Mastery arrives when you no longer need one – when the work sustains itself.


What mighty flaw
make faith?


"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved."
Devoid of danger – life-threatening danger – our lives lack spirit, and spine – personal spire – never acquires the strength to engage life with the intensity it demands, to be meaningful, to be full.
Be outlaw.
Dragon: lead with fire and let tail trail behind.


"True creation is incompatible with lies, hypocrisy and the spirit of conformity."


Forgive quickly
Kiss slowly
Love truly
Laugh uncontrollably
Heart: secret of the golden chrysanthemum.
Progress is gradual; very gradual. Letting go of baggage so that centre can inch down spine to rest/nest in sacrum. Then spine gently arches back and heart blooms upward – petals endlessly burgeoning into field/fold – heart of gold.
Unfold, unravel, into the light.
"Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."

Not so much a blinding light. More a fireside glow.


g u t s
o v e r
f e a r
"Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord."
We relax so as to work better, not to fall asleep.
Never let the bastards get you down.
Festival of Light.
Depression is lack of the right sort of stimulation – lack of spirit.
Earth the body, unearth the spirit.


"Once we open up to the flow of energy within our body, we can also open up to the flow of energy in the universe."
Softness is not just lack of hardness, it is a way of life. In a sense it is protection, not for me so much but for the world from me; an envelopment of energy I create with my spirit, like swathing things in fine gossamer or cotton wool; putting the Other first with real, sincere interest. A mark of respect; a point of honour… Those words again.

It doesn't have to be exact, but it does have to be real.
The teacher endeavors to seduce the student out of the world of fantasy and into the world of energy.


Entelechy: that which realizes or makes actual what is otherwise merely potential.


There is nothing soft or humble about the rational mind. It is a weapon designed solely to conquer and colonize new territory.
"We use hypnosis not as a cure but as a means of establishing a favorable climate in which to learn."

Power (a vital aspect of reality) is the ability to take the other with you. This can be understood in different ways, for example: support and rear a family, introduce to beauty (artistic impulse), or intitiate into process (internal teaching).
To teach effectively you need to find something in the student you admire – a stimulant – something to work with and from – otherwise you'll get bored rigid.
The only choice, really, is whether to be inside looking out or outside looking in. We suggest the former.
All good things come to an end. It's the bad things that tend to linger.
"The heart is like a garden: it can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?"

You know when you get so drunk or stoned you can't remember fuck all the next day? Well get a friend to video you when in such a state and then study it. Guaranteed to be much closer to true than to normal.
Home is where the heart is.
Release the demons submerged beneath your mind.


Make a song and dance of it.

A watched pot never boils. A quiet attentive meditation session lasts forever: each second, each heartbeat, each breath acknowledged. If the time flies then either you've fallen into a slumber/stupor or the mind has wandered.


Preening our selves, we forget to enjoy the process.


"You beg for happiness in life, but security is more important to you, even if it costs you your spine or your life."
Global warming, over-population, mass extinction, world poverty, none of it really matters because we – me and mine – are OK. Sounds a little selfish, n'est-ce pas? But this is the message we give the world by blinkering ourselves within this bloated bubble of consumerism.


Simplicity starts at home.

Originally I tried to truck it as a scientist, in the tender belief that scientists searched for truth. But, after attending a few scientific conferences, delivering 'learned' papers, and observing the 'truth seekers' in action – in the flesh – I realised that the only thing they really searched for was a pension.
Sit down, shut up, and go into a very deep trance!
Even if you have the One, there will always come a time when you need the Other.
When the physical body is centred at sacrum and the energetic body in dantien, as they should be, naturally, then the head moves, sways, always, in the breeze, so to speak, and the calculating mind, prime ally, prince, of ego, cannot adequately function. So mind, ever contrary, ever controlling, shifts physical centre up to mid-spine so that perceptions, thereby tensely stabilised, can mould a tidy scientific world that can, most profitably, be engaged rationally. But this is not reality, not even close, and to believe so makes you, to me, far more narrow minded and faint hearted than any religious person I've ever met.
Don’t remove my pain
It is my chance to heal.


Truth is not in a statement – there is no final word – nothing to be discovered, in particular. Truth, for us, is the spirit of discovery – what Daoists call Beginners' Mind.
Become a process philosopher. Be a process.


"I am happy even without a reason."
On a pilgrimage aimlessly.
That's not an interruption; that's just part of the flow.

the magnanimous cruelty,
which is in me
like a hill
Good design doesn't just look good: it works good, feels good and lasts good. Ages to perfection.
"It takes two to know one."
Earth-gravity heals wonderfully, if only you let it.
We all have experience of boors – louts in love with the sound of their own voice. Well we all have a boor inside our own heads.

Intelligence may help in the beginning but eventually it becomes a real hindrance because in its efforts to help it serves the wrong master.


Problems occur when we smother what's there with demands.
Happiness – lightness of spirit – a lifting heart – is our natural state. We just need to uncover it.
"Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream, have faith in its course. It will go on its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you."

Just mind your own business. What business? The business of minding yourself just sitting. At least, you should be clear that you're sitting.
If you want to develop and investigate spirit then first you need to wake it up by attempting something that is so difficult it requires spirit to succeed. This, for me, is the value of weight training. Each time you put extra weight on the bar and attempt a lift you've never managed before then spirit naturally enters the fray.
Spirit, in a sense, is power, intensity, integrity: energy that has become so concentrated it has taken on a life of its own.
Do it with heart otherwise you'll lack lustre.
Work hard but don't be greedy.

Stretch out.
It all happens naturally when the spirit lightens. Things happen when you're happy.
Natural curiosity is blocked by fear. But fear is the opposite (the opposer) of love too. So maybe curiosity and love go together.
The stark simplicity of a devotional life.


Gregory Bateson pointed out that the ego is so dominant nowadays – we have become such control freaks – that each of us is infected with a degree of anxiety and tension unbecoming to the natural state, and a stiff scotch actually relaxes the mind and brings it much closer to what God intended. That's my excuse anyway…

A wall is very powerful. It will lift your heart and sink your belly. If you let it.
If listening is an empty yet welcoming space (heart) for the world to come into then looking is a refusal of the mind to judge or dismiss once (re)cognition has taken place.
Notice things that others don't. Develop a compassionate relationship with everything that's out there.


Every coin has two sides. But you need another (otherness) to turn it over for you.
"Far from creating independent thinkers, schools have always, throughout history, played an institutional role in a system of control and coercion. And once you are well educated you have already been socialized in ways that support the power structure, which, in turn, rewards you immensely."

When the middle-class start getting all liberal and magnanimous then you know it's only because they feel so safely entrenched that they can afford to be. The same with the ego (which for me is symbolized by the bourgeoisie). When it starts expressing intimations to truth and enlightenment (which would require its demise) then you know its only because it feels safe and cozy inside an empire well protected by personal, domestic and social forces. Such people aren't ready to be serious students.
Like an El Greco saint whose waxen body's about to melt, and whose tender spirit yearns upward.
The probing mind looks out into the world. Make sure the other end is in the heart and not the head.
It wasn't that I didn't listen, it's that I wasn't ready to hear. But what to do? Carry on regardless, work your balls off, and live in hope.
"the privileging of detached theoretical reflection over absorbed activity is a fundamental error at the origin of Western thought"


Cardboard suburbs full of plastic people.
Heart heals
Head harms


"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do."
Get to the bottom of things. Under-stand.
A rising spirit lifts the world.

Develop a vocabulary intolerable to secular pride. Fear God.
If the mind's neurosis is its fidgety craving for sense and meaning – its inability to sit still – then the mind's psychosis is its conviction that such meaning accurately depicts reality.
Everywhere you look there's confirmation.
Face down your fears.


The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes

Get a map. Ignore the paths.
In Taiji we practice an external Form in order to nourish and nurture an Internal life. This won't necessarily happen by itself; I know many Taiji masters whose art has remained largely external and whose practice has had little effect upon their character. The bridge between external and internal is made of those terribly unfashionable words: faith, respect, honour, sacrifice, discipline, dignity, devotion, honesty, sincerity, courage, love, which, even if just voiced meaningfully (from the heart) at the start of each practice session – a little prayer – will direct energy inward and upward.
The secret to life? Don't look down. Sounds trite, I know, but bear in mind that taking instruction doesn't mean imposing a new behaviour pattern upon oneself – that would be tense and external – but finding it in your heart to do what's asked naturally and willingly. Softly, softly.
Mind designs and desires, obstructing what is meant to happen. Hence lives devoid of meaning, devoid of spirit.


Always have a plan, but don't follow it.


Cut out the deadwood.
To reach for the stars understand rooting.
To find the Earth understand rotting.
"I don't count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting, because then it really counts."
Terrified of the dark, we introduce a little light, and then are fearful of our own shadow. So we chose to live in the full glare of exactly the wrong sort of illumination, where surfaces gleam and sparkle and the depths are encouraged to remain hidden.
The average person lives like a pathetic little kitten that's been chased up a tree by their own gremlins and can't, for the life of them, get down.


Without recognising the mysterious principle
It is useless to practice quietude.
We are trying to reach a point where heart, mind and spirit are all recognized as just different words for the same thing.
We live lives built on and of repression, hence the noisy mind – instrument of repression – vulgar veil. Quietening the mind in meditation doesn't bring peace, or not for long. It rather provides a space for those repressed feelings, desires, demons, to surface into and reveal themselves. This is called nurturing the Internal.
The mind must be willing to accept and embrace all that you are, warts and all. For this it must become big hearted and compassionate, and it must give permission for the zits to erupt, despite moral conditioning.


"Just remember that you don't have to be what they want you to be."

"No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell."
Sit, and watch time roll by.
The Ascent of Spirit.
Internal quiet allows fragile structures that would normally be destroyed by noise to develop and endure. This is refinement.
The teacher gives exercises, which, if practised in the right spirit, deal with whatever's holding the student back. Their practice will always be difficult, and probably painful, but, rest assured, there is no other way.

If you practice in the right spirit then heart/work is something of a tautology.


"It isn't the mountain that wears you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."
Don't be fooled: there is always an inside; what my teacher called the Internal of the Internal. So no matter where you are, there's always deeper. But, from such depths, always a surface; cleansed of experience and knowledge. The deeper you go the more superficial you appear.
"Praying five times a day helps me clean my mind."
There comes a point when you need to start running counter intuitive. Even intuition is conditioned.

Rushing around, busying ourselves with what amounts to little more than keeping up with the Jones's.


Compassion is the quality of mind with which we approach the world. A mind based in the inclusive heart, rather than the divisive intellect.


Bear (bare) in mind that any political commentary, here and elsewhere, says as much about the structure of the psyche as it does about society in general.
A relaxed system requires more energy to sustain than a tense one. This is why students yawn during class – as they relax they get tired because they don't have the energy to sustain the relaxation. And this is why tense nervous energy – coffee energy – is not what we would call energy; it is more a restriction of freedom in order to force action, or what we would simply call force. Energy, for us, is more like an internal motility – a range of possibility and potential – degrees upon degrees of freedom. Energy is basically freedom.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."

"The best way out is always through."
The only way to find out where you're going is to remember where you've been.
How it is we have so much information, but know so little?
What would you rather be: improving or perfect? They simply require a (very) different mindset.