Greetings. We are so fortunate to have a form of exercise/meditation that is so lovely that it can be practiced anywhere at anytime.
Animals and Tai Chi
This morning I went to Chetzemoka Park for my practice. This is the place where we gather for our Saturday morning practice. There is a giant, beautiful walnut tree very close by and as we practice, we get to watch the squirrels gather the walnuts, being especially busy during the fall. Our being so close doesn’t bother them at all. They just go about their business of preparing for the winter. We have been in this same spot, every week, for the last 25 years, so they have grown up knowing us.
This morning I was by myself. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement. I was doing the form especially slowly this morning, an hour for the long form that usually takes 20 minutes. As I changed my body direction to face it, the squirrel hopped up to about 10 feet from me and sat on his hind quarter and just watched me. He was still for quite a while, and then went back to doing whatever he was up to. I was aware of his leaving, when all of a sudden, a large shape appeared from above. It was a juvenile bald eagle! He flew low and slow, circling overhead, before flying off.
So the point of all this, is that Tai Chi’s gentle, slow movements doesn’t bother or scare animals who will share their space with us. You can imagine if you were practicing Kung Fu or running, or other vigorous forms of exercise, how the animals would react. It is one of the benefits of our practice.
When I was practicing on the wharf every morning some years ago, there was a seal who use to pop his head up and watch me for a while. I would call to him and he just hung with me for a while. He would come by every morning, as I was on the wharf every morning at the same time myself. There is also a family of otters now that don’t mind being close to us when we practice. How special.