Sunday, March 10, 2013

I am a Cliché

Kipling Swehla - Meditation 

Version 1 
I am a cliché. It's been eleven weeks, 19 hours, and 37 minutes since I was a normal, self-absorbed human being. I do not mean this in a derogatory way. I don't have anything against how I was. It's perfectly normal. But now, normal is inconceivable. I wouldn't describe myself as a workaholic but I would say if I was awake I was focused on all the things that I needed to get done. Then my daughter was born and that pretty much changed everything. She has a way of making the present moment the only thing that exists. It’s very calming and amazing watching the uncarved block take shape...
Version 2
 I’m unbelievably angry. 20 children were just gunned down by means of a semiautomatic assault rifle. People ask how can something like this happen. It’s obvious. The US Congress has become a brothel and laws can be bought and sold by the highest bidder. The NRA has given millions of dollars to politicians to make sure there are no laws or even discussions on limiting access to weapons intended to unleash rapid mass casualties. These politicians had no objections to spending a Trillion dollars on an unprovoked war in Iraq while simultaneously trying to eliminate every penny spent on health care and mental well being because “there isn’t money in the budget.” You may ask what does this have to do with Tai Chi and meditation and my answer is Everything!

Final Version 
It is Sunday afternoon and I just got back from doing Tai Chi twice then meditation. When asked this morning “how are you?”, instead of giving my normal flippant answer, “I am”, I couldn't help but to answer “I’m angry.” It wasn’t until standing meditation, focusing on slow deep breathing, that the anger dissipated and I became grounded.

 Tai chi and meditation are a spiritual practice. Spirituality isn't something you can sit in a pew and have a collared man unleash onto you or something that somebody reading from a book can logicate into your brain. (I realize logicate isn't a word but it should be.) The spirituality of Tai Chi and meditation are experienced by observing and by doing.

 Watch a baby breathe, her abdomen rising and emptying versus an angry old man breathing into his upper chest rapidly inhaling and exhaling like a semiautomatic weapon expelling spent shells.

 See a baby fold and easily put her feet in her mouth compared to a dry brittle stick breaking with the slightest bend.

 Observe children during horseplay, tumbling and laughing, as opposed to a bar fight with clenched fists, tightened muscles, and angry words spewed.

 Admire the way liquid hits liquid and grows while becoming one in contrast to a metal axe being dulled while chopping and splintering wood.

 There are many quotes in the Tao Te Ching reiterating this such as “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, If you can dream - and not make dreams your master, If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue or walk with Kings nor lose the common touch, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it.”

 Okay, maybe that was Rudyard Kipling’s poem If but seeing as I was named after the guy I feel okay slipping that in.

 My point in all of this is that it is time for us who do Tai Chi, meditation, and other such arts to lead by example. In cities, the anger of honking drivers is contagious but now is the time to show that inner peace and calm are equally contagious. Tai chi isn't something you should do just a couple hours a week, it is the way you should live your life 24/7. It is the way you sleep, the way you wake up, the way you eat, the way you interact, the way you talk, walk, and stand. It’s time for Tai Chi to drown out the insanity which seems to be taking over the world.

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