31.1.16

If you really want to be rid of ego you'll need to find an exorcist.
Ego starts when the bairn sees the image in the mirror is itself. The beginning of reflection and self-preening.

When circumstances don't allow you to be yourself, first be grateful, and then become something else.

30.1.16

Tighten the belt, loosen the bra and take off the hat.
Most philosophies eventually come to the conclusion that there are two basic forces or principles in the universe: the force of contraction/attraction/tension – the inbreath, and the force of expansion/repulsion/relaxation – the outbreath. Daoism is interested in how these principles (yin and yang) separate out in the mix, abide side by side (a process that seems a state which we call Central Equilibrium) and transform one into the other.
The thinking mind spends all its time contradicting and overriding sensory input, not so much from outside as from in: it listens only to itself and ignores energy.
Truth is all about keeping promises. And ultimately fulfilling promise – going where God intended.

Mind in dantien. This is one of those vague instructions that begs endless specification. It is really developing and feeling the dantien as centre (for which one needs to do endless corework) and then relaxing that conditioned centre into the external gravitational field that contains it such that one is constantly mindful of the Earth's tug upon not only the dantien but everything within eye and earshot. Then, and only then, the body becomes energized à la Taiji.
"The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness."

29.1.16

The only time we are totally alone is when we're driving the motor. So take advantage of the privacy and scream your head off.
The function of life is to accumulate as many moments of truth as possible. Don't ask why.
An intense activity masked by equilibrium.

When you stop the mind there is a whole world in one breath.

28.1.16

The most important thing in life is connexion with God. This is the conviction and conclusion of anyone who dares to do a tap of real work: work that takes them beyond their puny selves.
as the
spirit
wanes
the
form
appears.
"Stand up straight and be a man!"
God knows how many times I heard that when I was a kid – always from women who loved me. Wish I'd listened.



"I try to make something every day. I find that important. One doesn’t sit down and have a good idea and then go out there and perform it. Pointless. Ideas, metaphors, things spiritual or real, occur out of practice. Go in there everyday, make something and something will flow out of that."

25.1.16

Always looking to reduce minimum sufficiency.
Remember a time when people would speak with animals rather than eat them: when we shared their secrets.

23.1.16

Psychotherapy is a machine for turning gentle depressives into aggressive narcissists.
"become a creature that abides, shockingly, in the wisdom of the flesh, with the … integrity of a body willing to be unmade at any moment"
Destiny is what happens to happen when you free your spirit.
At some point let go of security and trust destiny. Security holds you back; destiny takes you on.

22.1.16

Satan, for those who hadn't already worked it out, is simply the thinking mind – the false light of reason that sees precisely what it wants to see. So we are all devil worshippers, at least until, through dint of laborious painstaking work, we learn to subdue that part of the mind and let the divine aspect – the broad plane of immanence – predominate.

21.1.16

each in the other being one each other
one is more than oneself or is not
Mind in dantien. The very first instruction. And it all hinges on this. To be successful the mind must want to settle in the dantien rather than dwell anywhere else. And for the average beginner the mind would rather be anywhere but the dantien because the dantien, despite its peace and quiet, is rather lonely and featureless and unentertaining and, let's face it, scary.
Letting go and relaxing isn't simply a matter of releasing stiff muscles and loosening the body, although it always starts there. At a deeper level it works towards a complete deconstruction of the fabric of the personality, especially that part which could be called style.
Most of us skirt the surface, roam the edges; making a living by building a profile. Those that take the plunge become invisible, become energy; working the depths.

19.1.16

Power is maximised when my centre of awareness coincides with my centre of gravity. This is why we put mind in dantien.
Cowardice, which seems to have become very fashionable, albeit not under that rubric, is a blunt refusal to face fear. The true coward is never frightened because as soon as he feels it looming he turns his back to face something familiar.

18.1.16

"Conviviality is a circular phenomenon. The circle structures the way human life is carried out."

Justice without judgement.

16.1.16

"In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality."

Meditation: learning to welcome change.
Meditation is the time to feel the body's desire to return to Earth and the soul's desire to return to God; that is, the inevitability and desirability of death. And how the breath and the heartbeat are sufficient for life, and how thinking and anxiety and fear and tension and even feeling muddy the issue.
Meditation: sitting on the edge of creation.
After giving the usual pep talk at the end of a meditation class about one's obligation to the sangha and the soul, namely the necessity of daily personal practice, a lazy student looked at me imploringly and asked: "Isn't there a short cut?"
"This is the short cut," I answered; not without a certain glee.
Meditation: using habit to investigate spontaneity.

15.1.16


Time is a wild stallion always threatening to either run away (with you) or trample you under its heavy hooves. Meditation is a taming of time – making friends with time – whispering into its sensitive ears – marking its passage with each breath like the proverbial prisoner scratching his cell wall to keep track of the days. If you manage this, to any degree, then on death you'll ride on the strong back of time, stately and dignified, into the sunset, onto the next leg of this infinite journey.

14.1.16

"The struggle is real, but so is God."
Breathing is not just a gathering of oxygen and expulsion of CO2, it is also our most basic grip on physical reality – a pump which ties me into the world, muscularly and spiritually. Through it I become intimately aware of the materiality of air – its mass, inertia and momentum – and I use those properties to haul myself, through breathing, along the line of life. Taiji, of course, is a similar machine, hence swimming in air.
Thinking, as Barry Long famously quipped, is a psychological disease. It has become a compulsion, a neurosis, something we have forgotten how to turn off. Meditation is the struggle to break that compulsion and return the mind to its natural state of quiet attentive presence – firmly lodged in the here and now. It is perhaps the most difficult task you will ever attempt, but if you are awake enough to feel the inner yearning for peace and desire for freedom then you will start and continue and eventually succeed.
Don't let time fly. Savour each second, each breath, each heartbeat. Be present in each one. This is meditation. And mindfulness.

11.1.16

"We have exiled the worlds we can only glimpse and made those that inhabit those worlds into exiles."
The secret of life is not hidden away, secreted, in some secure vault or lofty hideaway. It is ubiquitous, everpresent, always available, but so soft, so gentle, so subtle, that I must become deeply quiet, humble and respectful to ever hear it.
When you voice the words green, white and black you realise that the language is 100% onomatopoeic.

10.1.16

Imagine that each day of your life a photograph is taken of your face, and then, when you die, this sequence is played back to you as a movie. What qualities would you hope to see replacing fresh, youthful innocence? As you slowly lose what God gave you, what do you hope to develop and give back?
Each exercise an organic machine that becomes so energized – so full of motion – that it teeters on malfunction.
When ego falls away then the heart (thymos) expresses as a pure desire to help others. This is the point of life.

9.1.16


In the mundane world progress is a move away from vulnerability, through capability and into respectability. But in spiritual work progress always moves in the opposite direction.
One thing I've noticed with spiritual teachers is that when you tell them something terribly interesting and relevant they immediately dismiss it as irrelevant and uninteresting only for it to reemerge some time later in their own teaching.
If you must fry, use coconut oil.
Do less. Only then can you do with the whole heart.
The most important thing a spiritual master will teach you is that getting your own way is bad for you.
Ensure the heart strings are elastic.
Am I just a pagan singing a creed outworn? I hope so.

Non-attachment, not so much to things as to wrong ideas, useless concepts, rigid laws, false meanings and bad habits.
Morality is for the weak and unimaginative.
"Always do what you are afraid to do."
The forces that really affect us – that renew and reconnect us – that resurrect us – are best left unnamed. Naming unavoidably creates commodities and encumbering economies.

8.1.16

When I disconnect from the fields I am embedded within then I also disconnect from my own processes.
The teacher provides plan and materials for the student to build a personal private abode – a garden grotto, a secluded studio – into which they retreat as often as possible until, one day, they fail to reemerge and the world has lost them forever.

7.1.16

In the absence of light, pray for light. And remember: prayers and tears always go together.
Meditation creates peace so that my energy, normally neglected and oppressed, can come to the fore and open up. Then it is simply a matter of waiting and trying not to interfere.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are suddenly called upon to stare death in the face and, as Castaneda beautifully put it, dance your last dance. Words, and their associated anxieties, would not just fail you, they would disappear altogether, to be replaced by a focused intensity — you, a lifetime of spiritual work, at your very best.
"...we are so blind ... with our looking inward and then projecting outward..."
Selflessness arises from spiritual understanding – from the realisation that significance is not in self but in connexion. And this is why forgiveness is perhaps the most beautiful act: because it heals connexion.

6.1.16

"The best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them."
Love means willing to die, and thereby willing to live.
Each meal sandwiched between two prayers of gratitude.
Brown rice and steamed vegetables.
Ego is the mind of the victim attempting to imitate the heart of the warrior.
The pull of Earth on dantien is the trigger that releases the thymic heart. Heart without Earth is always self-serving: charitable at best, mean and cruel at worst – always partial and incapable of magnanimity – loving one's own whilst despising the Other.

3.1.16

God is, simply, the weight of the collective soul: our frightened insistence that we, whoever we are, are special, different and more deserving than those who do not share this soul: other races, cultures and, especially, other species. And the more secular we become, the more we insist that God is dead, the more pervasive he becomes by subtly vaporizing and seeping into our ideals and institutions: democracy, justice, freedom, progress, human rights, etc, all of which are defended and promulgated with a religious and imperialist zeal that puts the crusaders to shame.
Have you noticed how cynical the bourgeoisie have become? The only thing they really believe in nowadays is their own depression.

2.1.16

What is the cause of suffering?

These are the first three answers that spring to mind:
  • Inability to let out energy
  • Refusal of destiny
  • Incorrect relationship with the ground
In Taiji these mean the same thing.
The mind just has to let go and trust the body.

"I hate resting with a fucking passion."

A wonderful sprung rhythm tetrameter from the irrepressible Conor McGregor.
I came into the world to mend it.
I have given my heart to time and lost everything.
Now I understand who I am.

Sufi song

1.1.16

You are never alone.
Meditation teaches that if nothing else.
There is an inevitable reciprocity to perception; the perceiver is always unavoidably perceived. This is the first law of connexion. The ego, stupidly, presumes otherwise: believes its own sovereignty and privacy, and so lives in error: at best ignorant, at worst disconnected.
Ego has faith only in its own sovereignty. It acts to spite the world.
To eradicate self, first be true to self.

Walk with your God. Every thought, every action, subject to the watchful gaze and scrutiny of something far greater than yourself. A little like performing the Taiji Form for a discerning master: nerve-wracking but so much more meaning, so much more spirit.