The principle of Chien or Gradual Progress

Gradual progress is a concept that is fundamental to the ancient body/mind training. The training methodology of internal martial arts like Tai Chi and meditative traditions like Zen follow the principles of gradual progress.

Deep and positive change occurs as a gradual process. Physical and mental structures reshape themselves allowing for higher leaves of awareness, strength, and skill. Transformation takes time.

The experience of rapidly losing interest in something that moments ago made us excited is universal. So is the experience of enthusiastically doing too much too soon and getting injured. Both experiences are the result of violating the principle of Gradual Progress.

I have found that gentle but constant immersion is the best way to insure continuous growth. It is a way to avoid burnout and breakdown. It is a way to slowly but surely build strength and skill.

This practice is based on the principle of gradual progress. But there is no need for gradual progress to be slower then it needs to be. In this next section we will explore a practical way to safely accelerate growth while adhering to the wisdom of gradual progress.