Today At Meetingbrook

Thursday, January 06, 2005

It is Epiphany.

Beauty sees birth through. It also sees death through.

Appearing as we are to others, receiving the gifts associated with acceptance, respect, reverence, and presence -- we experience epiphany.

To appear. To show. To see. This is what epiphany means. From Greek epiphaneia, manifestation, from epiphainesthai, to appear : epi-, forth; see epi- + phainein, phan-, to show; see.

Epiphany is "a revelatory manifestation of a divine being. It is a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something; a comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization."
(from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition)
Christ-nature is a shock to our sensibilities. To see Christ-nature in the everyday -- is to see the hidden no longer hidden.

When you look closely, you see that people of the present are none other than people of old, and the functions of the present are none other than the functions of the past; even going through a thousand changes and myriad transformations, here it is just necessary for you to recognize it first hand before you can attain it.
(- Foyan 1067-1120)

Everything is what it is. Nothing is other than what it is. Christ-nature shines through. But something radical occurs. We see. And when we see everything is what it is. Nothing is other than what it is.

Arise, shine out, for your light has come,
the glory of the Lord is rising on you,
though night still covers the earth
and darkness the peoples.

(Isaiah 60:1)

So it is -- our journey. We travel through intrigue and political machination. We bump up against people wanting to make things other than what they are, wanting to make themselves other than each other, wanting to make everything in their own image, that is, a hiding otherness frightened of their own ground.

This is the journey through what is not true to what is itself -- truth.

7. Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

(Matthew 2: 7-8)

Give Herod a pause. Maybe some instinct called from deep within him. Saying, 'Go, find who you are, bring it home, love the truth shining through; see the Christ here for you, you, here for Christ.'

Maybe Herod duplicated the earlier killings of innocent children because he was himself killed by not being seen-through, not accepted as who he was, not respected nor reverenced in the light shining through all beings, the one shining through him?
We are metaphorically killed before we actually choose to enact killing ourselves. Repetition finds its source and follows flow into actual world.

We'll let Herod rest here; here at this line in Matthew. No interpretation has yet been imputed. He merely says: "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." We've all had the grace of this impulse. What happens afterward is another story within that story. Within our own story.

But, if we were to pause at this impulse, if we took a while to look around -- without calculating what we might hide, or what we might grab for ourselves -- there is good chance we might see.

Your sun will set no more
nor your moon wane,
but the Lord will be your everlasting light
and your days of mourning will be ended.

Your people will all be upright,
possessing the land for ever;
a shoot that the Lord has planted,
my handiwork, designed for beauty.

(Isaiah 60: 21-22)

We might see beauty

We might end the mourning of any and all death -- death that easily infiltrates that mind in us which calculates and computes data based on rational deduction and sensory limitation.

Beauty is seeing each as it is. It does not end, but begins, at the senses. Beauty is the beginning, the day-star, of our true reality. Beauty sees death through.
Beauty sees birth through.

Let us say that beauty, in this particular metaphor of Epiphany, is Christ-nature emerging through this reality. Jesus is seen through. This world is seen through. And we are seen through.

Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

(from "Te Deum")

Everything is what it is. Nothing is other than what it is. Christ-nature shines through. But something radical occurs. We see. And when we see everything is what it is. Nothing is other than what it is.

Wisdom is the gift we are.

Given.

When we are seen.

Through and through.

With love.

Ground opens.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Seeing one another as oneself, without barriers, is love.

This is the message
as you heard it from the beginning:
that we are to love one another;

(1 John 3:11)

Attend one another. The 'beginning' speaks each moment into existence. Beginning says: "Love what is showing itself. Serve what is to follow."

"If you can let go of (the Tao) with your mind and surround it with your heart, it will live inside you forever."
~ Lao Tzu (c.604-531 B.C.)

No need to ask "Where is it?" The Way will slip past mind and hide in heart until coast is clear. This way is the beginning of seeing ourselves through, in, and with one another.

And then he added "I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending".
(John 1:43 - 51)

The wise follow light from star to where the beginning is found.

Showing itself.

Serving one.

Another.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Ever is Now. And Now is for Ever.

When I see
The purity of
The lotus flower,
Then my heart
Can no longer be stained.

- Mokuan (1611-1684)

What keeps us from seeing?

All the things we think we are -- things we identify with and believe to be ours and permanent -- like thoughts, emotions, ego

1. "At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; It shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book.

2. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.

3. But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, And those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.

(from Daniel 12:1-3)

Let's edit Daniel. Others shall not "be" but rather "know" a long horror and distress. We are softening that first condemnatory impulse -- and holding hope that even the horror and distress will be only a duration, not a permanent state.

Leading to justice -- ah, there's the redemptive longing! Justice and mercy kiss with our lips as they work to retrieve the true -- what others would let fall to falseness.

And we are the same extension of the stars in the deep reality of endless space. We are the very stuff of the cosmos. We are what God longed to be once Creation Itself brought into manifest Being the sights, sounds, and sensory apparatus of being-in-the-world.

When the many around us, or the one before our eyes, return to that stuff, that original dwelling-place of the Creating One -- we marvel at the transformation.

We wonder, profoundly, at the process we call 'death' as it transforms the many and the one back into the Itself of Wise Splendor.

We bury Frank today.

We see him as he was.

No more.

But, Now.

Ever, and Awake.

In us.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Barrels of refuse line streets in this Long Island New York town. The post-holiday queue of chachkas and replaced things wait curbside for transport to disappearance.

Snow covers earth and sky
Everything is new
My body is concealed
Inside a silver world
Suddenly I enter
A treasury of light
A place forever free of
Any trace of dust.

- Han-shan Te-ch'ing (1546-1623)

Mild temperatures and fresh deer tracks cover hundreds of acres of park at end of street. We walk with dogs.

We attend wake of Frank B. in this heavily populated stretch of island. The sound of cars passing a half mile away sounds like river or steady wind. This is not the coastal town back home. This is a place far away. Still, solitude is a movable hermitage.

For you are my strength and my refuge:
you will lead me out to the pastures,
for your own name's sake.
You will lead me out of the trap that they laid for me--
for you are my strength.

Into your hands I commend my spirit:
you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
You hate those who run after vain nothings;
but I put my trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your kindness,
for you have looked on me, lowly as I am.
You saw when my soul was in need:
you did not leave me locked in the grip of the enemy,
but set my feet on free and open ground.

(from Psalm 31)

I don't think the Lord God hates. At funeral parlor Ann tells of conversation with atheist friend who asked after her reasoning, "Then, who created God?" Ann said she is stuck when he asks that.

I tell her to say to him, "We do!" She looks puzzled. "If time dissolves into Now, and places collapse into Presence, then as we are here creating one another with attentive, even loving, presence, so is God creating and being created."
Ann says she'll think on that. I will too.

Our feet have been freed, set on open ground.

We come to attend to the place once and forever Frank. We come to view the open ground.

Water and ground, air and fire -- each receive the remains of the dead. We mourn South Asia's losses. We mourn Iraq's losses. And we mourn the loss of this man.

All feet and faces passing through these places designated as remembering moments are gifts of sacred connection and reconnection.

We look down at our feet. We look into the face before us. This is a time to recollect who, and what, we are.

Each one --
"A treasury of light
A place forever free of
Any trace of dust."


In your kindness.

In our kindness.

We come to see.

Open ground.