A good, simple, god-fearing life.
Make fun of yourself.


No matter the cost.
"All your anxiety is because of your desire for harmony. Seek disharmony, then you will gain peace."
Don't just think outside the box, live outside it too. This, for me, is real intelligence; not excelling at school, which simply requires spirit and mind to acquiesce to prevaling forces of conformity.
Other knows Me better than I.
"In the end it’s all very simple. Either we give ourselves to Silence or we don’t."


Spirit brings you to the brink – that subtle shore where we have no choice but to gaze into the unknown. Without it everything is conditional – conditioned by the past – and there is no real future, only repetition of the same old story.
When walking (or running) let the alternating left/right lilt blow the mind, and weave a brocade for the soul. Then it becomes meditation.
Early on in the Israel sojourn – my voluntary exile – I visited a hummus cafĂ© in South Tel Aviv. It was a tiny place – cheap and cheerful – and the food was great. On finishing the meal I went to the counter to pay, and the short, stocky, and very handsome owner said to me, "You mind I say something?" I said of course not, so he continued, "You too heavy. You take the world too heavy." I smiled at this, and he hurriedly added, "Yes, smile! Smile very good for you!" One of the lessons I'll remember for the rest of my life.
I once asked a bird, "How is it that you fly in this gravity of darkness?" She replied, "Love lifts me."
Tighten up—


Lighten up—
Morning comes, and I shake the dews of night from the wings of my spirit
And mount like a lark, Beloved.
Problems only ever arise when I fail to inhabit the body properly, fully, uniformly; when certain zones are deemed, for whatever reason, no-go areas. Even seemingly permanent institutions such as ego, thinking mind, and the set of opinions and prejudices that these two together concoct, are the product of unnatural tension preventing the unimpeded flow of energy around the body. The body is really the only thing we have so our studies always start and end there.
A figure of speech – it's all just a figure of speech.

"We believe that there is only one God, by whom we live and by whom we die, and for whom we have an upright heart. But as God gives us the different fingers of the hand, so he gives to men diverse ways to approach him."
Coming off the rails.


Taiji in the West tends to be taught by numbers – automaton taiji – a set of instructions that could be used to program a robot to do the Form. Such a program is not in essence Taiji – just the bare bones which need to be fleshed out with years of dedicated practice to invest it with energy, spirit and soul. These three qualities constitute the true essence of Taiji, and can only be caught from a master who has them himself – a transmission of energy. This transmission, which presents itself as feeling, mood, aura, is really an awakening. Eventually, as the body fails with age and decrepitude, it is all that's left.


Anything that can be said is only ever a point of departure.


"Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance beween spirit and humility."

Spirit takes you out of fixity – definable states – and into ephemeral process.
Remember when you were just a twinkle in your father's eye. Your Father's Eye.
Spirit emboldens Otherness; thinking erases or suppresses it.
Mine the language – vocabulary – until each word becomes world, concept – takes on a life of its own. Words such as Yielding, Natural, Spirit, Heart. This is enthusiasm, imagination: your divine capacity to breathe life into whatever you touch.


A big heart and a sense of humour are requisite to navigate life's travails.


"Wildness… It is perennially within us, dormant as a hard-shelled seed, awaiting the fire or flood that awakes it again."


Experiential materialism: the bourgeois order of the day. Where shall we holiday this year darling? What new territories can our tired flat minds colonise next? What trophies await us, ripe for the taking?
Modern education values an enquiring mind over a faithful heart. Our work rights the balance.
When you soften the grip of fear then structures tumble, heart lightens, and spirit lifts: up, up, up. This is the entirely natural process we ignorantly spend most of our time and energy either resisting or avoiding.


"Communication is mutual feeling with someone, not a didactic process of information."

I asked my mother about her recent trip to Australia. She said it was lovely: spending six weeks with my brother and sister and their respective kids. Then she paused, adopted a confessional tone, and told me a story:
"On the flight over I sat next to a 23 year old lad and we chatted and chatted and he told me his whole life story, and how he wants to be a film maker and how he's going to Australia to work on a film set. And then we disembarked and he went his way, and then, as I was waiting at the carousel he suddenly rushed up, gave me a lovely hug and rushed off again. And you know what I remember most about the whole trip is that explosion of warmth as he genuinely hugged me. Why's that Steven?"
"Because you're a real person living in the real world I guess."
So beautiful the way death puts things in perspective.



Sign in train carriage this morning.


"Range after range of mountains. Year after year after year. I am still in love."


Crown back and up, heart forward and up.


"It is necessary to study these words you have written, for the words have a longer history than you have and say more than you know."


Unlock the chest, and share the treasure.
Reevaluate all values and valuables.
Thinking is a turn away from tenderness and tears; the arrogance to make a world without pain. Spiritual work is a turn towards the pain, into the pain, not to understand it or alleviate it, but to live it and pass through it.
"Things explain each other, not themselves."


Ultimately it's all about salvation.
Believe me, merely going through the motions is never enough. It must be totally wholehearted. And why not? If you're willing to spend the time and energy then why not also the heart?
The leap of faith – a leap into faith.
The Sea of Fire – Principle of Ascent. If the work doesn't slowly, inexorably, inevitably take me there then I fear it's all been largely a waste of time.
Stronger & stranger

The three stages of Taiji:

1. Relaxing mind & body.
2. Awakening & harnessing spirit.
3. Releasing spirit and allowing it to take you where it will; ultimately, on death, to its source.

This is the trajectory of a spiritual life, but also of each session.


The only interesting thing
is if one can be
an image
of man, "The nobleness, and the arete."
The last time I saw John Kells (almost ten years to the day) he said to me:
'The one thing I need to work on is the one thing I can't.'
I asked what that was, and he replied:

Well, the Tao eventually gave him no choice – a sign for me that he was truly blessed.

(Funeral: 10am 18 Jan at Gloucester Crematorium, GL4 4PA)


Empty the mind to concentrate the spirit
Train the body to obey the spirit.
Life is a string of magical experiences, which lead you to an overwhelming question: Where now?

"When one realizes that his life is worthless he either commits suicide or travels."
Don't get stuck in the mud, a mire of one's own making.
Forgetting self doesn't mean becoming busy with something else, it means being able to step outside the structure of ego and see self for what it is, and see reality as it is. This only happens when I'm shocked out of my comfort zone – when I become stranger to myself – when ego hesitates and spirit leaps out to save the day. Ultimately when I become nothing.
Happy in yourself, for no reason.
there's nothing worse
too late

"You've got to find what you love and let it kill you."
Keep to yielding mind. Sustain the work beyond its boundaries until it's all that is and all you are. Let it take you where it will.
His own worst enemy.
About the only thing we all have in common.


We live in selfish times, where a sense of entitlement has replaced a sense of gratitude. Sad.
'What should I practise when I get home?'
'I suggest you practise spirit.'
If the student has it in them then they'll find a way. The Way.


We practise softness in Taiji in order to develop true hardness – a core of steel. We surrender to gravity↓ to open up to spirit↑. Move slowly to calm monkey mind so that we can fly with lightening speed – quicker than mind. Turn the waist to loosen arms and tighten belly. This is the binary Taoist structure of our work and our world. Not so much yin/yang as Internal/External.
When teacher tells you a story then bear in mind that every detail, even the seemingly trivial ones, are important and instructional.
The bourgeoisie have a lot more disposable income nowadays, compared to how things were when I started Taiji in the early 80's, but they've had to sacrifice their spirit – sell their souls to the devil – to get it.
Admit the mysterious principle. Don't try to understand it rationally (which isn't understanding at all but, if anything, over-standing). Just allow it admittance, and everything will change – will come alive.
Out on a limb, a limn, a whim.


John Kells passed on today.
From one man
the world.
"People don’t change. They only stand more revealed."
Problems arise when we expect too much – when we feel entitled to this, that and the other.
The world of make-believe. This is the reality we attempt to resuscitate – the part that education throttled and adulthood smothers. The imaginative, the virtual, the energetic.
The teacher reveals your limitations, shows a path through and inspires the push beyond.

The Other is no longer an imposition but an opening, an opportunity, a blessing. Develop the graciousness to make this attitude a reality.
Feelings are objects: there to be acknowledged; then squeezed past.


one's own form, holding
every automorphism
Step back, put things in perspective;
step forward, live them up close.
We're all working through our shit, in our own way. That's why life is sacred.

"a coherence, a sort of ritual mood, and a feeling of the vernacular"
The amount of food and sleep the body needs to keep its immune system robust is roughly proportional to the number of hours of darkness in the day. More in Winter.


Trust, belief, love, life … blur into each other.


If you feel the importance of tail (which I don't expect you to – took me years to twig) then take the company of those with one: dog, cat, horse, monkey, and, of course, young children.
Meditation: time taken to stare down the enemy.
Move with the times.
So mummy told you you're special? Well don't bank on it. Grow up instead.


Gravity and gaiety. Work them together and life's perfect.
The Hebrew word for heart is lev, which is so close to love…
What natural processes are necessarily interupted in order to develop an ego?

What is the nature of love without a beloved? Is this not love of God?
Today I feel gay.


Visions, apparitions, miracles, the stuff of the Internal is fleeting – transient in the extreme – virtually existent, actually non-existent. Only the External endures beyond this. But this doesn't mean that only the actual has validity, despite the fact that this is what our culture and our minds assume. For us – students of the Internal – the only real function of the External is to harbour and indicate the Internal. Traces and omens. And for us a capable body is one able to manifest energy and allow the passage of energy rather than one able to perform external work.