Thursday, April 1, 2010

Perfectly Useless

Class One of my next T'ai Chi Chih eight-week session met in Cornucopia this morning. It was a small group--only three students--and we moved, discussed Verse 55 from the Tao, and shared a cup of tea. Today's smaller class size allowed for more intimacy and sharing which felt wonderful.

One student mentioned after practice that she thought she must have ADD (attention deficit disorder) because she found it difficult to focus on the movements; her attention floated away with every thought that crossed her mind. Perhaps we all struggle with a certain amount of ADD if for no other reason than the fact that our culture doesn't teach or encourage us to stay in the now. We constantly must relearn what it means to bring ourselves into the present rather than dwell in the past or anticipate the future.

T'ai chi chih practice is one of our teachers in how to Be Here Now. As we practice over and over and over again we notice how peaceful it is to linger in the present moment. Dyer titled this chapter "Living by Letting Go." He encourages us to allow life's natural rhythm to flow through us--sounds like t'ai chi chih practice doesn't it?--in order to promote and experience well-being. He counsels: Visualize yourself as indestructible.

Interestingly, when I'm in the center of my practice--and consequently, in the center of myself--I feel invincible. If I'm not worried about what others think or expect of me, if I'm not focused on pleasing others or, for that matter pleasing myself, I'm no longer torn by indecision or fear, worry or doubt. I am indestructible because I'm my true self, nothing more, nothing less. I feel free, empowered, and less willing to hold on to the way I think things should be. I can truly live by letting go.

Dyer includes this wonderful quote by Lin Yutang to encourage and inspire us: If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.

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