Tuesday, January 31, 2023

cripple prayers are sometimes answered

A song.

If We Could Remember

… The moment of our birth
We give our voice to songs and whispers
And know what life is worth
… Remember, remember
… Suddenly there's beauty
In peace there's all the past
And sorrow clings to angry questions
The days of dust at last
… And morning holds us
When the worlds come tumbling down
A dance of ghosts and ragged dreams
Spinning 'round, spinning 'round, spinning 'round
… I remember
Remember, remember
Remember, remember
… If we could remember the power of the light
That cripple prayers are sometimes answered
And hope survives the night
And hope survives the night, the night
… I remember, I remember
Remember, remember


Source: Musixmatch

 The sum.

Of all fears.

Monday, January 30, 2023

to speak only to the one before you, only as loud for them to hear, for only the duration of saying what you are saying.

 A rare look back to 2003 writing:

Harold said it as we looked for Micmac book of prayers and chants -- that Spirit is beyond smaller than quark, and has no valence. Thus, immeasurable, and present everywhere. Of itself, non-separate, indecipherable. 

With his eyes on mine he quietly described Native American mind on Spirit. As he did the thought occurs -- Spirit is completely within itself -- with no outside. Harold nodded. He smiled when someone behind him said they couldn’t hear him with his low and quiet way of speaking, and quoted a Medicine man who told him to speak only to the one before you, only as loud for them to hear, for only the duration of saying what you are saying. 

If a Zen practitioner were standing there she might say that God's mind is no mind -- that everything is finger pointing to the moon. Most commentators make the distinction that the finger is not the moon. But yesterday's Zen smile might have spoken alongside Harold saying that the intent of the person, the finger, and the moon are not three things -- they are the joy of learning, each alongside each in complimentarity. The mind of God is the intent, the finger, and the moon. It is also the ground the pointer and pointee share, as well as the teller of the story and the hearer in relational moment of co-presence. 

Martin played his new flute for me. Sylvia read about enchantment and asked where my Irish connection with myth, fantasy, and folklore resided. She made me remember times teaching and studying. The fire lowered, night cooled, upstairs guests gone, day at bookshop/bakery waning. Saskia and Sando were on the road returning home. 

Sunday, December 28, 2003

a poor little figure of a woman

The word ‘veridity’ stood out to me from Jean Gebser’s book The Ever-Present Origin.

There is an originality suggested, a prelude to time that perdures throughout.

Hildegard did not stay out of sight. In 1146 or 1147, when she was in her late forties, she wrote a letter to the French cleric Bernard of Clairvaux—a leading figure in the Cistercian Order, an architect of the Knights Templar, a propagandist of the Crusades—in which she disclosed that she had been experiencing religious visions. The letter begins with protestations of humility, seeking recognition for her newfound calling, but by the end it radiates the fearsome certitude of a prophet in the pulpit:

And so I beseech you, through the serenity of the Father, through his wondrous Word, through the sweet fluid of remorse, through the spirit of truth, through the sacred sound to which all creation resounds, through the Word that gave birth to the world, through the sublimity of the Father whose sweet viriditas [viridity, verdancy] released the Word in the Virgin’s womb, where it took on flesh like a honeycomb built out from honey: may this same sound, the power of the Father, descend on your heart and elevate your soul so that you do not remain idly numb to this person’s words.

Bernard must have been taken aback by this letter from an unknown nun. In his reply, he cloaks himself in the timeless condescension of the bigwig: “The press of business forces me to respond more briefly than I would have liked.” Still, Hildegard’s conviction impresses him: “When the learning and the anointing (which reveals all things to you) are within, what advice could we possibly give?” As it turned out, Bernard’s approval was superfluous, for Hildegard also secured the blessing of Pope Eugene III. For the remainder of her life—she died in 1179—she held sway as a seer, her teachings heeded by Popes and emperors alike.

 (—Hildegard of Bingen Composes the Cosmos, How a visionary medieval nun became a towering, figure in early musical history.! By January 30, 2023, The New Yorker)

Later in the article, the author points out that Hildegard saw a nexus between Eve and Mary.

Nonetheless, Hildegard’s thinking is rife with idiosyncrasies, particularly concerning the role of women. Barbara Newman, in her 1987 book, “Sister of Wisdom,” argues that Hildegard resists the misogyny of Catholic doctrine. For example, her tendency to pair Eve with the Virgin Mary suggests that the bearer of original sin also becomes the agent of redemption. Hildegard habitually invokes female frailty—“I, a poor little figure of a woman” is a recurring formula—yet her self-deprecation is double-edged, as Newman observes: “Because the power of God is perfected in weakness, because the humblest shall be the most exalted, human impotence could become the sign and prelude of divine empowerment.”

 The perdurance of origin, the linking of Eve and Mary, takes on an archetypal synchronicity that makes one shudder with new possibility of historical unicity. 

The myth and the myth substantiate the Creation and the Christ.

History becomes the covers of the book that reads us into the story. 

What we call ‘belief’ is only the temporizing delay anticipating full-fledged realization of the existential ontology of inseparate integrity, a deliberate wholeness not subject to, nor reliant on, the fragments of distinct and divided pericope or partiality.

“Whole sight; or all the rest is desolation.” (John Fowles, in Daniel Martin)

True, that.

the religion of the angels

Maybe there’s one line in a film that redeems the whole thing. 

 “Human beings are the religion of the angels.” (—John Cusack character in movie “Cell”)

 It just happened in passing.

those who do not, can not

 Creation story

Great Spirit borne in each one —

In each, One, you see

no amen

 It dawns

Please God

Open minds

Vacate those

Cruel fools

Praising hate

winter falling thermostat

 Finally reset

Furnace after five attempts

I can go to bed

Sunday, January 29, 2023

down right silly

Grown men in helmets

Pound each other hard and fast

Such a foolish sport

a dynamic call to love that possibilizes

Even on a dreary Sunday, there are words that knock at your door.

I think the early medieval Jewish commentator Rashi also had

something like this in mind when he interprets Isaiah’s God calling to his creatures—‘‘I cannot be God unless you are my witnesses.’’ He takes this to mean ‘‘I am the God who will be whenever you bear witness to love and justice in the world.’’

And I believe that the Holocaust victim Etty Hillesum was gesturing toward a similar notion when, just weeks before her death in a concentration camp, she wrote: ‘‘You God cannot help us but we must help you and defend your dwelling place inside us to the last.’’

Both Rashi and Hillesum were witnessing to the dunamis of God as the power of the powerless.

This, clearly, is not the imperial power of a sovereign; it is a dynamic call to love that possibilizes and enables humans to transform their world—by giving itself to the ‘‘least of these,’’ by empathizing with the disinherited and the dispossessed, by refusing the path of might and violence, by transfiguring the mustard seed into the Kingdom, each moment at a time, one act after another, each step of the way. 

This is the path heralded by the Pauline God of ‘‘nothings and no-bodies’’ (ta me onta) excluded from the triumphal preeminence of totality (ta onta)— a kenotic, self-emptying, crucified God whose ‘‘weakness is stronger than human strength’’ (1 Corinthians 1:25). It signals the option for the poor, for nonviolent resistance and revolution taken by peacemakers and dissenting ‘‘holy fools’’ from ancient to modern times. It is the message of suffering rather than doing evil, of loving one’s adversaries, of ‘‘no enemies,’’ of ‘‘soul force’’(satya-graha). 

One thinks of a long heritage ranging from Isaiah, Jesus, Siddhartha, and Socrates to such contemporary figures as Gandhi, Havel, Dorothy Day, Jean Vanier, Ernesto Cardinal, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Martin Luther King, among others. The God witnessed here goes beyond the will-to-power.

(—from, After God, Richard Kearney and the Religious Turn in Continental Philosophy) https://www.academia.edu/2248667/After_God?email_work_card=view-paper

Holy fools, indeed.

Which leaves us as…what? 

making anything garbage, again

 Everyone is waiting to see if the former president will be indicted, tried, and convicted.

Or, is he the returned savior fundamentalist christians say he is?

In which case he ushers the grim reaper from murky mud into every inch, sound, and screen on the public platforms of technological ubiquity.

You don’t have to be a pagan heathen agnostic apostate to smell a vile scent arising from the great-again crowd.

Pilgrims are seen wandering back to mountainside huts and heather fields with bare necessities for reconnoiter and recollection awaiting the final days with chanting book, a sitting cushion, and encasing blanket to ward off the stinging chill coming up from mindless believers lifting an orange demon full of glacial hate onto the new podium of potash and putrid rot fertilizing mushy brains and fetid hearts who believe in leaving rotting garbage on sidewalks and public squares.

lifting hem of darkness

 Slowly, light, bamboo

shade portions window to east

where dawn bows to earth

Saturday, January 28, 2023

amnesiac unserving



Who they are

Why they are


unchurch the open

 Not to go to church

Is not to not do something

But do what church does

Just attend ordinary

Minute by minute this life

gaining a gig

 Deleting emails from gmail to get back more room.

Would love to find the delete button for some of the stupidity bunching up  on twitter and the congressional representatives no longer making any sense, rhyme, or reason.

i hear what you are, saying

Dockline through hawse.

Boarding ramp fixed in place. 

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.       —Thomas Aquinas, (1225-1274)

No wake.

No plowed waves.

No foghorn heard.

Ghost ships never have to worry about exhausting fuel or getting anywhere.

The zen monk wanders over the distant horizon to 7,500 light year’s away Carina Nebula with one push of wooden oars on a snowy morning seeing, as it is, what is long gone but only now arriving.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

bridge under water

 Last year our permanent bridge got washed away.

This morning our temporary bridge is under water.

God is good!

(So says the mountain sluice.)

laugh when you say that, brother-sister

 The love of truth is the love of disappearing separateness.

The delusion of antagonism fastens our feet outside the passageway into our true home.

If we love truth we step out from hardening cement shoes across our fears onto soft invitation.

One foot in front of another we circumambulate the altar of willing inclusion and devoted respect to the eponymous gathering of brothers and sisters, all our relations mirroring the great spirit of truth, love, and the good humor of our collective absurdity.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023


 She said it in 1970 in her 4th floor apartment, “Christ is emergence.”

Her words remain a koan.

They ask constantly, “What do you understand by this?”


 I tire of those

Who say “Jesus, Jesus” all

day long, as if…(look,

I’m sure he was a good guy,)

but, madonne, enough , stop

with the preaching — just sit down


 Give me spaghetti

With Romano cheese, butter

Some seltzer, thank you

through droop trees on mountain slope

 So many emails -- 

buy this, read this, learn this -- hey!

hey! they say, look at

me, I'm here to help you, save 

you, hook you up -- wow --

I must be loved by 

these folks, going out of their

way to include me --

or -- have I become a mark, 

a marketing dart target

Do I still have choice

to be unseen, unconsumed   

to wander snow deep 

through droop trees on mountain slope

where only path is my steps

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

shed out of you

Whence, come words? 

 We consider bibles and religions divine —I do not say

they are not divine,

I say they have all grown out of you, and may grow out
of you still,

It is not they who give the life, it is you who give the life,

Leaves are not more shed from the trees, or trees from
the earth, than they are shed out of you.

(--Walt Whitman, in Song for Occupations) 

Where, the divine? 

hey jude

 Old philosophy professor from 1968 on YouTube lectures on The Logic of Religion. 

He died in 2021. 

Found his work yesterday. 

I can’t resubmit my papers to him for reconsideration these fifty five years later. 

I find him; he’s dead. 

Post hoc, ergo, propter hoc

Have I learned nothing?

who’s that knocking at my door

 I have no classified documents in my hermitage.

I’m such a nobody.

Only psalms and sutras, philosophy articles, poems, and koans.

Please, come search the place. 

Take them away.

They confuse me.

you are well loved, nothing else matters

 Yes. It’s what we say 

when truth sits across from us

flanking both sides, sets

up behind us, sitting strong

enwrapping us with Itself

Monday, January 23, 2023

hermits laugh at their idiosyncrasies



In Maine

Covers midcoast 

Conversation with

Friend in prison

Yields tee-shirt idea:

“Say hello 


Leave me alone”

For those of us

Like that

Or almost

Saskia prefers

Sag hallo und

Sei still

Perhaps a



Sunday, January 22, 2023

dog and cat circle kitchen island

 Seasonal Affective Disorder saturates 

the coast of Maine. Snow. Ice. Cold. January.

We each affect one another 

Look at kitchen sink in morning, pots and dishes

Forks, knives, spatula and sodden sponge

Tell me o muse about the man

Looking at the mess with fresh coffee in hand

Saturday, January 21, 2023

once upon, beyond and through, a time without seconds

 Vacuum energy, zero point energy, background energy — the unmaterial realm of pure energy — what translators sometimes call the heavenly realm — the stuff of physics and spirituality.

Beyond our current capacity to grasp in itself, we narratize and storify into conceivable hypotheses of popular understanding, albeit, mysterious belief.

Comes a time when those codified mythologies lose their luster, the audience thins,  cobwebs form, faces look around in search of some new explanation of an old memory that once held interest,

And here we are.

Between tales.

Between takes.

Between traditions.

Twirling like photons and bosons around a diaphanous center that is no center at all, but, rather, a new poem seeking new poets to compose a fleeting aspiration to charm listeners into a reverie of tea sipping cookie biting ecstasy of wonder at the inspired exhalation of a winter sky frozen air crunching snow.

yellow comes, shows yellow; blue, shows blue

 I was thinking about insanity. 

It’s hard to figure who is and who isn’t insane in public office and celebrity.

As an insane person, you’d think I’d know.

Does a mirror know the face looking into it?


 On sit/kneel chair, bright sun on snow, Saturday morning, as eyes heal, looking through nothing as nothing at nothing.


“Prayer is the flight of the alone to the Alone.” (Evagrius, 344-399AD)

When words, exhausted, fall into glancing silence. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

when no is fueled by radiant yes

Forth-telling not foretelling. 

Are there prophets today?

Who speaks truth with clarity and caring fierceness, acts with compassionate integration, thinks what could be called the thoughts and insights of divine nature? 

The prophet was an individual who said No to his society, condemning its habits and assumptions, its complacency, waywardness, and syncretism. He was often compelled to proclaim the very opposite of what his heart expected. His fundamental objective was to reconcile man and God. Why do the two need reconciliation? Perhaps it is due to man's false sense of sovereignty, to his abuse of freedom, to his aggressive, sprawling pride, resenting God's involvement in history. 

Prophecy ceased; the prophets endure and can only be ignored at the risk of our own despair. It is for us to decide whether freedom is self-assertion or response to a demand; whether the ultimate situation is conflict or concern.

(—from Introduction,The Prophets, by Abraham Heschel, 1962) 

Surely we’ve each met someone, who, without bullshit, says it like it is, acts without fear, serves with unambiguous and generous altruism.

Speak forth!

Go ahead — say it — embody it!

Transform — self — and the facticity of reality itself!

tell them not to be afraid

 Transform rigid vertical hierarchy into breathable circular community.

That’s what I’d tell Corrections Commissioners across the country.

Yesterday’s “Awakening Exchange” facilitated from Maine State Prison.

A good use of time.

to everything




what do you, want

 I don’t want to die

Why not? I’ll tell you. Want is

My friend. If you want

To know, or want to eat, it

Appears always at your side

Walks with you all day

(Hey, this waka went too far)

Thursday, January 19, 2023

take out a sheet of paper, put away your books

  I was absent the day dying was taught in school. I wasn’t there for the test.

It was said by the Roman philosopher Cicero that to philosophize is to learn how to die. He was echoed by the 16th-century essayist Michel de Montaigne, sometimes in earnest, at other times in jest. “If you don’t know how to die, don’t worry,” Montaigne playfully concluded. “Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately.”  (—In book review,  A Neuroscientist Faces Death, and Learns, nytimes, Jan. 17, 2023)

But, no worries, I was told.

You can make it up on the spot when the proctor calls your name for a spot quiz.

All learning and school should be so easy.

only sit

 Eihei Dōgen Zenji  (Dōgen Kigen) was born today (19jan1200) in Kyoto, (Several sources say 26jan).

From a zen point of view he might not have been born nor die. A similar perplexity suffounds Jesus. 


      Treasury of the true Dharma-eye 


Nami mo hiki.              

In the heart of the night,

Kaze mo tsunaganu

The moonlight framing

Sute obune

A small boat drifting,

Tsuki koso yawa no

Tossed not by the waves

Sakai nari keri.

Nor swayed by the breeze.


Dogen and Francis (of Assisi) are the inspirations for meetingbrook hermitage. For which, we are grateful.

The way things are found out underneath everything else. 

unhold slicing point of view

Truth is dangerous

Just look at you — obvious

Knife — what you hold

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

waldo general hospitality

Banana muffin

With orange juice after eye

Surgery — worth it

before surgery, walking nowhere

 Kinhin in kitchen

Before stinging eye drops — cat

Ponders my circles

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

pas de personne

 I once thought I’d see

God. Was told, “No one sees God.” 

 I became no one

Monday, January 16, 2023

slalom glide

 All that love can do

Is trust what appears in place

Of hope — hopeless, hopeless — trust

Skates between, says yes

carving their initials

 Scratching in wall, ice

Over mountain, rat’s teeth or

Mouse claws, bored squirrel  —

We live in sluice between two

Mountains — the homeless stop by

circus in town

 I grow grumpy. Too

Many improbable clowns

Saying I’m your hope —

They’re not, merely giggle fools

Elected by goofy votes

Sunday, January 15, 2023


 Buddha and Christ both

Walked into a bar, of course

It hurt, the bruises

no matter what the prize

This poem felt important this evening.


If a German soldier comes to you

and asks you to shoot the man

next to you because that man

isn’t even bones in his striped suit,

tell the soldier, “No, you’re the devil,

and though you offer me the cities

of the world and all their soft women

and bread, I won’t shoot this man

though he is as dead as I am.

We are brothers in death, and brothers

in death don’t torment each other,

no matter what the prize, no matter

that death is the only prize left.”

(Poem by John Guzlowski) 

~This poem appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review (2007)

For the Ukrainian people, in their travail. 


 Of course he was brave,

Martin Luther King, he was

What a good man is

mu dieu

 In the dream, dusty bookshop by ocean, repairs and tidying going on, mountain lion ambling in from water. 

So many people milling, pewter tableware set out, I wonder— do we even have a place to pay, a point of sale, an agreed pricing?

The housecats were there. Some dog I didn’t recognize was getting massaged by me, I was carrying some classical literary tome in middle of enormous room.

Whence these images? Whence this scene? Whence the characters in this fantastical dream? 

I let the mountain lion out the glass doors, careful to ensure I can slip in as she shoulders through to an unfathomable gyrotic meander.

There is no discrete God, but even so, it is that MU Dieu that captures my affection in kaleidoscope reveries on Sunday morning, uncomplacent and sans peignoir.

The sound of bell tolling five minutes before the half-hour.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

from an- ‘without’ + arkhos ‘chief, ruler’.

 There's another way of seeing it. The crass animosity of republicans for democrats, illiberals for liberals, right wing for left wing.

Anarchy must be considered. 

anarchy ˈanərkē | 

noun a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authorityhe must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy• absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political idealORIGIN mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos, from an- without + arkhos chief, ruler.  (apple dictionary)

Republicans have done the math. They seem to know their skillset is not governance, not compassion for the people, not the advancement of services and opportunity for middle or lower income citizens. Those skills and interests, they calculate, are associated more with Democrat-led governance.

So, their thinking goes, tear down government. Strip the agencies and departments set up to provide services and a closer form of equality of power and financial resources. Prove to the populace that their opposite political party is only interested in liberal self-serving, power, wealth, and socialistic inclinations.

The meanness, the rousing of menacing hostility, ad hominem attacks, attempts to flay rights and respect, and their carelessness in protecting the dignity of individuals with needs -- are calculated strategies to diminish healthy hope and community support one for another.

There is a preference for no government/governance. Individual wealth is a privilege that takes precedence over shared contributions to the common good. And if there is a large and unreflective assemblage of religious fundamentalists looking for a hitching post to tie their sale-able beliefs, all well and good.

Add in the itch for a simpatico authoritarian demagogue whose personal moral character has never matured, and you have a convenient marriage of sociopathy and simplistic thinking masquerading as a legitimate alternative to representative democracy. 2016 was the ribbon cutting for carnival derangement.

But let's give the devil his due. The "people" are a dangerous and unpredictable force in the life of a democracy. Majority rule is a precarious predation of mob rule. There are, the thinking goes, some who know better than the hoi polloi, and, noblesse oblige, should lift the burden of self-determination from the thin shoulders of those uninitiated into a highly specific, if chaotic, ideology.

There are, some say, legitimate reasons to strip freedoms from individuals and groups and give authority to corporations instead of people, authoritarian commanders rather than misguided individuals, hierarchy rather than the ordinary citizen.

In 2023 there is a precarious hold on sanity and civility. Some say pay no attention to the news. They're right, of course. The less you know, the happier you might be. But to know less is different from the "don't know" mind. The latter is, conceivably, a more difficult way of making one's way through the turmoil.

I don't know -- not really -- whether democracy (as conceived) is a better option to anarchistic authoritarianism. I don't know, down deep, whether Republicans really want the disintegration of the structures of representative governance. And I don't know whether, as some insist, both political parties and philosophies are corrupt and narcissistically intent on feeding their own ambitions.

If I knew less I'd say let's break out the booze and have a ball; if that's all there is, let's keep dancing. Its a tolorable position to adopt. 

But I don't know. The cultivation of which suggests keeping on, eyes open, mind alert, heart ready, and feet shod to engage and encounter what is taking place, as it is taking place, with equanimity and compassionate readiness.

It always seemed simplistic -- the rejoinder to love even those you do not like. There's a lot, these days, I do not like -- and a whole lot of folks jabbering cruelty and nonsense from positions of responsibility that I definitely do not like.

As for that other word, that other way of being-in-the-world, (go ahead, say it) -- "love" -- well . . . I don't know . . .

I'll have to sit a while with that invitation. 

Still, I'm glad there's been an invitation.

which way


No reason

To think


Do it

Any way

Friday, January 13, 2023


 Capuchin Friar

Sent December card addressed

“Mono’s” to mailbox,

(“monastics of no other”) —

His laughter across the miles

behind rain, more rain

 If today is last

Hear this, no regret, no hope —

Coming or going

this is so

We’ve misunderstood the metaphor. Religion appropriated it and we looked away to other interests. 

If we apply the template, the process progression in a wider swath, we come to see a new dynamic of spiritual/psychological life applicable to ordinary life and everyday experience.

Religion, in this manner, re-enters its home ground — where earth and cosmos serve particular manifestations of energetic life transmuting itself into Itself.

In 1946, Tanabe Hajime (1885–1962), the recently retired chair of the Depart- ment of Philosophy at Kyōto Imperial University, published Philosophy as Meta- noetics (Zangedō to shite no tetsugaku), a work that is often read as marking a significant transformation in Tanabe’s thought.2 In his uncharacteristically personal preface to Metanoetics, Tanabe explains that this transformation was spurred by his experiences in the last years of the Pacific War, when, confront- ed by the suffering he witnessed around him and his inability as a philosopher to bring his expertise to bare on the situation, he was thrown into a painful process of self-reflection and self-critique. From this personal experience, Tanabe began to question the limits of philosophy and turned to the theories of self-negation and repentance found in the True Pure Land school of Buddhism (Jōdo shinshū). Influenced by the teachings of the Japanese Buddhist monk Shinran (1173–1263), Tanabe conceived his personal experience and the ostensible crisis of philosophy more generally through metanoia (μετάνοια; zange), understood as a circular process of self-negation, repentance, conversion, and resurrection. For Tanabe, metanoia would serve not only as a new model for philosophy—where philosophy became metanoetics (μετανόησίς; zangedō), a continual process of philosophy’s self-negation and resurrection—but more immediately, would illuminate a path for Japan’s national repentance and reconstruction in the wake of war and defeat. The resulting 1946 text, Philosophy as Metanoetics, was not a discourse on religious conversion, or a new philosophy of religion, but a call for the complete rethinking of philosophy from a religiously inflected perspective. Ultimately, Tanabe hoped to push reason to the limits of its own antinomies and, through a process of negation-and- resurrection, reformulate the philosophical enterprise as a critical practice of what he called “absolute critique” (zettai hihan).

 Metanoetics is thus a bold and complicated text. It has been read as a philosophical treatise, as religious philosophy, and as an expression of the general discourse of national repentance (i.e., ichioku sōzange) circulating in Japan after its surrender in 1945.3 When Metanoetics is compared to Tanabe’s earlier writings—in particular, to his “logic of species” (shu no ronri) developed in the 1930s—Metanoetics appears to mark a major shift in his thought.4 For example, in the conventional literature, Tanabe’s earlier logic of species is recognized as a thoroughly political project, emerging from his concern with the historical reproduction of ethnonational units and their constitutive irrationality.5 In contrast, Metanoetics appears to be, as James Heisig has claimed, a “supremely nonpolitical book” since it is a “call...for a religious change of heart, not for a reform of social institutions.”6

(Tanabe Hajime as Storyteller, Or, Reading Philosophy as Metanoetics as Narrative, by Max Ward. In Confronting Capital and Empire of Rethinking Kyoto School Philosophy Edited by Viren Murthy, Fabian Schäfer, Max Ward, 2017),

Changing one’s mind, in particularity, is isomorphic to changing Mind in absolute analysis.

It is often wondered what affect, if any, the individual (so small) has upon the collective (so large). In times like ours, when antipathy and arrogance threaten the well-being of so many, we begin to despair the absence of cooperation, harmony, and creativity in both political arena and personal milieu. 

When any one mind sees the whole, the whole is seen through and through.

Each person, each practitioner, (in a word) ‘saves’ the world from fragmentation and divisive intolerance.

How do we know this is so?

We don’t know.

But, in fact, this is so,

Critical entirety is ushered into Itself by each individual becoming itself/themselves.

It only takes practice.

Take it!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

living (a)lone together, (a)part and with (an)other

 several inquiries

about meetingbrook's

daily schedule

I respond

we're gone 

idiorrhythmic *

between buddhist zen

and christian contemplative



apart from Tuesday

Friday, and Sunday  

evening zoom practice

we are on our own

to practice according

to each one's rhythm

the chapel/zendo

is open to all

at any time, unheated

the bookshed is

open to all 

at any time, gas heater

hermits come and go

keep to cell

love the alone

as we traverse

what is solitary

with (in) us

...   ...   ...

* Idiorrhythmic monasticism is a form of monastic life in Christianity.[1]

It was the original form of monastic life in Christianity, as exemplified by St. Anthony of Egypt (c. 250–355) and is the opposite of cenobitic monasticism in that instead of communal ownership, the monk lives alone, often in isolation. Philosophically it consisted of a hermit's total withdrawal from society, usually in the desert, and the constant practice of mental prayer.[2] The word idiorrhythmic comes from two Greek words, idios for "particular" and rhythmos for "rule", so the word can be translated as meaning "following one's own devices".[3]

It was first developed by St. Anthony of Egypt (c. 250–355) and was practised at Mount Athos, Greece until 1992.[4].   


 Monasticism (from Ancient Greek μοναχός, monakhos, from μόνος, monos, 'alone'), also referred to as monachism, or monkhood, is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in many Christian churches, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions as well as in other faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.[1] In other religions monasticism is criticized and not practiced, as in Islam and Zoroastrianism, or plays a marginal role, as in modern Judaism. Many monastics live in abbeys, convents, monasteries or priories to separate themselves from the secular world, unless they are in mendicant or missionary orders.


as january plods on

 the Bible

on windowsill

in bathroom

does not see

winter outside

it's the winter

inside me

that keeps

its covers


the longing to light up drab landscapes

 It’s like watching torrential rains, devastating floods, mud rock slides. Or blast snow cyclones crippling highways and side streets — both causing destruction and death, altering landscape, shutting down movement.

You can watch, but cannot stop. The cleanup will be slow and disrupting. 

I think the core driver of politics across the Western democracies is this: In society after society, highly educated professionals have formed a Brahmin class. The top of the ladder go to competitive colleges, marry each other, send their kids to elite schools and live in the same neighborhoods. This class dominates the media, the academy, Hollywood, tech and the corporate sector. 

Many people on the middle and bottom have risen up to say, we don’t want to be ruled by those guys. To hell with their economic, cultural and political power. We’ll vote for anybody who can smash their machine. The Republican Party is the party of this protest movement.

(—David Brooks in, The Party’s Over for Us. Where Do We Go Now? Jan. 11, 2023, nytimes with Bret Stephens)

For some, the sledgehammer is more reliable than the blueprint or plane-saw and attaching joists.

The hidden anarchist in me claps hands and stamps feet.

The secret monk in me entertains the no lasting kingdom trope.

The political fool in me thinks it should be a confluence of dialogue and compromise.

The reclusive poet in me wonders where the red cardinals showing up yesterday at feeder have been these many months.

When aesthetic sensibility returns, long missed, and lights up drab landscapes, we will remember what authentic faces look like.

not just descriptive, but imperative encouraging invitation

Standing in dooryard

Night meditation with dog

He drops, rolls in snow

Looking toward mountain rise, sign

Crossing cabin planks — ‘open’

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

“t” as core connective home

 To study truth is to

Study God. To study God is to see

What is there as here

Collapsing here/t/here, finding

“t” as core connective  — home

throwing thought to side of road

 Experience first

Then, if you want to construct

A theory, do so —

Then drop it, returning to

Stark experience

see where the clouds rise

 The zen teacher said, 

“Don’t die within a phrase.” No —

Instead, “Realize 

the heart of Being.” Seeing,

we don’t get so caught in words

is, most intimate

 Ritual is structured silence. Sitting on cushion. Walking in silence. Bowing to the holy presence of tree, person, departed, or scurrying animal. The sangha of creation. God as what is appearing before us.

The ceremony of attention, without thought or calculation, with simple allowing, there and here, as is, in its own light.

When I was a boy, bicycling out of yard and driveway onto bay ridge avenue to 20th avenue, to 61st street, to iron rung fence that held my schwinn upright, climbing wooden stairs to sacristy.

The ritual of serving at 6:30am mass at St A’s.

Every step of the setting out, approaching, attending, serving, wondering, the mere awe of it!

I am still making the turns onto 21st avenue, onto 62nd street, surplice folded over handlebars. The earliness of it.

The ritual.


In every step I take to chapel/zendo.

Even when nowhere near the Bay Parkway small wooden church or the Ragged Mountain cabin.

Even then, there,

Mind and body, body/mind, holds space and time, space/time, near and intimate.

I don’t know how it is we exist throughout the complexity of duration and location.

But as the zen master says, of meandering endlessly, not-knowing is most intimate. 

Or . . .

Where our feet take us.

Monday, January 09, 2023

no further to fall

 When the rug is pulled 

and you are left unstanding —

find the floor — dwell there


 I asked God to help me understand stupidity in political leadership and self-serving celebrity posturing.

God said, no, there’s no understanding stupid.

i enjoy our conversations.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

resume writing résumé

 A day is coming when stupidity will no longer be rewarded.

On that day I will turn in my resignation and forfeit my riches.

Having long been stupid, I’ll have to find a new job.

Shall we look together?

still, life

It seems meaningless 

to say faith without belief —

like standing mid air 

ground far below cosmos far 

away, Paco, gone, smashed, car

Saturday, January 07, 2023

on hearing of bobby’s (paco’s) death in car accident yesterday

The Snow Man  

                  BY WALLACE STEVENS
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. 

friday evening conversation finally settled into this

 Tina shared poem by John Guzlowski:

What My Father Believed

He didn't know about the Rock of Ages

or bringing in the sheaves or Jacob's ladder

or gathering at the beautiful river

that flows beneath the throne of God.

He'd never heard of the Baltimore Catechism

either, and didn't know the purpose of life

was to love and honor and serve God.

He'd been to the village church as a boy

in Poland, and knew he was Catholic

because his mother and father were buried

in a cemetery under wooden crosses.

His sister Catherine was buried there too.

The day their mother died Catherine took

to the kitchen corner where the stove sat,

and cried. She wouldn't eat or drink, just cried

until she died there, died of a broken heart.

She was three or four years old, he was five.

What he knew about the nature of God

and religion came from the sermons

the priests told at mass, and this got mixed up

with his own life. He knew living was hard,

and that even children are meant to suffer.

Sometimes, when he was drinking he'd ask,

"Didn't God send his own son here to suffer?"

My father believed we are here to lift logs

that can't be lifted, to hammer steel nails

so bent they crack when we hit them.

In the slave labor camps in Germany,

He'd seen men try the impossible and fail.

He believed life is hard, and we should

help each other. If you see someone

on a cross, his weight pulling him down

and breaking his muscles, you should try

to lift him, even if only for a minute,

even though you know lifting won't save him.

  Poem by John Guzlowski 

The poem is taken from his book about his dad and mom and their experiences in WWII, Echoes of Tattered Tongues