I’ll call this informal talk “Cosmic Rhythm,” a term I had never heard of or thought of until some weeks back. It is interesting how the term Cosmic Rhythm came about. Carmen [Brocklehurst] and I were called to KNME, the PBS television station in Albuquerque, to talk about doing a new T’ai Chi Chih show. (The show had great success the first time around.) We met with the program director and the head of the station. The program director, who I think had studied with Carmen and was very compatible with Carmen’s ideas, was very easy to talk to, but the head of the station didn’t seem to have any understanding of T’ai Chi Chih, which made it difficult to discuss ramifications. We were not starting with a new idea; they had already aired the first T’ai Chi Chih show and bankrolled the show, and distributed it all over the country. Despite getting surprisingly good ratings, it was all new to him. During our talks and much to my own surprise, I suddenly heard myself talking about Cosmic Rhythm and thought, “I’d better listen.” [Laughter.] We’ve heard “Cosmic Principle” and “Cosmic Order” but Cosmic Rhythm was a different thing.
If you’ll think about it, take a quiz show on television where somebody wins. What does he or she start doing right away – dancing and moving in rhythm. This seems to be very natural, and those of you who have pets know that when you’re doing T’ai Chi Chih, the pets are very much attracted by the rhythm. I had a squirrel that wanted to jump on my shoulder all the time. This should not be surprising because everything in the universe has a rhythm, and that rhythm has to do with cycles. It’s circular as is T’ai Chi Chih. But it is interesting that people unconsciously express their joy (not their unhappiness) in dance, in rhythmic movement. All you have to do is look around the universe. We can predict what time the sun comes up in the morning, how the tides will flow, when we will see the full moon and so forth. This is all part of Cosmic Rhythm. The seasons are among the most marvelous in this respect. In Japan in February, when there is snow on the ground, the plum blossoms begin to push through the snow and show themselves. This is an insane thing. There is nothing to tell them that Spring is coming. Because February is very often the coldest month, snow is on the ground and then suddenly people see this. It’s a sign of renewed life. The arrival of plum blossoms is a very great symbol to Japanese people. Am I right, Suni [McHenry]?
Wherever we look, circularity and the cyclical are representative of what is real. Those of you who are sinking deeply into T’ai Chi Chih (not on the surface but those who, over a period of time, sink deeply into it) begin to get the feeling of the circularity and of the cyclical. This is very encouraging because if you don’t grab the brass ring the first time around, you will come around again; you’ll get a second chance. With almost everything… I could go on with this particular idea in great detail. In a sense what we’re seeing is expansion and contraction, destruction and construction. There is no construction without destruction, and there is no destruction unless there’s been construction.
We could say there is always a transformation from the expanding to the contracting. We expand in Summer with long days and the kind of weather. And then in Winter, things quiet down. There is a feeling of meditation beneath the snow. But then Spring will come again. In Indian cosmology, we have vast periods of time called kalpas that are divided into four yugas. And it’s hard to predict the cycle because the time is so long. Nobody knows how long a kalpa is – maybe billions of years. But the teaching is that at the end of the kalpa everything retreats into latency. Everything retreats. There are no things.
We constantly see and take for granted that night follows day, that Spring follows Winter, that tides go out and come in. And yet this is expressive of something far beyond our ordinary comprehension. It is expressive of the reality that we don’t often take the time to think about or to see. If we do T’ai Chi Chih regularly, not only once or twice a week, but if we do it regularly, we will begin to fit into that rhythm. And what I’m talking about will become easily comprehensible. The great mystics and sages have, after awhile, looked at everything and then suddenly a bud appears on a tree, and they look at this with wonder. We take it for granted, but is it something to be taken for granted? Everybody has had the feeling, at one time or another, that there is Cosmic Rhythm. You can call it the Tao; you can call it whatever you want. And if we could just push the right button, we would be one with Cosmic Rhythm and everything would flow smoothly. That only happens to a few, but people who do T’ai Chi Chih regularly (and particularly those who teach it) are in a position where they can live it, not think it, but they can live it.
Jazz musicians, because they are not playing fixed music but rather constantly composing as they improvise, tend to turn either to whiskey or narcotics, particularly if they come up against some hindrance if they’re not progressing, if they realize they are repeating themselves. It’s very easy to form habit patterns and to get by with the audience. But you’re not going to get by with other musicians or with yourself by repeating yourself. It’s very easy to happen to an artist. If barns in a field are selling this year, “I’ll do a lot of barns in a field.” [Laughter.] That’s not being an artist. In doing T’ai Chi Chih, which you did before you became teachers, you are working toward this, and as you’ll find in a minute, you are working toward something much greater.
Gopi Krishna (for those of you who know Kundalini or Higher Consciousness or Kundalini for the New Age) has many remarkable things to say based on his experience that is almost unique in the modern world. He talks about Prana as the “agent of evolution.” There are many forms of Prana, one of which is Kundalini. As Prana or Chi circulates and is balanced, we tend to evolve more rapidly. This is very easy to prove to yourself if you’re willing to put in the effort. If you do a lot of T’ai Chi Chih and a little meditation, at some time you’re going to reach a different plane, a different vibration. At this vibration you will realize that there are uncountable forms of life and innumerable universes because you will penetrate them, although they are not geographical. It isn’t science fiction writing about childish things, about things on a planet up there. This isn’t what I’m talking about at all. What I’m talking about is, as you raise your vibration, you’re suddenly aware of other things, perhaps other beings. Can you call planes of light intersecting and going onto eternity other beings? In our universe, perhaps, we don’t call it that. But what makes you think that all possible forms of life reaching to the heavens and the hells and everything, follow the pattern of this tiny universe?
This is a very deep question to consider because it’s the experience of the mystics. It’s been my own experience, and I know of some of you here too, that there are innumerable universes that have nothing in common with this and represent different planes of vibration. If this is so, it puts into question the teachings of science and the church. Are these creation teachings only for this particular plane of life? That’s a question that I can’t answer for you. But what I’m trying to get at here is that when we do T’ai Chi Chih, we are getting into the circular and the cyclical. If we do it seriously, not thinking we’re doing some beneficial exercise, but if we get to the point where we penetrate to the heart of T’ai Chi Chih, you begin to see what I’m talking about. It’s very easy to go from there to serious meditation if you want, although T’ai Chi Chih itself is a meditation. It’s then very easy to penetrate other levels, other cosmos… I don’t know what you would call them; they don’t necessarily speak English in those places. [Laughter.]
In India, all change that is kinetic (exercise, energy, movement) is called Shakti, the female side of Shiva. Shakti, Prana, Kundalini: these are all synonymous. Shakti is worshipped as a goddess, while Shiva is the unmoving. Shakti is the one that causes all movement, and it’s called many names, including Kali, and is closely connected with Giatri. It represents all motion, all activity. It’s easy to see why people who are intent on worshiping something would deify this and worship it in the form of a person called Shakti.
In Indian practice that goes back to tantric practice, the left side of the body has on it the channel called the ida, and that is the lunar energy. The right side is the solar energy and thus we have the alternating yin and yang that, again, is cyclical. As the ida and the pingala come up they cross like this [Justin gestures], as a series of figure eights, until they reach the aperture of Brahma at the top of the head. But they don’t stay there. Nothing is permanent. And this again is cyclical, and so it goes. As they ascend, of course, there is greater and greater bliss – which Gopi Krishna talks about. He says, “You cannot compare the bliss of sexual union with the bliss of Kundalini going up as it ascends through the chakras.” I don’t want to get technical. He said the bliss is overpowering, so much so that one becomes unconscious of the world. And this may be the real meaning of Nirvana.
Now, I didn’t say all these things to the head of the television station. [Laughter.] Cosmic Order is, in one sense, a myth. It’s just that which can’t continue to exist in circumstances that appear; what is left will therefore appear to be order. Cosmic Principle is very real. Cosmic Principle and Cosmic Order: Are these the same thing? We know everything is predictable in the universe, and know astronomy is showing us how predictable, circular, and cyclical it is in the far reaches.
The other question is, “How do we know there are countless other universes?” We know through meditation and going within. If it is true in meditation, then we have the ability to reach these other universes that are nowhere else but right here now. We have the feeling that if we could press the right button, we would be in tune with this Cosmic Flow and that everything would go easily. Some of us can live our lives that way. Paul Reps, who had a great influence on my life, lived his whole life that way.
There are so many interesting times in my life. The one that Carmen and Connie and others know (when I came to Albuquerque maybe three Marches ago) was when I came to talk about the possibility of a television show. At the last minute I got an idea that maybe I’d like to stay awhile, so I called about renting a house. They said, “Forget it. When the President came through town and stopped at the convention center, he had to leave town with his entourage because they couldn’t find accommodations.” So I said, “Then maybe I’ll buy one.” When I arrived at two-thirty in the afternoon, a real estate agent was waiting for me and she had a list of forty houses. I said, “How long will it take?” “It usually takes about six months to sell a house.” I said, “I’ll be here three or four days. Why don’t we do things the way I usually do them?” “How’s that?” I said, “We’ll get in your car and be led to it.” [Laughter.] She was willing to humor me and after three blocks I said, “Why don’t you turn right?” We went halfway around the circle and I said, “There it is.” She looked and saw the for sale sign. She didn’t have this on her list but found a way to get inside the house. We walked in and were there maybe two minutes and I said, “Alright, buy it.” “What?” “Buy it.” She said, “What do you want to offer?” “I don’t want to offer anything. I want to buy it.” She said, “I’ll get it done tomorrow.” I said, “I didn’t say tomorrow. Buy it tonight.” We went back and at seven o’clock that evening we got a call. I had bought a house that I’d seen for about two minutes. It’s the prefect house for me. As one person remarked, “It has your name on it. Nobody else could have bought it.” [Laughter.] But we found out later that other people were bidding for it.
Think about your own lives. Some of you have that little booklet called Prajna. Think about it. Do you have that much faith, that much confidence in what you do? When you come up against something do you say, “I know that if I get in the flow, it will work out.” Or you don’t have to say it because it’s in Abandon Hope, where I tell the story of when I was at the Ananda Ashram and quite a fantastic happening. I was called to the phone – who would call me to the phone – and when I came out I started tell Sister Amala the problem. And I said, “Sister, there’s someone who wants to see me…” “You’re wanted on the phone.” I hadn’t even stated the problem yet. I got to the phone and a fellow was asking me to do him a favor that solved my time problem. And I said [Justin gestures, looking upward], “Why don’t you at least give me a chance to state my problem?” [Laughter.] I don’t know why I’m looking up there; I could look over here.
So, if you can live your life in Cosmic Rhythm, things will tend to happen the way they are supposed to happen. They may not be the way you plan them but it’s often been said, “Don’t pray too hard for what you want because you may get it.” [Laughter.] And it may not be what you should have or what you want.
Here’s another very drastic change in Cosmic Rhythm. See if you can grasp it. One day, one follower of Sai Baba (the original Sai Baba, Shirti Sai Baba who is dead, who was a remarkable man) came to him and said, “Baba, there is a young woman who has a child of four. It’s her only child. She doesn’t have a husband. She’s alone, and he is dying. Something has happened and she is so distraught. Can you help him? Can you save him?” Shirti Sai Baba said, “Yes, I can save him but someone else will have to die in his stead. Will you be the one to choose?” Could anybody say “yes” to that? Of course not. Then he explained, “It is better if this child dies because he’s got a very weak physical organism. He is capable of doing wonderful things. He will come back in a stronger body.” Have you ever thought of that? Now this again is Cosmic Rhythm.
What prevents us in ordinary life, if we’re not doing T’ai Chi Chih, from getting in Cosmic Rhythm? Things happen as they should happen and we are flowing with them. We could say that we’re flowing with the Tao. Lao Tzu has said, “Do not try to play the Tao; let the Tao play you” which is another way of saying, “Not my will but thy will be done.” What causes you from being in Cosmic Rhythm is a lack of teh. How many of you have heard that term? Teh is translated as “the power of inner sincerity.” It is the basis of T’ai Chi Chih. A psychologist who is a T’ai Chi Chih teacher has access to a lot of people and has never been successful as a teacher. When I see him – he’s in another town – he wonders why he is not doing well. It’s the lack of inner sincerity. But he doesn’t understand what I mean. He thinks maybe he did something wrong, that he didn’t advertise correctly or something, that it’s not a lack of inner sincerity. The thing that prevents us from entering the Tao, from flowing with the Cosmic Flow, is the lack of inner sincerity. We all think we’re the good guy, so he must be talking about somebody else.
I gave a course once at the Monterey Peninsula College called “A Spiritual Life in a Materialistic World.” I was surprised at how many people took the course. The reason they took it was that they were very bothered by the fact that what they heard in church on Sunday couldn’t be carried out on Monday or Tuesday. “He’s not in right now” (but he’s sitting right next to her). “The check is in the mail” (but the check hasn’t been made out yet). In other words, they were forced to lie in order to keep their jobs. Some of you here probably have been in the same situation, living a life that is a hypocritical life. The only alternative might be to quit the job and find that which accords with Cosmic Rhythm. I was surprised with the success of the course and by how many people were troubled by this. Say to yourself, “Are my actions always in accord with my words?” You say you know all is one, everything is one, then you get mad. Do you act as though all is one? You can think of fifty different ways in which you’re saying one thing, and you know, “I know God is good.” How do you know God is good? You don’t know it from looking around the world seeing what’s happening in Bosnia because this doesn’t… but of course, why does God have to be good or bad or have any human attribute? That’s a projection.
Think about yourself and ask, “Are my actions always in accord with my words?” Most people would have to say no. When I picked up my dry cleaning from the tailor and started home, I realized he had given me fifty cents too much change. I turned around and went back and said, “You gave me fifty cents too much,” and he said, “I would have never noticed it.” I said, “But I know it, I noticed it.” He didn’t get it at all. He thought I was crazy. Why would you come all the way back for fifty cents? I don’t think it had to do with the fifty cents. Another man, a restaurateur, went to get a newspaper in the morning to put out for his customers, but when he put in twenty-five cents, he’d take three or four papers. And I asked him, “Is that what your faith teaches you?” “I’m just doing this to get even for all the times I put a quarter in and I didn’t get anything out.” [Laughter.] It’s very easy to rationalize. Why are you doing this? Why are you doing something unnecessary? “I want to share.” Are you sure it’s because you want to share? I’m not talking about good or bad, right or wrong. What I’m talking about is honesty, inner sincerity. “I’m doing it because I want to show others that I can do it.” We’ve all done that at one time or another and, you know, if I’ve got a good backhand, I want to show them how I hit my backhand. Be honest with yourself. A good friend of mine once talked to a tennis professional, the most honest person I’ve ever met. So everybody thought that he was a humorist when he said, “See that? I’m gonna steal that.” But he wasn’t kidding! [Laughter.] It was very refreshing to be with Jack although he was a very bad boy. [Laughter.] Very refreshing because he called it exactly as it was. It’s very hard to do that with yourself. Ask any psychoanalyst: it’s going to take quite a while before the psychoanalyst can even get the client to level with him because he or she is trying to make a good impression. And you always want to make a good impression on yourself.
Steve [Ridley] asked me many times if I would write a spiritual autobiography. And I said no because when you write an autobiography you go back into your past. You tend to smooth it out and make it read like a movie script, so that everything happens the way it should. It isn’t that you’re trying to falsify but you remember it a little differently than it happened. [Laughter.] Otherwise why would ten people see an accident and come up with ten different stories about what happened? Without meaning to, you would show that things in the past were done as a steppingstone to where you are now. And that process is helped along by friends. I talked to a magazine editor in New York that I’d known for, oh, 45 years, and she asked, “Do you have any regrets about your life?” “I can think of two or maybe three great opportunities in Manhattan that I lost. For instance when I had a chance to write a musical show and various things were happening, and I was too stupid to know how to go about it.” She said, “That could have never succeeded because if it had, there would be no T’ai Chi Chih today. You’d be writing musical shows. You would have never gotten to India and Japan and Malaysia and so forth, and things that were meant to be would not have happened.” So, you can listen to that and say, “Yeah, yeah… Everything that happened had a purpose in pointing me here. When I did this particular action when I was twenty-one years old, it wasn’t dishonest. It was so that I would learn a lesson which later I would use.” The fact is, it was dishonest. I can think of two actions in my life that I would consider dishonest, that I wish I hadn’t done. But there’s no sense fretting over them. I can’t undo them. One I was doing because everybody else was doing it. This was in the financial world. You can say to yourself, “Everybody does it; that’s the way it is.” I’m not talking about an illegal action. I’m talking about what I consider dishonest. Today it would be impossible although advantages were gained by doing it.
So the thing that keeps someone from entering Cosmic Rhythm is lack of inner sincerity. I’m talking about truthful sincerity where you live, the way you talk, the way you think you live. If we do T’ai Chi Chih, and particularly if we teach it (because I know you have all found out the best way to learn T’ai Chi Chih is to teach it), if you’ll listen to yourself while you’re talking, you’re going to begin to learn how to do it.
I want to digress for a moment because so many of you are new teachers. If you do T’ai Chi Chih, if you listen to yourself while you teach and you begin to sink into the essence, you’ll find three confirming signs. The first one occurs for some people right away. You’ll find a trembling in your fingers. You may not notice it yourself. Is there anybody here who has never had trembling in his fingers? Somebody will tell you about it. In the same way my Indian teacher said, “You will never know your own enlightenment. Another enlightened person will have to bring it to your attention.” Trembling in the fingers comes very easily; sometimes it goes almost out of control.
The second confirming sign will come when one day you’re in a… someplace… I was in a Japanese garden when it first happened. And suddenly you have the feeling nobody is doing anything. T’ai Chi Chih is doing T’ai Chi Chih. It may take a little more time, although I know there are people here who have had that feeling, but maybe not in those words. Steve’s a good jazz musician and he can tell you, “Suddenly you’re just a spectator and the playing is going on.” If you start to think, you’re lost. But if you just flow with, then later when you hear it played back you’ll ask, “Did I do that?” The second sign is when you have the feeling that nobody is doing anything. T’ai Chi Chih is doing T’ai Chi Chih, literally.
The third (which I think will take years) will come when you realize you can do T’ai Chi Chih mentally. You’ll be sitting on a plane or at a boring lecture, and you’ll start doing the movements mentally and you begin to get the flow of the Chi. This is not something I’m making up; there are plenty of people here who have experienced it. When you do T’ai Chi Chih and particularly when you teach T’ai Chi Chih, you are doing what is necessary to enter Cosmic Rhythm. You are speeding up evolution at a pace… well, those of you who take Seijaku will begin to realize what I’m talking about.
Doing T’ai Chi Chih is, in my estimation, the best way I’ve ever come across for rapid evolution. If you want to go to Tibet or Northern India and devote twenty-four hours a day and give up your life, your friends, your parents, your way of making a living, everything… maybe you can enter a little more quickly, maybe not. I’ve seen too many yogis, and I’ve lived with them, who don’t get anywhere. They begin to mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon. They get caught up in their own saga, in their own routine, and then the routine becomes the thing, not the results of the routine. Chuan Tzu said, “There’s the fish and the net. Once you have caught the fish, throw away the net and keep the fish.” You don’t have to keep the net going.
So, T’ai Chi Chih (and I’m going to give you some quotes) is the way, the easy way that I know of, to enter Cosmic Rhythm. I have received so many letters from so many of you that tell of various incidents and things that flow so freely. You think you’re the only one saying it, that only one person has told me about this miraculous change in her character. “It doesn’t have anything to do with T’ai Chi Chih does it?” And I say, “What’s the difference – as long as it is happening?” I’ve gotten I don’t know how many letters, which are almost identical to that. Maybe the most remarkable letter had to do with this backward girl of twenty-one years of age (who’s really more like fifteen) who had been subjected to certain spells since birth. After her mother became a T’ai Chi Chih teacher and taught her daughter how to do T’ai Chi Chih, she began practicing regularly. One day I the mother wrote that the daughter, who was doing T’ai Chi Chih, suddenly stopped and … these were her words, felt she “had all knowledge.” Here’s a mentally challenged person, suddenly, with all knowledge. That would be a Buddha. She described her feelings, that she was crying, but for the first time in her life, she was crying for joy. Perspiration was running all over her, and other various things, all of which are a perfect description of a satori realization experience. Almost everybody who has experienced it reports it in this manner. Much to my disappointment, I never heard from the mother or the daughter again. I wrote and asked, “Please keep me in touch with how this is developing.” Here’s a person who suddenly entered Cosmic Rhythm while doing T’ai Chi Chih, who had been so out of rhythm. I’m inclined to think that her life must be changed very drastically since then. There have been so many letters; I think Carmen has gotten them, and I know Steve has gotten them. So, T’ai Chi Chih is a way to enter Cosmic Rhythm.
When the Albuquerque T’ai Chi Chih Center opened, I gave a talk on “Enlightenment” and started the talk by saying, “We have developed a pill here, and anybody who has come is eligible to have it. We’ll give you the pill and you’ll be enlightened.” Oh boy, that’s easy. [Laughter.] “However, realize that your whole life is going to change. Do you want your life to change?” No, I’m sort of enjoying my life; I don’t really want it to change. [Laughter.] “You’re going to see everything in a different manner than you did before. Many things that you condoned, your own actions and so forth, you’re not going to put up with anymore.” And I went on with a list of things. Then I said, “Now who wants the pill?” and nobody put a hand up. [Laughter.] We don’t have that drawback in T’ai Chi Chih. Two-facedness, a lack of inner sincerity, or a lack of what Hui Neng called the “straightforward mind” keeps us from entering the Cosmic Flow.
The most important thing as a teacher that you can do is do your own practice; it’s inconceivable to Steve or myself that somebody would teach T’ai Chi Chih without practicing. The most important thing that can happen is that this inner sincerity begins to develop. It comes from what I like to call the “Growth of Certainty,” the inner certainty. How many people have found that suddenly they stopped smoking? They didn’t attempt to stop smoking; they just forgot to smoke. Others have gotten off drugs without trying. You cannot do it by trying. This happens as the Chi flows and is balanced. I want to give you a couple of quotations. (Originally, Lia said I should talk two and a half hours, and I said, “It’ll be about half and hour.” Well, it’ll be somewhere between those.)
Gopi Krishna says, “Intellectual and moral evolution involves a constant process of purification and regeneration of the nervous system and brain. Scientists cannot discern these processes as they have no knowledge of the pranic energy (that is, the Chi) that maintains and vivifies (that is, gives life to) the organism. The intelligent electricity, Chi, the basis of all life in the universe” – these are his words not mine – “is yet an unknown entity to science because it is not perceptible to any of the sense know to us.” Radio waves, television wavers are not perceptible to the senses either. “It is not possible for human imagination to form a picture of the storm of activity raging in every living organism and the intelligence displayed in the regulation of this activity.” Think of the healing process of the body, the digestive process of the body, the breathing process; they all take place without you guiding them at all.
“We never know when we arise in the morning that pranic activity (Chi), through billions of neurons in our system, more intricate than all the electrical lighting systems in the world, has occurred to clean and repair our brain and to awaken us in the morning as fresh as ever.” And as the brain is cleaned and awakened, the net result is a greater awareness. And as awareness expands, which it will with T’ai Chi Chih, we become less tolerant of our hypocrisies. We expect more from ourselves.
Gopi Krishna continues, “You cannot understand or evaluate the phenomenon of life without an understanding of Prana (or Chi). It was the indwelling ‘I’ that had become luminous.” I don’t think you’ve ever heard that before. He’s talking about his inner experience that went on for about forty years before he died. What he saw was actually the indwelling “I” that was really not “I” at all. It was visible to him. It was visible to him.
He said, “Prana (or Chi) is possessed of a superhuman intelligence and memory beyond the range of our thoughts.” Here he is merging Prana (or Chi) with Prajna, P-r-a-j-n-a, or the Inherent Wisdom of the universe. There is no reason to feel that there is a difference between them. You cross your hands like this [Justin gestures] and I think you get the relationship between Inherent Wisdom and Inherent Energy. How could they be different? It’s wonderful if the energy is guided by Inherent Wisdom. There are many ways that aim at this. Very few yogis succeed in it and very few, if any, of the monks I’ve known succeed in it. It’s too difficult. But it isn’t difficult with T’ai Chi Chih.
Not only are you practicing the way to enter Cosmic Rhythm or to be one with Cosmic Rhythm, you are passing it along to others. You are aiding in the evolution of the world and of mankind, to a point where maybe one day it will be entirely peaceful. Does that make your task seem as though what you are doing is teaching “exercise?” What you are teaching is so important. Don’t forget, you are all pioneers. It’s very early in the game; I’m guessing 21 years of T’ai Chi Chih. It’s miraculous. I can’t figure out how there are teachers in Chile, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, and so many other places. How did all this happen? The reason it happened is, one, because T’ai Chi Chih has its own life. T’ai Chi Chih is meant to do certain work in the world and is doing it at a very rapid pace. And two, it’s happening because of the inner sincerity of the teachers. This is important to remember because, if you are just going through a series of hand and leg movements without taking it very seriously, then you’re not aiding in this task at all and you’re not aiding yourself to get deeply into the essence of T’ai Chi Chih.
Everybody here is capable of getting deeply into the essence of T’ai Chi Chih and being a great force. Your pupils will go on to become teachers and have other pupils who will have other pupils. Each one of you is a Johnny Appleseed – you planted one apple seed and suddenly there are apple trees all over the country. So, it’s worth taking seriously and doing it with complete sincerity.
We’ve got a prominent psychologist in the audience here so I’ve got to be careful what I say. [Laughter.] I would think (and this is the sole purpose of what I’m trying to say about Cosmic Rhythm) that you would suddenly be overcome by, “I’ve got a task which has great meaning to it, a great purpose to it. I’m capable of doing it and it’s easy to do. It not only will help others, it will help the world and perhaps beyond the world.”
If someone told you that you could evolve a thousand years in one day, you’d think he was crazy because the word evolution creeps along at a rate that you don’t notice. You may, after many years of T’ai Chi Chih (and if you do meditation), begin to notice changes in yourself; your friends will notice them more quickly than you do. Maybe you don’t kick the cat in the morning or scream at the children, something like that. You know it’s nice to look out at the faces and see how T’ai Chi Chih is taking with your students. I know it’s hitting Pamela pretty hard because she’s the kind of person that takes what she does seriously, one hundred percent, and passes it along. And there are so many others here that I could say the same thing about.
I’m going to stop in a moment for questions. You might start thinking about what you’re going to ask. Just the phrase “Cosmic Rhythm,” I think, is worth using with your students. I think it’s very descriptive. “Why am I doing T’ai Chi Chih? To get rid of arthritis?” T’ai Chi Chih will place you in the flow, with the Tao, Cosmic Rhythm, whatever you want. One day you may find you reach for the phone and the phone rings after you start reaching for it. Maybe somebody has had that experience. You open a phone book and it’s right at the page you wanted. I want you to know that you stand in well with whoever’s in charge of Cosmic Rhythm. That is Prana, Chi, the power that God uses to regulate things. If you are not theists but you think in a different sense, if you went to the bottom, you’d find that they’re all the same sense. But now there is some sort of Cosmic Order or Cosmic Principle, and it seems to be carrying you along. Things are happening the way they should happen, maybe not the way I wanted them to happen but the way that they should happen.
Yun Man, the great Zen Master, asked his pupils or monks, “I don’t ask you about the first fifteen days of the month. What about the second fifteen days?” As always, knowing his monks couldn’t answer him, he gave the answer himself, usually in one word. But this time he said, “Every day is a good day.” Did he mean every day is a good day, or the first fifteen days (which were the days before enlightenment), or the second fifteen days (which were the days after enlightenment), or did he mean they’ve all been wonderful days, but he didn’t know it? It wasn’t until the second fifteen days that you realize the first fifteen days had been wonderful. Every day is a great day, and I’ve really admired him for that ever since. Carried to the extreme, and especially appropriate for T’ai Chi Chih people, it’s not something you believe, it’s not something that you’ve read in the doctrine, it’s something that you live. You move, and hopefully you move correctly, and then it happens without very much effort. Then you get to the point in the Lotus Sutra, the Buddhist Sutra, where it says, “From the state of emptiness, man’s body is a body pervading the universe, man’s voice is a voice filling the universe, man’s life is a life without limit.” I’m going to repeat that. Would you want any more than that? “From the state of emptiness, man’s body is a body pervading the universe, man’s voice is a voice filling the universe, man’s life is a life without limit.” This is a good place to stop because I don’t think you could top that.
– This talk by Justin Stone was given at the 1995 T’ai Chi Chih Teacher Conference in Denver, Colorado.
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© Justin Stone 1996
© Good Karma Publishing 2009
© Kim Grant 2019