Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, August 21, 2010


We stand outside Belfast Co-op talking, the Franciscan Sister hermit, the Buddhist woman priest, the two monastics of no other with their dog, Rokpa, as a rock and roll band pounded notes loudly across the parking lot. It was unlikely.

Yet there we were. The sardine parade went to the footbridge after The January men (and others) followed by the Belfast Fiddlers sent good music over the harbor.
The new day deepens what has already and unfolds what is surprising, unpredictable, and creative. You may wish to change your life, you may be in therapy or religion, but your new vision remains merely talk until it enters the practice of your day.
(p.129, Anam Cara, by John O'Donohue)
Rokie got two leftover hamburgers from the grillman and shared part of one with us.
Comprehending the fundamental,
Embracing the spirit,
Roam the root of heaven and earth,
Wander beyond the dust and dirt,
Travel to work with noninvolvement.
Take care not to let mechanical
Intelligence burden your mind;
Watch what is not temporal
And remain unmoved by things.

- Lao tzu
We watch the film Fetching Cody and wonder whether we might move around time more than we know.

If freedom entails setting someone free even from our love, then the way of love recognizes no person but only sees itself beyond and through each one along the way.

"The world of the past is gone. . . . Behold I am making all creation new." (God, in the Book of Revelation, quoted by O'Donohue)
Nothing of the old.

Something in the new.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Four conversations today. Two in prison. One in old age home. Lastly, at hermitage. In each one, practicing presence and respect with listening and responding.

It is an act of creation that we are too close to see. We are mere bristles in an artist's brush crossing a canvas in a motion too subtle to detect.

Each one is necessary. Each a unique and gifting presence.
Sages lean on a pillar
That is never shaken,
Travel a road that is
Never blocked, are
Endowed from a
Resource that is never
Exhausted, and learn
From a teacher that
Never dies.
They are successful
In whatever they undertake,
And arrive wherever they go.
Whatever they do, they
Embrace destiny and go along
Without confusion.

- Wen-tzu
What is being written? What is being painted? What is being heard?

Yes. And yes. And, finally, yes.

The day practices presence and we are merely within the day.

Being practiced.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The sea is just the sea. Fish swim in it. Men die in it. Life depends on it.
"Where lies the final harbor, whence we unmoor no more? In what rapt ether sails the world, of which the weariest will never weary? Where is the foundling’s father hidden? Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it."
— Herman Melville (Moby Dick)

The wind is just the wind. Birds fly with it. Clouds float on it. Women turn their heads to face it.

La Mer is mother. Le Vent is father.

That's the whole of it.

There is no word for greater than the whole.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Don't take what you want. Rather, don't want, and take what is left.
Ten thousand rows of bamboo reach my door,
Bearing a clean wind and harp music
In every season.
Heaven's will travels freely in the thick grove;
Shadows sweep the yard;
The dust remains.

- Naong Haegun (1320-1376)
What-is will always be left.

Good doesn't triumph over evil.

Good merely remains after evil has destroyed itself -- to set things right, again, for a spell.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Awakening is a never-ending narrative. There's no end to it.

No boredom. No accomplishment. No place to begin.
Don't be surprised,
Don't be startled;
All things will arrange
Themselves.
Don't cause a disturbance,
Don't exert pressure;
All things will clarify
Themselves.

- Huai-nan-tzu
Every layer penetrating awareness within opens a corresponding layer widening the expanse of awareness without.

Universal solidarity supersedes yet involves typical group solidarity.

Compassion longs for nothing outside itself.

Because there is nothing outside.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jack loans his Shaw & Tenney oars for our evening row. They are light and lovely.

I am corresponding with a man in California about his oars for sale.

Chop and swells around Curtis Island tonight. Dee emerges along with 4 or 5 children from lighthouse residence to wave to us. The kids jump up and down while waving.
Vast and far-reaching
without boundary,
secluded and pure,
manifesting light,
this spirit is without
obstruction.
Its brightness does not
shine out but can be
called empty and
inherently radiant.

- Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091-1157)
The sea is a good home.

It holds us up, and teaches how to balance

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Assume your nature as yourself" -- wrote Charles Olson in his poem "Love."


As we gather into ourselves what once was scattered anon and elsewhere as other and others, we begin to dwell in the middle of our being-in-the-world, we begin meaningful life.

"If I find Him with great ease, perhaps He is not my God. If I cannot hope to find Him at all, is He my God? If I find Him wherever I wish, have I found Him? If He can find me whenever He wishes, and tells me Who He is and who I am, and if I then know that He Whom I could not find has found me: then I know He is the Lord, my God: He has touched me with the finger that made me out of nothing." (--Thomas Merton)

The Assumption of Mary is the belated recognition of earth and woman rejoining kosmos and man. It is the unsplitting of the atom.

I like the phrase "Sailing by Ash Breeze." It refers to self reliance. In the golden age of sail it was a "tongue-in-cheek" reference to pulling the ship when becalmed. With no alternative power and total dependence upon the wind, a ship was helpless when it found itself in total calm. In most instances the crew could do nothing but wait for a breeze. But in the case of an emergency, as coming under attack for example, a crew would secure lines to the bow of the ship and to the boats. They would pull on the oars of the boats in order to move the ship. Because oars were made primarily of white ash, the term "sailing by ash breeze" was born.

I like the term and find examples in my life when I either have or should have sailed by ash breeze.

(--from WetDog Blog, http://wetdog-sailor.blogspot.com/2007/01/sailing-by-ash-breeze.html)

Jim's mom, Janet, and Heather's dad, Richard, died on this date. I visited a loved one in Nicolet, Quebec who took vows a long time ago. The turn of summer pivots here and runs toward the ending of a season. You can feel it.


We chant Night Prayer after evening practice ends and participants leave. The candle stays lighted before Mary's icon. Myth, mystery, and metaphor dance in shadows thrown by flame.

While some Protestants pulled back from the declaration as hardly conducive to ecumenical relations, the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung considered it the most important religious declaration of the twentieth century. As a master of the mythological river that nourished what he termed our “collective unconscious,” Jung grasped the profound and fitting symbolism of such a declaration at mid-century.


The world had already turned its attention toward the endless vistas and wonder of space and astronauts would leave boot marks on the moon’s surface a generation later. The Swiss scholar sensed that the Assumption symbolized the mystery of human destiny and the end of the pre-Copernican era at the same time. The Assumption was a mythological and therefore a spiritual symbol of a Mystery in which we are still caught up. There was another numinous layer beyond the celebration of Mary and the confirmation of human dignity.


The Assumption proclaimed the Mystery of the century, the return of Mother Earth to the Heavens and the end, therefore, of the split between Earth and Heaven and all the divisions, such as between flesh and spirit, that flowed from that. It heralded the unity of the universe and the unity of human personality. That is the richest and perhaps least plumbed aspect of this feast. The wonder is that the Assumption is rich and deep enough a Mystery to accommodate these various levels of understanding all at the same time. Midsummer allows us to savor its Mystery in many ways and to understand how much we lose when we limit our religious understanding only to the concrete literal level.

( Eugene Cullen Kennedy, emeritus professor of psychology at Loyola University, Chicago. --from, What are we to assume about the Assumption? http://ncronline.org/blogs/bulletins-human-side/what-are-we-assume-about-assumption)

By assuming our nature as ourselves we step out of the separation into the distinct wholeness of solidarity with what is here.


And here is what time is now.


Heaven-earth as it is assumed.


Gathering into itself what is here.