Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Early lauds and late compline. The balance of the day.
It is not, as some ancients and the Confucians taught, that you sweep away ordinary feelings and bring into existence some holy understanding. When ordinariness and holiness exist no more, how is that? An octagonal grindstone is turning in empty space, a diamond pestle grinds to dust the iron mountain.
- Daikaku (1213-1279)
Bells at end of Salve Regina.

Presence itself remains as itself.

Only vigil light remains as we leave.

Empty cabin.

One light.
Note: For Summer 2007 Hermitage Update, and Events at Meetingbrook, please see Today at Meetingbrook, Sunday, May 20, 2007

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Acceptance is the issue. Surrender the means. Desolation, the impetus. The ascetical life is not punishment of the body -- it is allowing each their own reality, with kind attention.
The reverential mind can let things be and celebrate a person's presence or a thing's beauty without wanting something from them.
(--from p.77, section "The Ascetical Presence: The Wisdom to Subtract from the Feast" in chapter on "Presence" in John O'Donohue's Eternal Echoes, c.1999)
We've decided the reason there is so much recidivism among released prisoners is because the monastic experience had while incarcerated isn't supported back in the world. Harsh distraction and indifferent hustles tear away the dissolved self experienced in solitude and introspection -- replacing it with a fortified false self that tries to juggle disturbed values and desperate loneliness -- only to drop, and lose the act.

We need an authentic spirituality to offset a formulaic religiosity.

Everything collapses first.

Then comes prayer.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Nothing to say. No one to say it to.

Well, then...Shut my mouth!
* 9. It is a discourse that inevitably completes itself again in a new silence.

A God who would be completely transcendent -- in addition to the fact that it would be contradictory to hope to speak about such a God -- would be a superfluous, if not perverse hypothesis. A completely transcendent God would deny divine immanence at the same time that it would destroy human transcendence. The divine mystery is ineffable and no discourse can describe it.

(-- from NINE WAYS NOT TO TALK ABOUT GOD, by Raimon Panikkar, in CrossCurrents, http://www.crosscurrents.org/panikkar.htm)
There are times when giving up seems the only option.

In spiritual life, it is called surrender.

I look around.

To whom does one surrender?

What is being given up?

Not even this is easy.

Evening this is peace.

How about that?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

"May the Lord be vivified by your being." That's the phrase I heard just before waking from night's sleep this morning. It was a dream.Or, this life is a dream. Either way, to vivify is how awareness brings skillfulness.
Inside the sacred fence
Before which I bow
There must be a pond
Filled with clear water;
As my mind-moon becomes bright
I see its shadow reflected in the water.

- Daito Kokushi
A woman donates a whole bunch of classical music cds that belonged to her father. She says, "The more someone is lost from God, the more they need to acquire material goods." It is a sentence for me to ponder. I would think that the pathway music leads along was the footing of divine traverse.

There was great hubbub on the patio today for 4th of July celebration.
Pastoral

When I was younger
it was plain to me
I must make something of myself.
Older now
I walk back streets
admiring the houses
of the very poor:
roof out of line with sides
the yards cluttered
with old chicken wire, ashes,
furniture gone wrong;
the fences and outhouses
built of barrel staves
and parts of boxes, all,
if I am fortunate,
smeared a bluish green
that properly weathered
pleases me best of all colors.
No one
will believe this
of vast import to the nation.
(Poem: "Pastoral" by William Carlos Williams, from The Collected Poems of W.C. Williams. New Directions, 1991.)
This nation is having a difficult time remembering that what you make of yourself does not exclude what you make of others.

It's not too late to turn back from the hateful edge of the direction some would take us.

July 4th is a good day to begin that turn.

One good turn deserves others.

Vivify well, with humility!

Restart the music.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

No doubt about it, doubt is OK. Ask Thomas. He doubted. Then he saw. Until we see, doubt is honest inquiry. We need more honest inquiry.
Whether you are going or staying or sitting or lying down, the whole world is your own self. You must find out whether the mountains, rivers, grass, and forests exist in your own mind or exist outside it. Analyze the ten thousand things, dissect them minutely, and when you take this to the limit you will come to the limitless. When you search into it you come to the end of search, where thinking goes no further and distinctions vanish. When you smash the citadel of doubt, then the Buddha is simply yourself.
- Daikaku (1213-1279)
It's an odd practice to take someone else's word for things. "He said," or, She said" are often exercises in miscommunication; they are most often prey to the demon of misinterpretation. Leave someone else's word where it belongs -- it belongs in and to that person. "Go and find your own word," is what a kind teacher would say.
St Thomas the Apostle
The apostle Thomas is famous for doubting the resurrection of Jesus when his fellow apostles told him about it; but if he is the sceptical apostle, he is also the believing apostle, for having seen and touched a risen man, he made the immediate leap of faith and so became the first apostle to call Jesus God.

(--Tuesday 3 July 2007, Saint Thomas, Apostle, Feast. http://www.universalis.com/)
Learning to see for yourself, like learning to see yourself, begins a long, lonely, yet lovely journey up the path of search, through thickets of dark despair, across deserts of empty promises and expectations, until you cross the sudden river of profound doubt, and step into the wide open expanse and gracious hospitality of vanished distinctions.

Jory writes, adding, "Adyashanti says it like this:"
The true heart of all human beings is the lover of what is. That's why we cannot escape any part of ourselves. This is not because we are a disaster, but because we are conscious and we are coming back for all of ourselves in this birth. No matter how confused we are, we will come back for every part of ourselves that has been left out of the game. This is the birth of real compassion and love. For too long, it has been said by spiritual traditions that you have to slay so much to get to love. But this is a myth. The truth is that it is love that really liberates.
(- Adyashanti, from Emptiness Dancing)
To be mindful means, ultimately, to be what you are doing -- every primary instant, and each second of existence. This being of incarnated and eternal presence is one of love.

I don't mind doubt.

In the same way, I don't mind breathing.

I just wouldn't want to be without either.

Until I am.

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Declaration of Indefendants has just been issued.

It replaces the old, worn out documents of Constitution, and the other Declaration of 1776. They were Old America. Bush and Cheney are the new floundering fathers.
At night, deep in the mountains,
I sit in meditation.
The affairs of the world
Never reach here;
Everything is quiet and empty,
All the incense has
Been swallowed up
By the endless night.
My robe has become a garment of dew.
Unable to sleep I
Walk out into the woods
Suddenly, above the highest peak,
The full moon appears.

- Ryokan (1758-1831)
Mr George Bush has commuted the prison sentence time of Mr. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. This new declaration voids all laws for the Executive White House.

Thank God for the full moon.

At least there one sees something to respect.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

A woman visiting the shop said she was an atheist. She expected, maybe, an argument. She got none. Instead she got a piece of chocolate cake with rum icing.

Religious people can be so intolerant. So can the irreligious. Factor out the common -- and conclude it is people that can be intolerant -- adding or subtracting religion is only a foil to a deeper realization.
To be resolute in the way means
from the beginning never to
lose sight of it, whether in a
place of calm or in a place of strife;
to not cling to quiet places nor
shun places where there is disturbance.

- Daikaku (1213-1279)
When we joked with Tom the mailman on Saturday about how there was no good business reason we should have lasted 11 years and be beginning our 12th, he said : "Well here it's all about people and relationships, isn't it?"
Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me’, replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first’. But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God’.
(--Luke 9:51 - 62)
That news is people and relationships.

Joy is entering into the reality of both with open eyes.

The dead in death, and those dead in life, will bury one another with belief in the death of life. Without that belief, life perfects itself in life and through death.

Each is, and both are, good.