Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It doesn't matter what you believe, can you behave differently each time truth appears?
For many springs
I’ve come here to meet
And unite my mind
With the opening blossoms, so
I’m made of many recollections.

- Saigyo (1118-1190)
I'm agnostic to belief systems. I want to know if the inquiry is open and active.

Followed closely by compassionate, joyful, grateful action.

Friday, April 11, 2008

When you have nothing to say...
Being in tremendous turmoil, the unoriented do not know that their own mind is Buddha. They search about, outside of themselves, spending the whole day contemplating the Buddha and paying homage. But where is the Buddha? Do not entertain any such false views. Awaken to your own mind: outside the mind there can be no Buddha.
- Bodhidharma
...say it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kristin said it tonight: "War asks us to be other than love."

That's the shame of it.
Though it has no bridge,
The cloud climbs up to heaven;
It does not seek the aid
Of Gautama’s sutras.
- Ikkyu (1394-1481)
We wish to be what God is.
Not other than.

Love.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Dog laps water. Cat chews kibbles. Night.

Nowhere is there place
To stop and live, so only
Everywhere will do:
Each and every grass-made hut soon leaves
Its place within this withering world.
- Saigyo (1118-1190)
The General and the Ambassador regale Congress with Arabian stories that are not good enough to placate worries. The champagne has been pushed to the back of the fridge.
It is frightening to witness this hate-torn world suddenly united for one brief hour, against Jesus. And what does he do? Every trial is in reality a struggle -- but not this one. Jesus refuses to fight. He proves nothing. He denies nothing. He attacks nothing. Instead he stands by and lets events run their course -- more, at the proper moment, he says precisely what is necessary for his conviction. His words and attitude have nothing to do with the logic or demands of a defence. Their source lies elsewhere. The accused makes no attempt to hinder whatever is to come; but his silence is neither that of weakness nor of desperation. It is divine reality; full, holy consciousness of the approaching "hour"; perfect readiness. His silence brings into being what is to be.
(--Romano Guardini, in Jesus Christ, Meditations, c.1959)
The silence of the American people allows the two messengers to reprise and resound their winning tales to investors in the war. The dividends are trickling out into the halls where once honest brokers did not try to parse democracy and decency.
Transcending Everyday Consciousness
When we sit down to meditate, we are trying to transcend our everyday consciousness: the one with which we transact our ordinary business, the one used in the worlds market-place as we go shopping, bring up our children, work in an office or in our business, clean the house, check our bank statements, and all the rest of daily living. That kind of consciousness is known to everyone and without it we can't function. It is our survival consciousness and we need it for that. It cannot reach far enough or deep enough into the Buddha's teachings, because these are unique and profound; our everyday consciousness is neither unique or profound, it's just utilitarian. In order to attain the kind of consciousness that is capable of going deeply enough into the teachings to make them our own and thereby change our whole inner view, we need a mind with the ability to remove itself from the ordinary thinking process. That is only possible through meditation. There is no other way. Meditation is therefore a means and not an end in itself. It is a means to change the mind's capacity in such a way that we can see entirely different realities from the ones we are used to.

(- Ayya Khema, from When the Iron Eagle Flies, from Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith)
Entirely different realities would fit about now.

I've got to get back on my cushion.

Make the time right.

A new country.

A new seat.

Breathe!

Light.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tonight I think of the men and women in jail and prison. Their families living in questions about guilt, innocence, bad breaks, and hard time.

I think about prisons of ego in which so many of us do a bid.
If you break open
The cherry tree,
There is not a single flower.
But the skies of spring
Bring forth the blossoms!

- Ikkyu (1394-1481)
Then I think about surrender. I think about the hard acceptance that precedes freedom, a freedom even in prison, or in the shadow of an ego no longer completely in charge.

Eckhart Tolle with Oprah said one could be whole without being perfect. I like that.

We are whole. We don't perhaps realize it yet, but we are.

The mother cries for her son, for herself, for her recently deceased husband.

And when I talk to her I am humbled by the wholeness one and one reveals.

In sorrow, no separation. In solitude, no loneliness.

In a moment of words moving through stillness, nothing is said.

But this.

Awareness.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Our neighbor's 9 month old cat has wandered off. We check our barn. The squirrels aren't giving away anything.

"To lose our selves and to become totally absorbed in God," says John Main, "through the human consciousness of Jesus -- is the precise purpose of all meditation -- to lose our lives."

At center, God. No need to go anywhere. Except perhaps to drop through illusory self into true center. Whether nature, humankind, acts, thoughts, feelings, or noise. We fall into silence.
In Pali, heart and mind are one word (citta), but in English we have to differentiate between the two to make the meaning clear. When we attend to the mind, we are concerned with the thinking process and the intellectual understanding that derives from knowledge, and with our ability to retain knowledge and make use of it. When we speak of heart we think of feelings and emotions, our ability to respond with our fundamental being. Although we may believe that we are leading our lives according to our thinking process, that is not the case. If we examine this more closely, we will find that we are leading our lives according to our feelings and that our thinking is dependent upon our feelings. The emotional aspect of ourselves is of such great importance that its purification is the basis for a harmonious and peaceful life, and also for good meditation.
- Ayya Khema, When the Iron Eagle Flies
from Everyday Mind, a Tricycle book edited by Jean Smith
I write to a man in jail pending court date on charges of child sexual abuse.
I write you just to write you. I’m pretty sure your situation sucks. You’ve probably come up against the strong and violent dislike on the part of both inmates and guards for the category of person who wears the charges you’ve got on your name. It’s a hard fact that many feel that vengeance and punishment are a sworn duty to be carried out even by some whose own situations are barely different than yours. But you know this already.

I write to tell you that you’ve found yourself a rough spiritual path. But a spiritual path it is. These words might sound silly, and I apologize if they are impertinent to you -- but, nevertheless, this is where you are for now. And, as you know, there is only now. You’ve come to a point in your life where you might not want to be, but there you are. We all are.
Child sexual abuse is a frightening crime. So many suffer. So little rehabilitation.
We Bring Democracy To The Fish

It is unacceptable that fish prey on each other.
For their comfort and safety, we will liberate them
into fishfarms with secure, durable boundaries
that exclude predators. Our care will provide
for their liberty, health, happiness, and nutrition.
Of course all creatures need to feel useful.
At maturity the fish will discover their purposes.

Poem: "We Bring Democracy To The Fish" by Donald Hall, from White Apples and the Taste of Stone. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2007.
I must rehabilitate my heart/mind.

I must not remain criminal.

I must fall into the center.

God help us!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

We might learn, as she writes, the grand conspiracy of life.
What is the hearth of the heart if not the good earth: the soil, the life-blood of rivers, the throbbing life-force in the intimate depths of every green thing, every flowering form, every singing, winging bird? And what is the heart if not this resonance, this inner knowing through which we love and, in turn, know anew and love again? We breathe in and we inhale the exhalation of forests, plankton, desert sage and the fragrance of spreading spring violets. We breathe out and the trees inhale us, take us into themselves in this grand conspiracy of life, this godly inspiration, this earthly distillation, this human intersection of all that is.
(--Return to Earth, in Earthlines, By Diane Pendola, http://www.ecocontemplative.org/elspring08.html)
I'd be willing to be taken in.

With all.

That is.