Savoring the Miracle


By Zayne Marston

As a child I was told to chew my food thoroughly. Aside from an act of self-preservation (preventing me from choking to death), it took me years to fully appreciate the deeper wisdom of these words—and that is to savor.
Webster’s dictionary defines savoring as an act of “tasting or smelling with relish; to take delight in,” or as an “ability to stimulate or excite.” Devoid of savoring, eating would be reduced to a gross act of food delivery to the belly—a mechanical effort to quell the voice of hunger or numb an emotion. However, savoring is not confined to just the dinner table. Rather its application should permeate throughout the entire miracle called life.

I can’t imagine life without savoring because it colors a potentially black and white existence by enriching our life experience with pleasure, delight, joy, satisfaction, presence, heightened senses and expanded consciousness. After all, aren’t we here on earth to be fully alive as we explore the realm of the senses in physical form?

Lack of savoring dulls my earthly experience. I must confess how often I have succumbed to that hurried undertow of life—wolfing down dinner, dashing to the store, speeding through my daily exercises, forgetting to smell the roses—the list goes on and on. In the wake of this insensitivity I am left feeling empty, numb, and flat—like being in a body without nerves or recall.

Fortunately energy cultivation is teaching me the gift and power of savoring when I apply it to the slow, gentle meditative movements of Tai Chi and chi gong. I am discovering how much it enhances the quality of chi, our vital life energy, which is absorbed, balanced, circulated and stored in the body. How does this happen?

Since chi energy follows the mind as well as movement, then consciousness can act as a conduit for the chi through physical form to nourish the body, mind and spirit. (Chi is always available for absorption from the Universe and nature). Therefore it is very important to calm the mind, and clarify and focus the intent. Otherwise energy will follow wherever the mind tends to wander—like a leaky cauldron, which lessens the beneficial effects of chi enhancement.

Through savoring each and every movement as well as the pleasurable, warm, soothing and tranquil sensations experienced after my daily practice, I am better able to tame the tendency to disperse my focus. Like many of us mortals, I too suffer from “monkey-mind.” Also the slow motion nature of Tai Chi and qigong allows me to better integrate and link mind intention with each movement, which opens a space to savor without feeling rushed.

In this manner the savoring principle becomes a natural way to strengthen and direct my thoughts which then delivers the chi energy, our internal medicine, to the part of the body I chose to savor in the process. Then the savoring of the experience enhances and deepens the quality and power of the chi which in turn, refines and improves the physical expression of the movement because the mind is more fully present. How satisfying! This principle applies to anything we do in life and is not limited to a specific exercise. Practice it yourself and see what happens!

Savoring becomes a living prayer when it enhances my ability to experience with full awareness, the physical body in motion while performing my exercises. In these precious moments, strung together like a bejeweled necklace, I am overcome by a profound sense of both gratitude and gratification—a true celebration of aliveness and the miracle of movement. Living with a physical handicap has taught me not to take my body’s health for granted. This vivifies the conscious act of savoring and enriches my prayer.

Savoring takes us to a new dimension out of time where attention is paid to the experience itself rather than outcome or doing things perfectly. Pleasure is one of the natural treasures of this process because to savor is to explore and receive the pleasure of the moment. Pleasure, like laughter, opens and relaxes us which nourishes a faith that everything is OK in the Universe. Worry slips away as it is replaced by the pleasurable sensations fostered through the conscious act of savoring. Pleasure then inspires and stimulates me to perform my daily practices because it imbues my disciplines with anticipated joy-the Universe’s reward for tasting the miracle of being in physical form.

No matter what you are doing, if you savor the moment you activate and enhance the quality of your life energy. The benefits of chi activation are eroded when you practice whatever discipline you chose (ie. yoga, chi gong, walking, weight lifting, sports) in an automatic, unconscious and vacant manner. This breeds discouragement and lose of motivation to continue the exercises. It is far better to perform lesser quantities of these disciplines with full savor.

To savor opens the doors to the Universe and ushers in the magic of the miracle of life in form. Savoring is the antidote to the passage of time and the temporary nature of life. It fosters the connection to the Eternal, and the Essence of who we are. So practice the art of savoring in every aspect of your life--I call it “savoring qigong”--from turning the key to the ignition of your car to splashing cool water on your face in the morning on a hot summer day.  Delicious!  

copyright© 2006 True Confessions of a Chi Addict

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