Practicing Stillness: Stories #2
During this time of suspended classes, the Fung Loy Kok Board of Directors encouraged us to use this time to practice stillness and deepen our individual practice wherever we are. Participants across Canada are doing just that, staying strong and discovering so many things. In the spirit of “together apart,” here is the next installment of these personal stories.
The pandemic has allowed me to play with the Taoist Tai Chi® arts every day. Rather than using muscular effort, I’m finding that my bones, tendons and muscles act as gentle support, combined with a springiness that moves me forward – an enjoyable way to move with less effort. It is a pleasure to practice.
-Sean, British Columbia
Without classes to attend, the distinction between practice and life is melding together for me more than ever. Each morning, after I get dressed, but before I do anything else, I do sitting practice. I tune in to a long spine, allow the hips and legs to relax, focus my awareness inward and outward, and allow the mental cobwebs to clear from my mind.
My morning dog walk on a wooded trail here in semi-rural Nova Scotia is punctuated by some Taoist Tai Chi® practice, often a portion of the set or some moves. I may notice fluidity, ease. My dog waits – he’s used to this. On clear days I like to stand, with the sun rising before me, to take a few minutes of standing practice. And then I continue my walk where practice doesn’t stop. The weight is shifting, my spine is long. When my attention wanders, I try to bring it back and to let go of tension.
While my children’s oatmeal simmers and the coffee steeps, I may do some standing jongs. I like to do a few minutes, if I can, for each throughout the morning. The day gets busy but in the afternoons and evenings, I make sure to carve out some minutes here and there for danyus, snakes and toryus. Again, letting go. And getting stronger.
Coming together virtually on Saturday and chanting for the world gives me the feeling that we are all in this together. Each individual a small thumbnail picture on my screen – close to 1000 of them – coming together with sincere intentions to dissolve suffering. Like the small bits of practice sprinkled throughout my day, the parts come together to make a very powerful and beautiful whole.
-Nora, Nova Scotia
Practicing by myself has been challenging but revealed many gifts. Throughout my life, many people have commented that I am always so calm. This puzzled me because what I am often feeling, especially in interactions with others, is anxiety. The appearance of calm was external. With many weeks of individual practice, I have been able to match the external with a more clear, quiet and calm internal experience. I decided it is okay to just enjoy the feeling of the form and weave this feeling into all that I do. I thank our leaders at Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism for their wisdom in giving this direction.
-Kay, British Columbia