This morning we went to yard particularly early, at 7:40 AM. It was a clear, sunny morning and pleasantly cool. Cool, and humid, enough that the grass was wet from dew. As I started doing my regular taiji on the half basketball court I began to notice the dewdrops on the grass around the court. They were quite large and as the sun was still relatively low they were catching a lot of sunshine. Some, moved by the light breeze, would pulsate on and off like an LED beacon, drawing my eye as I meditated in motion. There weren’t many dew drops but as I would slowly move through the postures new drops would be revealed as others hid out of view. I imagined that early man would have seen such dazzling beauty shining from leaves only to disappear as they approached and thus were born pixies and fairies. I slowed my practice so I could focus on the miniature suns blazing in all their glory amongst the cool green grass…and I nearly cried at the beauty…even here, in prison. No one else even noticed the grass was wet.

As I become more relaxed, comfortable, accepting of my life’s circumstances I have also become more prone to expression of emotion, like crying. Depression may increase one’s artistic ability but I think calm contentedness increases one’s ability to be empathetic. I expect Buddhists would agree. I believe I have reached a similar level of equanimity as I had achieved while in Columbus and that is in spite of there being more distractions here.

Yoga and taiji have had a significant effect on my mental state. It’s one thing to say they are good for stress management but that is misleading. It makes it sound like if you’re stressed, you do yoga and it helps you work through the stress. That’s not it at all. They aren’t treatments for stress, they are inoculations against it. You do them regularly, meditatively and over time you become less susceptible to stress. Preventative mental health rather than a treatment based approach.