Qián Guānchāng

I have a great deal of empathy for the character of Kwai Chang Caine, it started when I used to watch the TV series Kung Fu. I was very heavily drawn to it as teenager and my family used to talk a lot over the programme, which pissed me off. The whole life of Caine changed when he killed a relative of the emperor, he had offended the authorities and was then to be hunted down. He carried the crouching tiger and hidden dragon of a Shaolin priest. Thereafter he wandered, encountering prejudice, adventure and lending a hand wherever he could. He was searching and itinerant. Often he came up against the corrupt and the bullies. But always there was that sense of moving on, a kind of restlessness, he knew when he was done with a particular scenario and the Dao then called him on. The idea of a trained priest and martial artist touched something in me, a core of sorts. It was Bodhidharma who is credited with founding “Shaolin”. He is also the patriarch of Zen.

There was a kind of loose thematic prescience to my fascination. But it also spoke in feeling and nuance terms of something I had buried in my pasts. There was always that impermanence, and its very now-ness about him. But the tendrils of the past and those he had offended were always somehow on his tail.

He knew when he was finished with a circumstance and much like one squeezes toothpaste out of a tube, the Dao squeezed him out and on his way. I feel this now, I am ready to leave this place, as stunning as the scenery maybe. It is not to become a home.

And like Caine I must soon be on my way.

Chögyam Trungpa Quotes

We must be willing to be completely ordinary people, which means accepting ourselves as we are without trying to become greater, purer, more spiritual, more insightful. If we can accept our imperfections as they are, quite ordinarily, then we can use them as part of the path. But if we try to get rid of our imperfections, then they will be enemies, obstacles on the road to our ‘self-improvement’.


To be a spiritual warrior, one must have a broken heart; without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability, your warriorship is untrustworthy.


My advice to you is not to undertake the spiritual path. It is too difficult, too long, and is too demanding. I suggest you ask for your money back, and go home. This is not a picnic. It is really going to ask everything of you. So, it is best not to begin. However, if you do begin, it is best to finish.


We are always in transition. If you can just relax with that, you’ll have no problem.


The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use, even spirituality.


Facing yourself is a question of honesty rather than condemning yourself. Good or bad the idea is simply to face the facts. Just see the simple, straightforward truth about yourself without cutting yourself down.


The challenge of warriorship is to live fully in the world as it is and to find within this world, with all its paradoxes, the essence of nowness. If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, we will find that this world is a magical place.

Fleeting Moments

It is around fleeting moments that the entire world or a life, can pivot. In retrospect we may be able to see them. But by the time we are retrospective the moment has long passed. What might have been, cannot now be. The significance of fleeting moments can be severely underestimated. We may place that last straw on the camel’s back, unaware that we are doing this. There could be those few seconds in which we could have plucked up courage, but failed to do so. We might make a Petrine denial so as to avoid something. Sometimes we notice the instant a fleeting moment has passed and rue the day. Other times we feel justified in letting a moment pass. Most often we are too asleep, too distracted, or our head is so far up our own arse that we do not sense an incoming fleeting moment, maybe we just don’t want to see them. If we take life for granted, we squander fleeting moments. There is not some chap with a big sign, upon which there is hand pointing to the moment which says; “this is really important”. Many of these fleeting moments are subtle and nuanced. Some fleeting moments pertain entirely to The Spirit and in those our natures are tested by the universe.

Advertisers tell us; “don’t miss out on this deal”. Many like a bargain and a “buy one get one free”. These are not really fleeting moments, they are the artifice of marketing. People pay more attention to these than the real fleeting moments. In business people speak of opportunity and a good salesman can sniff a potential lead like a thirsty man in the desert smells water. But not all opportunities are obvious and many look like hard work. If you are a pushy salesman type, you may be attuned to only one general type of opportunity. Many are just under our noses and these are the hardest to see, it seems.

Fleeting moments can be like an aperture in space-time, they are only open for a while, beyond them lies a whole new range of possibilities. Unless one steps through the aperture, it closes, perhaps never to open again. These moments are fleeting and short.

The only way to appreciate all those fleeting moments is to be fully present in the now. If you blunder through life like an amphetamine fuelled bull in a china shop, you will smash the delicate porcelain of these moments, willy-nilly. To see a fleeting moment, one has to be awake, and not dozing. If one is raging, one is more than a little blind. The red mist has you.

It is out of fleeting moments that the Eternal Now is constructed or made. That is the awareness sees fleeting moments blending softly into each other, fully aware, the potential significance of each is weighted. Then live, in the now, one must decide, choose and act. For at each fleeting moment there is choice, life is a step-wise continuum of choices, always. The more awake and present you are, the more conscious you become about instantaneous choice of action. Life is a summation of fleeting moments, a sum and not yet quite an integral. The more aware you are, the more integrated you become and life flows better. It is not quite so step-function and jerky. The more awake you are the less likely it is that you behave like a jerk.

It is the active ongoing sum of all fleeting moments which makes the Eternal Now.

Distraction or Eternal Now?

I have selected various key quotes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and put them up here, for reference purposes, they can be found under the Patanjali tag. They are pretty old but demonstrate that even then and preceding the science of psychology by millennia, some were very interested in the workings of human mind. In fact, they go beyond psychology which deals mainly with internal dialogue and societal angst. The sutras suggest a path away from a full engagement with the deep involvement in the “concerns” of society. Not all paths point in the same direction. If one seeks to be a “success” in the world of power, position, money and fame; these sutras will not help overmuch. The trappings of society are, in such a yoga context, something of a distraction and to be seen as such. Much of these fall under the generic heading of “mind stuff”.  Most are uninterested in a yoga of this kind. But I’ll bet that the vast majority of humanity could benefit from more peace of mind than it currently has. Peace of mind comes from perspective, the width of which varies. Things out of proportion are unsettling. How far one walks along any given path, is a personal thing. That is unless the sat. nav. tells us. 😉 It is fair to say that some paths diverge markedly. Others appear to diverge but ultimately point at the same things.

Insofar as one can be sure about anything, looking too deeply is not to the predilection of the majority. Such a thing is not on the radar and like all things there can be a time and a place for it. Until one has sufficient life experience, there is a lack of data to work with. One needs to experience life in order to understand it, one can do the theory but without some experiments, living; the theory cannot be understood in any meaningful way.

It is not rocket science to suggest that being fully present in the moment could reap benefits. Modern life is full of distraction. I have on occasion been tempted not to take evasive action when a walking ‘phone zombie approaches along the pavement. The rate of change of momentum they might experience from my stationary 95kg being, on impact, could be interesting to observe. But so far, I have taken the view that I should get out of the way. One of us needs to be partially awake. If one is distracted now whizzes by. There is a growing interest in mindfulness and this is good. It is the doorway to the vast planes of Eternal Now. If one takes a view from space, we might see three countries; the land of if only, the land of now and the land of what if. These are the past, the present and the future. If your mind is in the land of what if or the land of if only, the beauty of now is neither appreciated or engaged with fully. This distraction impinges heavily on the awareness of what is actually transpiring.

The ability to be fully present, wanes in our times. This now is the aim of zen, the concentration, the absorption, the Qualität of living in the moment. This does not need to be reckless or impulsive. One can be a joined up being, having an eye to the future and advised by the past, yet still be now. “What you do in the now creates the future, stepwise”. If you are distracted then you may walk, zombie like, into all sorts of situations. I have mentioned the word focus from time to time and being now is a kind of focus. The zone of the competitive athlete, the fighting awareness of the martial artist are both examples of being fully present at full awareness in the moment. This gives an edge to both awareness, perception and the cognitive assimilation of event flow. Even in the now there are degrees. To sustain these heightened states 24/7 is not possible, but one could be less zombie more zone, rather easily. It takes a little concentration, that is all…

Eternal Now – The Concluding Sutras

Book IV


When, through the removal of hindrances and the purifications of the sheaths, the totality of knowledge becomes available, naught further remains for the man to do.

The dual work is accomplished. Those hindrances which are the result of ignorance, blindness, environment and activity have been done away with; the grossness of the sheaths has been corrected and because of this, and through following the means of yoga, all knowledge becomes available. The yogi is now aware of his essential omnipresence or that his soul is one with all souls and part therefore of the one essential unity, the one all-pervading life, the boundless immutable principle which is the cause of all manifestation. He is likewise omniscient, for all knowledge is his and all avenues of knowledge are open to him. He stands free of the field of knowledge, yet can function in it; he can utilize the instrument of knowledge and ascertain all that he seeks to know, but is himself centered in the consciousness of the knower. Neither space nor time can hold him, nor can the material form imprison him, and there comes for him the grand consummation given to us by Patanjali in his three concluding sutras:

The modifications of the mind stuff (or qualities of matter), through the inherent nature of the three gunas come to an end, for they have served their purpose.

Time, which is the sequence of the modifications of the mind, likewise terminates, giving place to the Eternal Now.

The state of isolated unity becomes possible when the three qualities of matter (the three gunas or potencies of nature) no longer exercise any hold over the Self. The pure spiritual consciousness withdraws into the One.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul


The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft