Last week, our t’ai chi instructor gave us a CD of music to do t’ai chi by. The music was composed by a t’ai chi master and instructor, Tricia Yu, who has many videos out for sale. It’s quite an amazing piece of music, as you can’t really do t’ai chi to just any kind of tune. I think it would be nearly impossible to do it to music that had a particular, distinctive rhythm or beat. T’ai chi is not about rhythm, per se, but about flow. The flow of chi throughout your body, the flow of your weight as it shifts from one side of your body to the other around your center of gravity. This music reflects that perfectly. It’s simply piano music, but when I listen to it, I think of water, a bright perfect stream of cool, clear water, flowing down from a mountain–the kind you could sit next to forever and just stare into, watching the shifting light, and the smooth rocks underneath the surface.
Tonight, we went to dinner with our usual suspects, then came home and sat on the porch. I turned the music up loud in the house, so we could hear it outside. The sun was still fairly high in the west, the way our front porch faces, but our 2 willow trees are now tall enough to offer some shade as the sun sets. The temperature was perfect, warm, but with just a hint of coolness remaining from the storm yesterday. The clouds overhead deepened into a steel grey with hints of pink, peach and rose. There was just a small breeze, enough to move only the tops of the willow branches.
The hummingbirds and Bullock’s orioles were having fun chasing each other and racing under the porch, through the willow branches, as if they were daring each other to do bigger and better aerial tricks. We had incense burning to ward off the mosquitoes and I stood at the edge of the porch, looking down at the green mass of tomato plants, squash vines, basil, onions, kale and pumpkins that had once been a simple front lawn.
As I listened to that wonderful, peaceful music, just for a moment, everything around me seemed to move in the same rhythmless harmony. The bendy branches of the willow trees swayed in time with the piano in the background. The smoke from the incense lazily circled in the same flow, the flowers in the medicine wheel moved all together in the same way. Even the traffic on the highway in the background seemed to blend in to make a pattern in the flow. It was simply a moment of perfection, when one realizes that there is no such thing as separation or aloneness, that we are always part of each other and part of the entire world around us.
After yesterday’s feeling of disconnection from the whole, this moment, the music, the yard, the birds, everything was a blessing and a lesson that all I have to do to gain or regain harmony in my life, is simply to be still and know.
It’s that easy.