Yesterday morning, during torrential rains, a man was practicing Tai-Chi on a small piece of green space. As deliberately slow and unbroken motions from an arm or leg or both flowed across his stable frame, the hard rains pelted his face and drenched his body. And I began to wonder if his state of mind genuinely mirrored his smooth movements. How much easier it must be to perform Tai-Chi on a beautiful sunny day than during a rain storm.
Suddenly I recalled one of my favorite quotes from Chuang Tzu: “It is when the snow and ice are upon them that we see the strength of the cypress and pine.” A person’s conduct during all of life’s various stormy weather patterns provides the greatest insight into the strength of her or his body, heart, and mind. Because as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow famously concluded in his poem “The Rainy Day,” “Into each life some rain must fall /
Some days must be dark and dreary.” So as I think about Tai-Chi man in the rain, I reflect on my own life practices: Am I doing everything I can to strengthen my body, heart, and mind, so I too can be as tenacious as the cypress and pine?