Time to consult the I Ching, I think – which I haven’t done for a loooong time.
I seem to be juggling with too many balls, so a change of some kind is needed. Not sure what yet…
Some particular thoughts on my mind:
- I’m getting further away from enlightenment, or so I feel. My meditation practice is shot to pieces, there are no Dharma talks I can attend, and the serenity I felt after attending meditation retreats is but a distant memory.
- I am enjoying the yiquan very much, and learning a huge amount from it, as I’ve mentioned before. However, recent conversations have shown me that I’m missing a huge amount of Master Yao’s teaching, because I can’t understand what he’s saying. Watching his actions maybe isn’t enough. Not sure what to do about this.
- Beijing’s an extremely down-to-earth and pragmatic city, and I like that. On the other hand, I find that I really miss the temples and shamans of Singapore, the sense I had there that spirituality is a part of daily life for so many people.
- Yiquan is doing a lot to improve my health in many ways, including opening up the joints, changing my posture, and improving my understanding of body unity. Nothing else I’ve studied has been so effective. On top of that, of course, it’s one of the few internal martial arts I’ve studied that regularly trains in application. All of this is great and extremely important. However… this morning I did a bit of work on the CMC-37 taiji form, which I haven’t practiced for ages. It’s very interesting to note the different feelings, post-practice. After taiji I feel positively energized, calm, and very aware of qi. After yiquan, I feel very focussed and, not aggressive, but goal-oriented; energized, but in a physical sense, like after sport, rather than in the qi. It also made me realize that since I started working exclusively on yiquan I haven’t felt quite so “well”. It’s difficult to convey exactly what I mean here… but taiji really built up my qi; bagua really massaged the internal organs… and the absence of these practices is something I can feel, more as a lack than a sense of being unwell… Of course, it could just be coincidence, or be caused by something else… but still. It does make me think that yiquan is great… but after achieving a level of competence I will still want to go back to bagua and taiji.
- Reading and thinking more about systema really makes me think that it shares a great deal with Chinese neijia. Reading “Let every breath” and trying to substitute “qi” when they talk about “breath”, I get the same result – as the Chinese say, “the yi directs the qi, and the body follows”. Sounds a lot like what I read about in systema. Of course, without having had a class, it’s difficult to say. I wonder if there’s enough interest in Systema in Singapore to make it worth flying Vladimir Vasiliev there for a seminar…..?