Energy intensifies in folds.


Spirit is what makes us animal, especially predator. The greedy nose and eye, not content with receiving, reach out to kill and possess – ingest.
Through the glass of the roof
Through the roof of your mouth
Through the mouth of your eye


Spirit has two distinct intensities. One that animates repetition, and the other that ruptures repetition.
Be true to (your) spirit and everything else will take care of itself. Another article of faith.

A habit is a machine that operates without spirit. If spirit happens to rise then the habit is broken, at least temporarily, and we have an event. This is practice. Now, the fact is that spirit is always present, lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce when the time is right. Our skill then is in allowing such time, in reining in our doing, our will, and allowing what's there to present itself. A relaxation – a wisdom – born of faith and selfless belief.
"If you connect to the Earth you'll be limited, but if you connect to the stars you'll be infinite."

In taiji we balance these two – the up and the down – we work with the finite to develop the selfless strength to reach for the stars.
A relaxation that allows me to leave my thoughts and settle into my energy. In particular that intersection of energy and time called destiny.


Relaxation is a function of belief, and so an article of faith.


As we clamour for meaning it flees out the window and we end up just fabricating our own. Fantasies, fantasies…


Rest in neither mass nor class.

Truth is free spirit.

Liberated even from the possibility of success.

Correct posture ensures that every time I lift a limb, be it leg, arm or eye, I am driven down my spine and into the earth. This is central equilibrium.


Spirit is what gets you out of bed in the morning. The desire for novelty. The heart's leap into possibilities.

One defeats the enemy by breaking their rhythm. The same goes for the ego.
Monotheism is our departure from Nature – a negative response to fear of death – a need to endure as is rather than return to the elements.
Work, and probably life too, is the elastic play of tension and relaxation.
Stack your insights, one on top of the others, and drive them into the ground – your root and core.


A dead cat outside my window : the sweet sickly smell of disintegration. Awaiting the inevitable plague of flies.

Sometimes sink so low that your headtop is lower than your standing eye level. If this means your tail protrudes behind you then so be it.
a mobile consistency
There is a saying in taiji: When performing the Form, feel as though you are under a table. What this means is, firstly, that you should be well and truly sunk – low – close to the ground, and, secondly, you should feel the ever-presence of the table top bearing down above you. If this doesn't make you the spirited hunter then nothing will.
"Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity."
Clearly distinguish between information and knowledge. The first is purely external – all surface – flat, like the Internet. The second can be internal, especially when it indicates understanding or gnosis.


cruel to be kind

The struggle for the artist is to let his materials speak for themselves in the hope they may tell him secrets about spirit.


"The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself from the chains that shackle the spirit."

cyclical rather than goal-directed


Pride, which effectively amounts to an insistence upon the external, is the puffed up chest of one caught up in class, of one confident in place and direction, of one brimming with self-image. Even if that image is an image of heart – a loving front – it is still a lie. The opposite of this is the taiji hollow chest and rounded shoulders: an old hunchbacked crone stirring her pot, indeed stirring her heart into her pot, her work, her magic.


"cleaving to a music of detailed variation within more or less fixed boundaries"


A loving relationship is one based on an economy of giving – one that always puts giving first. And the first thing to give, no matter the situation, is respect – a willingness to look, to see, and then to look again. This second looking, and the ensuing seeing, is the one that involves spirit – the one when the guard drops and the heart leaps in.
"And unless you need to make art to stay alive, you shouldn't be making art."
In taiji we give the lower dantien to Earth rather than to pleasure, we give the middle dantien to the Other rather than to self, and we give the upper dantien to Spirit or God rather than to thought. This is a natural process which we fearfully struggle to lock out with tension. We resist gravity, we resist love, and, above all, we resist spirit.
"Classification remains a static act: either it is the result of dynamism becoming exhausted or it is the most effective obstruction against a strong flux …"

Tension is a fearful attempt to rescue something from the possibility of disappearing – from decay and death and disintegration. Really the fear of returning to the elements – of reintegration with nature.


Memories of dissecting a mouse at school. The teacher killed it – put it to sleep – with chloroform before class started. We pinned it spreadeagle to a board, sliced open its belly with a scalpel, and carefully pulled out its viscera, naming each part. Ever since, this operation has been, for me, an image of rational thought: killing, immobilizing and dissecting. And when killing and/or immobilizing and/or dissecting are either impossible or improper then an idealized model is invented to stand in for reality. This operation freezes the world – objectifies it. Both the object of thought and the part of me that thinks – the frontal brain – are gripped in the forceful vice of reasoning. It never occurs to most of us that there is an alternative use of the mind.
free energy


The Form is like a musical instrument, only of value for the sound (energy) it can produce; and only ever as good as the musician who plays it.

As nature intended

distinguish naturing nature from natured nature
Conceptual thinking forces the world to the rhythms of the mind and body. Concepts help to slow chaotic time sufficient for an image of the world to cohere long enough for life to have some meaning; that is, for a course of action well within my capabilities to present itself and appear reasonable.
Celeripedian: swift footed & nimble heel'd.
"When we think … we are the victims of our images."


Blessings are always disguised. They peep out from rents in the surface of reality. The skill – really the courage – lies in living a life always rending.
Worry and anxiety are simply ways of avoiding the present moment. Arrogance and self-pity rolled into one.

Thinking is a vain attempt to compensate for lack of spirit.


The teacher clearly distinguishes external and internal. She appreciates that the external exists only to house the internal. At some point in her tutelage she made a very important decision: to follow only the internal – to let it be her sole guide through life. In a sense this is no decision at all, since, having distinguished external and internal it would be impossible to be guided by the external as it clearly has no wisdom or spirit. However, the external, being visible, sensible and generally in the foreground, always threatens to overpower the internal which is invisible, insensible (nonsensical), and lingering behind or beneath or below. This is why the teacher is also a warrior – ever suspicious and vigilant – and a hunter – restlessly delving and searching.
Change for heaven's sake.
People, I've found, generally believe what they need to believe to prevent the world they've grown accustomed to from collapsing.


Armour yourself with love.

My life is an interaction between the world and me – a collaboration. If I had no need of the world, and, more importantly, if the world had no need for me, then I would not be alive.


The two yearnings that drive spiritual work: the urge to find and release our deepest energy, and the desire for wholeness – for the hole inside to be filled; the desire for completion.
When the aim of your work is transformation then it's not what you gain that's important but what you are prepared to give up – yield – sacrifice.


"the timid and green advance of the new"

Eventually, when your spirit is strong enough, you'll find yourself with two front feet.

Habit reduces time to a metrical plod.

the law of the weakest link

off the beaten track

"Rhythm is a fluctuation of the rhesis, the surge."
A habit is, effectively, an addiction.

Work hard to develop a root and, in time, your spirit will naturally rise and reach for the stars. This is the way of taiji.
Spirit is a matter of faith – one needs spirit to maintain faith, and one needs faith to develop spirit.
Understanding is not a matter of intelligence, but an act of spirit. This is why many things – difficult things – can only be understood by those with good strong spirit.


"The clinking cacophonic collision of unaddressed bottles in the sea."


The teacher arms you – provides weapons and tools with which you dismantle debilitating habits and create new strengthening ones. The general movement is always away from cultural containment and into the real. Out of safety and into danger.


Nan Goldin tells the story of a four year old who goes up to a baby and says: "Do you remember God? Cos I'm beginning to forget."


if the spiritual life is fulfillment
then the natural is participative


Spiritual work lets you glimpse the truth – or at least moves you closer to a place where you may possibly glimpse the truth – so it is hardly surprising that the dominant feeling to much of the work is that of disillusionment. Sadness and disappointment as you begin to realise that the old reliables – the structures you took for granted – the buffers and cushions that protected you from facing that most illusive of entities – the present moment – have crumbled away – no longer strong enough to hold you.


An infinite series converging on a finite value in ever finer degrees. This is the paradox our work aims to resolve.
"Glowworms glimpsed between leaves."

The glaring omission in most meditators' lives is aerobic work. Cheng Man-ching, in his snobbery, called it: "Smothering the mind with sweat." We are, ultimately, our body, and our work investigates the possibility of living a life directed by spirit rather than controlled by ego – that is, a life with only body and it's various incorporated energies. It seems reasonable then to exercise the heart and the lungs and the skin and the blood and the spirit with intense and less intense aerobic work. Far more important than qigong.
"Behind the valve, behind the duct, the demon seems to tremble."
And the paradox is, always, that the activity connecting me more and more to life and its primal forces, is inactivity – slowing and quietening and doing nothing – meditation. It allows me to feel and join the longest of rhythms. For me this is the perspicacity in the image of arborescence – not the rooting or the branching or the transformation of roots to crown through bole, but the patience and inevitable prayer of standing still for so long.
The struggle is to extend into the line you are creating and living – the line of your life, lives. This is what philosophers mean by thinking – extending the mind in such a way that life fulfils itself, at least conceptually. And artists mean by creativity or imagination – feeling the flow of life and allowing its passage, its force, to squeeze beauty out of them. Without such vision there is so much that ends up not being lived, so much inside that never sees the light of day.


The tensions I house – make home for – put me in the wrong place, from where I see the world tainted. The most difficult thing is to see the world as it really is, not because it's frightening or ugly but because its free of me – a place where my ego just doesn't belong.

Like a weathervane.
You are, by definition, the centre of the world. A point on which forces converge. These forces point you in a certain direction. This is always the direction to take : the one you find yourself facing. I am, of course, describing a perfect world. One without fear or prejudice. One in which you are consuming life at the same rate that it consumes you. One in which the world's convergence and your divergence are balanced.


When young we invest so much time and energy trying to find someone who may possibly understand us: friend, partner, teacher. Eventually we learn to enjoy the misunderstandings.

Charm wears

"When the path I was on disappeared
I knew that was the path to follow"

"The dancer is an arrow pointing elsewhere."
The sacrum is my home. It contains my stamp – my true image – me in miniature – a veritable homunculus, or rather, embryo, because pure – undefiled by time or experience. Taiji, indeed all meditation and prayer, aims to relax the minds anxiety – relax our fearfully protective grasp on our own sacrum – so that our essence – our spirit – can start to communicate with the world and with God. We tense around the sacrum to protect ourselves from ourselves – to keep our true spirit bottled up so that we can project instead our ego – our conforming, deceiving self-image. And if the sacrum is the seat of the spirit – the bone – the sacred bone – then the temples house the soul – my soft vaporous spectrality.
shy of meaning
Spirit – your spirit – comes from the core – the marrow. The key to getting it out and into everything you do is to relax your grip on your bones and let the world – energy – in. Thus is the well fed. It is what we mean by coiling – turning.
The principal concern of the artist is always truth. To be true to the energy flowing through the creative process, and true to the spirit engendering and singularizing that process. Too much concern for the end product – the art – and they are left with kitsch – all surface and no soul.