Rod Dreher

Well, I’ve been to two tai chi classes so far, and I’m really liking it. The moves look so easy when you watch others do them, but they’re not easy at all, at least not if you are as physically graceless and as uncomfortable in your body as I am. But with practice, it starts to come to me. The thing that surprises me about it — “surprises” not in the sense that I didn’t expect it, but rather in the sense of, “Oh, wow, this really works” — is how it forces your mind to settle down and to focus.
My mind is racing all the time. All. The. Time. I cannot sit down and focus on the meal in front of me. If there is no one at the table to talk to, I have to have a book. This morning, I was in the bathroom trying to shave and read The New Yorker at the same time. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought, “You idiot.” But see, that’s me. And that’s one reason I’ve sent myself to tai chi class.
This morning I was up early, as usual, but instead of blogging — despite the time stamp on this morning’s stuff, I wrote them last night and set them to autopublish — I practiced the lone tai chi move I’ve learned (“Part the Wild Horse’s Mane”). I’m not very good at it, but before I knew it, I had crossed the living room doing it. I’d been so focused on getting the move right that I hadn’t noticed my forward motion. Cool. After doing this for a bit, I felt compelled to stop and say morning prayers. What put me in that disposition was the calm focus the exercise itself imposed on me. I can already intuit that the fact tai chi must be done slowly is why it is a kind of exercise I really need.

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