22.7.19

It's not a matter of whether something is interesting but whether I have it in me to be interested. This is what we mean by compassion.
The mark of inexperience is saying too much.
My taiji life started with a mysterious imperative: Forget self and become one with the Dao. We start each day, each session reminding ourselves of this. The first instruction in that fateful first class was equally mysterious though maybe a little easier to approach: Mind in dantien. It is not the teacher's place to explain but to repeat, to insist. Interpretation is your business, to discover through practice and research.
When I first came to Israel and attended the taiji classes of Nitsan Michaeli, one of his oft-repeated pet phrases was bli koah – without force, without strength. I now work regularly with the elderly and a phrase I hear often from them is ein li koah – I have no strength. And this I take to be the main reason they do what they do so well – they don't have the strength to get it wrong.
How many times in the course of this week will I conclude that self-consciousness is brain damage?

The only real sadness, the only real failure, the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint.
My teacher, once uncharacteristically disheartened by the obvious impossibility of learning how to yield, asked his teacher: How do I learn? Is all Dr Chi would/could say was: Somehow. Ultimately it's down to destiny and karma rather than work and talent, though without the latter very little can happen.
In the heart of the moment. Because every moment, when fully engaged, has a heart.
A real teacher doesn't give you knowledge, he teaches you how to learn.
Is it possible that nothing contradicts faith like the idea of it?

If you don't have a practice then your company is bound to be burdensome to those that do.
A body of work, a corpus operis. Like an artist, only our body of work rests in our actual body, in our energy. Like a saint who starts off a simple sinner and through a life devoted to humility and helping others builds a reputation that is not only admired and remembered but which works miracles, which heals.
Anxiety and depression are the natural response to a freedom one is neither strong enough to endure nor wise enough to navigate.
In my day we went inside to discover ourselves, a process we intuitively knew would be both arduous and painful. Nowadays kids make external choices to invent themselves – a process summed up by fashion and in particular the tattoo.
A bell is a bodhisattva, it helps us to wake up.

the natural state of your life before any thoughts or ideas arise
It's not a matter of being mindful of the present moment – that's still one step removed – but of BEING the present moment – the centre of a creative universe.