Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, October 02, 2004

It is not religion causing this war. It is men who choose retribution rather than reason.

Those thinking of giving up their faith because fundamentalists have kidnapped the forms of expression and names of belief should think further. Forms are empty. Emptiness is form.

If you have abandoned one faith, do not abandon all faith. There is always an alternative to the faith we lose. Or is it the same faith under another mask?
(--Graham Greene)

The forms of belief and faith can be stolen, misused, and made to seem apparently real. This is being done with Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Islam is not terrorism. Christianity is not imperial might. Judaism is not a militaristic state.

Emptiness is a more profound religion. It is the core of each religion. There is nothing there -- and what is to be here is created each time new.

IV
She says, ``I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings;
But when the birds are gone, and their warm fields
Return no more, where, then, is paradise?''
There is not any haunt of prophecy,
Nor any old chimera of the grave,
Neither the golden underground, nor isle
Melodious, where spirits gat them home,
Nor visionary south, nor cloudy palm
Remote on heaven's hill, that has endured
As April's green endures; or will endure
Like her remembrance of awakened birds,
Or her desire for June and evenings, tipped
By the consummation of the swallow's wings.

(From poem, "Sunday Morning," by Wallace Stevens)

The forms of religion are collapsing. They are being looted by political greed and private gain. Compassion and love are tools in the hands of advertisers and propagandists. As the forms cave in on themselves -- like the images of twin towers brought down because they could be brought down -- religions shudder in the bare light of naked revelation.

VIII
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, ``The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.''
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or an old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings.

(Stevens)

If emptiness is the heart of what was once religion, it can only be embodied by men and women willing to become awake and human.

From now on Mullah, Priest, and Rabbi will divest their clerical clothing and redress the wrongs done in the name of religion. From now on each man and woman will allow the animals and elements to consecrate hands and feet with the very gloriousness of creation.

What once we called God -- out there and supreme commander -- will reassert as itself the Word of Creation. That empty breath will find its way through no-where, no-place, and no-thing -- emerging as it is, as it was, and as it will be in the very instant of revelation expressing each now, and now, and now.

What now we call God -- in each here, and grace itself -- is humility of presence coming to be in and as each unfolding moment.

We've never really accepted creation. We've never surrendered to the Word of Life made language. We've never allowed the Most High to become human. In these three prohibitions unawake men have stolen religion and made of it a lifeless, wordless, inhuman institution.

But what do I know? I can only walk with dogs on early morning mountain path through sun-slant mist and wet green grass -- a loveliness of solitude emerging with itself.

I am content when wakened birds,
Before they fly, test the reality
Of misty fields, by their sweet questionings


Guardian angels brighten the way.

Lighting and guarding.

Ruling and guiding.

To God's love.

Committing.

Here.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Is there any help for a life in danger of devastation?

Azriel, an old wanderer is the sole survivor of a pogrom which destroys his small Carpathian community. Its people are sworn, should any of them survive, never to speak of the town's last days and nights of wait and terror. And so for decades he roams the earth searching for someone with the authority to release him from his vow. At last, fifty years after the event, Azriel encounters a young stranger who wishes to die. What arguments can he invoke to dissuade him? He decides to tell the story of the death of his town, breaking his vow in hopes his story will save a life. (An Annotated Bibliography, The Oath, by Elie Wiesel. http://www.pbs.org/eliewiesel/bibliography/)

No telling. No place. No matter when. It is an attempt to break a paradigm, no longer to story what shouldn’t be told.

Moshe the madman was taking an oath of silence when out in the gym someone took a barbell weight across his head. The book closed on Moshe in Kolvillag staying alone on the abandoned table as we were spirited out men-lined corridor, out guarded door, down end of season fading flowers, as sound of ambulance siren floats over razor-sharp rolled cutting wire into nether silence.

I climb the tower for a look,
Gradually feeling
Their serene effect.
In smoke-blue haze,
Massed peaks
Appear as if joined.
When will I climb
And set foot there,
And gaze on all
Creation below?

- Chia Tao (779-843)

The Hospice Memorial Service around corner past library was called out and done. Candles stood vigil in empty chapel as silent plants newly set down languished near abandoned lectern. A man down and red with his own life not far away and nearly extinguished could easily be named on list for next service. But for now the drill: secure and search, inquire and tighten. But first, evacuate civilians procedure is priority number one.

Life is fragile. It spins on a dime. Prison is no place to find yourself.

Keep us safe, Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ and rest in peace. (Nunc Dimittis, Compline)

And yet, no place is where we find ourselves.

We pass through what is taking place with awareness and compassion.

The name Azriel means ‘God is my aid.’

Humility of presence.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Archangels are the mirrors of our consciousness. That's what Stephen Mitchell wrote in his Meetings with the Archangel, A Comedy of the Spirit, c.1998

Today is the feast of Michael, Gabriel, Raphael -- likeness, might, and healing -- Archangels.

Is consciousness the space within which every possibility dwells in the open?

If you can see a thought as it arises
This awareness will at once destroy it.
Whatever state of mind should come,
Sweep it away, put it down.

Both good and evil states
Can be transformed by mind.
Sacred and profane appear
In accordance with thoughts.

- Han Shan Te Ch’ing (1546-1623)

Clusters of galaxies of thought amid endless empty space of transparent consciousness.

To be between is to be interested...(L. inter {between} + esse {to be} = to be between)...and ready to leap from one truth into the next truth.

Without fear.

Mirroring.

What is.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Rising from the dead. How is that?

You need not seek the real,
Mind originally is Buddha.
The familiar becomes remote,
The strange seems familiar.

Day and night,
Everything is wonderful.
Nothing you encounter confuses you.
These are the essentials of mind.

- Han Shan Te Ch’ing (1546-1623)

It is often said that we do not stay dead. Death is an instantaneous transition from one form of life to no form. What seems odder to consider is that we have not been born.

When some Christian believers claim to be born again, does their position compound the problem -- namely, if never born to begin with, what does it mean to say someone is born again?

The Buddha Mind you have from your parents innately is unborn, so it has no beginning and no end. There is not even a hair's breadth of anything you can call delusion. So get it squarely in your minds that there is nothing arising from inside. The main thing is simply not getting involved with the world of externals. That which is not involved with the world of externals is the Buddha Mind, and since the Buddha Mind is marvelously illuminating, when you abide in this marvelously illuminating Buddha Mind just as it is, there is no delusion, no enlightenment. . . . In the innate Buddha Mind, there is neither joy, sorrow nor anger – nothing but the Buddha Mind itself, marvelously illuminating and seeing clearly.
(from Sermons, by Bankei)

Zen Master Bankei refers to the unborn as true reality. Apostle Paul says that life is not ended, merely changed.

No birth, no death -- only life.

These two days in the Harbor Room, hermiting. Full moon rises behind birch bark. Fog bank under orange moon over Penobscot Bay islands. Mosquitoes dusking along low tide docks. Man in condo window eats pretzels and nuts. I had banana with peanut butter ending two day fast.

Student papers read one day early. Plastic chairs scrape wooden deck at waterfront restaurant next door, orders for drinks taken, menus handed out. Man in small pram rows past boat named Economy tied to finger float. Woman with digital camera take picture of moon with flash. Man inhales cigarette, coughs.

New fog bank takes moon away.

What we call full moon is uninhibited sunlight on moon. When the earth does not impose shadow on moon, it is fully reflective of origin light in this solar system.

On earth oil prices hit unprecedented $50 dollars a barrel.

There's this feeling it is time to go within.

When death comes, will there even be a desire to continue through resurrection to some clarity of life in the dwelling place we call God? If reality is non-dual, how occupy any place considered outside the mythic consciousness of unification?

In any case, none of the Buddha’s extant sermons states that a transcendental Being does not exist. Rather, this great master’s emphasis was on the pragmatics of the spiritual path, which he understood as a way out of the maze of the world. His indifference to metaphysical guesswork not only left ample scope for practical experimentation, but also reduced the danger lurking in non-dualist schools of thought -- namely, that of false idealism and self-delusion.
(p.36, in Wholeness or Transcendence? Ancient Lessons For The Emerging Global Civilization, by Georg Feuerstein, c.1992)

White sparkling trail across water from transformed moon risen from fog bank to ongoing journey across its sphere of this part of the galaxy.

For now, how we go on.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

We need stillness.

While everyone else
Is so busy striving,
The lone traveler
Is at ease by himself.
He’s been living outside of convention
For a long time now;
In his pouch there is nothing at all.
When he walks,
He takes a cane for a companion;
When he talks,
He has the rocks for an audience.
If you ask him what his religion is,
When hungry it’s a bowl of rice.

- Wen-siang (1210-1280)

Walking town in emptiness with sound.

You are in our midst, Lord, your name we bear; therefore do not abandon us, Lord, our God. (Jeremiah 14:9)

That name is each glance, step, and sound.

Stillness.

Alone.