30.11.15

"As you get deeper and deeper, it gets more interesting."
Most of us seem to subsist as overfed yet undernourished automata: chronically exhausted and periodically frazzled. Both safe and sorry, we have traded in the edge of our warrior spirit for a cozy comfortable existence. We are the worst form of slaves: willing slaves, without even the energy to imagine an alternative. And this is the tragedy: our imagination is now refuge rather than forge: a place to flee rather than a place from which to create vibrant viable alternatives.
Get back to Earth. The sorceric imperative. A path of intent. Mind investing life. Animism.

29.11.15

"Silence is so accurate."
An overwhelming desire for new connexions. This is what should get me out of bed in the morning, not some awful sense of duty.

28.11.15

"When you don’t know what to do, do nothing. Sit and wait. While you wait, work on yourself. This is art."
Tense shoulders effectively shorten the arms and make the hands more easily controlled by the manipulating mind. The hands then become excellent tools for moving things around but lose their true function which is to transmit energy through touch. When the shoulders relax the hands will feel distant and alien – as though they don't belong. And in fact they no longer do, not to the same mind anyway.
Only one thing holds back the good student: force of habit.

27.11.15

"Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide."

26.11.15

Become insignificant. This is a process of losing the substantiality of self, and becoming instead a bundle of excitement and fascination: spirit.

23.11.15

Leave your thoughts and sink into your energy, and try not to drift back into the mind.
Back in 1980, against the advice of all who knew me well, I started a PhD. After doing all the necessary work I got bored and, like many research students, struggled to write the thesis. By 1984 I had pretty much resigned myself to not completing. Then I got a bossy girlfriend who convinced me that if I didn't finish I would spend the rest of my life regretting it, so I buckled down and wrote up. About ten years later my teacher took me aside and we had a little chat:
"Finishing that PhD was one of the worst decisions you ever made."
"Why's that?!"
"Because it's put you on top of something you may never climb down from."

22.11.15

Every thing represents a vain attempt to express an ever fleet and fugitive truth.
Some things have to change. The most fundamental being the way I relate. I can't expect life to come to me. I must learn to stalk.
Understanding changes as my energy improves with the work.

Happiness is not a right or an entitlement but an engagement. It's what I feel when I forget to be unhappy.
Empty the mind and fill the heart.
Meditation is a time to sit still and let Nature come to you. The image of Milarepa or St Francis sitting in the forest, singing their silent songs, surrounded by listening animals.
A real change requires a complete reevaluation of every aspect of my life, and a willingness to drop those aspects that no longer work.
Go to the limit. If you don't you won't wake up and you'll never improve.
The desire for new connections. This is what keeps us young. Not so much new things to connect to, which would require an expansion of territory, but new ways of connecting, which requires an intensification, an improvement in my energy, a deeper understanding.
The mind can find a justification for anything, which is why it is so important to listen to the heart.

21.11.15

Meditation struggles to retrieve and develop the prelinguistic mind: the mind before words, before mediation. In fact, it is a mind devoid of any signification. Such a mind does not think in the normal way but it does work, largely through intention, by intending energy into a vector, a direction, a flow. So, for example, the lowly amoeba does not think, not in the way we do anyway, but it does intend otherwise it would not move or envelop.
Technology enables complete idiots to do amazing things.

Mindfulness is awareness, not of things but of connexions.
"If your mind is empty it is ready for anything, open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few."

Shunryu Suzuki

20.11.15

Mindfulness is about becoming more aware, about seeing connexions. Heartfulness is about filling those connections with feeling, energy, love through touch. Mind aims for clarity and wisdom: enlightenment. Heart for life and passion: transformation.

19.11.15

Chronic tension is the result of worshipping false idols: of holding on to concepts that may at one time have been useful but which now only hold me back/in.

18.11.15

"the interaction of the body with the environment, a form of dynamic 'dance', can partly or even fully replace the very need for mental representations and rules of information processing"
Sensitive to quickening: to signs of life. The light tapping, the fluttering of a butterfly.
Traditionally, the Samurai warrior meditates on death, his own death, especially before battle. In fact he enters battle firmly convinced that he is already dead. He does this for purely practical reasons: it makes him unafraid of death and therefore better able to take life-threatening risks. He understands that in face-to-face combat, the only honorable way to fight, he can only threaten life by putting his own equally at risk. It is impossible for us to even imagine the level of liveliness, the pitch of intensity, the absolute death and therefore life in such a warrior. And this is my point: only when death looms large and impending, if not inevitable, do I become truly alive.

Step like a cat. This famous instruction is itself worthy of a lifetime's study. Stepping like a cat requires me to become a cat, at least in the way I relate to my immediate surroundings: gently stalking with stealth and curiosity; fascinated by everything whilst remaining imperiously aloof.
Our problems, all of them, stem not so much from a fear of death, we all have that, death being the great unknowable, but from a reluctance to face death at every opportunity.
Inside, essentially, we are all beautiful. Yet we insist on carrying around a very ugly, in the sense of inappropriate, baggage. This, inevitably, will be the death of us.

17.11.15

Imagine an artwork that changes so fast that by the time it reaches the gallery the artist fails to recognize it.
"Be like a flower. Let the beauty of your heart speak. Be grateful to the mud, water, air and the light."
Love, once you're past the first flush, is largely conservative and restricting – full of compromise and fear. Passion, on the other hand, emboldens sufficient for novelty to be desired and demanded.

16.11.15


Lightness – sense of humour – should be in the legs, but this requires a complete retraining.
Let's say, for example, that I am suffering from depression. What do you suppose offers the best treatment? Antidepressants, psychotherapy or volunteering in a hospice?
Reality is always, in effect, beyond me. The closest I get to it is when I become it, which I do only when I touch with a touch that leaves me speechless and vulnerable.
Death, when it is done right, has a lifetime of preparation behind it.
Taiji is a practical philosophy. A philosophy acquired through physical practice rather than sedentary study; through the body rather than the intellect.
Life is about doing what needs to be done rather than doing what I want to do. Maturity is the point where these coincide.
An egotist is someone far more interested in the contents of their own mind than in what's going on around them.
The quality of my relationship with the Earth sets the ground, and ultimately determines, the quality of all my relationships. And it's all in the footfall: do I plant my foot by banging down my heel and thereby pushing the ground away from me – a careless action that unknowingly encourages an "us & them" attitude to everything else – or do I caress the ground with the front of my foot and draw the Earth up into me – a dance that as well as creating compassion also seduces spirit to rise and embed me in the midst of the event.

15.11.15

Most people sacrifice their spirit and their destiny for the sake of a comfortable well-to-do life – the Bourgeois Dream; and they are well aware of what they're doing. We, impeccable warriors, sacrifice everything else for the sake of our spirit: a daunting, near impossible task. My teacher used to say that the most important thing for the warrior is companionship: a network of like-minded souls always willing to give a positive boost of energy to a comrade who finds himself dragged down by the claws of convention. Without such help on hand there is always the risk of being sucked down instead by your own negative responses to the tawdriness of conventionality.
All social and political action, designed to shift the balance of power, will eventually play into the hands of the powers on high. This is because, ultimately, those powers are not the few mega-rich families that rule the world, and certainly not the governments, but the very powers of evil – what used to be called the devil – that sap not just our time and hard earned cash but our spirits and ultimately our souls. The only way to resist such evil is to eradicate it from ourselves by becoming impeccable warriors: shore up collapse and leakage, harbour personal energy, and polish the spirit until that inevitable time when the enemy must be faced head on.
All connexions eventually become corrupt and morbid, and must be broken, to be either abandoned or renewed.
What is difficult, as we get older (into middle age and beyond), is to keep extending our range by venturing into the unfamiliar, rather than always dusting the same limited terrain.

Cancel your subscription to the resurrection.
If you really desire to free your spirit then you must be prepared to leave your social class.
A thing is alive when it is capable of making new connexions.
The good student isn't just willing to practise, she is able to invest each session with life and love, by keeping to a beginner's mind.

13.11.15

"There can be no peace without a dignified and authentic relationship to the wild, non-rational aspect of our self."
It is not possible to enjoy the fruits of oppression (political) or tension (personal) without suffering unspeakable damage to the soul (spiritual).

The antidote to depression is not inner peace but empowerment.

12.11.15

The lightness and the light.
What's important with discipline is not the rules you obey but the sense of humour with which you obey them.
The savage has no need for disconnected thoughts, elevated or otherwise, because he has his body and he has the Earth. A thinker has neither, but thinks he has both, and so fills the hole of his disaffection with a new invention: God.
Becoming mineral: as still as stone, as rooted as rock.

11.11.15

Problems yield their own solution when faced fair and square. This is meditation.
Love governs being, passion generates becoming. Love is continuous and extensive, passion is transient and intense. Passion is high energy – destructive and creative, love is relatively low energy – soft and enduring. It is easy to see that the quickness of passion brings about a new state which the patience of love then nurtures to endure. More difficult to comprehend is how love manages to intensify into passion in order not to settle into the hardness of habit. This is where ethics enters. Ethics – the conceptual container of my being – offers an unleaking vessel within which the energy of love can build in intensity sufficient for passion to be available when destiny requires it. Here, and hopefully everywhere, ethics and discipline are the same: a set of behavioural restrictions designed to gather, harbour and intensify my energy. If you limit the external intelligently then the internal will grow and develop; if you indulge the external then the internal will weaken and dribble away.
Depression results from an error of interpretation.
Tense shoulders mean I don't have the Earth, and therefore neither do I have my body – expectations are too high. I come down to Earth when I know my limits and limitations – the borders of my being. This is where I must lodge my awareness. Then energy can flow relatively unimpeded up the centre.

9.11.15

An elastic continuity running through every aspect of mind, body and movement.
Ritualize the work. Organize the event of practice in such way that all levels of content and context conspire to focus intent and channel energy.
Internal impulses and external circumstances.

8.11.15

Our fundamental responsibility, as ethical creatures, is to move beyond the mentality of "us & them." Or, as Nitsan Michaeli said to me when I first moved to Israel: "Relationships are easy: just stop thinking in terms of me and start thinking in terms of we."
Be infectious; become the infection.
Each action yields consequences, and, karmically at least, I am responsible for all of them, even those unforeseen and unacknowledged. Even those I remain ignorant of, because that sort of ignorance is always a choice. Hence the phrase that consistently returns in the I Ching: No blame.

7.11.15

With the advent of set theory it became clear that mathematics is more about classification than about numbers: before a thing can be counted it must be given a name or a label. What a weight of responsibility!

During the 1950's the Australian (British) government carried out a census in the desert prior to proposed nuclear testing. It couldn't be decided how to class the Aborigines. Eventually they were classed with livestock. This story, probably apocryphal, was told me whilst in Sydney in 1985.

My daughter's little cousin Amalia is just beginning to get a grip of speaking. It's cute, but also heart-wrenchingly tragic, to see the rational process installing itself and eradicating innocence forever. 

When I was ten I got into bird-watching, largely because it was my best friend's hobby. Looking back I can see that it was all about getting terribly anxious over identification, and very little about the birds. Somehow, being able to give something a name meant that I was better than someone who could not. My whole schooling never got more profound than this.

Yet, looking back, it was those birds I couldn't identify, those that eventually escaped the clutches of my anxiety – my system – that I remember. For me they will always stand sentinel to a reality unbesmirched by the human mind.

6.11.15

Live creatively. Not by making things or, God forbid, by being artistic, but by turning each state of affairs into an event with the shine of your spirit and the depth of your respect.

We effectuate conceptual change in order to affectuate perceptual change.

5.11.15

When you look, look with the heart, with a heart aching to feel. Then, and only then, will you see.
Heart should always come first (but it is never enough).
Our lives are structured by the lies we repeatedly tell ourselves: the stories, the reasons, the justifications.
Reality is a function of what we believe. Abandon the notion that it happens with or without you. Nothing, ultimately, is external. Truth is created, not revealed, and at the core of every truth is a lie. We make it all up, and we always have; and we always will.

4.11.15


Never stop experimenting. And I don't mean new gadgets and new holiday destinations. I mean new configurations, new moods, new intensities. This is best achieved whilst Taiji-ing.
Salvation lies in connexion and work. Connecting through work. Working the connexion.
Power lies in my ability to transform and be transformed – to effectuate change.

2.11.15

It's not what you know that's important, it's what you do with that knowledge. And it is funny how those privileged to know are usually the ones too lazy to work with what they know.
Touch is the sense to be trusted. It is the one that effects a true becoming by first bringing both touching parties to a beautiful place of willing commonality, and then allowing each to become the other. True sharing. This is also, of course, healing.