Matter itself is solidified movement. Physicists say that vibratory movements compose the smallest units of matter (super strings) that pulse with a frequency that determines the string’s identity. They make up each individual thing, every single person, but as Jean Paul Sartre said, “The diversity of things, their individuality, are only an appearance, a veneer.” Nausea, P. 127
The fundamental characteristic of the universe is movement. No thing or place is ever motionless (not in life or in death). All places, whether they’re filled with “stuff” or seem to be empty, vibrate wildly with quantum jitters, pulsing with an energetic rhythm that permeates and composes everything, substantial and insubstantial alike. Knowing this, martial artists approach the heart of stillness through impeccable movements, because only through movement is movement resolved.
Imagine someone standing in a swimming pool. Every movement he makes generates a pattern of waves radiating outward along the surface of the water. Now suppose that for some reason you have to still the surface of the pool while leaving the bather in the water. Is there any way to still those waves?
Probably the first thing that occurs to you is to have the bather stand still, but that wouldn’t work because no matter how still he becomes the bather still moves enough, just by breathing, to cause miniscule swells or currents.
Obviously, if you get in yourself and try to smooth the surface of the water manually you’ll just add another source of agitation to the pool, stirring it up more. Your own wave pattern would interfere with the other person’s causing higher crests and deeper troughs in the combined waves.
Theoretically, there is a way that one person’s movements could bring the pool (or field of chi) into perfect stillness although it’s not possible for a human to move so precisely. To pull that off something totally unexpected and barely reasonable must occur.
If you were able to bring your movement/wave pattern into perfect, complementary harmony with the other person’s, then on one line (a beam wide) your troughs would cancel his crests and your crests would merge perfectly with his troughs smoothing the surface of the water between you. Movement is the only way to pacify movement, and so “stillness” is not the cessation of movement but the perfect pitch of movement, the tuning of kinetic energy, and we can extrapolate that the same theory applies to the movement of energy.
We begin to investigate such extraordinary, perfect, movement by distilling common movement and then training it into your body through slow, deliberate, form practice.
“On a larger scale, the physical world is nothing but accumulated chi. Practicing Tai Chi in the midst of air should feel just like practicing in water. When you imagine the thin air to be as heavy as water, the air offers a little resistance in your movements. With slow practice you can one day approach the realm of softness.” --Cheng, Master of Five Excellences