Nachi Falls in Japan
“Be like Water My Friend” -Bruce Lee

An interesting thing happened during my stillness practice this morning. The past few days I have been “drumming” my feelings a bit before I begin. Drumming is a practice that can help us get intune with our heart (Middle Dan Tian) energies. Today my heart had a gentle rhythm to it, the feelings were very subtle and I had to listen to them.

This set the theme for my stillness practice, and a new (for me) perspective arose: Be with yourself like a friend who you want to Listen to and be compassionate with. I would return to this whenever I felt my mind drift to logistics of the day or other things asking for attention.

As if some foretelling of today’s theme, I began reading a book I was lent: The Power of Focusing, a guide to emotional self-healing! As you may have guessed, it involves exactly the sort of approach (and much more of course) that I felt guided to practice earlier. Tune into your body, give it space, and listen to the feelings as if they are friends.

This accomplished many things within me. For one, it was a shift from “being” the emotion-the entire wave consuming all of myself-to being in “relationship with” my feelings. Now the feelings could exist without overwhelming me-which was an outdated belief that “you have to feel the feelings through, not run from them in anyway.” As Ann writes, “it is hard to get in touch and listen to the Lake when you are in its depths.”

The first step is to acknowledge the feelings, and say “hello” to them. Simply this is incredibly powerful, and feels like I’ve discovered a magic wand to ease the tensions in my body. Pain is simply a messenger, that intensifies until the message is heard and the lesson is learnt.

But this post is about Tai Chi! Well, I am a huge fan of “all things pointing to the same Truth,” and this very practice reminded me of what my father had mentioned when I explained Tai Chi to him. I was talking about how it allows space for the attacker to exert all their energy, is receptive to it (by getting out of the way of harm, mostly), and once it dissipates you are able to turn the tide and catch your opponent off balance.

He surprised me by responding “you can do that with your feelings, too.” Yet even as the words resonated, it was simply a seed and did not sprout into the Light until today. Now I see the Tai Chi relationship I can have with my inner world, and how I can ‘be with’ myself in a healthier way.

Yet perhaps Tai Chi is not the best metaphor, because it is a martial art after all. What surprised me this morning post-meditation, was that feelings continued to surface. I was ready to listen to the grief and pain, and was I heard surprised me: “I want the very best for you.” The pain was not there to continue to beat me down, to hurt me or remind me of my mistakes of the past. Helpful for discerning what to hold onto! It had a very different message, and in this way I make the proposition that: all feelings come as messenger’s of our true desires, and of unconscious aspects of self. In this way we do not fight our battle feelings, we learn and appreciate our relationship with them.