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GATEWAY TO CONSCIOUSNESS

The feet are considered to be the “gateway to consciousness”. The condition of your feet as it steps, affects the response of the rest of the body to that step. If you do not have awareness in your feet, and you fall into your step, the rest of the body will be jarred.
During most of the evolution of our species, the ground we walked on was uneven and unsure. The next piece of ground could be soft. If you stepped onto it with full weight your leg would fall right through. Each step had to be made carefully and the pelvic area had to adjust to the alterations in elevation of the ground. This led to a great deal of flexibility in each joint of the body to let the entire body adjust to the irregularities of the ground.
Those irregularities were formed by the geology of the area as well as by the trees and other vegetation. Their root systems create a lot of the structure of the earth. When you walk on such uneven ground, you are participating in the evolution of that area. You are becoming part of the biology and ecology of the area.
Every joint and muscle tunes into how you walk, how the structure of the earth is connected to the geology and biology of the area. When we walk on flat surfaces, we become disconnected from nature and our bodies become less responsive.
The key is the feet. If you step with no awareness you will remain deadened. Step as if you are stepping on living earth. Step as if your feet were petting a cat. Allow each muscle in the foot to settle onto the ground. Allow each joint of the body to adjust to how the foot settles.  Step with no weight and then gradually shift weight into that leg.
This is the proper stepping for the Tai-chi forms.  Find any joint in the body which does not participate in the shifting and sinking of weight or to the springing up of the forward leg to take the next step. Each joint should be springy and should be affected by the activity of the body. Even though a Tai-chi form may be in slow motion, this springiness should be apparent.
Allow the back to participate intricately in the springiness. The back is not made out of a solid piece of wood, though to watch some people, it seems that way. Each joint of the backbone and the ribs must participate in the movements. 
Yet, during all this, the top of the head is lifted and this allows proper alignment rather than slumping. The hip area in most people, is rigid and does not allow for the momentum of the body to pass from the legs into the upper body and vice versa. So each step jars the internal organs. By loosening up the pelvic area and becoming aware of how momentum passes through it. the entire body will become connected to the feet. Thus the condition of the feet, including awareness, relaxation and intricacy of movement will affect the condition of the rest of the body.