Veritatem facere : make truth


discipline conceived as a means of sobering and quieting the mind, freeing the mind from its likes and dislikes, taste and memory, making it subject to the Mind outside it
Time doesn't just allow change, it demands it.


submitting to the unintelligible
Tai Chi Intensive
29 December 2011
Five hours of bent legs


Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both.
Equilibrium is an event rich in possibility
Soft, slow-moving, and deeply penetrating
Things don't necessarily come together through tension, but they certainly stay together that way; their existence gradually becomes a matter of survival rather than celebration, demanding a general state of anxiety – maintaining life rather than creating it. Relaxation in taiji is our way of reversing the process of externalization, relaxing so much that we would, were it not for the natural stickiness of our cells, come apart.
10000 hours of deliberate practice first
Taiji is a method for minimizing the External and maximizing the Internal.


We don't so much flow into time as allow time to flow through us. Everything I face or do is time past or passing : I can only experience a fading world. What enlivens us is this feeling of expressing time – of living always on the edge where future becomes past – of being in the process. What depresses us – brings us down and flattens us – is drifting into the gloom of the past.


A turn away from language and into energy. This is the event our humanity is screaming for, and if we fail to make it we're fucked.
Our body is out of balance, because it’s dynamic and it’s not stable, it’s always changing, it’s transient, it’s uncomfortable, it’s comfortable, it’s relaxed, it’s tense, it’s respondent to the weather, to other people in the room, to its own inner nervous system, the nerves are laced all through the body, so the body is always out of balance and that’s how I think of it.

Steve Benson
a constitutive finitude
This terrible solitude ... at the death of the other is what constitutes that relationship to self which we call "me"
In taiji we don't think with the mind, we direct with it. Our mind creates the apparatus that houses our being, not the other way around: we are the experiment taking place within Mind. This is most clear with principles and beliefs; they are mental constructs – axioms – that direct and enable the use of ourselves in the world at large. The use of the mind in this way enables a much deeper relaxation and internalization, but it requires an unshakable consistency; once we start directing with the mind we dare not stop otherwise we will literally fall apart at the seams.
Knowledge is solid; it blocks the way of understanding.


The only certainty in life is death. Or less melodramatically: the future is uncertain; things change. Most cultures acknowledge this as axiomatic, and when it is thought through it becomes clear that at least two worlds must exist: the knowable world, and the unknowable world. The knowable world consists of everything that can be experienced, thought, imagined: everything we could possibly talk about. The unknowable world contains everything we cannot experience or imagine – the world of feelings we will never feel, possibilities that will never materialize. Deleuze called these two sides of reality the actual and the virtual. My teacher calls them the External and the Internal. Science concerns itself with the process of externalization – with exploring the knowable world – making the unknown known. Spiritual work on the other hand concerns itself with a process of internalization – of becoming internal. We can never know the unknowable, but we can enter it and touch it by switching on the unknowable part of ourselves. This is the true nature of Mind – it is the Internal. Our usual use of mind – specifically thinking – is a gross externalization of Mind, designed to objectify the self and hence the world.


Nothing so healing as the human touch.


To relax the mind into its virtual capacity, and free the energy to do what it needs. Most human endeavor instead strives to materialize the mind by thinking, locking up the energy in the process.


Mostly we spend a life avoiding what needs to be engaged and engaging what would be best avoided.


In taiji the connexion supersedes both self and other.
In the Trinity there is, 1 Ipseity; 2 Alterity; 3 Community.
real but not actual, ideal but not abstract


an inconceivable process of dismantling and dispossession


Elbows pulled down, knees lifted up; by mind not muscle.
the infinite finitude of time
In a state of suspense
this pre-originary intervention of the other in me
the capacious heart


A radical equilibrium – from root to other – is inherently unstable. This is its trembling beauty – never more than a trace – an echo – yet lasting forever.
Like a puppet on a string
The Maker of all things took Union and Division, and Identity and Alterity, and Station and Motion to compleat the soul.


making prose plotless by the adamancy of my atomizing
Searching for that which precedes every decision and exceeds all mastery.



the endlessness of the end that is never-ending
Shoulders relax into elbows; hips into knees.
there cannot be anything without the greeting of the other


no going outside of oneself, however excellent, is better than staying still


the undecidable future always exceeds any plans we make for it


the movement of disappearance
"Whatever I do, I do it with my heart, that is the way I am."
an inward nisus
reflecting disappearance itself
Why not be, rather, fully human?


The martial context of taiji indicates that it is simply a way of training the body to respond with lightening speed to feeling.
the provocative otherness of the other
Suspended from above
To be human is to feel, primarily. Sentio ergo sum. Feelings come and go all the time – traces of energy passing through – stimulating us to do whatever it is that we do. How we relate to a feeling depends upon us. We can ignore it – act as though we don't feel – dull and insensitive, we can resist the feeling – harden ourselves against it and attempt to deny its consequences (become a wall), we can hold onto the feeling encouraging it to develop into an emotion (become a knot), or we can simply be aware of the feeling as it happens and allow the body to respond appropriately. This last approach we call yielding.


The individual is the seat of a constant process of decantation, decantation from the vessel containing the fluid of future time, sluggish, pale and monochrome, to the vessel containing the fluid of past time, agitated and multicoloured by the phenomena of its hours.

Samuel Beckett
A mind not so much silent as without commentary – unpreoccupied.


the accusation that summons
looking for the invisible within the visible, the untouchable within the touchable


all language is an act of persuasion, an attempt to shift desires
like having to pass through a deep valley ... in search of a mouse hole that will lead to freedom


We go deep to dispel the very notion of depth
in the heart of the cloud of the virtual there is a virtual of a yet higher order
an incipient richness
To live out a life


a way of living that reverses the movement that created us, the movement that led from virtual to actual
The test of a good posture is how immediately and efficiently it returns energy.
one must master one's own breath – the most important and vital connection with nature


a state of precultural grace unsullied by language


Our power (energy level) draws us to consciously enter the process of becoming. We become acutely aware that each present moment is a passage from past to future. This awareness demands we effectively become two – the past we are leaving behind at one end of the passage and the future we are becoming at the other. For an instant we feel both clearly, and become the flow between. Like an amoeba.
The world is not a grab-bag of things. It’s an always-in-germ.
The taiji mind is neither distanced nor removed from the actual world. It is intensely and intently with and of the world it inhabits. The imagination, as such, does not enter the picture at all. We do not think above and beyond what is actual. But our intense presence gives us power beyond the usual: a power to squeeze and press as though into time and thereby feel much more than usual – the power to travel deeper into reality. We effectively choose consciousness and awareness over thinking. And the world which opens up to this intensity teems with life and detail – we become aware of potential – of possibility – and we feel that what this potential possesses as potential – a fine charge and delicacy – an evanescent incandescence too beautiful to imagine – dies the moment it actualizes and enters the so-called real world of actual things. So, for me at least, coming into being represents a sort of death, or at least a shocking let-down, and actual death, which allows entrapped essence to re-enter the virtual world, a sort of birth.


The first stage is to develop a root and make an ally of the Earth. We need all the help we can get.
duplicity is an artifact of immediacy
Taiji, as a practice, is simply a means of gathering energy and developing the power to travel ever deeper into awareness. To be effective it must go hand-in-hand with an ascetic life style that puts the truth of solitude and virtue above consumerism (a life that doesn't waste energy). It also requires vision : the ability to formally commit the whole of one's life to one course.


When I think of my body and ask what it does to earn that name, two things stand out. It moves. It feels. In fact, it does both at the same time.
I am handing you
what I do, as I do it.
I have to tear down a wall
in the way, and that
is what I do.
a creative activity belonging to the very essence of the occasion


Think of energy as the transmission of physical feelings.
For better or for worse
Problems arise when we try to make sense of feelings – when we begin to think we understand. Mystery is not just a state of not knowing; it is a charged state of heightened awareness because of not knowing. Understanding brings comfort and relief but also deflation and disappointment. Truth ultimately lies in the spirit of the connexion – the mystery – not in the understanding.
What we give to the moment is our attention and our intention : our engagement.
A life full of giving. Not necessarily to others but to each and every moment.


you startle from the sleep
in which you have celibated yourself
to serenity
fluid & permeable


the word ‘or’ names a genuine reality
interwoven with everything that is, yet trapped in an illusion of separateness
Slumped shoulders & drooping buttocks.

Energy flows down the front of the upper body (head & torso), and down the back of the lower body (legs).
The good therapist should, at the same time, be above the situation.


Mind should never be allowed to feed upon itself.
How difficult it is!
progress is always a transcendence of the obvious
bold & humble


Mind directs the energy which directs the body.
like the thin line of flame advancing across the dry autumnal field
Rationality is just a vulgar means of making opinions respectable.


You can’t control anything. What you have to do is let yourself be taken over.


No blame, no regret.
Low expectation, high self-worth.
The enemy is always fear, and what is built on fear : self-image.
Never listen to second thoughts.


poetry liberates words from their emotional implications, prose confirms them in it
Mind makes feelings, and then feelings make thoughts or movements or emotions.
Root is not only in the foot. It is a line of connexion from every part of the body to the ground beneath the foot.
Hasdai continued to impress Abd al-Rahmaan with both his knowledge and his way with people.


with a single purpose out of a single fountain
Dissociate the mind from thinking in order to associate it with feeling


Impossible without the other
the man who, having reconciled the opposites of (his) nature, is whole


the feminine aspect of empathy : the opening of self to other
So I come again to my present day gyrations
Psychosomatic : unity of mind and body
reason is emotion’s slave and exists to rationalize emotional experience
understand what you learn by questioning


our desire for desire / our appetitite for life
a somatic base


Plumb from the perineum
Leave home. Meet strangers. And learn to draw.
The nature of the mind is luminosity.


these rotten churches / in my head
It's all in the connexion
actively engaged in the expansion of revolutionary perception
my knees are in my knees
 my eyes are in my eyes

Aram Saroyan
Or is language itself the negative of no known positive?


We live in a world largely at odds with the feelings that create it. This is because the objects of creation – the stuff created – clutter and interrupt the creative process. Even a practice as unmaterialistic as taiji: how often do we try to remember a feeling we've had before – recreate yesterdays form – instead of starting afresh and creating anew.


a shell of words scaled off
essential practice


gentle violence
What makes taiji, or anything else for that matter, spiritual is the fact that at the level of first principle it puts the Other first. Our struggle is not to befriend the Other – not to find common ground – not to identify in any way – but to open to its otherness as a means of dissolving self.
The best time to practice is when you're too tired to practice


Humour is the art of the surface


The external supports and contains the internal; whilst the internal softens, melts and floods the external.
a militant of truth
I must necessarily turn to something other than myself since it is a question of being delivered from self

Simone Weil


an active fidelity to the event of truth
Spirit is the agent of the event, and the whole idea of becoming versed in spirit is to consistently rupture the ever-constricting skin of normality, burst into the eventual, and become. And spirit is simply this – something that breaks whatever separates us from reality, and then acts as guiding light – luring us forth, radiant, unafraid, into the events of life.


to be means to exist the way nature does
a vision of entities as mobile arrangements of disparate (or nonequivalent) forces
One of the fundamental facts of ego is it's oneness. Not a unity but individual and individuated – to the point of isolation. In fact one of Nietzsche's beautiful insights was that with the death of God, the temptation to install one's own ego as substitute will be irresistable, and mankind will be really fucked. The fundamental fact of the body is it's twoness – a body of two halves, elastically and dynamically interacting to generate and revel in energy, for its own sake if nothing else. When the mind quietens in taiji it does so into movement – a body in motion – into this writhing twoness, rather than into the lonely oneness of a self set apart.
the coherence of a body


The Age of Reason was preceeded by, and probably required, a 300 year witch hunt to eradicate all vestiges of energy and spirit – all madness – before it could establish itself. Reason only takes root in barren ground.
energy erupts anew in each moment
tentative formulations


The river changes even as we step into it, and so do we.


The legs straighten to generate force, and bend to issue energy


Gravity is a field which contains and influences. The first instruction of taiji – sink & relax – means to become deeply mindful of this. Other concepts in taiji – the Other, the Internal, the Principles, Yielding, Energy, Spirit – are also best conceived of as inescapable fields through which to roam and glow.
Sink & relax = yield to gravity
I yield when I offer no resistance – when I am soft.
Taiji is the practice and study of yielding.
Is it not possible that there are two distinct dimensions ... one always concealed by the other, yet continuously coming to the aid of, or subsisting under, the other?
escape the inescations of sense
All you have to decide is what to do with the time given to you
The next stage is always the most difficult


(2) a pure becoming without measure, a veritable becoming-mad,
which never rests. It moves in both directions at once. It always eludes
the present, causing future and past, more and less, too much and not
enough to coincide in the simultaneity of a rebellious matter.
The primary fact of taiji is its martial status : we train for situations where there is literally no time for thought, language, decisions, not even consciousness. Situations where there is only automatic response.


Everything becomes principle
All hinges on how I present myself to the world and the work; how am I present?
Naked – with nothing between me and it. No impediment in the heart.
Attack without malice
I strayed out of thought & time
Freedom lies not in being able to chose what to do, but in being able to transform into whatever is required to do what is necessary.


A feeling bears on itself the scars of its birth; it recollects as a subjective emotion its struggle for existence; it retains the impress of what it might have been, but is not.


Rational mind reduces the world to numbers
Suffering is slavery
an exceeding which thwarts any recuperation


shadow substance one
Compassionate mind (surely our greatest achievement) is a mind all heart, which, in the limit, becomes Universal Mind, admitting so much of reality that it becomes indistinguishable from it.


The ever-present dancing machines
Rational mind is an affront to Nature.
Poetry isn’t easy to come by.
You have to write it like you owe a debt to the world.
In that way poetry is how the world comes to be in you.

Alan Davies
Time presses everywhere


imbibe delight through every pore
Free of passion we perceive the virtual; full of passion we realise the actual. So says the Tao Te Ching. The task at hand is to be free of passion and full of passion at the same time.
With connexion comes obligation
The vital force of life that resides in the belly rises up the spine as a vapour, touches the base of the skull, diffuses through the body, and spins the spirit into a higher consciousness.
Belly is power – pulling in and down. Heart is love – pouring up and out. This is obvious. What is less obvious is the connexion between the two. Given that taiji is the balance of yin & yang: love depends upon a strong root otherwise it is weak and undirected, and power actively generates an open giving heart otherwise it becomes stagnant and choked. A good heart needs to be supported from below otherwise it worries to death.


I continue to live in the wonder wherein I recognize my affirmation as just and lasting, the weight of my existence as an operative reality that I project forward every day, in each moment, displacing it continuously, constructing it each day, in each instant, for collective being.

Antonio Negri


Joy is an affect by which the body's power of acting is increased or aided


I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched
Repetition is not the recurrence of the same old thing over and over again; to repeat something is to begin again, to renew, to question, and to refuse to remain the same.


Creativity is not the making of things, but the ever renewing discovery of principle through principled work.
sentient landscape
What matters is the discovery of ways of aligning yourself with the creative processes that work through you.
The principles aren't cages, but elastic skins to stretch and press into


String of pearls
The arms industry needs war, the drug companies need disease, the police need crime, the ego needs fear : corruption is built into the system. The struggle for purity – humility – is never ending.
The Internal is the virtual or ineffable content of a thing or event. Always just beyond. All I can do is believe and create – become aware.
Dedicating a life to the Internal. Not because I want to, but because I have no choice.
Success is possible only when the effort is total


Philosophy inverts the movement that leads from metaphysics to psychology.
As far away from mechanical movement as is humanly possible


the arduous procedure of counting to Two


Reason can simply be a way for the powerful and 'unreasonable' to enforce their institutional domination.
try to unite the brain with the heart, bodily suppleness with tension;
an agile mind and body will intuitively produce the right response
an intensity darker than


Rendered passive by the need to understand


communication through mutual grappling
Thinking cannot solve problems – only pose them.
Spirit is the agent of deproblematization.
The power to affect and the power to be affected


How much pure reality manages to break through?
Maybe a few seconds in a lifetime.
Significance always lies elsewhere
Put emptiness into motion
the gnawing fire at heart and brain
evidence of things not seen
Al wyt, reson, and sens, felyng, lyfe, and al other natural powar, spryngyth out of the hart.


If sinking gives me depth, then turning gives me subtlety
struggle into and out of meaning


variegated, mobile, assymmetrical, decentred, spiraloid


To relax is to admit difference


The world that we try to explain is simply there.
In the composition, the artist does exactly what the eye must do with life, fix the particular with the universality of his own personality