I woke up this morning after a startling and difficult trio of dreams. They were clear and distinct, and while they weren’t nightmares, they were tough. I was aware that they were dreams, and that the characters in the dreams were dream-actors; at one point, I actually handed off “props” from one dream to the off-camera props-master so that I could continue with the scene I was in.

After I woke, and wrote down the dream, I couldn’t get back to sleep. For nearly three hours I lay awake, just breathing in bed. After about two and a half hours, though, a series of popping sensations occurred in my left lower back.

Tai chi this morning, when I finally got out of bed to do the work, was awesome. For weeks I’ve been experiencing tightness and difficulty in the twists: the low punches in the Eight Pieces of Silk, the grasping the swallow’s tails in the tai chi form, and the movement in Five Golden Coins called reaching up to heaven. The tightness let go while I was lying in bed, apparently. I had figured this tightness for ‘normalcy’ and hadn’t bothered talking about it here, because I figured it was normal… It was part of the stretch to experience this tightness.

But that’s the thing about liberation. Normal experience is of constraint and challenge, difficulty and blockage. Yet we expect these experiences and regard them as typical. But when the liberation comes, when the pain or tightness or blockage releases or at least loosens, we react with surprise. We are not expecting things to be any different, and yet when they are… We discover that things could be truly amazing once we push past the obstacle we did not even know was present.