Saturday, January 30, 2010

River and Valley

We live just abutting the Central Valley, on the edge of the river.
It's been seven years now. This year, the cold, thin, wonderful valley fog
has invaded our rivertown more often than any year since we arrived.

The Tai Chi practitioners put on gloves, but beyond that, continue to practice regardless
of the cold. The air fully moisturized and pungent

During the rain we use the overhang of the main library building, safe from the wind.

The bank of the river is now a cement promenade, rails and benches, people and dogs,
a ferry building for coffee and warmth.

The island lies some 200 yards west, all built over with dry docks, giant cranes, warehouses.

Like the dinosaurs they resemble, the cranes and all the accompanying buildings and docks,
they are all idle, now that the Navy has pulled out: nuclear submarines built elsewhere;
the flat boats that trained our people for duty in Viet Nam, all gone; the commissary, barracks, and officer's clubs, all deserted or turned to civilian purposes.

The tidal push of the Bay, makes it difficult to determine the flow of the rive: sometimes the current seems like it is going uphill, back to the source, sometimes clearly heading into the Bay.

On the promenade, every 200 feet or so, there are ladders leading into the water. Stainless steel, there are five rungs at each place, and the tide sometimes covers two of the five, and sometimes none of them, and during storms the river's water covers all of them, even quietly or not so quietly sheeting over the top.

Every day it is different, even when it is the same

We practice and practice our Tai Chi routine, and every day
it is different even when it is the same..........this mirrors the flow of our living.

We rise to the day, the same, but different. Breathe, and begin to practice how to live
in the light of awareness - or not. This is our choice. But once one has glimpsed even a small crack of the door into awareness, there is no going back.

Buddhists argue the 'sudden enlightenment' school of practice and the 'gradual dawning' school.

What is the difference ? Standing on the side of the river looking, looking.....
one either sees or does not. Come. Wake up. Any other option is not living.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Contemplating how to make this an interesting task for the potential reader and for myself also, otherwise, what is the point ?

While doing that, here is some Tai chi news from the Mayo Clinic

Thursday, January 28, 2010


First in starting out on this journey in the ethernet

This poem came to mind for Thinking Tai Chi - there is the physical component which is so profound, and yet, without developing the component expressed here by Gensei, one has not
used the entire possibility offered by the practice of this art.

Gensei (1623-1668)
from "The Enlightened Heart" ed Stephen Mitchell

Poem Without a Category

Trailing my stick I go down to the garden-edge,
call to a monk to go out the pine gate.
A cup of tea with my mother,
looking at each other, enjoying our tea together.
In the deep lanes, a few people in sight;
the dog barks when anyone comes or goes.
Fall floods have washed away the planks of the bridge;
shouldering our sandals, we wade the narrow stream.
Bu the roadside, a small pavilion
where there used to be a little hill:
it helps out our hermit mood;
country poems pile one sheet on another.
I dabble in the flow; delighted by the shallowness of the stream,
gaze at the flagging, admiring how firm the stones are.
The point in life is to know what's enough-
why envy those otherworld immortals ?
With the happiness held in one inch-square heart
you can fill the whole space between heaven and earth.

In our practice of Tai Chi, we must not limit ourselves
to the time of formal practice only...the breathing, the awareness, the
quieting of conceptualized thinking, all must imbue our life - moment
by moment