- The Taiji Path to Non-DualityThe Universal Energy Dance
It is said that we are the same in essence but different in feeling. There is no difference in feeling either; it is just that habits develop unnoticed, evolving in a stream, continuing to the present, so that their defiling influence cannot be shed. Ultimately this is not the fault of essence.—The Secret of the Golden Flower (Cleary 2000, 320)
Cloaked in the vessel of the body and the garments of mind, it is easy to obscure the fundamental premise of non-duality—that we are all Dao. For practitioners of taijiquan, supersensory or paranormal experience and frequency are a window through which to understand the ineffable and examine its individualized manifestations.
Practitioners often report new abilities to see auras, hear high frequencies, sense the qi of plants in their hands, and to witness more synchronicity and precognition in their lives. Some develop energetic healing abilities for people both near and far. Others find themselves interacting with wildlife in new and intimate ways or witnessing the bending of time or space.
Through quantum physics, and its application to biology and biochemistry, science has begun to align itself behind prime reality, Dao. Physicists have taught us that all matter is composed of energy, coagulated energy that takes the dual forms of particles and waves. From that point of view, the difference between the energy of a thought and my bones becomes a difference in frequency. Energetic waves can change [End Page 156] frequency, merge with other waves, or decay. When two waves merge they may harmonize, gain resonance, and flow more freely.
Taijiquan promotes shifts in body mechanics that allow qi (life force energy emanating from Dao) to gradually soften internal tension and blockages or to release held energetic patterns, thus promoting healing and a sense of wholeness. When rooted and aligned in the structure of the body, taiji players are able to tap into the life force energy in the ground and the surrounding air. It also allows change in one's relation-ship with one's own essence (jing), allowing an inner calm and vibration with greater coherence and amplitude in relation to external forces.
Music and musical instruments offer a useful metaphor for understanding this paradox. All sound is generated by vibration, and pitch is determined by a fundamental or root tone. Musical tones are shaped by overtones, neatly mapped out by Pythagoras, that are responsible for the color and quality of musical sound. The first overtones are the consonants: the octave, then a perfect fifth and a perfect fourth above that. Then shades of the imperfect consonants enter the spectrum, through the thirds and sixths. Lastly we reach the dissonant sevens, seconds, and tri-tones. This pattern continues well beyond the frequencies audible by the human ear. (See the graphic below, based on Schottenbauer 2013, 166).
Click for larger view
View full resolution
[End Page 157]
Now, imagine that you and I are different instruments in the orchestra. We can each play a beautiful A, but they will not sound the same. The A of an oboe is not the same as the A of the violin or trumpet, despite sharing the same fundamental pitch. That difference in sound quality is timbre. Timbre is the spectral compilation of a fundamental and its overtones. The bell tones of the brass family have strong octaves, fifths and fourths. The rich moodiness of the oboe is colored by the relative strength of the thirds and sixths. The determinants of those overtones are the shape of the resonating body, the materials it is made from, and the means of creating the vibration, i. e. buzzing air through a metal mouthpiece, blowing through two slices of reed cane, pulling a bow across a string, plucking a string, etc.
When combined tones of two instruments played by competent musicians tune to each other, they gain harmonic resonance. This "intensification and enriching of a musical tone by supplementary vibration" (Webster on m-w.com) may emanate from the air surrounding an oscillating string or the bell of a wind instrument. Or it may come from another instrument or player of...