Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Watched "Control Room," the film about Al-Jazeera, the Arabic news agency. It made me wonder about the ability of all ordinary people to listen through the propaganda (both the US and Iraq versions) and hear literal truth, see factual reality in the theater of war.

The sage looks at the unity which
Belongs to all things,
And does not perceive where
They have suffered loss.

- Chuang Tzu

It is frustrating not to be able to discern truth -- it is so cleverly hidden.

At morning prayer I note the second half of the "Glory be" prayer:
...as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.

I am repulsed by the mind that believes innocent lives are disposable. I detest the mind that pretends war is exactly what should put one political party again in the driver's seat. I sorrow at stupidity and laziness of mind that manipulates emotions and puts smiley-faces on human suffering in a time of war.

Why is it so hard to stop war criminals? Where has decent and just courage gone?

Theologians, politicians, educators, and religious leaders stumble on the issue of war, terror, and national patriotism. Their deference is ambivalence. I want no part of rationalization.

War is wrong. This war against Iraq was wrong. This war against terror is a wrongly used triumphal tool to advance political agendas too large to be detected. The country, as I see it, is in trouble.

Why are we so hesitant to see the problem? How is it so few men can cause so much suffering.

Pray for mystics! Write away for them. Import them if need be.

A poem:
Escaping for Sight
The mystic sees the world as it is;
"As-it-is" sees the world through mystics' eyes --
Close them. Open us. See ya...

(poem, wfh, of a Saturday objection seeking conscience)

The lovely is lovely. The unlovely is unlovely.

Our task is not to confuse them -- not to call the lovely unlovely and the unlovely lovely.

It is time to pray.

Time to see.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Film, "Three Days of the Condor," thirty years later, chills.

A soaring endlessly curving path,
every few miles we have to rest.
I look around for my friends.
They've vanished in the wooded hills.
Rain floods the pine trees
and flows hushed among the rocks.
There are silent words deep in hill water,
a long whistle over the summits.
When I look at South Mountain
the sun floats white through the mist.
A blue marsh is luminous and clear.
Green trees are heavy shadows, drifting.
When I am tired of being closed in,
suddenly I come upon a clearing,
and the mind is at peace.

- Wang Wei (699-759)

Oil. And games. Disregard of innocence.
What has changed?

Is it for the dead that you perform your wonders?
Will the ghosts rise up and proclaim you?
In the tomb, will they tell of your kindness?
Will they tell of your faithfulness in the place of the lost?
Will your wonders be known in the darkness,
or your righteousness in the land of oblivion?

(from Psalm 87)

In prison, Pat and Joe talk about Holocaust and Slavery. They are alight with insight and passion.

I opt for insight and passion.

Damn the games.

Full mind intent!

Dwell between hope and guilt.

Avoid both.

Hold intention.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I finish application to satisfy the Nameless One we call God.

"Wait," the One says, "and see."

I gaze on myself in the stream's emerald flow
Or sit on a boulder by a cliff.
My mind, a lonely cloud, leans on nothing,
Needs nothing from the world and its endless events.

- Han Shan (early 9th century)

Who knows what God wants? Who knows anything about God? Or even if there is a God, or gods, or only our longing there might be one?

When we speak of Christ's priesthood, what else do we mean than the incarnation? Through this mystery, the Son of God, though himself ever remaining God, became a priest. (From a letter by Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop)

The incarnation seems right. Here we are, all abodied, wondering why, and wherefore, whither, and what the hell?

The good fellow of Ruspe centers in on incarnation. We know of which he speaks. And we are all priests, being sound and body, with God as source.

A Native American prayer says we are the one we are waiting for.

We are ministers of earth. We try to honor, save, and resurrect that from which we come, on which we stand, to which we shall return.

Earth.

God.

(A pair of ducks.)

Waiting for, encircling, one and another.

(Just ducky, eh?)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ritual is dress-up. At end of day, it is a conveyance for presence. People gather in a space for a recognized pattern of interaction. What comes through depends on those holding the space and time open.

Nature may be compared to a vast ocean. Thousands and millions of changes are taking place in it. Crocodiles and fish are essentially of the same substance as the water in which they live. People are crowded together with the myriad other things in the Great Changingness, and their nature is one with that of all other natural things. Knowing that I am of the same nature as all other natural things, I know that there is really no separate self, no separate personality, no absolute death and no absolute life.
- T'ien T'ung-Hsu (8th century A.D.)

Albert Camus in "The Myth of Sisyphus" says the only serious philosophical question is that of suicide.
Richard Hugo in "Villager" says that "What's wrong will always be wrong." He says "No two hurts are the same, and most have compensations / too lovely to leave."
Camus with Sisyphus and Sophocles with Oedipus convey that all is well; we assume them happy.

The mystic sees the world as it is.

"As it is" sees the world through the mystic's eyes.

Everything, said Saskia at tonight's conversation, is paradox -- each view pointing to and from the corresponding point of view.

In this way we are held in the play of reverence.

A lovely ritual.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Icy wind on wharf in St. Andrews by the Sea drawn in across Passamaquoddy Bay.

Nowhere!
Not in the sky,
Nor in the midst of the sea,
Nor deep in the mountains,
Can you hide from your own mischief.
Not in the sky,
Nor in the midst of the ocean,
Nor deep in the mountains,
Nowhere
Can you hide from your own death.

- Dhammapada

What about that house on Queen Street?

An overnight. Waking to low tide.

Just enough imagination.

Morning muffin with coffee by Celtic cross facing Minister's Island.

Sorrowing a Canadian's death in America's war.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Freedom isn't a private possession. No one is completely free as long as someone somewhere is denied freedom.

For the awakened ones,
The sorrows of this world are over.
Though they possess finite bodies,
They remain united with the Infinite.
Their hearts know no anxiety.
They are said to be free even in this life.

- Shankara

Shankara is right. Still, the question remains: How does one person's freedom affect another's imprisonment?

I read today, finally, the article in a local paper a few months ago about the Special Management Unit (formerly, the Supermax) at the Maine State Prison. The article spoke about harsh treatment, some claim torture, suffered there.

Sunday Evening Practice at the hermitage was filled with strong quiet energy. After sitting, then chanting, we listened to a CD of a talk given by Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee for 10 minutes at table. His talk was on Anima Mundi, the soul of the world. We wondered, after eating in silence Saskia's Siebenburger's Kraut, about the alchemical light in all matter. We pondered how even a small light taken into a dark place near a person closed inside a deeper darkness invites the light residing there within them into a communion of light.

It is wearying to be placed in the dark or kept in the dark by someone who has to keys to do so. (It is similar to receiving messages -- whether from parents or others -- saying "You are wrong!" Those who perpetuate such indictments weary the soul.) It is much more interesting, if not more difficult, to find what is right and light about a situation. It's something we can do -- attend to light.

Judy told that her husband had died last July. We remember Bob in prayer. She takes the Lee CD with her.

Freedom is like the thin membrane between worlds. If it shines authentically on one side, it conveys through to the other. Free individuals convey freedom, they extend light. Locked up individuals (in mind, or heart) convey dead end absence of energy.

What is outside us is inside us. What is inside us is outside us.

The answer to "How are we?" cannot be given without the corresponding question "How is the world?"

If we are the world, then if we practice peace and cultivate light, the world has the experience of peace and light.

No matter what the world or the other chooses to do with the experience, it is there for it, for them, for us, to ponder.

Our practice is the pondering of how the inside and the outside become no inside, no outside.

Only peace.

And light.

His faithfulness will be your armour and your shield.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day;
nor the plague that walks in the shadows,
nor the death that lays waste at noon.

(from Psalm 90, Compline)

We're all...right...because of someone like Dr. King.

Martin Luther King Jr, whose birthday we celebrate, was right. He brought light and freedom with his life.

All are better, know it or not, because of him.