Starting in Wuji- complete emptiness


At the beginning of each TaiChi class, we do a short standing meditation. Our instructor says, “Starting in Wuji- complete emptiness.” Physically this means that our tongue is off the palate, our sacrum is slightly tucked in, our chin is slightly tucked in, our knees are slightly bent, our arms are at our sides and slightly away from our body leaving the armpits open, and that, well, we are completely “empty.”

Wuji, 無極, means limitless or infinite, the “ultimate of nothingness,” the limitless void, that point between movement and quiescence. It is visually represented by an empty circle. Tai chi is represented by the yin yang symbol. Wuji is stillness. Tai chi is movement made manifest from that stillness.

The Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze’s Book of the Way of Virtue, refers to Wuji in its 28th verse translated below by Jonathan Star. Wuji is translated here as “No Limits”:

Hold your male side with your female side
Hold your bright side with your dull side
Hold your high side with your low side
Then you will be able to hold the whole world

When the opposing forces unite within
there comes a power abundant in its giving
and unerring in its effect

Flowing through everything
It returns one to the First Breath

Guiding everything
It returns one to No Limits

Embracing everything
It returns one to the Uncarved Block

When the block is divided
it becomes something useful
and leaders can rule with just a few pieces

But the Sage holds the Block complete
Holding all things within himself
he preserves the Great Unity
which cannot be ruled or divided

I have not been posting for almost 6 weeks, in part due to just retiring and seeking more breathing space. Working one’s whole life not only to support oneself (including having to get up each morning at 5am), but also (and more importantly) to manifest a felt calling (teaching), I wanted a respite from some habits and traditions, even ones like blogging.  I wanted to do some emptying. I wanted to hit the refresh button. I wanted to come back to the “Uncarved Block.”

After cheering in the autumnal equinox this evening with baked apples and a glass of hard cider, after these six weeks of restorative indulgence, I am feeling particularly generative. Available. Open. Responsive. Grateful. Blessed. I feel ready to reopen my blog and start again —- in Wuji, complete emptiness.











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