I found myself alone today. I was drawn to sit in McGolrick Park and eat my small breakfast on a park bench. The scene of dappled light coming through the tall trees mottled the sidewalks and lawns. People and animals serenely walked, sat, fed, conversed and simply were. Each appeared to me like a little planet unto themselves and their atmospheres touched my own as they passed by. The perfect temperature aided this idyllic scene, there was an infinitesimal breeze giving just enough circulation to the air. The sounds of birds, bugs, dogs, and people came and went just as the scene before me came and went. There was nothing to hold and nothing to add. The feeling was harmonious, balanced and alive. This kind of state is impossible to write about because there is nothing much to say, no story to tell.
This week I was given a unique opportunity as my schedule had been cleared of most appointments, events, and people, so I found myself being drawn (just like I was today to the Park), but to the sitting cushion. This kind of sitting is not for the idyl, the crazed or the ambitious. It must be approached with a great deal of sobriety, honesty and fearlessness. Sitting practice is not about becoming a better person, but it does reveal something beyond words or images. Poetry and stories abound in the ancient traditions can only hint at what this process illumines. Often they are simple phrases suggesting a kind of paradox or a secret shared between friends.
Over the past months, I've been reading the lectures of the late Chinese Ch'an master, Nan Huai Chin. There are only a few books translated into English from Chinese and I am now on my third. From what I have been told many of the books were complied from his extemporaneous lectures. These are records of remarkable learning and wisdom and J.C. Cleary has done a great service to have translated them into English. I am no authority, but I highly recommend these to anyone interested in the traditions of Chinese cultivation practices: Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist.
has studied qigong and taiji with Sat Chuen Hon, a Taoist and native of China for several years. Mr. Hon has asked her to carry on this Taoist healing tradition to help benefit others. Ms. Fox received her MFA in painting from Yale University in 1997. Her studio practice, writing as well as her study of dance and movement have been woven together over many years into a rich exploration and inner search. She is a published poet and has recently helped prepare and edit Sat Hon's writings on Qigong and Taoist stories for publication.