Today At Meetingbrook

Friday, October 08, 2004

Another debate. Are we better informed?

I no longer think any explanation satisfies. We know the truth not by analytic assessment but by embodied resonance. It is a sensory experience that conveys truth and recognizes falsity.

The Buddhas left their Sutras
Because people are hard to change
It’s not just a matter of saintly or stupid
Each and every heart throws up its barricade
Each piles up his own mountain of karma
How could they guess that what they clasp so close
Is sorrow
Unwilling to ponder, as day and night
They do embrace the falsehood of the flesh

- Shih-te

We recognize truth when we hear it. We feel the false in the pit of our stomach.

The religion of souls should follow the law of development of bodies. (from An instruction by St Vincent of Lerins)

Spirituality embodies.

The way we sit, walk, and move through being itself.

No convincing the mind. Surrendering body.

Feeling surely all.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

All hermits dwell in the hidden presence of others.

If you are not put off
By the voice of the valley
And the starry peaks,
Why not walk through the shady cedars
And come see me?

- Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)

Actually, each of us lives amid curious personnae rarely seen mute and naked of mask.

October 6. St. Bruno [1032-1101]
Bruno was brought up at Reims in Eastern France and, as a priest, later taught at the Cathedral school there. He decided to become a hermit (possibly as a result of witnessing the deplorable personal behaviour of the Archbishop, who had to be deposed), and after an unsuccessful start near Cologne moved down to the French Alps near Grenoble where the Bishop gave him, and six followers, a plot of land which was to be the origin of the first Charterhouse (Chartreuse), and of the Carthusian Order named after it. The Carthusians developed a life of extreme simplicity, based on the early models of hermit life in Egypt rather than on the Rule of St. Benedict, then dominant in Europe. The design of their buildings, with individual cells built around a Church, rather than within a large communal building emphasises the character of their spiritual life. Bruno later made another foundation in Southern Italy where he died in 1101. Given the strict nature of their rule, there have never been many Carthusians; there is only one house in England at Parkminster in West Sussex.

(http://www.hullp.demon.co.uk/SacredHeart/saint/StBruno.htm)

So many of us are Carthusian in soul.

We wander about, exclaustrated outsiders, in the middle of chaos masquerading as sanity.

Bruno gave the vision.

We give long gaze.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The shepherd monk who sells Trappist jams told us to maintain the balance between hermitage and marketplace.

Once I lived in community. Now, as near-hermit, the Laura-footpath between town and mountain is worn deep.

Torn and tattered is this life.
Food? Wild vegetables from the roadside.
The shrubs and bushes advance toward my hut.
Often the moon and I sit together all night,
And more than once I have lost myself among
The wild flowers,
Forgetting to return home.
No wonder I left the community life:
How could such a crazy monk live in a temple?

- Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)

We wondered at university class today what metaphor carries us through the difficulties of everyday life. William, Este, Dennis, Laura, Bethany, Jessica, Bonnie, Denise, and Robert read their poems with their particular metaphor. We read David Whyte's poem "Revelation Must Be Terrible" as we contemplated what it feels like to resonate the bitter and the beautiful.

My metaphor is hermit solitude.

It helps me through the sometimes crowded opinions that press in from all sides.

We go apart and we return.

The mystic soul sets out to see what is difficult to see, and comes back to say what is difficult to say.

With or without sound.

Silence throughout.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Feast of Francis. Three walks in woods today.

At night, deep in the mountains,
I sit in meditation
The affairs of men never reach here;
Everything is quiet and empty,
All the incense has been swallowed up
By the endless night.
My robe has become a garment of dew.
Unable to sleep I walk out into the woods—
Suddenly, above the highest peak,
The full moon appears.

- Hakuin (1686-1768)

Over twig, root, and stone -- the silent visit to mountain family -- a coming to earth, a return home.

Back at cabin Mu-ge carries lifeless bird. Its warm light body is laid at foot of garden statue of Francis.

“And who is my neighbour?” (from Luke 10)

The quiet joy of looking around at the answer.

"Tota pulchra est..."

Sunday, October 03, 2004

When Francis died the earth didn't care. The earth was happy to receive its loopy son back into its arms.

The ways of proclaiming
The Mind all vary,
But the same heavenly truth
Can be seen
In each and every one.

- Ikkyu (1394-1481)

We covered the statue of Francis with white cloth at Transitus ceremony in cabin tonight. Lit incense. Blew out candle. And left.

As we, the human beings, form part of the divine body (sarira), we are strictly related to every animate and inanimate beings of this universe, constituting one "organic whole. Consequently, we are responsible for the well being or suffering of the body, viz, of this universe with all its varieties of beings. The Buddhists thus believe that there is nothing that we do that affects only ourselves: "The entire Universe is helped by our acts of compassion but is harmed by our acts of violence and unkindness."
(Kurian Kachappilly, in paper, "'Holocoenotic' Nature Of Ecology: An Indian Perspective Of Ecotheology and Process Thought")

The solitude that Thomas Merton longed for burned him until there was nothing left of him. He knew it was coming twenty years before it arrived. The final pages of his Seven Storey Mountain, speaking as God, laid it out in searing brand.

Still, we, like Francis, have to learn we've never been other than earth. Our ambivalence echoes like the characters in Samuel Beckett's play:
Don't touch me! Don't question me! Don't speak to me! Stay with me!
(Estragon to Vladimir, in Waiting For Godot)

I don't mind living on the outside of everything. I forget that sometimes. I complain. I try to pretend it matters. That I am nowhere to be found.

Living within God is enough.

There's nowhere to go.

Staying at home.

Alone together.

Earthen.