31.12.15

Meditation takes time.
And gives peace.
"For it is in giving that we receive."

30.12.15

Health tends to be a carpet beneath which is swept a multitude of sins.

29.12.15

"I think it’s important to face yourself first and never run away. Start searching and try to find out who you really are. I’m still searching myself."
Transparent legs.

28.12.15

"The important thing is not to do many things, but to do one thing well."
Human beings, as their intelligence ascends and their spirit declines, tread really dodgy ground. We are now in a situation where it is relatively easy for a reasonably good intellect to get the better of superior spirit. What this means is that reality, which is largely spirit, can no longer be relied upon for feedback or regulation. We really are on our own.
Upper heart (thymus) is important because it allows me to become a king and thereby govern my affairs with dignity, nobility and wisdom. Each of the three deep centres offers a throne upon which I sit depending upon the care and attention required.
The only thing you really possess is your body. So look after it.

27.12.15

Soul is the place where acceptance and non-attachment meet.
Eventually every movement, every gesture, becomes a spiritual exercise, simply by virtue of the fact that, deep deep down, there is nothing I would rather be doing.

26.12.15

Most of us on this crazy path yearn for shortcuts. But we are deluding ourselves. Not because they don't exist, but because the only reason we need all this work in the first place is because, deep down, in all honesty, we don't really want the terrible freedom and responsibility (loneliness) it promises. Only when we are totally convinced that there is no viable alternative will we embrace it. It's this that takes time.
Imagine it's raining all the time. Feel it trickle down the small of the back and pool around the clavicles.
Lean back, slightly, into alignment. Then the energy will settle, the mind will clear and the heart will lift.
What makes us human is our ability to traverse the whole range, from lowly beast to elevated angel, with speed and elegance.

22.12.15

"I hate to say it Snoopy but the harder I try, the further away she gets."
If the legs secure the belly then the hips will get tense and energy will not pass between upper and lower body. It should be my sobriety and probity – my inner silence – my desire for peace – on the one hand, and my total fascination in the world around me – my passion – my desire for new connexion – on the other, that stabilizes and secures my base.

21.12.15


School, for most of us, was a tedious time: wrenching the mind and body out of the energetic reality of its immediate environment, and submerging (drowning) it in a confusing world of language, ideas and concepts. Taiji aims to reverse this process.
Theory is for those with poor energy and a frightened spirit.
Ego is the luxury we can't afford.
"Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry."
Sacrum is sanctum, and meditation is a long slow process of opening up this room – of locating and residing in this center. Only when I am pure, quiet and still will I ever sink low enough to gain access.
The password is YES

"Once one has made the turn onto this strange road, a world of difference opens up. What looks like a narrow passageway from the entrance, turns out to have all kinds of byways, pathways, way stations — it becomes a world of its own."
The elbows should feel as though they have weights hanging from them. This is because they are connected to the sacrum/dantien which is constantly pulled by the Earth. The knees should feel as though they have strings attached from above. This is because they are connected to the heart which, when unburdened of anxiety, lifts in joy and delight. These are the two expressions of love in our work: the love of Earth (gravity) and the love of God (spiritual connexion). We should endeavour to allow these two forces into every particle of our being.

20.12.15

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze!"
In the old days, the days of masters and slaves, masters had a thymus – an upper heart – which directed bearing and action. It is a gland, which in most is now atrophied, where self-confidence, self-esteem and pride were centered. Slaves, on the otherhand, had no thymus – it was beaten out of them with subjugation and cruelty by the masters – and so they developed the slave equivalent: ego, which, effectively, is just a long catalogue of complaint and resentment. This is why the only way to subdue the ego is to develop warrior spirit: make yourself master, if only of yourself and your actions. Worthy of thymos.
Find a path with heart – and follow it. As the years – decades – slip by watch unperturbed as things fall away until finally you come to nothing.

19.12.15

Just a simple smile: the price of admission.





To vacate the here & now to enter the world of make-believe requires a resounding judgmental No. This No echoes through my whole being and lands with a thud in my soul.
Anything but a smile of total acceptance is avoiding the issue – the here & now.
Pregnant women do the best Taiji:
Hormones soften body and mind;
Mind and life concentrate in the dantien/womb.

Trust that the imagination can do both: change internal chemical balance, and create life.
“Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, so what. That’s one of my favorite things to say. So what.”
Home is sacrum: belly/womb, my own. And homecoming is a sacrament.

18.12.15


Meditation is a time to drop preoccupations with/and technique and simply be.
A re-centering – out of mind and into body – out of the head and into the belly. Only one requirement: a willingness (indeed a desire) to smile (indeed to laugh) for joy. Then the heart and the energy open up.
Meditation finds/creates silence and gathers it in the belly/sacrum where it acts as ballast, lowering the center of gravity and stabilizing the body, thereby allowing the hips and legs to become free to engage the Earth in a relationship of delight and joy.

17.12.15

"Critters are always relationally entangled rather than taxonomically neat."
If there is some chore or task or duty in your life which is particularly onerous, then find a way of using the time well: turn it into practice. This is yielding. Of the best kind.
Extend the toes.

16.12.15


Reality and Otherness are the same. What is real can never be known, for sure. It is my humbleness that allows the real.
"Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet."

15.12.15

Feeling should be put in not taken out.

14.12.15

A material life gathers memories.
A spiritual life gathers silence.
For most of us the Taiji Form is the trace of an articulated object moving through space: a flurry of arms and legs, with very little real internal transformation. This is what I mean by collapse: form without content: becoming habitual: an inversion of what Taiji is meant to be: creative energy flowing, indeed surging, through time. Making anew.
True Taiji flows from the heart.
False Taiji is made by the mind.

12.12.15

The work is all about honoring an inherent sense of justice: rooting for the underdog.

11.12.15

Cheng Man-ching style taijiquan is fraught with the danger of collapse. Not only of posture, but also of flow; and of ethics.
I'm gonna get a smiley tattooed on my sacrum.
Taiji is an energetic art. It aims to make those points of contact with the world – particularly hands, feet and face – interfaces across which energy is always flowing, always in both directions at once. This is our mindfulness: simple and continual attention to this fact: a becoming energetic. A becoming energy.
Yielding is the art of turning things to my advantage. It is always possible, regardless of how dire the circumstances. What this means is that there is never an excuse to complain.

9.12.15

The work starts when the mind stops.
For the hunter, signs offer directions rather than meanings.
Meditation is the time I resume my love affair with gravity, and all its consequences.

8.12.15

"Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake."

A good student is essentially stubborn. That stubbornness serves them well in guaranteeing their continuing study, but serves them ill by making change particularly difficult to bear if not countenance.
"Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly."

Creativity has nothing to do with making things up. It's all to do with being swallowed up in a living process — being swallowed up by life. And practice (work) is the investigation of what it means to be alive, to be swallowed up.
Being able to repeat the same thing for the umpteenth time and still find it totally fascinating.

7.12.15

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength."
In prospect work is daunting and awful.
In doing, work becomes engaging and enjoyable.
In completion work is over and I am blest.
Bend the knees, drop the elbows, and smile. A simple instruction that releases the hips, the shoulders, and the jaw. Then, at least, there is the possibility of energy.
"Half an hour's meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed."

Heart and mind together create consciousness, separate and they cause problems.
Excessive thinking crushes the heart. The antidote is the Other who draws me out of myself: compels communication. Real work begins and ends in helping others.

6.12.15

When the attention lingers it builds up and becomes restless (assuming the mind doesn't wander and the energy dissipate). This is then intent: gathering, intensifying attent that wants to move, and is all too willing to follow a fiercely concentrated mind. This stage is characterized by an intensification of feeling which we call pain, and is why most of us shrink from intent, our own and that of others: it's generally too much to bear. But bear it we must. In fact we need to become immersed in its passional power if we ever want this work to lead us out of the mire of conventionality and into the magical.

5.12.15

The more stable and secure the dantien, the more the consciousness – heart & head – can, and will, in time, open and expand. To do this artificially, with drugs or therapy or group energy, is akin to using force and will eventually weaken both the body and the mind unless consolidated with real work, work that insistently brings me back to the humble reality of the intersection between here and now and my own limitations.

4.12.15

Great teaching shakes every student to their very core. Even poor students, who must then mock and laugh to extricate themselves from its grip. And, as the Daodejing points out, if they don't laugh then it wasn't great teaching. Which is why, when you've been at this game for any length of time, you learn to take the mockery of others as confirmation. Or, as my dear old grandfather used to say: "When a cunt calls you a cunt, take it as a compliment."

Head: perception
Heart: affection
Belly: conception.

The womb (dantien) is where we conceive the new. Insights, intuitions, start as gut feelings. Head and heart must be rooted in the gut otherwise they lead us astray.

2.12.15

"Dad, have you noticed how accidents always turn out to be the best things?"

I'm glad she's learnt that one so young.
A gift economy is one where you give more than necessary in the hope that the relationship will develop. A modern economy is one where you take more than is reasonable knowing that you'll never see the sucker again.
The student starts to make spiritual progress once they decide to give (to Taiji) more than they take (from Taiji).
Relaxation is, first and foremost, a coming back to my energy. This is the Buddhist present moment. Not the state of affairs, but my own energy: the connectedness I bring to that state of affairs. And this is the level at which I must love myself. I don't love my ego, my opinions, my cleverness, my chiseled good looks, I simply love dwelling in my energy — there is nowhere else I would rather be.

Spirit creates truth, thinking judges it. What would you rather be: artist or critic?
It is not those who enjoy good health that deserve complimenting, but those who suffer poor health with good humour.
We think to blot out the world. Not the one out there, but the one inside.
Be quiet and you will hear God. If this isn't a project worth devoting a lifetime to then I don't know what is.
The word 'walk' comes from the Old German 'walken' which meant 'to knead'. So there is a sense that walking kneads the ground, the Earth, as though massaging, working energy in and out.

The word 'walk' comes from 'well' as talk from tell, and stalk from steal. So walking is a sign of wellness, and walking makes well.

When aware of these origins then I walk better.

Walking is not simply a means of travel, it is an act of magic or sorcery, but only when done correctly – with spirit/intent.
An artist is someone who never learnt to be ashamed of their imagination.

1.12.15

Meditation is an attempt to remember what I saw when I first opened my eyes.
The good student is a delicate soul. Quite content to get on with the work under her own steam and with minimal supervision, she must be treated with the utmost care and respect by the teacher who may mistake her talent and enthusiasm for mastery. Too much exposure to the teaching and she will retreat behind a wall of stubbornness and effectively become a poor student. The only person to blame for such a tragedy is the teacher. Imagine the karma attached to that.
"Go on working freely and furiously and you will make progress."
Consider an army platoon, at ease. Thirty odd comrades chatting, milling about, messing around. Suddenly the lieutenant calls them to attention and they stop what they're doing and stand in formation awaiting orders. Orders are given and the platoon is mobilized. These three states: at ease, attention, mobilization, are analogous to the three states of a Taiji mind: relaxation, attention, intention. Relaxation is chaotic energy, contained but undirected. Attention is a marshalling of energy and awareness: a mind gathered and present, bristling with expectation. Intention is a command for that attentive energy to move, to become active. These three states are also the three stages of Taiji training. The beginning stage (learning the Form) aims to relax and release the body, the second stage trains the mind to be quiet and attentive (perfecting the Form), the third is using the mind to direct energy through the postures (using the Form): intending rather than thinking form.
Rise to the challenge of the occasion. This is the call of spirit.