It would be nice if I could sum up today’s practice in a nice, neat bow, and say, well, that’s it. A year of tai chi taught me everything I need to know, and we’re done here.
It rarely works that way, of course. I’ve been having thoughts like that all through these last few days (pretty much since I reached Day 350 if you must know). And entering the Thoth Days was particularly hard: each day offered up some deep insight which was ultimately pretty shallow. I fell back on old habits this week. I could have pushed myself to have some big finish. I didn’t. I guess that’s sort of the point. You do the work, you hit a milestone… and you keep going. Maybe after a rest, maybe not. The view from here is splendid — let’s go climb that higher peak over there!
And the milestone is kind of arbitrary. I could do another 365 days from here on out; I probably will. But it may not be as interesting, or as inspiring. It can’t be. After this, it will be a guy deepening his practice… not one making a commitment to deepen his practice. The commitment has been made, and delivered upon. Anything beyond this is continuation, not commencement.
That said, if there’s one insight I can offer you today, it’s that I couldn’t have done it without the readers. I can’t tell you how often a comment or a “like” or a sudden spike in visits to the site helped me keep going. There was encouragement almost every time I linked to Facebook; Twitter, not so much, but I understand that — it’s a zoo in there.
And that perhaps leads to a larger insight: that even though I’m living alone most of the time, I am in fact wholly interdependent on all other beings. The few hundred breaths I take every morning during the forms are wholly reliant upon the existence of what Hildegard of Bingen called Viriditas, the sacred greenness; and so are all the other breaths that I take every moment. I depend on chickens for my eggs and my meat; I depend on plants for my vegetables; and I depend on the farmers and the truckers and the grocery baggers who deliver them; and the miners and drillers and pumpers who bring me gas so that I can have the time to do tai chi every morning instead of worrying about basic survival matters more urgently. I am dependent on Peregrin’s communications from the opposite side of the world — and the apparently large number of Aussies who’ve started reading alongside him; I am dependent on Gordon’s insights into Sigil Work from London — for a tai chi form is a sigil written in space-time, too; I am dependent on Deb’s insights into glamour from New Jersey. To my mother and father, aunts and uncles; grandparents and great grandparents, cousins and second cousins, and so on — so great a cloud of witnesses. I’m dependent upon my lady too. And to my teacher, Laddie Sacharko, who taught me the three forms I used during this year of commitment (although as of this writing, it looks like he needs to lean on his web designer quite a bit). And to three of my magical teachers, though I’ve yet to meet any of them in the flesh: Rufus Opus, Jason Miller, John Michael Greer. So many more, too: an unnamable cloud of witnesses, friends and family, interested observers. I’m wholly interconnected with all of them, even people who don’t know that I did this, and wouldn’t care if I told them.
It was the American astronomer and scientific explicator Neil DeGrasse Tyson who said:
And I think there’s another level of interconnection he doesn’t mention: we’re all part of a single whole. From the farthest reaches of space to the photographs on the mantlepiece in the room where I do tai chi, to the dirt under my fingernails… it’s all One Thing. We’re connected intimately.
Thank you. Thank you all for being here, and being part of it.