A recurring theme of Ruby’s through his Tai Chi class was the notion of being “well strung together”. The hand would move the foot or the foot would fold the hand, or some combination of movements that went together in the form. What did it mean, though, to be “well strung together”?
I think we can look at this on a couple of different levels. The surface level is the obvious one, that in Tai Chi our movements had to be coordinated. We weren’t just flapping our arms around – although, sometimes, when you’re first learning the form or you’re just having an off day, it can feel that way. Tai Chi is a dance, and our bodies have to move as one single unit, which means that all the parts are working together in harmony. They are “well strung together”.
It goes beyond just the physicality, though, because we are more than our bodies. We are also our mind and our spirit. To be well strung together also extends to that, to the mind and the spirit and the body all being in harmony and working together as one single unit.
Beyond that, there is the interconnectedness of all things. You’re probably familiar with the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the earth can lead to a hurricane on the other side of the earth. Everything is part of a web, all connected, and there is nothing that happens in complete isolation. It always has ripple effects somewhere. In that respect, this entire universe as we know it is well strung together.
It’s definitely something to think about while you practice Tai Chi, that it all moves out in ever-expanding circles, this idea of being well strung together. Perhaps our practice, in bringing harmony to our movements, and to ourselves, also ripples out and brings an increased level of harmony to the universe itself.
Something to think about.