Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inhabiting Our Own Being

As my health returns so, too, does my life of the mind. It's exciting to regain my ability to read, think, and contemplate ideas and philosophies once again.

Today I dived back into words and ideas with a vengeance. First, I reviewed Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, Verse 81. Indeed, after two to three years of studying this text verse by verse in one of my T'ai Chi Chih classes tomorrow is the day that we read and discuss the final verse of this classic text.

I realized this morning how much nicer it feels to be in my T'ai Chi Chih practice than it feels to do my practice. Being in the practice reminds me of what researcher and meditation instructor, Jon Kabat-Zinn, describes as mindfulness and heartfulness. Mindfulness, Kabat-Zinn, reminds us in an interview with Krista Tippett (aired on Being, January 27, 2011), is a way of being. Says Kabat-Zinn:
It means resting in a kind of awareness that is so stable that it's not thrown off by the comings and goings of events within the field of awareness.... So we actually haven't had that much experience in inhabiting our own being. It's kind of almost foreign territory.
I'd venture a guess that that is why T'ai Chi Chih practice feels so good. We drop into being and treat our practice (and, consequently, our lives) as if they truly mattered moment to moment. Those moments of attention and intention add meaning to our lives.

The past few days I've practiced my T'ai Chi Chih with the intention of being in the practice rather than merely doing the practice. It is a different experience somehow. For one, when I am in my practice I'm not judging, I'm sensing and experiencing. Also, when I choose not to do but simply be there is less effort on my part and more of a feeling of flow ... and freedom.

During this evening's practice my heart started to beat fast. I cut practice short, sat down, and brought attention into my heart area. Then I breathed, sent myself Reiki, and mentally slowed myself down into a quiet state of peace. Within a minute or two my heart rate returned to normal. Perhaps in those few minutes I truly was inhabiting my own being....

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