Wednesday, July 24, 2024

hêsychia*

 with foul weather hat

walking with dog up rain-soaked

trail, close yurt window

bowing, pet cemetery

brook moving with clear stillness*

we must step back

Rohr writes about a daily examination of consciousness. 

Consciousness is not the seeing but that which sees me seeing. It is not the knower but that which knows that I am knowing. It is not the observer but that which underlies and observes me observing. We must step back from our compulsiveness, and our attachment to ourselves, to be truly conscious. [1] 

[1] Selected from Richard Rohr, Breathing under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, 10th anniv. ed.(Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2011,2021), 81–82

I dwell within, and experience, rain falling on porch roof, car tires sloshing along road leading to town, chocolate donuts lost and unable to find their way into downstairs kitchen.

Consciousness is not something we have. It is something we are.

It’s why we don’t particularly like pointed questions like “Who are you?” or “What are you?” These questions threaten, if deeply considered, to disappear the person attempting either to ask or answer them. 

Consciousness is the disappearance of anything “other” and the permeative absorption of “what is itself” into itself distinctively individualized as whole and entire unto itself, completely emerging as itself within and as each particular thing, each appearing being into the landscape.

Such as a chocolate donut.

Or a child visiting Tuesday Evening Conversation and showing off their Eeyore and Tigger companions.

Such a lovely exchange!

Tuesday, July 23, 2024

bodies as the testing ground of thinking

What better way to study death than to purview our own diminishing bodies?

Vultures have been out for President Biden. He's growing old. Old age is fodder for sharp claws and savage beaks. 

Now that he has withdrawn from candidacy for a second term, the vultures look around for his carrion and see abandoned space where carcass was expected to be.

Poet Gary Snyder gave a heads-up:

"When making an axe handle
                 the pattern is not far off."
And I say this to Kai
"Look: We'll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—"
And he sees. And I hear it again:
It's in Lu Ji's Wên Fu, fourth century
A.D. "Essay on Literature"-—in the
Preface: "In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand."

(--from poem Axe Handles

Our subject matter is at hand. And leg, torso, neck, and head. Our body is the tutor of entropy and diminishment. And thought is where the data withdraws to in order to be turned into meditation and contemplation. 

Most of us don't walk those alleys. We prefer brightly lighted avenues and streets, concourses and malls replete with foot traffic and honking taxicabs.

But some take on the duty to peruse the subject matter.

 Livinphilosophicallpresupposethbody, busdoeth 
philosophicadeathThesphilosopherneethbodnoonl 
tpractictheiphilosophybumorimportantltvalidatit 
IDyinfoIdeas examineimannethahasn'beetrie 
beforethphilosophers' dyinbodieathtestingrouno 
theithinking.         
(--in Dying For Ideas, The Dangerous Lives of The Philosophers, by Costica Bradaton, 2015)

The book of personal evanescent time is worth a read.

One more chapter. One last page. A final sentence. Comes the pause.

Turning the rear cover back over the previous pages.

Mulling the fragrance, like disappeared smoke from burning wood fire,  prescinding after the whole.

Nearness.

At hand.

Ours.

where wisdom hides

We listen

Not to anything specifically


But to listening


Where nothing

Is left out


Just so


Gift extending itself

The unexpected 

Monday, July 22, 2024

the moonlight also leaks / between the roof planks

One of the men at the prison loves to read about Mary Magdalene. He prefers to think that Mary and Jesus were intimately connected, outlived the crucifixion narrative, and went on to have a family. His copy of Jean-Yves Le Loup's book The Gospel of Mary Magdalene is dog-eared and well-referenced by him.

He prefers to think that there was not a death on the cross. "Jesus was too powerful a being to allow that to occur," he says. 

Listening to Ilia Delio speak about the mutational reality of Jesus and the Not-Yet God of our participatory emerging cosmic consciousness spoken of by Teilhard de Chardin, it becomes a transformational consideration of God as internal energy in matter and biology moving through emergence of complexity/consciousness.
 Teilhard de Chardin’s Sense of

Cosmogenesis in Relation to Wisdom Traditions 

The concept of

Cosmogenesis is an idea

and an approach in the

thought of Pierre Teilhard

de Chardin that I have

admired over the years.

As an idea, he was

influenced in this

direction by the work of

the Belgian cosmologist

and priest, Georges

Lemaître, who based his

theory of universe

expansion on the

recession of nearby

galaxies before Edwin

Hubble’s telescopic work

proved this was the case.


As an approach, however, Teilhard brought

cosmogenesis as an evolutionary question to every

issue he thought about. His sense not only of a

changing cosmos, but also of an expanding

universe was a radical position on cosmology

during the first forty years of the 20th century. The

normative understanding was of a steady-state

cosmos that allowed for dynamic change within

the universe, even as the whole of the universe was

seen as unchanging.

For Teilhard, cosmogenesis described the

unfolding universe from its initial flaring forth

continuing into galaxies, our solar system, life on

Earth, and the

emergence of the

human. We did not

live in a static

cosmos but in a

universe of dynamic

movement. He

writes, for example,

that: “…the universe

no longer appears to

us as an established

harmony but has

definitely taken on

the appearance of a

system in movement.

No longer an order

but a process. No

longer a cosmos but a

cosmogenesis”

[Reflections on the

Scientific Probability and the Religious

Consequences of an Ultra-human, 1951, VII, 272

E; 282 F).


The central manifestation of cosmogenesis

for Teilhard was increasing complexity-

consciousness in the universe. The universe shows

movement from lesser to greater complexity, as

well as from less to more consciousness.

(--in Teilhard Perspective, Vol 52, # 1, Spring 2019) 

For years listening to New Dimensions Radio and Michael Toms, there was this:

At the beginning of each New Dimensions’ program you hear the New Dimensions manifesto:

It is only through a change in human consciousness that the world will be transformed. The personal and the planetary are connected. As we expand our awareness of mind, body, psyche, and spirit and bring that awareness actively into the world, so also will the world be changed. This is our quest as we explore New Dimensions.

It seems each of our prison conversations twice weekly are enjoying and exploring (unidentifiably) this process of the nascent exploration of our own consciousness and that of the cosmos. We are not afraid to disagree. We are not reluctant to agree. 

This morning we moved through the political landscape, the changes in dynamics, and the exploration of our different preferences. And this with good cheer, much laughter, noticeable difference of opinion, and the addition of two Japanese haiku and one Cavafy poem at end.

If the metaphoric question were whether I am a churchgoer, the answer would be "not as you think of church."

Conversations are scripture as now-being-written. No need to write down what is said. We live in an ephemeral momentary spirituality where arrival and departure, listening and speaking, a phenomenology of emergent manifestation, suffices.

GATE 1. PERMEABILITY


Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.
 


Izumi Shikibu (Japan, 974?-1034?) [translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani]

Sunday, July 21, 2024

salude

Thanks, President Biden! 

Good health and smooth completion of your presidency.

morning meeting attendance mandatory

                     

three bells

Reading The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective by Ilia Delia.

 “Love gives itself away.” (Ilia Delia)

Until nothing is left.

Saturday, July 20, 2024

would he and i were better men

In the flash of a single thought,

The agitated mind is put to rest. 

All the inner and outer sensations

Become lucid and transparent.
Breaking the great void
By a turning of the body,
The ten thousand phenomena
Of the majestic world
Rise and disappear.


—Han-Shan Te-Ch’ing, dailyzen

nothing other

 It’s the quiet I

Find attractive solitude

Just stillness Itself

and now, the circus clowns

 Bullet or shattered

Debris? Rogue carnivalist

Hawking illusion

Friday, July 19, 2024

above self and other, beyond coming and going

I've heard enough.

Political speech eviscerates sanity and integral intelligence.

The carnival show of ex-cons, soon to be sentenced, and unhinged poseurs finishes its four night cacophony and double-tongued mendacity.

But, cheer up. No one can sustain lugubrious pathology for long when there are sane and intelligent people in your audience.

Right?  

 Madness, the way they gallop off to foreign shores!

Turning to the One Mind I find Buddhahood, 

Above self and other, beyond coming and going. 

This will remain when all else is gone.



--Tanzan (1819–1892) dailyzen

It's hard to understand the conversation that suggests the current m.a.g.a. variation of the Republican Party has any real cogency or comprehensive clarity. Not in the United States. It resembles a cocaine or methamphetamine temporary high replete with the goofing cynicism that "Nah. I'm only kidding ya!" vibe.

(I guess you can tell I'm not a fan of insincere and scam personalities performing for their donors and shilling for millions of dollars to fix mega-donors' entitled investments and future projects.)

My naïveté is inexhausible.  I have a nine-year-old's sense of justice and morality. I'm not ready to abdicate a trust in the presence of a divine energy that somehow cares for truth, justice, and the humane way.

Perhaps Buddhahood is possible. Perhaps Christ-heart is nearby. Perhaps The Way and Its Power is approaching. Perhaps Yogic Union is at work. Or Integrity. Or the Breath of Life. Or Love-Itself lingers.

Please, fault me my irrational displeasure and instinctual dissatisfaction. It's a Noble Truth.

Perhaps if we look (together)...

meditate (together)...

pray (in solitude)...

contemplate (alone)...

surrender illusion...

take refuge in enlightened thought and aware action...

perhaps --

madness will tire of us, turn around, and go away.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

milwaukee bruise

when ill-wording is

met with cheers and applause you

can be sure -- slapstick

themselves in chains

 The conflicting experience of partially watching someone give a speech. 

Earth Poem   

 

     (by Mahmoud Darwish) 

 


A dull evening in a rundown village

Eyes half asleep

I recall thirty years

And five wars

I swear the future keeps

My ear of corn

And the singer croons

About a fire and some strangers

And the evening is just another evening

And the singer croons

And they asked him:

Why do you sing?

And he answered:

I sing because I sing…

And they searched his chest

But could only find his heart

And they searched his heart

But could only find his people

And they searched his voice

But could only find his grief

And they searched his grief

But could only find his prison

And they searched his prison

But could only see themselves in chains         

      

                                                                                         

(translated by Abdullah Al-Udhari)

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

dreaming is much more practical than living

                   (according to F. Pessoa)

 middle July heat

doldrums, no birds, feeders bare

fans move air through room

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

I told you

 its always there

the silence

just wait for it

overheard

At roundtable with intelligent conversant felons Monday morning, the following sentence was spoken about one of the presidential candidates, "I wish he were a better man."

It arose out of a long conversation. It might have been me who said it. I think it was. In fact, it was me. 

He survived, thankfully, an assassin's bullet. The comedy of who is responsible for the carnival disarray of a shot being shot and who can we blame for the near tragedy (murder is always tragic) is in high dudgean over opinion airways and sniping platforms of X and Threads.

That said, the premise still stands -- I wish he were a better man.

a small surrender

"I'm the size of what I see." -- writes Pessoa. 

Elsewhere he writes:

Knowing how easily even the smallest things torture 

me, I deliberately avoid contact with them. A cloud 

passing in front of the sun is enough to make me 

suffer, how then should I not suffer in the darkness 

of the endlessly overcast sky of my own life? 

My isolation is not a search for happiness, which 

I do not have the heart to win, nor for peace, which 

one finds only when it will never more be lost; what I 

seek is sleep, extinction, a small surrender. 

To me the four walls of my miserable room are 

both prison cell and far horizon, both bed and coffin. 

My happiest hours are those in which I think noth- 

ing, want nothing, when I do not even dream, but 

lose myself in some spurious vegetable torpor, moss 

growing on the surface of life. Without a trace of bit- 

terness I savour my absurd awareness of being noth- 

ing, a mere foretaste of death and extinction. 

I never had anyone I could call ‘Master’. No 

Christ died for me. No Buddha showed me the right 

path. In the depths of my dreams no Apollo or 

Athena appeared to me to enlighten my soul. 

(--in The Book of Disquiet, 1982,  by Fernando Pessoa.

cf. The Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego: Composto por Bernardo Soares, ajudante de guarda-livros na cidade de Lisboa) is a work by the Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935). Published posthumously, The Book of Disquiet is a fragmentary lifetime project, left unedited by the author, who introduced it as a "factless autobiography." The publication was credited to Bernardo Soares, one of the author's alternate writing names, which he called a semi-heteronym, and had a preface attributed to Fernando Pessoa, another alternate writing name or orthonym.  (wikipedia)

His words need a warm sweater. Or, if read in summer, a cool breeze.

Difficult yet comforting to read, troubling yet necessary to quote, Pessoa was introduced to us by an elderly and lanky psychologist (psychiatrist?) who used to attend our Saturday poetry conversations at the bookshop/bakery (1996-2009). He, himself, was Pessoa-esque with tilt of head, an eponymous wanderer down winding cobblestone streets of curious identity.

Don't we love those who season our walkways!