26.4.09

Throw caution to the wind : yield to your passions.

25.4.09

this stroboscopic throb of things
as they ravel and unravel

Joseph Massey

23.4.09

Only forgo class or practice if someone you love needs your energy.
Power is the readiness to change.

22.4.09

The Earth is in the geography of our being.

Charles Olson


Polis is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place – a very good film about Olson, can now be viewed on-line. Olson seems to be terribly unfashionable at the moment; though, in my opinion, he has never been more relevant. I recently read that Kenneth Rexroth called him "deaf," meaning he lacked a poet's ear – his line is clumsy and without beauty of sound – which is true enough but shows a lack of understanding of Olson's intentions, which were not aesthetic at all, but all about immediacy of engagement: biting into life and letting life bite into you before your senses have time to register or the mind has time to reflect.

21.4.09

Life: A condition of power, activity, or happiness; especially the condition of a person freed from the state of sin equated with spiritual death.

Just one definition in the New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.
Using mind to work on the mind?
How stupid can you get!
Everything is a godsend.

20.4.09

When I use my sensitivity I feel the world but keep it out.
When I breathe deeply I join the world and let it in.

19.4.09

People don't want to suffer. They want to sound good immediately, and this is one of the biggest problems in the world.

Steve Lacy

18.4.09

Prejudice is whatever gets in the way of intimacy.

17.4.09

Like the sun which emits countless rays, compassion is the source of all inner growth and positive action.

Tarthang Tulku

16.4.09

Fill my heart with song and let me sing forever more.

15.4.09

The first stage in meditation – once we have learnt to sit still – is to relax the mind and allow it to find its natural place.
"Listen to the sound of the Singing Bowls and when the sound is gone keep on listening."

14.4.09

From the forest of language to arrive at a garden of text, a poem.

Ron Silliman

Mindset

Different activities demand different mindsets. A mindset is the state of mind induced when mental activity is focused on a particular location within the brain. So, thinking concentrates mental activity into the frontal lobe – hence the furrowed brow and heavy craning head of the inveterate thinker. Fighting and fucking takes us to the mid-brain. Meditating brings us further back towards the occiput – the mysterious back-brain. Gaining some awareness of, and feeling for, these various locations lets us begin to "know our mind" and gives us the ability to shift around in the head with unattached facility. The natural place for the mind to rest is close to the top of the spinal-cord, where it erupts into the brain. When we relax the mind then this is the place it tends to move to, allowing the front brain to open up and "see" the world as though with an internal eye – hence the third eye on the forehead. From the top of the spine we can then bring the mind down through the torso and let it abide in any of the energy centres within the body: in Tai Chi the belly or lower dan tien is preferred. So, "putting the mind in the dan tien" – that strange instruction which confuses and alienates so many fresh students – is a very precise instruction that is only possible once the student has learned to relax the mind and then move it around like a piece of internal furniture: once he has made the mind physical. It has nothing to do with thinking about the dan tien, which is effectively bringing an image of the dan tien into the front-brain.

13.4.09

What I do is me: for that I came.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

12.4.09

Mind

The mind, simplistically, is an open field or ground of awareness containing the clutter of concentrations or tensions we call thoughts – conceptions and perceptions. In the East meditators attempt to eradicate the tensions and dwell blissfully in the open field of awareness. In the West thinkers concentrate so well and so hard that they create whole worlds of tension and remain largely oblivious to the ground upon which their worlds rest – preferring instead to claim reason and law (the ultimate tensions) as their foundation. In Tai Chi, as good Taoists, we interest ourselves in the elastic play between these two states – the process by which these islands form and then (hopefully) dissolve. Those that refuse to dissolve – traumas – then stick out like sore thumbs and can be whittled away – gently and persistently – until they reveal and release the hidden experience at their core. These experiences, often forgotten or repressed, have become handles or crutches upon which we stumble and limp through life long after the original wound has seemingly healed. Opening the wound is often painful – though exhilarating – but then learning to walk without the crutches is a real pain – back to square one – the humiliation of spiritual work.

11.4.09

First bury a stone
then take away its foundation.

It trembles “alone”

Thus


Pam Rehm
It is only under the pressure of slowness that the temporal nature of a place or of the action taking place in it is revealed. The slow are recalcitrant, resistant, suddenly. They frequently delay, linger, and digress. The slow rarely reach a terminus and if they do they do so late, which puts them in time to see that what one does is equivalent all at once to how one does it.

Lyn Hejinian
Our problem is that we let ourselves get dragged down by the wrong things – concerns, fears, anxieties – instead of gravity.

10.4.09

Sharing

Central Equilibrium works everywhere. For Isaac Newton it worked with forces, for us it works energetically, but also essentially – with essences: I can only drink of your essential nature if I share with you mine. In this sense we can call Central Equilibrium a Theory of Sharing. And we can also see that on an essential level there is no possibility of "getting an advantage" – of getting more than I have.
A change is as good as a rest
And variety is the very spice of life.

9.4.09

Breathing

Why are we here? What a question! And in a sense even posing it indicates that I am not here – or not here as fully as I could and should be. Spiritual and meditation practices – especially those from the East – strive for the discipline of full presence. Our true loving and compassionate nature floods everything we are, everything we do and everything we touch when, and only when, we have full presence: here now, in this body, of this place, at this time. Suffering comes from thinking we have a choice – allowing ourselves the possibility of something else. Thinking happens when our engagement with the now slackens – when our mind wanders from here to somewhere over there. Distraction is the product of anxiety – low grade, but chronic fear. Anxiety arises from feelings of inadequacy – when I feel I have responsibility above and beyond that of simple presence – when I feel I have something to maintain and defend: family, property, dogma, ego, etc, or when I feel I need more than I have. How on Earth do we cut through all this shit? Actually it is very easy. What spiritual practitioners have found from the beginnings of time, is that when we drift from full presence the breathing changes – it becomes erratic, more shallow, and often stops for moments, especially moments of distraction (slackness) or excessive concentration (hardness). So we practice presence, and slowly build the power of presence, by becoming conscious of our breathing at all times. If we are with our breath then we cannot be with our thoughts. In yoga they say the breath is the bridge between the mind and the body. My body – my physical aspect – is the little part of reality that is truly mine, but it must be claimed and inhabited, and this is what full presence is all about, initially anyway. Gradually, with practice, the breathing changes: the in-breath doesn't just bring in fresh air it brings in energy from all around and into all of the body, and my out-breath doesn't just expel stale air but it gives of my energy and essence. So when I look at that flower my eyes see a beautiful object and my nose smells a wonderful aroma but my conscious breathing receives the essence – the presence – of the flower, and gives to the flower my own presence – my own essence. This is real communication and it clearly has nothing to do with words. In fact when words come in – when we speak – the breathing suffers because we breathe out longer than we breathe in – we basically stop listening. When we get into conscious breathing we begin to realise that the power of presence is the ability to communicate essence to essence. The senses lie because they only pick up the appearance of things, whereas what my body absorbs when it is truly present is the nature of things. Often, when we try to be alert and vigilant, we stop breathing because we feel the noise and movement of our breathing to be a distraction. As soon as we do this we only have sensory information to rely on because we have stopped being fully in and with the body. When I practice conscious breathing I don't listen with my ears, or look with my eyes, or smell with my nose, but with my presence. To practice conscious breathing we don't need to sit or to have correct posture or to do anything special – we just need to breathe and to gradually become aware of how the breathing affects us, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The body then becomes a vibrant and fully alive part of the world – what Olson called "a fit instrument for use."

5.4.09

Train to failure. It is at the point of failure that the body works best.
any
cell re

members
a world


John Martone

Wholeness

To become whole – rightly whole – I need first to break myself apart: rid myself of the pathological stubbornness that keeps me locked in my refractory mold. Each part must be extracted and shaken clean of its dependent habits: made to find its independence – its true nature. Then the whole can be reassembled to work as it should. This is true of any society, including the human body.

4.4.09

Most of our mental activity is an attempt to prove that we exist.

John Welwood

3.4.09

Gravity

Gravity wants to be, and should be, invasive – like a vapour pressing into our pores, not just down but all around. We have learnt to handle gravity's forceful aspect by becoming forceful ourselves, but in doing so we miss its energetic nature for which we need to soften, relax and accept. Then gravity feels much stronger – almost oppressive – as we let it pour into us rather than operate upon us.

1.4.09

Transparent at all times.

Compassion

I become compassionate when I allow reality to press in with such force that it bursts through all my protective skins of comfort and self-concern, and enters my flesh and bones. I then support the world with my presence rather than my concern (which is always self-concern) or pity (which is always self-pity). Real compassion, like a real fight, is too immediate for either thoughts or feelings to have any direct bearing. By the time they enter the picture the event is already over. In this sense thoughts and feelings are always from the past and always about the past – lingering like a bad smell.



Jess Mynes