At the beginning of 2010 I has the notion of "deepening my practice." Part of that was to take taiji more seriously and to practice daily. This weekend I completed a full year of daily taiji. Well, almost daily. I missed two days: one because of illness and the other because I was traveling and had a very early start and a full day. All in all 424 hours. I had determined to average an hour a day and I exceeded that goal. It has been quite a year and I thought I would post a few reflections.
What have I Learned?
I have learned how to breathe, how to stand and how to walk! Besides that I have learned 122 different taiji postures and how to get from one to the other. This has been great fun. Taiji postures have wonderfully picturesque names. Among my favorite are: "Blue Dragon Out of Water," "Scoop up Moon From Ocean's Bottom," and "Wind Scatters Plum Blossoms." Use your imagination to ponder what they might be!
Much that I have learned I have already posted to this blog. The philosophy underlying taiji has fascinated me. I have benefited greatly from focusing on how to live with constant change, how to recognize seasons and to find peace and balance in them. Taiji philosophy has added to my understanding of nonviolence. One of the hurdles people face when thinking through nonviolence is what to do when someone attacks. "Surely, you wouldn't just let them walk all over you?" is a common response. Nonviolence is about rejecting all violence, even from the aggressor. It is unloving to allow an aggressor to cause violence. Taiji neutralizes the aggression of the adversary, preventing the violence the aggressor is attempting. Taiji is profoundly nonviolent.
How do I feel?
Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually very well indeed! Physically flexible, energized, strengthened, less tired. I have suffered for over ten years with a hereditary heart issue, "lone atrial fibrillation." My dad had it. My sister has it. For me it has been a minor inconvenience, with an episode about once a month. Over the last year I have had only two very minor episodes. My cardiologist in my recent annual visit said, "everything has calmed down." Good low BP, good heart rate, perfect EKG. Emotionally less stressed; more chilled.
Continue the daily practice. Continue teaching students in the Cortland taiji club and in my philosophical meditations class. In the fall I will be teaching a course on Chinese philosophy. After consultation with my most excellent and gracious teacher master Jesse Tsao, I will continue mostly Yang style taiji until I have completed 1000 hours. I will then turn my attention to Chen style. So really, more of the same. I keep you posted.