Yep, still at it. Nope, nothing much about this practice changes. I do it more or less the same way every morning. Somedays it’s perfect, and my body sings with enthusiasm. Someways, like today,it’s a thing that gets done. It’s like taking out the garbage.
It’s important to take out the garbage.
Kathleen Norris, in the Cloister Walk, wrote that it’s far more common for spiritual and intentional communities to break up over the problem of who does the dirty jobs, than over who has the most spiritual experience.
And a daily tai chi practice (or any practice) is sometimes a dirty job. Your body doesn’t want to do it, it doesn’t want to do it well, or it’s just not up to the task.
Do it anyway. Because its when the work because difficult and ordinary that the real transformations begin. They’re hidden deep inside of the daily experience, and they’re not the surface experience of chi flowing mightily through the body. Rather, they’re the experience of doing your qi gong moves out of order and finding a sore spot, or being startled when a housemate opens adoor during your practice and you startle from routine. You are startled from routine, and you discover that you are far from perfectly focused, and far from perfectly disciplined.
You can keep telling yourself that you’re perfectly focused and perfectly concentrated, but a daily practice is how you discover that both those ego-trips are full of garbage. And, curiously, the daily practice is also how you take that garbage out.