Monday, 24 May 2010

Presence is a quality of welcoming,open awareness which is dedicated to what is.
There can still be someone who is aware and there is that of which they are conscious... the sound of the running water,the taste of tea, the feeling of fear, or the weight and texture of sitting on the seat. And then there can be a letting go of the one who is aware, all that remains is presence. All of this is totally without judgement, analysis, wish to reach conclusion or to become. There is no traffic and no expectation. There is simply what is.
Tony Parsons

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

To Know Without Needing To Understand

Usually, we search for understanding because we believe that it will lead to true experience. We try to understand every experience that is brought to us, and then we have our little mental niches where we put the experience. This is one example of how the great power of the mind leads our lives. But when it comes to the recognition of truth, the mind is not equipped to lead. The mind is not the enemy, there is nothing wrong with it. The tragedy is that we believe the conclusions of the mind to be reality. This is a huge tragedy, responsible for both mundane suffering and the most profound suffering, individually and collectively.

You are conditioned to try to keep mental understanding in an exalted place, but that is not true understanding. That is in the realm of understanding how to tie your shoes, practice good manners, learn a new language, or decipher advanced mathematical formulas. The power of understanding, which is a beautiful power of the mind, is useless in the discovery of your true self.

Whatever you are searching for in this moment, however worldly or spiritual it may be, just stop. A huge fear may arise, the fear that if you stop, you will die, you will never make it to where you are headed. This fear is understandable, but all the magnificent beings who have preceded you encourage you to know that the mind’s true stopping is absolutely good news. Deep inside, you already know this. You just can’t quite believe it is true because you don’t understand it. And you want to understand it so that you will then have some control over it; it will have a place and be definable as something religious, spiritual, or existential.

To know what you know in the core of your being without understanding is effortless. The effort arises in having to understand it so that you can mentally know it and remember it, so that it will be there for you if you get into trouble. I invite you to stop that search.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
Wu Men (1183-1260)

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profundity.
Kindness in giving creates love.
--Lao Tsu

Kindness in words creates confidence.
Kindness in thinking creates profundity.
Kindness in giving creates love.
--Lao Tsu

Friday, 14 May 2010

If there are great men
interestingly enough
there are weak men too.
Who are those fellows
who lack an ordinary heart?

The monk Nanquan used to go on about
how the ordinary heart really was the Tao.
Ko Un
( Nanquan 748-834 was a Chinese monk )

Thursday, 13 May 2010

I've never been an individual entity.
Sixty trillion cells!
I'm a living collectivity.
I'm a staggering zigzag along,
sixty trillion cells, all drunk!
Ko Un

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

The space around my body , between my hands and arms ,and the space flowing through me all seem to awaken as I give my attention to them while practicing Tai Chi. Allowing myself to relax here as I write allows me to feel the aliveness of this space between me writing and you reading, allows me to feel how intimately we are all connected. When I reawaken from the trance of thought this whole world feels highly awake. I am reminded of John Kells third heart teaching. John would have us awaken to that energy of connection, "the between energy " he called "the third heart" . Each and every connection in our lives has a third heart aspect, when I give my attention to this "between energy" it also seems to awaken.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

New -sawed
clean-smelling house
sweet cedar pink
flesh tint
I love you
Lorine Niedecker

Thursday, 6 May 2010

mist softened and wet
musk of wild garlic and horse mown grass
spacious and silent amid bird calls
spring morning path

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Here is the first posture of the Short Form . I'm practicing with Michael and Brendan. Welcome to T'ai Chi, I hope you find this demonstration helpful. Ann

Introduction, Preparation, Beginning from Yin&Yang on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

" The question arises : How do you increase your ability to maintain concentration on the ball (or whatever your focus might be) for long periods of time. On this subject something can be learned from Bahkti yoga. Bahkti is the yoga that aims at achieving perfect concentration of mind through devotion. Indian yogis in particular have recognised the power of love in overcoming distraction of mind. Bahkti yoga teaches that love of the object of concentration makes it possible to focus one's attention without wavering, and eventually to become one with that object.
There is a story told by holy men in the East which may make this point more memorable. A seeker after Truth sought out a yoga Master and begged him to help him achieve the enlightenment of perfect union with his true self. The Master told him to go into to a room and meditate on God for a long as he could. After just two hours the seeker emerged distraught, saying that he could not concentrate, since his mind kept thinking of his much beloved bull he had left at home. The Master then told him to return to the room and meditate on his bull. This time the would-be yogi entered the room and after two days still had not emerged. Finally the Master called for him to come out. 'I cannot; my horns are too wide to fit through the door.' The seeker had reached such a state of concentration that he had lost all sense of separation from his object of concentration. "
-fron W.T Gallwey's The Inner Game Of Tennis

Watermelons and Zen students
grow pretty much the same way.
Long periods of sitting
till they ripen and grow
all juicy inside, but
when you knock them on the head
to see if they are ready -
sounds like nothing's going on.
Peter Levitt

Monday, 3 May 2010

Most of the work with a koan takes place alone while sitting zazan, because in reality there's nothing anyone can give us. There's nothing that we lack. Each one of us is perfect and complete, lacking nothing. That's why it is said that there are no Zen teachers and nothing to teach. But this truth must be realised by each one of us. Great faith, great doubt, and great determination are three essentials for that realisation. It is a boundless faith in oneself and in the ability to realise oneself and make oneself free, and a deep and penetrating doubt that asks: Who am I? What is life ? What is truth ? This great faith and great doubt are in dynamic tension with each other, and work to provide the real cutting edge of koan practice. When great faith and great doubt are also accompanied by great determination (the determination of " Seven times knocked down, eight times get up " ), we have at our disposal the power necessary to break through our delusive way of thinking and realise the full potential of our lives.
John Daido Loori

Sunday, 2 May 2010

In silence which is active, the Inner Light begins to glow -- a tiny spark. For the flame to be kindled and to grow, subtle argument and clamour of our emotions must be stilled... Silence is the welcoming acceptance of the other.
--Pierre Lacout, Quaker Faith and Practice 2.12