Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 06, 2004

When someone appropriates as one's own that which belongs to everyone -- that is what some call sin, others call abuse of power, some say capitalism, and (after the recent vote) what some are calling stolen votes.

Autumn’s colors dropping from branches
In masses of falling leaves,
Cold clouds bringing rain
Into the crannies of the mountains:
Everyone was born with the same sort of eyes –
Why do mine keep seeing things as Zen koans?

- Dogen

The Zen koan my eyes see this morning is: What have we lost that belongs to US?

Quickly! Can you find the response of your soul?

Friday, November 05, 2004

In prison Joe and I worked an Icelandic folktale. When it came to right or left in that instant Joe remembers, the pain said right, but the turn went left. After a million visits to that turn, Joe went back fresh.

Outside my window, plum blossoms,
Just on the verge of unfurling, contain the spring;
The clear moon is held in the cuplike petals
Of the beautiful flower I pick, and twirl.
- Dogen

At Interreligious Dialogue of a cold night at the shop Richard said the words, "What is the meaning of life?" Lloyd said the words, "I don't know what God is."

The first one spoke the purity of the meaning of life -- "What is." The second one spoke the enlightenment of "not knowing," the integration of "What is" with "God" in medio, the Thin Place revelation of life and existence.

I am honored to be in the presence of all three.

Chaplain brought sweetgrass for smudging.

And the merman smiled.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Chill bright morning.

Disentangling oneself
From desire and evil ways
Requires both vision and wisdom.
Disentangling oneself from the world
And discovering inner joy
Is the start of meditation.

- Perfection of Wisdom

Cesco stretches in sun by barn door. Sando rises and turns on mattress, wearing orange bandana. November hunting season. On C-Span the recently elected President outlines his agenda at his first press conference following the election.

In a Dark Time

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.
(Poem by Theodore Roethke)

There are facts and there are mythologies. There are personal opinions and there are strict interpretations of the law. We can deal with whatever is real.

Right now, the dogs snooze, the President fields question about America's image in the wider world, and the morning turns with November light.

"When the American President speaks..." -- the American President is saying -- "people had better listen... I mean what I say."

I turn off the television. The sound is gone. It is an odd time.

We are at odds with circumstance.

The recent wind tears apart.

Still, illusion lurks.

Silence speaks.

Healing.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

It's been a day of silences muted by odd opinions following concession of election.

With one who does not
Speak his every thought
I spend a pleasant evening.

- Hyakuchi (1748-1836)

There is a mess to clean up. Those who made it best should clean it. Simple parenting. Put the kids to work fixing what they busted. Smart country.

It's a new beginning. Breathe in, breathe out.

On balance, the world will right itself.

Delia Mae said we must remember to forget.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

All Saints Day wanders into All Souls Day, which in America this year is also Election Day.

Oh leaves,
Ask the wind which of you
Will be the first to fall.

- Soseki (1867-1916)

One will fall, and we will see, among the others, one with all.

To find release you must begin to regard life and death as identical to Nirvana, neither loathing the former nor coveting the latter. It is fallacious to think that you simply move from birth to death. Birth, from the Buddhist point of view, is a temporary point between the proceeding and succeeding; hence, it can be called 'birthlessness.' The same holds for death and deathlessness. In life there is nothing more than life, in death nothing more than death: we are being born and dying at every moment.
(Dogen Kigen Zenji, 1200-1253)

Today we pray for one in all.

One through all.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Tuesday is Election Day in the United States.

Everyone hopes that the American people are not stupid. They are not stupid. They will elect the right man for this time. That man might be George W. Bush. That man might be John F. Kerry.

The final days leading up to the election are filled with passionate, some say blind faith, positive endorsements of either man. You would think you’d have to be insane and a vile terrorist sympathizer to vote for the opposite man and not the partisan favorite.

It is what some call the messiness of democracy. Others call it a foundational patina of distortion, distraction, and dissembling.

Those who have strong passions are never able to perceive the Way; for it is like stirring up clear water with hands. People may come there wishing to find a reflection of their faces, which, however, they will never see. A mind troubled and vexed with the passions is never able to see the Way.
- Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters

Some of us drop out. Some leave for Waterville to canvas for their candidate. Some let the dogs out and prepare to take the soup and bread into the shop.

{There are two paths leading to oneness with the Tao.}

The first in the path of acceptance.
Affirm everyone and everything.
Freely extend your goodwill and virtue in every direction, regardless of circumstances.
Embrace all things as part of the Harmonious Oneness, and then you will begin to perceive it.

The second path is that of denial.
Recognize that everything you see and think is a falsehood, an illusion, a veil over the truth.
Peel all the veils away, and you will arrive at the Oneness.

Though these paths are entirely different, they will deliver you to the same place: spontaneous awareness of the Great Oneness.

(#48 from The Hua Hu Ching, by Lao Tzu)

As a political agnostic, I can only try not to resemble the unlovely. In the middle core of this swirling cacophony of frantic grasping for power there is a still and quiet loveliness dwelling in our hearts.

The lovely longs to be our home, our moveable dwelling place, capable of seeing us through whatever falls across our path.

I suddenly saw that all the time it was not I who had been seeking God, but God who had been seeking me. I had made myself the centre of my own existence and had my back turned to God. All the beauty and truth which I had discovered had come to me as a reflection of his beauty, but I had kept my eyes fixed on the reflection and was always looking at myself. But God had brought me to the point at which I was compelled to turn away from the reflection, both of myself and of the world which could only mirror my own image. During that night the mirror had been broken, and I had felt abandoned because I could no longer gaze upon the image of my own reason and the finite world which it knew. God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.
(Bede Griffiths, writing on Feast of Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury)

The center seeing in every direction with love and compassion is the very being we seek by looking everywhere else but where seeing itself sees us through.

God bless no exception!

In every way we step.

Do not be fooled.