My ability to confront – face – the world depends largely on my willingness to look inside and confront myself – thoughts, feelings, perceptions, fears, emotions, decisions, tensions, motives, machinations, manipulations. Without such inner honesty and courage my experience will always be heavily coloured – tainted – by my own lack of peace. And confrontation is all that is necessary; analysis does not help. Simply face, look and see. Only then will "heart to heart" have any meaning.
I think the key is staying loose, eyes open, available and even vulnerable, open for a pass. It’s downright athletic.
Hardness is resistance : a stubborn refusal to yield. A stone is not hard – it does not resist – it is just itself – solid and firm – and given time even water will wear it down. Hardness fights, stuggles, shields – protects property – and in that struggle it constructs an empire : a monstrosity built on fear.
What was it like when our sense of smell dominated experience? Forever catching traces of what was and what will pass. Sniffing – short and sharp – through wide open airways – nostrils flaring to catch the scent – not just aroma but fleeting spirit – the joy as it flies – and riding the wind with my own spirit – homing in on sources and origins – the body tense in exactly the right way – elastic and toned – all diaphragm.
I think it was Charles Olson who suggested that mans' greatest achievement is his vertical gait, something we investigate and perfect excruciatingly in taichi. And I don't imagine that many would argue that our greatest failing – tragedy even – is our tendency to disconnect – separate – from the world we live in. The symptom of this disconnexion isn't just an absent minded day-dreaming or lack of awareness, it is the very act of thinking – or rather thinking about thinking – allowing ones thoughts to generate more thoughts and thereby creating a substitute world rather than letting them be what they originally are and should remain – feelings – impulses to physical action. Such thinking is very much a product of civilization – a luxury activity partaken during those times I do not need my wits about me, which for most of us leading safe and relatively sedentary lives is pretty much all the time. And such thinking really has nothing to do with understanding – with becoming more aware – but is really all about snatching an advantage – progress and profit.