Tai chi Y3D13: fast, faster, slow

Worked through the tai chi form three times this morning. The first time was fast. I thought to myself, “that wasn’t the right speed.” Sure enough, when i checked the clock, only 6 minutes had passed.

So I tried again. I thought I had breathed carefully enough, and paid enough attention. Yet I was off again. This time, I was faster! Double checking the clock, I see this is so. It’s been only four and a half minutes. What’s happening?!! I thought.

So I tried again. This time I was pretty much dead-on for what should be the starting speed for the first run-through of the form: seventeen minutes beginning to end. Perfect, for now.

But I’m trembling with the amount of Qi that has passed or is passing though my system. I’m vibrating in a way that I haven’t done in years. The sensation is part-fire, part-ice; it is partly liquid and partly energetic, like ants were crawling in my arms or bees were buzzing inside my wrists and ankles and elbows. And yet, as unpleasant as these descriptions sound, they feel wonderful. My body is alive and awake and alert. I feel like I’ve worked out hard, and challenged my body in powerful ways today. And I’ve been rewarded for my efforts.

I didn’t know how far into my practice I would find this power in me, again. When I first started, it was there all the time. Then it faded away, as my capacity grew and my body didn’t need to feel it all the time. And now? Now I see that it is to be found in not rushing: in slowing down to the point where seven breaths are still not enough time to cover the movements from one posture to the next.

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