Today during taiji I had the oddest sensation of finding a different body beneath my skin. Sure, I am not exactly the skinniest guy on the planet. At nearly 300 pounds, and 6’3″, I am not going to wake up one day and find I’m a beanpole of 180 pounds. Not going to happen. Alas.

But. Today during taiji, I had this very strange sensation of knowing how large I’m “supposed” to be. It was as though I had a sense of the size of the body of muscle, bone and organs lurking under the fat deposits and skin. It was as though my form said, this big. This height, this width, this shape. It was an unnerving feeling.

I thought of this as the inner body. I don’t know if there’s an exact equivalent in Hermetics, or in Taoism, but there was this notion of a body under the skin for the first time in a long while. And my body — not the skin or the fat under the skin, but the body — did the forms today.

Wow, that hurt. First off, I carry myself in the world in certain ways because of this weight I carry with me, it affects how I walk, how I stand, how I dance, how I sleep, how I eat. It makes me hungry for some kinds of foods, and lethargic in other ways. Those habits carry over to my musculature and to my fat and skin. Yet when I move according to the dictates of the inner body, the body within, all that extraneous matter I’m carrying around gets in the way. And the body says, ow… Why are we carrying that, anyway?

When I move from the inner body, though, people notice. It’s hard. God, it’s hard, to move from that body. The pressure of this weight I carry on my abdomen pulls my spine out of alignment, pushes my tailbone out, pulls my head forward, affects how I walk. Standing within the inner body, I I sense how far I have to go so that inner body and outer form match. Yet this is a real glamour… Walk and move from the inner body, even if it’s hurtful, even if it reminds you of how you must go on, and the inner body will gradually become the outer one.