Today At Meetingbrook

Friday, March 28, 2003

“God perceived the world,” Sonny said in prison. This is a change from “God created the world.”

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
In the very here and now,
The practitioner dwells
In stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who knows
How to dwell in mindfulness
Night and day
“One who knows the better way to live.”

( - Bhaddekaratta Sutra)

From prison, an alternative to creation spirituality, creatio ex nihilo, or even creationism. Instead, now, attention out of awareness. Now, “And the world is seen manifest,” resides alternatively alongside the phrase, “And the word is made flesh.”

God is seeing through what is.
God is what is seeing through.

There is a variation of the question, “Which came first the chicken or the egg? That question asks, “What is seeing what is?” Or, it can also be stated as a declarative, “What is seeing what is.”

Can the world be transformed by re-wording it?
Can our words be transformed by seeing the world new now?

Our deepest natural instinctive intuition sees the world in its true being.
Without adding or subtracting, are we willing or able to see the world as what is seeing the world?

Is the heart of God transformation of the world by fullness of word?

Transformation heals what is whole.
The whole of what is sees healing transformation.

Then, as everybody listens and watches with care, Andre reads his poem.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

“Sun is warm,” Saskia says standing half in front of kitchen window half in front of stove stirring orange chocolate in saucepan for almond torte in oven.

Cesco stretches between worktable and cold iron wood stove watching me pass, rubbing flank of his sensitive hindquarter. It has been lovely having him come to live with us. Sando heavy-lids on daybed.

Mu-ge intent on windowsill in upstairs study marveling at open airing through screen at birds below on this sweet spring morning. He takes calculations on height and distance to ground, torque to break through screen, probability of snatching bird in flight, and remaining time to right his legs landing on broken open seed shell below feeder. It’s a long deliberation hardly distracted by triangle wind chime tolling in his ear 16 inches away. He flattens down, at ease. The sun is rounding corner of old farmhouse to window brightening white spot on nose. He jumps back into room. Paw steps descending stairs.

Gale and Tom led Laura Soul-Friend Circle last evening. There was talk of being a community of one, that of the individual willing in love to be the one they are and open to each other. A community of two might result with this foundation. So, also, a community of twenty or two hundred. All in love.

The person realizing a community of one does not give herself or himself away. Rather, they open themselves to another. A community of two does not restrict themselves to only the other, but opens their love to allow others the radiance of their love, inspiring them to deepen their own love.

When something is open there is no giving or taking. When someone opens himself or herself there is nothing of them there to be given or taken. How, we might ask, is this love?

In some introductory comments in his book The Word as Truth (A Critical Examination of the Christian Doctrine of Revelation in the Writings of Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth), c.1944, A.A. Fairweather writes,
Barth insists that only the present event of God’s speaking is revelation. The written Word is the witness that God speaks. Despite its inclusion in the threefold form of God’s Word, it in no way expresses the content. (p.viii)

Two pages earlier Fairweather says,
Aquinas conceives revelation as given through intermediaries, an “inner light” elevating the mind of man to perceive with certainty what is thereby revealed. Speech is not the bearer of revelation. (p.vi)

Without written word or spoken word, what is God revealing right now?

War is visceral. No writing or speaking contains its revelation. The revelation of war is opened in the body. It, too, is incarnational.

Embodiment is the revelation of God’s presence. Like some Zen koan, we are asked to present our understanding in exactly who we are at this moment.

A community of one? Open within oneself?
A community of two? Allowing others to share the radiant mind and heart of what is found there?
A community of twenty, two hundred, two million, two billion? All open to the presence of love?

Movement and stillness:
Both are part of the same principle,
Emotions of this dusty world
Are not as important as the Way,
So I endure this thin paper robe
Until the dawn bell,
While pomegranate leaves and mulberry
Branches dance in the north wind.

- Tesshu Tokusai (d.1366)

For Aquinas and Barth there is the problem of sin. What blocks us, what defaces or effaces the revelation of divine truth and love to us? Each had their theories. For us today, what is it that diverts our energies to war and varied versions of narrow interests pitting one against the other instead of one open with and to the other?

Fairweather ends his study saying,
The witnesses to revelation in the past may warn us to expect a future self-revelation of God to us. But they certainly do warn us that His self-revelation is already abiding in operation; that it is God who awaits our response to it; and that this is the part that falls to us in the consummation of His divine purpose. (p.148)

How devoutly wished is this consummation? How complete is what is open? How unblock and dissolve barriers to love?

Open oneself to the light?

Without written word or spoken word, what is God revealing right now?

The sun is warm.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Breathe!

Wednesday Haiku
Dismal day in Maine,
Raw chill clouds over brown ground,
Rain and tears on way.

(wfh)

We have the word “Breathe” scattered about the shop. Melissa, who teaches Yoga, would post announcements of classes on the wall. When posting a new one I’d take the old one, pare off the word “Breathe” and tack it up in various places.

Names and news of the dead arrive in our homes.

Melissa’s picture is on page B11 of The New York Times, Monday, March 24, 2003. She holds framed photograph of her son, Cpl. Brian Kennedy, in his Marine’s uniform. In the caption, “'He died for all of us,’ his mother said.”

Eighth Station
Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem
Consider how these women wept with compassion at seeing Jesus in such a pitiable plight, streaming with blood as he struggled along. “My children,” said he, “weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children.”
(p.1413, The Roman Missal, 9th Edition, c.1934)

Leaving church after sitting a spell after Mass at St. Bernard’s, picking up cup of coffee and chocolate muffin at convenience store, parking on wharf, looking out at Rockland harbor. In fog beyond breakwater lighthouse two lights move from open Penobscot Bay. Ferry from Vinalhaven angles toward terminal as Democracy Now reports news about the war in Iraq. A piling across the marina has fallen over, hanging from pier by twisted wooden brace.

Weep for Jesus?
No, he said, don’t weep for me. Jesus was never interested in pointing fingers. Not at him. Not at those who’d broken the law. Not at evildoers or good doers.

Women in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, America, Australia, and Briton are weeping. It’s always that way with war. The weeping goes on, as war goes on, for us and for our children.

Breathe!

Mountain temple rainy,
Dark and gloomy all day,
Plums still half yellow, half green;
On my lone mat,
Still and quiet,
Deep in meditation,
I don’t let birds and blossoms
Into my garden gate.

- Betsugen Enshi (1294–1364)

March exhausts itself. Soon April will reinforce the soil and human spirit. Birds and blossoms will come seeking entrance into our garden gate. They will be lovely. And needed. But for the time being we have only news of war and death arriving in dooryards. The remnant mounds of snow decrease into wet rivulets atop loosening ground-frost waiting to swig into mud.

Melissa’s son did die for all of us. For this we are grateful. And sorrowing.

From Pennsylvania, an email that Esther’s sister “is now at peace. She died about 3 yesterday afternoon. We are glad her suffering is over.” She too, after years of living with deteriorating disease, dies for all of us.

Those women in Jerusalem two thousand years ago, and all women in Jerusalem and Palestine today, weep for themselves, their children, sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers.

Those who have the spontaneous, sincere wish to attain enlightenment for the ultimate benefit of all beings are called bodhisattvas. Through wisdom, they direct their minds to enlightenment, and through their compassion, they have concern for beings. This wish for perfect enlightenment for the sake of others is what we call ‘bodicitta,’ and it is the starting point on the path. By becoming aware of what enlightenment is, one understands not only that there is a goal to accomplish but also that it is possible to do so. Driven by the desire to help beings, one thinks, For their sake, I must attain enlightenment.
(--p.249-50, The Dalai Lama, in Radiant Mind)

We weep because we do not yet see the world longed for in our hearts and minds. We long for what Christ longed for. We long for what Buddha longed for.
What is this we long for?

Breathe!

Can you feel it? Can we find what Brian and all the sons and daughters of women everywhere and at all times have died for?

Here's a metaphor. We are all women in this metaphor. All conceiving, participating in creation, giving birth to instances of truth and beauty. All are women. All is woman. Until love completes its goal we only seem to be a fragmented division of male and female, boy and girl, human and angel, God and non-God.

In this metaphor, we are all Americans, all Australians, Britons, Iraqis, and every ethnic child of every woman throughout the world.

We weep because those who die in war, and those who die in all conflict of unawareness, are stark profound reminders.They die for us.

For us.
Can we get even the smallest glimmer of who we are?

Who are we that someone dies for us? Who are we, died for?
Really, we must ask ourselves, who are we. (No facile answers. Please. No unreflective, unsilent, unstill, or unaware responses – please.)

Until love completes us, we weep.

For all our sake, we must attain enlightenment. We must become who and what we are in love.

Breathe -- that all might live! That 'all' lives within each and every one.

Breathe -- until the metaphor, the transfer bearing us across the divide, comes true.

Breathe -- that our hearts, safely dwelling in love within each one, will be the light we see through.

In the meantime, our hearts go out to those who weep.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

A young girl felt in her body the sense of an angel. She didn't know better. She yielded to the invitation to embody what could not be embodied. They say she did not know man. Yet, there she was, saying yes, becoming pregnant.

Young soldiers know her fear.

One’s own nature is great because
It can contain all things.
As all things are contained in
Your own nature,
If good and bad people are
Viewed with neither attachment
Nor repulsion, also without
Contamination, the mind which
Is like space, is called great.
For this reason, it is called maha.

( - Altar Sutra)

In Iraq old men and old women pray "God is great." Children are born of such mystery. The Middle East is full of mystery. God lived once in that desert. Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Saddam, have each known the call of the stars in black night to preach water to sand. Yes, even Saddam. He is given us to weave a story about our souls in the early morning of new millennia.

Like Pharaoh's chariots racing toward waiting other side of Eden's rivers, the conquering army will not be dissuaded in their dream of victory. Running after them are billions of eyes and ears accounting for the half-mile and full mile the rocket fired and the bomb dropped. Whole civilizations of gamblers bet their opinions on who will win and what point spread of death and surprise strategy will cover the blowing grains pinging against khaki cloth and mottled steel at mid-day.

Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to a savior. Mary told Joseph he would have to wait his turn and turn his mind over and over deliberating whether God was in the wind that blew over his wife. Joseph told himself there was solace in the emptiness of empty desert night where nothing is yours and that which you do not have is not even yours to give up. Joseph didn't make it into the Magnificat. His soul didn't magnify nor glorify the Lord. His soul was dry as mid-afternoon outside Basra. His mind was as befuddled as drying blood in a stretch of sand near the edge of Nasiriya.

Annunciation to Mary has been windswept bare and clean by flecks of driven sand over twenty centuries of polishing pronouncement. Angel speaks, Mary responds, God silences everything within new residence. Impregnation by annunciation! How perfect. Say it, and it comes to be.

How perfect -- say war and it too comes to be. Like the burning bush that will not be consumed, a new Bush burns with vision of a new desert and a new conception for a new century. Hardly has Gabriel turned head to return to the intuition of God that centuries traverse the dunes arriving at Baghdad as light of day falls under dark blanket of night. Loud explosions and fiery bursts of light make the desert darkness festive.

We are present at the whispering of some other angel between missile and mortar. A crackling of syllables suspended over machine gun spurts and shoulder stinger burps fired at targets just a ways away. Our ears know the sound that insinuates itself between the curses and prayers of frantic faces.

First verse was turmoil. Second is promise of peace. This third stanza is who gives a shit; let's do these mothers to kingdom come. An odd old hymn of human din and discouraging certainty! A cakewalk, some said, as they danced the sexiest theory with sluttish deceit around the propaganda microphone. This lie is going to town tonight!

What travels these nights in the desert? Not Mary. Not Gabriel. Not Joseph. Not a story of miracles and mysteries. Not us. Not tonight. Not, it seems, ever.

"Let it be done to me according to your word," said Mary. She sensed the angel’s message with her yes dropping deep into an ovule's first yawning stir. "Let it be," she said, and it came to be.

Long lines of religious storytellers have disappeared behind extinguished fires and acrid smoke.

Their disappearance blends perfectly with out-breath.

A fool, it is said, can hold an extinguished dream in open hands.

This smoldering invitation to be what God is. Is anyone willing to say yes to life?

Tota pulchra es, Maria!

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Note: The Bookshop/Bakery is closed today, Sunday. We will reopen on Wednesday the 26th. Sunday Evening Practice at the Hermitage will take place from 6-8pm

...
With war, death.

Attain the mind of emptiness,
Preserve the utmost quiet:
As myriad things act in concert,
I therefore observe the return.
Things flourish,
Then each returns to its root.
Returning to the root is called stillness:
Stillness is called return to Life,
Return to Life is called the constant;
Knowing the constant is called enlightenment.

( - Lao-tzu)

With death, sorrow.

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure: then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

(-poem "Death be not Proud" (Holy Sonnets: X), by John Donne)

With sorrow, prayer.

All’s misalliance.
Yet why not say what happened?
Pray for the grace of accuracy
Vermeer gave to the sun’s illumination
stealing like the tide across a map
to his girl solid with yearning.
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

(-- from poem "Epilogue" by Robert Lowell In Day by Day, c,1977)

With prayer, remembrance.