Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Eleven, eleven, eleven, eleven. All ones.

We need, again, armistice -- that is, a cessation of arms for a short time, by convention; a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement; a truce.

He said to them, ‘You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as virtuous in people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is thought highly of by men is loathsome in the sight of God."
--Luke 15:16

War is thought of highly by men.

War is loathsome.

We will cease hostilities when we look through the transparent and present Christ. Without that mind seeing through Christ, we not only do not see one another, we only see enemies and objects through afflicted emotions.

Until I see you as you are, I never see Christ. When I see you as you are, I am looking through the invisible Christ -- my sight corrected -- and see no enemy, no object, only you, and you as loving friend.

We need to become veterans of tiresome wars fought by ignorance that tries to own what is not possible to own.

1...1. 1...1. 1...1. 1...1.

Nobody owns one.

One is everybody.

Seen through.

Christ.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A hermit writes

Dear Saskia and Bill,
I've been living as a hermit (mostly Catholic .. mostly) in Minnesota and now find myself searching for community.
I love your way of saying - monastics of no other !! That's me as well ! I have been chided for being 'between' , when it truly can be a bridge, right ?
Do you have plans for actual community ?
Blessings !
K

And we respond:

Hello K,

A bridge, yes.
I agree -- we are often, as you say, chided, that is -- someone finds fault with -- the spiritual and corporal practice of bridging between.
Perhaps we have to learn how to lightly travel and traverse what is between us -- not ignoring it, not trying to shape it into our image, nor attempting to insist that the seeming distance of the 'between' is only an illusion.

What-is between-us just might be the kingdom of heaven, one of the dwelling places of God. The mystery of our spirituality longing to engage and embody the presence of God in this existence reminds us we can neither ignore, control, imagine, nor treat as illusion the sacred between.

Which leaves us the odd choice of either giving ourselves to what is between us, or withholding ourselves from what is between us.

May that choice be undertaken with and for the love of God!

And yet, perhaps there is no bridge, and no bridging between. the effort to bridge between might be our absurd effort to put something there which is not needed. Maybe we are asked to step off our edge of thought and belief ...and fall. We always seem to want a secure step. Maybe faith is a tumbling through God. In that tumbling, in our prayer during that tumbling, might appear the ungraspable strands of trust and surrender that construct a new form of interconnection that we once might have named 'bridge,' only now it is named 'the open between.'

K, thank you for your note. Our plans for actual community fall into 'the open between.'
We're beginning to think that the coming and going, the touching base and moving off, the appearance of strangers and familiarity of local regulars -- that this is our actual community. As often as we draw plans for land, buildings, schedule (or non-schedule), concerted and intentional community -- we are tossed back to weather and whether. The weather changes. We're uncertain whether our calling will become an "actual" gathered semi-traditional community.

But we pray. And converse. Look at farms and town buildings. Visit the Maritimes. Bother our dear friends with our thoughts and what-ifs, and go on day to day. Hopefully. In the no-name loving presence of the open between.

Keep in touch.

And blessings to you, your calling, and your practice

Bill (and Saskia)


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Where do you look?

Over the ages
You have followed objects,
Never once turning back
To look within.
Time slips away;
Months and years
Are wasted

- Kuei-shan Ling-yu (771-854)

Looking within, a whole landscape is revealed.

Didn’t you realise that you were God’s temple and that the Spirit of God was living among you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple.
(from 1 Corinthians 3)

You must remember your name.

It is a sacred place.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Peculiar.

Madness, the way they
Gallop off to foreign shores!
Turning to the One Mind,
I find my Buddhahood,
Above self and others,
Beyond coming and going.
This will remain
When all else is gone.

- Tanzan (1819 –1892)

Voting might still work.

You will lead me out of the trap that they laid for me – for you are my strength.\(--from Psalm 31)

Odd.

This changes.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's time to vote.

Men and women are not the easiest reliance. Some say: Give me God! But God says: I have become human; look for me there. So, here we are, looking at one another, wondering what God was thinking when God became human. Because, men and women are not the easiest reliance.

Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.
Although its light is wide and great,
The moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide.
The whole moon and the entire sky
Are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.

Dogen

Are dewdrops easier? Is clear reflection of what is there something comforting?

(I would prefer if all references to good/evil, right/wrong, truth/lie were to disappear. In their place I would prefer clear/unclear. If clarity is what we desire, then obscureness and incomprehensibility is not desirable.)

"Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, I don't know. I had a telegram from the home: 'Mother passed away. Funeral tomorrow. Yours sincerely.' That doesn't mean anything. It may have happened yesterday." (from The Stranger, by Albert Camus)

What metaphorical mother is worded in that telegram? What has died?

Words seldom carry clarity, less frequently meaning. Words, to be of use to us, are best clear openings through which sight passes freely. In our world of political speech and consumer seduction, words elicit fantasy images rather than clear sight.

Something clearer is called for. A mind that sees and shows a clearer reality is longed for.

In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:
His state was divine,
yet he did not cling
to his equality with God
but emptied himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are;
and being as all men are,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross.
But God raised him high
and gave him the name
which is above all other names
so that all beings in the heavens,
on earth and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus
and that every tongue should acclaim
Jesus Christ as Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5 - 11

What is Jesus' name?

His name is clear sight. His name is concrete act. His name is encouraging heart.

In order not to fall into despair and ultimate disharmony we must find out one thing.

The most important thing is to find out
what is the most important thing.

Shunryu Suzuki

There are so many unimportant diversions and erroneous opinions. (Flaws I fall to.)

I consider empty mind and clear sight worth attention. I like Jesus' name.

The mindful exert themselves. To no abode are they attached. Like swans that quit their pools, home after home they abandon (and go).
(--verse 91 in The Dhammapada, sayings of the Buddha)

I like Buddha's swans. Going and going.

I am not fond of glum and angry opinions asserting that God is in the pockets of a few glum and angry men and women sporting eerie smiles and claiming exclusive proprietary faith and judging rights over those not signatories of glum and angry formulas of fundamental belief.

Some of these claimants are politicians who claim to own God. Some are preachers who own these politicians. These are difficult times.

Let's abandon these opinions. Let's turn from these diversions.

Let's be humbler yet.

Let's look at the whole moon and the entire sky.

Let's be human as God is human.

Does your vote fit here?

Monday, November 06, 2006

I visit Christ in Rockland Monday morning.

A piece of white roundness is shown me by a man in white alb. I say I will, yes, receive this round host. I do. I walk to rear pew. I kneel. After a short while everybody leaves. Lights go out. I am alone.

If you have developed great
Capacity and cutting insight,
You can undertake Zen
Right where you are.
Without getting it from another,
You understand clearly
On your own.

- Yuanwu

Is this a meeting with Christ? All alone in empty church with no one visible?

Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a lunch or a dinner, do not ask your friends, brothers, relations or rich neighbours, for fear they repay your courtesy by inviting you in return. No; when you have a party, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; that they cannot pay you back means that you are fortunate, because repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again.’
--Luke 14:12 - 14

Catholics are a curious lot. Fundamentalists consider them not to be Christians. In the silence and dim light of rainy morning I am pleased to be alone with my brothers and sisters -- the crippled, lame, blind. We sit in the silence and emptiness with Christ.

This Christ does not tell us we are true believers. He keeps to himself. This Christ is not a cock-sure braggert who struts his arrogance and superiority. He worries about life and existence. This Christ is not the self-proclaimed savior of the whole world, the Father's sacrifice, the blood-washing king of the righteous. He is a nobody, broken, a man at prayer, in the solitude of sacred gratitude.

Apple Season in a Time of War

The children are terrible
in their innocence,
and the frightened parents
can neither scold nor protect them

as the leaves continue to fall
like tiny portents
from the ancestral trees.
Weather is all

that remains unchanged,
with its accidental
almost merciful cruelties,
its winds, its falling temperatures.

But I can hear the children
whose laughter rings
like small but dangerous
hammers on an anvil.

I can hear the buzz of radio voices,
persistent as insects
on all the frequencies
of madness.

Poem: "Apple Season in a Time of War" by Linda Pastan, from Queen of a Rainy Country. W.W. Norton & Company.

Tomorrow the United States will vote for their local leaders. The president and vice president will remain. It is an important election. Some say our troubled national soul is at stake.

When I leave the church, Christ has dissolved into the emptiness, my body bows in the direction of crucifix and tabernacle. The figure of an executed man hangs in stillness; the glint of gold enclosure shields vision of entombed repository depths of mysterious faith under sanctuary candle.

I am certain of nothing. That's why it is called faith.

I am wary of certitude. The doubtless are most often arrogant.

My visit is to the question.

Who are you? Who am I? What is this? How will it end? What does your face really look like?

My fundamentalist brothers and sisters are not troubled by these questions. They know the answers. Ask them.

Not me.

I leave church for Willow Bake Shoppe chocolate donuts and Green Mountain dark roast coffee cut by hazelnut cream. I greet Rainy in quick mart parking lot. She smiles with recognition. We drive off in separate directions -- we have seen one another, we go on with our morning.

It's like that with Christ.

Hello.

And good.

Bye.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Hussein is found guilty by American backed court, and sentenced to hang.

This news cheers many. It worries me.

Will an American court find the American administration officials who've overseen (and overlooked) illegal invasion, torture, and murder in Iraq guilty of crimes against humanity? Will an awakened moral consciousness and restored judicial conscience face the distinct possibility that unconscionable acts have been committed by an arrogant administration and must be accounted for?

Ordinarily, we spend all our time comparing and discriminating between this and that, always looking around for something good to happen to us. And because of that we become restless and anxious about everything. As long as we are able to imagine something better than what we have or who we are, it follows naturally that there could also be something worse. We are constantly pursued by misgivings that something bad will happen. In other words, as long as we live by distinguishing between the better way and the worse way, we can never find absolute peace such that whatever happens is all right. When we let go of our thoughts that distinguish better from worse and instead see everything in terms of the Universal Self, we are able to settle upon a different attitude toward life--the attitude of magnanimous mind that whatever happens, we are living out Self which is only Self. Here a truly peaceful life unfolds.
--Kosho Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith

If we recognized a Universal Self, would we have to recognize a core reality that is distinct and distinguished? Christ Reality? Buddha Mind? Unspeakable Tao? Nameless YHVH? Great Allah? No Other? Impassable Brahman? Truth Itself? Love One? What Is Alone?

The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken, said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’. And after that no one dared to question him any more.
Mark 12: 33-34

We are not far!

There's a new designation for all of us.

We are: "Not Far!"

We pray for Saddam Hussein. We pray for the Iraqi people.

We pray for George Bush. We pray for the American people.

We are not far from either of them.

This realization invites, (no, demands) compassion.

And stark, unsentimental, transparent, courage.

To be, and do, what is necessary and true.

The world longs for a rare integrity.

Dare we ask: Are we ready?

No longer arrogant.

But questioning.