We don’t often think about being present, being fully present in this place at this time, now. Most of us are busy thinking about how to solve this or that problem at work, picking the kids up from wherever they were, or what to do for a spouse’s birthday. We have other things to do. Sometimes, there are very important things that we have to think about. In those times, if we can be fully present – being here – we may be better able to find a solution.
This morning, I went to the park to practice. As I arrived, I could see the sun reflecting on the water. There was a duck on the water. I took a video. There were some people fishing. The wind was blowing small ripples on the open water and the tall grasses waved. It was quiet, mostly. The outlet that lets water flow from the spring out to the headwaters was open, sounded almost like a rippling stream. There was a dim hum from traffic and civilization not that far away. But here, with the oak trees and cool breeze, it seemed far. The air was fresh and heavy with odors from plants and fish in the water. It was a natural smell, not polluted, not fake, and actually quite pleasant. I was glad I had brought a light sweater.
I spent some time focusing on the water. How the undercurrents were in the opposite direction of the wind, the ripples of mini-waves on the surface, and the simple flows on the surface that matched the wind.
Taiji is like this.
So as I practiced, I also had a welcome and pleasant reminder of what I was practicing: moving like water. By being fully present in my surroundings, I was able to notice things that, were I not actively paying attention to now, I would have missed entirely.
It takes time to develop the ability and skills needed for being fully present. It takes a bit of mental discipline and the willingness to be open to what your senses are telling you — all of them. All at the same time.