Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dean brought in Kathleen Norris' new book. On acedia. A good conversation.
Please wait for the light of the moon,
The mountain path
Is covered with fallen chestnuts.

- Ryokan (1758-1831)
The shop filled chuck full this afternoon. Sam said thanks for opening. I ordered books. Strange time to be ordering books.
Acedia is a word from ancient Greek describing a state of listlessness or torpor, of not caring or not being concerned with one's position or condition in the world. It can lead to a state of being unable to perform one's duties in life. Its spiritual overtones make it related to but distinct from depression.[1] Acedia was originally noted as a problem among monks and other ascetics who maintained a solitary life.
(--from wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acedia
Uh-oh!

I'll think about this later on.

I'm off to bed.

Too tired.

To think.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Puer natus est pro nobis. A child is born. To us. With us. Each child.

What are we missing in the story? What in our story are we missing?
"Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas,
not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues,
nor in cathedrals:
not in masses,
nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath."

— Kabir
Maine Coon cat crouches on white remnant facing bird activity beyond glass door. Gregorian chant plays to drying dishes and pots in wooden rack. Solitude is its own monastery.
‘Brother will betray brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name; but the man who stands firm to the end will be saved.’
(--Matthew 10:17-22)
What's his name?

Is his name "the practice of love without exception"?

No practice, no love, thus no name. We become nameless when we steal from others their itself-fullness.
"I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.

You don't grasp the fact that what is most alive of all is inside your own house;
and you walk from one holy city to the next with a confused look!

Kabir will tell you the truth: go wherever you like, to Calcutta or Tibet;
if you can't find where your soul is hidden,
for you the world will never be real!"

— Kabir (The Kabir book: Forty-four of the ecstatic poems of Kabir)
It is not difficult to ask of this world, or country, or neighborhood, "Where is the sound of the true name of peace? Of love? Of truth? Of acceptance without reservations or conditions?"

It is not difficult to hear in response the crack of a gun, the blast of a bomb, the snicker of mocking denigration, the shuddering ice of disdain, the resolute sarcasm of professional hatred on radio and cable talk show. Or the mimetic recitation of our own suffering aimed at another or others. 

What is difficult is to be Stephen (in today's feast) or myriad others (in daily history) in the course of their being murdered still staying with the holy name of "the practice of love without exception." Real martyrdom is not being killed or suiciding yourself for something you believe, Real martyrdom is the active incorporation of your murderer (or daily executioner) into your name with the holy name as you travel beyond the limitations of this existence.
"I talk to my inner lover, and I say, why such rush?
We sense that there is some sort of spirit that loves birds and animals and the ants -
perhaps the same one who gave a radiance to you in your mother's womb.
Is it logical that you would be walking around entirely orphaned now?
The truth is you turned away yourself,
and decided to go into the dark alone.
Now you are tangled up in others, and have forgotten what you once knew,
and that's why everything you do has some weird failure in it."

— Kabir (The Kabir book: Forty-four of the ecstatic poems of Kabir)
The 'dark alone' is not the 'Alone' -- that is, we cannot travel alone to the Alone. The Alone is Reciprocity-Itself. When we come to see the reciprocal (Latin reciprocus returning the same way, alternating {Merriam-Webster}) -- we come to see one-in-two, two-in-one. It is our nature, for this time, to have to go out in order to come in, to go in so as to find out.
Waking from Sleep
by Robert Bly
Inside the veins there are navies setting forth,
Tiny explosions at the waterlines,
And seagulls weaving in the wind of the salty blood.

It is the morning. The country has slept the whole winter.
Window seats were covered with fur skins, the yard was full
Of stiff dogs, and hands that clumsily held heavy books.

Now we wake, and rise from bed, and eat breakfast!
Shouts rise from the harbor of the blood,
Mist, and masts rising, the knock of wooden tackle in the sunlight.

Now we sing, and do tiny dances on the kitchen floor.
Our whole body is like a harbor at dawn;
We know that our master has left us for the day.

(--Poem, "Waking from Sleep" by Robert Bly, from Silence in the Snowy Fields. Wesleyan University Press, 1962.)
Christmas season is a celebration of birth. The birth of Jesus, yes.  The arriving of one with God-life. Whose name, we are coming to learn, transcends names. The coming, in a profoundly mythic narrative, of what saves us. And more. Your birth. My birth. Each birth.

What saves us? Maybe we could call it: "Being-With ... What Is ... Loving." 

To be with what is loving requires a presence beyond appearance or words. A silent engagement of one within the other.

Without exception.

No conditions.

There is much in this story to catch up with. So much has gone missing.

There's a papyrus scroll gathering dust in our inner cave of forgetfulness.

It wants to be found.

Inside our own house.

There in the next seat.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Dark, Night

Neither church nor Santa Claus encapsulates Christmas. Something else wants in.

When everything is seen and accepted as itself, as it constantly changes to become itself -- then, the day is what it is meant to be.
Perhaps the great quest in life is to discover this constancy - to know this continuing process of change. With one discovery comes another question. The game is infinite.

Yet in the discovery, perhaps Christ is Born, Buddha Enlightened, the Tao followed, and Truth revealed.
(--from, An Agnostic Celebrates The Birth Of Christ, by Susan Smalley, the Huffington Post, Posted December 25, 2008 | 08:39 AM (EST) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-smalley/an-agnostic-celebrates-th_b_151963.html
Arriving with family or remaining with solitude, we discover, are born, become enlightened, follow way, reveal what is. The mere delight of it all!

As things change.
Integrity is the loincloth round his waist,
faithfulness the belt about his hips.

The wolf lives with the lamb,
the panther lies down with the kid,
calf and lion feed together,
with a little boy to lead them.
The cow and the bear make friends,
their young lie down together.
The lion eats straw like the ox.
The infant plays over the cobra’s hole;
into the viper’s lair
the young child puts his hand.
They do no hurt, no harm,
on all my holy mountain,
for the country is filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters swell the sea.

(--from, Isaiah 11:1-10, Office of Readings, Christmas)
Are we ready?

For love?

For love.

Is. No.

Question.
Nearing dusk

Walking woods on Ragged Mtn with white Border Collie black saddle-spot on back. Solitary tumbling brook sliding around snowy stones. Trees still and quiet as winds suddenly gust animating conversation.
A heart free of desire is true emptiness:
No holding back,
Just drift with the untied clouds,
Existence and non-existence are one
And the same:
Embrace the void.
To the seeker, emptiness is All.

- Loy Ching-Yuen (1873-1960)
Woman leaves for family visit. The mountain sent a pine needle spray for octogenarian mourning her dog's death. House gathers itself for dusk. Fire in wood stove glows red.
Your eternal word leaped down from heaven
in the silent watches of the night,
and now your Church is filled with wonder
at the nearness of her God.

(-- Alternative Prayer, Christmas Morning Hour)
Black and white cat on his back on Wohnkuche rug in front of fire. Newly placed colored lights on yew bush bird house, white lights on potted indoor tree by wall of glass doors.

Gusting whoosh sounds through window.

This is the day.

The Lord has made.

Out of nothing other than nearness.
Dawn

And so...

It is!

...Christmas.

Night wind blows away darkness.

Whisper light breaks over tree.

Recapitulation. (Anakephalaiosis.)

"Start again" -- silence says.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bayview street is quiet. Shops close early for Christmas Eve. Passing wharf where last night's fire, doused, gone inside itself again, officially inspected, sends charred memory smells across evening.

Saskia shops for family in her own shop. Rokie snoozes as gentle music sits quietly in vacant chairs.

Roof rake from Rankins on top of Element is ready for ride to hermitage and thinks of stretching and pulling in the morning. Black Oil bird seed hunches in rear of car for morning's Eucharist with Blue Jay, Chickadee, Nut Hatch, Junco, Cardinal, Titmouse, White Throated Sparrow and assorted passersby.
Most people can read a book with words, but not one without words, and they can play a lyre with strings but not one without strings. How can they derive tranquil pleasure from a book or lyre, when they exercise their intelligence only on the material, but not on the spiritual, aspect of things?
- Hung Ying-ming 1596
Walking town I nod and smile to those I meet. Each one of us the material/spiritual, each this Eve the expectancy of something conceived without interference or separation. We greet one another on slushy sidewalk.
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’
(--from Matthew 1:18-25)
It's a lovely thought. A kindly consideration.

Is.

God-with.

Us.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What is born?
On this frosty day, clouds and mist congeal,
On the mountain moon, the icy chill grows.
At night I receive a letter from my home,
At dawn I leave without anyone knowing.

- Fahai
The fire down the waterfront from the balcony was spectacular. http://knox.villagesoup.com/Government/story.cfm?storyID=139836

What comes to be, falls away.

Only aseity perdures.

Beginningless.

Endless.

Now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

If I don't know, is there anything or anyone other? Is it possible that the great revelation in Christian metaphor and lore is the emptiness and transparency of truth and love in our middle in the midst of mere existence?

Not to know, to have don't-know mind, is ground for awakening into this and this and this. If we enter and receive this -- this body, this mind, this heart -- are we in the midst of the innocent unknowing loving presence at once called 'Christ', 'Shunyata', 'Kenosis' ?
'Christ'-- cf. (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ)
'Shunyata' -- cf. (http://www.kheper.net/topics/Buddhism/sunyata.htm)
'Kenosis' -- cf. (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenosis)
Here's what I like about Advent and Christmas: If there is no other, who knows?
Versions of Isaiah 45:5

New American Standard Bible (©1995)

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me;

King James Bible
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

American King James Version
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded you, though you have not known me:

American Standard Version
I am Jehovah, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird thee, though thou hast not known me;

Douay-Rheims Bible
I am the Lord, and there is none else: there is no God, besides me: I girded thee, and thou hast not known me:

Darby Bible Translation
I am Jehovah, and there is none else; there is no God beside me: I girded thee, and thou hast not known me;

English Revised Version
I am the LORD, and there is none else; beside me there is no God: I will gird thee, though thou hast not known me:

Webster's Bible Translation
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God besides me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:

World English Bible
I am Yahweh, and there is none else. Besides me, there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not known me;

Young's Literal Translation
I am Jehovah, and there is none else, Except Me there is no God, I gird thee, and thou hast not known Me.

Apocalypsis 22:21 Latin: Biblia Sacra Vulgata

ego Dominus et non est amplius extra me non est deus accinxi te et non cognovisti me

Isaías 45:5 Spanish: La Biblia de las Américas (©1997)
Yo soy el SEÑOR, y no hay ningún otro; fuera de mí no hay Dios. Yo te ceñiré, aunque no me has conocido,

Isaías 45:5 Spanish: La Nueva Biblia de los Hispanos (©2005)
Yo soy el SEÑOR, y no hay ningún otro; Fuera de Mí no hay Dios. Yo te fortaleceré, aunque no Me has conocido,

Isaías 45:5 Spanish: Reina Valera (1909)
Yo Jehová, y ninguno más hay: no hay Dios fuera de mí. Yo te ceñiré, aunque tú no me conociste;

Isaías 45:5 Spanish: Sagradas Escrituras (1569)
Yo soy el SEÑOR, y ninguno más hay ; no hay Dios fuera de mí. Yo te ceñiré, aunque tú no me conociste;

Isaías 45:5 Spanish: Modern
Yo soy Jehovah, y no hay otro. Aparte de mí no hay Dios. Yo te ciño, aunque tú no me conoces,

Ésaïe 45:5 French: Louis Segond (1910)
Je suis l'Eternel, et il n'y en a point d'autre, Hors moi il n'y a point de Dieu; Je t'ai ceint, avant que tu me connusses.

Ésaïe 45:5 French: Darby
Moi, je suis l'Éternel, et il n'y en a point d'autre; il n'y a point de Dieu si ce n'est moi. Je t'ai ceint, et tu ne me connaissais pas;...

Ésaïe 45:5 French: Martin (1744)
Je suis l'Eternel, et il n'y en a point d'autre; il n'y a point de Dieu que moi. Je t'ai ceint, quoique tu ne me connusses point.

Ésaïe 45:5 French: Ostervald (1744)
Je suis l'Éternel, et il n'y en a point d'autre; il n'y a pas d'autre Dieu que moi. Je t'ai ceint, quand tu ne me connaissais pas;

Jesaja 45:5 German: Luther (1912)
Ich bin der HERR, und sonst keiner mehr; kein Gott ist außer mir. Ich habe dich gerüstet, da du mich noch nicht kanntest,

Jesaja 45:5 German: Luther (1545)
Ich bin der HERR und sonst keiner mehr; kein Gott ist ohne ich. Ich habe dich gerüstet, da du mich noch nicht kanntest,

Jesaja 45:5 German: Elberfelder (1871)
Ich bin Jehova, und sonst ist keiner, außer mir ist kein Gott; ich gürtete dich, und du kanntest mich nicht: -
(--Isaiah 45:5) http://scripturetext.com/isaiah/45-5.htm
Not me.

I don't know.

But that's the miracle.

That's the gift.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Every blowing grain snowy swirls by barn door this Sunday storm.

Vespers read. Sauerkraut soup. Finish Hawk's Cross, a novel by Mark Varnum. Enjoyed it.

What storm gives, beside storm soup, is quiet punctuated by flashing lights of plows climbing hill to the Bok place, edging Hope
Subject and object from the start
Are no different,
The myriad things nothing
But images in the mirror.
Bright and resplendent,
Transcending both guest and host,
Complete and realized,
All is permeated by the absolute.
A single form encompasses
The multitude of dharmas,
All of which are interconnected
Within the net of Indra.
Layer after layer there is no
Point at which it all ends,
Whether in motion or still,
All is fully interpenetrating.

- Zhitong (d.1124)
History.com archives "The Universe" for our viewing tonight. Things are very big out there. A woman on eve of follow-up visit to medical center tomorrow thinks about how much it matters to live longer. In light of millions of years between celestial bodies, what's 50 or 60 years?

Time goes.

Bye.

It's winter!

Compline completes.