By: Jou Tsung-hwa
The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan
Way of Rejuvenation
by Jou Tsung-hwa
(Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1980, 260m pages)
Review by Christopher Dow
I began practicing Tai Chi in 1980, the same year that Jou Tsung-hwa published The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan. Thank goodness! Although some aspects of the book confused me back then, I thought it was easily the best book in my nascent Tai Chi library. Since then, my opinion of it has changed slightly, and I now consider it to be one of the three first true classics of Tai Chi literature in English. The other two are Waysun Liao’s Taichi Classics, first published in 1977, and Wen-Shan Huang’s Fundamentals of Tai Chi Ch’uan, published in 1979. If you never bought another book on Tai Chi beyond these three, you’d be doing all right.
The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan opens with Jou’s personal journey along the Tai Chi path. Like so many martial artists, he began to practice to alleviate symptoms of ill health. He subsequently learned Yang Style, then Wu/Hao Style, then the first routine of Chen Style, though he states that he did not practice the latter style to the same extent as Yang and Wu/Hao, which he refers to simply as Wu.
Jou came to the United States in 1972 and began teaching Tai Chi at Rutgers University, which lasted until 1975. The program ended because the university’s curriculum committee, upon reviewing the Tai Chi literature then available in English concluded that Tai Chi was simply a physical exercise and not an area of study worth academic credit. Given the physical focus of the then-current literature, Jou had to concur, but rather than lying down and rolling over, he decided to do something about it. The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan is the result. In the book, Jou aptly demonstrates that Tai Chi is both exercise and philosophy, and a great deal more.
Chapter one, titled, “Roots,” delivers well on its premise of exploring the founding figures of Tai Chi, beginning, of course, with Chang San-feng. Unlike many writers on Tai Chi, Jou seems to give more credence to Chang’s historicity, but he also acknowledges that a great deal of what has been handed down about Chang is as much legend as it is fact. Even so, his rendition of Chang’s life and contributions to internal martial arts is thorough, well-presented, and entertaining.
After discussing Chang, Jou dips farther into the past to explore the roots of internal martial arts prior to Chang. He begins this with Hsa Suan-ming, a hermit who lived in the Tang Dynasty (618–905) and who developed a thirty-seven movement style called San Hsi Chi that was reportedly similar to Chen Style in its movements. Apparently this was a single posture practice in which the various postures were eventually put together into a sequence.
Other luminaries of proto-internal martial arts who Jou covers are Li Tao Tze, also of the Tang Dynasty, who created a long chuan called Hsien-Tien Chuan, or, the Stage Before the Universe Was Created Boxing. Not to be outdone, a later internal style exponent, Hu Chin-tze, developed Hu-Tien Fa, which means “the Stage After the Universe Was Created Boxing.”
After this, Jou jumps to the Chen family, beginning with Chen Wang-ting, born in the late sixteenth century. His Tai Chi consisted, Jou says, of five routines. Jou then traces the Chen family through the generations as they further developed and refined their style of internal boxing and narrowed the number of routines to two. He then discusses some of the characteristics of the first routine, from which the others were derived. This is followed by several pages containing small drawings of the first Chen sequence, and this is followed in turn by drawings of the second and much shorter sequence. The drawings are small but well done and have arrows showing the direction of movement of the limbs.
A discussion of the history and characteristics of Yang Style comes next. This begins, of course, with Yang Lu-chan, and his story will be familiar to anyone who has read much at all on Tai Chi. But Jou’s rendition is fairly detailed and contains several anecdotal stories about Yang’s martial encounters, all of which are entertaining. But the harshness of Yang’s training of his two surviving sons, Yang Yu and Yang Chian also is highlighted, as are the achievements of his grandsons, particularly Yang Chen-fu. If I have a criticism of any of this material, it’s that Tai Chi luminaries of the time sometimes were known by more than one name, and Jou often uses a more obscure version. For example, today Yang Yu is better knows as Yang Pan-hao, and Yang Chian as Yang Jian-hao. The difference in naming conventions can be confusing to those already familiar with the usage that is more common today. The section ends with small but clear drawings of Yang Chen-fu performing the long Yang form, also with arrows to indicate the direction the limbs move.
Wu Style gets the next chapter, and back when I first read this book, I was very confused by it since, at the time, Tai Chi history was an ocean into which I'd barely inserted a big toe and was largely unknown to me. I was then learning what I was told was Wu Style, but it was utterly different from the drawings in Jou’s book. Also, although the names in the form list had a familiar ring, they were not in the same sequence as what I was learning, nor did they look the same.
Over the years, as I studied more about Tai Chi history, I understood that the Wu style discussed in Jou’s book is what is more commonly known as Wu/Hao or, simply, Hao style, as opposed to Wu Family style, which was what I was learning. Although Wu/Hao Style now is more obscure than Yang style—and even than Wu Family style—it has a significant place in Tai Chi history. Both it and Yang style are the only direct offshoots of Chen style. Of the other two major Tai Chi styles, Wu Family style was developed out of Yang style, while Sun style has a complex history that blends Wu/Hao with Bagua and Hsing-I. Jou, however, relegates Wu Family and Sun styles to being mere offshoots rather than individual Tai Chi styles with unique characteristics that set them apart from their progenitors. As with the Chen and Yang style sections, this one concludes with a set of small, clear drawings delineating the form.
Jou’s intent with the sets of drawings of the various forms is not to instruct in performing a form, but to distinguish visually between the styles. But he does devote the final section of the chapter to the methodology of learning how to perform a Tai Chi sequence, no matter what style is being practiced. This is worthwhile for anyone taking up Tai Chi because, as Tai Chi practitioners know, the form looks easy to do, but it is not. Nor is it easy to learn. It requires devoted and interested practice to learn and become ingrained, and Jou’s tips can assist the student in understanding both the short-term and long-term requirements.
Chapter two discusses Tai Chi philosophy, beginning with the taijitu—the tai chi symbol—and its components: yin and yang. Jou does not stint here, just as he does not stint anywhere in this book. I admit that I’m partial to the beauty and depth of expression that can be discovered in the taijitu, and Jou’s examination does not disappoint in either depth or breadth. Included are a number of clear parallels between the tai chi symbol and the art named after it.
The Five Element Theory occupies the next section, and again Jou clearly defines the linkages between the elements themselves and between the elements and a wide variety of philosophical aspects, such as color, season, anatomy, position, and so forth. Next comes a look at the Eight Trigrams, from their history and connection to the I Ching to the ways they can be used separately and in combination to help define tangible reality. Jou then goes into the I Ching, presenting a basic history, how the text is accessed via the Eight Trigrams, and how the art of Tai Chi embodies the philosophy expounded by this ancient and revelatory book.
The next section, “The Philosophy of Tai-Chi Chuan,” expends the remainder of the chapter on philosophical matters that relate more directly to Tai Chi. Jou begins the discussion, appropriately enough, by explaining Wu-Chi, the state of relaxed non-movement in which all movement is possible. From here, he shows how movement from this quiescent state produces two types of force—yin, or negative force, and yang, or positive force—and how the two forces can interact in different combinations, configurations, and manners to create momentum. Jou then moves on to the Tai Chi idea of circling the square, or, of “finding the straight in the curved and the curved in the straight.” This segues into a look at structural stability and how it can transcends dimensional awareness.
Chapter three is titled, “Foundation.” In it, Jou covers a great deal of information critical to the proper practice and functioning of Tai Chi, beginning with descriptions of eight different types of breathing, each with its own characteristics and effects. They are: Natural Breathing, Cleansing Breathing, Tonic Breathing, Alternate Breathing, Natural Deep Breathing, Long Breathing, Pre-birth or Pre-Natal Breathing, and Tortoise Breathing. All are variations of abdominal breathing, but they activate, propel, and process the breath and chi in different ways.
The next section enumerates a number of other Tai Chi basics, such as naturalness, relaxation, combining the will and chi, establishing solidity in the lower body, slow movement, diligent and regular practice, and moderation in movement. Each is treated to an explanation. This is followed by a thirteen-posture chi kung that utilizes the breathing exercise known as “Heng and Hah.” Tai Chi meditation is covered next, and Jou touches on the elements of the Microcosmic Orbit before moving on to the very useful Chan-ssu Chin, or Reeling Silk Exercise, which he dissects in detail.
From here, Jou segues into the several ways that the practice of Tai Chi facilitates mental powers and, ultimately, spiritual energy. Linked to this is physical stability, whether one is at rest or is moving. This stability includes stances and how one treats the body in motion as if it is a ball rolling along, constantly maintaining a one-pointed contact with the gravitational pull of the Earth, the tantien serving as the ball’s central point. Developing a sense that one is suspended from above allows a more free rotation around one’s central equilibrium, and it also allows one to move more rapidly from side to side.
Jou closes out the chapter with a section titled, “The Thirteen Torso Methods,” which are additional basic Tai Chi rules: hollowing the chest, lifting the back, being aware of the crotch region, sheltering the stomach, lifting up the head, skipping, blitzkrieg, relaxing the shoulders, sinking the elbows, positioning the coccyx, and sinking the chi to the tantien. Each is explained in its own paragraph.
A chapter on the Tai Chi Classics follows. In this, Jou is selective rather than comprehensive, beginning with a classic attributed to Chang San-feng. One by Wang Tsung-yueh, one by Wu Yu-hsing, two by Li Yi-hu, and one by an unknown author follow. Except for the last, Jou provides excellent and often lengthy explanations for the many points presented in these Classics.
“Experiences” is the next chapter, and it contains two sections, each devoted to in-depth Tai Chi ideas of two significant masters. First is Cheng Man-ch’ing, who conceptualized the development of a Tai Chi Chuanist in three stages, each with subsets of advancement. Jou goes into a great deal of detail regarding these, but here I’ll simply enumerate them:
I. Human Stage
4. Constant speed
II. Earth Stage
3. The Three Powers
a. Sinking the weight
b. Sending the spirit to the crown of the head
c. Placing the concentration in the tantien
III. Sky Stage
1. Sensing emptiness and solidity
4. Void and stillness
The second master that Jou references is Chen Yen-lin, and this section is an excerpt from Chen’s book, Tai-Chi Chuan. This section is ten pages long and covers much of the same basics that Jou and Cheng have already covered, but from a different and illuminating perspective.
Push Hands is the subject of the final chapter, but the chapter begins with more important basic information regarding the Eight Gates, which Jou has touched on previously but here delineates more fully. This was probably the most complete explanation on the Eight Gates in English-language Tai Chi literature at the time, and it’s still more complete than can be found in almost any Tai Chi book in English. If I have a problem with any of this material, it’s that it describes the Eight Gates in terms of function, which is the standard way of viewing these ways that Tai Chi manifests energy. I prefer to think of the Eight Gates, on the other hand, in terms of dynamics: Where does the energy originate, and where does it end up? But you’ll have to read my Circling the Square: Observations on the Dynamics of Tai Chi Chuan to learn more about what I mean here.
After the explanations of the Eight Gates, Jou winds up the book somewhat anticlimactically with push hands itself and how it is done. His explanation here is only adequate, but he seems to be simply presenting basic information about push hands rather than trying to give point-by-point instructions.
Throughout the book, Jou peppers his explanations with anecdotes and extended metaphors to help get his points across. Some of the anecdotes tell of his interactions with acknowledged masters, such as Cheng Man-ch’ing, while others are word-of-mouth Tai Chi tales of the great masters. For the most part, the metaphors work well, though a few are, to my mind, somewhat weaker than the others. But weaker or stronger, all illuminate well enough and advance what Jou is talking about. There also are a large number of drawings throughout the book. The form illustrations previously mentioned are well done, but most of the rest of the illustrations tend to be on the crude side. Even so, they are adequate in demonstrating Jou’s points. One in particular, showing how energy spirals down through the torso and legs than back up again, was seminal to my understanding of this concept.
In 1983, Jou established the Tai Chi Farm in Warwick, New York , where classes and workshops engaged Tai Chi Chuanists from all over the world in many of the deeper aspect of the art. Jou also is the author of The Tao of Meditation and The Tao of I Ching. Jou died in 1998, and two years later, the Tai Chi Farm was sold. But in 2001, his family, students, and friends established the Master Jou Tsung Hwa Memorial Tai Chi Park in Wantage, New Jersey, just twelve miles from the site of the original Tai Chi Farm.
The Tao of Meditation
Way to Enlightenment
By Jou Tsung Hwa
(Tai Chi Foundation, 1983, 176 pages)
Review by Christopher Dow
Jou Tsung Hwa is, in my opinion, a giant among Tai Chi authors, thanks to his The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan: Way to Rejuvenation, one of the first really excellent books on the art in English. Apparently, I’m not the only one. He appeared at the masters demonstration for Jeff Bolt’s United States National Chinese Martial Arts Competitions in 1989 and, upon his introduction, received a spontaneous standing ovation from the crowd of close to a thousand onlookers. (See HERE for more info on the USNCMAC.) Jou also founded the Tai Chi Farm, which, for several decades, hosted high-caliber Tai Chi retreats. The Tao of Meditation is book two of the author’s The Tao Series, which consists of the aforementioned The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan and the later The Tao of I Ching: Way to Divination.
The Tao of Meditation opens, appropriately enough, with several photos of figures in meditation: one of the author in a seated posture and three of giant Buddha statues in seated or standing postures. The gestalt of these photos helps make the words that follow less important than the results they might help inspire, which can be seen in the calm serenity on the figures’ features.
The book is divided roughly into two halves, each consisting of two chapters. The first two chapters delve into philosophical territory as they lay out the background and precepts of understanding and working with internal energy. This information would be of interest to anyone practicing Tai Chi or, indeed, any of the other internal martial arts or even yoga. The book’s second half is a discussion of methodological foundations and techniques. Though its information is necessarily basic in terms of techniques—those being best learned from a teacher—it is long on the methodology, laying a firm foundation for future progress in meditation.
Jou opens with a short introduction that defines the Tao…. Okay, you can’t really define the Tao, but he explains that we use the word to refer to the base substance and force of the universe before they separated into substance and force. From there, he quickly waxes philosophical in a most uplifting manner—eager to help the reader learn as much as possible and advance in any way he or she can. He writes:
“How can we discover those gifts which nature bestows on each one of us?…. We must look within ourselves, not once, but again, and again, and again, to discover those things about ourselves that are most important to us.”
He continues in this humane tone to explain the background of meditation and many of the reasons to practice the art. Interestingly, he makes an effort to de-link meditation from specific religions, saying, “By helping us think clearly and concentrate fully, Ching Tso [meditation] enables us to commune totally with our God, without distracting or artificial thoughts.”
Next he discusses approaching meditation from a scientific standpoint. “To use scientific knowledge to understand meditation,” he writes, “is, as the Chinese proverb says, ‘To scratch an itching foot with the boot on.’” Science, in other words, can monitor heart rate, brain waves, and the like, but it can never pierce the veil to the infinitude on the "other side" of the meditator’s mind. The problem is, the other side is not like it is here and is not amenable to measurement.
As proof, we have glimpses of more “tangible” places where the reality we know vanishes into we know not what. We call them black holes, and there’s no telling what lies beyond their event horizons. Or what lies beyond the farthest distance that we can see with our telescopes into the visual and radio spectrums. And if the universe is constantly expanding, its farthest distance is, in itself, a vanishing horizon. More to the point, very few of us can truly see into our own souls. But Jou points out that we do have a way to actually do that, and it’s called meditation.
Chapter one is “Yin-Yang and Tai-Chi.” By Tai-Chi, he does not mean the martial and meditative art but rather the concept of duality acting in unison as one. He begins by discussing the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang, and his explanations are thorough and illustrative. They are geared, however, more for those who do not yet have a grounding in these concepts, and more-knowledgeable readers might find themselves skimming, like a bird over water, looking for a good fish to dive down after. But that doesn’t mean that Jou’s discussions and explanations are facile, just basic, and he employs a large enough school of fish to keep even the more knowledgable reader diving in repeatedly. Ironically enough, some of his explanations are scientifically based, but such is the way of yin and yang within our state of reality.
Things get more interesting when he talks about how yin and yang interact to creatively form reality. This begins with the yin aspects of creativity, which are mental, and gradually transitioning them into the yang aspects, which are physical. The lessons of this section apply to Tai Chi Chuan in demonstrating how passive mental images can transition, through the intent-driven energy of chi, into physical force.
He continues extolling the virtues and applicability of yin/yang philosophy for several more pages, growing both more cosmic and more abstract and carrying the reader along with him. Then he comes back to Earth with the simple question, “Who am I?” To answer this question, which probably has been asked by nearly every human who has ever lived, he begins at the beginning by considering the creation of humankind and moving on from there.
All of this is very philosophical, interesting, and informative, though sometimes, Jou’s arguments don’t work out. For example, in a discussion of God, he cites the religious skeptic’s argument: “If God created the universe, where is God? If I do not know God, I cannot believe He created the universe.”
“This is a meager argument,” Jou responds, “because we could counter that question with another question: ‘Do you know the creator of the fie hydrant? Of not, can you believe that it was in fact designed by someone?’”
This is, to use Jou's own adjective, a meager counter. In the first place, we cannot physically touch or even see, much less encompass, God and the totality of reality. However, we can touch a fire hydrant and embrace it nearly fully within our arms. We cannot know where God or reality came from, but we can watch a crew install a fire hydrant and follow them back to the public works building where the fire hydrant came from and where others are stored. We can learn what companies manufacture hydrants, and with some diligent research, we most likely could discover just who did design the fire hydrant. But no matter how hard we look, no matter how deeply we delve into things or how far outward we look, we can’t go back to the moment of creation and watch it unfold, nor can we see forward to the end of space-time. Without being able to do either those things, science can never make a definitive statement about the totality of reality. For them to do that, they would have to stand outside of reality, which would fundamentally alter the reality into something else. The eyes of Heisenberg, after all.
For the most part, however, Jou's arguments and statements are valid, and the tenor his discussion/explanation/speculation is highly philosphical, and for those of us who like to engage that sort of thing, it’s mostly interesting. I say “mostly” because a lot of what he’s talking about is, again, aimed at the less experienced and knowledgable reader, so I sometimes found myself skimming explanations of something I already know about. But not always, because Jou has a knack for telling anecdotes and employing a witty sense of humor that has an occasional nip, all of which make for entertaining reading even if you already know the story.
Next, Jou delves into the dimensions—the three spatial and time—to lay the groundwork for the concept of extra-dimensionality. His discussions of the three spatial dimensions—length, width, and depth—begin with the French philosopher and mathematician, René Descartes, who provided a mathematical way to define the three spatial dimensions by utilizing three graduated axes—X, Y, and Z—to represent them. As with the previous chapter, the text is aimed at those with little background in these matters, which also were thoroughly covered in Edwin A. Abbott’s novel, Flatland, first published in 1884. Abbott’s primary purpose was to satirize Victorian society, but the book’s more lasting contribution was its clear description of what perception might be like for sentient beings living in one or two-dimensional worlds. What would it be like for those beings to encounter objects or beings from more complex dimensions, such as our three-dimensional reality?
Jou’s examples aren’t exactly those employed by Abbott, but they are necessarily very similar, so if you have a clear image of Abbott’s argument, you can skip much of this section, which ends in another skippable passage that is a retelling of the famous parable of the “Blind Men and the Elephant.” I say you can skip this material if you know it already, but that doesn’t at all mean that it isn’t cogent or germane to Jou’s intent. Then, immediately after, Jou winds up the chapter with an interesting discussion on the Flatland parable from a theoretical four-dimensional point of view. What would our three-dimensional reality seem like to a being from a four-dimensions?
Time is the subject of the next section. What is it? That depends, Jou says, on how you look at Time, and he proceeds to discuss several ways that Time can be viewed and experienced. And since we three-dimensional beings can, to some extent, manipulate length, width, and height, Jou wonders what Time would seem like to a four-dimensional being for whom it is a common and manipulable element of its environment? Jou also wonders if Time is always constant in its display/flow within the real world, and he shows by inference that it is not. To illustrate his points, Jou uses simple examples, and he also relates a couple of Chinese stories on Time. In the first, a man dreams an entire and vivid lifetime during a few minutes of sleep, and in the second, a man becomes so engrossed in an external activity that he looses all sense of time and stagnates as the world changes around him—a sort of Rip Van Winkle story. Jou concludes this section by noting that we humans are stuck in our three-dimensional world and remain subject to the fourth dimension of Time. This is, he finishes, “the space in which we live.”
Since Jou has consistently addressed the Really Big Questions, it’s no wonder that he continues with a chapter titled, “Where Can We Find the Truth?” He opens with Chuang-Tzu’s famous passage in which the sage tells of dreaming that he was a butterfly, and upon awakening, was not sure if he was Chuang-Tzu dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang-Tzu. From there, Jou moves on to a discussion that takes in yin and yang as a constant state of change, transformation, and alternation, all within the constraints of Time. This is a fairly deep discussion that includes clear example of this cyclic nature of the universe.
As if all this wasn’t philosophical enough, the the first chapter if the second half of the book is actually titled, “Philosophy.” Perhaps all the foregoing should have been subsumed in a section titled, “Background and Philosophy of Meditation,” and the present chapter titled, “The Process, Methodology, and Technology of Meditation,” for those are what this chapter covers, beginning with “The Goal of Meditation.” The subsequent discussion includes a number of practical reasons to practice meditation, from its promotion of physical health all the way to its providing a path for spiritual enlightenment. Included are clues about impediments to clearing one’s body and mind not just of tension, but of physical, emotional, and psychic blockages that impeded the flow of chi within the self.
A discussion of Zen and one of the tools it uses to achieve enlightenment—the Koan—comes next. After definitions and descriptions of the precepts of Zen, Jou relates several famous Koans, all of which are germane to Jou’s arguments. In the last subsection in this chapter, “The First Stage of Enlightenment,” Jou does not go into the specific methodology or technology of meditation, but its process—how one develops through and with meditation over time. As with other chapters and subsections, this one has its share of stories, most notably here about the Buddha and his development from a worldly child of wealth and power into the exact opposite: an enlightened being. Again, the stories and anecdotes help illustrate the pedagogical points Jou is making, particularly the stories about his own life as a malnourished child and refugee from Communist China. His personal experiences and subsequent development are both illustrative and inspirational.
The second chapter of the second half of the book is titled simply, “Meditation.” Its purpose is to supply the methodology and technology of meditation. This book, however, isn’t exactly a how-to manual, but rather a “this is the way it’s done when you’re starting out, and what you can expect as you progress” sort of book. It defines the meditation environment, which includes not just what’s around the meditator, but what the meditator is seated on. Next come a handful of drawing showing specific seated or lying postures, followed by a set of twelve seated chi kung exercises that are mostly stretching, though a few are simply postural.
The following subchapter covers the Microcosmic Orbit, which is the body’s main chi circuit. For those who don’t know, Jou tells us that it consists of two channels called vessels. The Conception Vessel runs from the tip of the tongue, down the front of the front of the body through the digestive tract, to the perineum, and the Governing Vessel runs from the tip of the tailbone, up the spine and through the top of the brain, then down to the hard palate. The goal of meditation is to empower the flow of chi energy through the Microcosmic Orbit, increasing it in both quantity and strength until it breaks through the psychic barriers at the top of the head and fountains forth to merge with cosmic consciousness, producing enlightenment. This is a major difference in the treatment of chi by meditators and by Tai Chi Chuanists. The purpose of Tai Chi practice is to strengthen the chi but also to maintain its circular flow through the Microcosmic Orbit and, further, to willfully empower the chi through the network of channels, or circuits, in the limbs referred to as the Macrocosmic Orbit.
This is a pretty intense discussion of value to Tai Chi Chuanists, other internal martial artists, and yoga enthusiasts as well as to meditators, though, obviously, it’s geared for the latter. The subchapter includes snippets from a novice meditator’s diary, indicating his rapid advancement over the course of just a few months—included, I suppose, partially as a roadmap for the reader, but also as an endorsement of the method of meditation in producing tangible effects on those who take up the practice.
The next section discusses transferring chi and shen (spirit), and includes specific exercises to achieve further stages of development, and the section after that discusses proceeding from shen to void and enlightenment. With that, Jou closes the book. After all, where can you go after enlightenment?
I can’t really call The Tao of Meditation a manual on meditation, although it serves admirably for that purpose. Rather, it is a meditation on meditation. But it does contain enough practical information, methods, and exercises to get a novice meditator going, and all the intense philosophical material serves to prepare the meditator physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. The book also concludes with sage advice for anyone undertaking not just meditation, but any activity that builds or increases abilities: Learn valid techniques, which requires a good teacher, diligence, and persistence, but in the end, you are your own best teacher. The author also recognizes that increasing or improving abilities, as with life itself, is not a matter of simple arithmetic progression but can become geometric—and often even allows the practitioner to take a quantum leap into a cosmic paradigm. That's what meditation is all about.
The Tao of Meditation, as with The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan, is an excellent and thoughtful book that would be of value to any reader interested in pursuing any of the internal energy arts.