Beyond Basics: The Chi Experience

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Beyond Basics: The Chi Experience

I could write about the taste of a perfect peach all day long, but it’s not until you have one in your own hand and take a bite for yourself that you experience the slight fuzziness of the skin, the peachy taste, the sweet, delicious juice spilling down your chin, that you really “get” what a peach is all about.

Experience is the truest and best teacher.

I went to a writing class, my first creative writing class.  I was amazed at what came up and out of me and onto the blank page from the combination of very specific writing exercises, methods of focusing my mind, hearing excerpts the teacher had chosen to exemplify the lesson, and then hearing what others had written. It was the whole experience that gave me a feeling of what writing could mean for me and what was in me that I had never even realized. I felt a new world open up in me.

When the conditions are set up well, learning becomes a process of self-discovery; the lessons acting as guides, like the banks of a river, to give you an experience that translates into personal knowledge and potential wisdom. Wisdom comes with repeated practice. Consistency makes it part of you and your life…for the rest of your life. The analogies and understandings of how it applies to everything else in your life explode like fireworks.

We know because we get letters all the time. “I’m applying the Chi principles to…”, and the list goes on: “my work”, “basketball”, “photography”, “parenting”, “singing.”

“I’m finding a new ease in my whole life, not just in my running.”

“I felt it. I felt myself land in alignment and how strong I am.”

It’s music to our ears when a client has such a strong experience he or she almost shouts with amazement. The “aha” moments that are exclaimed aloud in class, the joy of discovering that you can practically float up a hill when the right focuses are in place; the look of amazement on people’s faces when they are walking but focused only on their center, and everything else falls away and they fully experience “effortlessness;” that this is what the Chi Experience is all about.

It may feel like a lot to learn because it is a lot to learn. That is the best part about it. You can learn a little bit, and get a lot out of it. Diligently practice good posture, and you will change your body and your energy. It will happen. And, you can keep on learning and get more and more and more from it. The learning does not stop. The practicing does not stop. It keeps going. That’s a good thing.

The Chi Experience is not just about running or walking. It’s about discovering what it feels like to move when you are strong and focused in your center, relaxed and fluid in your shoulders and hips, aligned with the stars above and the center of the earth below, intently but gently focused on the direction you are moving. When it all comes together, it feels like magic; not like running, not like walking, not like you have a body you are pushing and lugging around, but that you are that gentle, easy movement that flows from one place to another.

Speed is no longer the issue. You have it when you want it. You really don’t care. It’s the joy, the satisfaction of moving well that becomes the goal, the point of the whole thing.

That is why we have beginners, walkers, and very experienced runners all together. We’re all working on the same things. (Yes, you fast runners, you’ll have your own group so you can really fly!)

I’ve studied meditation with incredible teachers and have practiced on my own, diligently, twice a day for many years, but I still love the group experience of a guided meditation that takes me down a new path of self-discovery. I love my T’ai Chi class where we all move together. More than anything, I love walking and running with a group of people who are internally focused and externally open to whatever lies ahead. That’s what Chi is all about.

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