Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, February 10, 2007

How might we capture the conscience of the king?

'And it's not even the play that's the thing,' he said. 'To continue the analogy, in the old days anyone who felt like it could fling a rotten egg at the stage. Today, however, it's the actors who are more likely to rake the hall with machine-gun fire -- they might even toss out a bomb. Think about it, who would you rather be right now? An actor or a member of the audience?'
This was a serious question.

p.6, in novel, Buddha's Little Finger, by Victor Pelevin,

Congress is audience. Citizens and ordinary people are paying for the play. The Supreme Court dresses as supporting extras called when needed. The rest of the world -- those not written into antagonist part in script -- serve at the will of lead actors and hidden producers. Earlier proponents of the Theater of the Absurd are surprised at their prescience. On stage thousands of lines echo in repetitive cavernous staccato, "Alas (Alas) poor (poor) Yorick (Yorick)!" We have to consider that the man of infinite jest remains in the melancholy hands of a sullen actor heading pell-mell toward a tragic conclusion.

Unfortunately the monologues of single-minded men mute intelligent dialogues of thoughtful casts of billions for whom the play is passing strange in its exclusion of their lives.
'And what was the poem about?'
'Oh, it was completely abstract. It was about the stream of time washing away the wall of the present so that new patterns keep appearing on it, and we call some of them the past. Our memory tells us that yesterday really existed, but how can we be sure that all these memories did not simply appear with the first light of dawn?'
'I don't quite understand,' said Vorblei.
'Neither do I,' I said. 'But that's not the point.'

(p.7, Pelevin)

Sara read a lime from her work in progress this afternoon -- it spoke about a pointing finger that thought of itself as a knife. In the case of the absurd drama being enacted at America's National House Theater -- the star actor thinks of himself as Fantasy Marquee Idol. Act two is ending.

The curtain parts. He stands alone.

There is no third act. No ovation.

Only blank stare into footlights.

Who is the joker?
Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?

(-- Hamlet | Act 5, Scene 1)

I always thought the ending was such a waste.

Would we not the same...

Re-write?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Maintain a practice of living quietly with deep listening.

That's what Thay says. Even in a time of terrorism? Thich Nhat Hanh says what is necessary is true presence, being peaceful, as well as awareness that I cannot be happy unless you are happy. This helps us understand what has to be done to realize deep peace in the world.

These days I am noisy, absent, and hard of hearing. It was good to hear Thay's voice during "Humankind" on Maine Public Radio. In the stacks a cinematographer shows Sam and Susan frames of recent footage and sounds of sea.
“What do you mean by the true Buddha,
The true Dharma and the true Way?
Would you be good enough to explain to us?”
The Master said,
“Buddha - this is the cleanness
And purity of the mind.
The Dharma - this is the shining
Brightness of the mind.
The Way – this is the light
That is never obstructed anywhere.
The three are in fact one.
All are empty names and
Have no true reality.”

- Lin-chi (d.867)

In midst of toppling through empty names with no true reality I find temporary footing in a curiosity of breaking news of recent deaths of two women.
In Iraq a woman dies unexpectedly and receives little coverage.
Marine from Bel Air, Md. killed in Iraq, By BEN GREENE, The Associated Press, Feb 8, 2007 4:56 PM BALTIMORE - A 2004 graduate of Fallston High School who followed her older brother into the Marines was killed during fighting in Iraq, the Department of Defense said Thursday.
Cpl. Jennifer Parcell, 20, of Bel Air, Md. died Wednesday "while supporting combat operations in Al Anbar province," a Department of Defense news release said.
Ms Parcell died in a difficult and dangerous country and war.

In Florida a woman dies unexpectedly and every news channel, Internet site, and cable station flashes images of ample bosom and blond hair every minute twenty four hours going. Ms. Smith died in a difficult and dangerous country and celebrity culture.
The Last Attack. To Klaus

Permit me to open by expressing joy and wonder
that we're marching at the head of our companies
in different uniforms under a different command
but with a single aim—to survive

You say to me—look here we should probably let
these boys go home to their Margot to their Kasia
war is beautiful only in parades
but apart from that as we know—mud and blood
and rats

As you speak comes an avalanche of artillery fire
it's that bastard Parkinson who is taking so long
he caught up with us at last when we took a walk
on an irregular route our collars loose at the chin
our hands in our pockets we were on leave already
when Parkinson suddenly reminded us that it was
not the end yet that this blasted war isn't over yet

Poem by Zbigniew Herbert, Translations from the Polish by Alissa Valles
The tumbling continues. Five distinct people sitting around wood stove talk about raising and tending pigs. They are surprised their common experiences converge of a Friday afternoon.
Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened’.
--Mark 7:31 - 37
I mull whether being open during tumbling fall has any useful value. I pray for the woman killed in Iraq. I pray for the woman felled in Florida.

I like what Thich Nhat Hanh says about deep listening. I like what Mark tells about the man's healing release.

Wood stove has made the place warm and comfortable.

It's me that's tumbling. Earth quietly turns. Horses in Sam's story stand balanced on rail-less flatbed truck rumbling around corner. (Everybody winces.)

I ask high school coed waiting for her mother if she learned anything in school today. "Probably," she says.
Anything you remember? "Not particularly!" she concludes.

She is eating an apple.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Chickadee and moma Cardinal look around from feeder. I imagine when walking past they call out 'Thanks'. It's nothing. Only seeds. I silently pray they might save the world.

Some people think that they will practice the dharma once they have finished with their worldly business. This is a mistaken attitude
because our work in the world never finishes. Work is like a ripple of water continually moving on the surface of the ocean. It is very difficult to break free from our occupations in order to practice dharma. The busy work with which we fill our lives is only completed at the time of our death.

--Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Meaningful to Behold

Prayer has gone dark in me. So it matters that there is prayer in frosty morning at bird feeders and monasteries scattered everywhere. Cracking open shell and silence. There is great faith in such simple acts.
Iranian Cleric Warns U.S. on Attacks
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Published: February 8, 2007, Filed at 6:52 a.m. ET

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- If the United States were to attack Iran, the country would respond by striking U.S. interests all over the world, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Thursday.

Speaking to a gathering of Iranian air force commanders, Khamenei said: ''The enemy knows well that any invasion would be followed by a comprehensive reaction to the invaders and their interests all over the world.''

World stage and world war. There is no prayer in politics -- only posturing to get in photo-op with rented god for daily prat and prance.

My community is right here.
Why I Need the Birds

When I hear them call
in the morning, before
I am quite awake,
my bed is already traveling
the daily rainbow,
the arc toward evening;
and the birds, leading
their own discreet lives
of hunger and watchfulness,
are with me all the way,
always a little ahead of me
in the long-practiced manner
of unobtrusive guides.

By the time I arrive at evening,
they have just settled down to rest;
already invisible, they are turning
into the dreamwork of trees;
and all of us together —
myself and the purple finches,
the rusty blackbirds,
the ruby cardinals,
and the white-throated sparrows
with their liquid voices —
ride the dark curve of the earth
toward daylight, which they announce
from their high lookouts
before dawn has quite broken for me.

(Poem: "Why I Need the Birds" by Lisel Mueller, from Alive Together: New and Selected Poems. Louisiana State University Press.)

Unobtrusive guides engaged in prayer of dreamwork and gratitude -- has there ever been need for charter or imprimatur? These brothers and sisters feather forgiveness as they gather Eucharist for all of the starving souls passing unnoticed.

Swoop and glide.

Dear spirit friends near.

Break shell.

Care for core.

Disappear there.

Hallow here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

If truth is the only reality, where do we go when lies occur?

D.T. Suzuki says: "Tasting, seeing, experiencing, living - all these demonstrate that there is something common to enlightenment experience and our sense-experience; the one takes place in our innermost being, the other on the periphery of our consciousness. Personal experience thus seems to be the foundation of Buddhist philosophy. In this sense Buddhism is a radical empiricism or experientialism, whatever dialectic later developed to probe the meaning of the enlightenment experience." (D.T. Suzuki, Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist, N.Y., 1957, p. 48)

Now the great obstacle to mutual understanding between Christianity and Buddhism lies in the Western tendency to focus not on Buddhist experience, which is essential, but on the explanation, which is accidental and which indeed Zen often regards as completely trivial and even misleading.

Buddhist meditation, but above all that of Zen, seeks not to explain but to pay attention, to become aware, to be mindful, in other words to develop a certain kind of consciousness that is above and beyond deception by verbal formulas - or by emotional excitement. Deception in what? Deception in its grasp of itself as it really is. Deception due to diversion and distraction from what is right there - consciousness itself.

(--in Zen and The Birds of Appetite, By Thomas Merton, from Chapter 3, A Christian Looks At Zen)

Everything quiets. Sunlight comes through hermitage front room. Tea cup cools. Dog tags jingle from kitchen. I have gone into solitude.
When there are clouds and fog everywhere, the world is dark, but that does not mean the sun has decomposed. Why is there no light? The light is never destroyed; it is just enshrouded by clouds and fog. The pure mind of all living beings is like this, merely covered up by the dark clouds of obsession with objects, arbitrary thoughts, psychological afflictions, and view and opinions. If you can just keep the mind still so that errant thought does not arise, the reality of nirvana will naturally appear. This is how we know the inherent mind is originally pure.
- Hongren (602-675)

Errant thoughts bump into me all day. They excuse themselves, then like a well-trained telemarketer they make their pitch while telling you how inconvenient "those" telemarketers are. You are tempted to disconnect phone. You do try to disconnect annoyance at intrusion. But thoughts that have lost their way find you. Tea? Fruit bar? If I offer you hospitality will you go away?
The Lyric

Suffering
lament, sorrow and wild
joy commingle in

the lyric — a collective
sigh of relief comes cascading
out of the blue —

a yearning to submerge
in life like the swimmer
in the pool forgetful

immersed and quenched —
water trailing scattered
diamonds in a rustling

voice of resigned subsidence
as though in the same stroke
everyone alive were speaking through you —

(Poem: "The Lyric" by Tom Clark, from Light & Shade: New and Selected Poems. Coffee House Press.)

Prayer is the resonance of many voices allowed through you. To pray constantly is to let this resonance glide through awareness. Not the content always, but the form and formless passage through.

No explanation of pain and cruelty has ever satisfied. In prayer we abandon explanation and listen to experience. In this abandonment we arrive in room like cat suddenly aware it is not alone. It jumps up on couch. Steps carefully over letters. Kneads available belly and chest. Purrs.
Free your minds, then, of encumbrances; control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learnt the truth, but make a habit of obedience.
(--1 Peter 1:13 - 14 Reading from Terce, Wednesday Office)

This revelation is the territory of abandonment.

Do we dare exploring?

Nothing.

But.

The grace.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

[Long version]:

I imagine peace. This icon of imagination is what remains of us. We are disappearing. Do you hear that? It is silence. The icon is embedded in quarter-cut of wood. Hiding. In plain sight. No one sees it. Welcome to our time. Now go away. This is no place for us. Away, away!
The Art of Peace begins with you.
Work on yourself and your appointed
Task in the Art of Peace.
Everyone has a spirit that can be refined,
A body that can be trained in some manner,
A suitable path to follow.
You are here for no other purpose
Than to realize your inner divinity
And manifest your innate enlightenment.
Foster peace in your own life
And then apply the Art to all that you encounter.

- Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969)

I cannot apply art. Nothing innate manifests. It is time to disappear. No sound, no trace, no epitaph, no silly pretense you will be missed. Just go.
St Paul Miki (1564/6 - 1597)
He was born in Japan between 1564 and 1566. He joined the Society of Jesus and preached the gospel to the Japanese people with great success. When a persecution of the Catholics arose he was arrested together with twenty-five others. Mocked and tortured, they were eventually taken to Nagasaki on 5 February 1597, bound to crosses and speared.

(Universalis, Tuesday 6 February 2007, Saints Paul Miki and his Companions, Martyrs)

We don't have a martyrology of Nagasaki 9 August 1945. Apparently we'd scuttled the idea we were a civilized and intelligent culture capable of spirituality purporting nearness to God. Just as well.

I don't remember exactly when God turned face from us. Looking elsewhere has become our new religion. God is not needed in this practice. God is locked away in museum and library leafing through uncatalogued books like an aging actress rummaging press clips from former glory. It is after hours. No security alarm protects the premises. No one wants in. What would they do with such a forlorn face that says nothing and remains silent in stuffy rooms?
A study of Schelling's late philosophy of mythology, despite the renewed interest it presently enjoys, still needs some justification. Why should we spend time and effort on a demanding philosophical text based on often outdated and inadequate historical information about myths? And why revisit a philosophy that claims to incorporate revelation, yet has been criticized for bending revelation to its own pre-established concepts, while in the process corrupting the methods of theology as well as of philosophy? The answer may be brief. Because Schelling (1775–1854) was among the first to recognize the myth as an independent form of consciousness, irreducible to rational thought or to a prescientific interpretation of nature or history. For him, mythology constituted an essentially religious phenomenon, marked by polytheism but indispensable for the rise of an inclusive monotheism, that is, to an idea of God that incorporates creation within God's Being. Despite the undeniable flaws of his work and the enormous progress since made in this area, no one has yet surpassed the scope and intellectual depth of the two-volume treatise on myth written during the final twenty years of Schelling's career. Schelling understood that neither mythology nor revelation could be simply juxtaposed to philosophical truth. The two had to be integrated or one would inevitably exclude the other.
(-- from The Role of Mythology in Schelling's Late Philosophy, by Louis Dupré, Yale University, in The Journal of Religion, Volume 87, Number 1, January 2007)

Edge nears. Over edge you imagine a fall to some inexplicable depth. You look over expecting to see a bottom far below. That is comforting. You envision a body broken on craggy ledge or limbs lifeless balancing momentarily on cracked surface of water. These images are wishful. What really is seen upon looking over nearing edge is nothing like these images. The sight is of your town and city. Ordinary people go about banking, buying insurance, making investments, managing real estate, and writing sermons, formulating dissertations sure to stun outsiders into sudden and solid salvation. Thank you, oh, thank you!
"Occasionally, even experienced mountaineers are faced with precipices that force them to say,'This is too much.' When I tell my friend Ferenczi about this, he'll say, 'You can convince me of lots of things, Sigi, but this is impossible.'"
--p.55, in novel The Discovery of Heaven, by Harry Mulisch
What is 'this' impossible? This is what is seen. It's why we never see God. God is impossible.
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin impossibilis, from in- + possibilis possible
1 a : incapable of being or of occurring b : felt to be incapable of being done, attained, or fulfilled : insuperably difficult impossible deadline>
2 a : extremely undesirable : UNACCEPTABLE b : extremely awkward or difficult to deal with impossible on the set>
(Mirriam-Webster)
The edge of what? Of 'what is?' What does that mean? And why is God unacceptable? (This is where Christian friends lift eyebrow with certain assessment of apostasy, pale implication of anti-this/anti-that, a facile wispy dream of anti-Christ desacralizing mysterium tremendum et fascinans, an unwashed and unsaved rabble, hoards (to be pitied and prayed for) not on solid ground -- neighbors, fellow and sister citizens, not to be trusted, needing to be informed (or informed on), for the love of God and obedience to God and (naturally) to God's dutiful especially washed kinfolk.

There's a curious calculus occurring. A Stockholm Syndrome computes us.
Politicians, priests, ministers, pundits, administrators, and populace are abducted hostages, hostages exhibiting loyalty to the hostage-taker. These hostage-takers smirk and strut with torn constitution and tattered bible mouthing mantras of compliance, complicity, and consecration to the new power, new idol, new deity on the block -- themselves.

An angry people slowly suspect anger is wrong. Tony and Chris say this view is wrong.
FORMULATION: SELF AND WORLD
The path beyond anger is formulation. By formulation I do not mean detached theories about the atomic bomb, but rather the process by which the hibakusha re-creates himself--establishes those inner forms which can serve as a bridge between self and world. Ideology and "world view"--often in their unconscious components--are central to the process, and by studying their relationship to A-bomb mastery, we gain a sense of their significance for mental life in general. Formulation includes efforts to re-establish three essential elements of psychic function: the sense of connection, of organic relationship to the people as well as non-human elements in one's life space, whether immediate or distant and imagined; the sense of symbolic integrity, of the cohesion and significance of one's life, here including some form of transcendence of the A-bomb experience; and the sense of movement, of development and change, in the continuous struggle between fixed identity and individuation. Conflicts we have discussed over issues of trust and peace, as well as struggles with residual anger, are part of the "psychological work" involved. And the internal "A-bomb philosophy" which results--the imagery of formulation--not only enhances mastery but, in an important sense, contains the mental representation of mastery or its absence.

(--p.367, in Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima, by Robert Jay Lifton; Random House, 1967)

Anger is not-yet transformed into creativity. I have not morphed into palette or paean -- peaceful, wise, above-it-all, antidote to noxiousness. I am, rather, disheveled beyond belief.

I know where the museum is. I can see the library. The photographs and pamphlets are carefully preserved. Some vague amorphous thought drifts through walls and windows catching slanting light just out of focus on shimmering branch.

[Short version]:

Haiku
This February --
Debris, non-formulation
Not yet -- this cold time.

Robert Jay Lifton writes: We may define the survivor as one who has come into contact with death in some bodily or psychic fashion and has himself remained alive. (from chapter 12, THE SURVIVOR, in Death in Life, ibid)

I remember once being nearly electrocuted in Jolon, California in 1970. I fell back stunned and repeated over and over: "I'm still alive, I'm still alive, I'm still alive."

(Cat sits by outlet waiting for something hidden to appear. Old dog barks from barn to be let in.)

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world.

*

And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.

*

And probably,
if they don't waste time
looking for an easier world,

they can do it.

(--from poem, Dogfish, by Mary Oliver)

Mu-ge settles on couch. Cesco on rug. Saskia souths from north.

We go on.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Folly? As I live. And breathe.

These days are pivotal days. Everything might tumble ankle deep in rubble. Iraq could implode with each explosion. American administration could turn and face firing squad of final rejection based on having no face. War could expand into another Middle East country with air strikes, nuclear weapons, and vitriolic response. My mind wavers on weak beams -- additional weight could collapse it into itself leaving no trace of sanity. Luckily, it is Monday. No heart attack strikes. Just pain.

Most people think of enlightenment as a kind of magical attainment, a state of being close to perfection. At this level, one can perform amazing feats, see past and future lives of others, and tune in to the inner workings of the universe. This may be possible for a number of special beings, but for most of us enlightenment is much more in line with what Suzuki Roshi describes. It means having a quality of "beginningness," a fresh, simple, unsophisticated view of things. To have "beginner's mind" in how we approach things is a major teaching. In many ways, the process of enlightenment is clearing away the thoughts, beliefs, and ideas that cloud our ability to see things as they really are in their pristine form.
(--David A. Cooper, Silence, Simplicity and Solitude, from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith )

My "beginner's mind" feels like a dizzy child spinning too long with no focal point. Humans are points in time, part of narrative with subsequence. ("In mathematics, a subsequence of some sequence is a new sequence which is formed from the original sequence by deleting some of the elements without disturbing the relative positions of the remaining elements." --Wikipedia) We are always new. Disconcertingly, because we seem excerpted and inserted -- a random experience not unlike being flung with centrifugal force from one's life out into desolate otherness.

Once, in calm centripetal contemplation, the call into center was clarion. A circle was possible. A circle with no inside nor outside might be called the sound of wind-chime in edgeless wind. I have taken this address into my awareness and feel the need to forward mail to it. Once there, mail will be brought to table, placed down, unopened, remaining in disarray until too late for action requested within.
Prologue: Schoenberg's Moses und Aron
"Unique, eternal, omnipresent, invisible and unimaginable God!" These words, spoken by Moses at the beginning of Arnold Schoenberg Moses und Aron, serve as a leitmotif that recurs not only through the entire opera but also through all of Schoenberg's religious works.
Moses und Aron gives the clearest and deepest expression to the problem to which the mature Schoenberg kept returning: the conflict between the idea of a unique, transcendent God, beyond all thought and imagination, and the religious need for images. The former was for Schoenberg the central tenet of Jewish faith, and its great historical contribution to humanity; the latter, the inevitable medium for the human response to God, and the wellspring of the artist's vocation.

(--from Theological Aesthetics: God in Imagination, Beauty, and Art; Book by Richard Viladesau; Oxford University Press, 1999)

What is the human response to God? (Or, put differently: Is "what is" the human response to God?) Is everything that is what it is an expression of what we humans conceive God to be? War? Love? Destruction? Kindness? Hatred? Joy at hearing a dear voice?

Composer John Cage (1912-1992) sat us down for one of his human responses:
In perhaps the ultimate statement of this aesthetic, he wrote 4'33', a piece of total silence on the part of the performer, into which the random sounds of the world enter. This cemented his beliefs that the goal of music was a "purposelessness," and that the role of the composer was to create situations in which sounds could "simply be." (-- in Twentieth Century Composer Index)

To simply be -- a duration of mere attendance -- the perennial invitation to show up and grace the moment.
O Man! Take heed!
What says the deep midnight?
"I slept, I slept--
from a deep dream have I been awakened--
The world is deep,
and more deeply thought than day.
Deep is its pain
Joy--deeper still than heartache.
Pain says: Die!
but all joy desires eternity--
desires deep, deep eternity!"

-- Nietzsche, Mitternachtslied

There is a covering pain encircling us. There is a following joy insinuating under cover. Bitter cold lays on ground. Purring cat nuzzles left arm. Phone message from northern edge of Maine says "I am here" in some alchemy of air wave communication beyond my comprehension. In Iraq, Abu Abdullah, a shop owner who lost two of his sons in Saturday’s bombing of a Baghdad market, looks up at a point far beyond eyesight as he surveys what cannot be fathomed, that which is lost-- all of a sudden.

Let's call it soul fracturing. Mind has already splintered. What are we looking at? Is our face any recognizable image?

How do we come to look exactly like ourselves? How does insertion of the word "surrender" or incarnation of the word into flesh or removal of word in silence -- how do these variations dissolve distortion into clear resemblance of Original Spirit Inspiriting?

W. B. Yeats called the moment of recognizing oneself a "withering into the truth."

What if Sonny is right?

What if this life is hell?

What mythic visitation will draw us hither, thither, yon?

Writing of the time of the Irish Heroic Age in his play "At the Hawk's Well," W. B. Yeats came to the end of his script with the following:
[Note: Aoife was a warrior queen whom Cuhulain defeated in battle. The two subsequently became lovers. After his departure, Aoife bore Cuchulain a son, Conlaoch, who was later killed by his, father unwittingly, in combat.]


YOUNG MAN The clash of arms again!


OLD MAN 0, do not go! The mountain is accursed;

Stay with me, I have nothing more to lose,

I do not now deceive you.



YOUNG MAN I will face them.

(He goes out, no longer, as if in dream, but shouldering his spear, and calling)

He comes! Cuchulain, son of Sualtim, comes!

(The MUSICIANS stand up; one goes to centre with folded cloth. The others unfold it. While they do so they sing. During the singing, and while hidden by the cloth, the OLD MAN goes out. When the play is performed with Mr. Dulac's music, the musicians do not rise or unfold the cloth till after they have sung the words "a bitter life.")

(Songs for the unfolding and folding of the cloth)

Come to me, human faces,

Familiar memories;

I have found hateful eyes

Among the desolate places,

Unfaltering, unmoistened eyes.



Folly alone I cherish,

I choose it for my share;

Being but a mouthful of air,

I am content to perish;

I am but a mouthful of Sweet air.



O lamentable shadows,

Obscurity of strife!

I choose a pleasant life

Among indolent meadows;

Wisdom must live a bitter life.

(Then they fold up the cloth, singing)



"The man that I praise,"

Cries out the empty well,

"Lives all his days

Where a hand on the bell

Can call the milch cows

To the comfortable door of his house.

Who but an idiot would praise

Dry stones in a well?"



"The man that I praise,"

Cries out the leafless tree,

"Has married and stays

By an old hearth, and he

On naught has set store

But children. and dogs on the floor.

Who but an idiot would praise

A withered tree?"

(They go out)


Curtain


Of course.

Folly. And mouthful of air.

Of course!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tops of Ragged and Bald are ice/snow glazed seen from middle of Hosmer Pond.

The line of dogs tied truck to trunk of tree just off frozen pond leap and bark straining to reach sled with stretch of harness clips as one by one they are collar-walked front legs off ground to their designated spot on sleddog line. It is a glorious day at Toboggan Nationals as two and four person waxed toboggans take 8 or 9 second run down chute yelling and laughing out onto ice then coasting or spilling to end of ride as photographers barely avoid upending from errant spin and tumble.

Yes to lamb and sausage grilling, beer and coffee sipping, tubes and skis descending, faces and thighs reddening, snowmobiles and dog-sleigh rushing and mushing, teams and toboggans screeching, -- all in festival blue sky crisp new snow white sunlight clear afternoon in Maine on thick frozen ice of February.

Everywhere Buddha and Christ smile and play. We have come to see what we can see.
People today have been confused for a long time. They do not know that their own mind is the real Buddha. They do not know that their own essence is the real Dharma. Wishing to seek Dharma, they attribute it to remote sages; wishing to seek Buddhahood, they do not observe their own mind.
- Master Chinul (1158-1210)
And it is joyful.

Elsewhere, not so joyful. It was not 92 killed in Baghdad yesterday as first reported. There a different kind of emotion and sensation exploded in their Saturday celebration of ordinary life in market and shops and holding fast to hope.
February 4, 2007, At Least 130 Die as Blast Levels Baghdad Market, By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr. and QAIS MIZHER

BAGHDAD, Sunday, Feb. 4 — A mammoth truck bomb obliterated a popular central Baghdad market on Saturday, ripping through scores of shops and flattening apartment buildings, killing at least 130 people and wounding more than 300 in the worst of a series of horrific attacks against Shiites in recent weeks.

(--The New York Times online)
Buddha and Christ, everywhere in that square, weep and mourn. They come to see what we have come to see.

Enlightenment sees all of what is seen. Nothing left out. No editing or censuring, no picking and choosing. The power of positive thinking has no sway over the power of negative feeling -- it is not a psychological game of bait and switch, ignore and project, or rush to shift consciousness into some hastily constructed straw house claiming "Everything is happening as it should" and "This is what must happen for the coming age to unfold." These soggy proclamations drip with despair masking as prescience and prophesy.

Enlightenment will not dwell in artificial or fantastical worlds other than what is real, seen, and felt through and through in the realm of everyday, concrete, and integral experience. We need not wait. We need not bait. We need not hide behind the dual delusions saying, "It's so great!" or "It's too late!"

What we need is to see what can be seen, feel what can be felt, think what can be thought, be what can be.
[T]his enlightenment of the Buddha's was profound and brilliant, accurate and powerful, and also warm and compassionate. It was like the sun behind the clouds. Anyone who has taken off in an airplane on a grim and gloomy day knows that beyond the cloud cover the sun is always shining. Even at night the sun is shining, but then we can't see it because the earth is in the way, and probably our pillow also. The Buddha explained that behind the cloud cover of thoughts--including very heavy clouds of emotionally charged thoughts backed up by entrenched habitual patterns--there is continual warm, bright, loving intelligence constantly shining. And even though in the midst of thoughts, emotions, and habitual patterns, intelligence may become dulled and confused, it is still this intelligence in the midst of thoughts and emotions and habits that makes them so very captivating, so resourceful and various, so inexhaustible.
--Samuel Bercholz, Entering the Stream
If we look steadily and deeply -- as and what and who we are now, have been, and will continue to be -- we come to see the whole of it. We see it without explanation or excuse, no rationalization or wishful regret, neither reaching for 'delete' nor 'enhance' buttons. Rather, we come to a region of reality wherein we trust.

The Virtue of Trusting One's Mind

When goats don't want to move,
they don't make sounds.

They fold legs at bald knees,
bend rough necks to earth,
and just sink down.

They never

rant, rail,
protest, declaim,
debate, explain, and then,
head bowed, plod meekly
forward anyway,

as I did
as a child—
and still do now.

(Poem: "The Virtue of Trusting One's Mind" by Marcia Slatkin, from A Woman Milking: Barnyard Poems. Word Press.)

A morning hug without words. Sunlight pressing on dusty window panes. Sleeping old dog with nose against last night's food bowl now raising head detecting passing scent of one he loves, settling back again with mouth sounds below outer rim of bowl.

It is Sunday morning. Bob will preach at Our Lady of Good Hope. Tommy will be reading the New York Times back in the kitchen. We'll stop in to bow and listen. Jesus will say to Simon: "Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch." And we will ponder deep water, the men and women and children laughing on the ice, weeping in the market, and forever and ever opening doors and closing doors, arriving and leaving, going through barn and walking up path to this bridge and that until the clearing is under our feet and before our gaze.

And we step.

And we see.

With each one.