30.9.16

Stop repeating the same old story. Fold into difference : unfold into reality. Become a Buddha.
"I, for one, would love to be an atheist. But the combination of the verb and the noun, it seems, runs into problems."

29.9.16

Head perceives and makes sense whereas heart transforms.
As the student progresses work becomes more a matter of quality than quantity. For the first thirty years though quantity is paramount. Each hour of practice is like a lottery ticket: the more you buy the greater the chance of winning. In thirty years the working student accrues in excess of ten thousand hours of practice. This should be enough to come to the realisation that reality is not what it seems, that the bourgeois dream is a con, and that the really simple things in life – the tears and laughter – are what matter, not how big and secure is my empire.
"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression."

With this insight begins the work.

"A slave is someone who sits down, and waits for someone to free them."
We suggest replacing high opinion with real foundation.
The good student works from the heart – for love; the poor student from the head – for gain. The mediocre student lacks the spirit to be either good or bad, and so follows the flock. Baaaaa
Practice helps me see what a snivelling little shit I really am. Indeed a bitter pill. But without it there is no real incentive to change. Even with the best will in the world real change is well-nigh impossible so we need all the help we can get, even if that means learning a few beastly home truths.
Have faith. Don't worry. Just rise to the occasion. This is what occasions are for.

28.9.16


Mastery of an art such as Taiji is the paltry but necessary first step on the path to real mastery, which is always mastery of the self. Self is mastered by cleansing the mind of resentment: a process which takes years to even begin, years of preparation becoming humble enough to see ego for what it is, and then finding an alternative. Resentment is purely optional – it doesn't need to be a permanent fixture defining my character, or lack of it, and will, in time, with work, shake loose and fall away. But such work must be guided by a tough teacher who can see through my whinging – can see potential – a destiny.
Heart cannot be measured or judged by man-made – mind-made – standards. That would assume heart is a subset of mind. Nothing could be further from the truth. Heart does not measure or judge – it does not pull back from reality in order to comment on it.
Picture a child with a red balloon. The balloon is the heart – bright and buoyant; the child is the legs – planted yet playful; his hand is the dantien, clenching the most tenuous of threads. As though life depended upon it, which of course it does.

Working with a student, this morning, whose mind was elsewhere – distracted as usual. I attempted to seduce her into the session by explaining that peace of mind is an absolute requisite for listening to we-don't-know-what. The words appeared to fall on deaf ears, but just as I finished speaking a neighbour's child started practising his trumpet, warming up with the Star Wars theme. At this she grinned and said: "Ah, the Force is with us!" We then had a great session.
"Knowledge shrinks as wisdom grows."
Sit, or stand, with vertical spine and peaceful mind, and, in time, you will become aware of Mother Earth hugging you to her breast, and Father Sky calling and drawing your heart upward. It is our fate to be torn – to be caught in the middle – the veritable go-between. And it is our destiny to yield to this fate: to stop resisting (forgetting) and become energised by awareness. Our other deeds, driven by internal or social forces, then acquire, and thereby contribute, a wise grace.


Life is a duration – a progress – a playful journey – to be completed some other time.

27.9.16

Everything we know and believe is designed to restrict and regulate movement. Knowledge is only useful when used as springboard into the unknown.
Six months ago I was averaging almost three hours of seated meditation a day. Now I barely manage an hour. Sign of progress.
From a body of work to a heart of love. The sea change that marks Saturn's second return.

26.9.16

A lifting
heart

sees
the good

in every
thing.
Good is any action, deed or thought that lifts the heart. Bad is anything that depresses the heart. But understand that goodness and badness may be in the eyes of the beholder rather than the thing itself.


Ignorance is never an excuse. We always know. Then choose to ignore.


One of the benefits of living in a warm clime is bare feet. When you spend the day without shoes then the toes spread apart and actively extend, penetrate and grip the Earth. This, surprisingly, encourages the heart, or maybe it's just the chest, to work similarly. The devil – spirit – is in the details: the pinkies, of hands, feet and heart.


We all need a beacon – a shining that puts our own flame to shame. It's how we learn, how we change; for the better.

Even Steven?
We go
our separate
ways,

then find
ourselves,
with age,

coming together,
in heart,
at least.

25.9.16

This work
is necessary
purgatory—

the time
it takes
to

unburden
a heavy
heart.
A lifting
heart is

Heaven
on Earth—

the veritable
Kingdom of God.
It is all meant to be, so stop worrying it to death.

24.9.16


Behind each mental formation is the faint echo of a primal cry from the wilderness – a plaintive Woe Is Me – a backdrop of depression. If you listen hard enough you'll catch it. It is the cost of a life lived in and from the head: victimhood and slavery to a set of values that invert those of the heart, largely out of spite and self-loathing.
I contain
a heart

and that
heart

contains
me.
Meditation is a time to simply sit, allow the mind to recede, and let the heart do what it aches to do: pour joy and love into the world. This is, at its deepest, the heart's desire, and so, on one level, meditation is instant gratification.
I earn a humble keep by raising spirit and healing soul. And the longer I keep at it the more I feel heart – the reality of heart – the life of heart – to be all.
Heart is, rightly, irrepressible.

"Dad, for my birthday can you send me thirty quid for a gram of Mandy so me and my mates can get off our heads?" When I was her age it was a Party Seven of Watney Red Barrel, so it's reassuring to know that some things are improving.
"Awareness of God starts where self-sufficiency ends."
A while ago a Buddhist friend of mine visited with his 3 year old son. At one point he denied the boy a request and the brat threw a spectacular tantrum. My friend looked to me with compassionate but passionless eyes and said: "It's terrible isn't it – they start suffering so young." I strongly objected pointing out that the boy was not suffering at all but simply letting out energy – expressing himself. My friend didn't really listen because he was already reasoning with the child – trying to teach him the awful habit of overruling heart with head. The child listened and his temper subsided. "Now he's suffering," I said.


When heart takes pride of place – centre – it generates a steady stream of joy, irrespective of feeling. Joy is an energy, an effusion, a giving, whereas happiness is a feeling, a condition, a taking.
Reappraise the principles, regularly.

23.9.16


"The trouble with most therapy is that it helps you feel better. But you don't get better. You have to back it up with action, action, action."
Reality is fluid, is process. It seethes and teems with energy, with change: with possibility and unpredictability. Ego, and its ally the thinking mind, cannot function here, so they invent enduring well-behaved models to stand in for reality. These can be as elaborate as scientific or philosophic theory or as crude as simple muscular tension. So our principal method for dealing with ego, for reducing man to the obedience of God, is to work to relax the body of its chronic physical tensions, and the mind of its outmoded models. This is largely a matter of relinquishing control and letting go – allowing one's constricted world-view to open up and expand – and this, after the first flush of excitement, is always terrifying and difficult to bear. In the end it always comes down to faith, sincerity and courage. In other words: heart.
Born again
and again
and again
and
The ins and the outs.
Back to basics – to a mind in the body and of the body – a breathing mind – fully engaged in what's going on.


See magic everywhere.
Back to basics – to a sense of self that makes the world fresh and mysterious and alive. This is beginners mind.
At the drop of a hat.

22.9.16

Reality must be created to be lived. Created with spirit, lived with heart. This is what it means to be a warrior.

21.9.16

"Storms make trees take deeper roots."
The victim spends every spare moment moaning, criticising, complaining because what they are victim to, above all, is their own incessant internal chatter. The warrior, on the other hand, spends every moment hunting, engaging and gathering power because that is what one does, naturally, when the mind is quiet and alert.
One takes a teacher for correction. This usually involves learning techniques, subtle or coarse, depending upon one's level, that, with diligent practice over time, consolidate such corrections. Without practice the student wastes everyone's time.
We are all intelligent, thoughtful; well read, well versed. The words are all in place. Now it's simply a matter of putting them into practice.
"Imagine trusting silence more than any thought you can come up with."
Spirit creates charismatic space; heart compassionate space.

20.9.16


In the absence of thoughts.
"life's fierce, ruthless, and loving grace"

19.9.16

The superior man has Heaven and Earth.
A heavy heart is not just a hindrance, it is a sin, a waste.
no thoughts
no words
just heart

18.9.16

At least half of our God-given energy we waste on whinging and whining.
Never shirk responsibility, or unpopularity.
Professional in the sense of always on the job rather than making money. If you have to make money at this game then you'll soon become corrupt.

17.9.16

"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire."
Lower back supports and feeds both heart and head, and belly supports and protects lower back.

16.9.16


"The system isn't stupid, but the people in it are."
Mind remembers the past; heart remembers God.

15.9.16

Mind without spirit is both bored and boring.
A serene mind and an effusive heart.
Meditation: where pure presence engages more than memory and desire.

14.9.16

Knowing that over that fringe of treetops is the sea changes everything.
"Waking up to reality is terrifying."
Sense of self is a ball and chain which we mistake for necessary ballast. To let it go root so as not to float away, appreciate Otherness, and yearn for spiritual unity.
Fight the oppression of collective mediocrity: burst the bourgeois bubble. Discipline & sacrifice: the two things the mediocre lack all sense of.
If God is not central then it's because the mind is. Maybe Tao would be a better – less offensive (to secular sensibilities) – word. Laozi says the Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.

"How one encounters reality is a choice."
Words cannot adhere to truth; all discourse ends up glorifying false idols.
An atheist is someone who has never managed to quieten the mind.
It seems, on the surface, that knowledge increases the world – reveals its detail, its provenance, its destiny – but in actual fact it reduces reality by drawing the knower into a world dominated by mind and largely bereft of compassion. This is the arrogance of mind, the weight of mind, which we endeavour to erode, whittle away, little by little, revealing the glimmer of a humble heart. When that weight has gone then the heart will, of its own, or rather with God's help, mercy, arise, bloom and flourish and take over the life. Heart is simply a shard of the divine which yearns, above all, for union. This is the truth we all struggle to avoid facing and living up to.
No-mind and all-heart. You won't hear a more radical, or a more natural, proposal.

12.9.16


"We tend to take on the coloration of the setting in which we find ourselves."
It's not that the truth cannot be spoken, it's just that when it is the attendant tears are too much, for everyone.
Let the heart carry you away, not the mind. This is our project. And, generally speaking, the heart will carry you up whereas the mind will take you down. This is why my teacher once said to me: Take your inspiration from the stars not from the Earth.
It matters little what you do: Taiji, qigong, yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, surfing, jogging… What matters is that you do do something and you do it with the whole heart. And quality of heart only improves through use. It is, after all, just a muscle.

11.9.16

We do not "have" a body; rather, we "are" bodily.

10.9.16


"Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself."

9.9.16

A clever mind accustomed to concealing or making up for a cowardly heart is a total hindrance to spiritual work. I should know.
Meditation is a time to sit bravely before your maker and bare your heart. Soul will follow.
We think not so much to understand as to control, to tether things to the jetty from which we gaze, ego blazing, upon the world. We take, tame and enslave the world with our paltry minds. We really think we're God.
"all reasoning is, by nature, circular reasoning"

Heartwork starts and ends with courage.
"We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God."
A fortnight ago two students returned from their respective summer holidays. One had been on a meditation retreat with Adyashanti (along with 300 others) in Holland; the other on a small organised trek in the Pyrenees. The meditator came back looking suitably serene and smug, obviously having worked long hours developing the spiritual ego but leaving the actual spirit completely unscathed. The trekker, on the other hand, returned as sick as a dog having endured a very difficult and challenging daily regime of grueling walks and terrifying climbs. Now, having had two weeks to recover, the meditator is back to normal – the same as ever – whereas the trekker is transformed – softer, braver, deeper. Let's hope it sticks.
Heart, if you let it, goes all out.
Mind, if you let it, chickens out.

8.9.16

"Grace creates liberated laughter."

7.9.16


Taijiquan is a Taoist art, and Taiji is the principle at the heart of Taoism. The Taiji yin/yang symbol illustrates that two fundamental polar principles interact to produce all there is – the myriad creatures. It also shows that at the core of one principle is a kernel of its opposite: at the heart of darkness is a glimmer of light, and vice versa. This must be so otherwise there would be no return – no becoming – no change. We need the other – otherness – otherwise there can be no life. In fact the quality of life – its intensity and spirit – depends upon the otherness it yields to and contains.
"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."
Learning to quieten the thinking mind is not a matter of telling it off every time you notice it chattering – that's negative and is a sure way to depression – but finding something inside that's far more beautiful and compelling, and affirming that instead. We suggest the heart.
LIVE AND LET LIVE

Graffiti on the bus this morning.
Lack of compassion simply means that the heart has hardened. A heart only ever hardens out of fear, often expressed as a puerile desire for revenge masquerading as justice. This is why we value softness so highly – it is a requisite for compassion. Unfortunately, for the future of the human race, a hard heart can usually win short term battles over a soft heart. But on the long term softness always comes through.

Take a good long look at the above picture. What you feel is compassion. This is proof, for me, that God exists. God is simply the omniscient field of compassion, here there and everywhere, constantly calling us to open our hearts and partake of the party. The quality of a life has then nothing to do with duration or acquisition but with how totally one has managed to surrender into this field.
Once you get the measly mind around the simple fact that we humans are limited finite creatures in the extreme, and accept that we can never possibly know anything ultimate or infinite or even inherently true, then belief becomes a matter of expediency – what belief system makes life most meaningful and fulfilling? A teaching is a developed belief system designed to take you beyond yourself and into realms you could never in a thousand years possibly imagine or contemplate or discover for yourself. All spiritual cultures consider great teaching to be the most valuable of treasures, the squandering of which yields maximal karmic discredit.
"It is through weakness and vulnerability that most of us learn empathy and compassion and discover our soul."

6.9.16

Therapy will never wake you up. It merely institutes a more comfortable dream, making the possibility of awakening even less likely. But, of course, most of us don't really want to wake up: we're quite happy grafting or drifting through life in a bubble of comfort or stress, it makes little difference. If you are interested in awakening, passionately so, then you need to develop spirit, or put yourself in the way of spirit. And pray.
"living in the fullness of emptiness and freedom"

See the mind for what it is – largely the enemy to spiritual progress – and identify instead with heart.
Happiness is a buoyant heart, and is a natural state. Our responsibility, to ourselves and to the world, is to free the heart from all that submerges or threatens to submerge it. Largely habit and the critical mind, our own and our culture's.
The mind, despite its high opinion of itself, is heavy handed and clumsy. So, when it comes to heart and spirit, it is better to get it out of the way – let it and its influence recede into the background – and wait patiently for more subtle natural forces to come into play. Hence meditation. If the mind attempts to mimic the effect of such forces then the result is laughably bad to the point of embarrassing.

5.9.16

Happiness is not a feeling, it's a responsibility.
We are constantly tempted and encouraged to fritter away our energy with worry and fucking so that there will never be the possibility of ever gathering enough power, intensity, spirit to burst free of conditional existence. But we have only ourselves to blame.

"A life by walls commits one to a life of lies."
A good teacher presents you with an effective vehicle, channel, vessel into which to pour your passion. A great teacher however does something else – they awaken that passion with such force that it refuses to go back to sleep as long as you live. The combination of both: initial awakening and efficacious teaching allows you to slowly accrue enough energy for full breakthrough – complete awakening.
heart & humor

4.9.16

Thinking is an addiction we can't do without. We all, deep down, know this. The big mistake is to assume that thinking is a natural state.
Yielding is a change of heart. But even more so it is a change to heart. Like in the Tao Te Ching where it says: Soft like ice about to melt. Not simply a change of degree but a change of phase, of state, of reality.

3.9.16


Forgiveness is the most beautiful of acts. It means remembering, reclaiming and embracing your past, and the makers of your past, your past self most of all, with arms of compassion, acceptance and understanding. Without it the face can never smile and the heart will never soar, except momentarily – when you happen to forget.
Taiji is the principle of polarity. The principle that there are always two opposing principles at play, giving rise to resonance, vibration, energy, movement. Nothing is ever really still or inert. Everything throbs, reacts, responds.

2.9.16

"Without memory, there is no healing. Without forgiveness, there is no future."
beautiful, fragile and evolving
Become accustomed to a heart so light and open – so full of joy – that as soon as you smother it by thinking you start to choke.

No one in the right mind would choose this work. They have to be at least a little bit crazy.

1.9.16

Beauty is energy; ugliness is force. So if you can relax just a little or, better still, help the other relax just a little, then you're adding beauty to the world, which can't be bad.
Happiness is not a state; it's a choice.
Run before you can walk and you'll either tumble over and hurt yourself or spend the rest of your life running. But maybe, if you're lucky, you'll have a realisation before the end and choose to learn to walk. This will require the painful undoing of bad habits. It's why so many of the simplest things we end up learning last of all.