Friday, 30 September 2011

"In Japanese there is an expression ichigo ichie which is mostly associated with the tea ceremony. It means "one meeting ,one life" and refers to the fact that each tea gathering is totally unique. Even if it happened again (for instance if the same guests were in attendance ), the mood, the weather, the placement of the objects in the room - something would be different.
Each meeting is a once - in - a - lifetime event.

In a sense ichigo ichie is the secret of the present moment because when we are fully awake to the uniqueness of each new situation, we are fully alive. We are responding directly to something fresh and new. And we should begin and end each meditation (tai chi practice ) with the thought , " This meeting will never come again." "
From Clark Strand's The Wooden Bowl

Thursday, 29 September 2011

One final piece on the latest 'science' of the heart.

Science identifies many different types of electromagnetic fields. The type of field being broadcast by the heart appears to be the same as (although much smaller than )the electromagnetic force field of of our planet.

This type of force field called 'torus field' is considered to to be the most stable form of energy in the universe. Furthermore, the same type of torus field is found around the sun, and around our entire solar system.

According to Joseph Chilton Pearce " The torus energy field of our heart is in effect a nested hierarchy in a nested hierarchy of electromagnetic fields." Each heartbeat with its resulting wave of electromagnetic energy,possesses the broadcasting power capable of carrying an almost infinite ammount of information. And each broadcast sends out information that interacts with the information being broadcast by the radiation fields of the planet and the solar system.

As Chinese biologist May Wan Ho put it "Each heart is in essence the heart of the universe. Our individual heart is connected with whatever there is everywhere."

Scientifically there is only one universal heart, within which our individual hearts beat.

On a practical note; here again are the first 2 postures for the newcomers.

Introductory Lessons 1 & 2 from Heartworker on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

More about your heart.

"Recent studies of conception have shown that the first brain to develop is indeed the heart, and that the tiny heart seems to begin beating in direct interaction with the heartbeat of the mother. A powerful entrainment happens so that there is scientifically observable pulsative harmony between the mother and the fetal heart. Indeed, a controversy presently exists concerning the possibility that the fetal heart begins beating not from orders from its own brain (hardly present at this time at the top of the nervous system ) but from an energetic entrainment with the electromagnetic force field of the mother's heart.

Scientific instrument have demonstrated that the heart produces a three-phase electromagnetic force field that radiates at least fifteen feet beyond the body.
Our heart is a powerful broadcast transmitter, influencing the fetal heart and surely interacting with the electromagnetic force field of other peoples' hearts. This is actually energy being broadcast and is a full forty times greater than the total magnitude of the brain's energy.

Considering what a powerful transmitting organ the heart is I feel its well worth while spending some time getting better acquainted -

So here is another exercise if you too would like to get to know your heart ;

After reading this exercise, close your eyes, tune into your breathing , and turn your focus of attention toward your own heart experience . . . it doesn't matter for now if your heart feels good or bad, hurt or happy, open or closed . . . what matters is that you begin to hold your attention , more and more focused on your heart . . . so that change and learning can happen, as the warmth of your own mind's attention soothes your heart . . . . love yourself enough to give your own heart nonjudgemental loving attention . . . . . . .

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Here are the first two lessons of our form to welcome all new comers to tai chi.I hope your tai chi journey is as amazing as mine continues to be.

Introductory Lessons 1 & 2 from Heartworker on Vimeo.

Monday, 26 September 2011

"The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and richness to life that nothing else can bring."
- Oscar Wilde

"We now know that along with all its muscular and connective tissue, somewhere between 60 and 65 percent of all the cells in your heart are actually neurons exactly like those in your brain. Furthermore, there exist unmediated neural connections between the emotional limbic region of the brain and the heart , such that "tremendous interaction occurs between the heart and the emotional brain." Furthermore, the neural cells in the heart communicate with each other through the same neural transmitters, the same type of dendrites and axons, as they do in the brain. Likewise the heart's neural ganglia produce the same hormones as produced in the brain.

The heart is beginning to be perceived as 'a fifth brain' along with the four brains
( reptilian, mammalian, forebrain, and prefrontal lobes ) we find working together in the cranium. In fact at least half the neurons of the heart have been found to be connected to, and influence, the major organs of the body."

Working directly (through heart centered meditations ) and indirectly through healing meditations that allow us to let go of the past hurts and be present in our hearts in this moment make so much sense especially now we know how influential our heart is.
So here is a little heart centered exercise . . . . . .

After reading this paragraph, close your eyes, tune into your breathing . . .the feelings (if any right now ) in your heart . . . . your whole-body presence here in the present moment . . . and without effort, allow the face of someone you love, to come to mind . . . . open your heart to this person by saying 'I love you' and notice what actual physical changes happen inside your own heart and body . . .

I've been reading some very interesting and uplifting heart research in John Selby's book 'Quiet Your Mind'. I'll share more of it over the next few posts.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sometimes it feels like I'm stuck, sometimes it actually feels like I'm going backwards. It feels like it's not my mind, it's a raving monster in my head bringing up negative thoughts and beliefs that had been 'erased' already.

This is not a bad sign (not a nice feeling as it is occurring) but it often heralds some breakthrough.

I can remember when I started training with Steven their tai chi seemed completely beyond me. I would often feel dejected and have the same feeling of going backwards. Steven would encourage me by saying "That's a good sign you will have a breakthrough soon". He was so right , some block would shift and a leap forward would happen.

It is so important to remember to just keep working especially when we meet a wall, keep chipping away at the individual bricks and eventually an opening will come and allow light in. Especially when it feels impossible to breakthrough, know somewhere deep inside that it will happen. Call for help scream to your ancestors, to God , the Universe you will be heard. And when the breakthrough happens (as it must when you keep going ), it will have been well worth the effort.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Evidence from EEG confirms that -
" When we focus our attention on just one bodily sensation, thoughts usually continue flowing our mind. However, when we learn the simple mental process of fully focusing on two or more distinct bodily sensations at the same time (breathing and heartbeat,for instance , or sight and sound),all thoughts cease flowing through the mind.

From John Selby's Quiet Your Mind and here is one of his exercise for you to experience. . .

Even while reading these words, you can begin to expand your awareness in experiential directions by also becoming aware of the air flowing in and out your nose or mouth as you breathe. . . . don't do anything to change your breathing. Just experience your mind's attention beginning to expand to include not only ideas and symbols but also your own body here in the present moment . . . and as you continue reading these words, and feeling the sensation of the air rushing in and out your nose and mouth, also begin to be aware of the sounds around you. . . and when you come to the end of this paragraph, see what unique experience comes to you as you close the 'book' momentarily, and tune fully into your breathing experience. . . your whole body here in the present moment . . . the sounds . . the colors. . .

So reminiscent of Dr Fehmi's amazing open focus exercises, I love finding new research and exercises that confirm my experience. It is great to feel part of a
bigger community of mediators, psychologists, and neuroscientists all working to expand our consciousness and also our understanding of how to expand our consciousness.

Friday, 23 September 2011

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

-- Buddha

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of leave the world a better know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

"So this world, I think, and an indefinite number of other worlds of our creation, are also -- we're here for fun; we're here for learning; we're here for remembering who we are, and who we are, are expressions of life so absolutely linked with the life that is, always was, always will be."

--Richard Bach

I love to read inspiring quotes they help when I'm a bit under the weather and are good even when my spirits are up. I read them to remind me that we all have ups and downs. I'm sure some were written in moments of insight and even ecstasy, and others written to inspire and lift the author personally from some slump. I hope you enjoyed today's quotes and that they have inspired you too.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Keep coming back to this moment - in which things are usually all right. Not perfect, but consider the Third Zen Patriarch's teaching that enlightenment means (among other things) no anxiety about imperfection. In this moment, you are likely safe enough, fed enough, and loved enough.
Notice how it feels to be fed enough, safe enough, and especially feel the love , take a moment to sink into the feeling of being loved, loved for being you, exactly as you are right now. God delights in you just as you are, so go on and feel that love that is always waiting inside for you to notice.
Let it spread out and fill all your body, allow it to soak into the clothes you're wearing, to the space around, allow your room and your life to vibrate with this love.

Monday, 19 September 2011

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security is mostly
a superstition. It does not exist in nature."
- Helen Keller

"We are where we are, those of us who haven't the means to alter our location. But here where our lives can either flower or fade or vibrate with negativity, the gods offer us a different kind of possibility: To live positively, to love passionately within the limitations of our circumstances, within the compass of the life we have been given. We are invited to select our inner landscape, whether it be a garden or a slum dwelling. We can choose (or refuse) to give up the myriad complaints and negative reactions that may seem roundly justified by our circumstances and which can fill our daily hours to bursting. As G. I. Gurdjieff suggested, we can sacrifice the suffering with which we continually confront our limitations, in order to live richly and fully the life that is bequeathed to us. Anyone who finds the path that such a sacrifice calls for is indeed blessed by a flowering. Conduct your blooming with the noise and whip of the whirlwind...a conscious choice." -- Patty De Losa

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not
born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting
that a new world is born.
- Anais Nin

This is so true and a wonderful reminder to spend some time
reflecting on the friends in my life. Those people who make
all the difference and who have opened up worlds to me that
I never would have suspected to exist.

My heart fills as I ponder how enriched I am by Corinna
who awakened me to the importance of celebrating birthdays.
I can remember a birthday many years ago when she arrived
(out of the blue)with a big bunch of flowers, and asked,
" How are you celebrating your special day ?". There and
then a new world of birthdays opened for me, my family and friends.

Now that I have stopped to think about it I could write a book
just about my wonderful friends and I'm sure that at if you spend
some time pondering your friends your heart too will fill with joy.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A riddle for your inner echo chamber.
( Composers names were recorded and played backwards (so Beethoven
sounded like "Nev vote Abe")
The Auditory puzzle below requires you to dial down your impulses:
Your brain wants to just read the nonsense words back-to-front but
often "phonetically" the backward name is spelled very differently
from the forward name, so pay attention to the sounds not the spelling.
You are using words in a non linguistic way, a skill some
sound-sensitive thinkers (such as musicians)will find easy but others
will find nearly impossible.
Give it a go and activate the auditory playback mechanism in your mind.
That's the "echo chamber" that allows you to hear sounds - from a
favourite song to your lines in a play- in a silent room. Auditory
memories activate the same brain regions as actual listening,
primarily the auditory cortex in the temporal lobe.
Once you have sounded out , then flipped the syllables, you must string
them into a single word, then map it onto the name of the composer. To
call up the moniker, you tap the brain.

Eg : ( Composers names were recorded and played backwards (so Beethoven
sounded like "Nev vote Abe")

1. Cob 2.Levar 3.Eat toss 4. Naposh 5.Namoosh 6. Tross tome
7. Caught rob 8. Eat all rorks 9. Eenie choop 10. Eeks niv arts

Scroll down for the solutions.

1. Bach 2. Ravel 3. Satie 4. Chopin 5.Schumann 6. Mozart
7. Bartok 8.Scarlatti 9. Puccini 10. Stravinsky.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Keep coming back to this moment - in which things are probably usually basically all right. Not perfect, but consider the Third Zen Patriarch's teaching that enlightenment means (among other things) no anxiety about imperfection. In this moment, you are likely safe enough, fed enough, and loved enough. Notice how it feels to be fed enough,
safe enough, and especially feel the love , take a minute to sink into the feeling of being loved, loved for being you, exactly as you are right now. God delights in you right now, so go on and feel that love that is always waiting inside for you to notice.
Let it spread out and fill all your body.To soak into the clothes you're wearing, to the space around, allow your room and your life to vibrate with this love. And let your love shine out today.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

--Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, 15 September 2011

"We cannot live for ourselves alone , a thousand fibers connect
us with our fellow man."
- Herman Melville.
Perhaps this is why we are moved deeply by stories of people
caring for one another. . .
"Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital,
I got to know a little girl named Liza who was suffering from a
rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to
be a blood transfusion from her five year old brother who survived
the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat
the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her brother,
and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his
sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment, before taking a deep
breath and saying 'Yes, I'll do that if it will save Liza.'
As the transfusion progressed, he lay in the bed next to his sister
and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks.
Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the
doctor and asked, 'Will I start to die right away ?' Being young
the boy had misunderstood the doctor. He thought he was going to
have to give her all his blood. "
- Dan Millman

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Welcome to the new beginners and also a big welcome back

to all those returning to tai chi this term.

Untitled from ann on Vimeo.

Monday, 12 September 2011

"Tea practice still has value as a meditation
exercise. Nonthinking repetition of mechanical
forms allows one to concentrate simply being
without the distraction of having to make
decisions, artistic or otherwise.
This aspect of the practice is based on the
belief from Zen that the body, not language,
is repository of knowledge and technique.
Hence tea focuses on the rote learning of forms."
- Leonard Koren

I love this understanding of the value of
"nonthinking repetition" it confirms my belief
in and love of practicing Tai Chi forms so well
known that the body does them by itself.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Here is a Wabi-Sabi story (from Koren's book again) about Rikyu's
"entrance exam" before being admitted as a student of the
famous tea master Takeno Joo.
Rikyu was asked to clean Joo's leaf-strewn garden.
First he raked until the grounds were spotless.
Then, in a gesture pregnant with Wabi-Sabi overtones,
he shook a tree trunk, causing a few leaves to fall.
Wabi-Sabi, as evidenced here, is clean but never too clean or streile.
Virtually the sams anecdote is told wherin Rikyu is the master
and his son the aspiring student. In this version it it Rikyu
who shakes the leaves from the tree as a reprimand to his son,
who has rendered the garden grounds completely leafless.

Saturday, 10 September 2011


"Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness .
Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty
from non-beauty or ugliness. The beauty of
Wabi-Sabi is, in one respect, the condition
of coming to terms with what you consider ugly.
Wabi-Sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic
event that occurs between you and something else.
Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment
given the proper circumstances, context, or
point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state
of consciousness an extraordinary state of
beauty and grace."
The Wabi-Sabi state of mind is often communicated
through poetry, because poetry lends itself to
emotional expression and strong, reverbating images
that seem "larger" than the small verbal frame
that holds them(thus evoking the larger universe).
Wabi- Sabi was brought to its apotheosis by
Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591 )who used this oft-repeated
poem by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241) to describe
the mood of Wabi-Sabi."

All around, no flowers in bloom
Nor maple leaves in glare,
A solitary fisherman's hut alone
On the twilight shore
Of this autumn eve.

Thoughts from Leonard Koren's book Wabi-Sabi

Thursday, 8 September 2011

More and more I am realizing that love is the only answer.
Finding and clearing the blocks in me, the parts afraid to
love and also the part afraid to let love in. Often people
who have problems with self esteem (me being one ) are
defensive and are afraid to let down the guard and let the
love in. But it is well worth the time it takes to find
'tools' that work for you. For me some days sinking into
my Tai Chi practice or an 'Open Focus' exercise will open
me up and allow me to feel the presence of the love that
always IS. Other times my mind is resisting and I need to
work through some 'faulty' beliefs. Then I can let the love
in again.

Without this Love you cannot breathe,
as without air you cannot live.
Love is Meditation, Meditation is Love.
Heart has no frontiers;
Meditate on This.
You are this Love, You are That.
Simply be Quiet and stay as such.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The kingdom of God is like nothing we expect;it has no yesterday and no day after
tomorrow; it does nor come in 'a thousand years' - it is something experienced in the
heart; it is everywhere and nowhere . . .

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

" Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all

the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."

Yesterday's quote from The Course In Miracles has been playing on my mind. It feels so true to my experience. Fear has been a big barrier in my life (often unconscious fear) that I only realized was there when I did some work to notice who or what I was keeping out or defending myself against.

The " Work " of Byron Katie has been a huge help to me in this regard. I have a close friend Margaret ( I think John O Donoghue would call her an 'Ainm Cara ' or soul friend ), whenever there is a stressful thought bothering me I write one of Katie's work sheets on the thought and we work through my beliefs as written on the paper. I am usually amazed by the insights uncovered in working through the questions, amazed by the faulty beliefs which were keeping me stuck and keeping love out. It is a great tool for opening the mind.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all
the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.
-A Course in Miracles

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Untitled from ann on Vimeo.

Here is the beginning section of the Tai Chi Short Form
from our morning in Fitzgerald's Park.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.
- Saint Augustine

Time is still on my mind today so here are some more reflections -

Everyone experiences time differently. This is true at the level of both physics and biology. Within physics, we used to have Sir Isaac Newton’s view of time, which was universal and shared by everyone. But then Einstein came along and explained that how much time elapses for a person depends on how they travel through space (especially near the speed of light) as well as the gravitational field (especially if its near a black hole). From a biological or psychological perspective, the time measured by atomic clocks isn’t as important as the time measured by our internal rhythms and the accumulation of memories. That happens differently depending on who we are and what we are experiencing; there’s a real sense in which time moves more quickly when we’re older.

We live in the past. About 80 milliseconds in the past, to be precise. Use one hand to touch your nose, and the other to touch one of your feet, at exactly the same time. You will experience them as simultaneous acts. But that’s mysterious — clearly it takes more time for the signal to travel up your nerves from your feet to your brain than from your nose. The reconciliation is simple: our conscious experience takes time to assemble, and your brain waits for all the relevant input before it experiences the “now.” Experiments have shown that the lag between things happening and us experiencing them is about 80 milliseconds. (for more on this topic check out Tor Norretranders The User Illusion ).

Your memory isn’t as good as you think. When you remember an event in the past, your brain uses a very similar technique to imagining the future. The process is less like “replaying a video” than “putting on a play from a script.” If the script is wrong for whatever reason, you can have a false memory that is just as vivid as a true one. Eyewitness testimony, it turns out, is one of the least reliable forms of evidence allowed into courtrooms. ( If you want to ease the stress caused by old negative memories replaying consciously or unconsciously check out the meditation exercise I posted on Tuesday 26'th July it has worked well for me.)

Aging can be reversed. We all grow old, part of the general trend toward growing disorder. But it’s only the universe as a whole that must increase in entropy, not every individual piece of it. (Otherwise it would be impossible to build a refrigerator.) Reversing the arrow of time for living organisms is a technological challenge, not a physical impossibility. And we’re making progress on a few fronts: stem cells, yeast, and even (with caveats) mice and human muscle tissue.

A lifespan is a billion heartbeats. Complex organisms die. Sad though it is in individual cases, it’s a necessary part of the bigger picture; life pushes out the old to make way for the new. Remarkably, there exist simple scaling laws relating animal metabolism to body mass. Larger animals live longer; but they also metabolize slower, as manifested in slower heart rates. These effects cancel out, so that animals from shrews to blue whales have lifespans with just about equal number of heartbeats — about one and a half billion, if you simply must be precise. In that very real sense, all animal species experience “the same amount of time.” At least until we master the 'aging reversal' discussed above.

Friday, 2 September 2011

“Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
- Lewis Carroll
For years now I've been studying theories about beliefs, where they come from, how to change or delete limiting ones, sometimes I despair that this will never end . When it looks like an up hill journey it's time to stop and reflect. See where all this study has brought me.
Think back to when I was working all hours of the day believing that a 'permanent'job was my security. Working through my beliefs allowed me to take time out from the job and see if I could make life work for me outside of that career. Sixteen years on I have never regretted the change. I've had time to be with my daughters as they grew up. Had the time to devote to Tai Chi, the time to discover that I love to write , to photograph, and yes that I love to read and reflect. I have realized that for me time is very valuable , time to be fully in this life.
I think that taking the time to reflect on how you are spending your time, is time well spent !

Thursday, 1 September 2011

All paths lead to me.
Krishna from the Bhagvad Gita

The roads are different the path is one. . . When
people come there,all quarrels or differences or
disputes that happened along the road are resolved.
Those who shouted at each other along the road " You
are wrong" or "You are an unbeliever" forget their
differences when they come here because there, all
hearts are in unison.

Why are we here? To become ourselves in You.