Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, December 20, 2003

This is prayer.

When water is still, its clearness shows the beard and eyebrows of one who looks into it. It is a perfect level, and the greatest artificer takes their rules from it. Such is the clearness of still water, and how much greater is that of the human Spirit! The still mind of the sage is the mirror of heaven and earth, the glass of all things.
- Chuang Tzu

Prayer is opening mind and heart with God.

It is wise to keep a king's secret, but the works of God should be gloriously revealed. (The Book of Tobit)

At origin, all is revealed for us to see.

Returning to ever-present origin, we are the prayer we pray with God.

This is our body. This is our blood. This, this is Christ --

This is prayer.

Friday, December 19, 2003

In prison this morning Ryan wondered whether he'd been awake to his friend.

Believe nothing because a wise man said it.
Believe nothing because it is generally held true.
Believe nothing because it is written.
Believe nothing because it is said to be divine
Believe nothing because someone else believes it.
But believe only what you yourself judge to be true.

- The Buddha

Is the birth of Christ the birth of forgiveness?

Are there any Christians?

Oh friend, I love you, think this over
carefully! If you are in love,
then why are you asleep?

-- Kabir

Only conversation, the movement we come to see as God, sustains us through the turmoil of time.

Is baptism by Spirit every breath?

Inspire and expire.

Prayer.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Final class in philosophy tonight in Thomaston.

What, at end, do I imagine ethics to be?

The nature of the one Reality must be known by one's own clear spiritual perception; it cannot be known through a learned person. Similarly, the form of the moon can only be known through one's own eyes. How can it be known through others?
- Shankara *

Seeing through one's own eyes.

.....

* Note: SHANKARA, 788 CE - 820 CE, Indian Reformer
Shankara, philosopher and theologian, was born in Kerala in southern India. He became a Hindu ascetic and exponent of the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy. Shankara reformed Hinduism with a monistic interpretation of the Vedanta, which ascribed all reality to a single unitary source, which he identified as "Brahma". He declared all plurality and differentiation as nothing but an illusion.
(http://www.hyperhistory.com)

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Bright sun on clear white snow.

Pick-up plow pushes snow halfway to cabin. We let yesterday go. Started carting off crusty snow from driveway. Good exercise. Neighbor's snowplow fella arrives next door. Saskia goes and engages his services. She says it's worth a heart attack. Now it will have to be cancer. The Irish always have an angle.

That the yielding
Conquers the resistant
And the soft
Conquers the hard
Is a fact known by all people,
Yet utilized by none.

- Lao Tzu

Tomorrow it will rain. Then turn cold. Ice waits in the idea of ice to realize itself.

In your pride, because you saw up boards,
would you really call upon him to explain,
who modestly from out of the same woods
makes leaves thrust and buds swell each year again?

He understood. And as he lifted up
to the angel his now truly frightened gaze
the angel went. He shifted his thick cap
slowly off his head. Then he sang praise.

(from 'Joseph's Suspicion,' in poem "The Life Of The Virgin Mary," by Rainer Maria Rilke)

The much we don't know is covered by the immensity we can't even imagine.

Mary and Joseph near that 'much immensity' with quiet amazement.

Where does divinity enter this world? How do we find ourselves in that process?

Nativity nears.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Winter storm mutes hermitage.

A friend writes about "a real experience this weekend": What's coming through is 'keep your mouth shut about it.' Strange it is that when one is filled with light given freely by the Divine Presence we are not to reveal what takes place. And another lesson learned. Meanwhile lift us to higher places in the blog and stay away from the dross. Love to you my
friend,
(RP)

Birdfeeders full. Dooryard high with blowing snow. Trickle of smoke from kitchen woodstove is swept over roof. Bells chatter with wind climbing up and falling from Bald and Ragged. These mountains watch cars pass between them as day darkens under howling wind. Bare trees don white prayer scarf and bow down.

The Tao is as deep as can be. Who is willing to pursue it closely? If you don't go into the tiger's lair, how can you catch its cub? If you don't wash out the stone and sand, how can you pick out the gold? Carefully seek the heart of heaven and earth with firm determination. Suddenly you will see the original thing; everywhere you meet the source, all is a forest of jewels.
- Liu I-Ming

The original rests at center of all activity. It is ever-present. Each life surrounds the original. It nestles at center of each life.

Thus when someone asks, "Is this one an original?" -- they ask whether the particular life has come to see their center and dwell near the stillness and peace residing there.

The vast majority of us only visit. We are errant children not returning parent's call. So often the distractions in life are mistaken for life itself. "Come home," is the call. "In a minute," we say, and forget over long years and meandering diversions the way back home.

War is the face paint of the out-of-balance. If conflict is natural to life species in this existence, war is the absence of human imagination to resolve conflict by peaceful means. The mistake perceives a desired end for original presence. It is a mistake made by so many of us throughout history.

What we really want is what we already have. What we really want is who we already are. But we have forgotten something vital. 'Home' belongs to all of us. The gifts and graces of our original source are indiscriminately open and extended to all of us. But we -- distracted and diverted -- siphon off and cordon off what our desires dictate as 'mine.'

We've forgotten how to share. We've forgotten how to include. We've forgotten that original source -- called by some, God -- is love. Others say, at core, reality is love; and illusion is the competition to make what belongs to everyone, belong only to us. We say, "This is mine; you can't have it."

Reality, says Graham, is organized into a complex totality in which everything is related to everything else and the maintenance of homeostatic balance is both crucial and delicately difficult. Human systems are thus forever getting out of balance, and it is because of this that situations arise that require and evoke the care of the religious community. To care for persons means therefore to care for and, when appropriate, change the worlds that the systems surrounding persons have created. (p.656, in Theology Today, Vol.L, No.4, January 1994, review of Larry Kent Graham's Care of Persons, Care of Worlds: A Psychosystems Approach to Pastoral Care and Counseling, c 1992; review by Charles V. Gerkin)

The systems surrounding us have created a world that is not reality. It is true, many call the world created by systems and ideology, 'reality,' but there are many deceptions afoot.

Love is the only reality. Love -- whether known as compassion, care, or kindness -- is our original source. That original source is ever-present. It is all that is; it is all there is. And it is here. No need to work toward it, or for it -- as though it were a future hope, as if we might only attain it once we eliminate evildoers and evil. Not so! That rhetoric is the language of diverting attention and distracting mind.

And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirred,
And yet God has not said a word!

(ending lines, Porphyria's Lover, by Robert Browning, 1812-1889)

We 'come-to' original source once illusion is seen through.

Until then, we exhaust each other, the world, and ourselves by war and treachery pretending to be search parties madly intent on bringing home a systemic version of pirated reality to a frightened populace.

Advent, coming-to, is attentive looking. What we are looking for is what is looking through our eyes.

Original Source sees through us.

We'll see when we cease looking for anything other -- but allow what is seeing through us to meet, each and every one.

That meeting is love.

And love to you.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

There is a thought, "Saddam Hussein is captured in Iraq."

The thought of celebration abounds there and abroad. History takes one small step along the minefield of war. War has a way of causing sidesteps.

Never in this world does hatred
Cease by hatred;
Hatred ceases by love,
And this according to a law
Which has existed forever.

- Buddha

Maine clouds over with new storm approaching. By 10pm snow falls heavily.

Action and contemplation only become dynamic in so far as each interacts with the other. If action stands for the 'ego' of man, contemplation stands for his unconscious, and both are needed to make up the whole man. The active side of man needs the contemplative side to resolve the deep questions about aims and meanings, and the direction which action ought to take. Otherwise it will merely become fussy and futile, performing useless rituals that have become unbreakable habits, the joy and sense of purpose swiftly ebbing away. Art will become rubbishy and sterile, religion will lose all its vitality, relationships will be shallow and timid, material satisfactions and the more superficial kinds of sexual satisfaction will occupy a more and more important place. Without contemplation man ceases to feel himself rooted, and without roots there can be no stillness, no security, and no growth. Change sweeps away all that is recognizable, reassuring and meaningful.
(Pp. 104-105, in Contemplating Now, by Monica Furlong, c.1971)

It is not always easy to know what to think. E.E. Cummings said, "Not to completely feel, is thinking."

In Iraq, and in the minds of many, a thought occurs. It says -- Now that Saddam is captured, all will fit nicely into the plan afoot.

Thought arises and passes away within the vastness of conscious space. From the vantage point of thought, there appears to be a crisis. From the vantage of space, there is silence. (p.78, in Doing Nothing, Coming to the End of the Spiritual Search, c.1998)

In the space of fully felt, there is only silence.