Reflections on the 8 Virtues: Dedication
Loyalty – Faithfulness – Commitment
Every day I get up early in the morning to practice Taoist Tai Chi® arts in the alleyway, behind my home. During these early hours, I rarely see anyone. One person that I do occasionally see, is a practitioner of Orthodox Judaism. Dressed in a long black coat, he walks to synagogue for morning prayers. As our paths cross, we greet one another and sometimes chat.
One morning as I was practicing, he came up to me and said, “You have a good practice, getting stronger every day!” I replied, “By going to synagogue every morning, you too have a good practice.” He nodded and, as he walked away he turned to me and replied, “I have no choice!”
“I have no choice!“ This response struck me. I thought about my practice, the teachings of the Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism and whether I have a choice. Initially, it seemed to me that each of us has the choice to engage in any activity or practice. However, I thought a little more about my responsibility towards Master Moy and what he taught us. I thought about my responsibility towards my family and community, a responsibility to maintain my good health. Is the choice to practice a question of responsibility or can it have a deeper meaning, a deeper feeling?
More recently I have been paying closer attention to the question of feeling, not only during practice but by checking in often in my day-to-day activities. How do I feel, what do I feel, what am I connected to?
What I understand today is that when the feeling is authentic, not judgmental, without too much thought and not anchored in some kind of desire or fear, it is more – I’m not sure how to put it – light, free flowing, present. I sensed that going against that feeling would be self-destructive, almost a kind of violence against myself. In that sense, I feel I have no choice but to dedicate myself to my practice. My practice allows me to maintain a connection with myself both physically and emotionally, and to be better connected with my family and community.
It is hard for me to maintain sensitivity on a regular basis. Through our teachings, I do have a feeling of what to look for. It requires a sense of presence while letting go. It is challenging but I get a bit better at it every day. I see it as the “eyes see, hands do” of the spirit!