Saturday, February 22, 2020

sitting alone together

Sitting with dying woman tonight, breathing for three hours at angle to bed, I visited all the dead who’ve passed through my life.

I thanked her at end for the gift of recollection in her midst.

There were many visitors in our solitude and silence.

We parted good company.

Two dying creatures breathing together on a Saturday evening.

எந்த அர்த்தமும் இல்லை, பெயரும் இல்லை

 No meaning, no name* 
             (Kathy’s Song)


Update, update, update
Update
Update update update

You send so many interesting words
I will never go to India. I don’t have to.

You go there. You go there. You go there.
You are there. 
You were there. You were there. You were there.

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of consequences 

Old friends
Always arriving
Where they are

….  ….  …

எந்த அர்த்தமும் இல்லை, பெயரும் இல்லை
                Enta arttamum illai, peyarum illai.

allusion, need, sangfroid

Tell me, O Muse, about the news
That flows like raging river

Sing of arms and the man
The one doing all he can

To be Shiva the destroyer —
Ah, poor, you’re yuck, the bones

And sucking mud underfoot, as you
Traipse a bloody landscape,

Destroyers know success by deaths,
Crushed limbs under blasted rubble —

Muffled final breaths of innocent children,
Horror visited by vengeful slobs

Our eyes cannot take more of ignorance
Pity, pity, pity — the gaze so pitious

Looks on death passing by
Not pausing, not stopping —

O Adonai, Adonai —
Et tu, et tu? standing near, au voir 

Friday, February 21, 2020

winter weekend

Small children arrive

Sleepy eyed, parents

Carry in — safely here

ας είναι, (so be it)


So many worry that the president unabashedly does anything he wants, legal or illegal. 

I tell you, do not fret. 

We live in a country of laws. 

The House, Senate, and Court System will keep him well within the bounds of lawlessness. 

We should be grateful for them. 

They protect us.

what you are looking at

In prison this morning, looking at breath.

Soul as the coming and going of breath.

How do we claim “my soul”?

Our bodies are particular places of exchange.

Breath in, breath out.

Body and breath, body and soul, exchange and transfer.

“Soul” is the whole of atmospheric existence visiting and leaving, entering and departing, this place we call “me”.

The question is asked: “How is it with your soul?”

Before answering, look around. Do not stop looking.

What you see, what you are looking at, is how it is with your soul.

What do you see? Who is looking? What is reflecting back?

This is how it is with your soul.

This is how you are.

This is who you are.

How are you?

which way virtue

Donald Trump will be with us until he isn’t.

Until then, he is the president.

We owe it to him to treat him as such.

Even though he might decry and decline being treated with respect and reasonable expectation of dignity, civility, and mature leadership.

We show virtue this way.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

existence is life itself, לחיים

Nothing is not the opposite of something. It is not where something goes when it ceases to be.

Nothing is that upon which something resides. Nothing is to something what is is to not.

As is my life upon that which does not exist. Non-existence is not the opposite of life. It is that from which life emerges and to which life returns.

Life is not the opposite of death. Birth is the opposite of death. Life has no opposite. It emerges from nothing and returns to it.

Life is nothing come about. Nothing is life latent. When we say God is nothing we are not negating God.

When we say I will die, we are not negating life. Life is death gone through. Everyone dies.

We do not see someone after they die because that someone is no longer someone.

They become life itself. Before death they lived a life. After death they no longer live a life, they become life itself.

Where do you look for someone who has died? Become dedicated to creation. Engage what is.

Anything in existence is life itself.  Look at the stone. Look at the tree. Look at the star.

Look there.

Here

I

am.

Look here. Do not cling to form as it was known. Do not cling to what you have known.

In the breeze. In the sneeze. In the barking dog. In the greeting kiss. In the parting hug.

Nothing to it.

Nothing at all.

לחיים

L'chayim!

To life!

السيد المسيح ، ارحم

Yelling at each other, democrat candidates roll frenzied dice in Nevada.

Mocking everybody, republican president struts impervious arrogance in Arizona.

In their homes, Americans are, alternately, amused and bemused.

Entertainment as denigration.

This is how we are today?

In his mountain hermitage in Egyptian desert the Orthodox eremite continuously prays for mercy and compassion.

He holds the world together.

He knows how Satan works to slash and sever, adding cruelty to anguish, prodding human discourse into vengeful, hurtful, malicious cynicism.

The monk prays:

السيد المسيح ، ارحم

alsyd almasih , 'arham
Lord Jesus, Christ, have mercy! 

How long can his prayer hold light in encroaching darkness?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

foolishness

Stars and galaxies

So many —

What are we doing here?

flectamus genua

If I pray, Trump is holy.

If I do not pray, Trump is me.

If I am to be what is not yet here,
I must watch in silence what is right now here.

Holy Father Trump, teach us well!

Great Infidel Trump, show us what not to be.

Angel of compassion, slap us upside the head.

Angel of death, wait outside a little longer.

Holy Mother, allow us to mother, and be mothered by, this earth.

tramp, mendicant, eucharist, ordinário

Merton reminds of an antidote.

It’s right there in front of me. A way through the fatuous and over-stuffed life-style and rhetoric of our current dyspeptic gorgon monopolizing all attention.

A glance to the side where insignificance bows in reverential simplicity.
But the Franciscans, or at least St. Francis, reduced it to its logical limits, and at the same time invested it with a kind of simple thirteenth century lyricism which made it doubly attractive to me. 
However, the lyricism must be carefully distinguished from the real substance of the Franciscan vocation, which is that tremendous and heroic poverty, poverty of body and spirit which makes the Friar literally a tramp. For, after all, “mendicant” is only a fancy word for tramp, and if a Franciscan cannot be a tramp in this full and complete and total mystical sense, he is bound to be a little unhappy and dissatisfied. As soon as he acquires a lot of special articles for his use and comfort and becomes sedate and respectable and spiritually sedentary he will, no doubt, have an easy and pleasant time, but there will be always gnawing in his heart the nostalgia for that uncompromising destitution which alone can give him joy because it flings him headlong into the arms of God.

Without poverty, Franciscan lyricism sounds tinny and sentimental and raw and false. Its tone is sour, and all its harmonies are somewhat strained. 
(—Excerpt from: "The Seven Storey Mountain" by Thomas Merton, Part Three, One, Magnetic North)
 We are not worthy. We are worthy. We are not yet worthy. We are simply, originally and unendingly worthy.



With crumpled New York Times, can of grub, piece of bread, visage of delighted acceptance — as if at prayer — the moment of appreciation, a posture of the grateful beyond.

Worthiness without ownership, self without absorption, presence without preference.

A eucharist of silent everyday creation!

Ordinário....

La celebración.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

third noble truth

No need to worry about the election.

Whoever wins will be president.

And morning will have coffee, evening will turn out lights, we will sleep and then morning will come again.

Forgive yourself and carry on.

Good God, lighten up our dear citizens!

The undesirable will drop away.

health tutorial with humor

John Oliver on Medicare for all.

and there they remain

I left my hiking sticks in Skowhegan. In a Walmart parking lot. After encircling the enormous footprint of the buildings of two large box stores.

They we’re leaning against the rear flank on the car by gas filler lid diagonal to front driver’s seat as I loaded the border collie into the back, settled him into crate with treats, went over to the other side to stow coat and hat and earphones and gloves behind drivers seat. The phone buzzed message that the audit was done and I am seven minutes away from the hospital. I would quickly close the hatch door, slide into front seat, get ready for the perseverating barking that accompanies every initial engine start and beginning acceleration.

Backed up. Straightened out. Shift into drive. Went off. Left them sliding (no doubt) to ground there next to fairgrounds by mounds of plowed snow on a sunny day.

Listening to Ram Das book on the Bhagavad Gita at next audit, ready for next walk, looking in back seat for sticks before letting dog out. Nothing. Alpert is talking about detachment. I am thinking about senility. The dog is barking at trees.

We go on.

No longer hiking.

Just walking.

Stickless.

May they find good hands with unhurting feet for their next incarnation!

Monday, February 17, 2020

έώρακεν (lasting effect), stir the sleepy dawn

Morning comes in Maine. No bombs. No rubble. No watching sky for machines of death dropping death and destruction on anything below.

Then, there’s Aleppo and Idlib.
Regime forces always do that. They would target a location with air raids and when people come to help any survivors, they would target the place again several minutes later. And a third time as well. 
Our house had been targeted repeatedly throughout the entire revolution, but with the help of my brothers we had always managed to fix it. The last time it was targeted it was destroyed completely, as was my house. 
Now, I have no plans for the future. We live day by day, here. I cannot even think of tomorrow. Just today another battle started a few hours ago, with non-stop air raids and artillery shelling, injuries constantly coming to the hospital in the city of Idlib, where I now work. 
My worst fear is for the future of Syria. Syria is turning into the worst possible thing a state can be: A failed state plus a dictatorship, combined under occupation. It cannot get any more evil than that.
 (from, A doctor in Idlib: 'It cannot get more evil than this' — by, Zakaria Zakaria, 13feb20)
Russia, Iran, Turkey, United States, the rest of the world — uncaring and cruel in active or passive stance to what occurs in Syria.

I call for immediate halt to bombings and killings.

My heart is ready, O Lord, my heart is ready!

Would that word alone would bring about or end what is done in the world.

This Monday in Maine.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

to my rowing friend

We honor what is invisibly still with and within us!

We honor
What is
Invisibly

Still

With and
Within
Us

Visiting the place our departed dear one has visited.

Oarstroke by oarstroke.

a koan for our time

She wanted to know. She asked where her friend’s soul went after her death last night. We sat in the grand room of the Sussman House, an end of life hospice house. She volunteered. Me too. It was Saturday night. Our weekly talk. I sipped chicken broth. She held blue protective gloves in right hand. She’d been cleaning up the kitchen area.

Nowhere, I said.

She winced. I don’t believe that, she said.

We smiled the recognition of two tobogganners settling into the chute just before the drop down lever is pushed forward.

There’s no other place. There’s only this upon this upon this, all the way down and in, realm within realm, breath within breath, berth alongside berth, birth after birth, life as itself surrounding itself.

Leaving the body is only leaving the body. Body is where the appearance of life, particular life, manifests itself as distinctive expression, distinctive movement.

What we call death is the letting go of seeming separation.

Where does her friend go? Let’s say she enters the inseparate. What seemed to be apart is no longer apart.

Returning to the whole of what is without distinction or special notice, her friend enters what is here.

What is here is no where. Or, nowhere. Only here.

Can we hear what is not apparent as a separate presence?

Maybe what we call faith is surrendered attention to what is not yet fully present in and as our midst.

What is amidst is what is itself.

It is the realization of no-other in the midst of uncountable seeming others.

What do we hear in that gaze we give looking? Just the gaze? Just the looking?

...here

...now

...this!

Faith comes from hearing. Hearing, from listening. Listening, from silence. Silence, from presence. Presence, from nowhere else.

If we cease attempting to put someone someplace as something, what remains?

Nothing. Not the nothing of despairing failure we enact in our striving to accomplish something.

But the no-thing surrounding and surrendering the falling away of the thought we grasp at that “there” is what we want, need, and strive toward.

Here

Is

What Is.

There is no opposite to here — except in our belief that there is.

A koan for our time.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

where belief in separation fails

If God is everywhere, where does someone go when they die and leave the body?

world of difference

I am not
In
The world

I am
In-the-world.

hush, little baby, don’t you cry

I had a dream

In it I didn’t know who i was

I woke up — relieved to discover

Now I don’t know who I am

univocity

Here is what Richard Rohr writes:

Nature: Week 2 
The Univocity of Being 
Monday, November 14, 2016 

Christ has something in common with all creatures. With the stone he [sic] shares existence, with the plants he shares life, with the animals he shares sensation, and with the angels he shares intelligence. Thus all things are transformed in Christ since in the fullness of his nature he embraces some part of every creature. —Bonaventure [1] 
In the stories of his life, St. Francis is quoted as talking to or about larks, lambs, rabbits, pheasants, falcons, cicadas, waterfowl, bees, the famous wolf of Gubbio, pigs whom he praised for generously giving their bodies for our food, and hooked fish that he tried to throw back into the water whenever possible. He addresses inanimate creation too, as if it were indeed ensouled. His “Canticle of the Creatures” includes fire, wind, water, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and, of course, “our Sister Mother Earth” herself. He even told the friars to only cut down part of a tree for their needs so that it could sprout again. 
So-called “nature mysticism” was a worthy entranceway for Francis, and then Bonaventure laid the theological foundation for the same by seeing all things as likenesses of God, fingerprints and footprints (vestigia Dei) that reveal the divine DNA underlying all living links in creation. John Duns Scotus would philosophically name this “the univocity of all being.” In other words, we may speak of all beings with “one consistent voice.” Dawn Nothwehr, a Franciscan sister, lovingly calls it “cosmic mutuality.” [2] 
The Franciscan notion of the “univocity of being” gave an early philosophical foundation to what we now call the circle of life or ecosystems, holons and fractals (parts that replicate the whole), unitive or contemplative thinking, and mysticism itself. Duns Scotus believed creation was more than an “analogy of being,” as Thomas Aquinas taught; there was an objective continuity between Creator and Creatures.
(—from Center for Action and Contemplation, Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM))

so you say

-1°

Rekindle wood stove.

Invite dog off bed returning to room.

What conversations we had on Heidegger, language, and phenomenology in prison morning and afternoon Friday! And evening at hermitage. Both venues replete with laughter and familiarity.

We consider no matter what intent, feeling, concept or idea we attempt to pour into words, what ultimately gets conveyed is what language presents as its own speech despite our belief we are steering the bus. The route it takes, the stops it makes, the view from its windows — these belong to language speaking itself — perhaps fueled by what we pour into the process tank, but detached from our control.

This might, or might not, be what Heidegger meant by Die Sprache spricht — but, QED, there you are, Dasein!

The weather app says in an hour it 

will

fall

to

-4°

Friday, February 14, 2020

so much to unlearn

"The essence of genius is to know what to overlook."—William James.

residing in the question

I’ve come to think those whirlwind questions in the Book of Job were like zen koans, not to elicit an implied “No, I wasn’t,” but, rather, “Yes, of course I was, if anything is, I, too, am.”

The voice continues to invite us into the created universe as an intricate and intimate presence as that universe.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

once, ever, there

Just because a character dies doesn’t mean they’re written out of the script.

Truer than it sounds — whether in Danish film or in (real) life.

After reflection, credits rolling, the proposition persists.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

not going anywhere...uh oh

Do you go to church?

-- someone asked.

No, I said.

(From beyond, a low MU!)*

Uh oh!

...   ...   ...

* Some English translation equivalents of  or mu 無 are:
  • "no", "not", "nothing", or "without"[3]
  • nothing, not, nothingness, un-, is not, has not, not any[4]
  • [1]Pure human awareness, prior to experience or knowledge. This meaning is used especially by the Chan school. [6] The 'original nonbeing' from which being is produced in the Daode jing.[5][2] A negative. [3] Caused to be nonexistent. [4] Impossible; lacking reason or cause. [5] Nonexistence; nonbeing; not having; a lack of, without.
In modern Chinese, Japanese and Korean it is commonly used in combination words as a prefix to indicate the absence of something, e.g., Chinese无线pinyinwúxiàn / musen (無線) / museon(무선 ) for "wireless".[6] In Classical Chinese, it is an impersonal existential verb meaning "not have".[7]The same character is also used in Classical Chinese as a prohibitive particle, though in this case it is more properly written Chinesepinyin.[8]
(--Wikipedia

troubling unpredictability


 I'm unsure normal rational assessment of current cultural and political unfolding circumstances can do justice to or deepen our steps toward resolution of blatant undermining of underpinnings of our constitutional representative republic grounded in the rule of law and the proper administration of legal principles and legal rulings following therewith.

In other words, we are in a crisis of mammoth proportions, a crisis that threatens to escalate and erupt in ways we can barely imagine.

The shrinking openness and corresponding closedness of current leadership in the United States signals a concealment and conditioning that obscures and hides what is useful and universal in response to the needs of the population of the country and the reliable relations with other countries depending on thoughtful and necessary interactions with the United States.

As reciprocal relations and trustworthy articulation of our responsibilities toward one another take on a troubling unpredictability, we must reevaluate who we are and what we are doing with one another.
In the late Middle Ages the philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart preached that to know the truth you must be the truth. But how to be the truth? Eckhart’s answer comes in the form of an imperative: release yourself, let be. Only then will you be able to understand that the deepest meaning of being is releasement and become who you truly are.  
(--from summary, Eckhart, Heidegger, and the Imperative of ReleasementIan Alexander Moore - Author)
Solve the koan: "Who would you be if you weren't in your own way?"

acquaintance with night

Dreams are the way night reveals itself as having no limit.

God is night dreaming dawn.

Wake!

Night dreams you here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

ainsi soit-il

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness."

(--Thich Nhat Hanh)


إِنْ شَاءَ ٱللّٰ (inshallah)

Watching "Last Men in Aleppo."

Children are pulled from bombed house.

Some alive, most die.

Later

Man on ground is kicked, "Praise Assad!" voice says.

"Nobody cares. No one comes to help" -- one White Hat says.

"Where is the world? Where is humanity?"

And I think of this coming country --

"Praise Trump!" the echoes resound.

"Who cares any more?" voices ask.

We will become Syria.

We can only hope some men

some women

will remain here to help

Monday, February 10, 2020

notes on a theme — heavy burden* -- a wandering through

This morning’s vigil/matins in new light snow at 2AM with new monastic Max Manjushri in muted mountain white-light brings attention to “already/not yet” — the deep sorrow of already being enlightened but not yet ready to be what we are.

As with much of human life, it has to do with what might be called the baffling inquiry into the question of What-is, or, what some refer to as the question of God. 

For many, religion has muted these questions by proposing a world view placing God and heaven or hell as something else or somewhere else, something to believe, have faith in, or consent to dogma about.

Perhaps our grief has something to do with a profound suspicion and intuition that God, heaven, hell is something more organic, breathtaking, and challenging. And we are deeply embodied as reality-itself in a pulsating energy moving through “this” as non-dual expressions of the seeming paradox of being/becoming already/not-yet, one/many, here/there, having been born/nearing death, this/that, arriving/departing/going nowhere — or what in Zen is phrased as “don’t make two/don’t make one.”
     
The grief men and women feel is, perhaps, not so much about loss, but about the profound realization of what we are, alongside an equally profound realization of an unexplainable reluctance to actualize what we know (but won’t admit) to be true.                                         

The movement from knowing, through feeling, to actual being-in-the-world as inter-relational expression of personal existence, alongside and throughout, engaged existence with another/others, is a journey both difficult and liberating. 

We grieve what we know and feel, yet find ourselves reluctant to, or lacking courage to, actualize and practice everyday inter-relational expressive forms of care, wisdom, and compassion.

Only a committed practice of seeing/being/doing grounded in the fields of wisdom and compassion can place us in quiet, light, and joyous freedom to be-with one another as-we-are respectfully moving through the “already/not-yet” of ordinary everyday existence.

Does the heavy burden felt after disappointment or loss become less or lighter with nearing enlightenment easing us into renewed vision passing through an inseparate whole-sight of seeing/being/doing, with and as, what is there, what is real, what is beyond a division of inside or outside, here or gone, my or mine, you or yours? Is there a field of emptiness, a field of wholeness, wherein everything is completely Itself, and we are nothing other than this "Itself" in the presence of one another?

Where we honor the feelings and experience of one another, and go in search of what is alone, surrounding, intrinsic, and inchoate in this appearance, in this existence, in this here, in this now. 

We comfort, and are comforted, in this way of being-with one-another.  

We contemplate this way of being: “Embodying the dwelling-place of the Alone; stepping aside to make room for Another.”

10feb20
Feast of Scholastica
...   ...   ...
* ORIGIN OF GRIEVE:  1175–1225; Middle English greven, grieven < Old French grever < Latin gravāre to burden, derivative of gravis heavy, grave2
Postscript: Perhaps the question, "Is there life beyond the grave?" can be answered now, "Yes, here we are!"

Sunday, February 09, 2020

quae visa est sine te

I do not try to be holy so

that I might be saved,
I try to see what is holy so

that all might be saved

dette er mit legeme

Fireplace embers
Matins icy steps
Moonlit dooryard
Yoghurt eucherist —

Now, lord, you may
Dismiss your servant
In peace
According to

Your word

Saturday, February 08, 2020

losing finds

As long as the dog looks at me with eyes that have lost their sanity, I read:
One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil.
Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when you have all denied me will I return to you.
Verily, my brothers, with different eyes shall I then seek my lost ones; with a different love shall I then love you.
(Thus Spoke Zarathurstra, “On the gift-giving virtue”)
He tries for third time to climb up on my desk where pencils, cups, and computer sleep.

Enough. I put him out of my room. I latch door.
18
It is only by taking the chance that we might lose our path, will we be taking a chance that
we might find it also. However, there are no guarantees that we will find our own path ever. Perhaps only those of us who have a little sense for their destiny even have the barest chance to find a right and proper path for themselves. Not every one has a destiny to fulfill and even those that do - not all of them have the power to go with the heat, to hear the call and see the signs of the gods. Moria as our life. 
19
Truth is part of the cosmic joke. I maintain truth as an illusion for life, as a small part of a
dream, unknown slipping part of Reality. How could we ever know truth "in itself"? A folly for Sunday morning. 
(—in, Philosophical Aphorisms: Critical Encounters with Heidegger and Nietzsche, by Daniel Fidel Ferrer, 2004)
Yes, he is a sweet rescue Border Collie.

He is idiorhythmic .

He lives in his own monastery, his own world, his out of the ordinary unexplainable mind.

I’m just a passing shadow to his glancing light.

ἕβδομος

hebdomadarian call

iced tips of high branches

moon dipped silver glow

walking crunch crunch

with Manjushri —

our vigil matins 

Friday, February 07, 2020

post debate

Nice job Amy!

nothing near

Something within has gone silent

As though

Nothing there to hear



Dog footsound down stairs

I must not be here

Seed broken open under soil



I am gone

Nothing left —

Gone beyond itself, casing dropped



Empty origin

Present nowhere

Finding nothing near

Thursday, February 06, 2020

печаль я чувствую*

It is

Heartsickening

To listen to

The president

Throwing up

On public stage

...   ...   ...

* (the sorrow I feel)

קָדוֹשׁ

Listening to audio book by Karen Armstrong, The Bible: A Biography. The word arises -- qadosh: sacred, holy, קָדוֹשׁ -- and it makes me think.

The events of recent days, accusations, recriminations, mendacity, pusillanimity, abject disappointing weakness of character -- in effect, that which is qadosh: sacred, holy, קָדוֹשׁ.

I think of Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972). He buoys me.
In Heschel’s view, the basic intuition of reality takes place on a “preconceptual” level; a disparity always remains between what we encounter and how we can express our encounter in words. The great achievements of art, philosophy, and religion are brought forth in movements when the individual senses more than he can say. “In our religious situation we do not comprehend the transcendent; we are present at it, we witness it. Whatever we know is inadequate; whatever we say is an understatement…Concepts, words must not become screens; they must be regarded as windows.”  
How can modern man regain a personal awareness of God? A universally accessible feeling is the experience of the sublime—for example, in the presence of the grandeur of nature. A sense of the sublime entails wonder and “radical astonishment” Astonishment is radical because it embraces not only what one sees but the very act of seeing and the very self that is astonished in its ability to see.  
The individual confronts the “ineffable,” that which cannot ever be expressed in words. Heschel insists that the ineffable is not a psychological state but an encounter with a mystery “within and beyond things and ideas” The divine is “within” because the self is “something transcendent in disguise.” The divine is “beyond” because it also is, “a message that discloses unity where we see diversity; that discloses peace where we are involved in discord…God means: No one is ever alone.”  
A second experience that, according to Heschel, awakens the individual to the presence of God is a pervasive, underlying anxiety that he calls “the need to be needed.” Religion entails the certainty that something is asked of man and that he is not a mere bystander in the cosmos. When the individual feels the challenge of a power, not born of his will, that robs him of self-sufficiency by a judgment of the rightness or wrongness of his actions—then God’s concern for his creatures is grasped. 
(-- from, Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Prophet’s Prophet, in My Jewish Learning)
It is suggested that the divine is beyond, that God means No one is ever alone.

Holiness asks for awareness and inclusion. Both are needed.

In the clanging dissonance of what we've heard in the last few weeks, and today going forward, there is a profound longing for what is holy, for what sounds and resonates awareness and inclusion.

I pray for

What Is

Holy.

not any more

Zen poets are zen’y wise.
Why are people called Buddhas 
After they die? 
Because they don't grumble any more, 
Because they don't make a nuisance 
Of themselves any more.  
- Ikkyu (1394-1481) (dailyzen)
But sound foolish.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

ah, signora oratore della casa dei rappresentanti

Ti abbraccio! 

Parli bene senza parole.

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

locating prayer

Here

is my prayer —

May we

Find ourselves

Here

to which its dark side

We turn to Denmark in 1835 to help guide us through this peculiar time in politics when a government body finds a sitting president guilty of the charges against him but refuses to convict and remove him from office.

I suppose those whose interest is compassion, or those whose livelihood depends on his patronage,  might argue that the man is devoid of decency and competency and thus deserves a convoluted mercy based on that congenital lack.

Here's Kierkegaard's further thoughts on resignation: 
Kierkegaard wrote about resignation in 1835. "I have tasted the fruits of the tree of knowledge and time and again have delighted in their savoriness. But this joy was only in the moment of cognition and did not leave a deeper mark on me. It seems to me that I have not drunk from the cup of wisdom but have fallen into it. I have sought to find the principle for my life through resignation [Resignation], by supposing that since everything proceeds according to inscrutable laws it could not be otherwise, by blunting my ambitions and the antennae of my vanity. Because I could not get everything to suit me, I abdicated with a consciousness of my own competence, somewhat the way decrepit clergymen resign with pension. What did I find? Not my self [Jeg], which is what I did seek to find in that way (I imagined my soul, if I may say so, as shut up in a box with a spring lock, which external surroundings would release by pressing the spring). — Consequently the seeking and finding of the Kingdom of Heaven was the first thing to be resolved. But it is just as useless for a man to want first of all to decide the externals and after that the fundamentals as it is for a cosmic body, thinking to form itself, first of all to decide the nature of its surface, to what bodies it should turn its light, to which its dark side, without first letting the harmony of centrifugal and centripetal forces realize [realisere] its existence [Existents] and letting the rest come of itself."  
 (-- footnote .[9] Journals and Papers of Søren Kierkegaard, 1A Gilleleie, August 1, 1835)  http://www.naturalthinker.net/trl/texts/Kierkegaard,Soren/JournPapers/I_A.html
What will come of itself is unclear.

I'm unsure whether the US Senate will weather this storm successfully, or whether the astringent Republican Party will self-destruct itself or blow up the whole country.

There is little doubt the Kingdom of Heaven is currently as fictitious as Shangra-La, even in the minds of the most hypocritical fervent Christian Trump supporters.

There is, however, an insidious allure to what darkness might come. The underpinnings of false bravado and triumphalist righteousness in this Western exceptionalism, crumbling capitalist democracy, is electric. 

It is a different experience coming upon a massive highway crash and being in the center of it as it happens.  

The wheel is let go of. Hands are raised to protect what we think of as our face. The first impact and sound of crumpling metal and shattering glass arrives at our ears.

We don't know what it is we are hearing.

It is suddenly dark.

i owe ya, iowa

I see it now.

Trump will declare the 2020 elections to be held in abeyance due to uncertainties over accurate and legitimate caucuses and primaries.

He will be the last elected American president.

Thank you, dear citizens, for a successful end to a silly process of never-ending spending, campaigning, and hope-in-the-future rather than an actual corrective to the political cynicism and absurdity of current governance and its hypocrisy.

Other than that, there’s coffee to be made, toast to be popped, cereal to be banana’d, yogurt’d, and chocolate milk’d.

The morning will be salvaged.

The senate? Not so much.

I’ll re-listen to the powerful summation delivered yesterday by House Manager Rep. Adam Shiff.

Monday, February 03, 2020

after the foot-fall is over

Now we return to our regularly scheduled deprogramming.

As justice and integrity were saying — 

(Where did they go?)

(They’ve walked away!)

Sunday, February 02, 2020

all wonder, there

The nurse said “oh” when she came into the room where I’d sat for three hours with a man whose breathing slid to more shallow passage.

The cna came quietly in. They stood, one at side, one at foot. I, off to angle.

Slowly, quietly, one by one, breath followed uncertainly after another breath, until not another came, and what was there was no longer there.

We presented in silence.

Stethoscope listened.

Window allowed opening.

Three of us left.

I stayed with what remained in great silence.

The place of a life.

A stuffed animal on his chest under covers.

Of a Saturday night.

All prayers said, all attention, all wonder, there.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

theology in brief

Movement. Expression/Revelation. Diminishment.

This is

What is

Going on

there’s no bottom

I'm glad the trial is over. Now I can practice zazen without wondering if the floor is going to cave in.

It already has.

the graves we’ve dug

Pádraig Ó Tuama: “So let us pick up the stones over which we stumble, friends, and build altars. Let us listen to the sound of breath in our bodies. Let us listen to the sounds of our own voices, of our own names, of our own fears. Let’s claw ourselves out from the graves we’ve dug. Let’s lick the earth from our fingers. Let us look up and out and around. The world is big and wide and wild and wonderful and wicked, and our lives are murky, magnificent, malleable, and full of meaning. Oremus. Let us pray.”

(—from On Being, A New Imagination of Prayer)

Friday, January 31, 2020

one last thing

Happy birthday Thomas Merton!

Thomas MertonThomas Merton 

“The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them” 
                            (—Thomas Merton, No Man Is An Island)

In prison today, Merton’s words (from Goodreads) held strong conversation. 

nullify

Aesthetically unpleasant

Ethically corrupt.

Religiously bankrupt.

This Friday Kierkegaard assesses the subject of the senate trial as well as the pretend justice it promulgates.

How do you vote?

morning in america

Coffee?

Yes.

Democracy?

No thanks...I don’t think...so

Thursday, January 30, 2020

when immediacy is ripe

 Reading Kierkegaard and listening to senate questioning.
Kierkegaard says, "Infinite resignation is the last stage before faith, so anyone who has not made this movement does not have faith, for only in infinite resignation does an individual become conscious of his eternal validity, and only then can one speak of grasping existence by virtue of faith."[6] He spoke about this kind of consciousness in an earlier book. "There comes a moment in a person's life when immediacy is ripe, so to speak, and when the spirit requires a higher form, when it wants to lay hold of itself as spirit. As immediate spirit, a person is bound up with all the earthly life, and now spirit wants to gather itself together out of this dispersion, so to speak, and to transfigure itself in itself; the personality wants to become conscious in its eternal validity. If this does not happen, if the movement is halted, if it is repressed, then depression sets in."[7] Once Abraham became conscious of his eternal validity he arrived at the door of faith and acted according to his faith. In this action he became a knight of faith.[8] In other words, one must give up all his or her earthly possessions in infinite resignation and must also be willing to give up whatever it is that he or she loves more than God.[9](—Fear and Trembling, from Wikipedia)
Reasoning and rationalizing make thought nearly irrelevant.

I’m infinitely resigned.

reminiscere

The senate trial draws down. Many follow an amoral arrogant anomaly, affecting cringe servile fear of his wrath. No worry about courage, facts, or truth.

Una salus victis nullam sperare salutem. (Virgil) 1.

Oderint dum metuant. (Accius) 2.

Hoc modo nunc vita nostra est. (Ama Nesciri) 3.

...
1. “The only hope for the doomed, is no hope at all...”
2. “Let them hate, so long as they fear...”
3. “This is our way of life now.”

three am, i am

The hour of prayer

When night turns into morning

Where death and birth pause

Bowing to life

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

tuck and protect

Ongoing drama in senate chamber.

Ask, answer, ask, answer.

I feel like rope-a-dope sparring partner.

We American plebeians.