on practice

Only meditate and awareness appears; then we must know that a human life – our own – is necessarily acted upon by that which is naturally occurring in the world – its obvious forms; yet also, from that which is naturally hidden – its mysterious forms. Then must we further recognise that our inclinations, in terms of mood, activity, health, are in their turn affected by the habit of the seasons, together with our maturing, beside the procession of Earth the Moon and Sun through the vault of Heaven’s Time. Make clear the heart’s mind hsin: subtle life-patterns may emerge.

In the Tai Chi and Chi Kung systems for health and martial arts these patterns of knowledge, of deep wisdom, have for so long been nurtured that they resonate in us from an era before record. They are given definition by wu hsing (five elements/activities), and I Ching, and indicate principles by which we may cultivate our lives. Times of day and season best suited to practising our arts are prescribed as if on a clock or compass face, though not only in terms of hours and orientation but, and primarily, as the flux of spiralling YinYang.

Early morning is recommended, at the hour of sweet dew kan lu – the Yang Chi rises, expands; at dusk – the primordial Yin Chi is gathered: practise quietly. To practise during a days’ last and first hours is to enter the stream of Virtue .

And yet… in truth, these are the ways of the hermitage; we have, for now at least, mostly metropolitan lives. We must practise where we can and when. But let us only be aware; by careful study we disclose our individual, circadian round.

Let nature be our heart’s companion.



Originally written 2011,
 as a personal response to a student
at a bend of uncertainty in his path.