reinvent the world every day
Thinking is a defence mechanism against the call of spirit. The ultimate act of avoidance: it creates so much internal noise that energy is effectively blotted out of consciousness. When we talk of listening in Taiji we don't really mean listening to words or thoughts, but listening to energy – attending the pain and suffering of the Other, their intention and intentions, and, through the ethical act of yielding, becoming appropriate to that energy. This becoming has nothing to do with thinking about what is heard and then deciding how to respond; such a process always takes me out of real time, out of their time, and disrupts the natural rhythm, the flow, of the relationship. It is more an unconscious, or at least unthinking, change of heart, brought about by a call to respond, a responsibility to rise above the morass of my own suffering and attend to theirs. Nothing is quite so healing as such an act of compassion.
Ever have a feeling of terror and panic when, for example, you see something in the darkness that is momentarily unrecognisable? This is a true response to a world that hasn't yet been identified and named, a world effectively unsullied by language, but clearly rich with feeling. We don't realise it but our usual perceptions, as well as giving us information about the world, push that world away, to a safe distance, at least, giving us, we hope, sufficient time to process the information, and choose a course of action. Meditation is a space and time where/when we endeavour to remove mental formations from the mind. Not only thoughts but any mental acts designed to keep the world at bay – to protect us from the onslaught of reality. Such formations are always fear-based, hiding behind a facade of reason and propriety. To maintain a poised equilibrium whilst being bombarded from all sides by a world intent on getting in and waking us up: this is meditation. The Internal opens up when we have eradicated all interiority, all self, all selfishness; in particular all self-pity.
Ever mindful of the Earth's claim to my body. Each joint attached by a taut barely elastic thread of gravitational flux pulling ever downwards. This is how we face death, and this is how we eradicate ego – by allowing it no space in which to flourish. Ego thrives on my selfish and neurotic desire to be free of Earth, free of death.
The honour in living a life stripped, as much as is humanly possible, of all illusion if not delusion. This is the meaning of relaxed shoulders: constantly drawn down by broken (bent) elbows and wrists until gravity becomes embedded in my being. A veil unfurling, dropping to the ground, all around. A connexion to the grim reality of what Buddhists call suffering but which we call life. The life of a warrior.
A movement, a flow, a letting, so rich, that, for all intents and purposes, its dimensionality is infinite. And so, any attempt to represent it, to pin it down or define it, will, necessarily, clot and stanch it. Instead, go with the flow, and rightly see any attempts, from self or from beyond, to regulate it, as the work of the enemy of spirit and process, as an imposition of state. This is the function of meditation: to clear the mind, recognise the enemy, and find a way through.