Tai chi Y2D312: bullet time

You know that part of the movie where things become so slow-motion that you can see the cavitation left by the bullets? The scenery takes on super-sharp resolution, the arms and legs of the hero and villain flail wildly as they kick one another and block punches and shoot their pistols. I think it’s called “bullet time” and it was a collage of special effects first put to use in the Matrix movies. Gee, what a surprise.

My field of depth perception took on that quality today during my morning practice. It’s hard to know if I could have achieved this state without having bullet time sequences from The Matrix to guide my visual awareness. Yet I was aware of changes to my depth perception, my field of vision, and my sense of focus. Time dilation was a factor as well.

The depth perception shifts were the most obvious, because I had the sense of being in a 3D movie without wearing glasses. Subtle parallax became visible as I turned through the postures. I easily had the time and focus to count the paint brushes in a jar on my desk.

My brain also gave me a wider field of vision, or at least it seemed that way. From my desk to the door of the living room is 180-degrees. Yet I could see from the model of the kavad on the table by the desk, all e way around to where the sewing machine is currently parked. That’s closer to 279-degrees than 180.

Third was focus. I’ve mentioned being able to see and count the paint brushes on my work table. But more than that, I was also aware of up-close things that wouldn’t normally be visible. The web of fine lines on the back of my hand was visible and real, even in the dim light of my morning office with the lights off and only the streetlight sliding through the blinds. My eyes are watering now; it was quite intense for them; at least I imagine it was. Now they’re resting, and cooling down.

Most of all was time dilation. It took about fifteen minute to do the qi gong form, and another twenty eto do the tai chi form — about as long as they should take. Yet I felt as though I were going much slower than that. I half expected it to be 6:30 or :45 when I finished, and not 6:15.

I’m neither sweaty nor breathing heavy — although it was an intense tai chi session, it was not apparently very demanding on a physical level.

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