Hi YCF04 and Jamie,
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Thanks for your comments. I just wanted to know if I was the only one who feels this way. It's good to know we are all sharing the same journey. It doesn't feel so daunting that way.</font>
YCF04, I can certainly relate to what you have posted, but wanted to offer up a variation on it.
At times, I have felt that Taijiquan gets more and more complicated, and it feels as if any possibility of satisfactory achievement is getting further and further away. After some time and a lot of work, it then appears as if everything gets simpler and simpler. I make more and more connections until everthing begins to feel like a variation on a theme. "Taijiquan becomes just opening and closing, empty and full."
Then, just as I feel everything is beginning to converge, I become aware of something else, and then a second thing, and all of a sudden an entirely new level of complexity is revealed that I was unaware of before, or did not know enough to really care about before.
I think some people go through this in learning all the postures of the form. At first, all the postures are incredibly bewildering. After a while, the stepping patterns and arm positions begin to reveal certain commonalities that ease memorization. One stops worrying about limb positions as much as the sequences of the postures. It seems possible to memorize all the movements.
Just as such people begin to get comfortable with the postures, they begin to really appreciate postural subtleties and realize that every movement has to be relearned at another level. The issue is no longer such things as whether to use heel or toe, but when exactly to do so and how. Everything that felt the same before starts to feel different now and more complex.
After a few cycles of this, I have found myself much less interested in many topics that used to fascinate me. For instance, two preoccupations I have had for the last few months are how exactly to do Ward Off Left and Lifting Hands, not exactly complex or advanced postures.
I also realize that I may never have learned how to keep my right shoulder down, how to keep my elbows down, or how exactly to extend through the top of my head. Who needs esoterica like "ling kong jin" (Towering empty force) if you can actually learn to keep your shoulders and elbows down? What wonders I could perform if I could just figure out how to line up my structure correctly in Press!
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Help fate to help you.</font>
Jamie, very nice post, including this bit I singled out.
Both "action" and "trust" are not easy to mobilize. Unfortunately, I tend to find passivity, pointless complaining, and cynicism much easier and more congenial.
Action and trust take work.
Taijiquan is the worst, because it seems to require both physical and mental work.
Even the "relaxing" takes work. The one saving grace is that Taijiquan does not really require anything on its own--no special equipment, space, time, etc. It simply gives back according to what you put in. There is the real zinger.