By Michael Isaacs
December 2007, San Francisco, CA


I had been in a down mood for a few days. When my t’ai chi chih class came up on my calendar, I didn’t want to go.

But I remembered the advice of Woody Allen who said that one of the most important things in life is to show up. So I dragged myself to the class.

I had little expectation that my down mood could be changed in any way to “joy thru movement.” 

During rocking motion and bird flaps its wings, I felt stiff and uncoordinated. When it came to around the platter, however, I was totally surprised when all muscle tension melted from my body. My center, arms, and legs, moved without any effort on my part. An image popped into my mind of a spider slowly, silently, and gradually weaving a soft web.

The rest of the form continued on in the same manner until conclusion. I had never before experienced such a silent flow, exquisite effortlessness, and profound serenity.

Why, I wondered, did this blissful experience occur at this time? I suspect two possibilities were at the core.

First, my attitude was one of no expectation. As Rhett Butler said to Scarlett in the movie Gone With The Wind: “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damm!”  I am reminded of Justin’s (Justin Stone, the originator of t’ai chi chih) example of how to move. He referred to the physical and mental state of an inebriated man who plopped on to a bed. His body was as soft as a scarecrow. All his thought processes were eradicated. He was in a dreamlike state.

Second, could it be that my consciousness was influenced by something Iread the night before? The book was A POTTER’S NOTES ON T’AI CHI CHUAN , by Margy Emerson on page six:

“Sometimes I deliberately envision waterfalls or yards of feather-light silkbillowing, curving back on itself as extensions of my movements more and more Idescended into silence there was only a vibration-long, slow, smooth waves not seen orheard or even felt in the usual way and that’s when the center is touched it all starts with the silence of not thinking, not anticipating.”

What happened to me in this practice was, in my definition, an “essence experience.” My movements were totally coordinated. I was blessed by an experience where I was truly in thepresent moment- embraced in silence, harmony, and serenity.






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