Cultivating the subtle in the pursuit of happiness
Many years ago I started studying Tai Chi and Chi Qong with an instructor in Sacramento. It was a stressful time in my life and I started doing Tai Chi as a way of forcing myself out of the office and as a method of relaxation. I did well with learning the basic forms and movements of the style and the class did have the desired effect of helping me relax. The side benefit of studying Tai Chi was the beginning of starting to look at things from an Eastern perspective. There were two very important things that we addressed early on in our class, the first being pace. We discussed the impatience of Western society and in particular the United States. The first move we practiced for two nights and the class was growing impatient, myself included, we wanted to move on to the next move. Our instructor laughed at us, when he was studying in China they practiced this same first move for two months before moving on to the second.
The second topic we studied was the idea of cultivating subtle energies and recognizing the subtle in our lives. This is another area in which our culture is very different from the East, our lives are not about the subtle in the United States. For me in particular this topic hits home, I’m not subtle, I hit life straight on and I don’t do it quietly or subtly. Maybe this is part of my heritage, my upbringing, hell maybe it’s genetic coming from my Irish and Italian roots. Either way, noticing and cultivating the subtle is something I need to personally work on.
In our life here in America we do not live subtly. Those of us in cities deal daily and constantly with a high level of noise and distraction, we move quickly from appointment to appointment, we eat fast food, we drive fast and we live fast. A local news station is currently advertising by using a woman who talks about not having thirty minutes for the news which is why she loves that they give all of the important news and weather in the first eight minutes. Really, we can’t spare thirty minutes a day to know what’s happening in the world?
Noticing and cultivating the subtle is not just simply about slowing down or smelling the roses it is about truly settling. Settling means coming to a full stop, like a quiet and calm pool of water where the water is so calm that all particles are allowed to sink to the bottom leaving the water clear and still. This is the meditation I practice at night, trying to bring peace and clarity to notice the subtle in my life.
We have talked a lot here at the Ministry of Happiness about the big things, things we can do to be happy. Today I ask you to consider settling to find peace and clarity so that you can see clearly, notice the subtle beauty in your life and find happiness. Have a great and happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane