So what is consciousness? Thomas Campbell defines, it as the information that your brain holds. This should not be confused with the physical brain - even though the brain is important, we are concerned with the information it holds - or your consciousness. Why do we have a consciousness? A consciousness is required if you are to experience reality. The better your consciousness, the better you can deal with life in general.
Take the example of a car battery. When is it fully charged, all the molecules have their poles in line with each other and it is able to discharge power. Physicists call this a Low Entropy state. As the charge is released by the battery, the molecules become more and more disorganised, until the battery can no longer send out any more electricity (or High Entropy state). In this case, entropy is a measure of the organisation of the component parts within a greater system.
Martial arts are a practical way of lowering the entropy of your consciousness, with specific emphasis on the body-mind connection.
To lower the entropy of your consciousness in line with your goals is then quite simple. If you wish to focus on health benefits, concentrate on correct movement and the flow of the force and energy going through the body. For those who wish to concentrate on self defence, start with the above and then move on to focusing on the practical applications (striking etc).
All Tai Chi forms are designed to be a moving meditation to lower the entropy of your consciousness and unify the mind-body connection. So consider your train of thought while you practice. Do not play taijiquan form while under the influence of negative thoughts. If you are angry and want to practice, calm yourself first or your movements become a meditation on anger. Anger is a disorganised mental state, so if you practice the form whilst being angry the entropy of your consciousness will be raised, and your ability to objectively deal with reality will diminish.
High entropy states to avoid: Anger, Fear, Jealousy, Hatred, Need, Infatuation, Control, Power, Addiction, Selfishness, Ego, Arrogance.
The lowest entropy state is love. When in a state of love, the body is nurtured and moves correctly; the mind is calm and all is good in the world. For both health or self-defense, love is a valuable state to focus on. If you think that love is a bit too wishy-washy-touchy-feely for a tough martial artist like yourself, start with philanthropy....
... and work your way up.