Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life is all over the place.
Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought. (-- Basho)

As we are, all over the place.
LORETTA I'm freezing to death.
RONNY Come upstairs. I don't care why you come. No, that's not what I mean.
Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is and I didn't know this either. But love don't make
things nice, it ruins everything, it breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. We're not here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and break our hearts and love the wrong people and die! The storybooks are bullshit.
Come upstairs with me, baby! Don't try to live your life out to somebody else's idea of sweet happiness. Don't try to live on milk and cookies when what you want is meat! Red meat just like me! It's wolves run with wolves and nothing else! You're a wolf just like me! Come upstairs with me and get in my bed! Come on! Come on! Come on!

[Loretta follows Ronny into his building.]

(-- Dialogue, Ronny and Loretta in film Moonstruck, 1987
In the film's final scene everything is clarified and settled around the kitchen table.

They are family.

We are family.

An imperfect compendium.

Friday, August 13, 2010

We grow old. We fade. We teeter between dream and dizzy wakefulness.

Suddenly, we die.

But death isn't something up ahead around the bend off in the future. Death accompanies life. My life. And yours. It is companion.

And as all that is not life itself begins to fall away -- control, plans, ego, blame, time, and rationales for actions -- so then does death fall away.

Leaving life alone.
A person's life? Empty water bubbles.
Eighty years passed in a dream.
Now I throw away my leather sack,
The wheel of the red sun sinks in the West.

- Taego Bowoo (1301-1382)
Life alone -- that rare experience devoid of diversion, distraction, division, and distortion -- knows nothing other than itself.
Jesus extended one's neighbor to include one's enemies. He could not have found a more effective way of shocking his audience into the realization that he wished to include all men [and women] in this solidarity of love. The saying is almost unbearably paradoxical: the natural contradiction between neighbor and enemy, between outsiders and insiders must be overlooked and overcome so that enemies become kinsmen and all outsiders become insiders!
(--p.61, in Jesus Before Christianity, by Albert Nolan, Orbis, 1978)
To know nothing other than itself is to dwell with joy in wholeness where no mistake is recognized as mistake and nothing matters other than life itself.

Each life.

Within each.

Neighbor!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Being a hermeneute is close to being a hermit.

One can only hope to listen carefully and receive gracefully the empathetic consciousness of the world, which is meaning itself.
Evening meditation,
Enfolded in mountains,
All thoughts of the
World of people dissolve.
Quietly sitting on my cattail cushion
Alone, I face the empty window.
Incense burns away,
As the dark night deepens,
And my robe is a single fold,
As white dew thickens
Rising from deep meditation,
I stroll in the garden,
And the moon is already above the highest peak.

- Ryokan
To have faith is to be open to the open way which is dwelling before each face.

We're not strangers here; we are what is here.

Don't try so hard.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Candle burns before icon of Clare of Assisi. Off in corner, statue of Francis has small flower in hand. It's Clare's day. Perhaps when no one is looking he'll give it to her.
"What if you slept? And what if, in your
sleep, you dreamed? And what if, in your
dream, you went to heaven and there plucked a
strange and beautiful flower? And what if,
when you awoke, you had the flower in
your hand? Ah, what then?"

-- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
We need our directions recalibrated, our bearings straightened. We might be able to categorize and analyze our wrong understanding, but we should not become attached to it.
New Religion

This morning no sound but the loud
breathing of the sea. Suppose that under
all that salt water lived the god
that humans have spent ten thousand years
trawling the heavens for.
We caught the wrong metaphor.
Real space is wet and underneath,
the church of shark and whale and cod.
The noise of those vast lungs
exhaling: the plain chanting of monkfish choirs.
Heaven's not up but down, and hell
is to evaporate in air. Salvation,
to drown and breathe
forever with the sea.

(--Poem, "New Religion," by Bill Holm, from The Chain Letter of the Soul: New & Selected Poems. © Milkweed Editions, 2009.
The wind blew and tide churned southeast rounding of Curtis Island this morning. The sea whispers its secret. I wave to the lighthouse keepers breakfasting outside the door of their keeper's house. In what might be the final August of his duties, the man who has stopped treatments continues to wave. I let go of oar again and wave to his good continuation.

Megan's inscription to us inside her book reads, "May you gaze lovingly upon each other and all beings!"
May Clare's life illuminate your heart as you seek your own love, the love of God and companion, and the creation of a loving community. May we all learn from her wisdom, and her simple message of love and compassion, and know that we too can live in this way, bringing the manifestation of love into a lived reality in our world. As Ann Johnson has written in Miryam of Jerusalem, "God creates each one of us as endless community." Now is the time of sacred companions and sacred community.
(--p.xxiii, Introduction to Sacred Companions Sacred Community, Reflections With Clare of Assisi)
In the chapel/zendo the candle has kept well its vigil as the waving man his watch.

We chant Compline. Then leave.

We are blest.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Spirituality isn't a profit and loss spreadsheet.

Still, we take notice when we are about to lose something.
I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies,
it yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
will keep it for the eternal life.
If a man serves me, he must follow me,
wherever I am, my servant will be there too.
If anyone serves me, my Father will honour him.

(-John 12:24-26)
'My' life is fraught with ego, complaint, and judgment. Maybe, even though it is too strong a word, it is these three collateral aspects of my life that I 'hate.' If I 'love' these aspects of my life, I'll probably be saddled with them for all of time for all of eternity. The current culture of hate and intolerance is predicated on the dismissive and disapproving mind that carves life into in and out, good and bad, useful and useless, friend and enemy. These painful cuts leave pain and scars in their path.

We are beings whose nature is service to one another: each to each, each to all, all to all, all to each.
Let's look at this from a contemplative view.

If someone loves their life, it is lost. Love and lose. By this we can suggest that one's life does not belong to them any longer. It has gone into the undifferentiated whole where what is unique and different is celebrated as being-itself, and is given up and out to the service and empathy surrounding what could be called others, but might also be called each-in-all.
Flat Lake cold penetrates
Water-lily clothes
The mountain by the lake
Is neither right nor wrong
Dusty tracks all end
The world is far away.
White clouds and gulls
Have no hidden plans.

- Han-shan Te-ch'ing (1546-1623)
I love, I lose 'my' life in that it belongs, profoundly, to each of you, to thou, to earth, to kosmos,
In its most general sense, a cosmos is an orderly or harmonious system. It originates from a Greek term κόσμος meaning "ordered world" and is the antithetical concept of chaos. Today the word is generally used as a synonym of the word Universe (considered in its orderly aspect).

In theology, the term can be used to denote the created Universe, not including the creator. The Septuagint uses both kosmos and oikumene for the inhabited world. In Christian theology, the word was also used synonymously with aion to refer to "worldly life" or "this world" as opposed to the afterlife.

The philosopher Ken Wilber uses the term kosmos to refer to all of manifest existence, including various realms of consciousness. The term kosmos so used distinguishes a nondual Universe (which, in his view, includes both noetic and physical aspects) from the strictly physical Universe that is the concern of the traditional sciences.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmos
We're not meant to hate life here. Not meant to hate our profound and unique life. When we hate we hold tightly to what we hate. We need to let it go.

When we love everything is given to itself. Everything belongs to Itself.

We, as separate, isolated, and warring beings -- disappear. We're lost. Gone. Into the evening mist and fog on the buoyant waters.
Dusty tracks all end
The world is far away
.
(--Han-Shan)
Here is where I love you.

Here, not afraid.

Nothing left to lose.

Invisible service; indistinguishable honour.

Monday, August 09, 2010

We forget we are better than we think. We forget because forgetting is easy. We think we have to kill and eliminate those we call "enemy."

Rather remember this:
It is tragic. People have been deluded for so long. They do not recognize that their own minds are the true Buddha. They do not recognize that their own natures are the true dharma. They want to search for the dharma, yet they still look far away for the holy ones. They want to search for the Buddha, yet they will not observe their own minds. If they aspire to the path of Buddhahood while obstinately holding to their feeling that the Buddha is outside the mind or the dharma is outside the nature, then, even though they pass through kalpas as numerous as dust motes, burning their bodies, ….it is like trying to make rice by boiling sand—it will only add to their tribulation. If they would only understand their own minds, then, without searching, approaches to the dharma as numerous as the sands of the Ganges and uncountable subtle meaning would all be understood.
- Chinul (1158-1210)
August 6th 1945 Atomic-Bomb dropped, 130,000 dead in Hiroshima.

August 9th 1945, Atomic-Bomb dropped, 70,000 dead in Nagasaki.
(- casualty numbers from Greg Mitchell. He also co-authored two books with Robert Jay Lifton, Hiroshima in America and Who Owns Death?, and was chief adviser to the award-winning film, Original Child Bomb. {Huff Post,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-mitchell/how-press-censorship-hid_b_675106.html})
Someone conceived of the bomb. Someone built it. Someone tested it. Someone decided to use it against Japan. Someone flew the plane. Someone watched it explode. Someone attended the casualties. Someone remembers what happened. Someone considers what it means.
If truth and being belong so closely together as tradition has always held since Parmenides, then the original meaning of truth must also be obtainable from the analysis of Dasein. The common definition of truth as adequatio rei et intellectus does not manage to point to an equality or similarity between subject and object or between ideal judgement content and fact, through which speaking of an agreement can be justified. The assertion states something of the thing: it is the same thing of which something is taken to be true and of which something is stated. Truth is equivalent with being true, and that means being revealing (αλήθεια—revealedness). It pertains thus originally to Dasein. Only in a derived manner is revealedness of beings in-the-world to be designated as truth. This is because of Dasein’s openness: it is in the truth. Likewise, however, — in its deterioration — it is in falsity when covered over by idle talk, curiosity, and ambiguity.
( --from p.61, Martin Heidegger’s Existential Philosophy, by Edith Stein, Translation by Mette Lebech, Department of Philosophy, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. From: ‘Martin Heideggers Existentialphilosophie’, in Edith Stein, Endliches und Ewiges Sein. Versuch eines Aufstiegs zum Sinn des Seins, Gesamtausgabe, bd. 11/12 (Freiburg: Herder, 2006), ‘Anhang’, pp. 445–500, in MAYNOOTH PHILOSOPHICAL PAPERS ISSUE 4, (2007) http://philosophy.nuim.ie/documents/FinalMPP20071.pdf

Someone thinks about life and death. Someone wonders what is the best way to live. Someone realizes that what has taken place is both fate and faith.
‘Only a being which, in its being, is essentially futural so that it is free for its death and can let itself be thrown back upon its factual “there” by shattering itself against death, that is, only a being which, as futural, is equiprimordially having-been, can, by handing down the inherited possibility, take over the own thrownness and instantaneously be for “its time”. Only authentic temporality which at the same time is finite makes something like fate, that is to say, authentic historicality, possible.’49
‘R
epeating is explicit handing down, that is to say, the going back to the possibilities of the Dasein that has-been­-there.’50 It allows not only a returning to what was previously real. ‘It does not abandon itself to that which is past, nor does it aim at progress. Both are indifferent to authentic existence in the moment.’[51]
In
being-with others Dasein has part in the destiny of the community. Fate and destiny are being-towards-death. Thus all history has its gravity in the future, which only inauthentic historicality covers up.
The
innerworldly present-at-hand is historical not only insofar as it is in the world, but insofar as something happens to it (which is fundamentally different compared to natural events). In the inauthentic sense of everyday concern the distracted Dasein collects its life from these particular happenings. In the authentic being of resoluteness it lives in its fate and in faithfulness to its own self.
(p.67, Stein, Ibid)
At 4:55AM in zendo there is scarce light. I sit in the recollection of 65 years ago. I am one day older. In the year up to 1945 someone looked at parent's faces and knew little of the world that was desolate and dangerous with war and mechanical death.

Leaves cup in sudden updraft.

Rain washes the morning.

I am still.

Still I know nearly nothing.

And little of the world.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


After morning sitting, lovely hike.

Seeing lake and ocean from Maidencliff on Megunticook Mountain.
I am makeshift;
Lean-to of body,
A few sticks of bone;
But my unfinished life
Is part of the world,
Part of the day
My eyes borrow.
(--2nd stanza, from poem Temporary Structure, by Thomas Bolt)
After evening sitting we row harbor at dusk, seeing mountains from water as we round island.

I am grateful for this birth.