Thursday, April 28, 2011


The grass is greening and, for me, that's an exciting development. Where I live, of course, snow is spread across the landscape. But as I drove to Cornucopia this morning for TCC class I spied a few areas along the way where grass is reviving its bright green "I'm alive" coloration. Evidentally rain interspersed with snow inspired the greening in spite of occasional snow pileups.

Today's T'ai Chi Chih practice began with myself and one student. Other students filtered in during the first 15 minutes of class until, about 25 minutes into our practice, it felt as though we reached a collective ahhh moment. Practice always feels best when the group's movements are coordinated and unified.

But that isn't everything. There's typically a moment when effort ceases, stress recedes, and relaxation and peacefulness come to the fore. Our class rested in that moment for about 10 minutes at the end of TCC practice and again at the end of class when we rang a singing bowl and joined together for seated meditation. (It certainly does feel wonderful to begin and end the class in relaxation and peace.)

Today our discussion of Buddha's Brain focused on Chapter 3, that describes the first and second darts which create our suffering. The first dart, the authors explained, is the physical and mental discomfort that is unavoidable in our daily lives. But the darts that we throw at ourselves, the "second darts," create the vast majority of our suffering.

"Remarkably," the authors wrote, "most of our second-dart reactions occur when there is in fact no first dart anywhere to be found--when there's no pain inherent in the conditions we're reacting to. We add suffering to them."

They cited an example of coming home and finding the house in a mess. Do we get upset? We could ignore the stuff, pick it up calmly, or talk with our spouse and kids about it. Instead we often get angry and frustrated. And that anger and frustration is "embodied" ... felt throughout the entire body. (Which, if these second darts continue to activate over and over again, may lead to physical and/or mental consequences.)

It was relatively easy for class members to identify situations and experiences in which they underwent these second dart reactions. And, as someone pointed out, gaining an awareness of our unconscious thoughts and behaviors is a huge step toward changing ourselves in order to live healthier, happier lives.

It seems that we're all "greening" as we spring into a new cycle in our lives. A cycle in which, through awareness and presence, we become more aware of our radiance and aliveness and live through conscious choice instead of ingrained patterns, thoughts, and brain pathways and chemistry that limit our full potential.

As T'ai Chi Chih teachers and players we're planting a garden with the seeds of ourselves. Through regular practice, awareness, and loving kindness we continue to discover who we really are and assist in our own blossoming and fruition....

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