Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, November 13, 2010

At times someone says, “I cannot pray.” I hear their words as, “What I think is prayer I cannot do. I can only do what I am doing, saying, ‘I cannot pray.’”

Whenever we do what we are doing, we are praying. Paying attention to our life is having faith in life. Faith is attention seeking insight.

We wonder about life. We wonder about God. We wander about life. We wander about God.

Saturday morning practice today included silent sitting, reading (today from Shambhala Sun article by Karen Maezen Miller: “Do Dishes, Rake Leaves -- And Don’t Forget the Endless Loads of Laundry”), followed by a circle reflection by each attending, then metta blessing. It was a lovely morning and lovely practice.

This afternoon, rowing around Curtis and out around R2 bell buoy. Not a ripple. Slightest of swells. Slack tide. Rokie in stern. No boats in outer harbor. Only mooring balls to bump into. Warm afternoon. We meet Mannings just north of island, coming alongside -- they in their large dory, I in Anna’s good-sized peapod. Rokie jumps into dory, greets Sam and Susan fore to aft, then jumps back to peapod to resume our passage. Three sets of oars pull away from the rendezvous. Saskia is at wharf taking in the warm sun in wheelchair a month into her broken ankle.

We pray just by being in the world. Our very being is prayer. God is the open expanse of wholeness within which all things live and breathe and have their being. To acknowledge this reality is what some call gratefulness, some call the contemplative life, and some call prayer.

Vespers is spoken in quiet kitchen. Kali calls and does healing silence over phone with Saskia.

A Ken Follett series on Netflix, The Pillars of the Earth, dark and brooding treachery of court and church in middle ages. Power, ambition, and greed seem a staple of human nature. We pray, if we do, because it is a staple. Prayer is a fast. Or so it was. Reducing our obsessions.

But now, prayer is not wanting anything. Not from God, not from man, not from earth.

Left bereft, we pray to see through the emptiness what is permeating the emptiness. There's nothing there.

We are this nothingness seeking what we are.

This prayer is the longing of the presence of God to realize itself/himself/herself in the self-emptying place of receptivity and weakness.The Northumbrian Community of Ireland uses the words availability and vulnerability.
Names of the unified mind are
Buddha-nature,
True suchness, the hidden essence,
The pure spiritual body,
The pedestal of awareness,
The innocent, universal round mirrorlike knowledge,
The open source, the ultimate truth,
And pure consciousness.
The enlightened ones of the past, present, and future,
And all of their discourses,
Are all in your fundamental nature, inherently complete.
You do not need to seek,
But you must save yourself;
No one can do it for you.
- Xuefeng (822–908)
I left two pennies on base of bobbing bell buoy in the bay.

You never know who might need change.

Thursday, November 11, 2010



It is Remembrance Day. Armistice Day. Veteran's Day.



They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
(-- 3rd and 4th verses from For The Fallen, poem by LAURENCE BINYON. Originally published in The Times on 21 September 1914)
For those, everywhere, who have served to protect and secure life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, their fellows in combat, their families and friends at home, and the natural inheritance of respect and revering all life, all existence -- on this day, we express gratitude.

Many are dead or deadened by war, world-wide. For all veterans of the horror and unkindness of the awful experience of war with its implications and consequences -- our prayers and thoughts for a continuation that is filled, in whatever form, with kindness, compassion, and loving embrace.

We will remember them.

We will remember you.

Grateful for gift extended.

Thank you!
In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

If we must quarrel, let it be without war and other forms of unkindness. Let us converse, however spirited or full of disagreement, with the intention of peace and compassion shown one another.
Death is not where life goes.
Death is where life sees itself through.
No death, no life,
Death in life is nothing other than its opposite.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

I heard what might have been the pickup truck go by the hermitage last night around 10:30pm.

Later, I heard the emergency vehicle climb the long hill. The long hill, the curve at Pearse's farm, the gully, the curving turn passing Seacoast Road.

The three young people, ages 21, 17, and 14, one male, two female, were dead at the scene after the truck, in mist and fog, slid on its side into a tree.

This morning cars and trucks in ordinary transport ascend and descend Barnestown Road. It is still wet and misting, grey and desolate in the dropped-color stillness along the mountain sluice of Bald and Ragged.

A deeper, more sober transport took place last night. There is a pall drenching the wide circumference of this sorrow.

For these three, for families and friends, for all of us attending this place, we mourn and pray safe passage!
Act surprised at what is taking place.
"Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act."
-- Leonard Cohen
I am surprised.

(And nothing is

Ever

The same

Again.)
Just by listening with your eyes
you can fold back on yourself and
merge into that primal stream of awareness
like a river is swallowed by the
immensity of the ocean.
Only then will you know
the point to live from.

- Ji Aoi Isshi
Stream, not scream.

Asking: What's the point?

Responding: What is...is the point.

The times I feel pointless are the times I am going nowhere.

In a Susan Stamberg interview with Dick Cavett on NPR this morning, a segment from his talk show in 1973 conversation with Marlon Brando:
"We couldn't survive a second if we weren't able to act," Brando said. "Acting is a survival mechanism. It's a social unguent and it's a lubricant. We act to save our lives, actually, every day. People lie constantly every day by not saying something that they think, or [by] saying something that they didn't think."

"That's not acting," Cavett countered.

"That is acting," Brando insisted.
Does act itself, with nothing else, invite yielding?

A merging way emerging way!

Monday, November 08, 2010

It's just the way I feel.

Three quotes by Ludwig Wittgenstein -- (listed on Wikipedia). One by Muso -- (from DailyZen).
What cannot be imagined cannot even be talked about.
(-- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Journal entry (12 October 1916), p. 84e)
Then:
Many times the mountains
have turned from green to yellow.
So much for the capricious earth!
Dust in your eyes,
the triple world is narrow.
Nothing on your mind,
your chair is wide enough.

- Muso (1275 – 1351)
And:
My aim is: to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense.
(§ 464, Philosophical Investigations, 1953)
Finally:
"Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen."
Translated: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. (7)
Also: About what one can not speak, one must remain silent. (7)

--Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)
Exactly!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Note: There will be no Sunday Evening Practice tonight.
See you next time.

The world is wounded and weary. Spent shells of ordinariness and ordinance litter the ground. Bandage packaging is strewn along the edge of our attention. We look askance at anyone walking near us.

Aid. Help. Beginning. Now. Ever shall be.
Amen.
Loaves and Fishes

This is not
the age of information.

This is not
the age of information.

Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.

This is the time
of loaves
and fishes.

People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.


-- David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
©1996 Many Rivers Press
I cannot unmake war on Iraq. I cannot unmake war on Afghanistan. I cannot stop the charge to war forming against Iran.

I cannot elect kind, compassionate, effective, and just leaders by myself. I cannot stop men fondling and raping children, women, or other men. I cannot make the world a harmonious place while so many of us are dwelling within ourselves falsely.

But here is what I can do. I can enter the silence of attentive presence and dwell there quietly. I can heat water for someone's tea. I can brew coffee. I can speak when spoke to with simplicity, kindness, and respect.

I can walk up to bodhichitta and declare my interest.
Etymologically, the word [bodhichitta] is a combination of the Sanskrit words bodhi and citta. Bodhi means "awakening" or "enlightenment". Citta is derived from the Sanskrit root cit, and denotes "that which is conscious" – mind or consciousness. Bodhicitta may be translated as "awakening mind" or "mind of enlightenment". (--Wikipedia)
I can sit in quiet readiness to enter one place possible to find sanity in the world.
Forgiveness is an essential ingredient of bodhichitta practice. It allows us to let go of the past and make a fresh start. Forgiveness cannot be forced. When we are brave enough to open our hearts to ourselves, however, forgiveness will emerge.

There is a simple practice we can do to cultivate forgiveness. First we acknowledge what we feel - shame, revenge, embarrassment, remorse. Then we forgive ourselves for being human. Then, in the spirit of not wallowing in the pain, we let go and make a fresh start. We don't have to carry the burden with us anymore.

We can acknowledge, forgive, and start anew. If we practice this way, little by little we'll learn to abide with the feeling of regret for having hurt ourselves and others. We will also learn self-forgiveness. Eventually, at our own speed, we'll even find our capacity to forgive those who have done us harm.

We will discover forgiveness as a natural expression of the open heart, and expression of our basic goodness. This potential is inherent in every moment. Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start.


(--from, Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion (Shambhala Library) by Pema Chodron)
This morning there's a north wind.

I'll take my oars from barn, tie them to roof rack, drive to head of harbor, descend ramp, untie peapod, and row to and around Curtis Island, wave to empty space on small porch where recently deceased lighthouse keeper sat and waved each morning his last season of looking out over Penobscot Bay, and I will contemplate the sounds, smells, and swells of the fragile place of passage I am/we are.

The world is not the problem.

The world is that through which we make our way home without ever leaving it.

Listening always for and with one good word resounding in and through everything this Sunday morning.

Not so much to hear it, but to be it soundlessly in what is being done.