Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nailing cedar shingles. Picking up pile of lumber at contractors pickup.
Even if, bright as a flash of lightning,
Death were to strike you today,
Be prepared to die without sorrow
Or regret, giving up attachment to
What you are leaving behind.
Without ever ceasing to recognize
The authentic view of the real,
Leave this life like the eagle
That soars into the blue sky.

- Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991)
Midnight.

I'm already dead. Nor have I ever been born.

D5, galvanized box nails. Five pounds of them.

Aspirations to Holy Spirit throughout.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This is what you are.

The Course in Miracles says, "I am as God created me."
I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.
Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or nesting?

There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman.
There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it.
There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!

And there is no body, and no mind!
Do you believe there is some place that will make the
soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of
imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.

(-Kabir)
It's not what is good or bad. It's what we choose to attend to. This is how the world comes to be what it is.
What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know, it's what we know for sure that just ain't so.
(Mark Twain)
And if it ain't so, say it ain't so.

And if so, say so.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Between word and silence is alert stillness.

Holiness is nothing other than the longing of wholeness to find and be itself.
Fearful of death, I walked in the mountains. 
By meditating on its uncertain hour, 
I conquered the immortal bastion 
Of the immutable. 
Now I am far beyond fearing death.
 
- Milarepa
Movement within stillness; stillness within movement.

Alert stillness proceeds from this silence and this word.

Filioque of a Thursday morning.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A woman writes: "...how unlike the words in obits we really are."

I tell her I'd have written as inclusion to Gene's obit the following:
He walked daily, for hours and hours on end. He made people nervous
because of how he looked. He talked of death often, very often, over
the years. When he learned of his cancer the topic of illness and
death became his sole interest.
He worried so much. He was obsessive in his routes and conversation.
He was wary of crowds and physical contact. His mind was seldom at
peace. He was one of us -- we the odd and idiorhythmic.
He'd call a neighbor of his on another street daily. He liked to
talk and keep him appraised of medical matters. The neighbor
listened and suggested, time to time, some action. It was seldom
taken. Only the worry. And the emergency room visits. A long, long,
history of emergency room visits for many, many, years.
Gene walked his routine right up to a week before cancer took his
body. Now, I imagine, his ghost walks the roads of Camden and
Rockport, even in the rain. That's what he did. He walked. A
measured lumbering gate.
He had people who were fond of him. And some who weren't.
Those of us who were fond of Gene will miss him. Not the
compulsions and obsessions, not the graphic medical details or the
reminder how difficult it is to be patient with difficult characters
-- but the Gene in and through and surrounding and embedded within
the being right in front of us. They say the difficulty with being
human is the task of accepting the whole package of our being/human
without the mental scalpel cutting away what we disapprove of in
ourselves and others.
When we cease the playacting of surgical dissection of one another,
we are left with the person-as-a-whole. Such presencing sorely tries
our mettle.
Gene belonged and struggled with his own presentiation -- a word
which means to make something present through transparency.
An unusual man! An unusual presence!
So are we all.
On our way through.
It doesn't matter what we say. What matters is what shows.
Like the torrent that rushes to the sea,
Like the sun and the moon that glide towards
The western mountains,
Like the flight of days and nights,
Hours and seconds,
Human life passes inexorably

- Padmasambhava
There's no reason any more to be afraid. Not of anything.

Let this be included in my obit: He showed up, then left.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Gene dies. I stop in to room 21. Another name on the door. I miss him by 19 hours. 
A stick of incense
carries his memory
into mountain -
disappearance.
Clock ticks. Maher finishes trashing religion. Oatmeal cookies with chocolate are gone. Insanity sometimes wears God as disguise.
As a boy I studied literature,
But was too lazy to become a Confucian;
In my younger days I worked at Zen,
But got no Dharma worth handing down.
Now I've built a grass hut,
Act as custodian of a Shinto shrine,
Half a shrine, half a monk.

- Ryokan
The conflict is between certainty and doubt. It is difficult to deal with both. Of the two, I prefer doubt. It is an unloaded gun.
To what end?
To no end...
This life!
Reading The Haunted Bookshop on porch of cabin -- the corncob smoking Mifflin. From years ago in wood box on porch, Sail Regular from Holland. The Cavendish fills half a bowl, a match, the memory of pipe smoke mixes with afternoon rain. Then, drifts up mountain, back into box for another six years.
Threshold

When in still air and still in summertime
A leaf has had enough of this, it seems
To make up its mind to go; fine as a sage
Its drifting in detachment down the road.

(Poem by Howard Nemerov)
I think God left religion long ago. God returned to the space between word and silence.

No more to say; about to speak. A pleasant stillness bemused by explication.

Remaining as is.

Only this.

Monday, June 08, 2009

For current information about Meetingbrook: Update and events

http://sites.google.com/site/meetingbrookhermitage/Home/events-at-meetingbrook
.........


The book by Spanish philosopher Xavier Zubiri rises to the surface in my room after 20 years dialogue with dust.
For Zubiri, intellection and the entire process of intellective knowing is intimately linked to reality:
By virtue of its formal nature, intellection is apprehension of reality in and by itself. This intellection...is in a radical sense an apprehension of the real which has its own characteristics...Intellection is formally direct apprehension of the real—not via representations nor images. It is an immediate apprehension of the real, not founded in inferences, reasoning processes, or anything of that nature. It is a unitary apprehension. The unity of these three moments is what makes what is apprehended to be apprehended in and by itself.
(from, INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF XAVIER ZUBIRI (1898-1983), http://www.zubiri.org/intro.htm)
Thomas B. Fowler, President, Xavier Zubiri Foundation of North America, writes in his Informal Introduction to the Philosophy of Xavier Zubiri, the following:
Man's access to God

If traditional metaphysical proofs of the existence of God are out, are there any routes available? Before we answer this question, Zubiri feels that we must do something akin to what we did in the case of our perception of reality: we must step back and reexamine the whole explanatory paradigm and its assumptions. Traditionally, theologians have approached God in a conceptual fashion, in which He is what Zubiri terms a "reality-object" more or less like you and me and rocks and other things of our experience, albeit it of some higher degree. Given this approach, all effort is inexorably concentrated on establishing ways of "demonstrating" God's existence. The main problem with such a paradigm is that it produces proofs which (1) fail to convince because they rely upon abstract metaphysical arguments with premises that are themselves difficult to establish; and (2) the God whose existence they purportedly demonstrate is far removed from the personal God of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition and quite incapable of serving as the basis of a religion.

Zubiri thinks that this whole approach is too anthropomorphic. God is not a "reality-object", but what he terms a "reality-ground"-something to which we must be be "re-ligated", that is, re-connected. (This is much more in line with the approach of mystical thinkers). In contrast to the demonstrative ways of proving God's existence, which are purely idealistic (i.e, based on abstract reasoning), Zubiri proposes the way of religation, ultimately based on our experience of reality. Indeed, for Zubiri we are religated to reality since it imposes itself on us, and does so as something ultimate which both impels us and makes it possible for us to "create", so to speak, our lives. It is the experience of this imposition, of this power of the real, that is the experience of the ground of reality. And it is the fundamental experience which each man possesses whether a theist, an agnostic or an atheist. These latter three diverge with respect to intellectual discernment and volition when they confront this ground.

The theist finds in his experience of the ground an experience of God, a God not transcendent "to" things, but transcendent "in" things. Accordingly, to reach God one need not abandon the world (à la Buddhism), but to enter more into it, so as to reach its ground. This, of course, does not mean to live life in the fast lane, or become a hedonist, but to experience life deeply, in what may be termed the "spiritual" sense: reflection, love of other people and service to them, doing good, and so forth. God is ultimately the ground of things (including persons), and it is in his experience of them that man has the fundamental experience of God. Since man's life is a tapestry woven from his experience with and of things, and since this experience in turn is an experience of God, it follows that each man's life is in some respects a continuous experience of God. What does this mean? That no searching is necessary? That no spiritual life is required? That anyone's God is as good as anyone else's? No; those issues only arise at a subsequent stage, one which would be impossible without this one. What it does mean is that the real God of each person is not a concept or the outcome of some reasoning process, but something much deeper: the very life of man. In making or working out his own life, in configuring his own life, each man configures (or disfigures) God in himself, because the life of man, Zubiri concludes, is always and formally an "experience of God".

For the atheist, the power of the real is still there, and as an intellection, stands in need of some ground. The atheist does two things: he considers the power of the real only as a "fact", suppressing its other dimensions (etymologically 'a-theist' means 'not theist'). In this way he chooses to live a life which is sufficient unto itself; autosufficient, as Zubiri puts it, which means a life that is what it is, and how it is, and nothing else:

…the atheist formally surrenders to his own formal reality as unique and sufficient true personal reality. And it is in this surrender to himself as true that the faith of the atheist consists. The atheist understands himself as surrendered to himself and accepts himself as such. Therefore he makes a choice; atheism is no less a choice than theism.

The salient characteristic of atheism, then, is faith in oneself-or by extension, in a social class, human knowledge, mankind, or another similar surrogate.

This leaves agnosticism. Etymologically, the word means 'not knowing'; but as the experience of the power of the real is always present to the agnostic as well as to the theist and the atheist, its intellection still requires a ground-one which the agnostic searches for diligently but does not find. In Zubiri's own words:

…agnosticism is a frustrated intellective search. It is in this frustration where unknowability and ignorance of God take on their structure, where the suspension of faith occurs. But as ignorance, as unknowability, and as frustration, agnosticism is a strict form of intellective process which rests upon a real moment of reality known intellectively as such.

So the agnostic is someone who recognizes the need to find a ground for his experience of the power of the real, but has not accomplished his goal.

(from, Informal Introduction to the Philosophy of Xavier Zubiri, by Thomas B. Fowler, President, Xavier Zubiri Foundation of North America, http://www.zubiri.org/works/informalintro.htm
When I first studied the philosophical discipline of Metaphysics over forty years ago, there was less I knew then than what I now know I do not know. That "reality" is beyond "being" intrigues.

I listen to a congressional inquiry into the interrogation techniques used by US personnel with detainees. I listen to a supervisor with banking credit cards hold to his position that a written procedure trumps intelligent logic and reasoning. I listen to the mindless bigotry of partison political posturing. I try to hear any laughter well up through the absurdity and darkness of what passes as human discourse and information.
As for sitting in meditation, that is something which must include fits of ecstatic blissful laughter; brayings that will make you slump to the ground clutching your belly, and even after that passes and you struggle to your feet, will make you fall anew in further contortions of sidesplitting mirth.
(- Hakuin)
Tears accompany laughter.

Laughter follows tears.

With sober silence, finally, I wonder about the Buddha, I wonder about the Christ.

And sit.

Wondering.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Tommy says Gene is at his last. I'll stop in at his hospital room in the morning. I'll step into his room. Greet him passing. Then step out. May he be happy, safe, and come to dwell in his true home!
Weary, I yearn for the forest and hills;
Against my will, ten years have I spent
In the world of men.
Burning incense, I take leave of the assembly,
Shunning worldly affairs, I depart.
The mist invites me and
I know that it is time to rest.
Men of little talent are not
Guests fond of mountains.
Men of little virtue do not
Make companions for gathering leaves.
Should someone ask, "When will you come back?"
I would reply, "The white clouds and the green water
Are boundless and serene."

- Jiun (1718-1804)
Dalai Lama's nephew said some words at Amnesty International gathering at Congregational Church this afternoon. He walked from May 10 in Indiana to New York City. He spoke to people. He remembers Tibet. He asks others to remember.
Never forget:
we walk on hell,
gazing at flowers.

(Poem, Never forget, by Kobayashi Issa, 1763 - 1828)
This is flower practice.

In the midst of frustration, anger, and deprivation -- a light shines through.

Tibet goes to the Chinese.

Faith goes to the heart.