Friday, March 18, 2011

I’ve mentioned before my old high school science teacher who was fond of saying, “If you can’t explain it, then you don’t know it.” There is a lot about Tai Chi I can’t explain but feel that I know. There are days when it just feels right. And of course, many days when it doesn’t. But too much thinking can be a dangerous thing:

A centipede was happy quite,
Until a toad in fun
To Said, "Pray, which leg comes after which?"
This raised her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in the ditch
Considering how to run.
-- Anonymous

Although there is nothing Chinese about that poem, I first came across it in Alan Watt’s book, The Way of Zen.  It seems appropriate to the study of Tai Chi Cuan.

My new toy is a collapsible (extendable) sword. Hmmm, that sounds like the glass half full/empty syndrome. The sword does kind of look like a toy but is pretty well made from hollow stainless steel sections that telescope like a nested Russian doll down to a convenient eight or nine inches. It has solved my self-conscious phobia about carrying my wooden sword in its case into the health center. One guy in the locker room asked me if I had brought my pool cue with me. It’s heavier than my wooden sword but lighter than my steel one and seems just about right for practice. Plus, it’s fun to flick it open like a light saber.

Other toys are ordered. I have a pair of rave gloves, complete with lighted finger tips, in the mail as well as two extra LED lights that can be attached to my shoes (I hope). I keep visualizing my fingers being able to leave a trail of light (visible Chi?) as I practice. It has made me quite conscious of the path my hands follow during the form and this may be bad or good, who knows.  Soon I will experiment with time exposures and hopefully have something interesting to post on this blog.

Meanwhile, I’m trying not to be like the centipede and just let it happen. Tai Chi is supposed to be good for meditation if you can empty your mind. These days, that’s pretty difficult.

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