31.7.16

Sensation transforms me into something else, and so changes everything. Feeling is a way to register and process sensation in order to remain the same. Keeping sensation at bay – refusing it access.

30.7.16

a chaste breast and quiet mind
Let go without coming to pieces. Only possible if you develop an alternative cohesive strength to ego. We recommend thymos.

29.7.16

At some point stop playing with cuddly toys and heed the bars of the cage. To break out requires arms and armour, to embolden rather than protect.

Soft, pliant, gentle.
At some point, when the time is right, though it always seems, to the timid mind, too early, set yourself adrift, and leave behind the ghostly remnants for others to flesh out with their fearful minds and their trivial lives.
Push past the point of no return. Breakthrough. Earn mastery. Then plod on.

28.7.16

"The tawdry temptation in life and in thought is still to take refuge in a caste or a discipline, some nook. To become a bird, a shark, a snake, how delightful, how frightful, the metamorphosis."

27.7.16

Imagine someone throws a ball towards you which you must return smoothly without stopping its flow, its energy. You extend towards it to intercept; your hands travel with the ball into your body; you turn your body to keep the ball moving past your centre, diverting it to a new path – back the way it came – which the ball continues along as it leaves your hands. This is yield and attack: the ball being the energy, intention or spirit of the Other, depending upon which level you're working on.

26.7.16


"I've never met a person I couldn't call a beauty."
Take Gan Eden – the Garden of Eden – to be the body – the temple. Then Adam and Eve are the male and female principle – yang and yin. Snake, the most interesting player, is energy, coiling, uncoiling, moving slowly, darting fleetly, around the body, always looking for mischief, for a play. Religion turns him into a devil – Satan's player – because he questions the validity of external authority, of the sovereign, and thereby, supposedly, threatens social harmony, status quo. He cannot help this, it's what energy does, it's natural. You must decide who to side with: the eternal external word or the ever-changing, ever-changeable internal. If you choose the internal – snake – then, as you waken him through the work, he ventures out into world and you become real in the sense of energetic, of spirit, which you never were before in your previously obedient robotic guise.
Befriend the animals inside.
Every thing casts a shadow. The deeper you go the more interesting the shadows become until that's where you dwell because that's all there is.
"you have precisely seven days before the dirt washes away to leave a vessel made of broken parts"
Spirit within challenges spirit without and vice versa.

25.7.16

"Violence makes the classes and the classes unmake violence."
The authority within that struggles, especially in this game, to keep ego in check, is mere superego – part of ego, installed to maintain a semblance of regulation. Anything that happens in thinking-time, in normal-space, is ego based and ego controlled.
Go the whole hog.

24.7.16

Reality is not observed but become. Participate. Partake. Party.
Time will tell.

Be deeply suspicious of everything you know, and naively interested in everything you don't.
Make your move.
True authority speaks a different language – appeals to heart not head.

23.7.16

Over consumption is unsustainable. That's the long and the short of it.
Trauma causes blockage. The frozen entity. Ignorance. Fascism – the intersection of ignorance and arrogance – the great delusion – institutes trauma as health and strength. This is why, for me, the bourgeois model, with its inherent conviction that it really is by far the best, is the most fascist of all.
Work hard, sleep well, then start again.

22.7.16


"we are stuck, like Jonah, in a black box"
All solutions – concepts – wear out. Most of our energy is bound up in fear, in keeping the unconscious – chaos – at bay. But it always, in the end, breaks through, and puts pay to distinction. Death always wins out.

21.7.16

"Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery. People are working every minute. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep."
Stand like a tree until swathed, indeed swaddled, with energy.

20.7.16

You have root when Earth feeds thymos. Strength of character lodged in spine. A compassionate tension willing to countenance death at every turn.

The past cannot be undone but it can be remembered, repopulated, recapitulated (as Castaneda beautifully put it) – honoured. Any spiritual journey travels back as well as forward – into the ineffable but also back to source. This, again, as always, is Central Equilibrium. Otherwise I never really have stability: neither Earth nor Heart nor Hearth. The journey, though endless, approaches homecoming because what has fueled it all along is the deep knowledge that I have already arrived. It's not so much that time is circular, that it chews its own tail, but that, on one level, the level that counts, time does not exist. When you understand this then you're ready and willing (aching) to pass on.
"When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can't make them change if they don't want to, just like when they do want to, you can't stop them."
Maturity is a matter of relaxation. Relaxing into what you are rather than striving to be something special. This, in turn, is a matter of finding your true centre, because what you are depends entirely upon the location of the centre about which your being assembles itself. From this centre you gaze upon the world – a world coloured by the position of said centre. The work is all about finding this centre and abiding contentedly within it. Paradoxically it is not found by looking inward – it is not an object I try to see but a place from which to see. It is found by looking outward with a relaxed and compassionate (these should be synonymous) divergent attention – looking at/for an objectless presence – and, when the spirit threatens to dwindle, addressing that invisible and unknowable presence – letting your energy out for no reason – no profit – other than activating the centre from which that energy diverges. And this is why the Other, in our work, is paramount – because it is only when I give to the Other that I find my true centre; my true place only opens up for me when I open up to the world beyond me – when I tremble and quake with absolute connexion. Such a centre is never a place of retreat and always a place of departure.
"You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you."

"As soon as you stop wanting something you get it. I've found that to be absolutely axiomatic."
If I lift up this wooden stool then it acquires potential energy and I can start to use it for energetic practice. My tendency though, once I have lifted it, is to lock the working muscles so that the suspended stool remains relatively stationary. I assume, in my lazy mind, that stillness and solidity are good, are what's required, and so I freeze. If instead I become mindful of the constant bearing down of the weight of the stool, and balance that with a constant lifting of my arms – giving an impression of relative stillness which is in fact an equilibrium of two opposite movements – then I become energized, which is another way of saying that I become connected, which is another way of saying that I come alive. Now I hold the stool above my head and let its weight bear down through my body. I then mindfully allow my legs to give (yield) under that extra weight, at the same time that they straighten (attack) to push the stool back up. All this would begin to happen naturally if I were to stay in this position long enough for the body to tire and begin to fail. This is the sort of exercise that, over time, reconditions the body to naturally receive and return external forces. And, as you can see, it is simplicity itself: all a matter of mindfulness and attention rather than technique.
"To be an artist you have to give up everything, including the desire to be a good artist."
The set of chronic tensions that constitute self-image get established because I either fail to trust and fill my own body or because I feel entitled to something better.
"Art is not about itself but the attention we bring to it."

19.7.16


"I allow myself to be guided by the work which is in the process of being born. I have confidence in it. I do not think about it."
A rubber ball bounces because it is able to deform then reform: it stores energy as it changes shape with the force of impact and then releases that energy as it goes back to its original shape. The ball does all this because it is made of that kind of rubber, because of its material properties – its inherent fabric and structure – and not because it has done anything extra or special. In Taiji we train and practise in order to condition our fabric and structure to receive and return external forces naturally. We call this yield and attack.
"as light as animal footprints on snow"

18.7.16

If reality is universe – all there is – or rather the meaning – the connectedness – behind that – then world is what I make and take – a minuscule subset viewed through a limited lens dependent upon time, location and a seemingly infinite set of prejudices.
"the hands grasp more quickly than the head"

17.7.16


The images I receive of reality – perceptions, conceptions, affections – are at best gross approximations and at worst total delusions. The most I can hope for is to be real with/in the spirit of authenticity. It is this insight that instigates and fuels the spiritual journey.
A total reevaluation in the manner of Nietzsche or Kierkegaard. This is what's required to break free of social class/conditioning – bourgeois bias.
Put spirit first and everything else will follow naturally. This is the fundamental principle of Taiji.

16.7.16

Hands on.
"This art makes use of acquired postures, but not of acquired strength. In every movement and stillness, it is entirely natural, never emphasizing animal vigor, for its purpose is to transform energy into spirit."

15.7.16


"The summit sings what is being spoken in the depths."

14.7.16

Spirit doesn't just ready me for the event, it creates the event. This is why, when spirit is up, unusual things transpire.
Live the moment as though it were impossible to anticipate; as though it needed total attention and utmost care; absolute respect. Then life will be imbued – indeed saturated – with spirit. It will be a spiritual life. Presence will have gone far beyond the physical.

Awestruck rather than awesome.
The heart aches, yearns, wants to/for love. Love is the exchange of grace. Grace, being grace, cannot be counted (on) or accounted (for). It just happens, through connexion, when, for an instant, you forget fear. It's completely natural.

13.7.16


Taiji provides a handle on energy with which to open the door into true mind. Otherwise, when the body fails, with injury, illness or age, which it inevitably will, we are left with nothing.
"Light must come from inside. You cannot ask the darkness to leave; you must turn on the light."
Worry, for most of us, is a way of grounding ourselves in a world bereft of spirit, and giving a secular life meaning and worth. And yet it is our inability to turn off the worrying mind that makes us largely ineffectual and worthless.
The main study for all serious Taoists is the point of return: how yin turns (in)to yang, and vice versa. This must be continuous, natural and elastic (bouncy).
Tension itself is not wrong. Without tension, alternating smoothly with relaxation, there would be no life, no breath, and no work. What is wrong is being locked into tension – being unable to release.
If you cannot quieten the mind at will
Then you are most surely mentally ill.

11.7.16


Reach for the stars in the spirit of togetherness. This is intimacy.
Self is bundled conditionality: I'll be happy as long as life pleases me; I'll be good as long as I'm rewarded. Spirit is an explosion of unconditionality: the freedom that comes with total commitment. The simplicity of natural response.
The trouble with anxiety – with worshipping the anxious voice – is that it then becomes well-nigh impossible to hear anything else.
"We are not facing a refugee crisis. We are facing a crisis because we do not embrace, we do not sympathise and we cannot give up fear."
The unconscious (that most revolutionary and far-reaching of concepts) is a secular reinterpretation of God, designed for us moderns unable to palate the idea of a transcendent authority (but all too willing to keep the law). It is a vast ocean upon which each of us builds a raft of detritus (ego) terrified that if we fall in we'll drown – unable to believe that as soon as we become enveloped by those waters instinct will kick in and we'll not just swim admirably, we'll become fish.
Our task is a change of software: uninstall the anxious mind and reinstall spirit as prime mover.

9.7.16


Travel light
live light
spread the light
be the light.
one needs faithful eyes to see the reasons of faith and hope
Let spirit coil around the bones, and squeeze.
Live your life. Be true to you. Only possible if you tighten up your act.
"I’m doing badly, I’m doing well; whichever you prefer."

7.7.16

The Other reminds us that we are alive and strong. If they weaken you then you're regarding them wrongly. Can't blame them.
Unhappiness tends to passive aggression.
The Other is whatever you're neglecting.
love takes us beyond the world of self to the world of we-hood

6.7.16

A point (of intent) burning through time becomes a line (of energy): an incision, an inscription; a signature, an expression. By being (alive) it makes (a path). Internal gives birth to external. This must be the way otherwise I'm just obeying orders, slave to the great External: merely following a Form.
"Reality is always magic."
What a pity

I was not a good host

for the snowflake

that settled on my eyelid.
the unavoidable salutation present in being

"Life is not anywhere near as complicated or unnecessarily difficult as we love to make it. It is, in essence, quite simple. And that is, in essence, quite amazing."

2.7.16

"I have my faults, but changing my tune is not one of them."
Out & about.
What you see is always a function of internal agenda – is always what you choose to see – either because it pleases or displeases – because it provokes emotional response. Whatever leaves you cold is ignored and forgotten. This is the main reason our lives read as a string of misinterpretations (mis-takes), and why, despite reality's best efforts, we never really change; not much anyway.
For the love of God. Does there really need to be a better reason?

Navigate a weaving path – a yielding path – between the words. Don't let them cling and get you down. This is lightness.
We move not just to get from A to B but to gain a better vantage – a new perspective – a fresh outlook. Flexibility is the expanded range. Softness is the willingness to move – to change – and take what comes.
You will only really change if you allow yourself the possibility of being different. Unimaginably so.
It's purely up to you.
Real communication has nothing to do with words. If you really want to communicate with the other then face them and gaze into their eyes so deep you touch their soul. This, you'll find, is only possible if you have the courage to become both quiet and vulnerable – respectful. Your deep gaze always opens you to their scrutiny too – exposes the sanctum. Energy flows both ways at once, otherwise it would be force. This is the forward movement we recommend. If you find it interesting then try it with animals – they are the masters – unable to hide behind words and opinions.
"All learning begins when our comfortable ideas turn out to be inadequate."

1.7.16

"If your heart was as big as your mouth you'd be real."

If you deign to give the other a modicum of thought – of care and attention – robbed naturally from self – then the world will be a better place, for all. A redistribution of wealth.
Nowadays most who join a Taiji class consider themselves good students if they attend class regularly, and serious if they pay for extra private lessons. So let's get a few things straight. A student, in my book, is someone who studies, and all study is largely homework – solitary practice. A serious student practises – as much as they can – and they wouldn't miss a class for the world. And in an ideal world there are no private lessons – they do more harm than good – bolstering an already excessive ego and demeaning the teacher. A good student has achieved a miracle: they have fallen in love with the work to such a degree that it has taken over their life, for better or for worse. They are the future masters, or, as my teacher would say, masters in waiting.
We are all story tellers – tellers of tales – so much so we forget that behind the stories there is a real world. The temptation to elaborate, exaggerate, fib and lie (what else can words do?) for self gain is far too strong for most to resist. Yet this is the work: to leave the world of words and enter the world of things; energy then follows and flows naturally. And this is why, for us, touch is everything. When I touch another then words disappear and the heart cannot but open and do its helpful work. It is like tending a wounded enemy or a hurt wild animal: the hands both restrain and heal. The capture and the rapture. Ruthless compassion. Central equilibrium.
The enemy is not the rational mind – the intellect. It is the ego. The rational thinking mind is a fine tool which, in the right hands, can help the heart achieve real wonders. But in the hands of the selfish and undisciplined it creates all manner of mischief – internal and external – which then masquerades as truth, deceiving the gullible and causing all manner of suffering.
"My influences growing up were pretty much based on the producers. I didn't really listen to the artist cos that wasn't my thing. If the beat caught my attention then I would like the song nam sayin. The beat is pretty much what everyone listens to first then the artist."