Do I want to understand why I am here and alive on this planet?
Just the fact of it is enough.
The Republican Party might not be racist. But, “You have to be comfortable having a racist as president.” (—Stuart Stevens, author of It Was Always a Lie)
Something frightening is happening.
He’s skillful at mocking and insulting women.
Especially women of color.
Trailer for film “Zen For Nothing” ends with these words:
whatever you may think
it’s gone already
I've been thinking about my life.
Nothing seems good enough.
Clare of Assisi wanted the privilege of owning nothing. She mostly got it.
Then I remember George Gershwin, Louie Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald gave us "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin."
Or, sat (Sanskrit for ‘being’) is sat-faction, (facio, facere, feci, factus: Latin for ‘to make‘, or ‘do’). Thus, sat-is-faction.
What this country needs:
1. An intelligent, compassionate leader.
2. Someone who refuses to cultivate acrimony and discord.
3. Anyone who will lift the cloud of despair and angry depression.
You can’t always get what you need, but, let’s just say it — we know what we want.
A Mirror Image
Thursday, August 6, 2020
An image is not of itself, nor is it for itself. It rather springs from the thing whose reflection it is and belongs to it with all its being. It owes nothing to a thing other than that whose image it is; nothing else is at its origin. An image takes its being immediately from that of which it is the image and has one sole being with it, and it is that same being. —Meister Eckhart
Sometimes it takes a mystic to translate another mystic for the rest of us. My dear friend, CAC faculty member, and modern mystic James Finley helps us understand Eckhart’s words. A slow, prayerful reading of this brilliant text will deepen your own insight:
[Meister Eckhart] says that the generosity of the Infinite is infinite and [that God] gives [God’s self] away as the reality of all things. And he says that our sorrow is that we do not know that we are the generosity of God. . . .
This is a paraphrase of Eckhart: Imagine you’re standing before a full-length mirror, and imagine the image of you is conscious, that it can think. And this image of you has been through a lot of therapy; it’s taken a lot of courses on being an insightful image. And it has come to a point in which it informs you that it doesn’t need you.
You say to the image of you, “Well, you know, this is going to be rough, really, since you’re an image of me.”
“No,” the image says, [after a pause], “I’ve worked on this; I’ve come to this point.”
And so, to gently help the image out, you step halfway off the side of the mirror; and half the image disappears. The image has a panic attack and goes back into therapy and says to the therapist, “I’m not real! I’m not real! I was working on my affirmations. I bolstered up my confidence, but I don’t know where I went. I buckled!”
Now, the image was real, but the image wasn’t real in the way that it thought it was real. It was real, but not real without you. It was real as an image of you. See?
Eckhart says, “The image owes no allegiances to anything except that of which it is the image.”. . . There is nothing that has the authority to say what it is except that of which it is the image. And so it is with us, Eckhart says, that we are the image of God. Without God, we are nothing, absolutely nothing. In being the image of God, we owe no allegiances to anything but the Infinite Love in whose image we are made. And the idolatry of diversions of the heart where we wander off into cul-de-sacs with the imagined authority of anything less or other than Infinite Love to name who we are: this is the problem.
(—from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations, 6Aug2020)
... ... ...
The Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn wrote:
“Your mind is like the sea. When the wind comes, there are very big waves. When the wind dies down, the waves become smaller and smaller, until finally the wind disappears altogether and the sea is like a clear mirror. Then mountains, trees and all things are reflected on the surface of the sea. There are many thought-waves in your mind. But if you continue to practice don’t know mind, this thinking will become gradually smaller, until finally your mind will always be clear. When the mind becomes clear, it is like a mirror: red comes and the mirror is red; yellow comes and the mirror is yellow; a mountain comes and the mirror is a mountain. Your mind is the mountain; the mountain is your mind. They are not two. So it is very important not to be attached either to thinking or to not thinking. You mustn’t be upset by anything that goes on in your mind. Only don’t worry and keep don’t know mind.”
(—from Three Letters to a Beginner, by Seung Sahn)
... ... ...
As we think about what we call “God” — as we think with what we call “mind” —there are premises and templates applied to the inquiry.
If there is only “itself” rippling and reverberating across the expanse of “itself” — then all talk of something “other” looking “at” something other than itself is rhetorical flourish.
Rather, the itself looking “as” itself into itself is self-reflection or self-inquiry with no-other as manifestation of what-is and what-is-coming-to-be within the field of emptiness that is Being-Itself.
Today is, in the Christian metaphor, the feast of Transfiguration. It is there, in a diaphaneity of clear sight, a transparent and traceless movement reveals the whole of things in omnipresence and infinite variety, each as itself, all as no-other.
A koan meetingbrook has held for its meditation has been:
Here is One-
Poetry as tsunami of restitution. (Just a phrase that comes to mind.)
This from a paper, Philosophy of Nothingness and Love:
Even though later Heidegger's poems touched existential matters, as they were detached in their form from a structured philosophy, they did not get recognition as such in Europe; moreover, they had become a proof, that Heidegger abandoned philosophy for good. Their content would include 'holy things', 'inspiration', 'holy chaos', 'pure heart', etc, and are filled with transparent, mysterious and lofty ideas. Obviously Heidegger did not do poetry for the sake of art, but he used it as a vehicle to reveal basic, grave and deep notions regarding existence. In summary, here are the main points from it.
1. The essence of fine arts lies not in their beauty, but in their power to convey truth about existence.
2. A human can but put into a frame of an existential model by words. Poetry is the highest form of art.
3. Even though poetry might look pure and naive, in reality it is the most dangerous and difficult work. A poet is exposed to an existential storm and God sent lightnings.
4. Poetry has the power to start the whole history all over again, save and establish awakening truth for the fallen humanity; it's the deepest gift one can ever get. (based on Heidegger's ontologic thought by Jiro Watanabe, Keiso Shobo, Tokyo 1985)
(--in Philosophy of Nothingness and Love, by Kiyokaza Nakatomi )
This poem by the New Zealand writer Nadine Anne Hura,
Rest now, e Papatūānuku
Breathe easy and settle
Right here where you are
We’ll not move upon you
We’ll stop, we’ll cease
We’ll slow down and stay home
Draw each other close and be kind
Kinder than we’ve ever been.
I wish we could say we were doing it for you
as much as ourselves
But hei aha
We’re doing it anyway
It’s right. It’s time.
Time to return
Time to remember
Time to listen and forgive
Time to withhold judgment
Time to cry
Time to think
Remove our shoes
Press hands to soil
Sift grains between fingers
Time to plant
Time to wait
Time to notice
To whom we belong
For now it’s just you
And the wind
And the forests and the oceans and the sky full of rain
Finally, it’s raining!
Ka turuturu te wai kamo o Rangi ki runga i a koe
This sacrifice of solitude we have carved out for you
He iti noaiho — a small offering
People always said it wasn’t possible
To ground flights and stay home and stop our habits of consumption
But it was
It always was.
We were just afraid of how much it was going to hurt
— and it IS hurting and it will hurt and continue to hurt
But not as much as you have been hurt.
So be still now
Wrap your hills around our absence
Loosen the concrete belt cinched tight at your waist
And we will do the same
(--In Parabola article, The Natural Order of Things, by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, July 2020, )
There are so many ways to avoid what is true and starkly in front of us. Suchness calls out from its rooted manifesting hiddenness. What is, as it is, coming to be.
(for foggy Monday morning)
A harbor wave. The
restoration of something
lost. Sly poetry.
When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
– And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
– Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams.
(poem by Czeslaw Milosz, 1911-2004)
Martha said to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God: he who is to come into the world.
(Antiphon to Canticle of Zechariah, Morning Prayer, Feast of Martha)
Cut off what you’re holding on to: the attachment to your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, the residue of your discriminating, egocentric consciousness. As Yasutani Roshi said, “Most people place a high value on abstract thought, but Buddhism has clearly demonstrated that discriminative thinking lies at the root of delusion.”
Thoughts—and feelings triggered by thoughts—are mutable and impermanent, and yet because we humans incorrectly identify our being with our thinking, we construct a false notion of ourselves out of ideas and memories that have no actual substance. No wonder the ego is called “the false self.” The false self—the thinking mind—is continuously talking to itself, disturbing itself, even lying to itself. Reimagining the past or fantasizing about the future. Setting up expectations that aren’t met, then casting judgment and blame. Struggling every step of the way to stop struggling. Naturally, it doesn’t work.
This realization is a critical departure from the methods of modern psychology or self-help. Buddhism in general, and Zen in particular, is not concerned with the content of thoughts or feelings, except to recognize that they are the cause of confusion, emotional paralysis, and pain. In and of themselves, thoughts are no big deal, except when we make a big deal out of them, creating a dualistic separation from reality, which is a wordy way to say “a problem.”
“Emotionally we have many problems, but these problems are not actual problems; they are something created; they are problems pointed out by our self-centered ideas or views,” Suzuki Roshi said.
Easy for a Zen master to say, but hard to believe until you see it for yourself. Such is the kindness of Bodhidharma in this koan. Out of boundless compassion, he doesn’t give you what you ask for, but he tells you how to find it yourself. Until you free yourself, you won’t realize that there is no self to free. You are imprisoned by nothing and no one but your own thoughts, which self-liberate the moment you stop thinking about them.
(Brihadāranyaka-Upanishad)Book ILead me from the unreal to the real!Lead me from darkness to light!Lead me from death to immortality!
Hence this Self is the goal of all creatures. As long as man makes offerings and sacrifices, he pleases the gods; as long as he studies the Wedas, he pleases the wise; as long as he offers libations and desires chil- dren, he pleases the fathers; as long as he gives food and shelter, he pleases mankind; as long as he gives fodder and water the beasts are pleased; if birds and beasts down to the ants are fed in his house, they are pleased. But everybody wishes good to the man who has this knowledge; everybody is good to the man who is good to him.
In the beginning there was the Self, one and sole. He thought: 'Let me have a wife that I may have chil- dren; let me have wealth that I may do something in the world,' Thus far desire can go; even if man wants more, he cannot get it.
A lonely man thinks of a wife and children, of wealth and work; and so long as he does not get any of these, he thinks he is incomplete. Yet he is already complete; his mind is himself; speech his wife; life his offspring; eyes are his human wealth, for through eyes he gets it; ears his divine wealth, for through ears he gets it; body his work, for through body he works. This is the fivefold sacrifice; it applies to man, animal, every- thing. Who knows this, gets everything.
Ni a fi gbà ogbón ríbí-ríbí.
Bí a ò bá ní ogbón ríbí-ríbí nínú Àì kó oògùn ríbí-ríbí.
Bí a ò bá kó oògùn ríbí-ríbí, Àì wò àrùn ríbí-ríbí.
Bí a ò bá wò àrùn ríbí-ríbí,
Àì gbà owó ríbí-ríbí.
Bí a ò bá gbà owó ríbí-ríbí, Àì rí nkan ríbí-ríbí gbé se.
Is what we use to acquire profound wisdom
Without these penetrating sensibilities
We are incapable of producing potent healing therapeutic
If we lack the capacity to make powerful medicines We will be unable to mitigate deep suffering, profound illness and destruction
If we lack the ability to attend to these forms of extreme disruption
We will not achieve wealth and prosperity
Without wealth and prosperity
We cannot make significant contributions to the health and well being of our community.
(Ifá verse (from Ológbón Méjì, the source of deep wisdom)
AbstractIncorporating Divine Presence, Orchestrating Medical Worlds: Cultivating Corporeal Capacities of Therapeutic Power and Transcendence in Ifá Everyday PracticebyAmy Harriet GardnerJoint Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Anthropology with the University of California, San Francisco University of California, Berkeley Professor Laurence Cohen, Chair
This dissertation focuses on the cultivation of specialized corporeal capacities of therapeutic power and transcendence among Ifá medical-ritual specialists in Yorùbá communities in contemporary Nigeria (and the resonance and implications of their practices within a global context). Rather than interrogate “medical (and/or religious) knowledge” as the object of inquiry, this project explores the power of the learning process –– as a practice of everyday living –– to cultivate, within student-apprentice and healer-sage alike, a distinctive (sonically and spiritually informed) somatic mode of being-in, perceiving, interpreting, and attending-to-the-world, and thus, to orchestrate Ifá’s distinctive medical and religious life-world. In so doing, this dissertation seeks to redress the historical stigmatization of African and Diasporic religions, subjectivities, and knowledges within the scholarly and popular imaginations and to contribute to recent scholarship on sensuous and sacred ways of knowing.An ethnography of embodiment, the senses, and practices of everyday living, this work is fundamentally informed, methodologically and theoretically, by a phenomenological approach and the author’s embodied experiences (as a professionally trained dancer; as a physician; and –– in her extensive training and continuous, on-going learning process –– as an Ifá healer- specialist). Focusing on the embodied and the sensorial as formative principles in, respectively, the mundane and specialized medical-devotional (Ifá) life-worlds of the Yorùbá, this project explores the ways in which the sonically-informed sensorium of Yorùbá society –– as articulated through common and specialized practices of everyday living –– cultivates (and naturalizes) particular ways of being-in, attending-to, and making-sense-of intersubjective experience and the phenomenally given world for the populace at large and for Ifá specialists, in particular.
(from cereal bowl)
Friday twenty forthwashing machine twists, splashessheets from boat and bed
Rig Veda, Mandala 10, hymn CXXIX. Creation.
Nasadiya Sukta ("Not the non-existent")
Then even nothingness was not, nor existence.
There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping?
Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?
Then there were neither death nor immortality,
nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining.
There was that One then, and there was no other.
At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness.
All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing,
arose at last, born of the power of heat.
In the beginning desire descended on it -
that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom
know that which is, is kin to that which is not.
And they have stretched their cord across the void,
and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces.
Below was strength, and over it was impulse.
But, after all, who knows, and who can say
whence it all came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are later than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?
Whence all creation had its origin,
he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows - or maybe even he does not know.
(See also: Seven English Versions of Rig Veda 10:129)