When we started self-practice last year, I first trained so that I had imaginary contact with the group, which means at the same time I had led the group before pandemic. But this way did not last me long. Saturday’s meeting, where people talked mainly about the feeling, became a great motivation and instruction on how to continue.
I realized that it’s not just about “how I feel” as I felt usually well, but about “what I feel”. I couldn’t answer that. I also realized that by practicing a certain amount of movements, nothing will really happen. It seemed to me that I had to start from the beginning. For several months, I have been practicing only foundations (tendon changing exercises, tor-yu, don-yu), monkeys and brush knee, as we did during the last retreat, and followed the instructions we received then.
I began to perceive my body as a machine that knows what to do, but does not work or works only to a limited extent and needs to loosen each of individual parts. The movements suddenly seemed very rich to me – with lots of details. I always focused on one movement and the instructions began to emerge on their own. I began to perceive my body more, especially my spine. I have an old clock at home, which is wound by hand with a key. My spine seemed to work in a similar way – including the slight backward movement I feel in my fingers every time I turn the key.
At the same time, I felt a great relaxation of the cervical spine to the inner ear area, and after more than 20 years, I got rid of tinnitus in my right ear (not yet in my left ear). While practicing don-yu, I suddenly got the feeling that I had found the center of gravity of the body. One move helps others and vice versa. Five years ago, the doctor told me that I had one leg 1 cm shorter. I don’t think I have it anymore. By loosening the neck and hips, my whole body straightened. Suddenly I understood a sentence I often repeated in my class that “every body is different.”
I never talked much to people about myself, especially about my feelings, as I couldn´t talk about them well – they were associated with very strong emotions that I couldn’t handle. I started practicing Taoist Tai Chi® arts precisely because I heard that “it can work with emotions”. Now that I’ve been training alone for a long time, I find that to be the case. I am calmer, I can express myself better about different feelings, even name them, not succumb to self-pity.
I feel better in my body, although sometimes I have an inner feeling like I’m missing something, but I don’t know what’s it is yet. When I led the session, I always felt good. If I don’t have a session now, should I miss something? The opposite is true. I have found that if the source of well-being is to be permanent, it cannot be sought outside, but within oneself.
I became acquainted with Taoism at a young age, but very superficially. It seemed to me that this teaching was not applicable to everyday life, e.g. wu-wei. This attitude did not fit my ideas, because I confused it with indifference. Thanks to Saturday’s meetings and chanting, talking about various aspects of Taoist Tai Chi® teachings, and thanks to individual practice, I understood that it was different. Everything began to connect. I have found that the inner peace that Taoist Tai Chi® practice brings me has nothing to do with indifference. And I have one more finding: The more I practice alone, the more I feel connected to others.
I am grateful for all the meetings and transfers of experiences without which I cannot imagine deepening my practice. Although I can’t attend every time, I stopped regretting it. A good training for me is also the art of choosing what is important at a given moment, and getting rid of other things, not having remorse that I can’t catch everything. This allows me a deeper experience.
I did not participate in lunar chanting one Saturday, although it is one of my favorites. We were in Klatovy (CZ) on a feast, where people come from different cities, meet friends and family. I met an old friend there who said to me: You look good. I thanked her. And she continued: You looked awful last year. I thanked her again with a smile.