Things will probably get worse before they get better. And vice versa.
How to keep the spirit fresh and light, unburdened by the weight of habit and expectation? This is an art unto itself, and if you have it then it matters little what you do for all you do will be charged with energy and delight. The secret is a childlike imagination that sees magic everywhere, and never gets down for long.
Things continue because of will, divine or otherwise. Things change, on the other hand, because something disrupts will. This is spirit, devilish or otherwise.
Tighten the anus, lift the rectum (especially important as you get old(er)
When I meet St Peter at the Pearly Gates and he asks: What have you done that's fucking amazing? I shall reply: I've worked with, and brought solace to, three Holocaust survivors.

Belief is the structure that mind lays on faith to make it workable – profitable. A familiar case of mind (over)ruling heart.
Faith is an open willing heart.
The loyalest students have the most damaged souls. And the best instincts.
Resentment is an ivory tower – a cozy prison of our own making – where we lock ourselves away from true compassion – from God's love – and burrow into fantasy – the worst aspect of the imagination. This is why there is so much suffering in the world. Hope is to look honestly at ourselves during quality quiet time (meditation) and realize that the only way forward, the only way to help the world, is to leave that ivory tower and brave reality. Grievance dissolves away when we refuse to sustain it with the energy of holding on.
Trust the unfamiliar.


Never mind.
Beware the paunch of middle age. A sure sign of depression.
Faith or fear? It's your choice.
"Dwelling upon the self too much produces a terrible fatigue. A person in that position is deaf and blind to everything else, and the fatigue itself makes us cease to see the marvels all around us."


Meditation: time to feel the sacredness of life.

"that unspeakable register which is entirely beyond the capacity of language to represent"
Holy day: time off to contemplate the sacred.
Thinking is an exercise in self importance.
Holiday: the same old shit with a different backdrop.
If you have to feel that your God (or lack of one) is better than mine then you are an insecure bigot.

When you stop holding onto them, the frozen moments melt into a continuum of connexion.
The courage to be different.
The courage to be yourself.


Meditation: stop still, calm down, look deep.
If you're used to calling the shots, a control freak, captured by the illusion of independence, then spiritual progress, which is a process of softening, will always be difficult, painful, an affront to the ego. This is because ego inverts natural values – what is felt to be good is in fact bad and vice versa. We are not suggesting that you become perverse enough to worship what feels bad – become addicted to suffering – but at least be suspicious of what you feel and question the values you place on those feelings.
"How can you style yourself a true Child of Fortune and not wish to avail yourself of spheres of consciousness never previously known to mortal man when a veritable smorgasbord of same is laid out for your delectation?"

Each injunction of Taiji – each principle – from mind in dantien to wardoff, from erect lumber spine to crown suspended, from turning the waist to stepping like a cat, awakens and configures spirit differently. These configurations are all important, vitally so. Together they constitute our bag of tricks, an arsenal with which to stalk and hunt. This is how we engage the world: as warrior never victim.
Mind in dantien. This is not an intellectual exercise but a physical one, or rather a corporeal or somatic one. An awakening of the belly as centre of the universe and molder of the mind. A life that creates anew the world it prowls through.
Progress is an infinite series of awakenings. It just depends how far you want to take it.
Our work struggles to make a life revolving around something a little more worthy than the moaning mind.


"There's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over."

The teacher inspires – fills full of spirit. They show a new world, a different way of being, so ancient, so natural, so full of wonder that all you ever knew pales and withers. You wonder why you've never been here before, and vow never to leave, never to return to the weak bleak cardboard existence that previously passed for life. But spirit has a price and that price is energy, lots of it. To live this life every drain on your energy must be stopped up, and every moment, spare or otherwise, must be utilized to garner power. You must leave the old for good. In all my life I've met three, maybe four, certainly less than a handful, prepared and willing to take the plunge. God bless them.
Declaiming Whitman at full stentorian boom. Nothing quite like it for raising the spirit.
It's night. It's dark. You lie in bed; suddenly awake. What woke you? A dream? The cold? A noise? Then you hear it – an intruder downstairs. Your hackles rise, your heart races, your muscles tense with sudden hyperventilation. The room, what you see of it, starts to throb and twist as your perceptions, heightened by adrenaline, play tricks on the mind. You get up silently, strangely fleet, obeying a different voice to the one you're accustomed to. You creep to the door, instinctively on tiptoes, and open it with a charged care that you haven't given anything for ages. You listen, listen, listen, probing the darkness with your listening, descending the stairs with your listening, coming more and more alive with your listening. Then, suddenly, you hear it again, bang bang bang, and you sink back into self as you realize it's just the noisy fridge banging against the wall as it comes to life. What a relief! You slink back to bed, marveling at the tricks a mind can play. As you lie awake, reviewing the event and wondering will sleep return, you realize that you've just had a spiritual experience.
Will transforms present into future. I worked; I work; I will work.
Work hard, over consume, produce the next generation, and don't upset the apple cart. No? I thought not. Be a rogue instead.

Be true to spirit, not to self. Spirit is truth. Without spirit we have a state of affairs, a certain configuration. With spirit we have an event, full of potential, danger, destiny.
"What relationship that matters doesn’t twist us to the faltering edge of possibility?"
Be patient – tolerate the interim.
Tail. If you don't have one then make one – extrude one – for the health of the mind if nothing else.


To release first learn to properly clench, especially lumber spine: as though you have a large hand of muscle encircling the spine, squeezing hard.

"Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible."
Imagination has been reduced to planning the next holiday. People no longer become, they just go to different places.
All that glitters is not gold.
My issue with the bourgeoise* – the 'haves' or the 'soon-to-haves' – which, lets face it, since leaving dismal Hackney for sunny Ramat Aviv is the only class I really encounter, is not their addiction to mental activity for the sake of acquiring more, but the absolute poverty of that activity – the death of the imagination.

*the middle class, typically with reference to its materialistic values and conventional attitudes
Don't you find that the hetrogeneous present lends the world a certain homogeneity?


Mind in dantien. Subtle tension in nether regions. Basal support for hips. Earth to sacrum. Whips up spine. Head thrown back. Heart up. Shoulders drop back to sacrum. Four flailing limbs, centred. Tail roves and rives, digging for mischief. High clear head, and a burgeoning heart abiding like a queen bee in a space alien to the one the rest of me inhabits.
in this risk and in this opening


A total transformation. A change of heart. Depressingly or refreshingly different? It's up to you.
passion directs itself to the impossible
interrogate received wisdom
How do I hold myself: physically, mentally, emotionally, amidst life's forces, such that the net effect is an opening of the heart and a drift of spirit toward God?
Teacher provides techniques to help us become different and we twist those techniques into generators of sameness. This is the way ego works and is why it all takes so long. Our only hope is to locate and identify (with) soul and spirit (meditation) so that we can rise above ego and its machinery (values and culture).
Soul is the sea of memory.
The work exposes weakness, and this is always fraught with pain. Learn to take heart from such pain, knowing full well that, in all likelihood, one such injury will eventually be the death of you.


"Never let your head hang down."

The process of prayer.
"When one is out of touch with oneself, one cannot touch others."
A stretch of time.
For there to be union there must first be separation.
Clearly distinguish full and empty – matter and spirit.


"You shouldn’t eat animals, it’s mean to them."
By all means use sometimes to be alone.
Salute thyself: see what thy soul doth wear.
Dare to look in thy chest; for 'tis thine own:
And tumble up and down what thou find'st there.


Mind in dantien; a yielding mind; a playful mind. A dantien that yields and plays. A gut that digests and sympathizes.
For the Daoist collapse is death.
Settle in for the long haul; in an unsettled sort of way.


A depressed heart is one that does not jump for joy at the drop of a hat. A depressed mind is one whose powers of reason have choked the imagination. The reasonable sensible mind is a concession to the herd, the conventional, and has absolutely nothing to do with true listening or compassion or creativity.
Mindfulness must, at some point, move into heartfulness.
True listening is always transformed by what it hears. This is softness – in action.
The secrets are meant for the heart and not the head. That's why they're secret. If the head finds them out then they go straight to the head and stay there, always for worse. It then takes decades of dedicated work, dismantling everything you've ever been taught, to find heart afresh, your own way, so that you can start all over again, from a fresh heart.
Mind, once it stops whining and accepts its duty to serve the heart, is the icing on the cake.


"Listen with the eyes; see with the ears; then energy will be perceived."

Let the eyes gently scan the world, picking up moods, energies, connexions as they do so; train the ears to pierce the hubbub, discern its many layers, locate its many sources. Ambient seeing; analytical listening.

Another technique is to conceive each sense as a different aspect of the tactile, of touch – the haptic. And touch is always seductive. So, when my eyes settle on an object they caress and explore that object rather than freeze it in a rigid gaze. And when my ears hear they coax and embrace not only the sounds themselves as they enter my ears, but the sources from which those sounds emanate, which requires fingers of listening to reach out and connect. And touch is always two-way: whatever I touch also touches me, so when I look and see some thing something of that thing enters my being through my eyes and touches my heart; the same when I listen and hear.
A strange culture we live in: where sponging off your parents until they die or are bled dry is considered de rigueur, but stealing from corrupt organizations and institutions is a terrible sin.
Restaurants: places where attractive flavours disguise bad energy.
The strongest lessons are bitter at the time, then sweeten in time.

Whatever slips the mind has my blessing.
Originally taijiquan was an education for young men: a method for harnessing and refining coarse loutish energy. Shaolin boxing (and hatha yoga for that matter) was developed to help slouching lazy monks raise their spirit and tone their body. Which, do you suppose, would do the modern depressed office worker the most good?
A healthy doubt for everything, especially the facts.
Allow mind to overrule heart and you're surely on the slippery slope to hell.
We live in a culture with an inverted value system, where the attractive disguises the bad, and the bitter conceals the good. Maybe it's always been this way.


Stretches and ablutions.
The need for ritual.
Everything's a power play. To emphasise the power or the play? That's my prerogative.


Scant progress indicates disrespect.
Spirited driving: an exciting method of operating a motor vehicle; taking a car to it’s performance limits.

Me is me and you is you. But for you me is you and you is me. This is a relational terminology that the developing child struggles with, for a short time, as they first begin to speak: the notion that there is another. But, built into ego is always the conviction that, despite the other, I am, in actual fact, best.
"The gaze that sees is the gaze that dominates."
When a little older, juvenilia – those first creative efforts – tend to be a source of great embarrassment. When older still though it is clear that I was really onto something. If only I'd persisted.
Heart lifts at the infinite. Even when scared shitless. This is the secret to growing old. When the spine starts crumbling, ground down by gravity, and the end beckons – as the finitude of life becomes all too apparent – I keep faith: a heart ever lifting to Heaven.
Spiritual work starts with the suspicion that suffering is optional.


"Belief in the truth commences with the doubting of all those 'truths' we once believed."
When true to myself then life teaches. This is what we mean by Natural.
"I am hopelessly in love with a memory. An echo from another time, another place."
Get a grip: belly – dantien – handle on/to the world.

Let go: heart – thymos – fearless reach in/to reality.

Head is simply consciousness – awareness – absolute lightness and light. All thoughts vaporized.
Arms stem, sprout, issue from spine at sacrum. Higher up indicates a heart depressed by a cheating mind.


Images are the mind's currency. An attempt to take something away from the occasion. A bargain struck. A deal. But what's given in return? What of ourselves do we leave behind?


complex, beautiful and uncontrollable
A slim waiter navigating a sinuous path through a dense crowd with a tray of drinks held on an outstretched arm above the fray.


The absolute inconsequentiality of opinion.


Strength is only acquired by pushing through pain. This is a point of contemplation. As are all our principles.


I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.

If only he'd got up and meditated – sat erect and allowed his mind to relax – then the fell of dark would have fallen away, and God's love – difficult to discern directly during the busy hours of daylight – would have been so prevalent, so present, that faith would have been not only restored but strengthened.
Children are, generally speaking, true because they haven't had time to learn to be false, yet. Even when they show off or act all grown up, something of their innocence, spirit, essence, cannot help but shine through. This is their charm – their natural givingness. Adults, repressed and fearful, have learnt to stem and staunch this natural bleed, so that even a heart-to-heart chat, or a good fuck, ends up being more about the words, the bodies, the pleasure, than any truth struggling to express. This is why a gentle touch, with no agenda other than to listen deeply, is so powerful. It cuts right through the words, the tension, pretense and expectation and, mysteriously – somehow – finds the heart of the matter. And all matter – every entity – has heart and has a heart. This is our truth: our point of departure and our point of return.
"Are all these things really better than the things I already have? Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now?"
Give it time, humbly, graciously, and truth will slowly begin to shine through. This is meditation – the gentle persistence of patient meditation. It's not as though truth likes to hide, but it's quite prepared to, for self preservation as much as anything. In this sense truth and magic are pretty much the same thing.
"Children learn more from what you are than what you teach."

Hanging on a wing and a prayer.


Life's there for the taking giving.
Show a little gratitude.
The imagination – source of creativity – is the shape listening takes when it begins to hear something real. Without it the imagined would never exist. In this sense, every entity is an image.
Suffer, befriend, never avoid, the face of adversity. Without it we get nowhere. This is the investment model of life: short term hardship leads to long term gain. It has its uses but, like all models, it eventually falters. Softness, compassion, love, heart always, eventually, win through.


Just listen. Don't interfere. If you need to do something then you're not really listening. Difficult to appreciate without having experienced how real listening naturally vitalizes. This is heart, joy, grace.


Turn the key.
Collapsing under gravity I become heavy: a stuck in the mud. Yielding to gravity I become light: of air and angels.
No sacred cows, nothing set in stone, nothing forcing the issue.
Turn a new leaf.


Take turns.
Do things different, better, from and to a deeper place. We call this, for want of a better word, heart.


Deconstruct the self – its habits – points of reference, and replace with what's actually (t)here – the actual.
No stone unturned.


Meditation is a time to discover, uncover, explore the quiet: its layers, its endless depth.