By the time I made it onto the deck for TCC practice I heard rain advancing through the woods. A whoosh of raindrops beat against the canopy of trees as it moved closer. No matter, I thought, I can still practice beneath the narrow roof sheltering the patio door. But, suddenly, rain pounded the deck and pelted my extended arms.
I escaped inside as quickly as I'd moved outside. Now on the porch I found myself moving before the watchful eye of Lucy. She seemed disappointed that I abandoned her because of a little rain falling from the sky--she, of course, was in goose heaven--but I intended to experience a T'ai Chi Chih practice free from a full body soaking. And so I moved easily through the movements, Lucy's surveillance nothwithstanding.
We talked about "Strong Intentions" (Ch. 6) in yesterday's class discussion about Buddha's Brain. During that conversation I mentioned that it's important to be mindful of what we hope to accomplish when we engage in a T'ai Chi Chih practice.
Am I practicing TCC simply to tick another "to do" item off my list? (I acknowledge that I'm guilty of this unwillingness to dwell in the present moment on certain days.) Or do I truly desire to experience balance and harmony?
Of course, there are many other options as well. Do I want to enhance the circulation of Chi? Exercise my muscles? Feel the energy? Slow or still Monkey Mind? Improve my health? Calm my tumultuous emotions? Employ T'ai Chi Chih as one of my spiritual practices? Becoming clear about your intentions for your TCC practice is just one more way to bring conscious awareness to your practice for it affects the manner in which you move and the results you achieve. This quote from Buddha's Brain (p. 97) is helpful in this regard:
Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.