Tai chi Y3D121: pessimism

I came home from my annual retreat to the mountain on Sunday. It took until today for me to feel as though my practice was back to something resembling normality. Today’s practice was great. And it touched the ecstatic places that I had touched on during my retreat to the mountain.

But in conversation with a friend last night, I realized (mostly because he told me so) that I’m understanding the world from a very pessimistic viewpoint right now. And that my tai chi is a kind of bulwark against all that: “at least there is this one thing I’m doing that I can control.”

But it’s very easy to slip from pessimism to sadness or depression. When one believe the world is slipping into chaos and madness, it’s very hard not to give into despair. My friend lifted me a little, but despite the exhilaration and joy of this last weekend, I’m still in a mindset where I think the world is spiraling the drain and it’s all downhill from here.

My birthday is Monday. That may have something to do with it. 🙂

In the midst of the sadness and worry — about foreign affairs, about manufactured celebrity, about crises foreign and domestic — there is the practice. I nodded at two others of my neighbors this morning during tai chi. No one is batting an eye or caring that I’m doing something weird. No one cares at all.

There’s a power and a joy and a hope in that, I think. The world will not likely change. There will always be crises foreign and domestic, broken attitudes and broken nations and broken systems. And sometime, eventually, my tai chi practice will fail. In the meantime, we practice as we intend to go on. We let others live as they wish, and hope that they let us live as we wish — and we practice what we mean to become.

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One comment

  1. Andrew, I am so sorry you are wading through the morass of… well, ick 😉 It’s a tendency of mine too so I recognize the discomfort. For me it’s people like you (so accomplished and working on more and teaching to others) that give me hope. How’s THAT for turnabout, when you’re feeling like you do, lol.

    May I respectfully remind you of acedia? There are tools in those books. You may have read them, I don’t know, of course, but if you have not… one time a few years ago when I was struggling through the ick, they helped me.

    Oh yeah, and Happy Birthday! I for one celebrate that you are here.

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