Taiji day 304: no energy

There will only be a short entry for today, to say that I did the work. But one of the things that I’ve noticed, the more work I’ve done, is that I experience less of a sense of rising energy within myself now, over against when I started.

When I began practicing tai chi, for example, I’d get tingling sensations in my legs and hands, and particularly fingertips. At first I thought of this as the “magic of chi”. This was the power of the work rising in me.

Except now I understand this properly. This was my body’s reaction to the fact that I was demanding that it do hard things. It was pumping more oxygen to cells that were normally starved of it, and sending more energy to muscles that didn’t have to work very hard. And this was difficult, hence tingling.

I very rarely experience tingling any more. There’s very little in my current practice that I can’t do, at least at some level. Even when I wake up exhausted and weary, my body responds to the light level of practice I’ve instituted and consents to do it. The tingling, in other words, wasn’t evidence that I was getting stronger — it was evidence of the fact that I was weaker than I supposed myself to be.

I’ve been on a plateau for a while. I haven’t been able to call up that tingling sensation despite my best efforts to challenge myself. My body, my cells, my muscles, are all used to that level of work and experience. And yet, here’s the curious thing.

Other people sense my energy. What I experience as easy, other people experience as power and strength. What other people experience as incredible power and capability, is really just me operating at a different plateau than they do. It’s not to say that I’m better than they are for doing is work — it is to say that the capabilities and capacities I’ve grown through this daily tai chi are visible to others, even if they’re not always visible to me.

So when I say “I have no energy”, I’m lying.

I have energy. I have capability. I have capacity. I’m stronger than I think. It’s just that I’ve done work in a variety of ways that has made this energy and capability and capacity invisible to myself. I think I’m still just dowdy old me. Others see a being of strength.

Funny, that.

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