When you live with a cat who sleeps on things to mark her territory, you never wonder why your clothes are covered with hair.
Monthly Archives: June 2008
Tai Chi/Taoism Paradoxes
Another correlation between the physical expression of Tai Chi and philosophical ideas of Taoism is the ubiquitous existence of paradoxes in both. There are contradictory answers to many questions, and at the same time, the answers are very simple (a paradox in itself).
An example from Tai Chi is the posture of the p’eng shape. If you’re too stiff, you can be pushed over easily. If you’re too relaxed, you can be collapsed easily. People make the mistake of thinking that you have to be one or the either — that you’re either resisting a force or letting it move you — without understanding that there exists a “somewhere in between”. It’s difficult to explain how something can be structured and relaxed at the same time.
A Taoist example is the idea of wu wei, or “action without action”. Practically speaking, it’s the concept that you don’t do anything that isn’t necessary, and by remaining reactionary you let nature (or the interaction of Heaven and Earth, as Taoists romantically say) run it’s course. In doing so, “nothing is done yet nothing is left undone”.
Last class, my teacher said “Tai Chi is easy, that’s why so few people do it well.” His words reminded me of verse 70 of the Tao Te Ching.
My teachings are very easy to understand
and very easy to teach
yet so few in this world understand
and so few are able to practice
The answers remain elusive and difficult to explain because they must be felt, as in Tai Chi, or experienced, as in Taoism, a characteristic of the paradoxical nature of both the ancient Chinese martial art and philosophy.
It’s a world where every song is a journey, every chord is more dulcet than the last, and I don’t want to, I need to dance.
It’s not a simple feeling. There’s so much to consider — new realizations, unfamiliar territory, questions of fate, unresolved proprieties, inevitable change — that it’s all a mix of emotions unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. But who says that life has to be simple? All I know for sure is that I love her, even if she doesn’t love me the same way.
And for now, I’ll wear this smile like my heart on my sleeve.
A Bittersweet Indulgence
Our bodies burn like flames in an oven, so we kick off the covers. I slip my arm around her waist and press her body close to mine. She holds my hand to her chest, fingers wrapped around fingers, legs wrapped around legs.
The morning light comes in blue and soft and subtle through the window, and the stars begin to fade.
I want to hold her like this under a tree in the summer and pass the time in her company, alive to every moment we’re together. I want to hold her like this when the cars and streets are buried under snow outside, so we may truly know what it is to be warm and comfortable. I want to run my finger along the softness of her face, so I may learn every landmark and feature, and never forget. I want to read to her my favourite books on lazy Sunday afternoons, so I can take her to where they’ve taken me. I want to feel her breath against my skin, the breath that gives her life, and me joy. I want to wake up to find she’s not away in another bed, but next to me, lost in slumber, for there can be no other such simple happiness.
This is where I’m perfectly content, lost in a moment when time has stopped and nothing else matters.
But I know it won’t last forever. She’ll soon be gone. I won’t be the one to do these things with her, the one to love her the way she was meant to be loved, the one to love her as deeply as she deserves. There’s no use in thinking about it now.
The one who inspires me to create wonderful things, to make beauty as I see it in her, so that others may share in this feeling. If I had a million words to describe her grace, it still wouldn’t be enough.
I could be sad, but I’d rather be happy instead.
So as the sun begins to rise, I indulge myself a little longer, and hold her closer before drifting off to sleep.