I did my morning T'ai Chi Chih practice inside though I could have easily done it outside. Throughout the movements I focused on my wrists and waist. Again, I followed Sr. Antonia's suggestion to notice the softness in both of these areas as I moved. They don't always feel soft to me so, for the moment, I'm simply paying attention and allowing space for greater relaxation.
After I completed my practice I sat quietly for several minutes simply receiving. It felt so wonderful ... I sensed that a fountain of energy flowed down upon me; it soaked into the palms of my hands and cycled 'round me. Let me be clear: That is not my typical seated meditation experience. However, I was encouraged and comforted to read a wonderful piece by Andrew Cohen on InnerNet Weekly today.
Cohen's article, "A Realm Beyond Measurement," discussed the fact that meditation is not about forcing or pushing deeper. Rather, he wrote:
You just have to make yourself available, and we do that by being still, being at ease, and paying attention. The depth you are looking for comes from letting go, not from 'pushing deeper.' But in any case, you shouldn't be so concerned with how deep your experience is. Consciousness is infinite.He went on to encourage us, the readers, to cease worrying about how meditation is supposed to feel or how it compares from one experience to another. When you meditate, he insisted, You are entering into a realm where measurement doesn't mean anything.... But if you're holding on to an idea of a particular kind of experience that you are convinced you need to have, you are not going to be able to see deeply into the experience that you are having right now.
As humans living this bodily experience it seems only natural to want to compare and contrast our accomplishments, our failures, our goals, and our strengths. We're always searching for the 'ultimate' experience. It's wonderfully reassuring to read Cohen's words and realize that the simple experience of performing a daily T'ai Chi Chih practice and/or sitting in quiet meditation is enough. The hardest part, perhaps, is being willing to let go of any ideas or expectations about what is supposed to happen or how it is supposed to feel....