Sunday, March 01, 2015


     "There's no present. There's only the immediate future and the recent past." ~George Carlin
first light

grows toward window --

Maine turns

to March

thanks February

for stepping off

This has beneficial consequences for hermits who are nowhere occupying no place in no present. In this regard one steps off the path into a reformulating silence. It is the stillness of effortless contradiction that suggests no time to conform and no bridge to transform what becomes mere motionless movement disappearing into what word would be if its breathing vision could see its evanescent transparency.

Or, glossing:
Hermit transforms into what becomes mere motionless movement disappearing into word's empty breathing vision seeing evanescent transparency.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

mountain grooming through night


walking to merton retreat
snow squeaks underfoot

Yurt hermit close to frozen brook
must hear the gripping treads

on mountain the beeping groom,
In shed, soon, shikantaza

Friday, February 27, 2015

Opus justitiae pax

"I go back to an old Latin motto, opus justitiae pax: Peace is the work of justice," Hesburgh said in a 2001 interview. "We've known 20 percent of the people in the world have 80 percent of the goodies, which means the other 80 percent have to scrape by on 20 percent."

(--Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame, who died yesterday at 97)

la la la la

There is a quiet of 4AM that endures. When each sound is prayer. When fulcrum of night balances, monks and nuns and spirits of longing hearts reside quietly with this teetering dark.
The Buddha presented a radical challenge to the way we see the world, both the world that was seen two millennia ago and the world that is seen today. What he taught is not different, it is not an alternative, it is the opposite. That the path that we think will lead us to happiness leads instead to sorrow. That what we believe is true is instead false. That what we imagine to be real is unreal. A certain value lies in remembering that challenge from time to time.
(- Donald S. Lopez, Jr., “The Scientific Buddha" Tricycle)
Getting wood from barn for embering stove, stepping out on squeaking snow, looking up at vast space whited with points of light, I think of recent discovery of black hole some 18 billion light years away. 

I am silenced...

Some 2,500 years after the lifetime of the historical Buddha, the following quotation about Buddhism was ascribed to Albert Einstein: “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.” This statement cannot be located in any of Einstein’s writings. But there is something about Buddhism, and about the Buddha, that caused someone to ascribe these words to Einstein. And since the time when Einstein didn’t say this, intimations of deep connections between Buddhism and science have continued, right up until today. In any given month, such publications as The New York Times and The Washington Post report on clinical studies investigating the affinity of Buddhism and science, particularly neurobiology. 
(--Lopez, ibid) 
The human body has +/- 50 trillion cells. That’s a big number. They put match to paper and twigs. They all cooperate to make toast in the morning.

 I am learning what prayer is.

Looking to sky, bowing to white dog on wohnkuche futon, trusting that embers with pass on their dying memory to cold and snowy split wood, I climb stairs with chitta-cat criss-crossing my feet, arriving here content that what has taken place has taken place at least with fledgling attention and gratefulness.

This attention and gratefulness for the billions and trillions of family members seems, for now, a wonder of passing appreciatory awareness that attends to itself in all directions at all times in all spheres with all expressions of  life-always-longing-after-light-and-love-alone. (la la la la.)

Music of spheres tuning up with stillness and silence.

The sonorous gaze of it!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I’ll start. The art of farseeing.

From Analects of Confucius, Ch 12. 
Tsze-chang asked what constituted intelligence. The Master said, "He with whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind, nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, are successful may be called intelligent indeed. Yea, he with whom neither soaking slander, nor startling statements, are successful, may be called farseeing.”
I realize more and more these days that this kind of intelligence is, actually, kindly. When the slander that enters my mind gets less and little attention, it gets quieter and shuts up. Consequentially, it doesn't (I can only hope) get put into statements that would cut and hurt another (and ultimately myself). 
This is the philosophical virtue of “Li":
Li is a companion virtue to jen in many respects - the other side of the same coin, so to speak. It is translated as "ritual" "propriety" or "etiquette." It is this dimension of Confucian philosophy and ethics that makes it "religious" more than anything else - the element of ritual..
Confucius was a conservative - he believed in tradition and in conserving and respecting tradition. Therefore, respect for rituals, traditional practices and conventional mores became important in his thought for restoring and maintaining order in society. And these rituals extend throughout all of life - the imperial palace, the marketplace, and the home.
This is far-(seeing)-out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

how much longer? you don't want to know

Nothing serious. Just an additional 6+".

I've been thinking about how I grow weary.

Sports, celebrities, politicians, media personalities, advertisements, the rubric of institutional public relation-speak, opinionating (even mine), imprecatory outbursts (condemning or prayerful), tone-deaf governance, and general overall prolific unawareness masquerading as principled stance.

Winter, it seems, is clouding my equanimity.

Thanks be to goodness there's only 15 more weeks of it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

minus 14 degrees

It's February. 


And it's cold.


wissen ganz nicht anderer

To think things through.

That's a way to approach philosophy. To think clearly, yes. To understand referential and logical analysis of data, detail & place before us. The ability to analyze, deduce, infer, and arrive at tentative conclusions open to revision and reconsideration.

Thinking, is this regard, means more than requisite analytic and dialectic elaboration. Thinking means seeing. Thinking means seeing through. Thinking means seeing things through in a manner that places the thinker near, around, within, and diaphaneously through the other side of the person, place, thought, or thing being looked at and divined.

Thinking as seeing is a contemplative act. It is an analytic exercise as well. The balance is vital.

Recognizing something or someone present as it is as they are is vital. Being able to ask into that present reality is also vital. This asking into is done and acted upon without objectifying what is there. It is a temporary disappearance into the situation and circumstance of the other as subject without an object, an inter-subjectivity encircling, permeating, and passing through what-is-there.

In this way, you might say, there is other, then there is no-other, and (once again) there is an-other seen and visited and celebrated as ganz nicht anderer (wholely or entirely no other).

Becoming entirely no other suggests a new being, one infused and suffused by a new presence that is a result of one being interpenetrating with another being. 

This is not a series of sequential beings connected to one another. This is a wholeness realizing a new wholeness in and through another wholeness. 

A distinction without separation.

To think things through is a process of knowing without dissecting that which is known. It is a morphological union of interbeing wherein two subjects occupy the same space for a time during which envisioning inspiration takes place as the moving action completes its quest.

This envisioning inspiration might be described as seeing and breathing as the other, or, no-other. 

It is the harmonization of theoria and praxis, theory and practice, seeing and doing, being and becoming, beginning and ending.

Perhaps it might be called, awkwardly, autodidallocism, self teaching/learning through others.

Or, more simply, wissen ganz nicht anderer, knowing wholly no other.

Is this why we are still not thinking?

rokpa snoozing under OM

Monday, February 23, 2015

we come to something

Wrestling with Raimon Panikkar at Sunday Evening Practice. Monday morning, he might not recognize his offspring.

God is yet to come.

History is a somersault. What we consider to have been in the past is actually up ahead. The mythic mind has linear time turning on itself.

Satan, Iblis, knows better than Reality/Being. He will not dishonor the Truth by honoring what Truth wishes him to honor. Like the rest of us, you and me, he thinks he knows better what the Other wants than does the Other Itself.

The Other's will is that there be no other, no hierarchy of praise and glory. All are to be glorified. All honored. All, distinctly, respected and praised and blessed.

Attached to ego we cannot see this.

Liberated and enlightened we know we are this. As Is, each and every being, creature, person, and thing.

All are of, in, with, for, and as, One Divine Reality.

Only in the ignorance of separation and division does there exist no-God, unequal persons, sinful acts, erroneous thinking, or belief some are more worthy than others.

What is true is what is here.

We are here.

Each appearing thing is here.

All sentient beings are here.

God is here.

Let us be here, as who and what we are, let us be here!

Yet-to-come is always and ever arriving.

And, as poet Richard Hugo wrote, "Many arrivals make us live." 
      (--from his poem, "The Manifestation.)


Sunday, February 22, 2015

do we know how to approach new consciousness


Let’s say: stillness silence seeing.

No rationalizing, no explanation, no busyness, no belief, no intentional conceptualizing.

Rather, mere being-there, mere unmoving mind, mere looking.

Simple clear and wise attentiveness.

As Richard, our fond farmer friend, used to ask: What’s the recipe for doing that?

Let’s say: stillness silence seeing.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

white dog, climbing stairs, lies down in doorway

Fill kibble bowl for cats.

Bump thermostat in winter zendo.

Rekindle fire in Wohnkuche woodstove.
Even the Buddha himself, with his great store of accumulated virtue, could not avoid death. When he reached old age, he relinquished his body and let go of its heavy burden. Now you too must learn to be satisfied with the many years you have already depended on your body. You should feel that it's enough. 
You can compare it to household utensils that you've had for a long time—your cups, saucers, plates, and so on. When you first 
had them they were clean and shining, but now after using them for so long, they're starting to wear out. Some are already broken, some have disappeared, and those left are deteriorating: they have no stable form, and it's their nature to be like that. Your body is the same way. It has been continually changing right from the day you were born, through childhood and youth, until now it has reached old age. You must accept that. The Buddha said that all conditions (sankharas), whether they are internal conditions, bodily conditions, or external conditions, are not-self—their nature is to change. Contemplate this truth until you see it clearly. 
(--from, Our Real Home, by Ajahn Chah Subatto, Tricycle, Fall 1997)
my not-wanting

to practice

is this



Friday, February 20, 2015

the wrong item

I didn't know her poetry. In prison we read one that Doris sent. We spent a long time on it.

This is not that one.

This is this one.

                   (By Elise Partridge)
Where is the word I want?
in the thicket,
about to pinch the
berry, my fingerpads
close on
I can hear it
scrabbling like a squirrel
on the oak’s far side.
Word, please send over this black stretch of ocean
your singular flare,
your topaz in the mind’s blank.
I could always pull the gift
from the lucky-dip barrel,
scoop the right jewel
from my dragon’s trove….
Now I flail,
the wrong item creaks up
on the mental dumbwaiter.
No use—
it’s turning
out of sight,
a bicycle down a
Venetian alley—
I clatter after, only to find
gondolas bobbing in sunny silence,
a pigeon mumbling something
I just can’t catch.
She died the end of January. Cancer. Age 56.
A poet's death is noteworthy. Perhaps because wording seeing is seldom given as much clarity as when a poet says what she sees.
As we clatter after.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Snow and fresh Fire

Democracy was a good idea. Abject terror and militarized terror protection/response seems to be the more pragmatic choice of most everyone today. Kill first, kill second, then kill again. Some, then, have an election the prelude of which is years of teasing populace into believing their cardboard choice matters.

Meanwhile, yes -- meanwhile.
Meanwhile the world goes on.  
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain 
are moving across the landscapes,  
over the prairies and the deep trees, 
the mountains and the rivers. 
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, 
are heading home again.  
 (--from poem, Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver)
When nascent democracy was overthrown by capitalism and then by corrupt capitalism, that was subsequently overthrown by terror capitalism. 

Detention and assassination, torture and beheading, drones and predatory surveillance have replaced voting booth and town meeting, prayer in mosque, synagogue, or church. We have devolved into a video game template of contemporary culture where anyone disagreeing is mowed down or black-hooded away, whether on American streets or Afghanistan, Iraq, Syrian roads. Police become infantry, infantry become sniper assassins, sniper assassins become private contractors, private contractors become owners of politicians, politicians become marionettes in barker sideshows Punch and Judying each other in bad parodies pretending to conduct the people's business. And the people? The people are too cynical, too frightened or too uninformed to recognize the strings, the rifle sights, or the tampered voting machines walling them in.

This is not your pious lenten meditation.

It occurs to me that faith in civil governance, like faith in anything resembling hiermos gamos (a Jungian alchemical union of opposites) has wilted like unwatered house plants.

When people no longer see something life-giving, they join the impulse to kill quickly that which is dying a painful death. ISIL wishes to hurry their version of apocalypse. Fundamentalist Christians join their Islamic and Jewish cousins in attempting to rebuild temple or hurry Jesus' return. Right wing legislators work to prove incompetence of government by stripping it of useful benefit and handing power over to private practitioners of corrupt capitalism.

Both fanatic and mystic cry for divinity to appear. God, Allah, Jehovah, Father, Mother, Brahman, Christ, Krishna, Tao, Buddha, Anyone -- the cri du coeur rises from despair -- for help, for sanity, for an end to the absurd ignorance cloaking human decency across the planet.

It is lent. Nothing we know makes sense. What to do?

What form of emptiness, what kind of prayer, what act of sane retrieval is there that will eliminate insane murder and derision? What will replace our fatal antagonistic mortality of division with a new mind of careful attention to supporting one another through the difficult task of becoming human and moving through the fears and terrors of our current evolutionary stumble-steps? Will the latent chrysalis of hidden transformation be allowed to find its way through to emergent new phylum of being-in-the-world?

The written material in back of church in Fort Kent yesterday urged prayer, fasting, and alms giving.

Is there something I'm missing?

Have I never gotten what real spiritual life is?

I will die.

And snow falls.

Imagination. I lack imagination. Coupled, imagination and inspiration are our new sensual and spiritual sexuality. Seeing within into, and, breathing within into -- are progenitors of a new and necessary being and way of being.

It is you.

You are cause, condition, parent and offspring of this inchoate and nascent creation -- yourself. This is no solipsistic ego-fashion walking a new-season runway. This creation is now-beyond-itself. Particular, specific, personal, and informed. A concretion, a growing together, of the spiritual.

Impregnate and be impregnated with this understanding -- what we envision, what we see, is what we become -- proleptic and parthenogenic.

The obsession of our contemporary culture with sex trafficking, abuse and molestation, prostitution and slavery kidnapping, numbing of real feeling for contrived power satisfaction, objectifying women and children with acts of venal self-serving poison -- these behaviors are signs of terror capitalism haunting our soul.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, 

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- 

over and over announcing your place 

in the family of things. 

(--Oliver, ibid)
Don't think you are an orphan. You are not abandoned. See, these words find you!

We are that place for ourselves, that family for one-another. A new biological/ecological/noosphere, as you are, transforming itself into One-Another-Itself. 

Over and over, it is our place to imagine, create, inhabit, and inspire with loving dignity.

Out of, and with, ashes.

(Shoveling out wood stove for fresh Fire.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Teach us to care and not to care / Teach us to sit still.

Who is he?



Who are we?


by T S Eliot

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign? 
Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again 
Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice 
And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us 
Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still. 
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
(--part 1 of poem 'Ash-Wednesday', from Collected Poems 1909-1962 by T S Eliot, © T S Eliot 1963, Faber & Faber Limited)
Fort Kent, ME, Wed 6:40AM
Procedamus in pace!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

augury auspices

It's time for the revolution.

What will it look like?

Get up, walk to the mirror on wall, look at it. Look into it.

There, right there, looking back at you -- what do you see?

If you see a face with traces of kindness and justice, that's what the revolution will look like.

If you see a face with underlying anger and violent impulses, that's what the revolution will look like.

What do you see?

The revolution will happen.

Sooner than later.

Look carefully.

Then turn.

Go to your door.

Open it.

Step out.

Listen! the birds...

Monday, February 16, 2015

not in what he is, but in what he makes possible.

Like the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) seeking Higgs Boson.
Dark Present, Bright Future of Humanity

Present Travail Guarantee of Great Future

Man is a mental being whose mentality works here involved, obscure and degraded in a physical brain. Even in the highest of his kind it is baulked of its luminous possibilities of supreme force and freedom by this dependence, shut off even from its own divine powers, impotent to change our life beyond certain narrow and precarious limits; it is an imprisoned and checked force, most often nothing but a servitor or caterer of interests or a purveyor of amusement to the life and the body. But divine superman will be a gnostic spirit. Supermind in him will lay hands on the mental and physical instruments and, standing above and yet penetrating our lower already manifested parts, it will transform mind, life and body.

An immortal soul is somewhere within him and gives out some sparks of its presence; above an eternal spirit overshadows him and upholds the soul-continuity of his nature. But this greater spirit is obstructed from descent by the hard lid of his constructed personality; and that inner luminous soul is wrapped, stifled, oppressed in dense outer coatings. In all but a few the soul is seldom active, in most hardly perceptible.

Man's greatness is not in what he is, but in what he makes possible. His glory is that he is the closed place and secret workshop of a living labour in which supermanhood is being made ready by a divine Craftsman. But he is admitted too to a yet greater greatness and it is this that, allowed to be unlike the lower creation, he is partly an artisan of this divine change; his conscious assent, his consecrated will and participation are needed that into his body may descend the glory that will replace him. His aspiration is earth's call to the supramental creator.

If earth calls and the Supreme answers, the hour can be even now for that immense and glorious transformation.

(--from: The Hour of God, Sri Aurobindo,)
With crazy speed, dizzyingly acceleration, we circle around our dissonance, our unfathomable rush, a self-collider seeking to explode into our opposite direction to see what goes missing in the after-detonation. That missing substrate entity we will curiously call God-gone.

As if discovering what is not there would console us in our need for closure or cease our speculation so as to rest within emphatic and empathic emptiness.

Respite, irresounding,  a-resonance

Deep soundless space

A penetrating but non-echoing pebble passing through surface of pond

No old frog

as democracy is dragged behind horse down dirt road

Dirty business, the economics of political ambition.

Angus King and Elizabeth Warren would change that.

Last chance to avoid the awful prospect of a Clinton/Bush family shoving return.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

just this here we are

We will disappear. 

Our particular form will dissolve. What once was thought of as being in one place at one time will fade. What will occur will be the realization that what once was will no longer be applicable. 

The dissolution from particularity into singularity will occur as time releases its constraint over our appearance, when location drops its spatializing configuration of our space, when solidity relinquishes its hold on concrete evidentiary placement.

Jnana, knowledge, will yoga us into union, unity. Karma, action, will yoga us into non-duality. Bhakti, devotion, will yoga us into loving perichoresis. Raja, meditation, will yoga us into concentrative awareness and distinctive non-separation. Integrality will absolve Union of any mechanical collection and move what once was along parallel tracks of transparency and transcendence toward prospective point vanishing anon into an anonymous and ubiquitous silently sounding convergence conversation with surrounding emptiness, what we once called love, but now returns to its nameless origin -- pure gaze.

You know what this is.

You do.

We do.

And in this non-ideational appreciative silent stillness, we enter, for now, this extraordinary morning of our day, a day that dawned billions of moments ago, and will dusk billions of moments from this passing moment.

We bow to one another in passing. 

Hands together, tilting forward at waist, eyes fond at presence of who and what is there.

We smile at appearance.

We sorrow our past I attention. Our disheartening inattention.

We delight our present surrender.

There is nothing
Just this

Saturday, February 14, 2015

symbolic scratches wriggling through


It feels, these days, each appearance of each person is the unveiling of one manifesting the One in the form of guru, avatar, incarnation, teacher, co-student, friend, lover, mirror, annoying (but necessary) embodied reflection of nothing other than what is to be realized for time being.

You've seen this, haven't you?
God is the All and more than the All. But that which is more than the All, how shall man conceive? He cannot conceive as the Divine, cannot approach or cannot recognize something that is too much out of the circle of his ignorant or partial conceptions. It is necessary for him to conceive God in his own image or in some form that is beyond himself but consonant with his highest tendencies and seizable by his feelings or his intelligence. Otherwise it would be difficult for him to come into contact and communion with the Divine.

Even then his nature calls for a human intermediary so that he may feel the Divine in something entirely close to his own humanity and sensible in a human influence and example. This call is satisfied by the Divine manifest in a human appearance, the Incarnation, the Avatar - Krishna, Christ, Buddha. Or if this is too hard for him to conceive, the Divine represents himself through a less marvelous intermediary, - Prophet or Teacher. This also is not enough; a living influence, a living example, a present instruction is needed. For it is only the few who can make the past Teacher and his teaching, the past Incarnation and his example and influence a living force in their lives.

The Sadhaka of the integral Yoga will make use of all these aids according to his nature; but it is necessary that he should shun their limitations and cast from himself that exclusive tendency of egoistic mind which cries, "My God, my Incarnation, my Prophet, my Guru" and opposes it to all other realisation in a sectarian or a fanatical spirit.

On the contrary, the Sadhaka of the integral Yoga will not be satisfied until he has included all other names and forms of Deity in his own conception, seen his own Ishta Devata (chosen divine form) in all others, unified all Avatars in the unity of Him who descends in the Avatar, welded the truth in all teachings into the harmony of Eternal Wisdom.

(--From: The Synthesis of Yoga. Sri Aurobindo Ghose, )
 We like to pretend we are not what we are.

In effect, we are nothing special.




It is good fun listening to roof creaking and cracking under old snow in bitter cold as new blizzard makes its way to midcoast Maine. The temperature is -8 (negative eight).

waiting on blizzard
Listening to man from Chile Swami Ramakrishnananda’s Podcast - A source for the Teachings of Yoga and Hinduism talk about Pantanjali and other aspects of yoga. He said that enlightenment is the death of you as an idea. The end of you as possessor.

Edmund Husserl said, zu den Zachen selbst (“to the things themselves”). William Carlos Williams said, “no ideas but in things.” Robert Creeley said, “words are things too.” Correspondingly, then, is it true that things are made of words?

And words? They are breath vibrating and resonating into speech, symbolic scratches wriggling through ink onto paper looking up into your eyes.

Tell me -- don’t you just love the intermediarity (betweenness centrality) you are?

In medio stat virtus.

The joy and strength, character and accomplishing gift you are in your disguise as nobody stumbling through the nothing you despair of ever completing?


Friday, February 13, 2015

on the way to becoming something else

The things we talk about in prison:

"Realities as basic as time and space are not the distinct realms they seem to be, any more than energy and matter are truly separate entities. We used to think matter was the solid unmovable ground of being, but now we know that matter is motion. Physics tells us that what we imagine to be solid is actually mostly emptiness within which waves fluctuate. And not just physics, metaphysics: Every universal truth is perceived from a particular perspective, which can seem to undercut universality. All is flux, which humans have felt forever. But now, because of Kant, Einstein, Wittgenstein, and their heirs, we see flux for what it is: everything. "God" is not fixed. "Jesus" is not fixed. "We" are not fixed. We humans can no longer take the measure of our world with anything like precision, because the measures themselves are always changing.
The Cloud carries a positive connotation, too, with its invitation to value the mystery, paradox, and ambiguity that remain forever foreign to machines.
To be human, therefore, is to be on the way to becoming something else. We can see this right in front of our faces now, every time we hunch over a handheld smartphone, or save a file to the Cloud, a meta-world that exists everywhere and nowhere. It may seem a stretch to find in suddenly ubiquitous but profoundly mundane technologies an image of world-historic evolutionary mutation, but perhaps this is the way evolution has always worked, a “secular" process in which life's most sacred secret is embedded."
(--from Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, "Who is Jesus Today? Bonhoeffer, Tillich, and the future of Jesus Christ.” by James Carroll) HOME / SUMMER/AUTUMN 2014 (VOL. 42 NOS. 3 & 4) /
That, and dropping ashes on the Buddha.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

even if all the empirical evidence suggests darkness

Dry wood.
"The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire." 
(--Teilhard de Chardin, Peking, February 1934, “The Evolution of Chastity” in Toward the Future, London: Collins, 1975: 86-87)

do you hear what you hear

 OM, Yom, Yawm, Oh my!
The birds they sang at the break of day  / Start again / I heard them say / Don’t dwell on what / has passed away / or what is yet to be. 
Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack, a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in.  
(--from "Anthem," by Leonard Cohen)
We looked at Shankara and Sri Aurobindo in class last night.

Is the Divine evolving?

Is a new species of beings emerging free from veil of ignorance (avidya) masking our true and (yet to show itself) nondual reality with and in and through all that is?

When the cat looked out the window I looked over at the cat.

When the cat disappeared from view I was nowhere to be found to see what was not there.

The icicle had nothing to say.

I listened carefully.

Eloquent emptiness.

Salmon sky Śhruti -- an acoustic accoutrement -- sounding, what is, being, said.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

under yesterday's sun




Tuesday, February 10, 2015

it is that silence


The idea of God and the reality of this present moment are equally troublesome.

Rather, descending stairs, opening doors to wood stove, a hissing conversation of frozen logs and encouraging coals, someone had been here. I did not hear them on stairs.

White dog on couch.

Gray cat stepping into overhang above kitchen.

These things are not troublesome. They are at hand, near to hand, recognizable everyday manifestations.

I don't know what this life is. One day arrives then it departs, coming from nowhere and disappearing into no place.

The time we have is sheer marvel. Snowshoeing woods in Farmington yesterday. Reading Shankara and Pantanjali in cold car. Driving home in falling snow and icy roads. Falling asleep.

Then these words.

This life is a passing conversation with mysterious curiosity asking from time to time -- What is this?

God and the present moment say nothing.

It is that silence.

That profound silence.

I love.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Bethlehem, pike

Swirling snow out window. End of storm. Monday morning.

At practice last night reading suggests that self-criticism is not a virtue, that when it exhausts itself, compassion breaks through.

Compassion as default.

As with learning of death of woman who wore bow in hair as we co-directed center near Philadelphia. I remember her graciousness. A family noblesse, I surmise. She was kind.

The past is like that -- past. 

I was so bad at so many things. (I'm waiting for exhaustion to set in.)

In the dream I am with a large family group, privileged and wealthy, and I am an outsider wondering how I can get back to wherever home is.

Solitary and contemplative, I have often been away from home, longing for return.

How kind so many have been taking me in when way was lost and return delayed.

No further criticism. No erroneous virtue. No being wrong, or right.

Only gratitude.

And a nod to innkeepers along the road.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

It does leave, damage

Maine snow, again. Hundreds of billions of flakes like half-forgotten prayers falling this way and that over, into, and through tree branch, slat fence, windswept heart.
MS. OLIVER: I've become kinder, more people-oriented, more willing to grow old. I always was investigative in terms of everlasting life, but a little more interested now. A little more content with my answers.  
MS. TIPPETT: There's this poem. The second poem in A Thousand Mornings, which is your 2013 book, which also to me just kind of, like, says it all. What’s the point of the — "I Happen to Be Standing." Would you read that one? 
MS. OLIVER: Oh. Yeah.  
MS. TIPPETT: It's just, there it is. 
MS. OLIVER: Yeah. "I don't know where prayers go, / or what they do. / Do cats pray, while they sleep / half-asleep in the sun? / Does the opossum pray as it / crosses the street? / The sunflowers? The old black oak / growing older every year? / I know I can walk through the world, / along the shore or under the trees, / with my mind filled with things / of little importance, in full / self-attendance. A condition I can't really / call being alive. / Is a prayer a gift, or a petition, / or does it matter? / The sunflowers blaze, maybe That's their way. / Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not. / While I was thinking this I happened to be standing / just outside my door, with my notebook open, / which is the way I begin every morning. / Then a wren in the privet began to sing. / He was positively drenched in enthusiasm, / I don't know why. And yet, why not. / I wouldn't persuade you from whatever you believe / or whatever you don't. That's your business. / But I thought, of the wren"s singing, what could this be / if it isn't a prayer? / So I just listened, my pen in the air."
(--from interview transcript, with Mary Oliver, Krista Tippett's On Being, Feb 2015) 
Poet remembers.

We usually forget 90% of what we see, hear, experience.

Poet says no, remember. Poet says yes, forgetting forgetting.

Not just reporting, the poet says, but empathy.

"I do know how to pay attention," she writes.

Whatever prayer is, she's got her experience carefully carried in brown bag of words.

MS. OLIVER: Oh, where’d I put my glasses? There they are. Yeah. The fourth sign of the zodiac is, of course, cancer. Oh, That's what I meant. "Why should I have been surprised? / Hunters walk the forest / without a sound. / The hunter, strapped to his rifle, / the fox on his feet of silk, / the serpent on his empire of muscles— / all move in a stillness, / hungry, careful, intent. / Just as the cancer / entered the forest of my body, / without a sound."  
Yeah. These four poems are about the cancer episode, shall we say? The cancer visit? Did you want me to go on to these others?  
MS. TIPPETT: Yeah. You want to go on? Is it too much? 
MS. OLIVER: No. This is the second poem of these four: "The question is, / what will it be like / after the last day? / Will I float / into the sky / or will I fray / within the earth or a river— / remembering nothing? / How desperate I would be / if I couldn’t remember / the sun rising, if I couldn’t / remember trees, rivers; if I couldn’t / even remember, beloved, / your beloved name. 
3. / I know, you never intended to be in this world. / But you're in it all the same. / So why not get started immediately. / I mean, belonging to it. / There is so much to admire, to weep over. / And to write music or poems about. / Bless the feet that take you to and fro. / Bless the eyes and the listening ears. / Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste. / Bless touching. / You could live a hundred years, It's happened. 
/ Or not. / I am speaking from the fortunate platform / of many years, / none of which, I think, I ever wasted. / Do you need a prod? / Do you need a little darkness to get you going? / Let me be as urgent as a knife, then, / and remind you of Keats, / so single of purpose and thinking, for a while, / he had a lifetime. 
4. / Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat, / all the fragile blue flowers in bloom / in the shrubs in the yard next door had / tumbled from the shrubs and lay / wrinkled and faded on the grass. But / this morning the shrubs were full of / the blue flowers again. There wasn’t / a single one on the grass. How, I / wondered, did they roll or crawl back to / the shrubs and then back up to / the branches, that fiercely wanting, / as we all do, just a little more of / life?"

Saturday, February 07, 2015

what time is it


Snow and ice on roof

Water in walls

Fire in wood stove

What to do what to do

With water

Get wet

With fire

Get warm

With self

Get lost


Friday, February 06, 2015

in the waiting

In prison today we speak about allowing experience to leap from awareness and fall back into it without any cognizing. 

How to navigate a dualistic world with nondual glimpse, allowing experience its very loneliness enroute becoming Aloneness.


Moments of great calm, 
Kneeling before an altar 
Of wood in a stone church 
In summer, waiting for the God   
To speak; the air a staircase   
For silence; the sun’s light   
Ringing me, as though I acted   
A great rôle. And the audiences   
Still; all that close throng 
Of spirits waiting, as I, 
For the message. 
                         Prompt me, God; 
But not yet. When I speak,   
Though it be you who speak   
Through me, something is lost.   
The meaning is in the waiting.

(R. S. Thomas, "Kneeling" from The Collected Later Poems: 1988-2000. Copyright © 2004 by R. S. Thomas.)
This is what we do. We sit in silence with one another. We do walking meditation in slow circle. Then we converse. That's it. Simple and sweet.

We conclude it is the attention each places on each place, each moment, that begins the unrestrain which invites thought its unconstrained dissolution into pure experience.

"Do you embrace the emptiness or rush to fill it?" (--from intro to The Philosophy of Emptiness, by Gay Watson)

 The ordinary, it is the ordinary, practiced with non-cognized attentiveness.

A shovel with snow. Cup with tea. Dog with blue handball. Man with James Carroll book. Another repairing chain on meditation stick and bell. 

"Hic" of human realization that "this" -- here--  is everything we are.
"Haec" re-emphasizes what silence could not hold.
"Hoc" concurs we have to say something, but giggles quietly in the saying.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

"Gib deine Schönheit immer hin"

When someone hands you knife pay attention to which way the blade is facing. 

Nor do you have to receive every gift offered. 

That being said, I am willing to receive the knife you offer even though it is extended blade first.

No need for wrapping.

I choose what is gift.

It will help spread butter and honey on rye toast.

Gib deine Schönheit immer hin
ohne rechnen und reden.
Du schweigst. Sie sagt für dich: Ich bin.
Und kommt in tausendfachem Sinn,
kommt endlich über jeden.  
(--poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, Das dichterische Werk von Rainer Maria Rilke)