Posts filed under ‘My Old Journals’

From a Book I Have Not Yet Written

Title: The Secret Of Long Life (is in this book)

Dedication: For my children and my childrens’ children

Increasing life is called Fortune
Mind controlling energy is called Power

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 55

The physical body is just a moment of thought.
Master Nan Huai-Chin


I offer this book to you as a guide to living a good and long life. Having a good life also means having a good death, and this book has things to say about that, too.
This book is not just about ideas, concepts or theories about longevity but includes numerous practices that lead to health and well-being. The book is actually more about practices to do than ideas to think about, although I hope there will be plenty of those too.

The practices require time, discipline and will power, things that are sometimes in short supply in the busyness of 21st century life. But the practices, besides being beneficial, also help to create the discipline and will power that are needed. In this way the practices create a positive feedback system in which personal development and growth are encouraged. “What you sow, so you reap”. What you put in
– in time, energy and commitment – are repaid many times over. This is perhaps the best investment of a lifetime.

This book is in part a kit- a combination of a book to read, a series of videos to watch and follow, audios to listen to, and a workbook to record your own impressions, history and thoughts. I hope that the entire kit will be comprehensive and easy to understand. If it isn’t I’m sure you will let me know.

First of all, let me describe the intention of this project. It is to help you to attain maximum health so you can live out your complete life span (barring accidents). I do not claim that the ideas and practices on offer will extend your life span, only that they can help you to live out the life span that is allocated to you.

There are many ways to reduce life span, and most of us do things that do take years off our potential life. The most obvious of these are smoking, excessive drinking and taking drugs, and enduring stress. Added to these are not taking enough rest, eating poorly and so on. No surprises there. We can also reduce life span by living dangerously, taking unnecessary risks. We may decide that life would have little fun unless we indulged in all or some of these activities. That’s the trade-off that each of us needs to make. Do we value life by its extent, by how long we have it, or by its quality, how exciting or fulfilling it is. This is also an equation each of us must make for ourselves. No one can tell us how we should live. All that I can do is to tell you what I have learned about life and health. What you do with that information is your concern.

June 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm Leave a comment

From My Journal – A Blue Sky Mind (Am I too lazy to write new posts?)

Jan 12, 2004

The state of non-attachment is a difficult one, because to be in that state means that when you look at people you look at their Buddha nature, their true self, their divinity, if you can see that. If you are a man you don’t look at beautiful women in exclusion to ugly ones, or instead of men etc. Lovely bodies are not there to be lusted after. All bodies are seen as the same- impermanent, void. You can’t look at cars, clothes, houses, anything, with a view to desiring and possessing them. In non-attachment you have an eye of equality since everything (in a scientific sense) is ultimately made of atoms and are all similar. To view the world dispassionately, like the stoics, is to gain freedom of mind, once you are able to look at things as they are, without the bias of personal desires. But how many people can do this? How many young people can live like this?

There are still personal needs, such as food, drink, shelter, clothes, but these ideally should be found in simplicity. The Chinese, and more especially the Japanese, took this simplicity of satisfaction of need and turned it into beauty through making simple but elegant objects to eat and drink from, to wear and to sit on. They transformed the basic and essential into the beautiful.

Learn to see properly. To have a clear blue sky mind is to be free of illusions. No, it is to be free of delusions and thus to understand that our ordinary sight is illusionary. Not that our ordinary world is a phantasm or an illusion spun by some god or other, but that our sight itself is illusionary, in that we do not see what is real. The real cannot be seen. It is only when we close our eyes and turn the light around and look inside that we are able to ‘see’ the real. We still can’t ‘see’ anything, but we have the feeling that we are getting into the right neighborhood, are getting closer to it.

The body is made of ‘matter waves’ (Dancing Wu Li Masters) and the chi is energy waves and may be the source of the matter waves.

A few months before I had painful sciatica down my left leg. It coincided with a rare astrological event (November 2003) that all the astrologers were excited about. I tried many treatments to get rid of it, but in the end Osteopathy (by Robert Zagar cracking my back) got rid 0f the pain. I continue to work on my spleen and stomach meridians, am trying to lose the tension in my belt meridian and in the neck and shoulders.  I have definitely freed up these energy waves so that my body feels lighter, more energetic and vital than it has for a very long time.

To have a free and supple body with no tension is the ultimate and such a body should have a mind that is also without stress, tension and worries- a blue sky kind of mind, one in which the spirit naturally and spontaneously arises. This is the ultimate quest, attaining a Blue Sky mind.

April 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolution – January 2004- From My Journal

This year (2003) I decided to live with no worries, no concerns, and I have basically done it, so why can’t I live next year the same way- no worries, no anxieties, and even add to that more smiles, more pleasure. I want to have the freedom to work creatively on whatever comes up. Whatever comes to me that I respond to I must accept- no choice- and just get on and do the best  I can with whatever I have, and not feel at all inhibited, not hold myself back, but go on with courage, be open, expose myself, be free- live! This is no dress rehearsal.

We should give thanks to the passing year for its blessings and look to the next one with optimism. I just need to acknowledge that in my 60th year on this earth I have no illnesses, take no medicines, all my organs work as they should, I have bodily strength, a good mind, loving relationships- all these are blessings, son, regard them as such and give thanks that your life is so full of beauty and love. Today is the start of a new year bright with promise. Whatever happens- accept and smile. Life is just too strange to understand or worry about. Lighten up, kid, keep reminding yourself of that.

November 20, 2009 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

From My Journal – June 2007

When the sun shines, and the air is warm, I close up my office and head out to my local cemetery to do Tai Chi Chuan. There’s a battered green bench where I can rest my things, and in the grass behind I do some warm-ups and then a tai chi form (or two).

“Isn’t that a bit morbid?” is the comment I’ve had more than once, when people hear about this predilection of mine. But I fail to see what’s morbid about it. The trees surrounding me while I do this graceful flowing dance are old and broad, the nearby bushes green and leafy, and the grass underfoot is lovely and soft (except for the odd twig which pricks my sole). There are birds singing, butterflies floating by in summer, and apart from the lone dog walker there is no one to disturb my peace. The dead beneath their paving stones don’t bother me, and what could be better than sharing their tranquillity.

What does ‘morbid’ mean anyway? The dictionary says morbid is either ‘having an unusual interest in death or an unpleasant event; gruesome; and relating to or characterized by disease; pathologic.’ The word Morbid comes from the latin morbidus –sickly, which comes from morbus – illness. Now I’m interested in morbus- illness – because I want to avoid it. But I’m not at all interested in the gruesome and I don’t have an unusual interest in death. The reason why we think that cemeteries are morbid is because we have a fearful and irrational attitude towards death. Our fear of death is our primal fear, from which all other fears stem, and most of us are in varying states of denial about it. It’s my belief that one of the reasons why we get ill when we don’t have to is because this emotional fear lodges deeply in the body, which lowers our resistance to illness. If we had a better and healthier attitude to death, we would have a healthier, better and longer life. To deny or ignore ageing and death means that we won’t be prepared to deal with them when they come, and we won’t be able to put into effect timely measures to prevent the worst effects of ageing.

The way to get beyond the duality of life is to seek a unity that transcends these dualities. This means to experience the feeling of oneness that all spiritual beings (and that means all of us) would like to attain. Why would we like to attain it? Because it satisfies our inmost longing for a feeling of purpose and meaning to our lives. Without it all we sense is the world of appearances, which seems increasingly meaningless the older we get. To spend our lives chasing pleasure, money and status cannot sustain us into maturity. Eventually we want to make more sense of our time on earth, and feel that there is more to life than just materialistic selfish pursuits. We want to know the answers to the big questions: Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? We may never be able to answer these questions, but just to ask and reflect on them expands our view of life and initiates spiritual growth.

November 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

From my Journal – April 13 2002

The most effective and impressive of the ancient philosophies is Daoism. It is the art of nourishing life and nature. This is the highest value of philosophy- that it can renew health to mind and body, extend longevity. Like Yoga and Buddhism, it has a long history but is still relevant to today’s life. Yoga and Daoism in particular have an important physical aspect- of working with energy and the body which enables it to transform people, not just body but mind too. Daoism works from outside in and inside out, using meditation, visualisation, massage, tao yin, tai chi, chi gong etc. From physical to the spiritual, from spiritual to physical, the whole person is effected and transformation can take place if you are open or it can make you open to it.

The ancient book Nei Yeh (Inner Training) says,

Cultivate your mind, make your thoughts tranquil

And the way can thereby be attained.

So I feel I am starting to attain the Tao and compared to that,  work and effort seem meaningless. I can’t push myself. Am I waiting for something? Inner training also says,

Good fortune will naturally return to you,

And that way will naturally come to you

So you can rely on and take counsel from it.

Bank on the Tao! Rely on the Tao and take counsel from it. Follow your instincts and your spontaneous impulses and desires. Where does this take you? Wherever it takes you. How will you know? Wait for a sign.

September 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm Leave a comment

From my journal- July 29 2002

We have a negative conception of human nature, while the Taoists and Confucians had a positive conception. This means we also have a negative conception of nature itself, which may come from the experience of living through the plague, or it may come from much earlier- from Christianity itself, which had a view of fallen man and fallen nature. Christianity may be at root a negative philosophy and so incapable of being reformed. How to find a positive conception of human nature now? The only way may be through the new cosmology, through science, since this is not touched by Christian negativity. The positive nature of humanity means that it can adapt to change and improve situations, to turn negative to positive. It is capable of transformation. The problem is that psychology since Freud, and religion and much of philosophy is negative or nihilistic or cynical or sceptical, all attitudes that make real change very difficult.

August 4, 2009 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

From my Old Journal – April 13 2003-

The heart is a deep source of knowledge and we ‘think’ with our body. We need to recover our lost heart, as Mencius said, because when we recover our heart and its feelings we find out again how to live, we become whole again. The heart is both a physical organ, which can be diseased, and also an organ of feeling, which society abuses and ignores. It is also some kind of memory or cognitive organ. Wholeness is when the heart functions properly on each level- unconscious, body, feeling – all enmeshed together, running in sync.

June 19, 2009 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

Step by Step – From My Journal

April 7 2003 – 49th anniversary of my father’s death. Cleo (my daughter, then aged 12) was in Hampstead Heath climbing trees. Looking up at a large tree, nervously examining the possible foot and hand holds, she said, “I can see how to get up to the first branch, but what do I do from there?” I said to her that when she got up to the first branch she would know where to go.

The world would look different from there- new perspectives, a new way of looking at the situation, so what seems a problem standing on the ground disappears when we are sitting on the first branch.

So it is with many things. The problems which seem so massive when we begin disappear once we start, because the problems are made from a particular perspective, which alters once we change position. This is a universal truth.

To see life through universal truths is the best way to view it.

June 13, 2009 at 9:43 am 3 comments

From My Old Journals – Getting Rid Of Old Emotions

A few items from a journal that I’ve been keeping since 2001

Nov 16 2001- Every book that I write gives me the chance not only to learn more but also to practise more. The systems of Stoicism, Tao and Yoga may seem very different, but what they all share is the need to reduce desire in order to gain a new view of life, one that is larger than just our limited ego,  and that can extend into the cosmic realm.

Nov 26- As we progress in yoga, as the process of yoga works on us, we find that the old and tired emotions that clog up our bodies’ energy- the pain, bitterness, disappointment, sorrow, grief, worry- all the feelings that discourage us and get us down, that stop us from being who we truly are- these old and dead emotions can be removed, can be breathed out, sweated out, shat out, shouted out, to allow the good and strong emotions  that we inherently have and are made of to start to express themselves again, so that our thoughts, speech and actions can become the expression of our essence, the self – expression of who we are, a oneness without any second, a unique and whole organism, self-directed and self-reliant, able to live without fear, with courage secure in the knowledge of who we really are.

What do we fear? Krishnamurti says that we fear the past and the future. So time is our fear, and time is Qi, the movement of chi. The fear of the future is the fear of dying, of loss in the future, of the unknown. But this fear can only be embodied in us by the past, by fears that we have experienced and remember. This is the conditioning of fear that haunts us in the present.

May 6, 2009 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

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