The usual order of my day was reversed today, which meant doing tai chi outside, after dark and under a half moon this evening. It wasn’t a good day’s practice. I do better in the morning, I think, before my day really gets going. I do better with dawn breaking through the curtains, or outdoors through the trees, than with moonlight streaming though the thin cloud cover. And I do better on an empty stomach than one which has drunk too much coffee and is semi-full.
But we’re the product of our environment. Human beings have a certain dread of being outside alone on acode night. We walk faster toward warmth and light, react with startlement to sudden voices or sounds out of the darkness. I almost leapt out of my skin when headlights suddenly outlined my shadow in front of me, without hearing an engine. “Hi,” said my lady’s landlord as he started up his car to go home for the night.
Despite chi rising in me, my hands were quite cold when I came inside from my work. Before confronting the mass of reality with the insights of the work, it’s important to remember that reality has mass. Cold can kill as easily as flame. Another month or so, and working chi in the moonlight without a coat on could be really dangerous.
I like chi k’ung in the darkness, but I think the biggest discovery was this. I am growing stronger by doing tai chi in the mornings. But I am no adept, because of how I do tai chi after sundown. I am awkward, ungainly. One cannot be an adept in the mornings, if one is still an apprentice in the darkness.