Your fear is an old snare

Pam Rehm


Sinking II

Sinking is really just softening to gravity – letting gravity into the cavity of my body where it becomes energy flowing from crown to sole. The work opens and clears the passage ways. This is the beginning. We know from the Law of Central Equilibrium that physical stability (the ability to support) requires energy to be balanced: opposite and equal. So, assuming sinking is not collapsing, there will be a rising energy from sole to crown and beyond maintaining structural and spiritual integrity. This is also gravity and also sinking.



Sinking in Tai Chi is the mind dropping into the lower dantien – the belly. This happens when tensions – anxieties – are relaxed, and when the three dantiens – belly heart head – are vertically aligned. It is accompanied by a feeling of homecoming relief. Back to where I belong. The mind is always springing up and out from the dantien so sinking needs to be a continuously refreshing process: a balance of energies: central equilibrium.


There is poetry as soon as we realize that we possess nothing.

John Cage


When trying to change, assume you have everything to change.


According to the Buddha’s teachings, the most basic condition for happiness is freedom. Here we do not mean political freedom, but freedom from the mental formations of anger, despair, jealousy, and delusion.

Thich Nhat Hanh


The six kancukas, husks or coverings of existence in Kashmir Saivism: appearance, form, time, knowledge, passion, fate.


Softening is the mechanism by which I transform a forceful situation into an energetic one. It is an opening of my heart to welcome whatever's before me into my body. Any problem I may be having can always be reduced to one of resisting (keeping something out) instead of softening (letting something in). Yielding – letting energy in and through to the root – tempers and cleanses character and spirit and presents my centre – my sense of who what where I am – to the world.
The principle strategy of the head is discrimination – disconnexion. The only strategy of the heart is connexion.


Nature conspires

Ralph Waldo Emerson
The ethos of Western civilization for the last 2500 years can be summed up in one phrase: divide and rule. This is how we control everything from people (class system) to knowledge (Logos, discourse, thinking) to our own compartmentalized minds and lives. In Tai Chi we instead opt for the opposite: connect and serve – we serve (support) by connecting.


Once there was a child who was born with stubby wings at the shoulder blades. One said, "Someday these will be great pinions and you will fly." Another said, "Stand up straight or people will think you have a hump." All great things are done by the force of opposites. Preparing his argument with Milton, Blake sat with his wife Kate, both nude in the back garden, reading Paradise Lost aloud. Each poet should become Adam, naming everything new. We tell the archetypal. Face the sun, your shadow will be sharper. Condense everything into a ball, and throw it.

Ronald Johnson
Connexion : be my guest.


The Earth supports and nurtures the belly, the belly supports and nurtures the heart, the heart supports and nurtures the head. What makes the head run away with itself – into its own imaginings – is lack of energetic support from below. The same way that a child will retreat/escape into the imagination if not given loving support. Support is our means of interfacing reality.


Relax into the connexion.


time makes things a tree

Ronald Johnson
Equalize hands & feet, arms & legs, shoulders & hips.


Nature without check with original energy.

Walt Whitman


Energy is a consequence of connexion.
Yielding is the stimulus – trigger – that changes a forceful (inertial) situation into an energetic one.
Everything (in Tai Chi) is physically real. No room for the imagination.


My senses – eyes, ears, nose, skin – locate experience so that my heart can consume it: it is not enough to see or hear or smell or touch – I must love too.
Then again it does sometimes seem that the incursion of the Logos into primate evolution, enabling such things as irony (and for that matter science) may in the end turn out to have been about as beneficial as the award of a loaded shotgun to a loaded teenager on a Saturday night in prehistory.

Tom Clark

Photo: Haim Ostro


Tension in neck, jaw, shoulders represents separation of head and heart.


Correct posture requires the heart to leap joyfully and fearlessly into life.


Dan tien III

For Stefan

I'm not sure it is important to feel or cultivate chi. But I do feel it important to develop the lower dantien as the centre of being. The breathing exercise below is great for this – making the dantien a physical reality. For more intensity just reverse the breathing.

The other necessity for gaining centre is attitude to the pressure of the other: to absorb and support this pressure with my own relaxing presence – no tendency to shrink or recoil – flinch. The other's energy is not something to retreat from, but something to receive and pour into. This attitude, which is a courageous one, is the beginning of the heart opening up into the world: the reflection of the rooted sacrum into the blossoming sternum. Back and forth like the two mirrors of a periscope.


What prevents energy from flowing – from passing through – is attachment: my emotional response to what I feel: my imagination. If I can find the courage – inspiration – to let go then the energy flowing – the passing through – will wash away the emotion. What is left is real.


genuine openness . . . is felt as a deep warmth in the center of the heart

Tarthang Tulku
Every movement breathes: has its own return implied and included.