|Statue of St. Francis of Assisi. Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA|
From Justin Stone's book "Spiritual Odyssey:" (Justin was the originator of T'ai Chi Chih)
Softness and Effortlessness
How important is this softness? There is a famous story of a student and a T'ai Chi Ch'uan Master that provides the answer. Every day the student came to study with the Master and every day, no matter how hard he tried, the Master tersely remarked: 'Not soft enough!'
After one disappointing class, the student went home and that night dreamed both of arms fell off. The next day when he did T'ai Chi Ch'uan at his lesson, the Master finally nodded and remarked, 'Now, that's soft!'
One of my favorite writing teachers used to say that every story happens in a particular place at a particular time. So here I am, at the teacher training for T'ai Chi Chih, being watched over by a larger than life wooden sculpture of St. Francis with no arms.