Our technologies haven't just enslaved us, they have moulded us into willing slaves. They have made us totally dependent.
Spirit changes everything.

Thinking is fine but to put any real store by it – how stupid can you get?
The beauty of mistakes is that they often reveal a deeper truth lurking beneath the surface. The Freudian slip. (And I still rate the unconscious – his crazy idea that the mind is like an iceberg with most of it submerged and unknowable yet influencing consciousness all the time – as the most far-reaching and influential concept since Marx’s class structure in which the underdog eventually and inevitably reaches critical mass sufficient to topple topdog.)
No one to blame but myself. This one really sucks.
We never know, we can never know. So is all we can do is do knowing that that doing will make good in time. This the rationale and reason to practice.
So what is it all about? This strange phenomenon called life? What is the meaning of it all? To become animal, or angel, or, preferably, both. To investigate extremes through acts of spirit, rather than stay fearfully stuck in the boring middle. To access and put to use your inner power which is always a power to become, a power to change, a power to switch dimensions, to flip realities and suddenly BE. To confront death, not at some future date but NOW, fully awake and fully alive, and scream FUCK YOU!


The student must realise that it is her readiness brought about by her own hardwork that stimulates the next stage of the teaching to reveal itself. The teacher has very little say in the matter. Without that hardwork it will, week in week out, become very monotonous. Some students prefer things this way – it's less threatening than the challenge of something new – but I can assure you the teacher doesn't.
It would be nice to have a few real students – ones that practice – but from what I hear this is the sentiment of most teachers nowadays.
If the student needs explanations then they're not ready to be taught.
Our technologies haven't just enslaved us, they have moulded us into willing slaves. They have made us totally dependent.
I am an optimist because I believe in spirit, yet a pessimist since I don't believe in humanity. We are nothing special, and the sooner we get our childish minds around that fact the sooner we can get on with this project of presenting our spirit to life.

"The interiorization of the technology of the phonetic alphabet translates man from the magical world of the ear to the neutral visual world."
The teacher is someone who knows you better than you know yourself in one crucial respect: they know what you need next in order to make real headway into destiny.
Destiny is a future that makes life worthwhile. The faintest whiff of success.
"The way I paint cannot be passed on because it is always a question of how profoundly or emotively I can paint something that is elemental. This has to come directly out of the spirit of my life, so it is not a theory I can give to another artist."
Nowadays we are all accustomed to the sight of a child enrapt in a screen – swallowed by the visual – willing to forsake food and friends for a few more minutes enslavement. But, oh, to be so enrapt by the simplicity of touch.
A warrior path to develop warrior spirit. The spirit of fighting a battle that cannot be won because somewhere along the line our species took a wrong turn – a selfish turn – and lost the apparatus – the direct access to power – to win through, spiritually, except in the rarest of special cases. And yet, despite being doomed to fail, one chooses to live this choiceless life because without just a little warrior spirit nothing of any true worth is possible.

Most spiritual work lacks one vital ingredient: spirit.
a constant interplay between the materiality of life and the spirituality and light of idea
Thinking requires you to vacate the body.
Correct posture blows the mind.
Relaxed body. Fierce spirit. Mind doesn't come into it.

"I know I use a very insistent kind of imagery, being a hopelessly sick and obsessive person, but I'm constantly trying to correct the tyranny of my own obsessiveness, so I never stop arguing with myself."
Amazing how many spiritual people one meets nowadays with no spirit.
"The hidden background of any situation is in general more powerful than the visible surface."
The best way to reduce the self is hardwork, especially physical work or work helping others. We all know this, instinctively.
Sinking, a concept as important in seated meditation as it is in Taiji, involves, as does every action, a relaxed and a tense component. The relaxed component is simply letting go to gravity with a vertical spine; feeling the draw as a flow of energy. The tense component activates the spinus erectus muscles – the pythons either side of the lumber spine – to extend the bottom end of the spine down into the earth and the top end upwards out of the crown of the head; rather like driving a stake into the ground. Then, as you work, softly but firmly, the energy of the earth coils itself upwards around your spine like a runner bean creeping up a beanpole or like a dozy snake woken by the charmers shawm. Most practitioners make the mistake of allowing the belly to drift up and back in order to alleviate the strain on the legs, in which case this coiling energy has nothing to coil around. Keeping the bum in – sinking the dantien/sacrum down and forward into the posture and leg(s) – corrects this weakness.

Every theorist hopes to triumph by reducing the world to their own favored terms.
Innocence is sweet; maturity savoury – and far more wholesome.
I know it's a terribly unfashionable sentiment, but spiritual work must have some abnegative discipline – a sacrificial structure – to be in any way effective on the longterm. A lot of so called spirituality nowadays consists of pampering and indulging the self in the hope that that will stimulate it to reward me with good feelings which I can then chose to interpret spiritually. But such an approach, on the longterm, just strengths and bloats the ego – a sure path to decadence and corruption. Read any well established spiritual or religious text and they say the same thing: prayer is most effective when it is impossible to pray, love is most effective when it seems impossible to love, practice is most effective when it's the last thing you want to do. Yet again it all boils down to giving yourself what you need rather than what you want. This is maturity.
When you listen to energy rather than the thoughts in your head then you are exercising spirit. But when you listen to those thoughts instead, thereby losing touch with energy, then you exercise self or ego, regardless of the content of those thoughts.
Content to simply sit for as long as it takes for self to withdraw into the darkness of its lair and for the energetic body to emanate into full glory.

The rigors and rewards of this Parmenidean life.


Spirit thrives on danger. So, the safer we make our world, the less spirit. It's obvious really.


"I try to get a mature and resonant feeling into the surface through labor and attention."
Amazing how many spiritual people one meets nowadays without a practice.
In Taiji, overall form stays largely the same but content changes radically. These changes – changes in energy, in spirit, in feeling and emotion – register in tiny fluctuations of form – what my teacher called shimmer – and it is these little changes that give both the work and the worker spiritual life.

Clotted with self. Sometimes my teacher could coin such an apt phrase. This one was invented to describe a particular student who was literally paralysed with self obsession. No spirit, no movement – everything stifled – and all for the sake of her creature comforts.
"Each thing has an essence. A chair is what it is, deeper than all the events and surface effects through which it is manifest. To say otherwise makes change impossible."
You try living, out of country and culture, on your own, sustaining a vision that goes completely against the grain of those you find yourself living amongst. This is how exile becomes a test of spirit.
Sacrifice everything but spirit.
"We have not made a beautiful world. As the world deteriorates and our options become more limited, the example of what's possible in art becomes more important and, simultaneously, more tragically isolated."

Perfect balance. Is that an oxymoron?
Arguing with my brother-in-law yesterday that we ought to give our children more freedom and more responsibility. "Yes, that's all well and good but what happens when something unexpected happens?" he asked, constantly fearful of his own children's safety. "Well that's when we see what they're made of," was my answer. And as I gave his question more thought I realised that the whole raison d'être of the bourgeois life was the minimization, containment and domestication of the unexpected, of spirit.


"I found one had to do some work every day, even at midnight, because either you're professional or you're not."
The work investigates the remote possibility of a reality beyond self. A becoming object.
real objects always exceed their contexts, always withdraw from our control, and are always filled with surplus and surprise

The imagination, when properly stimulated, is totally non-subjective.
The sobriety of one who has learnt to live with hunger.
a love of wisdom about what lies outside knowledge
The only thing that really cuts through ego is touch: a listening touch, a respectful touch, a touch that invites exchange, admits change. I have known many people who loved to fuck but were afraid to touch.
The real cannot be made present without ceasing to be real.



"I want my pictures to be things. I want them to be made up of marks that are physically and individually self-sufficient."
Your energy is heavily populated with figures from both past and future. Ghosts and spectres.
Remember with your energy rather than your mind.
Despite our pathetic efforts to cling to the various surfaces we encounter, life, for all of us, is a journey into depth. A journey into heart.
I rarely draw what I see. I draw what I feel in my body.


For me artists are always closer to God, despite their morals, or lack of them, than the so called men of God, the religious and their clergy, simply because they are creative.
: breaking, always, into tears, into life, into presence
Do you chose to go with what you like/want or do you chose to go with/into truth? And if there is any correlation between these two paths then that correlation is negative.


When I am present to life then life presents itself to me. I must be prepared to take whatever comes with faith and gratitude. Knowledge doesn't come into it.
Lord, grant me the strength to bear this awful openness that breaks me out of habitual self and into presence, which is always your presence.

Knowledge enables me to look on whereas faith puts me in the thick of things.
When you have the honour of watching a real artist work then you realise that the thing created documents an intense act of prayer.
Presence is an awakening to the world at hand. Touching, as though, every thing.
Think of thing as present participle as well as noun.


folds between hard positions are harboring potential

"To go up the mountain is one thing; to be happy up there is another thing. To be free, not longing for what you left behind, is a fundamental question of temperament, outlook and nature."
My daughter surfing TV last night:
—Why's there never anything half decent on TV?
—You could turn it off, you know.
—Yeah, I could, but the quiet is so annoying.

Don't think about what you can get out of it. Think about what you can put into it.

—Sean Scully
Natural way best way. Just don't make the mistake of assuming that natural means easy.
This humble struggle to become a little more compassionate and a little less selfish.

I received an in-depth lesson this weekend on the crucial differences between Armani Jeans, Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Hugo Boss from my son and my nephew. I now feel thoroughly enlightened. I just hope that when the Messiah comes he wears designer gear otherwise no one will notice him.
The whole idea of Taiji is to lose self in the doing, and to develop a feeling for energy. Self shrinks; energy expands.
Boarding the train this morning with the kids, I asked the guard:
—Do you need to see our tickets?
—No! I trust you!
Felt good to start the journey with such a blessing.
"The reason I love boxers is this: when they win they thank God, and when they lose they blame themselves. Or to put it another way: put in more than you expect to take out."
The infinite richness of the void; what's left when you find the courage to strip everything away.


The problem with thinking – and it's a big one – is that it inevitably privileges its own process above all others; it denies the possibility of a realm that cannot be thought – an unknowable; and it assumes that because only humans think, they are therefore naturally more privileged than other entities and objects. Our work aims to focus on that part of us we share with every other thing in the universe – energy and spirit – rather than the agency that sets us apart.
Strength in vulnerability.
When we learn to love, our fine intellect will know where to go.
Meditation is a struggle to switch allegiance from mind to energy, from thinking to breathing. This is our leap of faith.


"Art is a dance between a problem and a possible solution, between a wound and love, so that the wound is transformed and the love is directed by its mission."

"Sometimes my joy, the thrill of painting, deserts me. Then I am left with my theories, my issues, my ideas about right and wrong, as if art were a problem instead of an affirmation. I have to live through these times and wait patiently for another Angel to tap me on the shoulder."
You won't understand by learning to think, but by learning to love.


First visit yesterday to the family doctor – just for a check up. A beautiful man – Mikki Nissim – appropriate name for a thaumaturge. In one sense brimming with experience and confidence – settled comfortably in himself; in another sense trembling with listening energy – alert to the possibility of the unexpected; and in another sense desperately needing something other to make better sense of life. And this is how we should be: a self built on the past, a spirit glimpsing the future and a soul yearning for God.
Peace, if it leads to a dull flabby spirit, only able to fire up when the temper is lost, is far more deadly than war.


Spirit enables you to proceed courageously and decisively, without knowledge or foresight. In fact, spirit, when it burns, makes things so new that prior knowledge hinders rather than helps.


rooted in a carnal setting
Lie to the world and it will have no choice but to lie to you.
A true encounter calls me to withhold my self and share my energy. Self travels inward to its sanctum making me hard (in a good way – solid) to the core, and energy flows outward making me soft (in a good way – melty, fluid) as butter.
"In spite of insomnia, headaches, and worries, perhaps in a better state than ever before."
Converse with all things.

The world perceives me in the same way that I perceive it. So, compassionately or anxiously?
First encounter is so important because habits are instantly set up. This is one reason why vigilance is vital. My teacher had a saying: Once is a habit. He also used to say that if you get it wrong the first time then treat the next time as the first time.


objects can only ever interact on the inside of an intention
Become a philosopher, with as much emphasis on philo as sophia.


"Perhaps after all it is a matter of loosening the joint."

Never be afraid to go back to square one. Take it as a sign of progress.
Spirit, when it rises inside, does two things: it gives you the courage to take risks, and, by unifying your being, it maximizes the chance of success of said risks. Very similar to adrenaline.
So, what to do when it slowly begins to dawn, after most of life is done, that the very foundation upon which you’ve built your empire is the very thing that needs to go before you can go any further?
What is the present moment but an encounter of spirit – my spirit meeting the spirit and miraculously making it new.
Live sacrificially! my teacher once snarled at me. Yet in a sense this is what we all do – we sacrifice spirit, vision, vocation even, for the comfort of conformity and the false peace of possessions. We basically sell out. (This is what I mean by bourgeois.) But, of course, my teacher meant the opposite of this – a sacrifice of self for the sake of spirit – for God's sake.

What would you rather: the pleasure of getting what you want or the delight in receiving what you could never have imagined?
Anything indulged is a pathetic attempt to avoid loneliness.
Hopefully too intelligent to believe your own publicity, which is what thoughts and feelings amount to – little more than opinions.
Let go of the past – glories, traumas – points of pride, blocks of fear – and see the present moment for what it truly is. This is all we ask. Pity it’s such a tall order.
The cutting edge.


The work is about letting go of fear by learning to access and trust deeper and deeper energies.
Love is simply giving. Not giving in order to get, but simply giving. You love because you give, and you give because you love. The good student is in love with the work, and that is why they work – out of love.
Few comforts here.
If you want a correct relationship with the world – one that doesn't involve either expecting more than your due or wallowing in self pity when you don't get it – then the mind must be firmly and ruthlessly ensconced in the dantien.
Maybe, just maybe, this is it. Maybe it never gets any better (or worse) than this.

God gave us a body and the present moment. The knack of losing both by mulling over things is our invention – a cowardly response to loneliness.


What will save you is your love of work.
The power of words lies not so much in their signification as in their ability to evoke energy. And this is communication: not passing information from one place to another but creating a communal energetic space where transformation can take place.
The difference between belief and unbelief is purely postural. When the spine is clear, even and smooth then the heart naturally lifts upward out of itself. And this lift is love of God.
A heavy heart sees what it wants to see – heaviness. Only a light heart – so light that it lifts – sees what’s really there.

What I'm after is to demonstrate that man is spiritual.
The world we inhabit has been flattened and stripped of energy by our own opinionated minds. And we have no one to blame but our selves.


How are you? The vacuity of the question belies the answer.


this orgy of false being
Beware middle-age spread.

Words from the mouth reach the ear
Words from the heart reach the heart
The student is becoming serious – starting the slow transition from mediocre to good – when they find that they're giving up things in their life to free up more time and energy for better Taiji.
The bourgeois economy can be reduced to one word: profit. To take more than is given, and to barricade oneself behind these takings. Spiritual economy is the reverse of this: to give rather than take. Not because that makes you a nice guy, but to disrupt the wealth and health of ego in the belief that this creates the best conditions for an encounter with spirit – an event of spirit.
My teacher once told me that whenever he feels lost or stuck in his own practice, he always returns to the principles of softness and roundness.
"If every man had exactly what he wanted, he would be no better than he is now."

"It is so important not to be there when the bomb drops." This was a favourite phrase of my teacher's, which he used to illustrate yielding – the knack of sussing out and dealing with situations before they happen by having your spirit out there.


"Pride (hubris) needs putting out even more than a house on fire."
Build a wilderness chapel.
Use words to express wonder rather than surety. Become a poet.
A quest for the sublime.

Does God exist? ask the faithless.
Do I exist? ask the faithful.
Since the Renaissance we have struggled to delineate an ordered and benign world that does not require faith to navigate. A bland spiritless humanism.
"The stuff of spirit is a smoke-like substance of finest particles that gives rise to all other things; its particles are of less mass than any other substance and it is constantly in motion: only movement can know movement."
Faith is natural. It all hinges on this.


Strength of heart comes from soundness of faith.

Weeping makes the heart grow lighter.
Look at all the great people of history and probably not one of them had a 'balanced personality' but I can guarantee they all had fantastic spirit.
Then there is a harmony of transmutations.
Bourgeois wisdom provides arbitrary tweeks to accommodate an overweening ego. An attractive and respectable face to a hideous selfishness.
"The primitive mind sees disorder in itself and enlists every discipline to keep from contaminating the world. We see all disorder outside ourselves, in the world and in other people; our anxiety is that they will contaminate us: botch our composure, snatch our opportunities, queer our luck."


If you want to see what's there then look away.
Even trivia can be useful, add colour, difference, to the moment.
Work, soul; love, fear; all different senses, tenses, of the same thing.
Faith enriches a world, a soul. Knowledge depletes it.
The work is a long, slow, but inexorable purification of motive. It all depends on motive, on source. The true destination is always back the way you've come.

What do you see when you avert the eyes?

Avert, avert, avoid
pollution, to be clean
in a dirty time

O Wheel, aid us
to get the gurry off


A brutal honesty. But only with oneself.
Repent, sinner! Locate, admit and root out points of pride.
The shapes we give the Internal (they're always imposed) never last for long – or shouldn't – but need to run their course – need to be worked out.
A good heart breaks bad fortune.

The Bible is not historical index but psychological map, and unless understood as such, does more harm than good.
A living teaching not only transforms you, it transforms itself too.
Fundamentally, what the teaching gives you is the opportunity to exercise faith.
The good student simply cannot lie. Certainly not live a lie.


Bend. One way then the other. Until you break. This is life. And death.

In a nutshell:

Always ready to back down. This is yielding mind. But only if that readiness hones and disciplines the spirit.
Anything of importance is not a choice. Choices are trivial. What this means is that, at a deep level, nothing is voluntary. This is why it is impossible to learn by copying externals. The master does something because he has to – because with an act of spirit he has ordered his mind and energy in such a way that he has no choice but to do what's done. If you merely copy externals then you will never get to the spiritual source of that movement. To get there you will need to copy the total life that's lived by the master, and to learn this takes decades of dedicated practice, and even then there are no guarantees.
Form is neither structure nor container. Form is a machine that generates content – energy – spirit. This is the essence of Daoism.
To forget self, first think for yourself. See your culture and conditioning for what it is: mere culture, mere conditioning, with no absolute value.

May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.

Eskimo proverb
A point (dantien/now) and a line (spine/time). With these we dig and delve as though life depended upon it.
Love is nice, but without fear it's just a little slack, flabby and indulgent. Fear of failure brings tone, spirit and effectiveness to your energy. Too much fear of course paralyzes but just enough is literally vital. Deadlines. A sense of urgency. No time to lose.
Strange that nowadays if obsessed with self you're called normal but if obsessed with something other than self you're labeled obsessive/compulsive.
When they shake off their wine, then they will repent.


We are many layered creatures of incredible depth. So, when an anchorite claims to be on a wonderful journey, despite never leaving their cell, they mean a journey through these layers. For those on a spiritual path this is not a choice to make or take but the only way to live.
Up & down:
Meditating, praying, rooting.
Energy as being (passive).

In & out:
Breathing, eating, fucking.
Energy as doing (active).
Break out of prison.
Break into a smile.

Break up from school.
Break down in tears.
We are generally happiest when we forget ourselves. When we become so absorbed, engrossed, involved in activity – in energy – in relating and relations – that we forget our loneliness and our feelings. Meditation is a time to forget self without props, trappings or extraneous activity to distract us from our own presence.
There’s nothing of so infinite vexation
As man’s own thoughts.


'How did you get her to talk?'
'I listened.'
Spinus erectus. Climbing a ladder to God.
Shabbat shalom. Peace & quiet. A seventh of the time, at least.
Mind is a refuge for those who don't understand (energy).


The harmony of form and spirit.

Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely.
"Boredom is part of my work. I accept it and embrace it."
Let it all play out.


"One way of looking at speech is to say that it is a constant strategem to cover nakedness."
I'll drink to that.

If we were to inspect the contents of our bellies, we would see that there is very little fire and an awful lot of shit. The spiritual aspect of dantien tends to be both masked and inhibited by digestive activity. This is one reason many spiritual disciplines advocate times of fasting – so that the digestive system can have a rest and a different kind of work take place – a work of energetic refinement and densification. Light and heavy.
The heart has its reasons that reason does not know.
Fire in the belly.
Embedded in a scheme of things I cannot hope to comprehend.
Better a red face than a black heart.

Intensional asymmetry.
Live a life that privileges energy over mind. Right a balance.


"But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost."
It is not enough to regularly dip toes into the water, or even to paddle. At some point one must take the plunge and become thoroughly and forever drenched.
through the master the decisive impulse, the decisive moulding

Any professional gambler will tell you that there is really no such thing as a truly random or independent variable. So, whilst it may not be possible to predict future events, it is certainly possible to recognise and ride a lucky streak. This is also yielding.
I was not afraid or ashamed because I was pure


It's not enough to be happy. Instead, be happiness – a generator of hap (an old word meaning luck) regardless of who you are, what you think or how you feel. This is saintly. This is sanity.


Trust depends upon contact.
You know when you worry, and you can't get it out of your mind – the worry niggles constantly – any respite temporary, only for the worry to flood back, with a vengeance? Well this is what your relationship with the teaching and the work should be like. Let it worry you, but not to death, or, if to death, then to life.
"Whoever believes all the miracle stories about the Baal Shem Tov is a fool, but whoever denies that he could have done them is a heretic."
a teaching not yet grasped in words

The word worry is from Old English wyrgan meaning to strangle.
Being is becoming is belonging.
Ego – trickster and imposter – has made home and throne in chest and head. It infests heart and mind with its filthy agenda. It turns everything to its own advantage, including efforts to dethrone it.


Worry does nothing but make noise in your quiet.
Who looks inside, awakens.

Mind is for seeing, heart is for hearing.
Fᴏʀɢᴇᴛ sᴇʟғ – ʙᴇᴄᴏᴍᴇ ᴏɴᴇ ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴛʜᴇ Tᴀᴏ
Kᴇᴇᴘ ᴛᴏ ᴀ ʏɪᴇʟᴅɪɴɢ ᴍɪɴᴅ

These our mottos. Each, in its way, versions of the Heraclitan declaration that Everything Changes (πάντα χωρεῖ). Each a beautiful contradiction. Like saying I never lie. Any declaration, any statement, necessarily misleads by attempting to lead. Support and Trust. Yin and Yang. One becomes the Other, yet remains distinct. Reality : resonance.
A light heart lives long.


Small loss small gain, big loss big gain. Or, to put it another way: short-term difficulty leads to long-term advantage. Or, to put it another way: what you need is the opposite of what you want.
The moving finger writes...

By the year 2050 a quarter of all species will have disappeared from the planet.
Taijiquan, being a Daoist art, is all about yin & yang: their separation, purification (refinement), combination (balance) and transformation – one, in excess, into the other. Yin is pure listening, and yang is pure utterance – spirit.
The corner shop costs almost double the super yet the same things taste better from there.
Relax the basal loops of language – unhinge the mind – let memories flow and flood.
Of what am I utterance?

If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your Father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'
If you want to see pride in action then speak to an expert.
When I consume an item I take in too its energetic provenance and signature.


Belief in one's entitlement to a life of abundance does not constitute faith.
If you are lonely when alone, you are in bad company.

shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves
The middle-class are so proud of the range of choices open to them nowadays – opportunities everywhere to express taste, preference and opinion – and yet the range of their spirits is miniscule. This is because when faced with a choice one habitually chooses the easy option, and this is precisely the option that will not exercise the spirit.


"We can learn to be whole by saying what we mean and doing what we say."
Quorum, minyan, group energy – a class of like-minded, heart-joined students (critical mass: ten individuals) – the only way to work on soul and spirit in the absence of pride. When it comes to this game private lessons just don't hack it.
Inscrutably involved.

this gravity elastic feeling to let go and fall together with you
"And so we turn the page over. To think of starting. This is all there is."
The Internal does not possess the same laws and structures as the External. They are completely different – worlds apart. And only a blatant materialist – someone who has never experienced the Internal – would suggest otherwise.
"The last thing the world needs is another expert," my teacher would invariably mutter whenever he heard an advanced student pontificating to beginners. The pride of thinking you know – now that's a tricky one. I love the story of Suzuki, the Zen master, who, whenever consulted about specific life problems by students, would usually answer, "Mmm... I just don't know," and yet the student would walk away so comforted and relaxed by the master's presence that they suddenly knew themselves. Now that's real knowledge.


The course of true love never did run smooth.

Let grace come and this world pass away.
Punctuality is the first sign of respect, and the first indication of intelligence. The right place at the right time. It's the least you can do.
Put store by nothing. Knowledge is either trivial or unreliable. Real essential principle can be neither written nor uttered. It is between things – ever elusive yet always there. This is the paradox of language – it can only say things that aren't true. The truth it cannot touch, only, maybe, point, vaguely. And what's the use in that? By the time you register, it's gone. This is the poetic structure of reality which we inevitably coarsen and defile with our prosaic structures of cause and effect, rational logic, non-contradiction, etc.


Just when I thought there wasn't room enough for another thought in my head, I had this great idea—
Screw your courage to the sticking place.

Through the Thou a person becomes I.

It is the only way.
I've said it before, and, I dare say, I'll say it again: a student is someone who studies. That means regular lessons with a teacher, and even more regular sessions of homework. As a general rule, approximately 10% of study time is lessons with the teacher and 90% either on your own or with other students, if you have the gumption to organize a study group. So, generally speaking, however you arrange it, at least three quarters of study time is in solitude, struggling courageously with the teaching and with your own resistance to it, which, even with the best will in the world, is always considerable. The numbers have to be stacked like this because, inevitably, less than 10% of your own practice will be effective, so in order to have anything real to offer the teacher and the class – and it's always a good idea to come bearing gifts – you really have to put in the hours. And, as my teacher never tired of saying, "If there was an easier way then believe me I would have found it."
A labour of love.
Daily devotional practice honours and nourishes an internal life – a life of soul – without which you're just another two-dimensional cardboard cutout.
Solitude is the place of purification.

"Everything is full of sacramental substance, everything. Each thing and each function is ever ready to light up into a sacrament."
When the teacher teaches is all she's really trying to do is help you become someone she'd want to spend time with.


Passion makes every detail important.
Yielding, as concept – principle – becomes an obsession. It means stepping in to attend to detail, and standing back to see the bigger picture, at the same time. Two contrary movements generated by one selfless impulse.
A word to the wise is enough.

Smile to God. Smile for God. The humour of the natural process. Lightness.
Good things come to those who wait. So, sit and wait. Become a waiter. Attend the present moment, and all its demands, with gracious, selfless service.


Being is so active that not only do all nouns become present participles but so do all adjectives.
When, as teacher, you witness a student becoming softer – a sight that warms your heart – then is all you know is that they're working really hard. This is the way in which softness comes from hardness.
Spirit is lightness and light.