Spiral; curl; whorl; twist.


No point
except that
of failure


Good faith
I am well & glad, as I trust, are you.


The mind is a screen upon which the film of life plays – perceptions, thoughts, feelings, emotions. As meditators we spend at least part of our time reducing the contents of the mind so that we can sense the screen – our frame and ground. This gives us presence of mind: we remain aware of the mind and refuse to get lost in the contents of the mind. We then use relaxation with a tender spirit to help the mind expand. This gives us mental space – we begin to lose the frame. We then sink into mind, allow ourselves to be subsumed by mind, and we lose the ground by becoming that ground.
the other person appears here as neither subject nor object but as something that is very different: a possible world

Gilles Deleuze
the other
is now
with another


Not from not
but in in.

Robert Creeley


Spirit is the name of the game.
When John Kells asked Dr Chi what he should practice when he return to London, Dr Chi said: I suggest you practice spirit.
We use it all the time – we cannot do anything without it – but it tends to become obscured and smothered by the doing – the coarse energies hide the subtle.
Spirit is the very first energy: that which initiates.
However, our egos enslave spirit in order to get things done – in order to build an empire.
The first fact of ego is disconnexion, it has no intelligence beyond itself – it builds the world from scratch – borrowing from other experience if it lacks its own (education).
The first fact of spirit is connexion, it has infinite intelligence because it is totally connected, but only when it is free.
This is why the newborn babe is so powerful – it is pure spirit – unsullied by ego and experience – and it draws you helpless into that world of spirit too – if you have the heart not to resist.
So our prime aim in taiji is to free the spirit – to disconnect it from the act it initiates so that it can perpetually hover – never to be brought down to earth. (Spirit levitates.)
We do this by investigating relaxed movement with a microscope – looking intently at each particle of an operation, and finding the spirit that drives it.
Spirit always lifts – a spark of optimism or potential.
When I live with and by spirit then I carry with me many possibilities – there is a palpable sense that anything could happen – a deeply nourishing but also dangerous excitement.
If you were here with me now then I could help you feel spirit in two minutes, it's that simple and that easy – much easier than chi.
It's the energy that opens things, in particular the doors to the heart.
Spirit is not personal – that which resides in me is not mine – it simply manifests when I create the right environment for it.
Spirit is the opposite of rooting energy. This is why, if I have Central Equilibrium, they belong together.
If you love poetry then you know spirit.
It brings life, and it generously gives life – my spirit can invest even inanimate objects with a lively spirit – a shimmer of being and the promise of becoming.
I think of it, sometimes, as the fascia of the universe.
Because it is ultimately connected and knows no ownership, spirit can only be free if all spirit is free, hence the bodishattva vow, and hence the tendency for free spirits to support the oppressed.
When your practice suddenly opens up and becomes exciting – that is spirit.
When a beloved friend phones you out of the blue and your heart soars – that is spirit.
When you walk down a dark alley and danger in the shadows makes your hackles rise – that is spirit.

For Lee



The present is as much a trap as the past and future, especially since we have anaesthetized risk and danger out of it – a comforting space of superficial stimuli – cushions everywhere. To venture into the future properly – ready and capable of sensing and engaging its subtle demands – I need energy and commitment. A commitment to spirit – the spirit of that future. And this commitment is life-long, at least in my heart. I must decide, formally and with ritual, at some point, that everything is sacrificed for the sake of this life of discovery. No burdens, no waste. All intensity and focus.


Solitude is the place of purification.

Martin Buber
When we direct at least some of our energy to dismantling our selves, then the fingers of the future extend through the skin of conformity, and draw us forward. Time loses its usual logic. What happens to me is not the logical outcome of a succession of past events, but a necessary incoming to a beckoning destiny.
the possibility of unknowing


the impossibility of knowing


Truth is not a correspondence with being but its parabolic intensification beyond being's achievements.

John D Caputo
beautiful space
bare faith
singular image
human light
Soft spirit abides in the narrow space between things. It keeps them apart and it holds them together. It allows them to be more than themselves by virtue of operating together. An individual is fulfilled in the act of togetherness. We cannot go on alone. To be alone is to be guilty. Guilty of choosing separation.


To decide to become a philosopher seemed as foolish to me as to decide to become a poet.

Karl Jaspers
A loving space is one that allows, encourages and supports relaxation. Relaxation as a consequence of trust. Relaxation as entering the process of becoming what God intends: fulfilling a promise, living intention, meaningfully. (Loving rather than love – the process rather than the commodity.)
Life is at the point of failure – that place we no longer have the strength to get it wrong.


The reason for self-awareness is to become self-creating.
there are no facts only interpretations and this too is an interpretation

Gianni Vattimo
If as a teacher I help remove a student's tension, I must also give them a root – a connexion to a place of unlimited energy – and also awaken the desire to use that root. In this sense desire and destiny are the same thing.


Aporia : dwell at the point of failure.
For the sensitive, intelligent, inquisitive student, insights abound – a veritable profusion. Each is the creative expression of a feeling – a trace of energy passing through the body in anticipation – messages from the future. It is not enough that such insights gain expression and respect. They need to be worked with intensively, laboriously and always physically over a long period of time (years) to force them into each and every cell – internalization. Having them at my fingertips requires their physical manifestation – my hard work makes them real. Having them at the forefront of my mind, couched in the vulgarity of language and the swagger of knowing, teaches nothing, it simply encourages my students to become imposters like myself.
All laws, rules, principles must be looked into – deconstructed. Even Central Equilibrium, the principle at the core of our understanding of energy: is it not simply a gross approximation and generalization – an aesthetic imposition, an excuse for self-congratulation? The principles aren't necessarily incorrect, it's just that going at reality in any way full of anything but openness and love is foolish because we simply end up making the world in our own image.


I may believe that I have the power to disconnect and walk away unscathed, but we all know that is impossible: the price of disconnexion is too much for the soul to bear.
the falsetto of reason

Samuel Beckett
Experiencing is not the receiving and processing of images but a joining so total that I lose myself – my identity, my individuality, my balance and equilibrium, my knowing – to the experience.


Blindspots aren't the places and things I don't know, but precisely the things I am sure that I do know.


the wisdom of earthly relations

Allen Ginsberg
Off the beaten track



to the nacreous edge
Karin Lessing
Had he perhaps chased butterflies too much?
Submerge individuality, and release spirit. Essence.
What interests me personally is . . . the beautiful newness that explodes – tragically – also violently – but which aspires towards the most gentle newness

Luigi Nono


A moral life is one constantly remolding experience according to established codes: an encoded life. An ethical life is one true only to itself. My struggle, or one of them, is to root out moral coding and break it. Live ethically rather than morally.
True creativity always springs from a destructive act. It has nothing to do with making things. It is spirit destroying the known world so that the unknown can spill forth, if only momentarily.
Tai Chi is my undoing


If architects want to strengthen a decrepit arch, they increase the load that is laid upon it, for thereby the parts are joined more firmly together.

Victor Frankl
A path of stones across a raging river. The teacher's job is to point out the next stone. If a step appears too difficult then intermediary stones must (and can always) be found. The teacher needs to ensure that the path revealed is the student's and not his own.
We suffer because we will not let go.


It is according to opinion that we suffer.

Tai Chi aims to waken and hone the spirit so that it, and only it, leads the way. In this sense it is almost the opposite of psychotherapy, most of which aims to heal the ego in order to become better integrated socially – an ego amongst egos.


The job at hand is to find the work in myself and myself in the work. Then we belong together.


We are habits, nothing but habits – the habit of saying ‘I’. Perhaps there is no more striking answer to the problem of the Self.

Gilles Deleuze
The grip of fear holds me to an image, and stops me being me.
Cleverness turns bad when used to deceive.


Destiny is in many ways the opposite of habit. If habit is my past extending forcefully by way of the present into my future, then destiny is my future extending energetically by way of the present into my past. Destiny is the meaning in my life – a meaning that only becomes revealed when I develop a feeling.


The precision of naming takes away from the uniqueness of seeing.

Pierre Bonnard



Habit is the means by which we use the present to project the past onto the future.


The artist must train not only his eye, but his soul.

Wassily Kandinsky
Suspend belief
Belief is a knowing so deep that it resists being dredged into full consciousness. And like everything subjective, it needs to be occasionally tested to see if it's real.
Being is becoming


the aim is not to rediscover the eternal or the universal, but to find the conditions under which something new is produced

Gilles Deleuze
The unknown is indistinct and indefinite until one has sufficient experience of it – until it becomes known. In fact, it may be so indefinite that one doesn't realise one has ventured into it – the student who can work energetically but can't feel what's happening and so refuses to believe. We must realise that this process of gaining experience to reveal terrain is itself limiting. What we should be developing is negative capability – the ability to function all the better for not knowing. Charitably.
My snowshoes need new leather straps
But for now they’ll have to do

Bob Arnold
Most of us live inauthentically: out of accord with our true nature, and incompletely – not fully engaged. Any 'real work' or 'internal discipline' should make us more authentic – more from our core and more total. Tai Chi should be such a discipline but often, especially once the student has advanced beyond learning the Forms, becomes yet another exercise in avoiding full engagement. Of course totality is never reached, so Tai Chi should be a journey towards and into totality, a life on the edge – poised on the brink: Central Equilibrium.


My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety toward the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.

George Santayana
The only power worthwhile is the power to change.
When I relax deeply the parts of my body fall apart, and a space – a connective space – opens up, not so much in the body as between the body. This space is continuous and connects all parts. In this sense, relaxation is a process of deunification – shattering the lump into a working multiplicity. What makes it possible is a well-maintained and conditioned connective space – "betweenness." What makes it work well is spirit. Spirit doesn't rule or control, it plays.
Connexion is democratic and liberating. Each connected entity neither commands nor obeys the other – both serve the connexion, and in the process both become free.