After reading Zen Habits: 5 Powerful Reasons to Drive Slower, I was reminded of a time after my Sat morning zhan zhuang, taiji and tea session. Both myself and another follow taiji enthusiast left the parking lot at roughly the same time, but I came out slightly ahead. I was driving my normal 10-15 mph above speed limit and making good time until I hit a red light. As I looked in the rear view mirror, I saw him behind me smiling. When the light hit green, I sped up switched lanes and passed a couple of cars. He was way behind me. A couple of road lights later, he pulls up beside me and waves to me.
The worst part is I know he does not speed. He drives the speed limit and instead of stopping abruptly, he tries to coast to stop. Ever since this time, I’ve reevaluated my need to drive fast. Now, at most, I drive 5 mph above speed limit. In addition, I don’t worry about people passing me or cutting me off. I let other drivers in. This drives my wife nuts! She calls me ‘old man driving’, but I tell her this is the way I drive. I am noticeably much calmer and relaxed amongst all the crazy road-raged drivers.
This got me thinking about taiji. How many times during the form is our mind already on the next move? I remember some of my first form corrections were to ‘finish the move’. I didn’t quite understand this initially, but basically I was mentally moving on to the next move before the completion of my current move. From his perspective, I did not complete the intention of my form.
From a chen perspective, form postures tend incorporate the following mental intention: qi at dantien, qi at back, qi at shoulder, qi at elbow, qi at hand, qi at waist, qi at dantien. Often times, I would get to the ‘qi at hand’ and move onto the next move. This resulted in a slight break of the silken thread, if you know what I mean.
So, how do you drive? Do you feel your driving style has any relation to your taiji?