Sticking to the Schedule Reduces Stress


Just a flash of insight from practice the other day. Like many of my realizations, nothing earth shattering on the surface but buried in its simplicity is a deep thing.

Let’s see if I can put it into words.

Tai Chi (taiji) and meditation allow us to start the day mindfully and without stress

Every day I get up at 5:30 and do some qigong, tai chi and standing meditation to start the day. What happened was, as I looked at the clock on the wall in the center, I knew there was only 40 minutes to practice. At 6:40 a.m. I HAD to be DONE, because the drive  to work can take a long time. The Deadline? Be at the desk no later than 8:30. But as often happens with tai chi and meditation, it feels so good and I want to stay and keep going.

I mean, I love tai chi and meditation even more than I like triple scoops of Mint Chocolate ice cream in a dark chocolate dipped waffle cone.

But, if I kept going, I’d be late for work. And that would cause a lot of suffering and trouble for not only for me with the boss, but for colleagues who rely on my presence to get their jobs done.

So, at 6:40 I turned off the light and locked the door to the center. I walked to my car carrying my breath and mind in each step, full and empty, full and empty.

Quan Yin reminds me to balance compassion with wisdom, to do what the next truly appropriate thing is, not just what I want to do.

There was the pleasure of a clear mind from practice and the knowledge that the decision to stick to the schedule was a benefit to me and those around me.

The deep lesson. There is a time for everything. A time for tai chi and a time to drive to the office. Sticking to the schedule reduces stress. The ego is reduced in size. The ego and it’s desire to selfishly pick and choose are set aside for the larger good; a more peaceful day for all the interdependent beings.

Try to live blamelessly, without causing trouble for the self or others.

Do you have times like that? Where you have something you have to do but would rather do something else? How does that play out for you? Are some times harder than others to be disciplined with? Why is that?

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Author: Hillary Johnson

Improvisational documentary and fine art photographer.

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