The beginning the form posture is wuji meditation

Chen Xin's beginning posture diagram
Chen Xin’s beginning posture diagram

The Zhuangzi has its usual satirical take in a wonderful passage on Confucius learning about the Daoist form of meditation called zuowang (坐忘 zuòwàng), meaning ‘sit and forget’:

“I’m making progress,” said Yen Hui.

“What do you mean?” asked Confucius.

“I have forgotten rites and music.”

“Not bad, but you still haven’t got it.”

Yen Hui saw Confucius again on another day and said, “I’m making progress.”

“What do you mean?”

“I have forgotten humaneness and righteousness.”

“Not bad, but you still haven’t got it.”

Yen Hui saw Confucius again on another day and said, “I’m making progress.”

“What do you mean?”

“I sit and forget.”

“What do you mean, ‘sit and forget’?” Confucius asked with surprise.

“I slough off my limbs and trunk,” said Yen Hui, “dim my intelligence, depart from my form, leave knowledge behind, and become identical with the Transformational Thoroughfare. This is what I mean by ‘sit and forget’.”

“If you are identical,” said Confucius, “then you have no preferences. If you are transformed, then you have no more constants. It’s you who is really the worthy one! Please permit me to follow after you.”

Zuo wang meditation

I think this is very similar to Chen Xin’s (陳鑫 Chén Xīn) understanding of the beginning posture of every taijiquan form.

Chen Xin, the 16th generation descendent of the Chen family, wrote a very important book on Chen family taijiquan in the 1920’s. A large portion of the book explains the movements and requirements of his family’s form.

He writes that ‘Wuji or Nothingness is the Grand Primordial state called the Great Chaos’, lists some of the physical elements of the beginning posture such as letting the shoulders hang loosely, keeping the feet shoulder-width apart and so on, and then states that:

Stillness of the body means stillness of the mind. Empty the mind of thought — the mind should be full of nothing, not a single thought. A still center represents the Great Chaos or Wuji, its name describing the initial cosmic state of non-differentiation prior to the appearance of forms. Therefore the form is also called Ultimate Nothingness.

— Chen Xin, Illustrated Canon of Chen Family Taijiquan (INBI Matrix, 2007, 231)

This is a very important part of taijiquan. I think is an essential precursor to the standing post meditation posture with raised hands that produces the separation of yin and yang in the form of taiji. Wuji (无极 Wújí) produces and continually supports taiji so it should be present throughout the form.