Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tom, at mindfulness table of Saturday Morning Practice, says: "I am the entirety of the Holy Spirit."

Entirety. Then he added: "But I don't understand how it all works.

The humble admission of what he is; the unknowing continuance in a perplexing world.
Movement and stillness:
Both are part of the same principle,
Emotions of this dusty world
Are not as important as the Way,
So I endure this thin paper robe
Until the dawn bell,
While pomegranate leaves and mulberry
Branches dance in the north wind.

- Tesshu Tokusai (d.1366)
The paper thin robe is the sinuous fragility of the near-nothingness between discernible reality and irretrievable experience. Like a governmental black-op wherein chilling power toys with every opposing interest with lethal removal, the fabric of thin existence is no match for the powers vying for domination and those angling for redemption.

Linda sends words of Derrick Jensen:
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance. An Inconvenient Truth helped raise consciousness about global warming. But did you notice that all of the solutions presented had to do with personal consumption—changing light bulbs, inflating tires, driving half as much—and had nothing to do with shifting power away from corporations, or stopping the growth economy that is destroying the planet? Even if every person in the United States did everything the movie suggested, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by only 22 percent. Scientific consensus is that emissions must be reduced by at least 75 percent worldwide.
(--from UPPING THE STAKES, Forget Shorter Showers, Why personal change does not equal political change, BY DERRICK JENSEN, Published in the July/August 2009 issue of Orion magazine)
Something larger is happening. Larger, but still in the empirical realm. We're still on earth here. Let the powers of mythic eternal warfare of good and evil super-beings out of this discussion. Rather, think about the annoying observations of Derrick Jensen:
I want to be clear. I’m not saying we shouldn’t live simply. I live reasonably simply myself, but I don’t pretend that not buying much (or not driving much, or not having kids) is a powerful political act, or that it’s deeply revolutionary. It’s not. Personal change doesn’t equal social change.

So how, then, and especially with all the world at stake, have we come to accept these utterly insufficient responses? I think part of it is that we’re in a double bind. A double bind is where you’re given multiple options, but no matter what option you choose, you lose, and withdrawal is not an option. At this point, it should be pretty easy to recognize that every action involving the industrial economy is destructive (and we shouldn’t pretend that solar photovoltaics, for example, exempt us from this: they still require mining and transportation infrastructures at every point in the production processes; the same can be said for every other so-called green technology). So if we choose option one—if we avidly participate in the industrial economy—we may in the short term think we win because we may accumulate wealth, the marker of “success” in this culture. But we lose, because in doing so we give up our empathy, our animal humanity. And we really lose because industrial civilization is killing the planet, which means everyone loses. If we choose the “alternative” option of living more simply, thus causing less harm, but still not stopping the industrial economy from killing the planet, we may in the short term think we win because we get to feel pure, and we didn’t even have to give up all of our empathy (just enough to justify not stopping the horrors), but once again we really lose because industrial civilization is still killing the planet, which means everyone still loses. The third option, acting decisively to stop the industrial economy, is very scary for a number of reasons, including but not restricted to the fact that we’d lose some of the luxuries (like electricity) to which we’ve grown accustomed, and the fact that those in power might try to kill us if we seriously impede their ability to exploit the world—none of which alters the fact that it’s a better option than a dead planet. Any option is a better option than a dead planet.
(Jensen, ibid) http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/4801
The man at table this morning has been thinking of the Holy Spirit. Little by little he has moved from being willing to be willing to invite the Holy Spirit into his life, through seeing that the Holy Spirit is already in his life, then this morning to realizing without understanding that he is the entirety of the Holy Spirit.

The rest of us were close to his ground zero radiating words.

Jensen quotes Kirkpatrick Sale: “The whole individualist what-you-can-do-to-save-the-earth guilt trip is a myth. We, as individuals, are not creating the crises, and we can’t solve them.”

In the scriptures Jeremiah (23:1-6) says that there are leaders and shepherds who do not care. The longing for the rest of us is deep and unnerving, albeit not understood and aphasic. Jeremiah says a day will come, perhaps soon, when we find our voices, where words become action, and the right thing is done, the wrong undone. Jeremiah writes in the final verse:
And this is the name he will be called:
The-Lord-our-integrity.’
Integrity.

Entirety.

We sipped coffee and tea, ate toast and fruit, and felt tears arise.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The bird hit glass door. Sat for over an hour on wood board. When we approached to set it in box for night, it flew away, unsteadily, to branch of tree.
Mountain temple rainy,
Dark and gloomy all day,
Plums still half yellow, half green;
On my lone mat,
Still and quiet,
Deep in meditation,
I don't let birds and blossoms
Into my garden gate.

- Betsugen Enshi (1294–1364)
Life is fragile and eternal. Only forms change. Emptiness remains throughout.

Sitting and chanting with Buddhist group in prison this morning, keeping time with wooden fish.

Nothing taken, nothing left!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The corpus on the cross is not merely Jesus. It is my putting me there, or the ego putting threatening truth up to ridicule and death, or our judging attack on another placed iconically on an instrument of torture.

We have to see through and go through the symbol to the resurrecting release of true Self from illusory self.
The dreary, hopeless thought that you can make attacks on others and escape yourself has nailed you to the cross. Perhaps it seemed to be salvation. Yet it merely stood for the belief the fear of God is real. And what is that but hell? Who could believe his Father is his deadly enemy, separate from him, and waiting to destroy his life and blot him from the universe, without the fear of hell upon his heart?
(--from Lesson 196, ACIM)
Reading about the history of A Course in Miracles, which has been the focus of Thursday Evening Conversations for over two years. Meetingbrook hosted the group in December 2006 led by Jack and Kathy. And still continues here at hermitage. The longer the group reads and listens to the text and one another, the more interesting the synthesis of the work seems to be.
During one such interchange with his friend Judith Skutch Whitson, Whitson describes calling Thetford during a moment of extremely high tension in her relationship with Jampolsky. In the phone conversation Whitson went on at length, describing what she perceived to be Jampolski’s many faults. Thetford listened intently until Whitson finally ran out of breath. He then quietly said, "Judy, the Course (ACIM) can be summed up in the question, 'Are you willing to see your brother sinless?' "
"No!" Whitson screamed.
"Well, dear," Thetford replied, "when you are, you will feel much better." And then he hung up!

(--Anecdotal accounts of Thetford's California life, about William Thetford, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Thetford worked in a collaborative venture with Dr. Helen Schucman in writing A Course In Miracles, ACIM, and also with its initial edits. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thetford#cite_ref-4
I'm fog this evening. Fog covers Bald Mountain. Nothing is seen, not anything.

If I were to turn around in this fog would I see anything?

What I've thought was there doesn't seem to be.

Allowing myself to be hung up on.

Disconnected. Not connected. Never separated. As innocent as the day brought into being.

Feeling.

Much.

Better?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Millionaires play baseball at all-star game in St. Louis. They have talent and are paid a lot of money.

Earlier I sat on porch of cabin reading about the Vedas and Upanishads.
Attain the mind of emptiness,
Preserve the utmost quiet:
As myriad things act in concert,
I therefore observe the return.
Things flourish,
Then each returns to its root.
Returning to the root is called stillness:
Stillness is called return to Life,
Return to Life is called the constant;
Knowing the constant is called enlightenment.

- Lao-tzu
At Tuesday Evening Conversation we read article about gossip and precept of right speech. Reticence is not the perfection of right speech. I'm reticent. It seems there's too much talk. I listen to the questions levied at nominee judge Sonia Sotomajor. Too many words tinged with snark. Read the precept!

Words are the creative brushstrokes of breath.

Breathe carefully.

When unkindness or indifference is what you hear, try not to mind.

No explanation stands in the way of kindness and attention.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Watching film, Pan's Labyrinth, (El Laberinto del Fauno, 2006), I am taken by the approximating narrative, the parallel worlds of temporal facticity and mythic fantastical.
Buddha's Satori

For six years sitting alone
Still as a snake
In a stalk of bamboo
With no family but the ice
On the snow mountain.
One night, seeing the empty sky
Fly into pieces, he shook
The morning star awake
And kept it in his eyes.
- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
Who's to say what purpose or reason there is between what we think we know about our everyday existence and what is invisible to the eye, that which is beyond sensory encounter and conscious comprehension?
‘Anyone who prefers father or mother to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who prefers son or daughter to me is not worthy of me. Anyone who does not take his cross and follow in my footsteps is not worthy of me. Anyone who finds his life will lose it; anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.
‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.

(-- Matt 10:34 - 11:1)
Whoever sees you sees the father or mother. Whomever you see is seen by the mother or father. It is not our choice what we see. It is our choice how we see what is seen.
WHY LOG TRUCK DRIVERS RISE
EARLIER THAN STUDENTS OF ZEN

In the high seat, before dawn dark,
Polished hubs gleam
And the shiny diesel stack
Warms and flutters
Up the Tyler Road grade
To the logging in Poorman creek.
Thirty miles of dust.

There is no other life.

(Poem by Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island, 1974)
He's right. There is no other life. Just this.

And 'this' has ten thousand mothers and fathers.

Siddhartha sees the star. Jesus is seen through.

This is our body. This, our blood.
In this paper, I argue that the thought and behavior involved in drug dependence is associated with a certain pre-theoretic conception of the self that finds philosophical expression as a grossly simplified form of materialism. Addicts tend not to take mentality seriously: They do not understand themselves as minded beings capable of self-awareness and development through intentional action. Recognizing the practical implications of accepting this philosophically unconvincing view, I argue, encourages a modification of self-conception that is instrumental to the process of recovery from addiction. Using a combination of philosophical analysis and close reading of a trio of narratives that describe drug dependence and recovery, I pursue the possibility that rehabilitation may involve the clarification and alteration of self-conception in such a way that emphasizes autonomous agency and certain values that have not yet been embraced by twelve-step programs, namely, integration, apprehension, moderation, and self-discipline. The rich and substantial history of analytic–philosophical thought about the self is of immense practical value to people impacted by drug dependence and/or engaged in recovery from it; philosophy offers us a set of investigative tools, terms, and concepts that may help to map the different cognitive routes to successful self-rehabilitation. A philosophical consideration of the use of self-related words and ideas within the context of narratives of addiction and recovery may bear directly and significantly on the improvement of the lives of those persons who struggle to overcome drug dependence.
(-- Mitchell, Allison about his Taking Mentality Seriously: A Philosophical Inquiry Into the Language of Addiction and Recovery, in Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology - Volume 13, Number 3, September 2006, pp. 211-222, The Johns Hopkins University Press.)
What we make of any 'this' is an approximate narrative.

What do we make of this our nearing story?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Practice makes perfect, they say. Don't believe them. Practice does nothing more than place you at the place you are at that moment.
Those who seek liberation for themselves alone cannot become fully enlightened. Though it may be said that one who is not already liberated cannot liberate others the very process of forgetting oneself to help others is itself liberating. Therefore those who seek to benefit themselves alone actually harm themselves by doing so, while those who help others also help themselves by doing so. -- Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)
We practice because there's nothing else to do.

How's it going?