Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Joan had a failure of imagination.

Life is full of small and larger sorrows. No escaping them. No explaining them away. We grieve until next the grief extinguishes itself.

It's nice to see good drama, laced with humor and theology, on television.

What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make His way home

("One of Us," opening song for TV show Joan of Arcadia; Lyrics by Joan Osborne)

War is a larger sorrow.

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Nov. 15 — Two American Black Hawk helicopters collided in midair and crashed Saturday evening in the northern city of Mosul, killing at least 12 of the American soldiers aboard and wounding nine others, officials said.
NYT, 15Nov03)

In class the other night two students mocked the fact and the person of former Vice President Al Gore who'd delivered a speech on "Wrong Targets" at Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C., November 9, 2003. Not a word about the substance of Gore's comments.

Elsewhere, in response to comments by Gore Vidal about the current administration in Washington published on Thursday, November 13, 2003 by The LA Weekly, a fellow writes me excoriating the man, his sexual and political stance, adding, "To give him forum is despicable and to listen to a "progressive" view is pure foolishness. Come on!!!" Not a word about the content of Vidal's comments.

Sorrows mount.

20 in Turkey Killed by 2 Truck Bombs Outside Synagogues:
Two truck bombs exploded today outside a pair of synagogues crowded with families celebrating bar mitzvahs, killing at least 20 people and injuring more than 300.
(New York Times Online, 15Nov03)

If God was one of us, God died 32 times in Iraq and Turkey today. The United States government does not dignify deaths of Iraqi's by even mentioning or approximating the numbers killed in their country by Americans. News organizations have no numbers to add.

Who attends God's funeral?

Rebuilding Bodies, and Lives, Maimed by War
As more soldiers survive attacks that would have killed them a generation ago, more inevitably return from Iraq with grievous injuries.
(NYT on the Web, 15Nov03)

We suffer failures of imagination.

(Tommy and Lloyd talk about grandparents and wars they've seen as fire burns to ash at end of day. Norm and Sky have walked back up Bayview to their house after talking of philosopher Paul Weiss, String Theory, and the necessity of conversing the various disciplines as spirituality finds new expressions of itself. Charlotte's sketches of Tibetan monks hang with silence from beam they arrived at this morning after conversation with The Grace in Dying.)

When imagination is blessed with light, we rejoice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Veterans are old ones.

Everyone who has been in a war as a combatant is, I submit, an old one.

What they have seen, what they had to do, makes one old.

Subhuti, does it occur to you that I believe that through me living beings are led to liberation? Never think that way, Subhuti. Why? Because there is no separate being to lead to liberation. If I were to think there was, I would be caught in the notion of a self or person or a life span. Subhuti, what I call a self is essentially not a self in the way that an ordinary person thinks of it. But neither do I think of anyone as an ordinary person. However, knowing the essence, I can use the name, ordinary person
- Diamond Sutra

Day by day new men and women grow old surrounded by war. They go to war under orders from commander. They go to serve and protect. They grow in courage through fear and duress. We ask them to go through their lives prematurely old.

'Vetus,' in Latin, means old. We must be grateful to our old ones. They have fought and sacrificed for us.

Psalm 137 (138)
Thanksgiving
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.
In the presence of the angels I will make music to you, worship before your holy temple.
I will praise your name because of your mercy and faithfulness: high above all other names is the greatness of your word.

Each day that I call on you, Lord, listen to me, strengthen my spirit.
All the kings of the earth will proclaim your glory, Lord, when they hear your word.
They will sing of the paths of the Lord, so great is his glory.
For the Lord is on high but he cares for the humble; and he knows the proud from afar.

If I walk in the midst of troubles, you will give me life. If my enemies rise up against me, your right hand will keep me safe.
The Lord does all that I need. Lord, your kindness lasts for ever: do not forsake the work of your hands.


It is now time for kindness.

Let us now become no longer old.

Let those who are veterans and those becoming veterans enter into the safe and liberating embrace of life without war.

Kindness with gratitude.

Monday, November 10, 2003

At prison conversation Ryan asked, "When do you live your truth, and when do you live their story?"

Know the functions of the mind.
Its functions produce
The treasury of teachings.
When its activity
Is always silent,
Myriad illusions become suchness.

- Tao-hsin (580-651)

In the text Ryan brought, the words, " The Ontong Javanese name according to everyday behavior and experience, not according to formal definition." And, "Names describe emotive experience, not observed forms or functions."(p.131, in Codification of Reality: Lineal and Non-lineal , by Dorothy Lee, 1959.)

Charlie was quiet. Bob spoke up. Joe was energetic. Saskia and Nancy spoke of truth and lies, and how story and truth both require attention.

Ryan said, "You don't have to look for what's not missing."

We were all there. Even those missing from Friday's table were there -- whether in traces or spirit, where traces of oneself reside. Everyone mind alerted was there.

Ryan said it at end, "That which holds all things together is the common language we are trying to learn."

Walking out of education/activities building after goodbyes, I put hand in packet and feel the 'person-down' alarm there. I'm stunned to say, "I forgot to turn this in." Polly and companions look at me with curiosity. I realize my mistake -- I'm still inside -- we haven't gone through the main wing to command central.

Such it was.

Such it is.

Still there.

In truth.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Moonlight slants cold through mountain trees.

Cabin woodstove shares warmth with candlelight.

Silence throughout as feeders swing in dark; birdseed’s first night.

Song of T’aego Hermitage

I’ve lived in this hermitage
How long I don’t know
Deep and secret and
Without obstructions
Heaven and earth meet
Like box and cover:
There’s no turning toward
Or turning away.
I do not stay in the east, west,
South or north
The jewel tower and the jade palace
Do not stand opposite me.
I do not take guidelines from
Bodhidharma as a model
As the light shines freely through
Eighty four thousand gates.

- T’aego (1301-1382)

Poetry is God’s name pronounced in chimney smoke.

Like string theory, we weave moments of life into patterns of sweet fleeting touch.

Dimension beyond dimension saturate seeing with silence.

Each child carries poems running with words not yet read, not yet lived.

God is not-yet lived.

Un-I-dimensional.