Tai Chi Y2D50: underlying complexity


Today I did tai chi in a narrow hallway of a hotel room that I share with a colleague. We’re running an annual field trip. To say that we were tired last night is to miss the point. Exhaustion is closer to the correct idea.

It’s in this cramped space, under tight conditions, that I did tai chi this morning. And while I don’t always notice, I did notice today that I’m always doing tai chi under cramped space and tight conditions.

It’s part of the underlying complexity of any work, really. It has to fit into the matrix of your life: eating, sleeping, work, family obligations, personal issues. The Yin Yang has its own geometric architecture to suggest this— yes, it’s simple, just a white field and a black field. But there’s an underlying complexity — intersecting shaped and signs and symbols, ruled lines and curving arcs. The tai chi in the hotel hallway is fundamentally different than the work in the office. But it’s still an effort to connect with the form and shape of the work.

The matrix of our lives may sometimes feel like an imposition, but really it’s the meat of our work and our labor. The tai chi adds beauty and elegance to that life and work, and allows that life to go on longer, but it’s the emergent yin-yang sign, not the complex geometry that undergirds and scaffolds the emergent symbol. Balance, dynamic as it is, extrudes from the geometry and patterns of a life well-lived, not from a fully-realized tai chi practice.

The geometry of our lives is a tai chi. The forms and exercises are simply… A daily practice which helps make our lives straight-ruled, and our compasses properly set.

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