Chenjiagou and do taiji in the birthplace of taiji, where I could absorb the ancestral qi of the Chen family. I thought my taiji practice experience would never be better than it was in that place, and for some years that felt like the case, in spite of the significant lack of comforts.

My practice here in Louguantai has been sublime. The aesthetic of this place is just what my spirit craves – lush foliage, rain, reds, golds and greens of the temple buildings, and the sounds of birds and monks making music.

I have realized on this trip that I prefer certain environments over others. However, the deepest part of my taiji practice comes from within. It isn’t necessary for me to travel to Chen village to improve my practice, nor will I get better simply because I enjoy looking around at the scenery in Louguantai. These places are definitely worth visiting for students who value the history of the Chen family art or the history of Taoism, but the places itself will not improve one’s form. My practice will feel better in certain places, and worse in others, simply because I am more or less comfortable. The true mystery is found with-in, not with-out, and progress will come due to hard internal work, not being near ancestral qi or beautiful temples.

Why would I not then choose to practice in the most comfortable places? There is no need to suffer.