Monday, April 29, 2013

The Courage of Early Morning

Napoleon supposedly said that the courage of early morning is the rarest courage of all. This is an interesting sentiment. I have always been a morning person. I enjoy waking up and working out. However there have always been people in my life for whom waking up seemed almost painful. Like some shocking dump into a nightmare world from the safety of dreams. Why is this?

I have several pet theories on this subject. One of which is that sleep is an escape from a life that one is unhappy with. We are all in prisons that we have created. Bad relationships, fears, phobias, illnesses and our response is to run away from these things. We have become very adroit escape artists each and every one of us. We fear a thousand million things we hide ourselves in the cloak of our anxieties. This is one of the supreme benefits of Tai Chi practice. 

Tai Chi forces us to be present. To be aware, to sit in the mind and the body observing what is happening. It forces us to feel and to be authentic and in the moment if it is real Tai Chi. It could just be a slow motion dance and that is cool too if you enjoy it but I think it is a nobler thing to pursue the warrior path in Tai Chi training. That we work to understand ourselves and the world around us and to blend harmoniously with that world in a spirit of loving cooperation rather than a controlling desire to manipulate outcomes. 

Alan Watts once said that the essence of power is trust. In order to be truly powerful we drop our carefully honed defenses and allow ourselves to trust. Trusting is a hard thing to do but if you drive a car then you do it all the time. You trust other drivers to know the rules and obey them in at least some half assed way. You trust that the little lines on the road are effective barriers to enforce safe traffic behavior. So if you can trust yourself and others to the point that you move around on freeways in large metal containers going roughly one mile per minute then why not trust yourself in other things? Look at the world not as you would like it to be but as it is currently. Only when you know exactly what is there can you decide what you want to do with it. Try this exercise. Observe your life for one week without judging any of it. Nothing is good or bad it simply is. Write this stuff down. There are no mistakes or wrong answers. No punishments need be levied nor rewards doled out. Try to change nothing. Just observe it. 

After your week of observation then you know exactly where you are. Now you can effectively look at changing the situation if that is what you would like.

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