Working in security for many years and in the Fire Service, we used to communicate with radio transmitters. To transmit you would press the button on the microphone with your thumb and to receive you would have to take your thumb off the button.
I use this analogy because many people (particularly in the Martial Arts) when communicating with others, have their thumb jammed on the ‘transmit’ button and are unable to receive.
In Tai Chi we utilise ‘ting jing’ whole body ‘listening energy’ that requires a particular kind of mindset that grows from understanding the ethos of the art.
First we have to develop empathy and compassion to be able to listen to our own body and mind and harmonise with it. If we can’t do this we’re never going to be able to listen and receive from others.
We have to be able to release our thoughts, emotions and excess tension where it holds and locks our body.
We balance left and right and upper and lower body once the joints are free and communicating. When our mind, emotions and body are in harmony, we have our ‘thumb off the transmit button’ and are able to receive from others.
Intelligent empathy means we are able to read others without being negatively influenced by them. From a distance we are able to sense their thoughts, emotions, intentions and body language and when we touch we are able to instantly brain map their harmonies and disharmonies.
We are then able to work on a subliminal level to influence them in all of those spheres.
On a larger scale this harmonious functioning and listening improves our relationships in the Dojo and Kwoon and in our family and work environments.
On an even larger scale if we taught these skills in schools and in the workplace and took the ethos into our societal structure we would have an empathic and compassionate nation as a baseline as opposed to profit, greed and selfishness….