Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip #419
Enlightenment, Humor, Push Hands
Enlightenment is not boring. It is not just a holy, solitaire monk meditating in a cave. I guess it can be, but none of the masters I came to know were anything but human. Wholly human. Ordinary. As Master Subramuniya said to me, “The true mystic is invisible.” He blends in, puts on no airs, has no needs – no need for fame or fortune. It might come his or her way, but has little effect.
If you are seeking a real teacher, figure out what you are most interested in, where your natural skills and abilities are, whether it is physical, emotional, or intellectual (or a combination of these), and find the person who best exemplifies the traits you are attracted to. Look for humor, first of all. Humor is the truest indication of a happy, fulfilled person, and a mystic certainly has these qualities.
We never know who is going to help us on our path. They may be obvious, like a spiritual teacher, mind/body professional, cherished friend, or lover. Less obvious are people, or even animals, that we encounter in everyday activity. The most important thing is to stay open to the fact that every person and interaction is a possibility for growth and a life altering lesson.
We Tai Chi players are used to approaching situations in an open, receptive space. Push Hands is certainly a good tool for training the ability to receive the energy of others, allow it to sink into our center, then allow our mind and body to react with an appropriate response. Sometimes we need to push this person away, while other times we embrace the other into our heart. But we won’t know unless we try.
And remember, in Push Hands play, you can only push “something”. That means you must be able to recognize the difference between substantial and insubstantial. Do not try to push if you don’t feel firmness or tension in your opponent. Set it up first, if you must, by faking. Make him or her start to move. You want that person to over extend and move into our strong, centered place. Be like a spider and wait for him to enter your web.