Today At Meetingbrook

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Now the world begins!

When news comes that shocks us, when our minds say, "Uh oh, this is bad," or when we first awaken of a given morning -- these words apply. Now the world begins.

The real sunrise is in
The sky of the heart;
Just as the water jar
Reflects the sun,
So the entire universe
Shines in the heart
Of the One.
When you are in a train,
The whole world appears
To pass by.
Similarly, the whole universe
Can be known within the One.

- Nityananda (d.1961)

Surprise might be the sign of an awakening mind.
It is always curious to hear someone say, "That doesn't surprise me." There's an element of either ennui or feigned control whenever we demure we already know and are not surprised by something, anything that happens.

With each occurrence, the world begins. With each encounter, the world begins. With each appearance, the world begins. With each invitation to respond, the world begins.

This is being present at the creation. At that instant, we have to say something, do something, or not. We might simply be eye and ear, body and soul in the presence of what is unfolding. All time and space originate in this augenblick, this glance of the eye, this seeing now.

Now the world begins.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

The anniversary of the devastation in New York City approaches.

That day, amid many other deaths, when 200 people fell or jumped from the top floors of the World Trade Towers one year ago, eleven seconds remained until they hit their death. A longtime, a lifetime. A time, curiously, of grace.

Grace is within you;
Grace is the Self.
Grace is not something
To be acquired from others.
If it is external, it is useless.
All that is necessary is to
Know its existence in you.
You are never out of
Its operation.

- Ramana Maharshi ( d. 1950)(dailyzen)

The Bangor Maine paper reported today the death by hanging of a 37 year old man in jail. He was serving a 60-day sentence. It was only seconds after his cell was checked, the guard said, that they found him dead. What does his death have in common with the WTC deaths? On the surface it seems an odd question.

I'm coming to suspect that just being alive is the grace of God.

No hoops to jump through. No groveling penance. No judgment and evaluation of deeds to endure.

In a fractured time, is what we need just God, grace, and gratefulness?
These three things? And split seconds to appreciate, to affirm, these gifts?

Camus was right. Suicide -- or the consideration of how to enter and pass through life, through death -- is the only serious philosophical question.

It is our gift to consider this question.
It is our gift to consider this.
It is our gift.

To know the existence of grace in us.

A few seconds.

It is enough.

Sunday, September 01, 2002


Along Ragged this morning an hour hike. Using ski poles as walking sticks I am able not to always keep eyes fixed on trail.

It occurs while ascending and descending over root and rock how much attention is placed on keeping to the path and not falling or turning ankle. A lot like spiritual paths and religions.

Many paths lead from
The foot of the mountain,
But at the peak
We all gaze at the
Single bright moon.

- Ikkyu (1394-1481)(dailyzen)

The two poles steady me on my way. Something about Contemplative and Zen supports along the path allows looking around without fear getting snagged on exposed root or loose stone.

At Quaker Meeting end at Vesper Hill Children's Chapel Diane asks we hold two Friends with failing health in the light. Ed asks if I know a man at local Episcopal Church who died this week. I remember Penny's mother below Boston who is readying her going beyond. Our one certainty -- one we will encounter somewhere along the trail -- is that things change.

And things do change.

Charlotte comes into shop after musicians leave. She tells me one of the Friends we prayed for died last night.
This tall and gentle man disappears around the turn by a tree on the path.

It is September. On trail this morning the fresh air wandered clear and cool with us.
Feeling change, mountain shrugs, turning toward equal balance night and day.

When balance is right, the single bright moon is our guide through the woods.
All we’ll see will be seen well.