Sunday, January 22, 2017

to the close and holy darkness

Scripture can be comforting.
And evening passed

And morning came

The third day.
                  (--Genesis 1:13)
So, too, short story:
The barman looked at him but did not answer. It was too late at night for conversation.  
"You want another copita?" the barman asked.  
"No, thank you," said the waiter and went out. He disliked bars and bodegas. A clean, well-lighted cafe was a very different thing. Now, without thinking further, he would go home to his room. He would lie in the bed and finally, with daylight, he would go to sleep. After all, he said to himself, it's probably only insomnia. Many must have it.          (--from, A Clean, Well-Lighted PlaceBY ERNEST HEMINGWAY)   
So, too, poetry:
Looking through my bedroom window, out into the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steady falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept.  
(--from, A Child's Christmas In Wales - Poem by Dylan Thomas) 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

this helps

This is the best bit of writing for these two days. C.Y. from Augusta Maine sent this over two days. We took the first part when received to prison yesterday. The men gave it a lot of good reflection. Two women, later, at university found their perspective turned and lightened when they were given a copy.

It helps.
Draft for a ZEN journal 
Tomorrow will be Inauguration Day for DT.  I welcome this day as a day of transformation and am currently viewing DT as a difficult teacher, but an essential one.....perhaps a bodhisattva in a great disguise. Take a breath and remember our vows.
 He is the personification of greed, anger and ignorance. Tomorrow will be the beginning of the final embodiment of an egoic operating system (EOS). Only by presenting the apotheosis of this antiquated system can we truly begin the  transformation of consciousness that can be seen as a holistic operating system (HOS). We will now witness the reality of this, misogynistic, narcissistic, aggressive, hierarchical, patriarchal EOS which has shaped our contemporary culture and economy and is now fully empowered.  This will be our 'dark night of the soul' and an essential step in the liberation of the world.  Rilke taught us that the greatest teachings come to us from the "Harsh Angels" of our nature and we are about to encounter these angels in full regalia as billionaires and generals.  They have much to teach us about life and truth. They will provide our exit strategy from the EOS and make clear that only through a radical transformation of consciousness can we possibly manifest the Bodhisattva Vows in the world.
The three rules for continued suffering are: 1) Keep the illusion that you have control, 2) Argue with the way things are, and 3) Demand that they be different than the way they are. We certainly have opportunity to greatly expand our suffering or we can look beyond our own picking and choosing. I believe that the 'millennial' generation that is waiting for the reins of power to be passed will be the most engaged, disillusioned, and aware generation we have experienced.  We are entering the third axial age. A time of a change of consciousness that will effectively challenge the EOS and allow the human society to manifest the truths of interbeing. It will be difficult, bloody and terrifying, but we will be cleansed. In the 60s, we said, "come the revolution" it comes!!    
...the piece I neglected to include has to do with feminism.  Someone said that one of the most significant occurrences of the 20th century was the arrival of Buddhism in America.  I think another significant event was the (sadly) inevitable abuse by male Zen teachers. You give a guy power and too often he can't resist the money or the girls. I read about a micro finance project in Africa.  It provided Satellite Phones to remote villages to help them market their produce. The phones were only given to women. The funders knew that, if you gave them to men, the first thing most men would do is hire bodyguards and set up structures of power with themselves at the apex -- (Africa's notorious Big Man phenomenon). Women (happily) would be sure there was sharing and that everyone had a turn before anyone had two. As I watched the life at ZMM [Zen Mountain Monastery] for 25 years, I saw a steady rise of women monks and teachers.  They were much less seduced by authority and power  The Joanna Macys and Pema Chodrins of the Buddhist world are the future. So, Buddhism in America is not only living and growing in a world with religious freedom but also with the rise of truly empowered women. 
DT (45) will propel the awareness of this paradigm shift to the corners of the world and then many of us men can return to the cloister and the hermitage.........then perhaps the mature Yang can work with the mature Yin and the Kingdom of God will be revealed.   Love
(--by, C.Y., Augusta, Maine. thurs/fri, 20/21jan2017)

middle of night offers way through

Someone, in another room, is having a nightmare.

Someone else, walking down hall, wakes them.

Back in room, waking during nightmare is good action.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Well, here we are

Day is Done
                      (Peter, Paul, & Mary)

Tell me why you're crying, my son
I know you're frightened, like everyone
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done
Day is done, day is done, day is done, day is done
Do you ask why I'm sighing, my son?
You shall inherit what mankind has done
In a world filled with sorrow and woe
If you ask me why this is so, I really don't know
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done
Day is done, day is done, day is done, day is done
Tell me why you're smiling my son
Is there a secret you can tell everyone?
Do you know more than men that are wise?
Can you see what we all must disguise
Through your loving eyes?
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done
Day is done, day is done, day is done, day is done
The day is done, day is done, day is done, all of you singing
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well my son oh
If you take my hand my son
All will be well

Written by Peter Yarrow • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Thursday, January 19, 2017

after the pain

Tomorrow Barack Obama leaves office.

Tonight a vigil mourning what follows him -- decency, intellect, dignity.

Then it is time to learn how to survive his successor.

This new teacher embodying what to transcend after the pain.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

knock knock; who's there

Obama said that only the end of the world is the end of the world.

I like that.

Then there's this:
The Myth of Sisyphus is a deeply humanistic book. Even though the word ‘fate' appears several times, it is meant in terms of fear: fear of a (wrong) decision, a situation or a life – in short, representations of the absurd. Since this is no solid soil for an individual to grow on, this state of fear is only overcome by faith in the self. Camus' essay is a celebration of the individual without falling into self-indulgence or egotism. Nonetheless, Camus puts special emphasis on the community as shown in his later works like La peste or Les justes. A strong individual creates a strong community and can change the world. This change does not have to literally move mountains from A to B but can simply be caused by a change in perception, a paradigm shift.  
This is where I leave you with Camus and Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain. Sisyphus, or his type later which Camus names ‘the absurd man', is the master of his own fate. It is an inner strength not comparable to today's self-help hallway books telling you how to resist biscuits. It is an attitude, an inner change that cannot be possessed, taught or bought, but achieved only through revolt, the revolt of the inner self against the absurd.
The absurd arrives at our doorstep.
Revolt is inside that door.
Comes a change of perception.
Comes a paradigm shift.
A hand reaches for doorknob.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

excavating life, unearthing and earthing our lives

Revisit Camus. We read and seem to understand his words in The Myth of Sisyphus,
There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories – comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.   (--from, Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus; translated from the French by Justin O’Brien (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1975), p. 11.
Revisit and ask -- Is there another exploration, another investigation, emerging out from within his words? If words are living, they continue to reveal, disclose, unveil what is not yet unconcealed. This invites us to practice being an archeologist of aletheia
Aletheia (Ancient Greek: ἀλήθεια) is truth or disclosure in philosophy. It was used in Ancient Greek philosophy and revived in the 20th century by Martin Heidegger. It is a Greek word variously translated as "unclosedness", "unconcealedness", "disclosure" or "truth".
 Say it -- it is our contemplation and meditation to dwell with words in such a way that we allow them, and us, to assume our nature as ourself 

In his poem, LOVE, poet Charles Olson wrote:


to my soul: 
                         assume your nature as yourself                           
                         for the love of God
                                                             not even good enough     

                           the possibility                                                       
                                                                      of discrete                                                                                          
There is no intelligence 
the equal of
the situation  

There are only 
                                  two ways:
                                  create the situation
                                                                     (and this is love)
                                  or avoid it.
                                                         This also can be

As archeologists of aletheia we excavate the bottomless depth and boundless horizon of what it means, to be, human.

There is, really, no end to it.

Like the sign says that we found in the Good Will store, now hanging on a beam in the hermitage wohnkuche (Raimon Panikkar Conversation Kitchen):
The bend in the road is not the end of the road, 
unless you refuse to take the turn.

So we look, we read, we converse, we meditate, we contemplate, we consider carefully what is found before us. And we fall into our excellence, our strength, our virtue, our faith, the truth that surrounds us -- even as we experience our doubts, our vulnerability, our feelings of inadequacy, our sense of personal failings and stupidity, and our participation in the ignorance that stands before our faces and smiles its belief in its own control and arrogance.

We attempt in our journey to take the turn whenever it happens.

From the Gospel writings of Luke:
NIRV  What is hidden will be seen. And what is out of sight will be brought into the open and made known.  
NIV For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.    
(We might also read each of the 55 translations of Luke 8:17
This is a way to live one’s life.

I’ve often thought that suicide, or thought of suicide,  is a veiled undisclosed desire to live one’s life free from the pain of separation. 

Whereas, what is really true is that suicide, the act of it, would perhaps better not be acted on. 

Rather a course of action be engaged in that looks into, digs deeper, excavates wider, and takes long looks at what hides behind appearance, what is longing to present itself to, for, as ourself, as ourselves with one another.

The philosopher/poet John Lennon wrote and sang:
Well we all shine on  Like the moon and the stars and the sun  Yeah we all shine on  On and on and on on and on               (Read more:  John Lennon - Instant Karma Lyrics | MetroLyrics )
In Greek, the word όν (pronounced “on”) means “Being.”

Martin Heidegger, 20th century German philosopher, said that “we have forgotten Being.”
According to Heidegger, the question of the meaning of Being, and thus Being as such, has been forgotten by ‘the tradition’ (roughly, Western philosophy from Plato onwards). Heidegger means by this that the history of Western thought has failed to heed the ontological difference, and so has articulated Being precisely as a kind of ultimate being, as evidenced by a series of namings of Being, for example as idea, energeia, substance, monad or will to power. In this way Being as such has been forgotten.   (-- Heidegger, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
If so, if we have forgotten Being, we are less inclined to ask the question, “What does it mean ’to be’?” Without that inquiry, the temptation ‘not to be’ (Camus’ serious philosophical question) does not receive a fair hearing.

Let’s turn a light -- (our light?) -- on this.

Doing so, we seek the intelligence of the situation wherein we find ourselves, dwelling.

This experience -- the experience of this -- is longing, to be, disclosed.

As Raimon Panikkar so beautifully points out in his Metaphor of the Window, this speaking to and through one another, listening to and through one another, is one of the ways dialogue and the archeology of aletheia goes “down/to my soul” -- and beyond, unconcealing the open, both within and surrounding us. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

there's still time

Exit well

Enter well



President --

With our






   (for cousin Susan)

young, we thought God meant 

habit or cowl, then God be-

came face nearest us

                                                     —wfh, 16jan17

green cover against 11° cold

Barn creaks walking diagonal to door where iron circle holds half full load of wood. Standing like rural Franciscan rabbi with Baffin boots tan scarf and brown zucchetto in light of moon, looking up at galaxies 3 billion light years away seeing what I cannot see as catspaw dinghy continues zazen in front of winter zendo wearing green cover against 11° cold along its back.

At Sunday Evening Practice we read Chögyam Trungpa on the bodhisattva vow. Our small gathering was represented by Georgia. Alabama. Tennessee, New Jersey, Toronto, and Brooklyn -- a decidedly southern school,
In the Sōtō school of Zen, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content, is the primary form of practice. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference. Considerable textual, philosophical, and phenomenological justification of this practice can be found throughout Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō, as for example in the "Principles of Zazen"[web 2] and the "Universally Recommended Instructions for Zazen".[web 3] In the Japanese language, this practice is called Shikantaza.
There are few glowing embers in wood stove and I place some sticks atop preferring to see if any teaching has enough residue to communicate to new generation without outside match influence.

We seldom know who will show up for practice. All are welcome. There's room for 12 in zendo -- no problem -- we generally fluctuate between 5 and 8 arriving for 6pm bell. No need to call ahead -- we're derelict in prefatory etiquette but welcoming of presenting persons.

I suspect that has to do with being a hermitage rather than a retreat or meditation center. When someone passes through the gate, soup pot is already simmering in kitchen for table practice, zafus are ready in winter zendo, incense smoke bows to their arrival. And when practice is over, metta-blessing spoken, candles at table blown out, gate readies its bow to departing guest who turn onto barnestown road for return home.

Practice, wrote Dōgen, is enlightenment -- and, enlightenment, practice.

Nothing more.

None the less.

Just this.

(Thanks, Chris, for sending the Trungpa article on breath of shakuhachi notes!)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

where love and hate go once they see themselves

    (after eckhart tolle)

once presence arrives

love and hate walk winter road

no longer alone

Saturday, January 14, 2017

origin’s way of appearing

At Friday Evening Conversation a letter was read. In it, this line: “In a world in which the love of the living is missing, what love is due the unborn?” (BF)

It gave us pause. To think. About birth and non-birth.

I began to wonder whether the ayul (as yet unborn life) -- if not permitted to come to term in a particular woman’s body -- returns to its ayul status until it is borne again by another woman in a more opportune moment to come to life.

Life is not ended.

It is always beginning.

Emerging from origin.

This notion changes the way one might think about abortion.

For those who see the abortion issue in terms of murder, or see the issue in terms of a woman’s right to choose, there is a third option, namely, life is its own, and is always beginning, via the ayul process, or the end of life dying process, or any other variation of dualistic dichotomy our either/or mind creates.

Birth is origin’s way of appearing in existence, through and through. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

down from, again, up from

Koan: This morning at prison practice, two koans:
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him
  • Jesus died on the cross
Comment: the zen prayer/warning:
  • Don’t make two
  • Don’t make one 
Final poem:
down from, again, up from 
no leaving, anything/anyone, out;
we are moving, hopefully, 
with one another 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

what you need to know

We’re uncertain about truth. We’ve stepped back from insisting that facts are facts and evidence is evidence. We are approaching, quickly, a time when might is right, loud voices carry an argument, and derision denigrates and decimates.
What makes us miserable, what causes us to be in conflict with one another, is our insistence on our particular view of things: our view of what we deserve or want, our view of right and wrong, our view of self, our view of other, our view of life, our view of death. But views are just views. They are not ultimate truth. 
—Norman Fischer, "Beyond Language"
Truth, the actual, the present -- these are devalued. What they are being replaced with is the false, the illusory, and the angry.
The genius of the biblical revelation is that we come to God through “the actual,” the here and now, or quite simply what is. The Bible moves us from sacred place (why the temple had to go), sacred actions (why the law had to be relativized), and mental belief systems (why Jesus has no check list in this regard)—to all space and time as sacredAt the close of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says: “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20, NASB).  
Space, time, and patience reveal the patterns of grace. This is why it takes most of us a long time to be converted. As Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) prayed, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” [1] Our focus eventually moves from preoccupation with perfect actions of any type, to naked presence itself. The historical word for presence is simply “prayer.” Jesus often called it “vigilance,” “seeing,” or “being awake.” When you are fully present, you will know what you need to know in that moment. Really!   
(--Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 8, 15-16.)  
Not many say aloud they wish to lead a life of prayer.

Actual presence

Compassionate regard

Patiently suffering through

That which, with attention, dissolves (by and into) itself


I don’t subscribe to the opinion things are only getting worse and will get worse in the halls of power in Washington, DC, Wall Street, and boardrooms of corporations.

I don't.

I don't.

Not really.




(O Christ!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


No sense trying to figure out whether lies are being told.

They are.


What is worth trying to find out is whether truth matters any more in our current culture.

It doesn't.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

at the end of the day

Obama's farewell speech: terrific!

Trump's Russia problem: terrifying!

We'll miss the terrific.

imagine that

We often want back that which is no longer there.

Even if we no longer believe that what we want is worth having.

Still, the memory and residual desire points us toward the phantasm.

What to do?

There’s a woman who is unsure whether she should want something, which something doesn’t seem to want her.

(Funny, isn’t it, how we have no idea what we want and why we want what we don’t know we want?)

The zen master used to say, “Put it down; put it all down!”

I would tell her she’s trying to lug around too much.

That there are too many lugs around to lug around.

Put on your boots.

Walk out door.

It is winter.

A bright moon.

On ground snow.

Its a big universe.

And there are signals pulsing from a galaxy 3 billion light years away.

Imagine that!

Ain’t that something!

Monday, January 09, 2017

catching up breath

I've forgotten who Jesus was.

You've what?

I've forgotten Jesus.

What do you mean?

I mean there's nothing left in my memory to remind me who Jesus was or is.

I'm sorry.

Don't be. It doesn't matter. I'll be ok.

(Night with moonlight on frozen snow bitter cold air catching up breath.)



nothing, else

During walking

meditation in

Merton Bookshed Retreat

Winter Zendo

last night --

we walked

Sunday, January 08, 2017

the unknown itself

At practice Sunday evening, the thought: prayer is wandering into the unknown.

So many refuse to pray, are satisfied with either knowing or being ignorant.

But the unknown -- that's a place beyond both knowing and ignorance.

To choose to dwell near the unknown is to choose a life of prayer.

Prayer, in this way, changes us into the unknown itself.

uniquely separate

Someone at practice Saturday morning used the phrase "we are uniquely separate."

It feels like a new koan:
There is no separation; 
we are uniquely separate.
Something to sit with.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

between traditions -- an unteaching

zen haiku


direct experience; dropping reactivity -- to explore, to test, to search out, to examine

final poem:
if you watch snow 
you see nothing 

Friday, January 06, 2017

what is showing through


So many are afraid.

What is it that moves toward power in Washington DC against which no antidote is known?

No wise men from the East.

No wise women from Palestine.

No hope from anyone. All are impotent.

It is Epiphany.

What is showing through?

And why is there so much fear?

Thursday, January 05, 2017

"believe me" he says. "No" the rejoinder

America is a weary land.
work is never completed except by some accident such as weariness, satisfaction, the need to deliver, or death: for, in relation to who or what is making it, it can only be one stage in a series of inner transformations.-- Paul Valéry
No poet will be its ruler.

We'll have a blank where wise words should have been.

thinking into new feeling

This is a good read about the mind of voters in the recent presidential election:
Why Rural America Voted For Trump! By Robert Leonard, Jan.5, 2017, NYTimes,
It made me think the following:

Dualistic good/bad thinking will continue to divide and make enemies of one another.

Nondualist thinking will begin a dialogue that transforms old thinking into new feeling. 

Our brothers and sisters, far too many of us, are stuck in the familiar survival oppositional enemy other rational mind. It is killing us.

The change we need, the change we seek, is not dominance bullying and beating. 

No, we need a change of thinking, of consciousness, of heart. Such change is not political, nor religious -- both of which are steeped in dualistic mind.

Perhaps it is the poet and philosopher of equanimity and feeling for one another that we need to allow to emerge through us with a more wholesome mind.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

the more I live the more I die; a contemplative culture of interiority

She said she wanted to be a nun after hearing women chanting an antiphon in The Sound of Music. But she wasn’t Catholic nor wanted to be.

Merton, I recently heard, told his fellow monks in Gethsemane that they weren’t contemplatives, merely introverts. They disliked him his observation.

I think it is the contemplative culture of interiority that locates the monk or nun -- not their religiosity, piety, or affiliation. I suspect there have been many who’d ceased thinking themselves ‘catholic’ but remained as monks and nuns practicing their interior unknowing with humility and obedience to the exterior observances.

Here’s Willis Barnstone’s translation of John of the Cross:

I Live yet do not Live in Me 

I live yet do not live in me,
am waiting as my life goes by,
and die because I do not die.
No longer do I live in me,
and without God I cannot live;
to him or me I cannot give
my self, so what can living be?
A thousand deaths my agony
waiting as my life goes by,
dying because I do not die.
This life I live alone I view
as robbery of life, and so
it is a constant death — with no
way out until I live with you.
God, hear me, what I say is true:
I do not want this life of mine,
and die because I do not die.
Being so removed from you I say
what kind of life can I have here
but death so ugly and severe
and worse than any form of pain?
I pity me — and yet my fate
is that I must keep up this lie,
and die because I do not die.
The fish taken out of the sea
is not without a consolation:
his dying is of brief duration
and ultimately brings relief.
Yet what convulsive death can be
as bad as my pathetic life?
The more I live the more I die.
When I begin to feel relief
on seeing you in the sacrament,
I sink in deeper discontent,
deprived of your sweet company.
Now everything compels my grief:
I want — yet can’t — see you nearby,
and die because I do not die.
Although I find my pleasure, Sir,
in hope of someday seeing you,
I see that I can lose you too,
which makes my pain doubly severe,
and so I live in darkest fear,
and hope, wait as life goes by,
dying because I do not die.
Deliver me from death, my God,
and give me life; now you have wound
a rope about me; harshly bound
I ask you to release the cord.
See how I die to see you, Lord,
and I am shattered where I lie,
dying because I do not die.
My death will trigger tears in me,
and I shall mourn my life: a day
annihilated by the way
I fail and sin relentlessly.
O Father God, when will it be
that I can say without a lie:
I live because I do not die?
  •  Translated by Willis Barnstone
Thing about January -- the looking back and the looking forward -- it makes where you are feel a little . . . cloudy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

to disclose

The notion that God dwells in our soul is not a quaint medieval theological construct. Perhaps it was their insight in their vocabulary that ‘God’ or ‘real wisdom’ is not out-there, but profoundly embedded in the very matter of tree and bird and ground and flesh and concomitant awareness of everything that exists in this realm of existence/being as we experience it.

If we were paying attention, it might become clear that the artificial divisions and false antagonisms so many of us perpetuate are solipsistic self-aggrandizement perpetrated at the expense of fabricated ‘others’ -- a habit of mind that might have no basis in reality.

If ‘God’ is in us, and our egoism blinds us to that reality, what, then, are we?

Richard Rohr in his Daily Meditation two weeks ago wrote:
One God, One LoveTuesday, December 13, 2016
Lady Julian of Norwich (c. 1342-c.1416) is one of my favorite mystics. Julian experienced her showings, as she called them, all on one night, probably May 8, 1373. It was such a profound experience that she asked the bishop to enclose her in a small anchor-hold built onto St. Julian’s Church in Norwich, England. (We don’t know Julian’s real name; we call her by the name of this church.) From a window that looked into the sanctuary she would attend mass; from another window she would counsel people who came to visit her. Julian lived in the anchor-hold for perhaps twenty years and spent this time trying to communicate what she experienced in one night. 
For me, Chapter 54 of Julian’s Showings is the best description I have read of the union of the soul within the Trinity. The mystics always go to the Trinitarian level because here God is a verb more than a noun, God is a flow more than a substance, God is an experience more than an old man sitting on a throne. And we are inside that flow of love. Julian writes: 
Greatly ought we to rejoice that God dwells in our soul; and more greatly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwells in God. Our soul is created to be God’s dwelling place, and the dwelling of our soul is God. . . . [This is what some call inter-being.] It is a great understanding to see and know inwardly that God, who is our creator, dwells in our soul, and it is a far greater understanding to see and know inwardly that our soul, which is created, dwells in God in substance, of which substance, through God, we are what we are. [We share in the same substantial, ontological, and metaphysical unity.] And I saw no difference between God and our substance, but, as it were, all God; and still my understanding accepted that our substance is in God. [1]
Intimacy implies twoness, but twoness overcome and enjoyed. Julian preserves differentiation, the dance of partners. She is not a pantheist; she is not saying everything is God. She is saying everything is in God and God is in everything— which is panentheism. Mirabai Starr gives a fresh translation of Julian’s words:
The all-powerful truth of the Trinity is the Father, who created us and keeps us within him. The deep wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in whom we all are enfolded. The exalted goodness of the Trinity is our beloved Lord: we are held in him and he is held in us. We are enclosed in the Father, we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are enclosed in us. All Power. All Goodness. All Wisdom. One God. One Love. [2]
Gateway to Silence:We are already in union with God. 
References:[1] Julian of Norwich, “The Fifty-Fourth Chapter,” Showings, trans. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (Paulist Press: 1978), 285.
[2] Julian of Norwich, The Showings of Julian of Norwich, trans. Mirabai Starr (Hampton Roads: 2013), 149-150.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Intimacy: The Divine AmbushCDMP3 download (CAC: 2013), disc 7.

Now, the task, to disclose. 

Monday, January 02, 2017

woodshed, "Mu"

Perhaps what is being asked is the first zen koan question of 2017: "Does Donald Trump hove president-nature?" The response bellows out from the woodshed of January's new arrival wearing swaddling garb of hope and fear, "Mu!"

We don't know what that response means. We don't know -- not yet, not really -- what Trump means.

Robert Pirsig, in his 1996 work of literature, gives us a glimpse of “Mu” that might help us decide whether to step out of the woodshed hoping to help shape a living response, or hunker down with fear for long cold winter.

He writes:
Mu means "no thing." Like "quality" it points outside the process of dualistic discrimination. Mu simply says, "no class: not one, not zero, not yes, not no." It states that the context of the question is such  
that a yes and a no answer is in error and should not be given. "Unask the question" is what it says.
Mu becomes appropriate when the context of the question becomes too small for the truth of the answer.
  (--Robert Pirsig, in, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
Having several cord of wood will help weather the ordeal.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

It’s simply your love for life.

Sunday Evening Practice was full.

And from the table reading, featuring Joanna Macy and Rainer Maria Rilke, this:
And so we keep moving forward, holding the vision of a life-sustaining world in our minds: 
No yearning for an afterlife, no looking beyond,
no belittling of death,
but only longing for what belongs to us
and serving earth, lest we remain unused.
(II, 25)
(--from Rilke’s Book of Hours, Love Poems to God)
Only in our doing can we grasp you.
Only with our hands can we illumine you.
The mind is but a visitor:
it thinks us out of our world.
Each mind fabricates itself.
We sense its limits, for we have made them.
(I, 51) 
On the last day of the retreat, I thanked Macy. I told her how much the week gave me to think and learn more about, and that she had given a permission I didn’t know I’d lacked: the permission to long for a thriving world that included human life. This was a sensation I felt in my chest more than a thought. 
“Who are you to tell life that it won’t go on?” she said, waving her thin wrinkled hands in air the between us as if she could clear it of lingering misconceptions. “The Buddha said not to be attached to your ego—not to life. It’s life that wants to live through you. It’s simply your love for life.” 
I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not ever complete the last one,
but I give myself to it.
I circle around God, that primordial tower.
I have been circling for thousands of years,
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
(I, 2)

(--from Rilke’s Book of Hours as Portent and Guide, Joanna Macy’s reading of Rilke offers a Middle Way in an era of ecological devastation. By Marie Scarles, DEC 27, 2016  Tricycle.)
And a heartfelt final circle.

And a good slide into the new year.

welcome to celebritoxicity

Perhaps the media and the populace share a similar disadvantage -- simpleminded, uninformed, remarkable lack of intelligent grasp of what needs to be known to be an effective and useful citizen.

In other words, we celebrate and revere ignorance and the ignorant.

There is a rising idea that only the knowledgeable should be voters. It's called epistocracy (see

No one forced Mr Trump on us. We walked on to the circus fairgrounds and he was the glitziest, loudest, most intimidating barker on the fairway.

We bought the con.

Democracy might not yield to epistocracy (voting and rule by those who know and are informed), but it might continue to give itself away to cynical manipulation and mindless self-promotion (on the part of celebrity candidates and the over-eager paparazzi pretending to be serious journalists) until we know nothing and grin like besotted fans over every pose presented as something of value.

 Let's call it celebritoxicity!

But that's just a New Year's morning view.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

and now

We can only hope

And act

With integrity

Zen dog

Saturday morning practice.

Breathing out 2016




Friday, December 30, 2016

of the inevitable

Reading in Zen Edge (Alexander Eliot) about the Henry Adams memorial in Rock Creek Park, a comment by a Taoist woman describing it as "The intellectual acceptance of the inevitable." A phrasing that catches my attention.

And then there is this Emily Dickinson poem:

Is Heaven a physician?
   They say that He can heal;
But medicine posthumous
   Is unavailable. 
Is Heaven an exchequer?
   They speak of what we owe;
But that negotiation
   I 'm not a party to.” 
Excerpt From: Dickinson, Emily. “Poems.”
What we consider to be fact or truth is so entrapped by evanescent reconfiguration of metaphor so as to make reality merely an agreed assertion by fragmented intuition and dissipated intelligence.

Still, we endure. 

comes daylight

89,966 at 6:29am are without power. And, while our generator grouses undercover under snow by barn door, mirabile dictu, the power remains on, so far, here.


Neighbor's yard light flashes on and off. Wind gusts are strong. If our power goes, begins the faded ritual of attempting to cough the covered generator outside barn door back into service to keep sumppump working to send flowing water coming into dirt cellar out small window before water level rises to drown furnace that (oddly) is low to ground, its electronics at mercy of (further oddity) having a water stream in heavy rains and assorted melts flow in one corner of cellar to other end -- but whose exit pipe running out and under barnestown road to land across the two lane has become choked with root and debris over the decades.

Our lights flicker.

So precarious,

This life.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

nothing could be clearer

I erased all data and content from this old device.

It presents itself as empty. Ready to go again.

Surely some zen Buddhist is smiling.