Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, December 03, 2005

What does it mean to say we are alone with others?

Know the essence of mind.
Its intrinsic essence is
Pure clarity.
It is essentially the same as a Buddha.

- Tao-hsin (580-651)

When there we are there. When gone, gone. No residue. No expectation of return.

You who are threshed,
you who are winnowed,
what I have learnt
from the Lord of Hosts,
from the God of Israel,
I am telling you now.

(from Isaiah 21:6 - 12)

Tell us now, Isaiah.

Is Christ here?

Now?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I saw a picture of a child dying of AIDS.

Winter, in the eleventh month
Snow falls thick and fast.
A thousand mountains, one color.
People of the world passing this way are few.
Dense grass conceals the door.
All night in silence, a few woodchips burn slowly
As I read the poems of the ancients.

Ryokan

What poem reveals the hope behind hopelessness?

Dried sand. Rainless gaze. Desolated street.

Mother of God, Light in all darkness...

Pray for us!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bread gives itself.

Berry went to a high school one day to talk to the students, wanting to convey to them a sense of our current spiritual predicament. The term 'autism' came to mind, and he asked if anyone in the class could define what that meant, unsure if he would get a good answer. A student jumped up and explained clearly: "People being so locked up in themselves that no one and nothing else can get in." Exactly, Berry thought. "That is what has happened to the human community in our times. We are talking only to ourselves. We are not talking to the rivers, we are not listening to the wind and stars. We have broken the great conversation. By breaking that conversation we have shattered the universe. All the disasters that are happening now are a consequence of that spiritual 'autism.'"
(From "Thomas Berry" By Rich Heffern, in National Catholic Reporter, August 10, 2001)

Wine gives itself.

In other words, caring for our planet and ascertaining where we are in the universe goes to the heart of what it means to be a faithful Christian. Nothing is really itself without everything else. Christianity's task, if it is going to survive, will be to place itself within the context of science's new story of our human origins and the evolution of the universe.
The best hope for a renewed earth, many feel, is reawakened belief in the Spirit as the divine force within the cosmos who continually indwells everywhere and works in amazing ways to sustain all forms of life. This renewal is happening on many fronts today, thanks to advance work done by Berry, to his sweeping synthesis, realism, imaginative insights and courage to confront the narrowness of traditional theology. This priest with the tousled hair and sly grin raised the challenge; it will be the work of others to move churches and communities forward toward Tom Berry's dream: all of us honoring the earth as the epiphany of God, making a prayerful event of every dawn and dusk.

(From "Thomas Berry")

Only say the word -- and each shall be heard. Only hear each as itself -- as what it is -- and all will be healed.

"This" is the body of Christ.

Do this.

Be this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

When priest says, "This is my body," I bow.

Mystic understanding of truth is not perception or cognition. That is why it is said that you arrive at the original source by stopping the mind, so it is called the enlightened state of being as is, the ultimately independent free individual.
- Nan-ch'uan (748-834)

When he says, "This is my blood," I bow.

Doing this, I remember.

Changing everything.

At home-ground.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Is there some place, something, some time we can fix?

Inwardly strive to develop
the capacity of mindfulness;
outwardly spread
the virtue of uncontentiousness.
Shed the world of dust
to seek emancipation.

- Kuei-Shan (771-854)

Right here? This? Now?

Only the Dreamer
Can Change the Dream


Riding on his bike
in the fall
or spring Fel-
lini-like twilight
or dawn, the boy
is moved in some way
he does not understand.
A huge gray or green, long porched house
(he's partly color-blind)
crowns a low hill: rise-
s silent as a ship does
before him.
The vision makes him yearn
inside himself. It makes him mourn.
So he cries
as he rides
about the town.
He knows there are other great homes
and other beautiful streets
nearby. But they are not his.
He turns back.
He gets off his bike
and picks
up three fragments of unfinished pine
adrift on the green
(or gray) lawn
thinking -- hoping - that perhaps
there is something some place he can fix.
(Poem by John Logan)

If, as Advayavada Buddhism says, there is not two and thereby not one, but shunya (obvious zero) -- perhaps nothing fixes and is fixed by itself.

Acceptance of the moment is allowing the moment to live, which, indeed, is another way of saying that it is to allow life to live, to be what it is now (yathabhutam). Thus to allow this moment of experience and all that it contains freedom to be as it is, to come in its own time and to go in its own time, this is to allow the moment, which is what we are now, to set us free; it is to realize that life, as expressed in the moment, has always been setting us free from the very beginning, whereas we have chosen to ignore it and tried to achieve that freedom by ourselves.
(from The Meaning of Happiness, by Alan W. Watts, 1940, New York 1970)

That is interesting:

Life is

this moment

setting us

free!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Coming to.

It is time to wake from sleep. Orange sun jumps from cabin stovepipe, to red van window, finally (stretching arms overhead) yawns above horizon of Atlantic Ocean -- at same time climbs down Ragged Mountain. Time for us to wake -- to come to this perspective of earth.

Attain the center of emptiness,
Preserve the utmost quiet;
As myriad things act in concert,
I thereby observe the return.
Things flourish,
Then each returns to its root.
Returning to the root
Is called stillness:
Stillness is called return to Life,
Return to Life is called the constant;
Knowing the constant is called enlightenment.
- Tao-te Ching

Advent enlightenment and Buddhist awakening invite ordinary engagement as pathway through trinitarian new year. For those gathering within and without their-selves, the orange sun climbs and descends all at once -- what is called "church" is that gathering, within and without, ascending and descending, all -- at once.

Lao Tzu calls it "root," "stillness," and "constant." Trinity by any other designation.

This morning, en route church in Belfast, the descriptive phrases that call me in are: The ground-fact of God; the realization of God, and; the intuition of God.

Inside out? Outside in? The process and structure of this triadic interplay is the practice of meditative and spiritual life.

Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!
No ear has heard,
no eye has seen
any god but you act like this
for those who trust him.
You guide those who act with integrity
and keep your ways in mind.

(Isaiah 63:16...)

Acting with integrity -- with wholeness -- suggests allowing no thought to separate us from that which there is no separation.

This Advent, as with each circular re-presentation, we prepare waking the appearance and realization of Jesus in both historical and real time. We also prepare a descent to the ground-fact through and out of which our lives pass and stay, stay and pass in a glorious invitation to disappear. Thirdly, we prepare to conduit the intuition of the breath of what-is-whole as it makes way into, through, and around this earth at this time with our assistance and service.

The trinitarian form of the later Christian baptismal confessions (the starting point of which can be seen in the Scriptures of the early church, Matt.28:19) can be understood as the development of the confession of Christ, as the development of the implications of a personal confession of Jesus in terms of what he meant, specifically in reference to his unity with God, which assured believers of community with God. But it is also to be understood as the development of the ecclesiastical nature of Christian confession. Henceforth the individual could confess Jesus only by taking over the confession of the congregation of its Lord, and also thereby confessing the work of the Spirit of Christ in this congregation.
(p.74, in The Church, by Wolfhart Pannenberg, 1977 trans. 1983)

Christ confesses.

He did it.

Jesus realizes this.

This gathering -- of all nature, all beings, all around.

It is Advent. We are coming to.

Wake up!