31.10.15

I do love the way aesthetics becomes ethics and vice versa.
What is my ethics?
Attention to detail.
Savour pain: it's nature's way of keeping you awake.
When thinking stops I realise just how fast and strong time really is and how thinking impedes its flow and bogs me down in a sediment of thoughts.
We think in order to stop feeling.
Why meditate? To find a little inner peace so that you can be more successful in the life you find yourself living? Or because you have a deep suspicion that this isn't life at all but a sedated state that you've been seduced into by the forces of conformity.

The first stage is quietening the mind. The second is awakening spirit. Most never get beyond the first stage: they either endlessly struggle with a seemingly unpacifiable mind or they become lulled by the refuge of inner peace, and stubbornly refuse to even countenance that the intense activity, and the attendant responsibility, of spirit may actually be where they should be heading.
Why do we so stubbornly refuse to change, even when that change is obviously for the best? Because we hold onto a childish conviction that the world has a responsibility to love us as we are, and when it so clearly doesn't we become resentful and indignant, and hold on all the more strongly to a misguided sense of right that comes to dominate and control every aspect of life and being. To break through this barrier takes years and years of carefully directed work, most of which can only be done alone.
The mistake most mediators make is to forget that meditation is as much a physical exercise as a mental one. The lower spine must be held strongly and the sitting bones pushed firmly into the cushion otherwise energy will not rise up the spine and wash away the head-mind.

30.10.15

The bourgeoisie (ego) will always find itself trapped between an underclass (unconscious) that it represses and exploits, and an overclass (superego) that it exalts and obeys. Guilty of being both bully and victim. And resenting everything: the poor for the dignity of their suffering, the rich for their callous inability to empathise, and themselves for their puerile prejudices.
"analog love in digital times"

29.10.15

As soon as I grow attached to something I start telling myself lies to justify holding on to it. I acquire an agenda. This is especially true of opinions and points of view.
What I know protects me from what I don't know.

28.10.15

"The internal and the external are always mutually implicated in one another."
When spirit rises all theory, all therapy, all words, go out of the window. This is freedom. Terrifying in prospect but exhilarating in actuality.

27.10.15


Don't just think outside the box, live outside (it) too.

26.10.15

Everything on purpose but nothing forced.
In Taiji we do something because we mean to. Initially this meaning comes from the mind: I perform a physical action because my mind tells my body what to do. Then the Taiji Form takes on an exactitude – an incision and precision – that is obviously from a mind in clear control. Eventually this becomes boring, not just to perform but to be in the presence of too. It is clear and exact but lacks passion, feeling and heart. The next stage though is only possible on completion of this first stage, which conditions the body – makes it ready – for energetic flow. The next stage introduces the heart, unifies heart and mind, heart and intent. It goes something like this: the mind relaxes down into the root in order to produce an upward flow of energy which is released and directed outwards by a joyful heart. The difficulty here, and this takes years to master, is for the mind to leave the energy alone, in the far more capable hands of the heart. The mind, ever the control freak, wants to direct everything, but by so doing ruins the flow of energy.
Heart-mind is a beautiful instrument: so delicate that each constantly morphs into the other. This is Taiji.
"Circumcision, that’s all I’ve ever talked about."
Heart-mind is the organ of intent: the part that makes things happen and gets things done. Two components: cooperating and contesting, decongesting, without which there is no energy, no spirit. Mind releases into a source of energy: a muscle, a root, the core, ancestors, memory, beliefs, traditions – effectively anything that has power, and the heart releases into the task at hand: the work, the lover, the enemy, the other, the future. Then energy will flow in the direction of heart. The difficulty is in preventing the mind from following the energy. If it does then I lose the source and energy dies. I must be mindful of origin and heartful of destiny.
The most painful death is the one you die in your sleep.
The mind creates movement in Taiji. But it also creates resistance to that movement. This is how we use the Form to cultivate spirit.
Far better to die an honourable death than live a long life.
The difficulty, once past the point of no return, is continuity: how to keep the mind and spirit both sharp and on the job; because, no matter how much practice, it is never enough.
In Taiji the mind does not think, it intends: it directs energy. The mind is the instrument of intent.
Lightness is of the spirit.
Softness is of the heart.

24.10.15

If you are going to meditate, make sure it's Taiji meditation: put spirit first and foremost.
'Reality' is the energetic continuum. 'World' is a set of external relations. The function of the ego is to extract me from reality and embed me in a world. The function of spirit is to tear open the world and momentarily leap into reality.

23.10.15

"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free."

21.10.15

Emotion is feeling that has become strong enough to be held onto, to have left the real world of transient flows, intensities and continuity, and entered the fantasy realm of opinion. Emotion has become a thing in itself.
World peace. The only arena where this is neither tautology nor oxymoron is the internal. This is the first principle of spiritual work: external springs from internal; external peace is a consequence of internal peace. My first responsibility is to attend to my own peace of mind, and then, if only by example, the world – my world – has a chance.
There is always a bigger picture. A smaller one too. So we must search for those principles that are scale invariant.

20.10.15

A mind made up is a hard mind, fit only to be used as a coarse weapon – a battering ram. It will never uncover or arrive at truth. Truth can never be known, only intuited or felt, for brief moments. It is like a faint scent on the breeze, a whisper in a tongue unknown. Its touch is the touch of grace, destined to leave my heart enriched but my mind empty at best, confused at worst. This is why discipline is so important: I meditate not because I have decided to but because I don't allow myself a choice. A subtle but crucial distinction. I must become a man capable of keeping promises. A man of his word.
Suffering is inevitable. So we choose our suffering: we either suffer to change or we suffer to resist change and remain the same. And the only real change, we propose, is a change of heart, a change to heart, towards heart. In this sense, heart is the vast ocean of wisdom and compassion awaiting the world beneath the jealous, petulant, fearful guard of my selfishness.
Illusory in the sense of transient.
The more the prospect of meditation fills me with trepidation, the more good it will do if I manage to find the courage to sit. Meditation is a space where time, energy and courage (heart) come together to create a possibility for change.

18.10.15

"I have become a different person. I don't know whether this person is better, he certainly is not happier."
Graffiti on a local wall this morning:

STOP HATING!

This, when you consider it carefully, is the main spiritual directive: to turn away from ego with its universal will to power (always at the other's expense) and start operating instead from the heart (the only viable alternative) with its aching desire to exchange sameness for otherness.
Meditation is the alignment of an erect spine with the field of gravity for a certain duration, for the sole purpose of generating an awakening. External resistance – the refusal to practise – we call laziness. Internal resistance – the mind's resentment – we call stubbornness. It takes time – an age/ing – for the mind to dissociate from itself and realise that ego is not, in reality, of itself, is, in fact, something entirely foreign, alien, which has been keeping the true mind prisoner inside its own house. This is the awakening we are patiently awaiting. Then the mind can return to the heart and life can begin.

17.10.15

Relaxation enables me to feel a world beyond my tension – beyond myself. This is a miracle.
Meditate: take a break from activity and relax into the simplicity of being.

13.10.15

"Anybody can help being a coward. Cowardice is just thinking of your own miserable skin instead of somebody else’s. Why, even little Anne is more worried about us than she is about herself and that makes her brave. She couldn’t be a coward if she tried."
The poor student doesn't listen. They may hear but what they hear is something that has already formed in their mind before real listening has taken place: they hear their own reactions, their own opinions.

The mediocre student listens, is momentarily inspired and enthused, and then quickly forgets. The impetus of his enthusiasm does not have the energy to escape the gravity of habit. He then needs to be told again, ad nauseum.

The good student listens, hears, recognises a line of flight – an opportunity for transformation – leaps onto it never to go back, and is changed forever.

12.10.15

"break through the walls of significance, pour out the holes of subjectivity"
Set an example. Live your ethics.
Why are happy people generally so obnoxious? It's because, on average, happiness is being full of oneself. People are happy when they are getting their own way: when their body is largely free of pain, when they have all they want, and when they have successfully turned away from the needs of the Other.
To touch with a touch that leaves me speechless and vulnerable.
Ethics is all about doing difficult things in order to make the world a better place for others. The quality and depth of your ethics then depends upon how you define difficult, world, better and others.

Glass to keep out the weather and dust. Louvres to keep out the light. Net to keep out mosquitoes. Bars to keep out intruders. Chicken wire to keep out cats. Palms to keep off the sun. These are the physical layers of protection I enjoy as I meditate. How many more are there inside my mind?
"It is not individuality that counts but the efficacy of the ciphering it makes possible."
Eschew individuality for singularity. Be different. And the most radical way to be different? Learn to control your rampant, selfish, all-consuming ego. Start to live ethically.
The Modern Bourgeois Mantra:

Me  Me  Me  Me  Me …
Be still, and listen. Most problems stem from not listening. We then project inappropriate expectations upon the situation and hope for the best: a recipe, at least on the long term, for disaster.

11.10.15

"the selfsame satisfaction of the appropriating, intentional consciousness"

10.10.15

When I show compassion for others then my suffering is alleviated. This is the real secret of compassion: my responsibility as a sufferer is to demonstrate compassion rather than receive it. The cure for passivity is action.
"The man who listens is from the outset a spiritual being compared with the person who merely speaks, sees, and grasps."
There are two vital places we lose touch with as we become more and more imprisoned in ugliness, in ego. These are: the centre of gravity (the dantien) and our skin – that beautifully sensitive interface between us and the other. When the centre of gravity becomes a reality, rather than just another mathematical concept, then the person takes on a definition, an incision, an acuity, distinction and simplicity that lends their actions a power and clarity which most lack because of flabby indecisiveness. But developing the dantien doesn't come easy. It requires an inner tension, a ruthless detachment, a constant contraction into solitude. And yet it is only through such work that my skin has the support to relax and become effectively porous, giving and receiving, communucating, with the world beyond it. Only by being ruthlessly cool and centred can I enter into truly compassionate action and become something other than the selfish nonentity my ego constantly strives to make me.
Know the box you inhabit – that gilded cage of culture and conditioning – and then pluck up the courage to see beyond it. Think outside the box. This is the meaning of "Love thine enemies."

9.10.15

the teacher exposes the victim pattern in the student
the teacher exposes the student’s desire for sympathy
the teacher stands firm on the invisible golden line
between pity and hopelessness

Shiv Charan Singh
Becoming is not antagonist to being. Becoming is what happens to my being when it is pure and relaxed – when I no longer resist the challenge of relationship.
The basic proposition of meditation: quieten the mind just a little and everything will change.
Most of what passes for activity is an excuse to escape the pain of the present moment. When I do I am in the doing rather than in the space that doing occupies – I can no longer effectively listen. Taiji attempts to strike a better balance between active and passive by wresting activity away from the clutches of ego and handing it back to pure spirit. This, again, is Central Equilibrium.
"I would rather be – even if I were at a lower altitude – I would rather be able to work at any moment, even when I was uninspired."

8.10.15

Remember when you were a kid, waiting for some treat, and time would pass so slowly, causing your impatience to rise and rise until it was almost unbearable? You were effectively being forced to witness the passage of time, to count the seconds; a passive subject. And this is meditation: the counting of seconds; but without the impatience.
This work is all about giving up your inheritance for the sake of a clear conscience.

7.10.15

Ensuring stability limits the avenues of change.
I have a neighbour who practices really good yoga on the lawn outside. I saw him on his bike yesterday, and hailed him:
Hi, where are you off?
To my yoga class.
Are you the teacher?
No! I've only been doing it a year.
Well you look very professional.
Oh, yoga, it's all style – looking good – you know, fake it till you make it...
The head is ever standing back in order to discern, judge and categorize. The world then becomes sorted and ordered; segregated into numerous hierarchies. But the real world, always beyond such vanity, retreats and hides as soon as the mind flairs into activity. The real world, the heart world, needs to be seduced before it comes out to play.
"I am being forced in this direction, not because my invention or technique is inadequate, but because I am obeying an inner compulsion, which is stronger than any upbringing. I am obeying the formative process which, being the one natural to me, is stronger than my artistic education."

6.10.15

Shift from mindset to heartflow.

4.10.15

In order to accept what's coming I must first detach from what's passing. This is the secret to being in the world joyfully.
If there's one thing the ego hates it's letting go. So that is the thing to practise. Let go of what? Everything. All attachment, all tension; everything needlessly static.
Everything is connected, continuous – without discretion. Yet, at the same time, in itself, singular, unique – out of the ordinary. But only when its relationship to time is both eager and expectant. Like the hunter or the prey. In the intensity of the hunt they both sense a witness to their interaction. The intensity and quality of their relationship calls forth a usually hidden (hiding) pitch of reality, which we call death.

3.10.15

Our struggle is to reconnect: to our own energy through increased awareness, to the Earth by releasing hips and sacrum, and to the Other by opening the heart. None of this is ever achieved with force. It is a simple matter of putting in the hours of practice, day by day, year in, year out. A practice based on faith, respect, perseverance, patience and humility.
The secret of life is enthusiasm.

The most difficult students are those who think they already know.
We know from mathematics that the negative of a negative is positive, so when a negative person or group is negative about you, or your spiritual endeavours, take it as affirmation and confirmation that you are probably on the right path. And, believe me, there is nothing quite so negative, in this respect, as modern bourgeois society, with its inverted values and its absolute inability or refusal to see beyond itself.

2.10.15

"A state functions by the promulgation of laws."

1.10.15

The cult of the bourgeoisie.