Q: What happens if I make a mistake in practicing?
Many people, when first practicing Hsin Tao, think they are not getting it right. They believe that they have to get the form perfect. When judged in light of other techniques they feel they must really perfect it before they can see results. This is not right thinking. We judge the movements by the signs of success noted above. As long as you are not straining and hurting your self, you cannot be doing it wrong.
The rule is this: you can only make two mistakes when practicing Hsin Tao. The first mistake is to try too hard physically. The second is to try too hard mentally.
Q: If I experience pain, what should I do?
If you are experiencing pain, you are trying too hard. Perhaps you need to make the movements very small. Find a way of avoiding the sore spot. When I was in the most severe phase of Post Polio Syndrome, I used to be struck with severe spasms that shot through my entire torso. They were so painful that I would fall to the floor, unable to move. It would take weeks, sometimes a couple of months before I could walk and sit normally again after one of these episodes.
When I was first learning Hsin Tao, I was struck with one of those frequent debilitating spasms. Unwilling to stop practicing after seeing real and positive results occurring for me, I would stagger to my feet and begin to sway backward and forwards, and commence the Saint Stretches His Waist to regenerate the body. I would make the movement absolutely tiny so that it might have been hardly perceptible to an onlooker. Even though I could not walk without severe pain, I was able to make this movement combined with the breath, without causing myself any pain at all! I continued this for five or ten minutes, or until it felt as though I might any moment begin to strain. Then I would stop. I repeated this tiny painless movement two to three times a day, meanwhile being confined to bed. The first time I managed this regime, my recovery from the spasm was reduced from 5 weeks to 3 weeks.
Q: How fast will I see results?
Allow yourself a free flowing observation of what happens as a result of practicing. Monitor yourself throughout the day to gage any subtle variations in your energy level, in your pain level, or in your emotional outlook. Trying to achieve results often has the reverse affect, in which results previously experienced are reduced.