For me, the term conscious movement implies movement that is itself conscious, or movement that is fully imbued with consciousness.
Let me back up and start with what is not conscious movement, in my view. HereÕs my current understanding (always subject to revision, of course): when one moves AND thinks about arm shape, or weight transfer, or application, or anything else, this is consciousness OF movement, but not conscious movement. In order to be aware of something from the ÒoutsideÓ of the thing itself, one has to in some way separate the internal observer from that which is being observed. For example, if one is Òwatching oneselfÓ there is a sense of partitioning consciousness into the part that is watching and the part that is doing/perceiving/moving/whatever.
IMO, this kind of consciousness of movement is not conscious movement. Rather, it is one of the stages on the path to conscious movement. It is the Òinformation gatheringÓ stage of exploring the self and the world.
Borrowing a quote about exploring the world from Joseph AdlerÕs essay ÒVarieties of Spiritual Experience:?Shen in Neo-Confucian DiscourseÓ that you linked to (http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/F ... uality.htm
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Xhu Xi: ÒBy basing [this contact [with the world]] on the principles already known, none will fail to increase and complete [his knowledge], and so to seek to reach its ultimate limit. When he reaches the point where he has exerted effort for a long time, one day [everything] will suddenly interpenetrate (guantong). Then the external and internal, subtle and gross [qualities] of all things will be apprehended, and there will be no unclarity in the total substance and great functioning of our mind.(51) This is called the investigation of things. This is called the perfection of knowledge.(52)Ó </font>
I experience conscious movement as the unification of movement with consciousness. Now, I canÕt move consciously all the time, and some of my tai chi practices are more conscious than others (!) but here are some generalizations: When I doing what I understand as conscious movement, I am not doing anything at all. I am being the movement. I am aware of all of the details without emphasis on any single one. In this state, it becomes very difficult to distinguish between things. The duality of either/or is gone. ÒBoth-andÓ doesnÕt really seem to apply either in the sense of A+B+C+D. ItÕs not even ABCD because thatÕs still too linear. ItÕs more like an energy field or a body of water that contains the components of A, B, C, and D but cannot be parsed without losing the greater meaning of the whole.
On a really, really good day, all the movements blend together until thereÕs only one movement. My body becomes a single unit of awareness. Information received through touch (the wind through my fingers, the clods of earth under my shoes, the gnat on my forearm) registers as equal to vision (usually primary for me) or proprioception and even less tangible modes of sensing/knowing that are not normally active in my everyday states of consciousness. I am listening/looking/feeling inside, outside, and beyond all at once. And all of my senses are heightened in a way thatÕs not my usual way of operating in the world.
Again from the Adler article:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>Zhang Zai, the source of much of this theory, said:
ÒBy enlarging one's mind one can enter into all things in the world. As long as anything is not yet entered into, there is still something outside the mind.... The mind that leaves something outside is not capable of uniting itself with the mind of Heaven. Knowledge coming from seeing and hearing is knowledge obtained through interaction with things....(47)
When the mind's capacity for psycho-physical intercourse with things -- its ability to penetrate, enter into, or pervade things, even in some cases the minds of others(49) -- is developed to the highest degree, it is called "spiritual" (shen), or "spiritual clarity" (shenming).Ó </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Conscious movement is the middle stage on the way to this expanded awareness. Conscious movement within the self leads to conscious movement of others. When the mind expands enough to incorporate others but still distinguish between self and other, understanding of others follows naturally. When the mind expands enough that the distinction between self and other is completely irrelevant, then this is the level of mastery, wherein the self creates the world. Movement is utterly conscious but the body itself is a collaborator in an orchestration of consciousness that moves the world.
O Sensei, founder of Aikido said it like this:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"I am the Universe ... when an enemy tries to fight with me, the universe itself, he has to break the harmony of the universe. Hence, at the moment he has the mind to fight with me, he is already defeated." Ð as quoted by George Leonard, The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei, New York: Dutton, 1999, p. 28. </font>
HereÕs to consciousness,