If a plan is a possible future designed by the mind then destiny is a future calling to and from the heart.
The aim of spiritual work, contrary to popular belief, is not the immortality of the soul but the eradication and death of the soul. Any sense of individuality or self – that which makes us feel substantial and important in ourselves, that parcel of surplus energy that we endlessly and narcissistically groom – must be purged in the excess of our giving, in our submission to a destiny that will put us to full use if only we stop resisting with the fantasy of being something in and for ourselves.
Re poetry: I really feel that if you can find a way of working that generates material, almost mindlessly, then, in time, you'll realise that you've said what needed to be said – you'll have gotten to somewhere new. Then it becomes like the Taiji Form: repetition; not to create replicas but to create (differences). Working generates the meaning.
Regular readers of this journal, if there are such creatures, should realise by now that my take on Taiji is idiosyncratic, to say the least; and very personal. For me Taiji has always been spiritual – a path to God. And you can take that how you wish. The path is long, at the very least a lifetime, and precarious, fraught in fact. But sure. A struggle to escape the horizontal plane of quotidian existence – all those delicious curlicues of energy – and rise, or rather extend, through the feelings, to something above and beyond. Similar, in fact, to the computer games my daughter loves to play, where she's rushing along a path, being attacked from all sides, and she must use her wits to both evade those distractions and gather enough lives to keep her going on the next level.
When performing Taiji the arms and legs create a sea of activity and energy from which the head rises like a periscope, calm and aloof, solely to scan the terrain and keep out of the way. If the head collapses down and forward into the fray then my Taiji may feel more involved and involving but it will lack virtue, it will lack that vital separation of heart and head.
When, in spiritual work, we propose giving or love as the motivating force for life, we are not suggesting generosity or charity should become central to our existence. It is much deeper and more radical than that. Most of us live as sensing subjects: recipients of a stream of sensory information which we then process in the brain and use to regulate our actions. This is leading with the calculating mind, a course that spiritual work aims to cut through if not dismantle. Prior to receiving information and acting upon it, a course which is naturally defensive and negative, we suggest that the heart lead with a stream of good energy, transforming the world it enters. Of course we all tend to do this whenever we are in a good mood or excited about prospects, and children do it all the time. What spiritual work proposes is that the heart lead life at all times, not just when I'm happy or when I feel like it. It is really simply a fight against the negative forces of depression and repression, within and without. Our principal weapon in this fight being yielding: the ability to not simply evade those forces but turn them against themselves.