Tim’s Timbre

This is such a wonderful community and practice – I feel very lucky to have found a place in it.

I am an instrumental musician, and I came to Tai Chi one year ago. It was always something that I’d wanted to explore but never made a point of beginning. Then, having recently moved to Glebe, I took a leaflet from the Constant Balance sandwich board and dived in, I’m so grateful that I was walking through the park during class time, and that the door to this experience opened at just the right time. This is of course a wonderful physical tool for general well being and energy levels, and I felt this straight away. More profound though is the effect it has had on my music making – particularly in balance as I move between instruments, physical awareness, tension release and ambidexterity, but also in a less easily explained flow, ease and inner quietude. I have had numerous experiences of great joy and peace during the dance of the 108, and these spill into my daily life with ever more insistence. Sifu’s embodiment of the way is likewise a joy to observe and his teachings are by turns thought-provoking and thought-silencing, insightful, startling and generous. I look forward to sharing more experiences as and when they find me…

Timothy Constable
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2017 17:36:33 +1100

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  1. Subject:Spontaneous experience:

    I was recently practicing a tricky piece of music which required me to do very different things with each hand at the same time. I’d been bashing away at it for a while without making much headway, and then decided to take a break and do some Tai Chi. For some reason I began doing a mirror image of the form, ie turning left after Eternal Tao Manifests, and went through the whole of part 1 in this way. After doing this I went back to the piece and had no trouble performing the tricky passage. It was a great experience, because I wouldn’t have even thought I could get through section one in mirror, yet I did, spontaneously. The landscape of left and right, normally a bit rigid, was somehow blurred and far from being completely lost, I was able to navigate in space with a great deal of freedom.

  2. Virtuoso vs. Master

    Virtuosity only exists when there is an audience. It is characterized by an ostentatious capacity at the highest level; dynamic, intense and often dramatic. Often determined and highly focussed, the virtuoso has a thorough intuitive or learned capacity to read and manipulate emotions in the viewer/listener. This emotional vocabulary typically consists of an intimidating sense of awe, passion, exhilaration and celebration. It is more often associated with younger body types as it requires a high amount of physical effort.

    Mastery exists outside of the performer/audience geometry. It typically involves an ease in the act which downplays, rather than draws attention to the difficulty and complexity. Many of the qualities of mastery require a high level of alertness in an observer to detect, as the indicators of depth of understanding are often very subtle. When this depth is observed however, it often brings communication of subtler emotional shades, and a broader emotional palette generally. More descriptions of mastery that come to mind – effortless, self-realized, moving, and often humility. Because of the slow nature of accruing the experience necessary for mastery, it is typically associated with older body types.

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