Wednesday, March 14, 2012:
I sped off to my T'ai Chi Chih classes after spending the day working at the library and, whew, I was tired (my students noticed too!). At the beginning of my regular weekly guided meditation, I reminded the students to notice their breath.
I continued: Gently bring your attention down ... but down to where? Since I couldn't remember my regular mantra: Bring your attention down to your neck and shoulders and allow your shoulders to drop... I substituted, Bring your attention down to ... where ever you want.
Then my students and I broke into gales of laughter. We soon regained our composure and continued on through the remainder of the meditation and full T'ai Chi Chih practice.
This is what I learned from the experience; I have changed as a result of doing a regular daily TCC practice. In the past I would likely have felt disappointed, guilty, or bad that I didn't lead the guided meditation perfectly. Now, though, I allow myself the opportunity to make mistakes. Not only that ... I actually enjoy the mistakes and laugh along with others. Yes! Perfection is out the window and I'm free to be me. What a wonderful gift and an incredible relief to not carry such an onerous burden.
Thursday, March 15, 2012:
I shared the above story with this morning's TCC class. And then we discussed the benefits we receive from our T'ai Chi Chih practices. I followed the discussion with a question: If you find yourself looking forward to this class and you realize that it makes you feel better, why don't you follow through with a daily practice of your own? That is the million dollar question.
It's obvious that we all have plenty of reasons to not commit ourselves to practices--like T'ai Chi Chih--that improve our health and mental attitude and that bring greater love and peace into our own lives and the lives of the people with whom we associate.
It's interesting to recognize these excuses, to articulate them, to challenge them, and to outwit them. For, as my T'ai Chi Ch'uan teacher reminded my class repeatedly over the years, "Your mind will always find ways to convince you to avoid your practice. What can you do to ensure that your mind doesn't win this internal struggle? Simply ... practice."
As Justin Stone has said many times over through his years of teaching and guiding others through T'ai Chi Chih moving meditation: "You can't appease your hunger by reading the menu."
Nope. And you can't get the full benefits of T'ai Chi Chih without being willing to practice.
I freely admit that I began this blog over two years ago as a way to trick my mind into doing a daily TCC practice. If I had a readership (or even the illusion of a readership), I was more likely to practice everyday because my readers had expectations of me (expectations that perhaps I was unwilling or unable to have of myself).
My strategy worked! And now I pose these questions to you ... Do you want to feel better? Do you wish to live a more peace-filled life? Are you willing to change the world by first changing yourself?
Think about it....