Tuesday, May 26, 2020

this kind of lived thinking

Is there an emerging intersection between the questions “Who are you?” and “What are you doing?”

One seems to concern “ being” and the other “action.” Our reflection on them is our "thinking."

We are drawn into a new landscape where these seemingly separate modes of thinking/being/acting arrange themselves into a perspectival phrasing that creates a new inquiry into what we are thinking, who we are being, and where we are doing.  The phrasings can shift around the interrogatory pronouns, eg: who are we... thinking? what are we... acting? and, where are we... being?

Here's what occurs to me about this -- despite the fracturing into separate realities of thought and matter by Descartes in his "I think, therefore, I am" where the res cogitans (the thinking thing, ie thought) and the res extensa (the extended thing, ie matter), are irretrievably split and separated into a dualism that has troubled the way we view existence and the world and one another -- there is a new call for reintegration and non-dual apprehension of what it means to dwell in the world.

In other words, who we are, what we do, and where we think, is a secular and spiritual perichoresis.
The word perichoresis comes from two Greek words, peri, which means “around,” and chorein, which means “to give way” or “to make room.” It could be translated “rotation” or “a going around.” Perichoresis is not found in the Greek New Testament but is a theological term used in three different contexts. In the first, perichoresis refers to the two natures of Christ in perfect union within the same Person. In the second context, perichoresis refers to the omnipresence of God as He “intersects” with all creation (see Acts 17:28). In the third context, it refers to the mutual intersecting or “interpenetration” of the three Persons of the Godhead and may help clarify the concept of the Trinity. It is a term that expresses intimacy and reciprocity among the Persons of the Godhead. A synonym for perichoresis is circumincession.  (--from, What is perichoresis? | GotQuestions.org
And this from Music and Dancing:
The theologians in the early church tried to describe this wonderful reality that we call Trinity. If any of you have ever been to a Greek wedding, you may have seen their distinctive way of dancing . . . It’s called perichoresis. There are not two dancers, but at least three. They start to go in circles, weaving in and out in this very beautiful pattern of motion. They start to go faster and faster and faster, all the while staying in perfect rhythm and in sync with each other. Eventually, they are dancing so quickly (yet so effortlessly) that as you look at them, it just becomes a blur. Their individual identities are part of a larger dance. The early church fathers and mothers looked at that dance (perichoresis) and said, “That’s what the Trinity is like.” It’s a harmonious set of relationship in which there is mutual giving and receiving. This relationship is called love, and it’s what the Trinity is all about. The perichoresis is the dance of love.(–Jonathan Marlowe)  (--from, The dance of love: perichoresis) 
The most important difference between Christianity and all other religions (is) that in Christianity God is not a static thing—not even a person—but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance… (The) pattern of this three-personal life is . . . the great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality.(-–C. S. Lewis ) (--from, The dance of love: perichoresis) 
In what ways would our dwelling in this environment with one another be changed if there were to emerge a synchronous circumincessional appreciation of reality that exemplified the deepest longings and affections of personal and cosmic existence?

I am what I am includes I am what I do, I am what I think, I am what you are thinking, being, doing. It is not difficult to calculate how foreign and frightening this kind of realization might rise up within us. We've cultivated a long narrative, personal and cosmic, that I am not you, your thoughts are not my thoughts, your acts not my acts.

This opportunity to "turn about with" (ie. L. conversatio = conversation) is one beckoning us to follow.

Because I am fond of philosophy, I call this turn a function of the life of philosophy. It is also the functional aesthetic of poetry. (My meandering this morning put me in front of the words of the song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You." written with/for Glen Campbell as he began his descent into Alzheimer's and death. d.8aug17)

Richard Kearney approaches this univocality of integrality in his work of religious philosophy.

This from an interview:
AF: ...You are, I think, actualizing what Pierre Hadot intended – philosophy as a total experience. Hadot was retrieving ancient and Renaissance models of the Platonic academy, and Marsilio Ficino’s Florentine academy where people lived out what they believed. That is unique and timely, we do need such an academy for our world. 
RK: I am very honored by what you say. But while I do try to apply philosophical thinking to the world of action, I would not, in all honesty, consider myself either a real philosopher or a scholar. Let me explain. I think there are philosophers, scholars, and thinkers. By “philosophers” I mean the original great minds: Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, Descartes, Kant, Leibniz, Husserl, Heidegger, Wittgenstein...people who devote their lives to really important questioning and usually have one single world-changing idea. Then there are the “scholars” – brilliant academic commentators who provide detailed analysis and exegesis on the work of the great philosophical minds. Think of Aquinas and the Scholastics or some of the best continental and analytic commentators of our own time. And finally there are what I would call “thinkers”: minds who try to apply philosophical ideas and scholarship to concrete practical matters of living and being-with-others in just com- munities – in other words the lived worlds of human existence, religion and society. I would count as “thinkers” people like Kierkegaard, Pascal, Nietzsche, Kristeva and most existentialists. When Heidegger says that Kierkegaard is not a philosopher but a “religious thinker,” this is what he has in mind. Kierkegaard was not a university academic but someone who took on society, the church, the market place, what he called “the present age.” He was a sort of modern Socrates. If I were to place myself anywhere, it would be as a humble clerk to this kind of lived thinking, or thinking for life, thinking as healing, thinking in action. 
(—from, THINKING IN ACTION: AN INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD KEARNEY, by ALINA N. FELD, The General Theological Seminary and Hofstra University, in Review of Contemporary Philosophy 16, 2017, pp. 150–171, ISSN 1841-5261, eISSN 2471-089)

Monday, May 25, 2020

giving way

So many die in war.

Forgiveness is no longer forgiveness.

What is forgiveness?

Go through. Let go. Go on.

1. There is the fact of things.
2. There is the looking at, and letting be what is taking place, what has taken place.
3. There is the stepping out and through, the stepping beyond the fact of, the letting be of what is.

This is what forgiveness has become.

Nothing you give me. Nothing I give you.

It is what is given.

It is the stark looking, the dropping of thought, the taking of the next step to engage the new reality.

What would you give for freedom?

What is there for the giving?

Disappear into that which is there.

Become what is here.

Now move, act, do.

Be next thing needing to be done.

Absolution gives way to resolution.

decoration, memorial, this day

      We remember, honor, and pray for all dead and deadened by war.

                                                                   known and unknown

war zone, Syria

Vietnam Veterans Memorial ,by David Morefield


Sunday, May 24, 2020

as we consider memorial day, this poem

(No Wind, No Rain)


No wind, no rain,
the tree
just fell, as a piece of fruit does.

But no, not fruit. Not ripe.
Not fell.

It broke. It shattered.

One cone’s
addition of resinous cell-sap,
one small-bodied bird
arriving to tap for a beetle.

It shattered.

What word, what act,
was it we thought did not matter?

(Source: Poetry, September 2019)
Source: Poetry (September 2019)

perhaps this is a prayer

The quote is: Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth. (Oscar Wilde)

Trump is a no-mask guy. He nearly never tells the truth. He occupies that fictitious patch of ground between verifiable facts and mystical intuition. That soggy ground is called “Who cares! Make stuff up! It’s all me and mine and it’s all phony!”

That wobbly soil and sucker-baiting piece of Trumpian real estate is isolated from historically solid data on one side, and intuitive aesthetic visionary wisdom on the other side. It is what he is selling the country and the world these days.

Investigative solid reporting on one side of us and transcending ridges of art, poetry, music and thought on the other side of us, we, unfortunately, are stuck in the middle sewage of blatant and brazen groundless untruth emitted daily onto the landscape by this quicksand smirk and sneer, unmasked and faceless, draining ordinary human feeling dignity.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

when some sudden sound spooks dog

Start again, birds at break of day, say

Their anthem, arising all, unsteady

Faint light mixed rhythm easy breeze —

They wake up singing, ode, astronomical twilight

Friday, May 22, 2020

our mistake

can you

Between mystical intuition and scientific evidence

a third plot of land --

display without fact or vision

and that's where we dwell these days

the fatuous


and infantile

there is no stopping him

he is a mistake

he is our mistake

Thursday, May 21, 2020

itself no other

What does it mean to ascend to heaven?

I can’t imagine.

Except that something radically becomes itself.

Seeing and knowing itself no other.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

the weak around us

Watched film The Lone Survivor (2013). The horror of war. The codes and rules contained therein.

And, in our highly compromised culture of illegality at the highest reaches of political and corporate privilege, we have before us a meditation on how we wish to dwell in a forgetful world.

We have something to learn from Pashtunwali, a pre-Islamic code of hospitality:
“Melmastia” (hospitality) is a key component of Pashtunwali. “Melma” means a guest. However, hospitality is not to be interpreted in the manner a Westerner would interpret it. It means offering hospitality to a guest; transcending race, religion and economic status. It also means once under the roof of the host, a guest should neither be harmed nor surrendered to an enemy. This will be regardless of the relationship between the guest and the host enjoyed previously. In this regard, melmasthia takes precedence over badal (yet another principle of Pashtunwali); so even the enemy who comes seeking refuge, must be granted it and defended against his pursuers Elphinstone in 1815 observed: “The most remarkable characteristic of the Afghans is their hospitality. The practice of this virtue is so much a point of national honour, that their reproach to an inhospitable man is that he has no Pashtunwali” (Elphinstone 1969: 226).

Simply put, “Badal” means “to seek justice or take revenge against the wrongdoer.” There is no time limit to when the injustice can be avenged. If badal is not exercised, the offended man or his family will be considered stripped of honour. The exercise of this principle can lead to generations of bloodshed, feuds, hundreds of lives lost for one insult. It requires a violent reaction to the insult or death or injury inflicted. A badal usually ends with a badal. An action elicits or demands an equivalent response - and the cycle goes on. Khushal Khan Khattak, the great Pashto poet, warrior and soldier, was not far off the mark when he said: “Let the head be gone, wealth be gone, but the honour must not go, because the whole of dignity of a man is due to this honour.”
(--Understanding Pashtunwali, by Yasmeen Aftab Ali, The Nation Newspaper - Lahore. Pakistan, August 06, 2013) 
Wikipedia elaborates on the twelve principles of Pashtunwali:
Although not exclusive, the following twelve principles form the major components of Pashtunwali. They are headed with the words of the Pashto languagethat signify individual or collective Pashtun tribal functions.
  1. Melmastia (hospitality) – Showing hospitality and profound respect to all visitors, regardless of race, religion, national affiliation or economic status and doing so without any hope of remuneration or favor. Pashtuns will go to great lengths to show their hospitality.[2][13][14]
  2. Nanawatai (forgiveness or asylum) – Derived from the verb meaning to go in, this refers to the protection given to a person against his enemies. People are protected at all costs; even those running from the law must be given refuge until the situation can be clarified.[2] Nanawatai can also be used when the vanquished party in a dispute is prepared to go into the house of the victors and ask for their forgiveness: this is a peculiar form of "chivalrous" surrender, in which an enemy seeks "sanctuary" at the house of their foe. A notable example is that of Navy Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of a US Navy SEAL team ambushed by Taliban fighters. Wounded, he evaded the enemy and was aided by members of the Sabray tribe who took him to their village. The tribal chief protected him, fending off attacking tribes until word was sent to nearby US forces.
  3. Nyaw aw Badal ('justice' and revenge) – To seek justice or take revenge against the wrongdoer. No time limit restricts the period in which revenge can be taken. Justice in Pashtun lore needs elaborating: even a mere taunt (or "Peghor/پېغور") counts as an insult.[2] Monetary compensation can be an alternative to badal, for example in murder cases.
  4. Turah (bravery) – A Pashtun must defend his land, property, and family from incursions. He should always stand bravely against tyranny and be able to defend the honour of his name. Death can follow if anyone offends this principle.[2]
  5. Sabat (loyalty) – Pashtuns owe loyalty to their family, friends and tribe members. Pashtuns can never become disloyal as this would be a matter of shame for their families and themselves.
  6. Respect for the environment. Pashtuns must behave respectfully to people, to animals, and to the environment around them. Pollution of the environment or its destruction is against the Pashtunwali.[2]
  7. Groh (faith) – Contains a wider notion of trust or faith in God (known as "Allah" in Arabic and "Khudai" in Pashto).[2] The notion of trusting in one Creator generally comports to the Islamic idea of belief in only one God (tawhid).
  8. Pat, Wyaar aw Meṛaana (respect, pride and courage) - Pashtuns must demonstrate courage [مېړانه]. Their pride [وياړ], has great importance in Pashtun society and must be preserved. They must respect themselves and others in order to be able to do so, especially those they do not know. Respect begins at home, among family members and relatives. If one does not have these qualities they are not considered worthy of being a Pashtun.[2]
  9. Naamus (protection of women) – A Pashtun must defend the honor of women at all costs and must protect them from vocal and physical harm.[2]The killing of women is forbidden in Pashtun culture[15]
  10. Nang (honor) – A Pashtun must defend the weak around him. In Pakistan, the crime rate is much lower in Pashtun areas than non-Pashtun areas[16]
  11. Meheranah(manhood or chivalry)[17]. A turban is considered a symbol of a Pashtun's chivalry
  12. Hewaad (country) – A Pashtun is obliged to protect the land of the Pashtuns. Defense of the nation means the defense of Pashtun culture or "haśob" [هڅوب], countrymen or "hewaadwaal" [هيوادوال], and of the self or "źaan" [ځان]. This principle is also interconnected to another principle denoting the attachment a Pashtun feels with his land or źmaka [ځمکه]. In times of foreign invasion such as the Soviet-Afghan War Pashtuns may unite for war under a religious leader.[12]
(--Wikipedia, Pashtunwali)
In prison this Fall, if the coronavirus allows any return to what passes for normalcy, I will teach with an inmate assistant a course on The Code of the Warrior, Ethics and Character Development. 

Being a warrior is broader and deeper than we might initially think.

And, perhaps, in this country, at this time, we have not yet begun to think.

not long

Do yourself a favor.

Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III | The Cross and the Lynching Tree: A Requiem for Ahmaud Arbery

can you see what I can’t

           (for us)

When the world ended

No one could find a window

To look out or back

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


every time I sit

zazen, nothing happens — what

a gift, with a bow

er sagt es für mich

He says it for me.
Everyone who has ever lived has had to die. Then other people have had their chance. I hope it will go on like that for a very long time.

While it does for me, I will continue to reflect on life, death, and whether there is a hereafter. After reading many hundreds of authors dealing with these issues over the years, at the end of the day I continue to throw in my lot with the great Socrates, who said it best. In his view death was one of two things. Either it was a deep, dreamless sleep, far deeper than anything we experience normally. None of us is afraid of getting a fantastic night’s sleep and none of us regrets it. Death would be even better, even if there is no activity or even consciousness—a restful cessation of existence. There is nothing to fear in it. In modern terms, this is my general anesthetic. 
The alternative for Socrates: after death would come a great reunion, where he would be able to meet and converse with all those who went before. For the Athenian philosopher, that meant having a chance to speak with the greats of his Greek culture: Orpheus, Hesiod, and Homer. For me I suppose it   .would be speaking with those of mine: Dickens, Shakespeare, and Jesus. 
Even though it is debated, in my mind it is relatively clear which of these two choices Socrates, or rather, his ventriloquist, Plato, actually thought. He believed death was the end of the story. But this was not a source of anxiety for him, and it doesn’t need to be for us either. It is instead a motivation to love this life as much as we can for as long as we can, to enjoy it to its utmost as far as possible, and to help others do the same. If all of us do that, we will live on after death—not in a personal consciousness once our brains have died, but in the lives of those we have touched.

(Excerpt from: "Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife" By Bart D. Ehrman, c.2020, Scribd.)
A good phrase, and, I submit, a good no-phase following this current phase — when this time of life comes to an end, and arrives “a restful cessation of existence.”

in ómnibus indivisíbilis

It’s only taken me sixty years to slowly appreciate the four years of Latin taken in high school followed by two more years in college. I’ve the Universalis app with Latin/English for texts used in spiritual reading and praying the hours in Roman Catholic tradition. Sometimes, say at 3:30AM, the phrasing of a text in Latin grabs attention:
Quemádmodum enim sanctæ carnis virtus concorporáles reddit eos, in quibus est, eódem, opínor, modo unus in ómnibus indivisíbilis inhábitans Dei Spíritus ad unitátem spiritálem omnes cogit.  
Just as the power of Christ’s holy flesh makes into one body everyone in whom it exists, in the same way the Spirit of God, being indivisible, ties together the spirits in which it dwells. 
It as the concorporális. The into one body. I’ve been reading Bart Ehrman’s book (Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife, c.2020), and thinking about the different ways the ancient world devised and discerned notions of afterlife, their interpretations and rewrites of what was an evolving comprehension of what, if anything, followed death. The theology, philosophy, and metaphysics was complicated and thought-provoking.

Bottom line — I don’t know what, if anything, I believe; so I’m interested in what I think.

Thus, my middle of the night orations today bring me to concorporális.

Here’s how it was enwrapped:
If we are all the same body with one another in Christ – not just with one another, but with him who, through communion with his flesh, is actually within us – are we not then all of us clearly one with one another and one with Christ? For Christ is the bond that unites us, being at once God and Man.

Following the same line of thought, we can say this about spiritual unity: we all receive one and the same Spirit, I mean the Holy Spirit. So in a way we are blended together with one another and with God. Even though we are many individuals and Christ, the Spirit of the Father and his own Spirit, dwells in each one of us individually, still the Spirit is really one and indivisible. And so that one Spirit binds together the separated spirits of each one of us so that we are seen to be one, together in Christ. 
Just as the power of Christ’s holy flesh makes into one body everyone in whom it exists, in the same way the Spirit of God, being indivisible, ties together the spirits in which it dwells. [.Quemádmodum enim sanctæ carnis virtus concorporáles reddit eos, in quibus est, eódem, opínor, modo unus in ómnibus indivisíbilis inhábitans Dei Spíritus ad unitátem spiritálem omnes cogit.]
Again, Paul emphasized this point: Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all. As the one Spirit abides in us, the one God and Father will be with us through the Son, leading those who share the Spirit into unity with each other and with himself. 
 (— From a commentary on the gospel of John by Saint Cyril of Alexandria, bishop, “What binds us together is Christ“)
 Just that.

For deliberation or contemplation.

As faint light emerges at 4:15 in the morning.

Indivisible in all.

Monday, May 18, 2020

our empty gathering

I will again find mallet and maple.

I will thank my pileated siblings for their perseverance.
I love the sound of the han, particularly in the early morning. It is a sharp and definitive sound but at the same time, a warm and inviting sound. The han doesn’t just call an individual to zazen, the striking of the han gathers us to sit zazen together. The han gathers the power of the sangha. In an analogous way, practice period calls and gathers the power of the sangha as well. Dogen writes of the coming together for practice period as,
Clouds settle on the mountain,
like children with their father.  
             (Eihei Koroku, Leighton and Okumura, p. 183) 
"Clouds" symbolizes Zen monks, and the mountain refers to the monastery. So, we are the clouds gathering around Red Cedar Mountain Zen temple. I like this image very much. In our everyday lives, we are clouds following the currents of our own lives. But, during practice period we make that special effort to gather around the mountain. 
On the han, there is an inscription which reads:
Great is the matter of
Birth and death
Quickly passing, gone, gone
Awake each one, awaken
Don't waste this life
This verse, I think, offers excellent guidance regarding the attitude we should cultivate toward practice. It cuts directly to the point – we will die some day. Every one of us will die. There is no escape. Our mortality is an important backdrop which can help us frame our practice. The more we hesitate and procrastinate, the closer death comes and the less time to practice, less time to live our lives vividly. This verse can also be used to guide our attitude and effort during practice period. We can re-evaluate our priorities, and bring formal practice into focus and make it more vivid. 
The han is one of the ways we mark the sitting schedule at monasteries and Zen centers. The schedule in Zen practice isn’t about rigidity, but is a way to encourage selfless practice.
(—from,  The Han  by Kuden Paul Boyle, A talk given during the June, 2011, Chapel Hill Zen Center Practice Period)
What sound is this that calls no one to silent sitting?

Our empty gathering.

The children stay at home; yellow school bus brings meals to their dooryard.


Obituary of woman with whom I sat two months ago. Her doll. Her smile while turning it sitting in chair. The country christian singer on pbs overhead. The frown if any question was asked of her. A colloquy of silence. A fine teacher. Her quiet laughter. Cremation, it read. The orphaned companion her hands held.

Sunday, May 17, 2020


Maybe the practice is resurrecting Jesus rather than worshipping him or calling him your personal lord and savior.

Maybe the spiritual exercises of nikos kazantzakis were aptly titled The Saviors of God. His Ασκητική, asceticism, was severe and troubling. In his introduction he wrote, “We came from an abyss of darkness; we end in an abyss of darkness: the interval of light between one and another we name life."

Adyashanti’s description of his own view is quieter. He writes about spiritual autonomy:
Spiritual autonomy is knowing who and what you are—knowing that you are divine being itself, knowing that the essence of you is divinity. You are moving in the world of time and space, appearing as a human being, but nonetheless you are eternal, divine being, the timeless breaking through and operating within the world of time. To Jesus, spirit is everything. Nothing matters more than spirit or, as I like to say, divine being. Divine being is what Jesus is here for; it is the vitality source from which he moves, from which he speaks, from which his critique arises. He is the living presence of divine being. He’s a human being too, but he’s here to convey divine being, and that comes out most clearly in the Gospel of Mark. 
(—Excerpt from: "Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic" by Adyashanti. Scribd)
Bronze encircled by lights in porch window of hermitage

If divine being is spiritual life, and incarnated being is who and where we are, we have an everyday practice wherein one embodying divine being is worth a glance and listening.

The constant in divine being and human being is being.

Being itself.

The constant in divine life and human life is life.

Life itself.

Life without distinction.


Risen into


a political casualty

It is very hard to understand the meanness of people.

I don’t come close to understanding.

It is a bridge that has collapsed.

I look across at faces that have become unrecognizable.

Meanness disfigures.

Face it.

the world I face

If anyone is feeling insane these days, you are not alone.
What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance?
(—Theodore Roethke, in poem, In a Dark Time)
I have gone dark with the world I face. 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

sorrow without borders

Kabul hospital attack: "They came for the mothers."

On the morning of May 12, unknown attackers opened fire on our maternity ward at Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 24 people and wounding at least 20 more—most of them patients. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams around the world are devastated by this horrific attack. “No one could believe they would attack a maternity ward,” said Frederic Bonnot, MSF’s head of programs in Afghanistan, who survived the attack. “They came to kill the mothers.” Of the 26 women who were hospitalized at the time, eleven were killed—three of them in the delivery room with their unborn babies. An MSF midwife was also among the dead. Bonnot returned to the hospital the day after the massacre to piece together what happened. Read more.

this worthiness of our full attention

What might we do with our eyes? Let them look without interference of opinion or judgment.

Cantáte Dómino, mementóte mirabílium eius quæ fecit, allelúia.

What shall we do with our voice? Let it tell what is seen with a song of present awareness.

Cantáte Dómino, mementóte mirabílium eius quæ fecit, allelúia.

What shall we do with our heart? Let it wonder in the midst of incessant gifting appearance.

Cantáte Dómino, mementóte mirabílium eius quæ fecit, allelúia.

Silence sings within sound as sunlight passes through woodland. Each, silence and sunlight, are genesis of what is still to appear with attentive presence.

Sing to the Lord; tell all his wonderful works, Alleluia.

What is “the Lord” — this Dom, this dignity, this worthiness of our full attention? 
Sing to this worthiness appearing before our attentive presence, this wonderful manifestation of earth, creatures, fellow beings, mysterious appearances, and unnamable mystery.

I think about what Christ means.

Christ is the manifestation of the inner dignity of everything and everyone.

There are too few practicing awareness of the inner dignity of all being, each being.

To be Christian has little to do with dogma, belief, ritual, denomination, doctrine, membership, headship, signing on a line, or costumes of compliance.

A Christian is one who is Christ.

That is...

The revelation of reality as it is with the love that is inherent and inchoate in each expression in each moment in each possibility presenting itself, within you, as you, with and without 
all that is this unfathomable manifestation. 

Eyes, voice, heart — deep within the emergence of dignity, recognized and appreciated, 
the presence and the coming to be of what we are in the face of 
what is looking 
back at us, through us, with us, as us, 
what is yet to be

Cantáte Dómino, mementóte mirabílium eius quæ fecit, allelúia.
(—Antiphon to Psalm 104 (105), Office of Readings, Saturday, 16May2020)

Friday, May 15, 2020

perpetual defining

Reading final paper at a distance, and commenting without conversation over a long separation, a dialogue (of sorts) attempts to encircle how it is we come to be what we are becoming.

Had we been face-to-face in the prison education meeting room, would such language be used?
Heidegger’s argument of the inauthentic self suggests that the self, which a person identifies him or herself as, is inauthentic because their definition of themselves is incongruent with their actual nature and purpose of being. The self to which they subscribe is an artificial, constructed one, created by conceptual references and abstractions that correspond to how society wants a person to be.  (ml)
Is that incongruence, that incompatibility, a noncompliance of material facticity? Or, intentional difference?
That we construct our nature by choosing that which we wish to be in and through particular situations and circumstances — and, given, no blueprint for conformity with Platonic Ideas of Perfection — are we talking about the tension between inner and outer determination of outcome?
Is our situational intelligence, operating moment to moment,  the evolving coming-to-be of the individual in conformity with the inchoately manifesting urge-to-become?  (wfh)
Contrary to what the critics of this philosophy believe, existentialism is more than a philosophy propounding the nothingness of life or the absurdity of the human existence. It is a philosophy of a demanding freedom predicated upon a responsibility, and this responsibility entails the perpetual defining of what man is.  (ml) 
“defining” is an interesting word: 
“late Middle English (also in the sense ‘bring to an end’): from Old French definer, from a variant of Latin definire, from de- (expressing completion) + finire ‘finish’ (from finis ‘end’).” (Dictionary.com)
It suggests, in your phrasing, that “perpetual defining” might turn out to be a conundrum of not-yet-finished proclamations that masquerade as completed statements that immediately fall apart so as to allow the next iteration of emergence. 
A woman who was intensely artistic and mystical said to me some fifty years ago (apropos of nothing) that “Christ is emergence.” Her words caught my attention then. They reappear today. (wfh)
(--for Independent Study course, Existentialism: East and West) 
The poet, as you might expect, says it better:

The Waking
                 BY THEODORE ROETHKE 
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go. 
We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. 
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground!   I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go. 
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. 
Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go. 
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go. 
Theodore Roethke, "The Waking" from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke. Copyright 1953


Silence holds truth until truth is ready to sound itself openly.

Prayer is where silence goes when truth cannot discern the sound of its own voice.

These days, we’re all wandering hermits listening to trees — those still standing, and those in repose returning to humus.

In an op-ed David Brooks writes a piece titled Ordinary People Are Leading the Leaders, that America looks better from the bottom up. 

Like the border collie running around trees playing peek-a-boo, I’m uncertain whether it’s an exercise of fun, or, trying to spin out of one’s anxieties by racing around in circles.

In the evenings we watch a spy series. The way everything is manipulated and the way what we think is real is turned every which way in service of self-interest or ideology is maddening. The code of silence is excruciating as we cry out “Tell him, tell him.”

Our affect these days is somewhere between the lethal silence of explosive secrecy and the healing silence of healthy acceptance and surrender to an underlying interconnection of authentic love.

My concern these days is that we’re more frightened than optimistic. Of course the virus worries us. But the real fear is the ever increasing creep of fabricated dis-mis-information and cynical manipulation of both history and tomorrow.

The people, like the kids, are alright. 

But the big and undeniable danger is the triumvirate lock on our government by Trump, Barr, and McConnell.

Fear arises with the realization there is no exit and no help as flood waters rise or fire licks at the door. These three men are using escape boats for their own safety. They are throwing gasoline on the flames of our distrust.


Listening to everything

Predawn light

Hears only Itself

Thursday, May 14, 2020

often disguised

The argument seems to be be drawn between science and politics.

Dr. Rick Bright testifies before Congress. He has become a Whistleblower after being removed from his position at BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority). 

The argument -- let's be generous and call it a conversation -- is testy and sometimes snarky. As with everything else in this time of American political conflict, the line is drawn as to whether you are trying to get Trump reelected or you want to subvert the presidency and ruin the Republic.

While a simplistic assessment, this is the landscape of simplistic thinking. That we are in a parallel time of a deadly virus with an equally dangerous economic impact is a complicating dynamic. They are not equally deliberated, they are not easily separated.

This in The Daily Beast:
President Trump was wary of making preparations for the coronavirus pandemic because he was concerned doing so would sent the stock market into a panic, the Financial Times reports. In a quote attributed to an unnamed Trump confidant who is said to speak to the president frequently, it’s claimed: “Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it... That advice worked far more powerfully on [Trump] than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate.” Elsewhere in the FT investigation into Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, an unnamed administration official is reported to have told the paper that trying to advise the president is like “bringing fruits to the volcano... You’re trying to appease a great force that’s impervious to reason.”
"Unnamed" is always suspect. But in this time of retaliation and revenge, the impulse to remain stealth when offering opinion or analysis takes shape more and more frequently. Bashing by tweet,  public shaming at press rallies, and cable tv stations with scurrilous ad hominem attacks, makes unveiling and truth telling itself an act of bravery and courage.
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” – Lao Tzu 
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” – Seneca
I'd prefer my cowardice not become a defining characteristic.

I look forward to a time when civil discourse, equitable listening, and thoughtful analysis become the rule. A time when dialogue is preferred over serial monologues, and respectful appreciation extends a welcome that is accepted by a majority of citizens seeking successful life together in a complex world.  

nothing to see here

sunrise over desk

sees closed folders, ninety three 

millions miles away

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

no other than

It is 47 degrees in dooryard. Sunporch thermometer reads 94 degrees. Laundry hangs behind prayer flags in gathered heat for short work of drying.

They say it is May.
春有百花秋有月  Spring comes with its flowers, autumn with the                                       moon,  
夏有涼風冬有雪  summer with breezes, winter with snow; 
若無閑事挂心頭  when useless things don't stick in the mind,  
更是人間好時節  that is your best season.  
(--Wu-men Huai-kai (無門慧開 Mumon Ekai), from Wu-men kuan (Mumonkan) case 19 (The Light Inside the Dark 97) https://sacred-texts.com/bud/zen/poems.htm)
This time of seclusion and mindful awareness of everything passing, within and without -- what a curious gift!

Some of us die, some get sick; some of us live with questions the only visitors.  There are many suggestions, but nowhere to go for reliable answers. Some try to obfuscate and confuse. Some to clarify and counsel. So many tugs on our attention. So much cause for wariness.

Wisdom, I suspect, wanders solitary on mountain trails.

Here is Tung-Shan's (807-869 CE) gatha:
Earnestly avoid seeking without, lest it recede far from you. 
Today I am walking alone, yet everywhere I meet him. 
He is now no other than myself, but I am not now him. 
It must be understood in this way in order to merge with Suchness. 
(--from, The Record of Tung-Shan, Buddhism Now, 6oct14) 
Another translation of one of the lines heard on a podcast -- Now I am all alone going on.

What a wonderful poem it makes:
I am 
going on  
Perhaps, whether alert to it or not, we are no other than 'all' -- 'alone,' 'going on.'

We think of one-another.

By doing so, we are intimately praying for one-another.

All of us.

Going on.