Today At Meetingbrook

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A crusty old-timer told the new guys: "Believe nothing that you hear, half of what you see, and form your own opinions."

A man could learn much from that advice.

Unfettered at last, a traveling monk,
I pass the old Zen barrier.
Mine is a traceless stream-and-cloud life.
Of those mountains, which shall be my home?

- Manan (1591-1654)

My home is in the daily activity of listening, assisting, and learning from each one -- my teachers.

The Lord protects the lives of his consecrated ones: (from Psalm 97)

Whatever names some get attached to, it is a matter of attending to the lives of the "consecrated ones."

We are made holy -- alone and in community -- by the loving presence of the Holy One.

All those wanting to make twos, divisions, and contentious exclusions -- these must recognize the times are changed. We must attend to the consecrated ones now.

Put it down -- the separating mind that seeks explanation and entrenched defenses!

Pick up where the Christ finds each one -- holy, wholly, together -- even in the midst of stumbling questions about ourselves.

Christians don't own Christ or the Christ-Reality -- we all share in it. We need a more humble stance with the Holy One.

Traceless stream-and-cloud life.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I knew his radio voice. He dropped off videos in Belfast. Returned to his car. And died there at the wheel. Not driving off. Just leaving.

The mind cannot seek the mind.
You ignore what is real and hold on to
That which is unreal, then try to find
What it is. You think you are the mind and,
Therefore, ask how it is to be controlled.

If the mind exists,
It can be controlled,
But it does not.
Understand this truth by inquiry;
Seek the real, the Self

- Ramana Maharshi

At conversation tonight we took words and wrote poems, reading them. We are intimate with being. We are poems that are being written.

Having become apostate, agnostic or atheistic (or all of the above) over the years, I try not to believe anything too much regarding the nature of the universe, the ground of being, god, or the great mystery. The nature of ultimate reality transcends our ability to capture or understand it in mere words. It is unknowable at that level.

Consider that in our universe, energy and matter can neither be created nor destroyed. All the stuff that's here now has always been here, and the trillions of atoms that are, for the moment doing the dance of Piszcz the writer, have danced to different music at other moments, and will do so again after I'm done. Go figure. So what does that make ME?

When it comes down to it, Insha' Allah, Thy Will Be Done, Buddha smiling with a flower or Tao Te Ching or Brahma's Dream are aspects of one and the same imponderable amazing mystery and there's certainly no reason to fight and kill about our differing and necessarily imperfect interpretations of it. What we believe, no matter how fervently, doesn't necessarily relate to ultimate reality.

(from "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making plans." 2006-06-01, by Dave Piszcz) http://journal.maine.com/op-ed/dpiszcz/20060601000014B.html

He died Monday in Belfast. What voice we hear will be resonance of molecule dancing an auditory spin.

Tonight we spoke of Charlotte at the shop. Her dance spins in and out of our words.

Here's what I think: We don't fear death, not really. You see, death and life are not two things. We are a bit uncertain how to think about life/death -- that maybe we fear life and only think we fear death. Fact is, it's death/life and life/death all the way around the block.

Charlotte and Dave have turned a corner.

We write poems approaching where they were, where they are, and where there is a chat-book unburping. (Robert is responsible for those last few words. He's a poet.)

Dinner's ready.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Like so much of life, meetingbrook is a myth told awkwardly in words that lose ground -- not able to find footing on turning tide.

In the Greek myth Atlas gives Hercules the world to hold. Then gets it back. Tricked. Thieves always take for themselves what they desire. We're all thieves. And, all heroes.

"All heroes have fatal flaws," writer Jeanette Winterson reminds us. The flaws keep us on edge.

" as a flower blown out by the wind
goes to rest and cannot be defined
so the wise man freed from individuality
goes to rest and cannot be defined.
gone beyond all images-
gone beyond the power of words "

From: Sutra Nipata

Beyond the power of words is imaginative insight infused with dynamic creative tension. The story is endlessly emerging in shadows along with rising light. Maybe that which we carry need not be carried any longer. In the myth, Atlas carried the world.

"And then, Atlas had a strange thought: 'Why not put it down?'" (Final words of Jeanette Winterson's novel, Weight.)

I am lonely as a pelican in the wilderness,
as an owl in the ruins,
as a sparrow alone on a rooftop:
I do not sleep.
All day long my enemies taunt me,
they burn with anger and use my name as a curse.
I make ashes my bread,
I mix tears with my drink,
because of your anger and reproach --
you, who raised me up, have dashed me to the ground.
My days fade away like a shadow:
I wither like grass.

(from Psalm 102)

We each carry things a long time over far distances for reasons we've forgotten toward ends we no longer comprehend.

Why not put it down?

What would happen?

August wanes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Be bare and be aware. Simplify and awaken.

The scare today is beware and be wary. There's a subliminal command to stay afraid and asleep. Don't obey that command. Stay within yourself. What is needed is there. With trust, faith, and love.

Grace is within you;
Grace is the Self.
Grace is not something to be acquired from others.
If it external, it is useless.
All that is necessary
Is to know its existence in you.
You are never out of its operation.

- Ramana Maharshi

Is this what is referred to as "fall from grace"? -- that we fail to look and see from within; instead, we take our identity and marching orders from outside, from those who would manipulate our essence to serve their desires?

Look to education. "In-ducation" is wrong direction. It means "to lead in," Many misuse education. The flaw of education is the misspelling, the misdirection. Those enacting the flaw think you need to have something put into you. Authentic "education" means to bring out what is nascently, inchoately, there within us. (educo (1) -ducere -duxi -ductum (1) [to draw out , lead out].

Grace is within ourselves. As is -- the light of God. Authentic nature resides at peace and harmony within the core of Being at center of self.

We are not at war within ourselves. "War" is an external flaw, a mis-spelling of a powerful interior longing for the "Raw." The slang is "raw" -- in the natural unprocessed condition; untempered and unrefined; (used informally) completely unclothed; [syn: bare-assed, bare-ass, in the altogether, in the buff, in the raw, peeled, naked as a jaybird, stark naked]

Can we peel away accretion and residue of external costume and ideologic veil that cover and hide us away from our authentic nature? Do we "fall" for the ruse of manipulation and untruth? Has mendacity become our morning milk?

Avon says, finally realizing that Stringer was right all along about turf wars[...] "Fuck Marlo," he says. "And fuck this fucking war. All this beefin' over a couple of fuckin' corners." In response, Slim Charles articulates the gangster's dead-end moral imperative: "It don't matter who did what to whom. Fact is, we went to war an' now there ain't no goin' back... If it's a lie, then we fight on the lie. But we gotta fight."
(from "The Wire," HBO drama, synopsis, episode 37, "Mission Accomplished")

Whether fictitious or actual drug wars, or the war against drugs, or the wars in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, Sudan, and Washington DC -- there is profound deception, disinformation, and dishonesty. Someone benefits from deceit, always, or it wouldn't be so prevalent and profitable. Many profit from war -- or there wouldn't be so many wars so long cultivated and tolerated.

To their own undoing, they do not hide it,
they are preparing their own downfall.

Tell them, "Happy is the virtuous man,
for he will feed on the fruit of his deeds;
woe to the wicked, evil is on him,
he will be treated as his actions deserve".

(from Isaiah 3)

Virtue is the inner task of being human.

An Aristotelian vocabulary:
"virtue" (arete) = excellence in fulfillment of a particular function
"happiness" (eudaimonia) = a sense of well-being, resulting from achieving excellence in the fulfillment of one's functions, including the "species-specific" functions of reason (both theoretical and practical)
http://www.drury.edu/ess/reason/Aristotle.html

Lies divert virtue. We seem to live in a culture of diversion and dissimulation.

Dissimulation, n. [L. dissimulatio: cf. F. dissimulation.]
The act of dissembling; a hiding under a false appearance;
concealment by feigning; false pretension; hypocrisy. (
http://dict.die.net/dissimulation/)

It becomes clear what love demands.

"Simon son of John, do you love me?" He replied, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you". Jesus said to him, "Look after my sheep". (John 21:16)

We need to look after one another.

The world is looking at the United States and is more concerned at what is seen than are the citizens of the US.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said President George W. Bush should stop viewing the world ``from the position of a superpower'' and Vice President Dick Cheney should ``calm down'' and stop criticizing Russian leaders.
The U.S. should understand that ``leadership should be done not by domination, not by becoming a policeman in the world, but by being a partner,'' Gorbachev said in a Bloomberg television interview to air this weekend, the 15th anniversary of a failed coup against him.
Gorbachev said Americans ``should get rid of this disease which I call the winner's complex'' in the Cold War. ``The victory complex is even worse than the inferiority complex,'' he said.
Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aBRVRJhIy87k

We need to partner, not partition.

To His Lover, That She Be Not Overdressed

And why take ye thought for raiment?
--Matthew 6:28

The lilies of the field
That neither toil nor spin
Stand dazzlingly revealed
In not a thing but skin

And in that radiant state
Sheer essences they wear.
Take heed, my fashion plate.
Be so arrayed. Go bare.

(Poem: "To His Lover, That She Be Not Overdressed," by X.J. Kennedy, from The Lords of Misrule. Johns Hopkins University Press).

Bare truth.

No toil.

No spin.

Within.

Openly.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

One self. Us all.

Delusion conceives of things as
Existent or nonexistent,
As being real or unreal,
As born or unborn.
In an uncluttered place,
Concentrate your mind,
Remain steady and unmoving,
Like a polar mountain.
Observe that all phenomena
Have no existence,
That they are like space,
Without solid stability,
Neither being born nor emerging.
Unmoving, unflagging,
Abide in oneness:
This is called the place of nearness.

- Lotus Sutra

Come near. Do not wait. Come near.

Wisdom has built herself a house,
she has erected her seven pillars,
she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine,
she has laid her table.
She has dispatched her maidservants
and proclaimed from the city's heights:
"Who is ignorant? Let him step this way."
To the fool she says,
"Come and eat my bread,
drink the wine I have prepared!
Leave your folly and you will live,
walk in the ways of perception."

(Proverbs 9:1 - 6}

Perceive world sound. Listen to the sound of what is being said.

We must pay attention to what we are. We must pay closer attention to what we are not.

Consider the tennis star:
Of witnessing, firsthand, the beauty and genius of his game. You more have to come at the aesthetic stuff obliquely, to talk around it, or -- as Aquinas did with his own ineffable subject -- to try to define it in terms of what it is not.

(from "Roger Federer as Religious Experience," Play, The New York Times Sports Magazine, 20August2006)

God is unknowable.

Unknowing is our way to God.

Nothing is mine.

No one excluded.

Co-originating.

Self-reliance.

One self. Us all.