Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 18, 2006

After rain for days, this morning, sun.

Inscription tombstone of Hui-neng
According to his doctrine,
Non-doing is reality,
Emptiness is the truth,
And the ultimate meaning
Of things is vast and
Immovable.
He taught that human nature
In its beginning
As well as in the end
Is thoroughly good
For it has its root
In that which is serene.

- Liu Tsung-yuan

It is hard to imagine what the "fall" means to those that believe in sinful nature of man. Passing a Baptist church in Waterville, it is thought-provoking to read sign "Jesus Christ died for your sins." I wonder what they mean.

May God, who helps us when we refuse to give up, help you all to be tolerant with each other, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that united in mind and voice you may give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It can only be to God’s glory, then, for you to treat each other in the same friendly way as Christ treated you.
-Romans 15:5 - 7

As a Christian, as a Muslim, as a Jew, as a Buddhist, as a Hindu, as a Pagan, as an Atheist, as an Agnostic, as a Quaker, as an insignificant ordinary man -- I am vitally curious as to what it means to be completely human in this existence.

I challenge everyone to curiosity.

Unless you have a mustard seed of curiosity, you will not grow into the gift that needs to be given to all sentient beings, to the sacred itself.

After the sun, dusk, darkness, stars and comets -- a cold night and profound gratitude for being alive -- stairs, and bed.

Friday, November 17, 2006

There are many of us in prison.

Some have committed crimes. Some are simply locked in thought patterns. Criminals know the loss of freedom that haunts the space between walls and razor wire. Others are confined by fear and the need to control what is taking place, usually before it takes place.

Either we participate in the revelation of the open between us (i.e., what is called God), or we dam the emerging revelation with constricting repression.

Who says my poems are poems?
These poems are not poems.
When you can understand this,
then we can begin to speak of poetry.

-poem by Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831) (nicknamed Great Fool)

We spoke today about transference -- how our vibrations and intentions influence and shape the room and the individuals therein. We spoke about Masaru Emoto's work with water, how love-and-thanks awareness beautifully shapes what it touches.

We are in great need of acceptance and gratitude. The very water of our being longs for such appreciation.

Deep white clouds
Blanket the ragged roof
Grateful for this
Old Zen friend’s visit
I send him off at the gate
Both of us silent
Standing under the
Shade of the tall pine
Lingering.

- Jakushitsu (1290 – 1367)

If we practice sitting with one another -- in silence replete with loving attention -- we participate in shaping the person, environment, and world wherewith and wherein we dwell.

God, (however we understand God,) is the sacred energy resonating through our midst, sounding between us, allowing our paths to take route, our being to take root. True life finds shape between us, freeing us from self-imposed prison.

Freedom is finding a way through the presence of God between us. If we stay locked within our idea of freedom, we hold self hostage to old notions and prior patterns of self-induced belief.

Self is troublesome separation.

No-self is open door.

Walk through.

Let God.

Transpire.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Unguarded is what aware means.

It is important to understand
that buddha nature is not
something we imagine or
create from nothing.
It is something that exists
already, and the gradual method
the Buddha taught is designed
to awaken the ever-present
buddha nature by instructing
individuals at different
levels of development
exactly how to do this.

- The Twelfth Tai Situpa

To be aware as what is revealing itself is revealing itself.

Thus it is that my heart rejoices, heart and soul together; while my body rests in calm hope. (-from Psalm 16)

The fact; not the idea about the fact, not the opinion about the fact.

The fact -- unguarded awareness.

Is doing this.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Time is going.

I don't believe that any human mind is capable of 100 percent error. So instead of asking which approach is right and which is wrong, we assume each approach is true but partial, and then try to figure out how to fit these partial truths together, how to integrate them--not how to pick one and get rid of the others.
-Ken Wilber (from the foreword to The Eye of Spirit)

Space is expanding

When the Mexicans in their deficient mythical-magic structure encountered the mentally-oriented Spaniards, the magic-mythical power failed in the face of mental strength; clan consciousness failed in the face of the individualized ego-consciousness. If an integral man were to encounter a deficient mental man, would not deficient material power fail in the face of integral strength? Would not the individual ego-consciousness falter in the face of the Itself-consciousness of mankind? the mental-rational in the face of the spiritual? fragmentation in the face of integrality?
(from Vorlesungen und Reden zu „Ursprung und Gegenwart“, THE INVISIBLE ORIGIN, Evolution as a Supplementary Process, By Jean Gebser)

Wholeness is unveiling.

Many Arabs, as I've written before, would like some of our democracy, but they would also like another kind of freedom -- freedom from us.
But you get the point. We are preparing our get-out excuses. The Iraqis don't deserve us. Screw them. That's the grit we're laying down on the desert floor to help our tanks out of Iraq.

(from "U.S. Tanks Will Roll out of Iraq on a Road Paved with Excuses", by Robert Fisk, who writes from the Middle East for The Independent of Britain.)

November is half done.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nocturne vigil.

Tunturi wheel draped with gray sock. No one cycles nowhere. Rain drips from roof. Fog wanders back roads from St. Albans and Pittsfield. Thich Nhat Hanh took communion with Dan Berrigan in first chapter of Living Buddha, Living Christ.

Life, he said, is what we celebrate.

Mind, mind, mind—
Above the Path.
Here on my mountain,
Gray hair down,
I cherish bamboo sprouts,
Brush carefully
By pine twigs.
Burning incense,
I open a book:
Mist over flagstones.
Rolling the blind,
I contemplate:
Moon in the pond.
Of my old friends,
How many know the Way?

- Zengetsu (833 – 912)

Life is the Way. Only life.

Erika read Tibetan Folk Tales as I read Thay in parking lot of social service program where Saskia audited worker's comp as dusk came over field across from lumber mill where light on end of building went on/off with staccato regularity.

A simple sitting side by side in mist and silence. A mobile monastery.

Little Prayer in November

That I am alive, I thank
no one in particular;
and yet am thankful, mostly,
although I frame no prayer

but this one: Creator
Spirit, as you have come,
come again, even in November,
on these short days, fogbound.

(Poem: "Little Prayer in November" by Lee Rudolph, from A Woman and a Man, Ice-Fishing. Texas Review Press. )

When Thich Nhat Hanh was told by a minister Thay could not be grateful because Thay did not believe in God, Thay was surprised. It is always surprising when someone tells us we are not what we are.

A compassionate response would be to thank our judges for reminding us how much more we have to pray, meditate, and investigate who we are. When our critics see something in us they are not, we have to deepen our humility so that we might realize what they become in our gratitude for them.

Existence is a complex task. Every day we have to look at and listen to what is revealing itself in our midst. Everything is shaping us. To realize this is to participate with what is being shaped

Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, wine and milk.
--Isaiah 55:1

Our absurdity is failing to extend the invitation wider. That same absurdity fails to recognize sacred gifts as they present themselves before us.

Show us, Sacred One, your loving face in each comforter and critic!

In November's rain we humbly listen to your splashing presence.

One's gift of gratitude.

Only life.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The air we breathe is, I submit, love. Clear love is more habitable than unclear love. We do long for clear sight, clear experience. We don't always get it.

The Hollies, in 1974, released a song "The Air That I Breathe." The refrain goes:
Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe
And to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe
Yes to love you
All I need is the air that I breathe


If you breathe out and speak a word, you have concealed as much as you have revealed. If you breathe in and receive a sound, you have revealed what is being concealed. This prospect silences me.

When I contemplate the Word, the expression of Christ Reality in our language, I encounter the concealed presence of what seems absent. Christ is the air that is breathed.

Trinitarians wish to divvy up Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Unitarians say the Godhead is the Father alone. Buddhists cut the difference saying not one/not two (and we suppose) not three. These days it seems that what is called 'Christ' might be the resolution of this planet -- a suffusing transparency, vital atmosphere, clear light.

Love is as revealed as concealed. We have much to learn.

Don’t do anything
Whatsoever with the mind—
Abide in an authentic,
Natural state.
One’s own mind,
Unwavering, is reality.
The key is to meditate
Like this without wavering.
Experience the great reality
Beyond extremes.

- The Nun Niguna

The reality of Christ is as in as out as breath is. The prospect of embodiment makes incarnation a mystery of revelation and concealment. Breath means life. The body breathes us. Christ enters creation with each breath. If we realized this once.

And he does not have to offer himself again and again, like the high priest going into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own, or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. Instead of that, he has made his appearance once and for all, now at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself.
--Hebrews 9:24 - 26

Once. And. For all.

Annunciation

‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’
From the Agathistos Hymn, Greece, VIc

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
courage.
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.

____________________________

Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
uncomprehending.
More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.

______________________________

She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.

Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
only asked
a simple, 'How can this be?'
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:

to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.

This was the minute no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.

A breath unbreathed,
Spirit,
suspended,
waiting.
____________________________

She did not cry, "I cannot, I am not worthy,"
nor "I have not the strength."
She did not submit with gritted teeth,
raging, coerced.
Bravest of all humans,
consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light,
the lily glowed in it,
and the iridescent wings.
Consent,
courage unparalleled,
opened her utterly.

(Poem: Annunciation, by Denise Levertov)

What is it like to be opened, utterly?

Until that time, we practice openness between us. This 'open between' is the space where dwells what is called Christ.

"What is" called "Christ" is the interconnection of each with every each held in compassionate kindness.

If God is Love, then Christ is the inclusive activity of seeing and being seen through. Holy Spirit (for now) is enlivening trust in what is revealed as well as what is concealed.

Faith tumbles through love, trusting it to be there, known or unknown, knowing or unknowing.

Seeing is believing; a more profound faith needs see nothing.

A wonderful painting is the result of feeling in your fingers. If you have the feeling of the thickness of the ink in your brush, the painting is already there before you paint. When you dip your brush into the ink you already know the result of your drawing, or else you cannot paint. So before you do something, being is there, the result is there. Even though you look as if you were sitting quietly, all your activity, past and present, is included; and the result of your sitting is also already there. You are not resting at all. All the activity is included within you. That is your being. So all results of your practice are included in your sitting. This is our practice, our zazen.
(-Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith)

All the activity is included within you.

Breathing in; breathing out. Looking out; looking in.

Who is doing this? What is being seen through?

Compassion and intelligence, fused, indivisible.

What Is Itself, Christed, Spirited!

Integral to humanness.