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Tai Chi Healing and the Beginners Mind

I developed eczema all over my upper body when my son was born 10 years ago. How can I tell you what it felt like. The surface of the skin was hot, dry, lined and shrivelled as if too small for my body but it was the itching, the continual, nagging, ever-present itching. It’s a wake-up call like no other yet they’re all the same. Look here, look here. On and on until you have to take notice. The itch is so deep that no amount of scratching can reach it, no physical touch can come near. I’ve spent hours long into the night tearing off the layers of skin until my body was shredded and bleeding until I fell asleep with exhaustion to wake a few hours later to the same call. Look, Look, LOOK.

I’d been practising Tai Chi for two years when I felt I’d like to go to the summer gathering. I hadn’t done anything like this before. For a start I couldn’t imagine how we would be doing Tai Chi all day. After all it had only been a daily half hour stint for me up to then - at best. I remember wondering how I would be able to leave if I didn’t like it. Jan was giving me a lift so I might have to stay the week whether I liked it or not. I don’t recall much of what we actually did that week but I do remember the laughter, joy, tears, sincerity, support and love of those with me. I was introduced to meditation that week too. I mean formal sitting meditation. The sort that can look really heavy and well, self-important. The sort that can really make your back ache, if you want it to.

For the last evening session Richard asked us to come clean and ready. Clean I can manage - funny request though - but ready? I remember my sense of shock and alarm when I walked into the big room. Four dining room tables were set out - like sacrificial altars I thought. No electric light but loads of candles around the room. No-one else seemed to show the slightest concern. I was in, no turning back. It was a very simple hands-on healing session. Each of us taking it in turn to lie down on the tables surrounded by our supporters. It was a session in learning to accept love, in learning to receive love. I remember when I jumped down after my ten minutes that when my feet hit the floor I had a very real sensation of being plugged into the ground. Kachunk and it was gone. That was the only indication that something had happened although I didn’t know it then. In the tea bar afterwards I expressed my initial doubts to some of the gang who just listened and nodded. I don’t remember whether I mentioned my other experience but the next morning I certainly had something to tell. You see, the skin on my wrists normally so tight, dry and ridged was now soft and smooth. I kept this to myself all morning. I guess I was just checking. Every so often I would run my fingers over the skin. Actually I KNEW deep down this was permanent but my brain just had to keep checking. I said what had happened in our closing circle, displayed the evidence and went home still marvelling at my good fortune. I knew then that I was on the right track. I had begun my path, my journey.

But that was not all that happened that week. You see, my son was born with eczema too. I returned home that week to find his skin had cleared totally. Such is the power of love.

A Student from RDTC Worcester

Back to index page: Summer 1999