I did tai chi this morning, just one, in order to be prepared for being housebound in the snow this weekend. I don’t know why only one seemed appropriate today, but it does.
It is not, in fact, snowing here. It was supposed to be a whiteout, then a dusting, then a whiteout, then a minimal storm of 1-4″, and now… maaaaybe?
It was not a terribly beautiful program of tai chi. About half-way through I became highly self-conscious about what I was doing, and almost stopped. Did I do the Buddha’s Palm correctly? What about Spiral Single Whip? Wait, is it really time for Fair Lady Works Shuttles? Already?
Even now, four years in, there’s this incredible mental chatter that goes on. It’s not that I go blank as I do the form at all. Actually, going from one tai chi form most days to four tai chi forms most days, has increased the amount of mental chatter, because now there’s the added mental chatter of Wait, should I really be facing west and that part of the bookcase right now? Shouldn’t I be aimed at the sewing machine? More recently still, it’s been, Do I really like this rug? Why has putting this rug down constrained my tai chi so that I don’t leave the rug?
But it’s also an important reminder that the task of learning to understand the mind and manage it, and likewise quiet the mind, is an entirely separate task from learning to do tai chi and keep at doing tai chi. Tai chi is not meditation, and while it carries many benefits, those benefits are not the same as those conferred by meditation.
I cannot replace one with the other.