Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, January 13, 2007

If God is movement and not explanation (as Elie Wiesel suggests), then God is moving through me in ways and intention I no longer try to understand. I merely accept the passage through. I am through with it.
I am defenceless utterly.
I slept, methinks, and woke,
And, slowly gazing, find me stripped in sleep.

(--from poem Hound Of Heaven, by Francis Thompson, 1859 - 1907)
If there was a mirror I would not recognize the reflection of what once was me looking back from an absurd looking absence. God has moved beyond me. What is left is no longer there.

We move shelves in bookshop. We open space. Last evening we read from Anam Cara by John O'Donohue. One to one, one at a time, the practice of presence, an act of wholeness.
The mind that is not always
caught up in details
is your only treasure.
Stop chasing details and become
still to feel it.
The mind that sees details clearly,
but is not caught up by them
is like a vast borderless mirror.

- Ji Aoi Isshi
Zen is borderless. Contemplation is boundaryless. Enter one to go beyond other.

Just because we love what we call God -- that doesn't mean anything. It is only what it is. In bare unconsoling experience, stark silence brings nothing with it.

Although she is alone, Wisdom can accomplish everything. She deploys her strength from one end of the earth to the other, ordering all things for good.
(--Wisdom 7:27 - 8:1)

We come here to be alone.
Pity Me Not

Pity me not because the light of day
At close of day no longer walks the sky;
Pity me not for beauties passed away
From field and thicket as the year goes by.
Pity me not the waning of the moon,
Or that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
Or that a man's desire is hushed so soon,
And you no longer look with love on me.
This have I always known: Love is no more
Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,
Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales.
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn.

(Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay)

When someone loves you they participate in making you lonely for God. Likewise, they contribute sculpting your appearance lovely for God. The clay bits curling to floor from shaping knife rejoice being made extraneous to what is being sculpted itself being readied for God.

Absence is what remains when we are loved and loving one another as God is.

(We typically think presence is the antidote to or opposite of absence -- but it's not. Absence is the fullness of no-other. We only prefer 'fullness of no-other' be called 'presence', which is what it is. The problem we experience with this preference is that we do not know how to navigate the experience of absence or emptiness when it comes -- and it indeed comes. We do not want the fullness named absence. We prefer the fullness named presence. And so, despondence, depression, and despair overcome us. It is useful to begin to consider the implications of dissecting wholeness. We might include in that consideration the wording: Embodying the dwelling-place of the Alone; Stepping aside to make room for Another. We might happily face the question: What remains when who we thought we were goes away? And happily consider as response: Who's asking?)

We face a trinity of unexplainable activity: move away; move into; move through. Without any relative notation, we are invited to be the original work, suffused with fingerprint of creating. We are at origin. Nothing there but this and only this one appearing before you. Attend this revelation, this sacrifice, this holy and unbegotten being with your name.

This is the blank mirror.

Look carefully. Emptying.

Be seen nowhere.

Shut up. Go home.

Silence.

Salvus.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Nothing.

As it is.

Now.

I see.

Without consciousness,
Time and space do not exist;
They appear within Consciousness
But have no reality of their own.
It is like a screen on which
All this is cast as pictures and move
As in a cinema show.
The Absolute Consciousness
Alone is our real nature.

- Ramana Maharshi

Jack led Thursday Evening Conversation on A Course in Miracles. In it -- Workbook Lesson 9: "I see nothing as it is now."

I love the intuition that words are not servants of thought. Words are themselves windows through which sheer reality looks. Words want to be seen through.

Do we?
1129

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

(Poem by Emily Dickinson)

"Here" is what has happened with language: war (and) love.

Between war and love is a window of words waiting for transparent viewing. Contrary to common opinion, seeing is not believing. Seeing is (merely, only, and wonderfully) seeing alone.
the great advantage of being alive
(instead of undying)is not so much
that mind no more can disprove than prove
what heart may feel and soul may touch
—the great(my darling)happens to be
that love are in we,that love are in we

(1st stanza of e.e.cummings poem, The Great Advantage Of Being Alive)
One of the great joys of being alive instead of undead, is poetry.

"...as far as I am concerned, poetry and every other art is and was and forever will be strictly and distinctively a question of individuality. If poetry were anything-like dropping an atom bomb-which anyone did, anyone could become a poet just by doing the necessary anything; whatever that necessary anything might or might not entail. But (as it happens) poetry is being, not doing. If you wish to follow, even at a distance, the poet's calling (and here, as always, I speak from my own totally biased and entirely personal point of view), you've got to come out of the measurable doing universe into the immeasurable house of being. I am quite aware that, wherever our so-called civilization has slithered, there's every reward and no punishment for unbeing. But if poetry is your goal, you've got to forget all about punishments and all about rewards and all about self-styled obligations and duties and responsibilities etcetera ad infinitum and remember one thing only: that it's you-nobody else-who determine your destiny and decide your fate. Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else. Toms can be Dicks and Dicks can be Harrys, but none of them can ever be you. There's the artist's responsibility; and the most awful responsibility on earth. If you can take it, take it -and be. If you can't, cheer up and go about other peoples business and do (or undo) till you drop."
(--e.e.cummings, i: SIX NONLECTURES (1953), "i & their son: NONLECTURE TWO")

If poetry is being, written -- what dare we say about seeing (as it is)?
[l(a]

l(a

le
af
fa

ll

s)
one
l

iness

(--Poem by e.e.cummings)

As alone as this leaf, a January path in frozen woods, the silence.

a total stranger one black day

a total stranger one black day
knocked living the hell out of me--

who found forgiveness hard because
my(as it happened)self he was

-but now that fiend and i are such
immortal friends the other's each

(--Poem by e.e.cummings)

When we learn to live with what-is-self, all our other selves, (the ones we like to call not-really-me, or enemy) dissolve and disappear. We accomplish nothing more than the destruction of a fundamental illusion. Each sip from that cup of Chai tea makes of the other what is oneself. Sip coffee. Sip milk. Sip water. Sip juice. Sip the sound of another's voice. Sip the sight of another's presence. Sip and be saved from delusion by what is taken into one's self -- we are not anything other than the sipping. Sip away and slip away from whatever you think you are. You are not what you think you are. You are -- (emphatically, transparently, parenthetically) -- what you (alone) only are.

As the words reveal:

I see.

Now.

As it is.

Nothing.

This
(Alone) --
is our real nature --
with One
Another

(!) or is it (?)

(There is no-choice, so
choose now)

(Poem by w.f.halpin)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A day with dust discarding accumulated debris, liberating windows for daylight, and moving things about in our small space by harbor. It is disconcerting what we hold onto; discouraging why we do so. It is time to practice seeing through.

The true person is
Not anyone in particular;
But like the deep blue color
Of the limitless sky,
It is everyone,
Everywhere in the world.

- Dogen (1200-1253)

Reading Wayne Teasdale at Wednesday Laura Soul Friend Conversation at bookshop. A realm of quiet wandered between words and thoughts. Awareness, he wrote, is eternal, cosmic, and divine sensitivity. Patricia said that, when told by someone they thought they were too sensitive, she says,: Yes, exquisitely sensitive!
ex·qui·site Pronunciation (kskw-zt, k-skwzt)adj.
1. Characterized by intricate and beautiful design or execution: an exquisite chalice.
2. Of such beauty or delicacy as to arouse intense delight: an exquisite sunset. See Synonyms at delicate.
3. Excellent; flawless: plays the piano with exquisite technique.
4. Acutely perceptive or discriminating: "Blind dolphins have been known to survive in the wild, guided by exquisite acoustic images of their prey" Kenneth Browser.
5. Intense; keen: suffered exquisite pain.
6. Obsolete Ingeniously devised or thought out.
[Middle English exquisit, carefully chosen, from Latin exqustus, past participle of exqurere, to search out : ex-, ex- + quaerere, to seek.]

(The Free Dictionary)

Before dawn the waning moon, even in diminished curve of cycle, illuminates barnyard and kitchen roof. I don't doubt the presence of the Holy One -- it's just, at this time of personal spiritual darkness -- I see, feel, and think nothing of that presence. It is a time of one foot in front of another along a Via Negativa.

How desirable are all his works,
how dazzling to the eye!
They all live and last for ever,
whatever the circumstances all obey him.
All things go in pairs, by opposites,
and he has made nothing defective;
the one consolidates the excellence of the other,
who could ever be sated with gazing at his glory?

Pride of the heights, shining vault,
so, in a glorious spectacle, the sky appears.
The sun, as he emerges, proclaims at his rising,
‘A thing of wonder is the work of the Most High!’
At his zenith he parches the land,
who can withstand his blaze?
A man must blow a furnace to produce any heat,
the sun burns the mountains three times as much;
breathing out blasts of fire,
flashing his rays he dazzles the eyes.
Great is the Lord who made him,
and whose word speeds him on his course.

And then the moon, always punctual,
to mark the months and make division of time:
the moon it is that signals the feasts,
a luminary that wanes after her full.
The month derives its name from hers,
she waxes wonderfully in her phases,
banner of the hosts on high,
shining in the vault of heaven.

(--from Ecclesiasticus 42:15 - 43:13)

If even one person comes to see what no one else sees, there is opening for everyone. We must practice this understanding. What you see I am also given to see, whether I am yet ready to see it. Each journey into the realm of truth is gift for every person. We are not alone. We are profoundly connected and interconnected with one another. "Christ" is this shared revelation. So we live, now not "I," but Christ lives with/in us.

"Every one of us is a mystic. We may or may not realize it, we may not even like it. But whether we know it or not, whether we accept it or not, mystical experience is always there, inviting us on a journey of ultimate discovery. We have been given the gift of life in this perplexing world to become who we ultimately are: creatures of boundless love, caring compassion, and wisdom. Existence is a summons to the eternal journey of the sage - the sage we all are, if only we could see."
(--Brother Wayne Teasdale, in The Mystic Heart)

Have we been looking for God in all the substitute places instead of where the Divine One dwells?

The one Divine Presence is behind it all, in every age. This insight has significance for peace-making in Asia, the Pacific, really indeed everywhere, and it is very meaningful as a major resource for transformation as we embrace the monumental task of reshaping our global political and economic culture.

The elements of a universal spirituality, or mysticism include: (1) actualized moral capacity, (2) solidarity with the earth and all beings, (3) deep nonviolence, (4) humility of heart, (5) spiritual practice, (6) mature self-knowledge, (7) simplicity of life and lifestyle, (8) love in action--compassionate service, and (9) prophetic voice and action. All these aspects work together, and are essential to a fully formed and operative spiritual life in any part of the world.

[...A]n awakened contemplative, mystic, saint, or anyone aspiring to be so, understands the intrinsic interdependence of all beings, all sentient beings, and certainly all human persons. Such a one grasps inwardly, existentially, this ontological truth of the interconnectivity of all life. It leads one to a deep sense of solidarity with all beings, and especially with the earth itself, our mother, and the basis of our material, aesthetic, and even our spiritual life here in this world. This interdependence is the ontological condition of humankind, and further, the social, economic, and political interdependence exist because of the deeper interconnection of all beings. Each of the great world religions attests to the essential, ontological interdependence of all being. Hinduism speaks of non-duality, Buddhism of dependent arising, Christianity of the Mystical Body of Christ, all of which indicate a unitive holding of reality together. It is out of this ontological condition that the sense of solidarity emerges in the mystic’s vision of how he or she is related to everyone else.
(--from Spirituality as a Primary Resource in Promoting Peace, Unpublished manuscript by Wayne Teasdale), http://home.comcast.net/%7Ebrotherwayne/korea.htm

Patricia's Black Lab (Rumi) slobbered knees and wrists as usual as conversation went on at the shop. His tail thumped counter and bakery case as words "spirit" and "word" and "presence" settled like warm touches on his gentle back.

“The real revolution, the definitive revolution, is the spiritual awakening of humanity. The real revolution is one that goes to the radical core of human limitation and raises that up to transformation, to development. Unless that happens, the seeds of corruption are still going to be there — and the seeds of inequity, of exploitation, and of a selfish, greedy existence that neglects the welfare of the masses and of the planet.”
(—Brother Wayne Teasdale, in Transforming the Seeds of Corruption)

It is by the fruits of a person or a nation that we know them. Not by ideology; not by wealth or power; not by protestations of error or proclamation of any type. But by fruits. What are we actually doing to serve a suffering people in a troubling time?

We have to become what we really are. Become true. Become a person. See ourselves through and through. As One...Another!

"The true person is...everyone, everywhere in the world." Dogen reminds us to practice what is true to be enlightened by who and what we are. This is the revolution.

See this through.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We must not lose our ability to see, feel, and think.

A conservative friend cautioned against "hate, criticism, and condemnation." He's right about the warning. In today's environment of fear and delusion any statement telling what you see, feel, or think might easily be spun into threat or danger to those in power intent only on security of the nation and its interests.

It is now dangerous to see, feel, or think.

If you want to be free, get to know your real self.
It has no form, no appearance, no root,
No basis, no abode, but is lively and buoyant.
It responds with versatile facility, but its function
Cannot be located; when you look for it you become
Further from it. When you seek it
You turn away from it all the more.

- Rinzai ( d.867?)

There have always been times disagreement was necessary and argument vital. They are good activities of mind, heart, and soul. We need not fear such exchange. But if fear is the desired effect, then demonize dissent, mock intellectual evaluation, and punish differing perspectives. This is how people become disheartened and nations deteriorate as they slip into disintegration.

The waves of death flooded round me, the torrents of Belial tossed me about,
the cords of the underworld wound round me, death’s traps opened before me.

(--from Psalm 18)

It is an odd time of civilization. Fear flows from every direction: terrorists want to kill anybody interfering in their ideology; democracies want to kill anyone interfering with that notion of political rule; criminals want to kill those interfering with their crimes; capitalists want to kill (metaphorically and economically) their competitors; and powerful people want to kill any restrictions to their increasing power. We seem enamored with the idea and practice of killing.

Contemplation Of The Sword

Reason will not decide at last; the sword will decide.
The sword: an obsolete instrument of bronze or steel,
formerly used to kill men, but here
In the sense of a symbol. The sword: that is: the storms
and counter-storms of general destruction; killing
of men,
Destruction of all goods and materials; massacre, more or
less intentional, of children and women;
Destruction poured down from wings, the air made accomplice,
the innocent air
Perverted into assasin and poisoner.

The sword: that is: treachery and cowardice, incredible
baseness, incredible courage, loyalties, insanities.
The sword: weeping and despair, mass-enslavement,
mass-tourture, frustration of all hopes
That starred man's forhead. Tyranny for freedom, horror for
happiness, famine for bread, carrion for children.
Reason will not decide at last, the sword will decide.

Dear God, who are the whole splendor of things and the sacred
stars, but also the cruelty and greed, the treacheries
And vileness, insanities and filth and anguish: now that this
thing comes near us again I am finding it hard
To praise you with a whole heart.
I know what pain is, but pain can shine. I know what death is,
I have sometimes
Longed for it. But cruelty and slavery and degredation,
pestilence, filth, the pitifulness
Of men like hurt little birds and animals . . . if you were
only
Waves beating rock, the wind and the iron-cored earth,
With what a heart I could praise your beauty.
You will not repent, nor cancel life, nor free man from anguish
For many ages to come. You are the one that tortures himself to
discover himself: I am
One that watches you and discovers you, and praises you in little
parables, idyl or tragedy, beautiful
Intolerable God.
The sword: that is:
I have two sons whom I love. They are twins, they were born
in nineteen sixteen, which seemed to us a dark year
Of a great war, and they are now of the age
That war prefers. The first-born is like his mother, he is so
beautiful
That persons I hardly know have stopped me on the street to
speak of the grave beauty of the boy's face.
The second-born has strength for his beauty; when he strips
for swimming the hero shoulders and wrestler loins
Make him seem clothed. The sword: that is: loathsome disfigurements,
blindness, mutilation, locked lips of boys
Too proud to scream.
Reason will not decide at last: the sword will decide.

(Poem, Contemplation Of The Sword, by Robinson Jeffers)

We become desperate. Hopelessness, however, need not be destination -- it can be a place from which to begin new journey.

Perhaps we see peace where our leaders only see war.
Maybe we feel compassion and love where our leaders can only feel arrogant vengeance.
It's possible to think more intuitively about paths for humans dwelling together in this world, rather than think about strategies to dominate and subjugate those differing from us.

Let this be today's practice -- to see, feel, and think -- in the open.

"Don't do it!" some say, "Don't look, feel, or think -- it's too dangerous."

John O'Donohue said it clearly in Anam Cara: "Time is eternity living dangerously."

What we call "Christ" is template for this life.

What we call "Buddha" is awakening this journey.

See truth. Feel courage. Think lively.

It is a trek with lovely view, authentic feeling, and inspiring thought.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The annoying thing about zen is not knowing whether you want to smack the know-it-all in the head, or, whether the don't-know-at-all will be smacking you in the head. Either way is a headache.

The wisdom of Enlightenment is
Inherent in every one of us.
It is because of the delusion
Under which our mind works
That we fail to realize it ourselves,
And that we have to seek
The advice and the guidance of Enlightened ones.

- Hui-neng (638-713)

I prefer no-smacking. We, of course, should go out of our way to tumble one another with words and acrobatics along the lines of Tom Stoppard's "Rosencranz & Guildenstern are Dead" -- surprising and being surprised by the ability to say "yes" or "no" when saying so does so at the right time for so doing.

Often we take to our lives with shaking hands.

After Dinner

She's eaten dinner talking
back to the television, she's
had coffee and brandy, done
the dishes and drifted into
and out of sleep over a book
she found beside the couch. It's
time for bed, but she goes
instead to the front door, unlocks
it, and steps onto the porch.
Behind her she can hear only
the silence of the house. The lights
throw her shadow down the stairs
and onto the lawn, and she walks
carefully to meet it. Now she's
standing in the huge, whispering
arena of night, hearing her
own breath tearing out of her
like the cries of an animal.
She could keep going into
whatever the darkness brings,
she could find a presence there
her shaking hands could hold
instead of each other.

(Poem: "After Dinner" by Philip Levine, from A Walk With Thomas Jefferson.)

My prayer remains with individuals. Like the woman in the poem, like many men and women in the world, the longing to find presence in the dark arena of night is a longing we all know.

Better worlds (I suggest) are born, not made: and their birthdays are the birthdays of individuals. Let us pray always
for individuals; never for worlds.

--e.e. cummings

Let there be born to us individuals who better this world, this existence, this night moving to new light.

Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow;
They toil not, neither do they spin;
And yet I say unto you,
that even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.

(--Christ's words, Matt 6: 28-30)

No toil. No spin.

Just this.

Zen.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Here at the hermitage chilly rain falls. At practice last evening sky was clear. Krishnamurti was quoted as saying: "I don't mind what happens."

It was nice to have his words visit. When no thought intrudes between what is there and our inner illumined realization of it -- then, we know "what happens." We don't "mind" it, we become what is happening. We embody the kindness of profound reality. We know it -- not from any outside point of view -- but we know it with and as our whole being.

In Soto Zen, the practice is just realizing; we meditate as earnestly as the Buddha himself did, and it is not a question of waiting for satori. We understand that the value of this practice of earnest sitting in meditation is how the Buddha light is brought out into our world. If it is done, then naturally through the Buddha heart our human nature is elevated. There is no distinction here of sharp or dull or clever or stupid. It is a fact that anyone who devotes themselves wholeheartedly to spiritual meditation without wavering reaches the supreme state.
--Takashina Rosen (1876-1968) Excerpted from A First Zen Reader

Christmas season liturgically ends. Magi return wondering about the "uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor" (Yeats). Baptism is held and John is surprised to learn the man he pours water on is who he actually is. In neighborhoods and households many take down decorations and box away lights and tinsel. They wonder from time to time if they are actually who they are.

A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
--Luke 3:15 - 22

John could have been the Christ. As far as he knew he might have been a madman lost in the desert. He opened his mouth and spoke fiery words filled with spirit recalling other desert prophets who themselves probably suspected they were madmen. The desert is where madmen go to find their God. And God is where the desert becomes the human heart longing for water and spirit.
The Death of a Soldier

Life contracts and death is expected,
As in a season of autumn.
The soldier falls.

He does not become a three-days personage,
Imposing his separation,
Calling for pomp.

Death is absolute and without memorial,
As in a season of autumn,
When the wind stops,

When the wind stops and, over the heavens,
The clouds go, nevertheless,
In their direction.
(Poem: "The Death of a Soldier" by Wallace Stevens from Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens. Alfred A Knopf.)

The American president plans to send more American troops to the nation he invaded. This is something he can do. He is president of a country that can bomb and invade anywhere it wants. Some say it is God's favored country. You have to embrace a particular theology to balance the will of God with the will of the American president.

I fill bird feeder. The coffee is "Oso Negro" from British Columbia Canada. Heather's brother sends it to us at her request. We are grateful. The theology feels right: friendship plus coffee with conversation and respect equals planetary-divine-human spirituality sprinkled with kindness.

Maybe kindness is what John baptized Jesus with. Maybe Jesus thought: "Wow! This is really sacred stuff!" Maybe the Dalai Lama is the only Christian. (We'd have to include Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi of Porbandar, Gujarat, India, Mother Teresa of Albania and Calcutta, and Josh of Warren). This 14th Dalai Lama -- Tenzin Gyatso -- is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. Born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet, he is widely quoted of late as saying: "My religion is simple. My religion is kindness!".

The religion of kindness might have been what called out over the Jordan River that day John doused Jesus. The sound heard was: "This is my child -- this pleases me -- listen to this one!" German theologians and philosophers lead the way through hermeneutics and phenomenological studies because they know that "kindness" and the German word for "child" ("kind") are mysteriously revelatory of Profound Reality.

This Profound Reality does not sanction the killing of children. It does not allow the murder of parents, brothers, sisters, or relatives of children. In fact, this Profound Reality takes a very dim view of individuals who engage in such behavior. Which is why something expedient needs be done to distract those who would send children to kill and be killed in foreign lands. What to do?

Maybe we can practice kindness. Kindness in speech, thought, actions, and prayer.

Kindness might also mean martyrdom. ("Oh God," you think, "there's that word again!")

The word martyr means witness. We can be witness for one another. We might practice seeing and hearing what is taking place with our brothers and sisters -- and present ourselves as would Profound Reality near or within their reality. [mar·tyr Pronunciation (märtr), n. 1. One who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce religious principles. 2. One who makes great sacrifices or suffers much in order to further a belief, cause, or principle.] (Free Dictionary)

Of course we have principles left. They're not all sacrificed to security and political expediency. Our principle is kindness. Kindness and presence call forth heaven and earth into sacred being.

Kind is natural.

The Free Dictionary elaborates: kind 1 Pronunciation (knd)
adj. kind·er, kind·est
1. Of a friendly, generous, or warm-hearted nature.
2. Showing sympathy or understanding; charitable: a kind word.
3. Humane; considerate: kind to animals.
4. Forbearing; tolerant: Our neighbor was very kind about the window we broke.
5. Generous; liberal: kind words of praise.
6. Agreeable; beneficial: a dry climate kind to asthmatics.
[Middle English, natural, kind, from Old English gecynde, natural; see gen- in Indo-European roots.]

All other religions must consider folding into the religion of natural kindness. In fact, there are no "other" religions. There is no other in kindness. Each is treated and seen as themselves, oneself, itself -- each as it is -- a sacred appearance of profound reality.

But there is a catch with these appearances -- namely, each appearing being takes on the attributes of its mother and father. Those of us who look upon one another are mother and father to one another. We who listen to one another are parent to one another. And if we do not see nor hear one another, if we intentionally or unmindfully ignore one another, we make orphans and abused and neglected and feral one another.

Outside window, chilly rain continues to fall.

Mound of seed placed on top feeder is gone.

My family is practicing their religion.

Heed one another.

Feed one another.

Be kind.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

At a meeting with dog, cat, mice, squirrel, and owl I plan to announce withdrawal of support for the American war with Iraq. I suppose I'll have to provide food to feed them at the meeting lest they begin to eat each other.

Deep green needles glow
Against a cobalt sky;
They radiate something
Only a few can sense.
Snow white peaks,
Summits shrouded in clouds,
Shine and echo,
Shine and echo
Through both sides
Of the skin line.
Oh, in all this lies
Some deep implication,
Yet when I try to say more,
I become silent, mute.

- Ji Aoi Isshi

The implication of support for the war will revive the ancient American metaphysical question (a question more difficult to comprehend than Fibonacci numbers and their sequence) whether it is possible to not support the war and yet still support the troops. The commander in chief of American forces will decide the matter with a signing statement on legislation intent on condemning the ongoing war by consigning the troops with condemnation and vengeance that "are fine, saith the sword." (It takes a rare grasp of etymology to insinuate multiple Freudian slips of such biblical proportions.)
Guys Like That

Drive very nice cars, and from
where you sit in your dented
last-century version of the
most ordinary car in America, they

look dark-suited and neat and fast.
Guys like that look as if they are thinking
about wine and marble floors, but
really they are thinking about TiVo

and ESPN. Women think that guys
like that are different from the guys
driving the trucks that bring cattle
to slaughter, but guys like that are

planning worse things than the death
of a cow. Guys who look like that —
so clean and cool — are quietly moving
money across the border, cooking books,

making deals that leave some people
rich and some people poorer
than they were before guys like that
robbed them at the pump and on

their electricity bills, and even
now, guys like that are planning how
to divide up that little farm they just
passed, the one you used to call home.
(Poem: "Guys Like That" by Joyce Sutphen.)

Dog, cat, mice, squirrel, and owl will, no doubt, not care what happens in Washington DC, Baghdad, Iraq or even Heavenly Realms, Mind of God. They'll just want the meeting over. They'll want to get back to their daily schedule of walk and snooze, pounce and snooze, gnaw and snooze, filch nuts and snooze, and lastly, hoot and snooze. I'll tell them: "Watch the news!" But they won't, being averse to the embarrassment of human reruns.

‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’

(from Isaiah 40: 1-ff)

Our double punishment is the lie we both tell and suffer. Truth is you can't support the war nor can you support the troops. It's a false choice, a false dualism.

The troops are out in a wasteland. They are dying and have no hope. The war is that wasteland. It kills and maims and its very name is hopelessness.

Back in the United States, Christians celebrate the feast of Epiphany -- the revelation of sacred truth in our midst, the fulfillment of ancient hopes in the being of a child who comes as embodiment of divine love and compassion. It is a wonderful narrative. It is a lovely story.

Tell me again this story of hope.

What shone through? Was it true back then?

Was there once a fusion and conjoining -- a meeting revelation of wholeness and union? If so, where did it go?

Is the meeting adjourned?