Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Maine is cold and dry. Old snow has been packed solid by tires in dooryard. Not so in places south this weekend.
Forecasters were predicting that the mountains of West Virginia and Maryland, west of the nation's capital, would receive the most snow -- possibly 3 feet.
"Tomorrow will be a day when everybody's digging out," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said. "And Sunday, for that matter, too."
Accumulations of 20 to 30 inches are expected in the D.C. area. It could turn out to be one of the heaviest snowfalls Washington has seen, forecasters said.
The storm is expected to produce record snowfall for Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and metropolitan areas, according to the National Weather Service.

(-- from: Travel grinds to halt after powerful Mid-Atlantic snowstorm, From Greg Morrison, CNN, February 6, 2010 4:01 a.m. EST)
These quiet hours pre-dawn!

Friday morning was conversations at Maine State Prison, (Paramahansa Yogananda in Protective Custody, Kahlil Gibran's "On Freedom" in Education Department). Friday afternoon was poetry at Quarry Hill (May Sarton, Nikki Giovanni, Charles Simic, Rudyard Kipling, Walt, Gertrude, Baron Wormser, Hafiz) with a dozen residents in a circle of elderly smiles. Friday evening conversation was re-engaging John O'Donohue's Anam Cara -- (the first time six of us sat in reflective circle in the upstairs of nearly completed BookShed -- the fruit of Jay's Chief Codger Construction Formaning begun last August). Afterward, Friday night was sitting with someone looking at their decision-in-progress to transition through a change in focus. Now Saturday morning, a couple will come by to have us witness their wedding with each other.

We are surrounded by Being, Consciousness, Bliss.
'The Unmanifest Absolute according to Sri Aurobindo'
In Indian philosophy, the Absolute is conceived of as being Sat-Chit-Ananda, of the nature of pure Being, Consciousness, and Bliss. On the basis of this, Sri Aurobindo speaks of the "Upper Hemisphere" or "Supreme [Absolute-Divine] Nature" which constitutes infinite and unitary existence, and which he divides into the planes of Pure Being (Sat), Consciousness-Force (Chit-Tapas), Bliss (Ananda), and Truth-Consciousness ("Supermind"). The latter constitutes a somewhat more manifest level then Sachchidananda (Being-Consciousness-Bliss), a sort of "logos" or "Divine Mind" between the true Unmanifest and the Creation. But all these realities are eternally pre-existent, and constituting the modes or qualities of the Absolute. At the level of the Absolute, there is no differentiation. As Sri Aurobindo puts it,
"Existence is Consciousness and there can be no distinction between them; Consciousness is Bliss and there can be no distinction between them;"[The Life Divine, p.126].
Here existence is "solely and simply a pure identity in oneness." [Ibid, p.320]. So there is only one Sachchidananda, but this contains within Itself specific modes. And although these three attributes - Sat-Chit-Ananda, existence, Consciousness, and Bliss - are in inseparable unity, each "can stand in front of the others and manifest its own spiritual determinates, for each has its primal aspects or inherent self-formulations, although all of these together are original to the triune Absolute"
[Ibid, p.314]. http://www.kheper.net/topics/Aurobindo/Sachchidananda.htm
The morning fire leans against the morning cold. The elderly Waterford wood stove yawns before slowly chewing frozen logs with red teeth.

It is an illusion, they say, that we seem so alone and separated.
The Mahavakyas are "Great Sayings" of the Upanishads, the foundational texts of Vedanta. Though there are many Mahavakyas, four of them, each from one of the four Vedas, are mentioned often as "the Mahavakyas". The subject matter and the essence of all Upanishads being the same, all the Mahavakyas essentially say the same in a concise form.
The four statements indicate the ultimate unity of the individual (Atman) with God (Brahman)
The Mahavakyas are:
Prajnanam Brahma - "Consciousness is Brahman" (Aitareya Upanishad 3.3 of the Rig Veda)
Ayam Atma Brahma - "This Self (Atman) is Brahman" (Mandukya Upanishad 1.2 of the Atharva Veda)
Tat Tvam Asi - "Thou art That" (Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 of the Sama Veda)
Aham Brahmasmi - "I am Brahman" (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10 of the Yajur Veda)
The Kanchi Paramacharya says in the book "Hindu Dharma" [1]:
“ It is to attain this highest of states in which the individual self dissolves inseparably in Brahman that a man becomes a sannyasin after forsaking the very karma that gives him inward maturity. When he is initiated into sannyasa he is taught four mantras, the four [principal] mahavakyas.
(from Mahavakyas, (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahavakya)
Rokpa sleeps on daybed at end of Wohnkuche. The Yule Tree will slip out of ornaments and lights today. It has served so well, beautifully illuminating the darkest time of the year in New England. Now that mid-winter lengthens light earlier and later, the lovely tree will return to the earth, leaning against barn a while, then laying down to rest as it is drawn back into its origin-soil with our deep gratitude.
Trees
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

(Poem by Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918)
Only God.

God Alone.
We have seen the highest circle of spiraling powers. We have
named this circle God. We might have given it any other name
we wished: Abyss, Mystery, Absolute Darkness, Absolute Light,
Matter, Spirit, Ultimate Hope, Ultimate Despair, Silence.
We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.
(From The Saviors of God, by Nikos Kazantzakis, 1927; English 1960)
The epitaph on Nikos Kazantzakis' tomb is: "I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free."

We read his words, and wonder.

God is with us as we are with one another.

As each day arises and falls.

We greet one (as, with, within) another.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I sit in silent stillness with and in all my brothers, sisters, sentient beings everywhere this morning. May each and all be well within themselves!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Always passing through.
And an orator said, "Speak to us of Freedom."
And he answered:
At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom,
Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them.

(from, Freedom, by Khalil Gibran)
Forgoing, even freedom,

Is,

This,

Freedom?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Yes and no.

Are we at war with Pakistan too?
Constantly see your body as
Empty and quiet
Inside and outside
Communing in sameness.
Plunge the body into
The realm of reality,
Where there has never been
Any obstruction.

- Tao-hsin (580-651)
One by one.

We war.

(Silence)

"Help!"

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

What we need is presence. You, me, everyone.

Not your or my ideas, money, or our particular narratives.

But presence.
The mind is all sky,
The heart utterly empty,
And the perfect moon
Is completely transparent
Entering western mountains.

- Saigyo
Midwinter is a time people begin to think they are tired and it is time to go.

Let's make it a turning point. Rob McCall says it is a time to visit one another. Just that. A turning to one another. A presentation of particular arrival.
And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will.

(Lyrics from "If it Be Your Will" by Leonard Cohen)
The will of God, should that phrase be meaningful, is presence with compassion.

The door is open.

This morning I sit here -- with you -- and thank you for your visit.

You are a turning point.

Monday, February 01, 2010

The bleak midwinter.
Prodigy

I grew up bent over
a chessboard.

I loved the word endgame.

All my cousins looked worried.

It was a small house
near a Roman graveyard.
Planes and tanks
shook its windowpanes.

A retired professor of astronomy
taught me how to play.

That must have been in 1944.

In the set we were using,
the paint had almost chipped off
the black pieces.

The white King was missing
and had to be substituted for.

I’m told but do not believe
that that summer I witnessed
men hung from telephone poles.

I remember my mother
blindfolding me a lot.
She had a way of tucking my head
suddenly under her overcoat.

In chess, too, the professor told me,
the masters play blindfolded,
the great ones on several boards
at the same time.
(Poem by Charles Simic)
Half gone; half remaining.

I turn out the light.

Retiring.

No king.

Nothing.

Else.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Keep the essence; ditch the form. That's the implication. We are moving from form to form in our sleepy wandering from religion to spirituality from denomination to liberation. We are a formless people. We carry the essence of spirituality with us. But we seem to want to park it somewhere.

That's what some felt at the circle discussion following the showing of Velcrow Ripper's "Fiercelight, Where Spirit Meets Action."
They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away.
(--from Luke 4:29-30)
We suspend our memberships in banks, churches, social clubs, and political parties. We wander the backstreets and edges of known routes. We are the thousands of individuals and small organizations battling through personal and corporate deception and inauthenticity -- seeking a way home. We're not sure what that home is -- but it will be reached by means of compassion, kindness, fierce longing for truth, and a love that is grounded and real.
Why Are Your Poems So Dark?

Isn't the moon dark too,
most of the time?

And doesn't the white page
seem unfinished

without the dark stain
of alphabets?

When God demanded light,
he didn't banish darkness.

Instead he invented
ebony and crows

and that small mole
on your left cheekbone.

Or did you mean to ask
"Why are you sad so often?"

Ask the moon.
Ask what it has witnessed.
(Poem by Linda Pastan, Source: Poetry, August 2003).
Tide so high in Rockport Harbor today.

I am sad often, too. It comes with the journey.

Slipping through the crowd. Walking away. Living to learn...another day.