Sunday, November 29, 2020

come to




‘Take your wrong-doing out of my sight.

Cease to do evil.

Learn to do good,

search for justice,

help the oppressed,

be just to the orphan,

plead for the widow.

‘Come now, let us talk this over,

says the Lord.’

(—from Isaiah 1, first reading, Office of Readings, 1sr Sunday of Advent)


Saturday, November 28, 2020

always beginning

 Faith is the affirmation and appreciation of what is here and what is coming to be.

What is — is the mystery — insinuating and surrounding.

We begin again. 

We are always beginning.

Believe nothing. Have faith in everything.

Friday, November 27, 2020

the face of the ineffable mystery

 "What to do?" That's what the columnist asked at end of his piece about the rotting of the mind of a particular political persuasion.

In my family "handsome is as handsome does" echoed. These days the words "stupid" or "cynical" are substituted.  

The social and economic segregation of college to non-college is off the mark. I think it is more a matter of consciousness over epistemology. How so?

Inquiry and curiosity are not proprietary to academic status. They are the willingness of the soul and mind to wonder. "What is this?" they ask. "How does this fit with that?"

People consider themselves believers. Politicians pander to beliefs. Beliefs appropriate facts into the believers brand of belief.

Theologian Karl Rahner suggested we should stop using the word "God" for 50 years because we do not know what we are really talking about. 

For Rahner, God is “the final word before wordless and worshipful silence in the face  of  the ineffable mystery.” (--from Foundations of Christian Faith, by Karl Rahner, 1978)

God isn't the problem for people. Mystery is the problem. We think we know, our beliefs say so. Rather, the world, despite what we know, is a mystery. 

And here is where both college and non-college educated people falter and fail. We will grab on to anything in the name of belief rather than stare unknowing into the face of mystery.

Hence, us.

dialogue with god


(What was the question?)

Thursday, November 26, 2020

pray to be found

 "The pursuit of truth" rightly implies that a gap exists between ourselves and truth. But what's hidden and evasive? Is it we or truth? Maybe it is we who evade truth's quest for us.

(--William Sloane Coffin, in Credo, 2004, p.119)


 I am


Thank you --

No, really,

Thank you

a robert creeley view, with what is easy

Some koans are difficult to penetrate.

For which I am grateful.



God give you pardon from gratitude

and other mild forms of servitude

and make peace for all of us 

with what is easy.

(Poem by Robert Creeley)

Pardon is the action of forgiving or being forgiven for an error or offense.

If all are forgiven, is there any offense?

Is God, what is, easy?

from, the saviors of god: spiritual exercises, by nikos kazantzakis

I wandered through this book in younger years. His fierce anguish intrigued me. 



WE COME from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life. As soon as we are born the return begins, at once the setting forth and the coming back; we die in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of life is death! But as soon as we are born we begin the struggle to create, to compose, to turn matter into life; we are born in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of ephemeral life is immortality! In the temporary living organism these two streams collide: (a) the ascent toward composition, toward life, toward immortality; (b) the descent toward decomposition, toward matter, toward death. Both streams well up from the depths of primordial essence. Life startles us at first; it seems somewhat beyond the law, somewhat contrary to nature, somewhat like a transitory counteraction to the dark eternal fountains; but deeper down we feel that Life is itself without beginning, an indestructible force of the Universe. Otherwise, from where did that superhuman strength come which hurls us from the unborn to the born and gives us - plants, animals, men - courage for the struggle? But both opposing forces are holy. It is our duty, therefore, to grasp that vision which can embrace and harmonize these two enormous, timeless, and indestructible forces, and with this vision to modulate our thinking and our action.


First Step: THE EGO

1. I AM NOT good, I am not innocent, I am not serene. My happiness and unhappiness are both unbearable; I am full of inarticulate voices and darknesses; I wallow, all blood and tears, in this warm trough of my flesh.

2. I am afraid to talk. I adorn myself with false wings; I shout, I sing and I weep to drown out the inexorable cry of my heart.

3. I am not the light, I am the night; but a flame stabs through my entrails and consumes me. I am the night devoured by light.

4. Imperiled, moaning and staggering in darkness, I strive to shake myself free from sleep and to stand erect for a while, for as long as I can bear.

5. A small but undaunted breath within me struggles desperately to vanquish happiness, weariness, death.

6. I put my body through its paces like a war horse; I keep it lean, sturdy, prepared. I harden it and I pity

it. I have no other steed.

7. I keep my brain wide awake, lucid, unmerciful. I unleash it to battle relentlessly so that, all light, it may

devour the darkness of the flesh. I have no other workshop where I may transform darkness into light.

8. I keep my heart flaming, courageous, restless. I feel in my heart all commotions and all contradictions,  the joys and sorrows of life. But I struggle to subdue them to a rhythm superior to that of the mind,

harsher than that of my heart - to the ascending rhythm of the Universe.

9. The Cry within me is a call to arms. It shouts: "I, the Cry, am the Lord your God! I am not an asylum. I

am not hope and a home. I am not the Father nor the Son nor the Holy Ghost. I am your General!

10. "You are not my slave, nor a plaything in my hands. You are not my friend, you are not my child. You

are my comrade-in-arms!

11. "Hold courageously the passes which I entrusted to you; do not betray them. You are in duty bound,

and you may act heroically by remaining at your own battle station.

12. "Love danger. What is most difficult? That is what I want! Which road should you take? The most

craggy ascent! It is the one I also take: follow me!

13. "Learn to obey. Only he who obeys a rhythm superior to his own is free.

14. "Learn to command. Only he who can give commands may represent me here on earth.

15. "Love responsibility. Say: It is my duty, and mine alone, to save the earth. If it is not saved, then I alone

am to blame.'

16. "Love each man according to his contribution in the struggle. Do not seek friends; seek comrades-in-


17. "Be always restless, unsatisfied, unconforming. Whenever a habit becomes convenient, smash it! The

greatest sin of all is satisfaction.

18. "Where are we going? Shall we ever win? What is the purpose of all this fighting? Be silent! Soldiers

never question!"

19. I stoop and listen to this war cry within me. I begin to discern the face of my Leader, to distinguish his

voice, to accept harsh commands with joy and terror.

20. Yes, yes, I am NOT nothing! A vaporous phosphorescence on a damp meadow, a miserable worm that

crawls and loves, that shouts and talks about wings for an hour or two until his mouth is blocked with

earth. The dark powers give no other answer.

21. But within me a deathless Cry, superior to me, continues to shout. For whether I want to or not, I am

also, without doubt, a part of the visible and the invisible Universe. We are one. The powers which labor within me, the powers which goad me on to live, the powers which goad me on to die are, without doubt, its own powers also.

22. I am not a suspended, rootless thing in the world. I am earth of its earth and breath of its breath.

23. I am not alone in my fear, nor alone in my hope, nor alone in my shouting. A tremendous host, an

onrush of the Universe fears, hopes, and shouts with me.

24. I am an improvised bridge, and when Someone passes over me, I crumble away behind Him. A

Combatant passes through me, eats my flesh and brain to open up roads, to free himself from me at last. It is not I but He who shouts.

Second Step: THE RACE

1. THE CRY IS not yours. It is not you talking, but innumerable ancestors talking with your mouth. It is not you who desire, but innumerable generations of descendants longing with your heart.

2. Your dead do not lie in the ground. They have become birds, trees, air. You sit under their shade, you are nourished by their flesh, you inhale their breathing. They have become ideas and passions, they determine your will and your actions.

3. Future generations do not move far from you in an uncertain time. They live, desire, and act in your loins and your heart.

Finally, this from Wikipedia: 

Ascesis: The Saviors of God (Greek and Latin: Ασκητική. Salvatores dei) is a series of "spiritual exercises" written by Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis. It was first written between 1922 and 1923, while staying in Vienna and Berlin, and subsequently published in 1927 in the Athenian magazine Anayennisi (Renaissance). The text was later revised on various occasions and reached its final state in 1944.[1]  (Wikipedia)  

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

thanks, by w.s. merwin, and, the new song


           By W. S. Merwin


with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings 

we are running out of the glass rooms

with our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it

standing by the windows looking out

in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging 

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators 

remembering wars and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you

in the faces of the officials and the rich

and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us

taking our feelings we are saying thank you 

with the forests falling faster than the minutes 

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain 

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you 

thank you we are saying and waving

dark though it is

(Poem by W.S. Merwin, "Thanks" from Migration: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by W.S. Merwin.)

...   ...   ...


For some time I thought there was time
and that there would always be time
for what I had a mind to do
and what I could imagine
going back to and finding it
as I had found it the first time
but by this time I do not know
what I thought when I thought back then

there is no time yet it grows less
there is the sound of rain at night
arriving unknown in the leaves
once without before or after
then I hear the thrush waking
at daybreak singing the new song

(Poem byW.S. Merwin, from The Moon Before Morning, Copper Canyon Press, 2014)

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

on prayer

 Shut up!

You know me.



We see what is here

End of a dark regime —leave

Door open for air

Monday, November 23, 2020


                (after cookies)

Wind blows upward strong

Ragged mountain does not flinch —

Day done, to bed, sleep

Sunday, November 22, 2020

il cristo finito

 Three things and an epilogue:


If the metaphor changed, what would this final Sunday of liturgical year be called?

Not “Christ the King of the Universe”. Kings seem antiquated. Monarchy feels awkward in America. We are just deposing our wannabe. 

What would it be?

Il Cristo Finito! 

(Christ — The End. Finished. Complete. Done. Gone.) (cf. Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha — cf. The Heart Sutra, or an article about it.)

The feast of Il Cristo Finito.


Fifty seven.years ago President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. A sad time. A sad act. A sad way to confound.

May we never experience such an ugliness again!

Murder doesn’t just eliminate the victim from the obvious-living. It scars the face of the present and the future. It cannot not always be seen and felt. 


We play the Mass of Saint Cecilia by Gounod. There is a fit between her feast day, the music, the still visible scar of assassination, and Sunday Evening Practice listening to the Tricycle talk on Awakening the Fierce Feminine by Pamela Weiss.

We’d walked Rockport harbor, sat on the rocks, and meditated on the cohesion of land and water, the easy harmony and identity of soft and hard, in and out, heaven and earth. We walk. This way. Together.

(Rockport Harbor, from East side, 22nov20, photo by SH)


Il Cristo Finito is the afterword (after-word) of the earth, the galaxy, and universe. 

There is nowhere else to go from inside an owls call.

You, it, and everything is there.

Until and unless what is there isn’t.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

even with no religion

Are there angels? 


yourself -- what is 

the message?

Embody the 


co (m) ments

 A comment following New York Times article on Sir Anthony Hopkins:

call me al
california Nov. 19

This period of life had been called "second childhood." before we had a taxonomy of dementia that dehumanized this stage. Hopkins and I are among the lucky ones, both in our eighties who, far from suffering, are shedding life's disappointments to relish the comfort an infant feels in a loving family. My short term memory is sporadic, reminding me of the myriad jokes such as "the good thing about getting Alzheimer is you can hide your own Easter Eggs" This is actually true, but it also means that finding your glasses can be frustrating, as are the names of long time friends. On the beneficial side is that the residue of cognitive function allows the possibility of focused thinking unfettered by considerations of societal opprobrium. Those who are quite lucky, facilitated by a loving relationship, can relish the pleasures of sensual emotional comfort that are transformative. For me it even allows acceptance of the reality of our nation and the world being in the hands of a single individual. Anger isn't in my repertoire, nor is hatred, as the resolution is out of my control. Too many people suffer in this final stage of life, as the industry of "eliminating Alzheimers" thrives. Suffering during this stage of life would be diminished if no longer a source of profit for those marketing costly placebos.

(—re. article, “Anthony Hopkins Makes It Look Simple. (And Maybe It Should Be.)”, New York Times, by Kyle BuchananNov. 19, 2020)

Followed by:

Ama Nesciri  Camden Maine 

He draws me in. I am mesmerized by his work.

I remember him in “Instinct” (1999), a remarkable film loosely based on the novel “Ishmael”. He is riveting as the traumatized and intensely committed anthropologist Dr. Ethan Powell. 

Quote:” We have only one thing to give up. Our dominion. We don't own the world. We're not kings yet. Not gods. Can we give that up? Too precious, all that control? Too tempting, being a god?” (Hopkins as Ethan Powell)

In all his work he makes me smile with gratitude that I’ve been able to view his talent and unsurpassable presence throughout career and characters.

Friday, November 20, 2020

think being watched

 I am uncertain what to say.

Both Buddhists and Vedantists agree that this subtle ‘I’ should be given up if you want liberation, but disagree about the terminology and how belief in this ‘I’ can be annihilated. 

Buddhists say: ‘There is no entity at all, no ‘self’ or ‘I’, just a sequence of causatively conditioned psychic and physical processes.’ For the rest they do not talk about an ‘I’. They even disapprove of talking in terms of ‘I’, for instance in a statement like “When we regard the nature of this knowing as being ‘me’ or ‘I’, and hold onto that concept – this is a small view, and it is confused, mistaken.”¹

Nevertheless in Dzogchen, the radical non-dualistic core of Tibetan Buddhism from which the last quote originated, a number of texts have been produced in the past in which the term ‘I’ is used, even with emphasis, to point out the highest principle, as being the ‘majestic creativity of the universe’. In one of the root texts of Dzogchen, the Kunjed Gyalpo, it is stated: 

“I, the creativity of the universe, pure and total presence, am the real heart of all spiritual pursuits”; and
“Because all phenomena are none other than me, I, the all-creating 
one, am the decisive experience of everything.”²

  From texts like these it becomes apparent how comparative the term ‘I’ actually is. The same term that deserves to be disapproved as signifying a mistake, is apparently also used to denote the highest principle.

(—Excerpt from Introduction to: "I” Is A Door: The Essence Of Advaita As Taught By Ramana Maharshi, Atmananda And Nisargadatta Maharaj" by Philip Renard. Scribd.)

I don’t know what to think. 

 I think I am being watched.

when at drug store

Waiting for flu shot

Every chair a zafu

Each aisle for slow kinhin 

One breath following another —

This place of zen practice

Thursday, November 19, 2020

safe, well

The US election is in danger from the defeated president to overturn the loss and reinstate himself for an additional four year term.

COVID new cases in the US, the news station reports, today were 189,000.

Advice from CDC is stay home for Thanksgiving, and no inside gatherings with those outside immediate families.

One name is associated with the above three sentences.

It is not worthy anymore to be spoken or written.

A repugnant individual.

A terrible time.


Be safe.

Be well.

what, then, are we to do

as I

live and


until we

no longer

see one



Wednesday, November 18, 2020

wait for it

 I have not come here to be alone

Alone has come here to be me.

When I am nowhere to be found

What is itself alone will be revealed

Tuesday, November 17, 2020




              just as

Night wanders away

Monday, November 16, 2020

who’s a pessimist

If I were a pessimist I’d take pleasure in the unhealthy state of the country and the unhealthy outgoing incumbent still at the helm.

But I’m not a pessimist.

I’m an unknowing being looking at a set of circumstances, causes, and conditions that suggest an ignorance and spiteful uncertainty at the fate of the 65 days remaining until a new president is inaugurated.

Time to go to war.

Time to disable democracy.

Time to suffer viral illness and die from negligence and inane behavior.

I’m not a pessimist. I’m not. I’m really not.

is what is breathing in

Thich Nhat Hanh has a breathing gatha that is familiar. “ Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.”

This morning I hear it differently:

Breathing in

I Am 


I Am

Breathing in.

This is how we know God — by doing what God is doing.

It is a kind of knowing that doesn’t know, but is, what is God’s present activity.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

vishal hriday, all there is, is consciousness

Dirk Vandersloot, the homeopathic doctor, introduced the writings of Ramesh Balsekar to meetingbrook twenty five years ago. We carried The Net of Jewels the year it was published the year we opened the bookshop.

“You have to be there to contemplate the terror of death and your impending absence therewith! Paradoxical, that you must be present first to give rise to the terror of your absence! In fact, the thought of not being here can only be contemplated precisely because you are always here! So death is an idea of absence within your presence!”      (--Ramesh Balsekar)

During one of the last satsangs of Ramesh, he used the term ‘Vishal Hriday’. 

What is Vishal Hriday? It literally translates as ‘Big Heart’. What it actually means is ‘One Heart’. To place it in the context of his teaching, it translates as ‘All there is, is Consciousness’.

Consciousness functions through each one of us; we are instruments through whom the same Consciousness functions. Nobody truly ‘does’ anything, but all events are a happening that had to happen according to the will of God… the Source… Consciousness. There is no ‘other’ to blame, condemn, or hate. When there is no ‘other’ to hate, there is truly no ‘other’. When there is no ‘other’ there is no ‘me’ as well, separate from the ‘other’. When there is no ‘me’ or ‘other’, then everything is all there is – and all is exactly as it is supposed to be in that moment. This is impersonal love: the absence of separation. Impersonal, for there is no ‘other’ separate from ‘me’ to love personally. Living this understanding (not just thinking it) is Vishal Hriday – a total acceptance of ‘what is’: acceptance of people exactly the way they are – including oneself, of situations exactly the way they are, and even of death – the end of the existence of ‘me’ as a separate entity.

Could there be a greater love than accepting whatever life brings in the next moment? Could there be a greater love than accepting people exactly the way they are? Could there be a greater love than not hating anyone? Ramesh used to say, “I’m not telling you to love everyone. All I am saying is, just don’t hate anyone.”

(--from the book Explosion of Love, in The End of Duality, by Gautam Sachdevawriting about Ramesh Balsekar's death)

It was good to know Dirk (d. 2014) and good to read Ramesh (d. 2009).

As it happens, they were good to have happened.

the next buddha, we need to find

These from podcast website Future Primitive.

“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community – a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Next Buddha May Be a Sangha”

“Venerating the past in itself will not solve the world’s problems. We need to find the link between our traditions and our present experience of life. Nowness or the magic of the present moment, is what joins the wisdom of the past with the present. When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven, to earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment. Human beings destroy their ecology at the same time as they destroy one another. From that perspective, healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the world.”

– Chogyam Trungpa, “The Sacred Path of the Warrior”

within youse, between yous

This world is not what it seems. How shall I live in this troubling and mind boggling existence?

As I

Live and


I think of the Kingdom of God as the Really Real (with two capital Rs). That experience of the Really Real—the “Kingdom” experience—is the heart of Jesus’ teaching. It’s Reality with a capital R, the very bottom line, the pattern-that-connects. It’s the goal of all true religion, the experience of the Absolute, the Eternal, what is.

God gives us just enough tastes of God’s realm to believe in it and to want it more than anything. In the parables, Jesus never says the Kingdom is totally now or totally later. It’s always now-and-not-yet. When we live inside the Really Real, we live in a “threshold space” between this world and the next. We learn how to live between heaven and earth, one foot in both worlds, holding them precious together.

We only have the first fruits of the Kingdom in this world, but we experience enough to know that it’s the only thing that will ever satisfy us. Once we have had the truth, half-truths do not satisfy us anymore. In its light, everything else is relative, even our own life.

(—Richard Rohr, Jesus and the Reign of God, Sunday, November 15, 2020)



You and me

This and that

Here and there.

Nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst. (– Luke 17:21)

I can hardly wait to learn to read. ‘Midst’ is middle. The kingdom of God is between you. Or, maybe, ‘within youse.’


Are we


Saturday, November 14, 2020

one last thing

 There’s nothing to be said objectively about God.

God is the inter-subjective awareness of no other.

As is love.

Friday, November 13, 2020

yet we breath

 Our myths try to reveal to us what is beyond factually verifiable knowing.

There is another knowing. This occurs when something is true and takes up residence inside one’s being as would an idea that has not found words to express it.

As if God is breathing. 

A breathing below, above, within, and surrounding what is gathered from oblivion, present as reality taking place, and what is coming to be with each breath.

And we breathe.

No, we don’t know.

Yet we breathe.

And each breath is the opening of mind and heart to what is revealing itself in our midst.

Consider this: 

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  

And what does the Lord require of you?  

To act justly and to love mercy      

and to walk humbly with your God.

      (—Micah 6:8, New International Version)

 Breathing throughout.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

what is zen

Zen is seeing oneself everywhere.

As one sees itself within everything.




a poem

zazen within what is becoming seen


I am


Let life be what is here what is this as I become (simply, with breath)


I am


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

witnessing the decimation of the democratic institutions

It is Veterans' Day. It is Remembrance Day.

The democracy they served and fought for is being held hostage by the current president and his republican crew. 

Former Defense Secretary William Cohen on Tuesday slammed Donald Trump’s administration for acting like a “dictatorship” as the president refuses to acknowledge defeat in the 2020 election. 

“We’re witnessing the decimation of the democratic institutions which the American people have come to expect will be nonpolitical in terms of our national security,” Cohen told CNN’s Don Lemon. 

Lemon asked Cohen, a GOP former senator for Maine who led the Pentagon during Bill Clinton’s presidency, to comment on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s refusal to recognize the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

(--William Cohen, former Maine republican senator, former Defense Secretary, Huffington Post re CNN interview with Don Lemon) 

 This is not a party partisan squabble. This is an undignified feint and possible dangerous threat by internal dissidents to transitional custom and good order following an obvious election outcome. 

“My reaction is the way they are conducting themselves is more akin to a dictatorship than a democracy,” Cohen told Lemon. 

“And I think the State Department has been politicized just like the DOD has tried to be politicized, and what we’ve done to undermine the intelligence community and other agencies,” he added. “I think it’s consistent with what has been taking place for four years now.”       (--Ibid) 

We are grateful for the service and good will of our veterans. We are grateful that warriors come home from war and continue to insist on solid practices of democracy. 

America needs thoughtful and practiced patriots.

We need to replace or hold apart those in political office who do not know how to practice democracy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

when a man with integrity dies

 I recall, fondly, reading and listening to him.

“God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians, Islam to Muslims,” he wrote. “No one creed has a monopoly on spiritual truth; no one civilization encompasses all the spiritual, ethical and artistic expressions of mankind.”

He added: “God is greater than religion. He is only partially comprehended by any faith.”

(--from Obituary for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, 10nov20, NYTimes)  

Each of us borrows from his integrity. 

something for students in prison course


That mind of fearfulness

Should be put in the cradle of loving-kindness 

And suckled with the profound and brilliant milk 

Of eternal doubtlessness.

In the cool shade of fearlessness,

Fan it with the fan of joy and happiness. 

When it grows older,

With various displays of phenomena,

Lead it to the self-existing playground. 

When it grows older still,

In order to promote the primordial confidence, 

Lead it to the archery range of the warriors. 

When it grows older still,

To awaken primordial self-nature,

Let it see the society of men

Which possesses beauty and dignity.

Then the fearful mind

Can change into the warrior's mind,

And that eternally youthful confidence

Can expand into space without beginning or end. 

At that point it sees the Great Eastern Sun.

(--Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior))

the predicament

 After watching on Netflix A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future (2020, I remain in awe of both the beauty and the predicament of nature, and an individual man’s witness commitment to the whole of it.

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet
David attenborough a life on our planet.jpg
Film poster
GenreNature documentary
Narrated byDavid Attenborough
Composer(s)Steven Price
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Executive producer(s)
CinematographyGavin Thurston
Editor(s)Martin Elsbury
Running time83 min
Production company(s)
  • Altitude Film Entertainment
  • Netflix
  • Silverback Films
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatUHDTV 2160p
Original release4 October 2020
Preceded byLife in Cold Blood

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet is a 2020 British documentary film[1] narrated by David Attenborough.[2] The film acts as a "witness statement",[3] through which Attenborough shares first-hand his concern for the current state of the planet due to humanity's impact on nature and his hopes for the future.[4] It was released on Netflix on 4 October 2020.[5]


With someone like Sir David, now age 93, in the world, he, a treasure of experience, compassion, intelligence, and wisdom —  it makes someone like the lame duck occupant of the White House an even more curious player on the planet. 

The film is on Netflix.

Do yourself a favor.

Released on the feast of Francis of Assisi, probably not an unconsidered coincidence.

As for the gratuitous comparison of one great man with that other man, I am guilty of witnessing in one a loving gift of concern for life and wisdom on this planet, and the other, a terrible rift of self-indulgent crass uncaring narcissism tearing decency from its roots tossed on destructive fires of ignorance.

That being said, and comparisons the icky things they are, I am again reminded that it is the whole of nature and the whole of humanity that requires our compassionate wisdom.

Thank you, Sir David! Please stay longer.

Say thank you, Mr. Trump to those who’ve kept you standing...then...Please go away!

Monday, November 09, 2020

something from sunday evening practice

 Amid the noise of jubilation and the noise of grievance, there's a need for grace and compassion.

GRACE - Cultivating Compassion While Interacting with Others, talk by Roshi Joan Halifax, time 12:46

Such important words. 

what you and me can be

                 (a reconciling haiku)

There is no winning

Or losing — there is this, that

And no other — grace

Sunday, November 08, 2020

might I have this dance with you

Half for, half against.

The stuff of democracy —

We’ll have to converse

Saturday, November 07, 2020

there you go

saturday morning work meditation

A piece by Rumi:

This we have now
is not imagination.

This is not
grief or joy.

Not a judging state,
or an elation,
or sadness.

Those come
and go.

This is the presence
that doesn't.

It's dawn, Husam,
here in the splendor of coral,
inside the Friend, the simple truth
of what Hallaj said.

What else could human beings want?

When grapes turn to wine
they're wanting

When the nightsky pours by,
it's really a crowd of beggars,
and they all want some of this!

that we are now
created the body, cell by cell,
like bees building a honeycomb.

The human body and the universe
grew from this, not this
from the universe and the human body.

(—from The Essential Rumi)

with all his works and all his pomps

 Yes, we do reject him, yes we do!

It’s a tragedy that it had to happen this way: so many people sick, thrown out of work by shutdowns, ruined by failed businesses and by failing governments, victims of all ages dead. People want to work again – but they need to be given new and better positions in a different kind of economy that’s the basis for a Green New Deal.

It was libertarian individualists and free market fundamentalists that got us into the climate crisis, and now a global public health crisis has exposed their impotence and the baseness of their ideas. Just as they ignored the warnings of the climate scientists, they now endanger their fellow citizens by refusing to listen to the experts in epidemiology.

Libertarian and faux populist leaders are aiming for a replay of the fiasco that followed the last big global upheaval, the financial crisis of 2008: bail out the big industries, and let ordinary taxpayers and ill-paid ‘necessary workers’ foot the bill. The richest 1 per cent are already profiting from the pandemic, and they desperately want to get the train of progress going again so that they can profit even more.6 Lockdowns preclude people from taking to the streets to protest such colossal injustice – but what if enough of us decline to reboard the train?

It’s time to resist ‘return to normal’, for the simple reason that our former ‘normal’ was on course to heat up the planet so much as to render it uninhabitable – or to make it so difficult to inhabit that only a fraction of the current world population would survive.7 The old normal was becoming lethal to the species, but the next normal needn’t be. The International Energy Agency has estimated that all the government restrictions in response to the pandemic could result in an 8 per cent drop in carbon emissions for 2020 – remarkably just what the United Nations Environment Programme says will be necessary every year for the next decade if we’re to prevent a temperature rise of over 1.5oC.8 That’s what we need, and we could manage it if we tried.

(—from Preface to How to Think About the Climate Crisis,  A Philosophical Guide to Saner Ways of Living, by Graham Parkes, c.2020)

Ego te baptizo 

Friday, November 06, 2020

to come

 Of course it is sad that the White House has little interest and no will to restrain or contain the coronavirus.

The current occupant should fold it up and head home.

There’s no sympathy, no fond feelings, for or from the man or his surrounding aides.

We are bereft of affiliatory affection.

It is a desolate realization and a troubling transition to come.


Thank you, Donald Trump, for showing America that only you could lead the faithful few who would benefit from your interests.

Thank you, Joe Biden, for showing America that wide and common interests will be heard and respected under your leadership.

not one could I find

 In middle of night, when not much moves, prayer breathes..

You know how they taunt and deride me;

my oppressors are all before you.

Taunts have broken my heart;

I have reached the end of my strength.

I looked in vain for compassion,

for consolers; not one could I find.

(—from ps.69) 

Prayer is the end. 

Nothing follows it.

Without sound.

Breath itself.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

longing for sanity and good sense

 It is coming down to crumbs and peanut shells.

Doom and gloom, grievance and accusation.

A nation longing for sanity and good sense waits under dripping water.

It is time to go to bed. Compline insinuates itself into prayerful mind.


What does it mean to be a writer, asks the philosopher of critical theory?

I wouldn’t know.

What I do know is what I propose for inmate students whose classes are suspended for six weeks due to coronavirus.

We will address the battleground and tension of learning while dispersed with ADD+ILUCOTO.

Auto/dyad didacticism + individual learning understanding conversation together.

A new code of learning for warriors of self/other inquiry.