Today At Meetingbrook

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

sole sight, soul safeguard

Number 4 catches my attention: "back to a starting point."

I am not a violent person. Nor do I believe in violence -- neither its use by lawful or unlawful authority. 

There is an erosion of respect for the dignity of so many individuals, peoples, and things in our contemporary culture and society. 

What is the starting point from which we began our travels as human beings toward a communion of community?

Where would a return point us? What sort of turning would bring us to that place where it comes round right?

Prayer, a writer of fiction recently stated, is not to change the world, but to safeguard the soul in the midst of what is taking place.

[rev-uh-loo-shuh n] Spell Syllables noun
1. an overthrow or repudiation and the thorough replacement of an established government or political system by the people governed.
Sociology. a radical and pervasive change in society and the socialstructure, especially one made suddenly and often accompanied byviolence.
Compare social evolution3.
a sudden, complete or marked change in something:
the present revolution in church architecture.
a procedure or course, as if in a circuit, back to a starting point.
a single turn of this kind.
a a turning round or rotating, as on an axis.
b a moving in a circular or curving course, as about a central point.
c a single cycle in such a course.
a (not in technical use) rotation (def 2).
b the orbiting of one heavenly body around another.
c a single course of such movement.
1350-1400; Middle English revolucion < Late Latin revolūtiōn- (stem ofrevolūtiō), equivalent to revolūt (us) (see revolute ) + -iōn- -ion  

Perhaps prayer is revolution. 

Back to —



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

the ambiguity of pivotal moment

"It's so sad. It's just so sad." That's what a woman said in Ferguson Missouri.

Yes. It is.

All of it.

All of it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

monday before thanksgiving

when rain arrives    (with compassion)

frozen ground    (even hardest heart)

will soften    (practices Anicca)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gott gibt und gegeben ist

Is it true that the death of any being, animate or inanimate being, is not the work of God?

God, the given-God, is life itself -- the origin, essence, and continuation of life.

That which is not-God is the desecration, diminishment, and destruction of life.

Do we have to think about this a little more?

Even here, one can think twice, but still find a compassionate inkling under incomprehensible whimsy.
Suicide Bomb Trainer in Iraq Accidentally Blows Up His Class
BAGHDAD — If there were such a thing, it would probably be rule No. 1 in the teaching manual for instructors of aspiring suicide bombers: Don’t give lessons with live explosives. 
In what represented a cautionary tale for terrorist teachers, and a cause of dark humor for ordinary Iraqis, a commander at a secluded terrorist training camp north of Baghdad unwittingly used a belt packed with explosives while conducting a demonstration early Monday for a group of militants, killing himself and 21 other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, army and police officials said. 
Iraqi citizens have long been accustomed to daily attacks on public markets, mosques, funerals and even children’s soccer games, so they saw the story of the fumbling militants as a dark — and delicious — kind of poetic justice, especially coming amid a protracted surge of violence led by the terrorist group, including a rise in suicide bombings.
Let's remind ourselves again -- the behavior of fanatics, whether Muslim, Jewish, or Christian, is not (is not ) Islam, Judaism, or Christianity.

The root of bigotry and violence is fear -- not intellectual conviction, not emotional piety.

Fear, not-God, is the rallying cry of government, cable news demagogues, and church hawkers.

Fear is not-God.

I, rather, trust in God. Perhaps it needs to be said and written as given-God.

So, not-God is different from given-God.

Gott gibt und gegeben ist. (God gives and is given.)

The practice of es gibt is where the breath and the breather practice communion within and through the one breathing.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

a greater joy is required

St. Cecilia and John F Kennedy on November 22.  Both murdered in interval of nineteen hundred years.

I’ve been thinking about the illusions we negotiate. Like safety, security, and fairness.

Murdering will continue. Murderers fear. Only those with no fear wii not murder.

Fearful people are so difficult.

So willing to kill.

Let’s think about it.

Let’s be silent, hear the music of silence, and find courage not to kill.

Friday, November 21, 2014

sentenced to, and sentencing, life

The student just said it, that, for Heidegger, Holderlin was the technology through which the river Ister became a poem presencing itself as sign and significance read and not lost.

Remarkably, an insight that entered the question of technology and unveiled what had been concealed.
The meaning that surfaces
comes to me aslant and
I go to meet it
   word for word, until I am
everything at once. 
(--Rita Dove, from her poem "Reading Holderlin on the Patio with the Aid of a Dictionary")
We joke that at a certain age one rewrites the narrative of one's life through a different lens. The difference between falling in love and failing in love becomes a single letter two letters away from each other (j,k).

The same student said she didn't like failure or the word failure. I held up the book by Kathryn Shultz, Being Wrong, and said there's something about failure we have come to oppose -- a dualistic foible -- and perhaps we might wish to question failure as to where it has come from and, more importantly, where it is going.

If we are a story being told (a story, being, told) why leave anything out?

Tell it, sentence by sentence, everything, at once!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

book under calendar wednesday morning points out...

...what I couldn’t know in 1974 at George Washington Bridge Terminal where and when I purchased it.


Man from down the road at coffee this morning tells me of his flight returning from Japan ten days ago. There was very strong turbulence for well over ten minutes. Everyone had to fasten in. He had left his assigned seat to nap stretched-out strapped-in across an empty three seats up front.

The shaking and rumbling of the plane increased. He experienced concern, then fright, then fear. It was then that a mantra came to him. He repeated it again and again. Something shifted for him.

Here’s the mantra he composed:
This is singing
There’s nothing to fear
We are all
Curiously, he was ok after his recitation.

His mind was not turbulent. Or, perhaps, it was not separated from the outside turbulence.

When he got up and ricocheted down the aisle the fastened flight attendants scolded him his movement.

He returned to his seat next to his wife.

He took her hand.

The plane continued to Chicago.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In the middle of the night

V: Domine labia mea aperies.
 Thou O Lord wilt open my lips.
R: Et os meum annunciabit laudem tuam.
 And my mouth shall declare thy praise.
Walking farm field in Oxford Maine yesterday, I wondered how to pray.

And asked.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

we as well

Fresh shapes at dawn.
"Art in time opens the soul to the numinous light of receiving the vision of the unjudged, with it comes compassion and well-being." (--Robert Hake, from Art in Time, a Clarity blog),
If someone asks what practice emerging from 21st century buddhist/christian interbeing is worth our time, tell them it is the vision of the unjudged practicing unjudging seeing.

Practice, like history, moves with time and circumstance. The flaws of the past nod to evolving reparation of moment, allowing transformation.

Religions, like morning skies, spin into noon and sunset, hibernation, and resurrection as new expression of new awareness -- birdsong chant announcing.

So, we, as well.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Leaving for Ellsworth, snow.

At Good Will store, hail.

To Machias and back, rain.

In bed, weary.

With sleep, dreams.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Where belief ends

              (a haiku)

One belief beheads
Hell with no hope --
No one asks why;

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Prison Haiku


In intimacy

Nothing intervenes -- --

Snow no longer falls

read in

Love learning. (A phrase to be read a variety of ways.)

A phrase

To be

Read in

Many ways.

(See how "a variety of ways" becomes "read in many ways".)
Seneca wrote, “Toti se inserens mundo,” a phrase translated by Hadot as “plunging oneself into the totality of the world.” Taking this plunge could be understood as the heart of active presence, of “being here now.” The Tibetan lama Tarthang Tulku writes in Love of Knowledge (1987) that the self lives in the world like an illegal alien, always afraid that its identity will be questioned. “Taking the plunge” is the exact opposite. It means fearless presence, total involvement, holding nothing back. If it is difficult for the self to do this, if it clings to and defends its own positions and wants, that only underscores the need to challenge the self and the conditions it imposes on experience. 

Those who question the contemporary mindfulness movement ask whether it does justice to the Buddha’s revolutionary call to transform both self and world. But we do not have to conclude from this that the only alternative is to stay within the tradition, though for some that will clearly be the right response. Active presence does justice to the Buddha’s revolutionary impulse on a wholly different basis. Not holding back, fearlessly questioning, always going beyond what we know, active presence offers a way into the deeper existential and universal concerns that the Buddha raised through his teachings. 
(--from The Present Moment, by Jack Petranker, Tricycle Magazine, Winter 2014)
Like the phrase "being read in" wherein we do become signs that are read within the great reality (called "being") which is an open book unbeginning and unfinishable.

Learning loves.

Friday, November 14, 2014

What is prayer

Mind is relationality. Meaning is correct relationality. Sanity is clear connection.

Nothing intervenes clear intimacy.

Intimacy is realization of the interpenetrative unbroken.

The night is cold.

Prayer is being said.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We hold this dear man in the light

From Plum Village website:

Official Announcement

To all Plum Village Practice Centers,
To all Practice Centers and Sanghas World Wide, To our Dear Beloved Friends,

Plum Village, November 12, 2014

Re: Thay’s present health condition and how to support Thay’s recovery

With a deep mindful breath we announce to the world the news that yesterday, the 11th of November 2014, Thay, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh experienced a severe brain hemorrhage. Thay is receiving 24 hour intensive care from specialist doctors, nurses and from his monastic disciples.

At present, Thay is still very responsive and shows every indication of being aware of the presence of those around him. He is able to move his feet, hands and eyes. There are signs that a full recovery may be possible.

For the last two months, Thay’s health had already been fragile due to his advance age. He was hospitalized in Bordeaux on the 1st of November. He was gaining strength day by day until this sudden and unexpected change in his condition.

All the monasteries in the tradition of Plum Village are organizing practice sessions to generate the energy of mindfulness and to send Thay this healing and loving energy. We would like to ask the whole worldwide community of meditation practitioners to participate and support us in this critical moment. We know and trust that Thay will receive all your energy and that this will be a big support in his healing and recovery.

Our practice of stability and peace in this very moment is the best support we can offer to Thay. Let us all around the world take refuge in our practice, going together as a river to offer Thay our powerful collective energy. We are all cells of the great Sangha Body that Thay has manifested in his lifetime.

Future reports on Thay health and recovery will be posted officially at,,, and

On behalf of the Monastic Dharma Teacher Council of Plum Village,

Bhikkhu Thich Chan Phap Dang Bhikkhuni Thich Nu Chan Khong Nghiem

page1image9612 page1image9696


No one is without parents.

The earth and heavens are parents to all of us.

We arise from them and return to them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Practice of meditative voweling

a ee iii oo u


Bell sounds. Bow and begin.


Deus in adjutorium meum intende
Domine ad adjuvandum me festina

This is how prayer becomes present:
God, come to my assistance;
LORD, make haste to help me!

Or, expanded:
Assist my being into instance and intimate compassionate service;
Let what-is-REAL show urgency with movement to action!

Yes, now I have entrance --
Owl calls through still darkness

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The combined difficulty of both war and peace

It is a day to acknowledge and respect veterans both of war and of peace.

Only the warrior and surrounding fields of intimate engagement know the apophatic experience of seeing no other in waging truth throughout reality.

This is our prayer:

May all beings be happy,

May all beings be safe,

May all beings be free, and 

May all beings come to dwell in their true home!

Monday, November 10, 2014

The promise of emptiness

Believe in nothing

But God is nothing

Yes, there is nothing

Other than God 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

A political bagatelle, knocking pegs

Jesus, like many others, has been marginalized and misrepresented. (Modern politics, take note, does this to all who would lead with integrity.) 

James Carroll in his opinion piece in the NYT writes:
And, speaking of God, in what way, actually, can Jesus be said to be divine? A scientifically minded believer wants to discard that notion, but before he does, he should remember that if Jesus were not regarded as somehow divine almost from the start of his movement, we would never have heard of him. And if faith in the divinity of Jesus is left behind because it fails the test of contemporary thought, Jesus will ultimately be forgotten. Is it possible that contemporary thought can learn from this old article of faith? What if the so-called divinity of Jesus lays bare not so much the mystery of God as the majesty of what it is to be human? 
(--from Opinion, NYT, Jesus and the Modern Man, By JAMES CARROL, NOV. 7, 2014) 
Barack Obama isn’t Jesus. He is himself.
"In the teachings of Christ, religion is completely present tense: Jesus is the prototype and our task is to imitate him, become a disciple. But then through Paul came a basic alteration. Paul draws attention away from imitating Christ and fixes attention on the death of Christ The Atoner. What Martin Luther, in his reformation, failed to realize is that even before Catholicism, Christianity had become degenerate at the hands of Paul. Paul made Christianity the religion of Paul, not of Christ. Paul threw the Christianity of Christ away, completely turning it upside down, making it just the opposite of the original proclamation of Christ"
(-- Soren Kierkegaard, in The Journals) 
The Republican Party has become Obama’s Paul, casting a pall over everything about him. They darken him and sidestep any intimation of racial motivation.

People hold on to Obama as they hold on to Jesus -- often out of misplaced perception and distorted belief.

That’s the trouble with humankind.

We’re often not.

Neither kind.

Nor human.

all hands on deck; all souls on ground

new view of old mountain

gift of fallen tree

meanwhile, at harbor

empty moorings

and open channel

this curious early november

Saturday, November 08, 2014

moving rowing peapod boat across harbor

Things are moving. 

Coming things brush by going things.

So much. To do. So little interest

In not doing

any of it

Friday, November 07, 2014

What are we, saying

embodying the dwelling place of the
stepping aside to make room for 

Thursday, November 06, 2014

electricity, given connectivity, returns


Falls heavily.

Not snow.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

votes are in. (sigh)

Snow melts. Trees at corner of house continue to be chainsawed. Body tired. Pain in head. Tom Magliozzi dies. (The laughing spirit of click and clack and Car Talk. That’s notably sad.)

Generator fuel has not run out yet. No electricity yet.

Yawns through the room. Hard work all day.

Pizza box on center island.

One day, they say, all pain will end.

Election was painful. The Supreme Court and Citizens United money took the election to new distance from ordinary people. Democracy, sorry Leonard Cohen, is leaving the USA.

There’s got to be a better way.

What would that way be?

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

what do I pray for

A curious effect -- the more negativity I am exposed to, the more positive I become. It's not a virtue. It's a balancing of affect.

To be positive is to acknowledge that what is occurring is indeed occurring -- without commentary or opinion. 

It is what we have to look at. What we have to face. No conspiracy. No oppressive victimology. Just...there.

A sixth person dies in hospital from awful fire in Portland the other day. Two fishermen are lost at sea when their boat sinks. This is what is real. Not the results of political elections.

In four hours I will stoke the wood stove.

For now, I pray.

Monday, November 03, 2014

after storm

Work all day carrying cedar limbs to edge of property. Hibernian with chainsaw sculpts by eliminating branch by branch felled tree atop telephone and power line. 

Candlelight potatoes,sausage, and mushroom pie.

Moonlight on white snow without electricity.

There's a simplicity to hard work and good fare.

I will stoke the fire through the night.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

All Souls, say, wind and snow

In the afternoon of All Souls the 50mph gusts joined with the foot of wet heavy snow to split and fell the over-150yr cedar tree at northeast corner of house. It fell in three directions -- a triangle splaying out across driveway, gateway, and roadside front. Our shaded privacy from Barnestown Road is gone. Moreso, our twenty-two year friendship with that dear tree now enters new rites of departure.

The thin place between those living-seen and those living-but-unseen is at its thinnest.

We look across and between.