Today At Meetingbrook

Thursday, July 24, 2014

setting out in rain; coming back to where we've never left

Planes fall from sky. It is, they say, war.

Soon there will be no need for planes or war.

Real devotion only arises when you have a glimpse of emptiness, some glimpse of the nature of mind. Once you have some very precise insight as to how emptiness helps to alleviate suffering, then devotion is based on a real, embodied experience.  (--Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche, "Keys to Happiness")

There will be nowhere to go because everyone will be there already.

Not in imagination, really there. We will come to embody physicality. 

Touch the ground. Breath the sky. See distance in locality. Remember things as yet unhappened. Forgive things that never happened.

We are lovers like that, and besides, it was never a question of being right or wrong.

It is, however, all right, all along, for each and all.

For each is all in each.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

and with (you are) spirit

Let's see if I have this right -- if I don't do the thinking, where does the thinking come from?

Are you going to tell me that no one is doing the thinking? That things just "feel" themselves into our minds and then we become conduit for expression of what is felt into words?


Next you'll be telling me that the stories we tell ourselves about our lives are illusory fabrications and silly excuses for something not yet known.

You'll have to forgive me -- I have little patience for the false -- mine or yours.

We are each situation.

Each circumstance.

The unfolding present.

That's why the successful pretend and control and puff themselves with power, money, and position.

Meanwhile, we fools, feeling the world into existence with eager emergence, are surrounded by what is coming to be actually coming to be beyond our understanding.


That silence?

Is prayer...

Coming to be, through us.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

hunger for seeing; naked infinite love

Bodhidharma (6th c.CE) was looking for a non-deluded person. 

Ikkyu obliged.

The Haiga Pages

The Haiku and Poems of
Ikkyu Sojun/Ikkyuu Soojun (1394-1481)


A melancholy autumn wind 
Blows through the world; 
The pampas grass waves, 
As we drift to the moor, 
Drift to the sea.

What can be done 
With the mind of a man 
That should be clear 
But though he is dressed up in a monk’s robe, 
Just lets life pass him by?

Why do people 
Lavish decorations 
On this set of bones 
Destined to disappear 
Without a trace?

No one really knows 
The nature of birth 
Nor the true dwelling place. 
We return to the source 
And turn to dust.

Many paths lead
from the foot of the mountain, 
But at the peak 
We all gaze at the 
Single bright moon.

If at the end of our journey 
There is no final 
Resting place, 
Then we need not fear 
Losing our Way.

No beginning, 
No end. 
Our mind 
is born and dies: 
The emptiness of emptiness!

Rain, hail, snow and ice: 
All are different, 
But when they fall 
They become the same water 
As the valley stream.

The ways of proclaiming 
The Mind vary, 
But the same heavenly truth 
Can be seen 
In each and every one.

Cover your path 
With the fallen pine needles 
So no one will be able 
To locate your 
True dwelling place.

As Ikkyu does not think of his body
As if it were his body,
He lives in the same place,
Whether it is town or country.

This world 
Is but 
A fleeting dream 
So why by alarmed 
At its evanescence?

The vagaries of life, 
Though painful 
Teach us 
Not to cling 
To this floating world.

If you break open the cherry tree,
Where are the flowers?
But in the spring time, see how they bloom!

To write something and leave it behind us,
It is but a dream.
When we awake we know
There is not even anyone to read it.

Look at the cherry blossoms!
Their color and scent fall with them,
Are gone forever,
Yet mindless
The spring comes again.

why is it all so beautiful this fake dream
this craziness why?

this ink painting of wind 
blowing through pines
who hears it?

oh yes things exist like the echo when you yell
at the foot of a huge mountain

sin like a madman until you can't do anything else
no room for any more

fuck flattery success money
all I do is lie back and suck my thumb

one long pure beautiful road of pain
and the beauty of death and no pain

mirror facing mirror
nowhere else

sick of it whatever it's called sick of the names
I dedicate every pore to what's here

a well nobody dug filled with no water
ripples and a shapeless weightless man drinks

oh green green willow wonderfully red flower
but I know the colors are not there

the mind is exactly this tree that grass
without thought or feeling both disappear

not two not one either
and the unpainted breeze in the ink painting feels cool

Ikkyu this body isn't yours I say to myself
wherever I am I'm there

nature's a killer I won't sing to it
I hold my breath and listen to the dead singing under the grass

suddenly nothing but grief
so I put on my father's old ripped raincoat

when I was forty-seven everybody came to see me
so I walked out forever

my monk friend has a weird endearing habit
he weaves sandals and leaves them secretly by the roadside

even before trees rocks I was nothing
when I'm dead nowhere I'll be nothing

no nothing only those wintry crows
bright black in the sun

if there's nowhere to rest at the end
how can I get lost along the way?

that stone Buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets
I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind

no words sitting alone night in my hut eyes closed hands open
wisps of an unknown face

the wise know nothing at all
well maybe one song

melons eggplants rice rivers the sky
I offer them to you on this holiday

go down on your silly knees pray
for what? tomorrow is yesterday

I found my sparrow Sonrin dead one morning
and buried him just as gently as I would my own daughter

I hate it I know it's nothing but I 
suck out the world's sweet juicy plum

you stand inside me naked infinite love
the dawn bell rips my dreaming heart

When it blows,
The mountain wind is boisterous,
But when it blows not,
It simply blows not.

Dimly for thirty years;
Faintly for thirty years, -
Dinly and faintly for sixty years:
At my death, I pass my faeces and offer them to Brahma.

a comprehensive list of Ikkyu publications, links and resources is available here

 The German shepherd gentle large goofy dog who lives with us could teach Ikkyu a thing or two about leaving faeces right in the middle of hiking trails.

 I'll go rowing now, then, later, pay a man $1400 dollars to poke and prod my mouth with needle and scraper and drill. 

I don't know.

“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”
— Albert Einstein

I happen on website for Eternea:

The Seven Cornerstone Postulates

These postulates are predicated on contemporary research findings from frontier science in its investigatation of spiritually transformative experiences and non-local manifestations of consciousness, as well as the timeless wisdom from the core pillar teachings of the world's greatest spiritual teachers and major religions.

Indicators of Eternea's Success

Eternea's ongoing research efforts are intended to test, challenge and potentially reinforce the validity of these seven cornerstone postulates. To the extent Eternea succeeds in establishing the veracity of these postulates through the research efforts of frontier science, Eternea will be further empowered to inspire people all over the world to accept them as personal truths or convictions, which in turn would then lead to major changes in individual perceptions of reality, hence values, attitudes and behavior. The degree to which Eternea succeeds in in efforts to educate humanity about these postulates and accept them as true should result in a direct decrease in the following:

  • War and violence
  • Hunger and malnutrition
  • Poverty and despair
  • Illiteracy and ignorance
  • Environmental degradation
  • Gender and racial inequality
  • Human and animal abuse
  • Religious conflict and divisiveness
  • Political oppression
  • Greed and exploitation of others
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Suicide & clinical depression


Monday, July 21, 2014

yes, do enter here

The inmate suggested we read D.G Leahy. We will.

We will learn more about thinking.

Maybe we do not yet think. Perhaps things think us.

All has been consecrated. 
The creatures in the forest know this, 
The earth does, the seas do, the clouds know 
as does the heart full of 
Strange a priest would rob us of this 
and then empower himself 
with the ability 
to make holy what 
already was 
(--Poem by St Catherine of Siena, from ‘Love Poems From God’ by Daniel Ladinsky. )
What I love about holiness is the suggestion we are not holy. Rather, what is holy finds its way through us with our permission.

We have so many tutors. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

come apart and rest awhile

Big dog comes into room and lies down.

Something about down the hall some red and green lights spooking him around his mistress.

Fear is one more thing to let go.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

something ugly this way comes

Nausea seeps through hole in space/time and turns my stomach.

 1.      Ithaca Voice / By Jeff Stein 
Notable Anti-Drone Activist and Grandmother Sentenced to Prison for Photographing Protest. Grady Flores was sentenced to jail for violating an order of protection after being part of a demonstration against drones. 
Ithaca, N.Y. — An Ithaca woman crossed the street and stood for a few minutes where she wasn’t supposed to stand. Then she crossed back to where it was OK to stand. Now she’s going to jail for a year.
(For background on the case, see yesterday’s story, “Criminal or martyr? Inside the political formation of Ithaca’s jailed grandmother.“)
There are plenty of reasons to deplore the excessive jail sentence that DeWitt Town Justice David S. Gideon handed down last week to Mary Anne Grady Flores, a 58-year-old grandmother of three.
Here are seven of them: 
Editorial: Sentence against Ithaca drones protester is a farce and an outrageBy:  |
A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.

Read more: 
The Palestinian death toll in Gaza during the war rose to 336, with more than 2,400 wounded, the Palestinian health ministry said. About 75 percent of the casualties have been civilians, according to the United Nations. 
The Israeli military dropped leaflets urging residents of additional areas, including two crowded refugee camps, Al-Bureij and Al-Maghazi, to evacuate, raising alarms from the United Nations, which said that shelters were already overwhelmed and in danger of running out of supplies. More than 63,000 people have flocked to official shelters, a number that has tripled in two days, and many more have taken refuge with friends and family. 
Someone sitting in the glow of Saturday night bonfire said life is not difficult once you learn how to live it in peace.

Then, through seamless black hole, the poison enters and I am stricken with unlearning nausea.

Friday, July 18, 2014

how would you describe us?

Israel pummels Palestinian Gaza with shelling and ground invasion. Gaza goes dark. Israel dwells darker still.

Russia looks at the civilian plane shot down and looks at the missile launcher that downed it.

I think about the man executed in Missouri whose last words were: “You’re killing an innocent man.”

We are so primitive. So hapless. So dull. 

So unattuned. 

Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going
Two simple happenings
That got entangled. 

(--Kozan Ichikyo, “Coming, Going”)

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Woman we know currently in Maryland for another surgical procedure re-fusing sections of her spine.

She says she’s asked her doctor if things do not go well to put her in a coma until some corrective action could be taken.

We are driving back from Auburn. Route 17 opens to Appleton Ridge and farmland before Union under blue sky and billowing white clouds. We tell her on the call that Maine awaits her return. She is cheered.

I tell her I hope her doctor knows how to spell.

“Spell? she asks.

“Yes,” I say. "What if he puts you in a ‘comma’ in the middle of a sentence?”

Her surgery is Friday afternoon.

She is laughing.

father, sons

Four children are blown up in Gaza.

Shame on those that hide behind military jargon and strategy rationalization.
As they played on and around a jetty in the late-afternoon sun, a blast hit a nearby shack. One boy was killed instantly. The others ran. There was a second blast, and three more bodies littered the sand. One was charred, missing a leg, and another lay motionless, his curly head intact, his legs splayed at unnatural angles. 
The Israeli military acknowledged later that it had launched the strike, which it said was aimed at Hamas militants, and called the civilian deaths “a tragic outcome.” 
The four dead boys came quickly to symbolize how the Israeli aerial assaults in Gaza are inevitably killing innocents in this crowded, impoverished sliver of land along the Mediterranean Sea. They stood out because they were inarguably blameless, children who simply wanted to play on their favorite beach, near the fishing port where their large extended family keeps its boats.  
 The ugly enemy of life wanders through the eyes of those targeting the living with death.

There is no hope in the face of force, weaponry, and psychopathology.

In prison, CJ could be right: the God so many worship is quite possibly a psychopath.

These talmudic students continue their studies.


As I do.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

allure of non-news social sites

Like dogs to source of a good smell, there's a gathering to something ripe, rotting, or faintly dangerous. Each visitor leaves their mark.
"So, the highest form of love or devotion is simply to abide as awarenes, knowingly. Any other sort of devotion would be the devotion af an imagined entity towards an imagined object." 
(--Rupert Spira, p.127, Presence, The Intimacy of All Experience vol ll)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Goodbye momma, goodbye to you too pop

(A haiku)

Zen without Buddhism

Contemplation without Christianity

Poetry without words

Nothing but Tuesday

Birds fly through rain.
No umbrella, no yellow slicker --
Cooing dove -- dawn

Monday, July 14, 2014

What question do you hear?

The Results of Practice | July 14, 2014

One becomes an ordinary person, but in an extraordinary way. Your words are still there, your hang-ups may still be there, you still have to deal with all your karmic baggage and so on, but you see it in a totally different light. You're at peace with yourself, at peace with the world. Not in a complacent sense, but in the sense that you can simply devote yourself to a life of compassion. 
(--L.F. Habito, Other Fingers Pointing to the Moon, Tricycle Daily Dharma)
A life.

Of compassion.

Simply devoted.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

spirituality and hospice

Honor the journey.

Think of your religious tradition. Everyone has one. Ask yourself this question: If I had nothing to believe in, how would I live my life? Would “life” be enough? Or do we need something more, something else, something other, some place away, some other time -- in order to give our lives meaning?

Someone is dying. It’s all going away. Something is coming to its end.

What might be coming to an end is the religious traditions we all have in our histories.

Without them we are left with life that leads to (and through?) death.

Life, life itself, just might be the most significant spiritual journey, absent hope for something that might be after death. (Perhaps what is after death is life -- same as ever -- only seen clearly for the first time as what it really is.)

Make peace with life.

Live life with peace.

Honor the journey.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

s t o p -- (a way to go)





appreciatory, a heart condition

It is the orientation of heart that entices the mechanism of mind to rationalize justification for action. It is not conditioning of mind that influences heart.

We often see this wrong. We want to train the mind, thinking heart will follow.

Perhaps "right heart" will become the 9th addition to the eightfold path.

Stoney heart creates hard thinking action. Open hear creates complementary thoughtful action.

Have a heart -- let it be clear and flowing with appreciatory love!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Ora et labora

Loon cry across silence where dawn opens eye and birds shower song into stillness.

Wu Wei -- effortless awakening.

Father Benedict, founder (they say) of monasticism, find here a suitable community of fellow creatures praying reality into god, god into reality, heart/mind into integrity of place!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pane, not pain

A saint, the book said, is someone who, like a window, let's light show through.

Holiness allows translucence. It need not be its cause. It allows.

Here's to windows, light, and effect.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Madre Mia

Night grows quiet.
Only one thing 
made him happy 
and now that 
it was gone 
made him happy. 
(--Leonard Cohen, "Leonard Koan")
Room is quiet.

A yawn.

Blessings of birth anniversary to you!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


Walking meditation at corner of Tire Warehouse parking lot right angle of shade from two trees in Bangor for thirty minutes.

No waiting. Rather, walking.

Nothing to wait for. Only, this step, this step, pivot, turn, this step, this step.

Monday, July 07, 2014

As the title of the book says: Practicing Mortality

It is courageous to spend time consciously with someone dying.

It might be with someone other than yourself.

It might be with yourself.

It is time well spent.







Sunday, July 06, 2014

acquainted with night

Something odd has taken center stage. Personal interest in any professional sport, any personal news about any celebrity, or direct or oblique reference to body size, body part, or who’s doing what with whom -- is not the least bit interesting.

Center stage is empty.


Bodhidharma, the reading tonight said, didn’t go to China to bring zen or the Buddha. He went to find one person not deluded by people.

Since 6th century C.E. looking around for the non-deluded!

Good luck!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Have mercy Lord and hear my prayer

We cut broken tree by road.
READING Deuteronomy 6:4-7 
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.  (--from Compline, Saturday night)
We pray for what and who needs praying for.

Friday, July 04, 2014

finding oneself within

How lovely the idea of shared responsibility for the world.
If this sounds like a lot of emotional tumult, it is. When we engage in a creativity recovery, we enter into a withdrawal process from life as we know it. Withdrawal is another way of saying detachment or nonattachment, which is emblematic of consistent work with any meditation practice.
We ourselves are the substance we withdraw to, not from, as we pull our overextended and misplaced creative energy back into our own core.
(--Julia Cameron, in The Artist's Way) 
How is it so few keep so many from it's realization? 

Friday the 4th

A woman we know writes from prison. She is not free today.

Mid afternoon prayer plays from ipad.

What we do is listen. To her. Our prayer.

Come and See, what I have done: I’ve given My only Son. He lived for you, and He died for you.Come and See. 
Lamb of God, Lamb of God, have mercy on us, forgive us, Lord. 
Come and See, what I have done: I’ve given My only Son.He lived for you, and He died for you.Come and See. 
Creator of Love, source of all life, have mercy on us, forgive us Lord.Come and See, what I have done: I’ve given My only Son.He lived for you, and He died for you.Come and See. 
“Pieta” by Melinda Kirigin-Voss; The Pietà (pl. same; Italian for pity) is a subject in Christian art depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus, most often found in sculpture.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

thanks, Chris

Let’s say we were going to contemplate listening.

 No Going Back 
No, no, there is no going back. 
Less and less you are 
that possibility you were. 
More and more you have become 
those lives and deaths 
that have belonged to you. 
You have become a sort of grave 
containing much that was 
and is no more in time, beloved 
then, now, and always. 
And so you have become a sort of tree 
standing over a grave. 
Now more than ever you can be 
generous toward each day 
that comes, young, to disappear 
forever, and yet remain 
unaging in the mind. 
Every day you have less reason 
not to give yourself away. 
                     (~poem by Wendell Berry)
Listening is good communication.

It’s not what you say --

it’s what you are listening



Apologies to Shakespeare & Steinbeck

This is the summer of our dissing Cheney.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

One prayer

Hear me now.

( Says God.)

Now hear me.

(Say we each.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

believe half of what you read, and nothing of what you see

EXPLANATION, (a spin haiku for Snow Bowl)

it’s not so bad, look
over there -- even hay strands
tap, tap, tap -- let’s dance 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Yes, and it probably always will be so; for now

Let's not call it hiding. Let's say it is climbing ladder in chapel zendo to loft, opening glass window to screen, and sitting in white cushioned metal chair looking out to trees shading hermitage path.

A light breeze rustles still soft leaves. Old stone wall hasn't moved in decades. Young slender maple alongside cabin stretches itself in early evening new summer warmth.

In prison this morning we spoke of Westman's Structure of Biblical Myths, and Hazony's The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture. Two wonderfully skeptical and agnostic men in prison continually surprise themselves with their observations and insights about the things they read and the discussions we have. Saskia brings vital participation. 

Prison is prison. We do our best to listen through it.

Mosquito bobs against screen looking for flaw to penetrate.

Lori and Mark spend three nights. They are sweet kids (if at their third and fourth decades they can be called kids!) They visit their aging uncle and are good sports in the presence of idiosyncratic spirituality and dozing crankiness. They eat lobster. I go to bed.

Saskia says that one of the women in our yurt colloquium mentioned how grateful she was (as an atheist) that meetingbrook has never once attempted to convert her all the years she's known us. I wonder what we'd try to convert anyone to. We are a certain distance away from any particular belief, a nodding acquaintance with every sincere attempt or abject indifference to find meaning in systems that need rubbing oil and dust cloth to have them appear out of the obscurity they've become.

Charlie nailed it with what will become a new blessing in prison this morning. He says, "Fuck it; It is what it is!" I suspect, yes, and it probably always will be so; for now.
I imagine this phrasing will take its place next to the “God bless you's" favored by the believing folks there. It has all the characteristics of detachment, acceptance, and clear sight so important to a meeting of the esoteric and exoteric traditions.

The day ebbs.

Birds begin evening antiphons.

No matter what part is wrong, it's all right!