People ask me what I miss about England. Three things only: beer, apples and laughter.

"The indoctrination is so deep that educated people think they’re being objective."
Left behind the BBC – the bourgeoisie – for the deep blue sea. Until you choose exile it's impossible to appreciate the grip the establishment has you under. This is what immigrants could teach us if only we drop our fearful blind arrogance and listen to the superiority of their spirit. It is only the Other – the radically Other – that knocks you off your pedestal and puts you in your place – your true place rather than your proper place.
Yearning for the unbearable.


Happiness is a relaxed body and a soaring spirit. During meditation we concentrate on the body sinking and relaxing on the out-breath, and spirit lifting and escaping on the in-breath. In time it becomes increasingly clear that body and spirit are incommensurable – of different worlds – and that concentrating on the breath is a technique simplified for the linear mind's convenience.
"Those who have been hurt the most often have the greatest ability to heal."

Develop an indomitable spirit.


Make fun (of your self).
The teacher wakes you up to what you knew all along.




Spirit generates difference, novelty. It ensures this time is different from last time is different from next time. It makes sense of time.


Opinions are, most of the time, mere expressions of prejudice; trivial attempts by an overweening ego to appear significant or important.
This looming consuming conflagration.
The more we live lives of avoidance the longer those lives become.


"Your willingness to look at your darkness is what empowers you to change."

Slavoj Žižek: "It is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism."
Idle thoughts from idle minds.
Listening for the unhearable. Looking for the unseeable. Opening to the imperceptible. Nothing to do with feeling; everything to do with faith.
A spiritual life is concerned, almost exclusively, with the part of reality that remains ever nonpresent to the ego.
"Faith in the impossible."


Learning to be content with less and less.
The struggle out of mediocrity (forgetfulness) and into goodness (awakening) is largely reductive. Paring away distraction until truth is unavoidable.
External work increases one's lot.
Internal work decreases one's ego.
Principle #1:
Practice makes perfect.


"Everything inspires me. Sometimes I think I see things others don’t."

"The best advice I've received is to be myself. The best artists do that."
…a total break from bourgeois values which desperately struggle to lock the spirit in the secular desert with its puerile cornerstones of health, sex and longevity.


Eventually spirit breaks through to regions the body or mind cannot sustain. Then we have total failure to countenance, failure not just of structure but of the very fabric. It will seem, to those without the heart to understand, that such ventures are foolhardy in the extreme, but really, by the time you get there, you'll have very little say in the matter.


"I am trying to counter the fixity of architectures, their stolidity, with elements that give an ineffable immaterial quality."
For that final release, the spirit must have tightened so taut that all slackness, all sloppiness, is squeezed out.

Iterate then reiterate.
Consider the samurai sword – its provenance. First the geologist locates a lode. Then the miner mines. The mineral processor, using magnets and surfactants, separates oxide from gangue. Metallurgist smelts. Smithy anneals. And finally the swordsmith beats and folds, beats and folds, fashioning a blade the warrior can use. Spirit has as many, if not more, stages, from first arousal to final liberation.
This never ending process of refinement.
My God! I'm bigger than I thought.
Snuff out the moral imperative.

Everything we need to know is already in the body, locked up, in all likelihood, by years of repression. Just have to release it.
Dismantle bad habits; construct good ones.
Every now and then let the cat out of the bag.
The best way to cut through the mind is to find problems that only the heart can solve.
Trust the body. It's all you have. Source of all solutions.


When you get to my age then everything is confirmation.
"It is the task of the architect to give life a gentler structure."
Certitudes are platitudes. See, there's another...
Absolutely fundamental to Taiji is the concept of relaxation. It means letting go of false images so that truer ones can manifest to take their place. It is only possible when I have sufficient faith, faith that if I let go of what I am holding onto then something more apt will take its place. This is the nature of spiritual progress – never by design, always through faith.
A spiritual life endeavours to return the spirit that animates it to its divine source.

Relaxation requires a smile of acceptance.
"a line is a dot that went for a walk"


When it starts to get you down, stop and rest, do something else, then come back to it and repeat. This is the process of work. Progress largely depends on how effectively and efficiently one manages this process.
Know your place.
Compassion, not just for those you love or pity, but for the air that enters your lungs and the ground that accepts your feet.

The reasoning, reasonable mind generally serves well. Just make sure the servant doesn't usurp the master.
Many are called, few are chosen.
"The wilderness is the mother of all living things. It is always true and never trivial."


a mindful unknowing
As light as the finger on the angler.

The knowledge that interests us is the kind you only find out for yourself through the work – a knowledge uncovered when mind and spirit are sufficiently cleansed and awakened to receive and house it. Such knowledge, when it first begins to dawn, must be treated tentatively and respectfully, not grabbed at and mauled, otherwise it will change into mere information, dressed in words and images that anyone can share. And this is the loneliness of our path – what we discover through our labours cannot be shared – we can only pass on seeds to potentially receptive students who still need decades of practice to fully understand.
With the Other there is no guarantee that I'll get it right, but without the Other I can only get it wrong.
Proceed with faith rather than understanding and with each step you enter a new world. This is what we mean by living on the edge.
So used to looking out with a critical eye and turning a blind eye to our own failings. The work is all about reversing this gaze: through toil and devotion slowly slicing through self-image and developing the courage and maturity to look behind – inside – and see what's really there.
Conventual rather than conventional. Coming together, but in faith rather than custom.


The good student leads with their spirit. Then willingly weathers the havoc that inevitably wreaks on mind and body. In fact that havoc is taken as confirmation that good effective work has been carried out. This is the reason our value system largely reverses that of the middle-class. Theirs is a system founded on fear – fear of pain and discomfort, of extremes, of spirit.
A frame of mind.
The desire for truth must be stronger than any other. This is what we mean by honesty.
The daily and private drama.
Not just breathing but aspiring.


Become an alchemist, a sorcerer: work with spirit.
Integrity. Be an integral function of universe.
"Faith returns to its Sunday school every time it nails its language into positive propositions about just what it has faith in."
Free time. Sit and watch its gentle passage. The heart, the metronomic heart, insists, like a clock, and don't you find it beautifully apt that a second of time is basically a heartbeat? What more natural measure? But it's the breath that rides time, relishes and plays as it ebbs and swells. It's in the breath we find true ecstasy.
The very reflection turns to diffraction.

Knowledge destroys spirit, and vice versa.


"locked by misorientation and built of misinformation"
Practice is the first line of respect. A bargain struck between teacher and student: I'll teach if you promise to practise. If you do, even just a little, then at each lesson you'll give something. If you don't, if you fail to uphold your end of the bargain, then you can only take because you have nothing to give. The teacher will always know, even if they don't mention it or acknowledge it to themselves, because the energy the student develops by facing the pain of practice is felt most distinctly by the teacher as a jolt which shocks them into full teaching mode. Without this stimulant all the teacher can do is go through the motions, use the lesson for their own benefit, and take your money. What they should do is tell the lazy student what they think of them and maybe suggest another discipline, because by agreeing to teach, even seemingly, under such circumstances, they become lazy themselves.


The British vote in a pompous hypocrite, the Israelis a belligerent bigot, and the Americans a vulgar imbecile. Says a lot about national character?
"There are no solids. There are no things. There are only interfering and non-interfering patterns operative in pure principle. And principles are eternal."

The system misguides, at every level, so we must develop a healthy skepticism if we wish to survive its machinations. Question everything they feed you, and refuse to play the game.
"Don't fight forces, use them."
Collapse indicates too much reliance on the external. An obvious example would be sitting down to relieve a tired body: the body literally collapses into the external support of the chair. But any reliance on the external will encourage collapse, which is why we must constantly test and question all we take (for granted) and all we know (for sure).
"All human advances occur in the outlaw area."


Taiji is the art of concealing hardness with softness.

Outside soft like a beautiful woman, inside a tiger ready to pounce.

External and internal are poles apart – our two extremes – yin and yang. The reason a Taiji master looks soft and gentle, slump shouldered and pot bellied, is because inside they are the opposite. Outside weak, inside strong.


"What's your problem?"
The answer is key to moving forward.
"where theos and logos cancel each others’ unquestionabilities"
"What was your teacher's secret?" a smug student of a colleague asked me the other day.
Blank stare.
Spirit is in fact the only secret. In a culture and civilization that founds itself on knowledge and wealth – on building structures – cathedrals and shopping malls – spirit, which cuts through such lumbering edifices like a hot knife through butter, is the great enemy, the Devil himself. When it flares up a different world becomes possible – one we call reality – a world brimming with energy and mischief, running a contrary economy to our usual one of equivalence and exchange.
A love that surpasses understanding.
Don't mind (too much).

The teacher offers you a worthy part – a path with heart – in a grand drama of the spirit. Your job is to play the part to the best of your ability, and stay in character.
Spirit is the energy of process.
Responsibilty: an obligation to respond to spirit with spirit, to be responsive, to live on the edge, encouraging (giving heart to) every instance of spirit, and recognizing depression (the inevitable outcome of a rampant ego) as the enemy of spirit, heart, and, therefore, man.


Anything that doesn't involve another is a head trip.


"Life should be lived to the point of tears."

"Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better."
Encourage heart to come to the fore and take a lead – stand up to bully-ego.
When heart sits properly, unburdened by pressure from above, it will naturally yield to pressure from below and start to bloom.
We all have something to expiate, otherwise we wouldn't be around.
A faltering heart simply lacks courage. There's no getting around it.


"for equalities are so weigh’d, that curiosity in neither can make choice of either’s moi’ty"
Time well spent.
Nothing exists in itself or for itself, solely. Every thing in relation. This is the basis of process philosophy, Eastern or otherwise. So, the significance of a thing is not its thingness but its resonance, its betweenness, its usefulness.
The Daoist embodies contradiction – marries Heaven and Hell. Occupies a middle ground never actually touched because being is an oscillation from one extreme to another, a bipolar hum. Such becomes pathological – unbalanced – only when poles lose sight of one another, when I lose the bigger picture. Wisdom is the ability to embrace, embody then disembody. To disentangle spirit from mood so that this present moment can extend into all.


What makes it meaningful other than my insistence that it be so? It's all in the positivity – an absolute faith in the underpinnings of life.


When the knee hurts then soften the hip. You do that by teaching it to smile.


expressions of one dedication and passion
Look on the bright side.
"The end result was a fighter who fought alone, and who drew from his own silent convictions all the impulse he needed to forge ahead; without complaints; without the necessity to be praised."
Nothing heals like laughter.