Tai Chi, it works. After a month of once-a-week classes, and some episodic at-home practicing, a real test of Tai Chi’s efficacy came this evening. For at 5:10 pm I listened to the recorded message at the Marion County jury duty office. And at 5:11 pm I was seriously bummed out.
“Those called for jury duty on Tuesday, October 26 with numbers from 1 to 315 are to report by 8:00 am.” My number is 75. Bummer! 8:00 am. Double bummer!! I’m usually not even out of bed by then, much less meditated, showered, fed, dressed, and drived (to downtown Salem, a whole 20 minutes away).
I wasn’t feeling much better by 6:00 pm, when I arrived at Pacific Martial Arts for my Tai Chi class. I had spent most of my driving time rehearsing answers to attorney questions if, god forbid, I got to the jury selection stage tomorrow.
“You ask if I could be a fair juror? Why, of course. I’m a firm believer in the law of karma and have even written a book about it, Life Is Fair. Free will is an illusion, so I’m ready to vote ‘not guilty’ no matter what the evidence is. It wouldn’t be fair to the accused otherwise, since karma made him do whatever he did.”
As the Tai Chi class started I was still cogitating about some blatantly racist and sexist back-up comments, in case the karma angle wasn’t enough to get me rejected as a jury member. Half present at the class, and half absent as I fast-forwarded my life to tomorrow , I semi-sleepwalked my way through Part the Wild Horse’s Mane, White Crane Spreads Its Wings, Playing the Lute, Repulse Monkey, Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail, and other poetically named moves.
Amazingly, given my pre-Tai Chi state of mind, I found myself feeling better almost instantly. It wasn’t that I had stopped thinking about jury duty—I still was. But somehow the flowing (well, for me quasi-flowing) movements got me to feeling, “No matter what happens at the Marion County Courthouse tomorrow, it will be all right. I’ll survive. And I might even like it.”
I’m now convinced that Tai Chi is a great way to relax and center the mind. It isn’t just the physical moves. It isn’t just being distracted from worries by concentrating on something else. I often do something physical or otherwise distract myself when I’m in a bad mood. These approaches don’t help much to raise my spirits. Tai Chi did. I’m a believer!
I had considered learning Tai Chi for a long time. I’m glad that the moment finally came. If you’re similarly standing on the edge of the Tai Chi stream, wondering whether you should test the waters, I encourage you to dip a toe in. You might find a Needle at Sea Bottom that is just what you’ve been looking for, or Wave Hands Like Clouds and fly to the heavens.