The past decade, for me, has been informed if not governed by three sound-bites – three quotes:

1. Every entity has feelings, including electrons (AN Whitehead)
2. In my past life I was a cloud, and I was very happy being a cloud (Thich Nhat Hanh)
3. I fell in love with Taiji (John Kells).

The first two stress my absolute continuity with the rest of creation, in particular with a non-organic life completely independent of awareness and consciousness, and the third perfectly expresses just how all-consuming my passion and devotion to Taiji must become.
A root isn't simply a connexion to the Earth, it is a becoming Earth: a becoming silent of the mind, a becoming physical – present – of the body, and, eventually, a becoming free of the spirit.
The first stage of Taiji is the development of a root. This is a protracted process of switching allegiance from unreliable modes of support such as family, State, culture, identity, ego, to the eminently reliable physical support of the Earth – the ground beneath one's feet and the all-embracing field of gravity. This work (and it is work – hard work) must become central to one's life otherwise it just won't happen. Without a daily practice regime that steadily becomes the focus and core of not only the day but a life, there may still be hope (attending weekly classes) but no progress beyond the superficial adoption of a Taiji veneer.


The true artist doesn't make things, he makes life, a life.


The external is known – captured – by naming. Giving and calling a name doesn't simply attach a label, though, it bestows an essence and permanence that then resists the energy from which the named emerge and immerge. Reality, or at least the world, the mind, is then a space littered with names, and, it would seem, by its very nature, language provides such spaces and little else. Our struggle is to clear the space of names and naming so that it can fill with flux and becoming. Poetry has always been a means of using language differently, stretching and twisting it, to transform the mind and evoke energy and spirit. When the poem is over the world is momentarily freed of my hardness and starts to hum. Taiji, of course, is also poetry, created from a language of movement and posture.
The heart contains and the mind flows.


Ward-off is not a barrier to hide behind but a container to burst out from.
Reality is modelled on the heart, rather than vice versa.
Sink & relax to rise & shine.


Beware the Taiji slump. It is only the lower dantien that connects and roots into the Earth so that the upper dantien can reach for the Heavens, leaving the middle dantien (heart) free to interact with whomever I'm facing. This means that I need to get used to splitting my mind three-ways so that I can work all three connexions at the same time all the time.


My engagement with Taiji should be such that the principles reach out, migrate and colonize every aspect of life and being. Not so much tools to tinker with but viruses that infect and transform.


Unlike mind based spiritual work such as meditation, Taiji has no deep interest or attachment to the concepts of awareness or consciousness. We work for softness – nonresistance – because then the body, or rather the energy, listens and becomes what it hears through a subtle tuning/turning.
Try to remember the feeling of a heart rent by grief or rejection – lost love. The unbearable openness, the known world crumbling. The good student feels this as truth, and that gives her the courage to not only bear it but, through decades of practice, to eventually transform it to bliss. The poor student feels simply pain which they endeavor to avoid at all costs. The mediocre student also feels it as pain, a pain they pull away from only to realise that it was simply the pain of being intensely alive. They must then not only live with regret but also with the knowledge that, in all likelihood, they will always lack the courage.
The biggest mistake of the mediocre student is to convince themselves that they are more advanced than they really are.


...one of the constant features of all petit-bourgeois mythology is this impotence to imagine the Other. Otherness is the concept most antipathetic to "common sense"...


Taiji is a conveyer belt from which drops Form after Form, each one complete, unique and perfect in its own way. My only concern is to keep the belt rolling – sustain production. Everything else – quality, expression, meaning, progress – will work itself out.
If therapy aims to heal the wounds, or at least plaster them over, then spiritual work opens them up and encourages them to bleed. Wounds, traumas, are not negatives to be vanquished for the sake of an integrated ego – conformity, but gateways to the soul of creativity. Ask any artist worth their salt.
For God's sake hold your tongue and let me love. This line of John Donne's, still breathtakingly radical in its anti-Platonic implications (God is not the law, but passion), should be our mantra. For God's sake leave the head and get back to the body.