Self practice, self study, self awareness.
I've always known it, as you have, the need to explore and discover for ourselves.
'What are you going to do with your life?' 'Oh, I'm going to be an olympic athlete'.
'Shouldn't you be in training then?' 'Oh, no, some one is doing that bit for me!'
Not likely any medals won there then, eh?
So how do you think your Tai Chi will improve without working on it? I suppose you've made a start ..you are reading this; but then you must search for yourself, even when entering the 'empty' world of meditation the very act of entry is a search for awareness. First we must realise the need to look for ourselves, then to realise the great importance, then the value, then we must actually DO something about it. Even if the path looks long, work on a little bit of it, you will be surprised how often a little reward of understanding will come your way ...... unexpectedly ..... then you will know it for sure, it will be yours because it was sent to you. Don't ask where it came from, just be grateful.
Ever struggled with a new piece of equipment, turning it upside down, poking it, tapping it, looking for the instructions ... can't make sense of the technical 'speak' they use ...... then someone shows you, 'look, it's easy you just slide that across and all the buttons with labels are clearly marked!' .... ' Oh!' we say, not believing how simple it was and how was it that we could not see it.
Perhaps if we look with the right mind we will find what we look for - so it is with Tai Chi, when you eventually find the switch the joy of discovery will be yours.
I have begun an understanding of the health benefits, (when I was a novice tai chi teacher, a lady came back to the next weeks class and said she had returned because her back did not ache, after only a few weeks she confided that she was going to see the surgeon and cancel the operation she was due .... believe it, or not, that is up to you. Over the years I've seen many health improvements in people, though few as 'miraculous' as that first lady.
Despite all the technique I learned in years of Aikido practice I have found those with no technique but operating good principles are far more capable in terms of power and self defence; now I seek to know more.
Rubbish in - rubbish out
We are all aware that putting poor food in our stomachs can store ill health later on.
We know the words but can we call this true 'awareness'? Awareness of words alone cannot reach the depth of awareness worth seeking.
I once read an interesting idea about warehouses; if you want to build a home then we visit the warehouse for our bricks and timbers. Now, what if, the only materials collected by the keeper are damaged. 'Sorry, we only have twisted timbers, some with woodworm, and crumbly broken bricks'. What sort of home can you build with them?
Now, our subconscious is our own warehouse from which we take the materials to build our 'home' the place in which the inner you lives; therfore be careful what you store in your warehouse, for upon this will depend the sort of 'home' you walk around in.
So, to Tai Chi, put only the best materials into your warehouse, seek quality foundations - for they are your future; gather and build carefully with attention to detail, do not rush, build yourself a lovely home - for it is you that lives in it - until it falls down or there's a power failure! Build well and you can live in there longer.
"Practice makes perfect, but be aware this requires perfect practice".
Benefits; there are no substantial benefits to be had from haphazard, infrequent practice, though practitioners may well enjoy the small benefit of doing something rather than doing nothing.
Learning; we are all students to the end of our days. Skill development will come in phases. Most progress will come from being relaxed, physically and mentally. Tai Chi is all about doing - so get up and do some !