This evening's T'ai Chi Chih continuing class was quieter than quiet (or, as I said at class end, Louder than silence). It feels as though we've turned a corner into a new experience of peace, quiet, and relaxation. It's hard to identify what's shifted but, somehow, it feels as though members of the class have--intentionally or not--drifted into a new experience with T'ai Chi Chih group practice.
The beginning class, on the other hand, is entirely different. Out of seven class sessions I've given two classes that were private lessons. It's highly unusual if any student comes to class for more than one or two consecutive class sessions. This makes it difficult to teach the form in a connected and constructive way. Still, that's what T'ai Chi Chih is all about: Go with the flow.
That's my challenge: Meet the students where they are and don't force them to fit into my format or my expectations about how a class should proceed. It obviously won't work when students don't come to class!
Given the political unheaval and earth changes occurring over recent months I remain cognizant of the distractibility and distress that's circulating within and around us all. When I continue with my own personal TCC practice day by day, I hope that that constancy and certainty offer stability and hope to those around me (including my students).
Thursday, March 31, 2011, 1:30 p.m.:
We had a lively, inspiring conversation about Buddha's Brain in today's TCC class. We're just beginning Chapter 2 and, the way we're progressing, it's likely that we'll take months, maybe years, to complete the entire book. Nevertheless, I'm thoroughly enjoying our slow, talkative, enlightening, and participatory journey through the material in the book.
I'm reminded of Entry #16 in The Second Book of the Tao:
You have heard of flying with wings,Yes! Buddha's Brain is a window into another way of looking at the world, examining our brains and minds, and exploring our attitudes and beliefs about ourselves and our lives. As Stephen Mitchell explains in his commentary about Entry #16, "Wisdom is not something, to grasp or to have. When you discover the extent of your own ignorance, it's like a revelation.... Eventually you realize that there's nowhere the light doesn't penetrate, nowhere the non-wings can't fly." (pp. 32-33)
but can you fly without wings?
You have heard of the knowledge that knows,
but can you practice
the knowledge that doesn't know?
Consider a window: it is just
a hole in the wall, but because of it
the whole room is filled with light.
Thus, when the mind is open
and free of its own thoughts,
life unfolds effortlessly,
and the whole world is filled with light.