Saturday, August 27, 2005

Push hands is one of the most fun things about Tai Chi. In the beginning mastering the basics is what you should be working at. Don't try to win! Try to learn.

Keep your left foot static and only move your right one. Each zone is for practice and not for real world application.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Feels good to be back.

It's been a year and a half since I taught a Tai Chi class at the hospital. It felt good. Some of my advanced people, Linda, Dan and Wanda showed up for a free refresher course. They needed little refreshing. It was less a refresher class and more of "refreshing" friendships social.

We did Tai Chi for an hour, but more than Tai Chi we soaked in each others presence. Thank you guys for coming and I will see you next week.


The power of Tai Chi comes from truth.
Truth flows from the realization
of the self-existent, all-pervading,
all-knowing, and all-powerful,
living-light force.
It is the progenitor
of all the forces in the universe.
Without it we are nothing.
With it we are invincible.

Tai Chi is a practice, not a study
it can only be tested in combat
against lies, violence, hate and cruelty.
Hold no hatred in your heart, cling to truth.
Be prepared to die, love life.
All things are one within you.

The virtue of Tai Chi is non-violence.
Non-violence in a person
is in direct proportion
to the individual’s ability to inflict violence.
Do not mistake it
for impotence and cowardice.

Act true in all situations
consistently purify yourself of passion.
Begin in your own home,
and then go into the world.
If you cannot remain calm
and at peace in your own home
stay there until you can.

Only the soul contains the truth.
Know yourself and you will know the truth.
Know yourself through meditation.
Meditation is
quietly stilling your mind and emotions
to achieve a deeper communion
with the uncreated light
that also resides within you
but is hidden by the internal noise
of a busy mind and tumultuous emotions.
That is meditations only purpose.
Psychic abilities arise naturally
but are never to be sought for themselves.

A clear conscience
is the testimony of the just
and it brings great peace and strength.
Always do what is right
according to the natural order.
Never allow an evil to pass unhindered.
Stand against it with all your might,
and be willing to die.
Such a death ensures eventual victory
no matter how it appears in the present.

The soul is a spark of the eternal.
Tai Chi practice fans
that spark into a flame.
An adept burns with that flame
from long meditation and a vision
of the golden fire within.
A master is that golden fire
within and without.
Consumed by that flame
they set others on fire.

If you lack the ability to defend another
with non-violent actions,
then use violence with extreme caution.
If you cannot even use violence
you are a coward and a burden
to your family and society.

Violence guards the material.
Non-violence will protect your soul.
Which is greater?
Execution of prisoners
is also to be avoided.
Nobody is beyond the power of redemption.
Execution is a crime
against the natural order.

How do you overcome hate, anger
and the passions within yourself?
Don't develop them
and they will die from disuse.
Seek to be calm and at peace in all things.

You may only master Tai Chi
to the extent that you have
mastered yourself.
Every movement should flow
into the next without hesitation.
All movement comes from the waist
and you entire body is centered there.
If your center isn't moving,
no part of your body should be moving.
When your center moves,
everything should be in motion.
Clearly sense light and heavy
in your own body
and you will be able to lead
your opponent easily into emptiness.
When practicing the how,
don’t forget the why.

The Way has existed
since the beginning of time,
it is eternal.
Every desire is an obstacle to the Way.
Every thought is an obstacle to the Way.
Every sensation is an obstacle to the Way.
Free yourself from desire,
thoughts and sense impressions
and you will realize the ultimate truth.
The ultimate truth leads
to complete liberation.

A person does not choose
to be non-violent.
Non-violence flows like a force
from the realization of the unity of all
through the uncreated light.
Non-violence is not a means to an end.
Non-violence is the end.

By seeking justice and truth for our neighbor,
we find it for ourselves.
The spiritual life of one person
cannot be separated from the whole
collective spirit of humanity.

Any society that undertakes violent actions
is a society that is based on the lie
that all people are separate from each other
instead of the truth that all people are one
through the all embracing living light.
Such a society is doomed to destroy itself.

The realization of the oneness
of all life should be the primary aim
in the life of everyone,
and to know, love and serve
the source of all life
is the sole purpose of life.

Redemption is the greatest gift of the spirit.
The irreversibility of evil is the greatest lie.
Anyone, no matter what the crime,
may be redeemed.
Everything is possible
for the eternal, all-knowing, all-loving,
all-powerful, and all-embracing living light.
True freedom rests in both the tyrant
and the tyrannized being liberated.

To walk in the Way is to walk in the light,
all other paths lead into eternal darkness.
Profound talk doesn't make you good,
only an upright life.
I would rather be humble
than to understand all things on earth.
Withdraw yourself from worldly ambitions
and know peace.

A pure, simple, humble spirit knows peace
and is enlightened with understanding
and wisdom that is eternal.
Day by day overcome yourself
and know yourself to be little
in the eyes of the universe.
Long suffering peace is with the humble.

Look upon the examples
of the ancient masters.
They practiced their Art all-day
and long into the night,
with fasting and abstinences.
They sought trials
and sufferings in their training.
They renounced riches, honors,
friends and family.
Eating and drinking was tiresome to them
so consumed were they for the Art.
Such as these walk in the Way.
The world saw them as poor,
but they held inner riches.
The world saw them as fools,
but only they were enlightened
with the light that can never be extinguished.
The ancient masters
were strangers to the world
because they realized their true home
was in the uncreated light.

Your every action can become a prayer.
It is a pure and simple intent
without seeking personal gain in any form
that is the secret to this.
Perfection in this life is possible.
Often those who feel the weakest
and farthest from the eternal
are its closest companions.

Bathe yourself daily
in the life giving presence
of the eternal truth.
In this greatest mystery
many have found healing and immortality.
As often as you are drawn above yourself
by the life giving stream,
the more light you will bring into yourself
and the world.
Communion with the uncreated light
transfigures from within
and transforms everything without.
This transcends all understanding.

All life in all its forms is sacred
and should be protected.
With regards to our eating animals,
everyone should follow
his or her own conscience.
It is best to refrain from eating animals
but how many of us
can eat only fruits and vegetables
that harvesting didn't kill
or damage the plant in any way.
There is always some harm caused,
so we who eat meat
should seek greater service
to all life everywhere.

Extremes on the spiritual paths
are to be avoided.
That is why obedience
to a qualified spiritual master
is to be desired.
A man who is his own spiritual advisor
has a fool for a spiritual advisor.
On the right hand path love is the way.
On the left hand path willpower is the way.
Both are dead ends.
Taken to extremes love destroys others
and will destroy the self.
The middle path
is the path of humble service
and a balance of love and will.

Hatred can be overcome by love
because all are one.
All respond to love
because at our core we are love.
Not realizing this,
the individual separates themselves
from their source,
and they create unhappiness,
anger and fear.
Realizing this we respond to acts of hate
with love, not violence.
Quit fearing for your own safety,
and truly love.
Be prepared to die for love.
Love for the eternal light
that unites all humanity
is the only cause worth dying for.
Not dying for love
of the eternal or your neighbor
is a crime against the eternal
and your neighbor.
Love is a duty, not a choice.
Once you gain the vision
of the unity of all things,
the physical world
and your perishable body lose value.
You realize all value rests in things eternal.

Unkind words, sabotage,
speaking ill of others even if true
are all forms of violence.
Those who remain silent
are often considered the wisest among us.
Avoid idleness.
Plant a garden and nurture your nature.

Tai Chi at its core
is peaceful and nonviolent.
It seems to me a natural vehicle
through which to attain world peace.
World peace is my life goal.
Before that my entire life purpose
was to achieve the vision
of the ultimate truth.
Once I achieved the vision,
world peace became my mission.
How could it be any different?

Absolute purity is needed
for the vision of the uncreated light
because the eternal source
is absolutely pure.
It is impossible for us
to attain such purity through our own efforts
so the eternal itself draws us nearer to it.
This is the way it has always been.
The source calls to us, we answer.
The first purification is of the senses
and is done through our own effort
in cooperation with natural law.
We eliminate that in our life
that is not in accordance
with the natural order.
The second purification is of the eternal
when the vision of the uncreated light
purges all that is mortal from us from within.
It is often called the dark night of the soul.

The search for the divine
is a search that takes place within you.
There is no need to seek out
far away shrines and famous teachers.
Generations of spiritual seekers
have been told this but few listen.
Those who do seek the divine within
will find the divine everywhere.

Avoid pride, envy, anger,
gluttony, lust, sloth and avarice.
These things weaken your character
and drain away your power.
It is in personal self-control
that true power and fulfillment are found,
not in giving in to the easier path
of self-gratification.
As humans we are one half animal
and one half divine.
Through perseverance and hard work
we can become wholly either.

What is gained by violence
can be lost through violence.
Seek those things that are eternal
and cannot be stolen away or destroyed.
What is gained by nonviolence
may seem long in coming
but its effects on the world
and yourself are eternal.

If you stand idly by as your enemy is killed
you have no knowledge of the eternal.
The divine offers redemption to all
and to get in the way
of the spirits gifts to others
is to stand against the spirit.
That which stands against the spirit
may die spiritually
just like those who stand
against physical things
may die physically.

Daily training in Tai Chi
refines your mind and purifies your body.
Day by day it allows your inner light
to shine brighter.
Train sincerely
and you will make great progress.
Always seek to improve your technique.
Maintain mindfulness and body alignment.
Keep your spine straight
and your hands with your feet,
elbows with your knees
and your shoulders with your hips.
Unify your body with your mind
and you will unify your essential being
with all things everywhere.

Masters can only teach so much;
the rest is up to the sincere student.
A sincere student with a poor teacher
will accomplish more
than a poor student
with the greatest master.

Correct posture and a stable stance
indicate the right state of mind.
Be calm and at peace.
The mind is more important
than the body in Tai Chi,
but without the body
the mind has nothing to work through.
In the beginning
practice the moving form to master
the physical principles of Tai Chi,
afterwards you will naturally
begin motionless form standing
to master the mental principles.
All things in their own time and place.
Don't rush your training.

The mind must be set at the Dan Tien,
three fingers below the navel.
This is the physical center of the body.
Where the attention is your chi will follow.
Above the dan tien be like water,
below be like rock.
Your left side is yin,
balanced with the yang of your right;
these will guide your opponent
into the eight directions.
Make your foundation with the five elements.

The techniques of Tai Chi
are thirteen in number.
Five techniques to move the feet
they are step forward, step backward,
step right, step left and hold to the center.
Eight techniques
to answer the eight angles of attack.
They are ward off, roll back,
press, push down,
split, take, elbow and shoulder.
Follow your opponents to lead them.
Surrender to them to gain victory.
A paradox often contains
more spiritual truth
than a statement of fact.

Meet the straight with the circle,
enter in when your opponent advances.
Take their energy
and lead it further by the curved path
while your mind stays on the point.
Breath pulls in
and draws universal energy with it,
breath goes out
and the whole universe
becomes one within you.
Between the breaths
all things are in balance
and Tai Chi happens.

Be grateful for harsh trials for they test us.
Extreme circumstances
such as great wealth
and power don't corrupt;
they merely reveal
and exaggerate what is already in the heart.
Guard your heart without making it hard.
Love without attachment.
Live and learn,
perfect your life through your training.
Mistakes instruct,
maintain peace through them,
successes instruct,
maintain your peace though them.

In true Tai Chi there is no attack,
only defense.
Let attacks come as they will,
and join your energy to theirs.
Redirect but cause no harm.
Know your opponent,
but do not let them know you.
When they rise you should appear taller.
When they retreat, stick to them.
By knowing ourselves we know others
and this is the eternal Tai Chi truth.

There are no secret techniques in Tai Chi.
Daily training is the only method to mastery.
Train continually and the inner light
will shine forth from your technique
and then from all things for you alone.
This is the lesser enlightenment
and it is only temporary.
The greater enlightenment happens later
and this light shines forth
from you for others to see.
Here more or less, continual union
with the eternal is experienced.

Master the form until it is formless.
Practice until your mind is clear
and centered in the void.
Centered in the void,
you will become the void.
Perfectly void,
you will be impossible to attack.
The true master need never defend
because there is never an attack.

Don't listen to those who say
that practicing the Art
and following the Way is a waste of time
better spent making money and having fun.
They will invite you to all sorts of evils
thinking what they propose is good.
Do not judge them.
Practice the Art and follow the Way
in silence and without reproof.
Offer wisdom only to those
who ask in sincerity.
Correct the arrogant
and you will get insulted.
Correct the violent
and you will get assaulted.
Correct the just
and they will reward you.
Correct the wise
and you both will be the wiser.
Praise in public, correct in private.

Drink deeply the words of wisdom
from the past masters of the Art.
They weren't writing to just pass the time.
Seek fellowship only with those
who seek to follow the Way as you do,
even better if they practice the Art also.

Pride is death to those who follow the Way.
Seek to place yourself
in the lowest places in society.
Never seek leadership
or to be first in any way.
The surest path to advance in the Way
is with the humble and the poor.
Many poor and humble
never having heard of the Way
follow it more perfectly than you ever will.

It is often said of wealth that
"quickly gained is quickly lost".
It is the same with Tai Chi.
A quickly learned skill
or principle is often quickly lost.
It is in the slow day by day growth
that is found the skill that endures long.
Learn slowly
and digest the teachings
that took thousands of years
to collect into what we call modern Tai Chi.

What value do you place
on things of this world?
Work your whole life
for things that pass away
and your life will pass away.
Work your entire life for things eternal,
and your life will be eternal.
Those who seek knowledge
add more and more to their minds,
and find only madness.
Those who seek wisdom seek to simplify
and penetrate to the essence of all things,
because of this they find truth and peace.

Most men seek women first, next gold
and then at the end of their lives
if there is still time
they try to store something up for eternity.
I bless the tragedy of my youth
that caused me to seek the eternal early
because I found it.
An ancient Chinese proverb says,
"If you do not seek God
in the springtime of your life,
you will not find Him in the wintertime".

The living light flees deceit and anger
and tests those it deigns to use
as vessels of change.
The living light is found
in faith and integrity.
It is this living light
that chastises the conscience,
but it does not force its will.
In those who do not heed
its gentle counsel,
it leaves.

All truth comes from the eternal,
uncreated, living light.
All untruth comes from the temporal,
created, passing world.
This world is not evil in and of itself,
rather it has just become
an uncaring prison.
Now usurped, there was a time long ago
when it was a garden of untold delights
and one day it will be again
when enough people awake and see.
Then there will be a general uprising
against the forces that imprison us.
Then paradise will return on earth.
Tu mo starts at the base of the spine
and runs up the back in a straight line
to the pineal gland.
The jen mo starts at the pineal gland
and runs the return route
to the base of the spine
on the front of the body.
Breathing in move chi through the jen mo,
exhaling breath the chi through the tu mo.
Reverse gaze on the pineal the whole time.
When the energy moves relax and trust.
The power to become immortal
lies at the base of the spine.
Difficult to awaken
and even more difficult to control.
It magnifies what the heart tries to hide.

We are born with a physical body
created by the yin and yang of our parents
we cultivate it with Tai Chi
to create another body
created by the yin and yang within us.
This body is like a ghost
and cannot interact with the physical world.
Tai Chi unifies this intangible body
with the physical body
to create the body of immortality.
This is the essence of the Art.

Wu Chi emanated Tai Chi
from Tai Chi comes yin and yang.
All things are created from yin and yang.
Ultimate yin becomes yang.
Ultimate yang becomes yin.
Combine yin and yang to find Tai Chi.
Master Tai Chi to return to Wu Chi.
Entering Wu Chi is the Way.

The first level is the physical level
and the key here is practice the form
become formless and this formlessness
leads to the mental level.
Remember to keep you knees bent,
pelvis tucked, spine straight,
shoulders relaxed, chest hollow,
head suspended from the crown,
and elbows down.
Be very careful of your knees.
Never over extend
your knees past your toes,
or put your knees on either side of you foot.
You will hurt them that way.
Always keep you knees
centered over the foot.

The Beijing 24 Form
is the most practiced Tai Chi form on earth
and is our chosen Art.
This is our living Art, passed down to us
from more than six thousand years ago.
We should be grateful
to those who came before
and work hard for those who will follow us.
Try to learn too many things
and you will learn nothing.
To master Tai Chi
make it your sole practice, and practice.

Touch no weapons
and allow no violence to enter your heart.
Remain modest and quench your passion.
It is a hard path but a holy one
to eschew violence, lust and greed.
Some say non-violence,
purity and simplicity
are all good and well for holy men
not really living in the world
but for us real men violence, sex and greed
are common and uncontrollable
and with this try to convince themselves
that they are right and good.
This attitude perpetuates all sorts of crimes
against men, women and children.
There is no middle ground in this.
Only the peaceful, the pure and the simple
may enter into that which is
ultimate peace, purity and unity.
The uncreated light allows
no darkness to enter into it.

Seek eternity first and once attained
the entire universe will be yours.
Immortal, you will walk through the world
and it will not restrain you.
Immortal, you will live in the world
but your home will be in the uncreated light.
The uncreated light surrounds, fills
and holds all things and events together.
For the immortal
it is an ever present reality.
For the common man
all this sounds like foolishness.

There is an eternal order of workers
in the service of the light
who fight in the war against the darkness
The disciples of which wear black robes,
the adepts wear red robes,
and the masters wear white robes.
This is reflected
in the worlds great religions
and hinted at in countless mythologies.
As above, so below.
Initiation into this order is always performed
by two in this world,
and two in the spirit world.
Ascend the mountain
Walk through the black and white pillars.
Overcome your personal demon
through love.

When you feel neither sadness or joy,
when you no longer have habitual desires,
when you no longer have likes or dislikes,
when you are no longer
attached to situations
Then you are ready for enlightenment
because you have attained inner purity.

Have patience
and get rid of your habitual craving
and the other animal impulses such anger,
fear, attraction and aversion,
ego and passion,
will fall away naturally.
People crave strange foods and drinks
thinking that this is natural, it is not.
Craving comes from poor nutrition
and living in a chaotic environment.

The origins of Tai Chi
go back over six thousand years
it was almost lost until Chang San Feng.
Born on April 9th, 1247
he began the study of Tai Chi in 1314
at the age of 67, under the master Ho Lung
and achieved immortality at the age of 85.
He is said to have lived
over two hundred years more.
He is considered
the greatest teacher of our Art
and is honored as the founder
of Tai Chi Chuan.

Talk to every teacher you can find.
Read all you can about Tai Chi.
Study the animals and the land,
watch the storm clouds and the trees,
dance with the river and the ocean,
and sing with the universe.
All things will lead you to the source,
when the source itself calls you.
All things will teach you Tai Chi,
when you are ready.

The path ahead to immortality
may seen long when you are young.
Think instead of the time
you will have left over
when the work is complete.
it is only ten months to build the foundation,
and the confirmatory sign is
a vision of the unifying light.
Then three years to nurture the spirit,
And the confirmatory sign
is an amber glow,
within a showering of sparks.
Then nine years to transform
the spirit into void
and the confirmatory sign
is the souls ascent.
How long is this compared to immortality.
The best advice
you can receive from me is-
Practice the Art and persevere in the Way.


On December 12th in 1985 the 101st Airborne Company that I was assigned to was wiped out in a plane crash returning from a mission in the middle-east. I missed this flight because my father died and I left the mission early. The guilt from surviving left me very disillusioned with life. I sought a spiritual meaning to my pain. A chaplain taught me how to meditate and I began to practice this for several hours a day.
Towards the end of 1987 when I tried to go to sleep, I would find myself floating above my bed in another body! After the chaplain revealed he had no idea what was happening to me I confided in a Chinese friend. This friend, who was also the Taiwanese National Tai Chi champion, taught me the basics of Tai Chi to balance my inner energies. I studied with him for five years.
He taught me that Tai Chi uses the breath synchronized with movement to put us in a meditative state of mind. We can then make contact with the living energy field that surrounds and fills us called Qi. Practicing Tai Chi gives us greater control with using both inner and outer Qi. The purpose of Tai Chi then becomes to unite our limited inner Qi with the infinite universal Qi. He taught that there is no limit to how far you can develop physically, mentally or spiritually with Tai Chi.
He said, “Traditional Tai Chi has only thirteen physical skills to master. With these thirteen simple techniques one may redirect an attack from any direction without harming the attacker. Tai Chi has no hard strikes or kicks. It has no grinding chokes or holds. It uses soft to overcome hard, yielding to overcome force and calmness to overcome aggression. Tai Chi is the most advanced martial art on earth.
In the beginning you will learn the movements and stronger/faster equals better. The second mental level is where your techniques become effortless, instinctual and arise spontaneously in need. At the third spiritual level your combat ability becomes so advanced that it seems unbelievable, almost magical. Paradoxically, masters at this level begin to promote peace everywhere they go.”
This was made clear to me during the first Gulf War when I experienced a few dangerous encounters. Instead of feeling fear I was swept into a super-calm state where my perception of time slowed and I used Tai Chi with great effect. It felt amazingly simple to do things that, prior to the war I would have thought impossible.
In 1994 I intensified my Tai Chi practice to end my out-of-body-experiences once and for all. By June I was up to eight to ten hours a day. On weekends it would even extend into the twelve to sixteen hour range. Then in July on a walk in the woods, my mind exploded into the universe. Looking at the trees did not reveal leaves and bark, I saw explosions of fiery, living, golden light. It began where the seeds sprouted originally. The explosions then flowed upwards and downwards forming the tree. The dark gravel trail became a stream of glowing gemstones. It was like I woke up and was seeing reality for the first time.
The out-of-body-experiences ended, but for years after this I sought to recapture this experience of unity with the uncreated light. In 1997 I began an all or nothing fast. For twenty one days I ate nothing and drank only water. On the twenty first day I had an epiphany. The true method of return to Spirit is by increasing our sensitivity to Spirit’s still small voice through loving service to all living beings.
At once I knew that bringing others to the knowledge of their own unlimited potential was the only way I could find the peace and fulfillment I was seeking. Since then I have striven hard to live the truth that humble, loving service can transform the world by improving the individuals in it.