Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, February 11, 2006

"To reconnect the world with what is real." That's what Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is saying on the tape this Saturday afternoon. There's a storm coming. Maine waits to see whether snow shovel or plow will be used. It has been a curious winter.

It seems everybody has an opinion about everyone else in the shop today. Must be the storm. I have no opinion. I have ears. And eyes. What comes in falls into an empty place. Beyond that, no opinion can reach.

Where is that?

The real way circulates everywhere;
how could it require
practice or enlightenment?
The essential teaching is fully available;
how could effort be necessary?
Furthermore, the entire mirror is
free of dust; why take steps to polish it?
Nothing is separate from this
very place; why journey away?

- Dogen (1200-1253)

I don't know where to go. So I opt to stay where I am...is.

Your storm raged, and the waters were piled high,
the flowing waters were a rampart, the sea-bed was exposed.

The enemy said: "I will follow and surround them;
I will divide their spoils,
have my fill of booty,
draw my sword and kill them all".
(from Exodus 15)

There is so much concern about being recognized, about one's opinion, about being heard. Being heard is important.

Sonnet

I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling finger-tips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the subaqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.

(Poem: "Sonnet" by Elizabeth Bishop from The Complete Poems: 1937-1971.)

What is real is being heard. Not any isolated separate self pretending their sound is the one sound, but sound itself, being, heard.

Bailey, the black poodle, wanders around shop. The fire has been uplifted on cinder blocks. Readers of poetry gather. Words encroach.

Punctuation looks for places to land, breath to find place to rest.

I, it would seem, would disappear. Recluses fade into what is taking place, longing to disappear into what is being said, wondering what becomes of us when, being heard, nothing remains but simple, profound stillness bordering on no opinion.

Truth, a zen master said, is easy to arrive at -- just drop all opinions.

In the Tao te Ching [chapter 20] there is a suggestion Lao Tsu was not always happy with his reclusive way of life and personality:

I alone am inert, showing no sign of desires,
like an infant that has not yet smiled.
Wearied, indeed, I seem to be without a home.
The multitude all possess more than enough,
I alone seem to have lost all . . .
Common folks are indeed brilliant;
I alone seem to be in the dark.


Like light, dark is a lovely place to be.

Between them, in the middle thin place we call awareness, we get to see what is, and no longer there.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Irish fella rewires the junction box. We hold lanterns. Electricity finds way into walls. Heat comes back. Near zero tonite.

To detach oneself from the dust of the world,
This is no ordinary task.
Hold firmly to the end of the rope and go at it
With all your might.
Without undergoing a whole spell of cold
That bites into your bones,
How can you have the plum blossoms regale you
With their piercing fragrance?

- Huang-po

Cat gets treat at bedtime. We watch Spike Lee's "25th Hour," love letter to New York.

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?
(from Psalm 88)

Monty's father at film's end is saying: "This life came so close to never happening."

And there he is, in the car, badly beaten.

And here we are, each in our place.

Going on.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It is difficult for the certain folks to comprehend the chaotic folks.

To detach oneself from the dust of the world,
This is no ordinary task.
Hold firmly to the end of the rope and go at it
With all your might.
Without undergoing a whole spell of cold
That bites into your bones,
How can you have the plum blossoms regale you
With their piercing fragrance?

- Huang-po

Chaos ask us to keep the conversation going. Inconclusivity, along with being the sign of creative minds, is the playground of dialogue. We need more play.

Jesus left that place and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognised
( Mark 7:24 - 26)

He would not pass unrecognized today. He was a Semite. He would be seen as a suspected Islamic terrorist or Israeli provocateur. Everyone would be watching him.

It is too difficult to entertain for long the cynicism and pessimism on one side and the defeatism and psychosis of the other. People have gone mad with their certainty.

I prefer the chaos of a snowstorm.

I can understand the open ended wonder of intelligent uncertainty.

I welcome where dialogic inquiry leads us.

Don't tell anyone where you are.

Let them want to see.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thich Nhat Hanh thinks there should be a Council of Sages in this country. They would listen. To suffering.

Mountain air is different from the world of people,
Mysteriously full of ancient times:
Cloudy trees put on a hue for each of the four seasons,
But the voice of the valley spring has only one tune.
Rain makes the warbler's robe heavy with dampness;
Warm breezes lighten the butterfly's sleeve.
Though we've written poetry till I'm an old man,
I have yet to astonish the spirits and gods.

- Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672)

These days everyone seems to fall into being victim or accuser. Rare is the soul able to merely listen with compassion and understanding.

Jesus called the people to him again and said, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this." (Mark 7:14 - 16)

No matter how duplicitous the rhetoric spoken at her, the listening sage would not hear the lies. The sage would hear the suffering and help ready the one suffering for liberation.

So much is false.

Ours is to hear.

What is true.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Long for what is. Observe what is. Become what is.

What if "what is" is what is called God?

The name "Three Teachings"
Was empty right from the start
Miss even one word and all goes wrong.
Looking inward or outward,
See there is no fixed self.
Break the front door,
If you want to enter your home.

- Dogen (1200-1253)

May all beings be happy. May all beings be safe. May all beings come to dwell in their true home.

No fixed self? Nothing to fix.

Longing to see all I am, dropping names and opinions, enters dawn with chimes, voicing wind.

Praise itself!

No front door.

Openness.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Intelligence is this moment revealing itself. No pattern, no ideology, no belief substitutes for intelligence. It is clarity of mind. It sees what is there to see.

When two blades cross points,
There's no need to withdraw.
The master swordsman
Is like the lotus blooming in the fire.
Such a person has inside of them
A heaven soaring spirit.

- Tozan Ryokan's 4th verse on the 5 ranks

Cabin woodstove warm tonight. We sat with a couple this afternoon listening to them. Just listening. They asked we listen as they spoke to one another about difficult things.

Is not man's life on earth nothing more than pressed service,
his time no better than hired drudgery?
Like the slave, sighing for the shade,
or the workman with no thought but his wages,
months of delusion I have assigned to me,
nothing for my own but nights of grief.
Lying in bed I wonder, "When will it be day?"
Risen I think, "How slowly evening comes!"
Restlessly I fret till twilight falls.
Swifter than a weaver's shuttle my days have passed,
and vanished, leaving no hope behind.
Remember that my life is but a breath,
and that my eyes will never again see joy.

-- Job 7:1 - 7

For J. Krishnamurti, "the observer is the observed."
The listener, then, is what is listened to.

We are what is looking for, listening for, itself.

A lovely integrity.