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What answer would you like to hear?
People ask questions and expect to hear answers that please them. They gauge the value of the answer relative to their own expectations. There is a danger in this.
Your expectations reflect how you see the world, society, your life. They do not reflect how things are. It reflects how you are.
We shape our reality relative to our perception of it. In essence, we see the world that our mind generates for us. People forget that our eyes are not windows or cameras.
Our eyes receive data and the brain shapes the information into a format that we can comprehend and interact with. This inevitably distorts what we see.
Seeing what we want to see
We smile at a stranger and they respond according to how they interpret the smile. A person with a generous, kind spirit will most likely smile back.
A mean, greedy person may well be suspicious and uncertain. A shy person may feel self-conscious. An angry person may see a challenge or a threat. Yet the smile is constant.
What changes is how it is perceived.
Your art is shaped to represent how you are - friendly, aggressive, impatient, bored, superficial, show off, practical, studious... It is a mirror of our inner self.
If you are impatient, your tai chi looks hurried and flighty. If you are aggressive and macho, the tai chi reflects this too. There is no hiding who we are. It shows through.
Studying Taoism and Zen is very useful. It has the potential to promote change. Our fixed, narrow ideas soften and relax.
We become more expansive and receptive, open to the unknown and eager to explore. Our outer behaviour mirrors our inner self.
If you go through life struggling with other people, constantly encountering conflict and resistance, then something may be wrong. It may be possible to let-go, to flow, to move more smoothly through life.
In meditation our attention drifts and we bring it back. This happens countless times. We call this 'the meditation process'... Over time, the mind drifts less and the it returns more naturally.
But it still drifts.
One size does not fit all. You cannot 'get it right'. There are no fixed solutions. Everything is in flux, everything changes.
If you begin tai chi lessons hoping for a medal, trophy, certificate, honorific or badge... you are wasting your time. Tai chi reflects life. You try. You make mistakes. You receive corrections.
You progress relative to who you are and what you bring to class with you...
Ebb and flow
You drift and we help to bring you back. Over time it gets easier to remain present and you gain more from the art. But there is no end to this. Tai chi is a work in progress. Life is a work in progress.
18 March 1997
Last updated 25 June 2019