Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our life is one of practice.
Seeing into Nothingness
This is the true seeing,
The eternal seeing

- Shen-hui (8th cent)
Our life is one with practice.

Nothing else. Nothing more.

Seeing is all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Buzzing lawn mower. The sound of late May across Barnestown Road.
When you realize the unborn, uncreated, unconditioned, you are liberated from everything born, created, and conditioned.
- Buddha (c. 563- 483 BCE)
To remain in the center of contradiction is to look at this word and that word and realize you are between words, between words that say opposite things.

What to do?

When the koan dissolves I'll let you know. Until then, keep quiet. Go home. Sit down. Don't fret.

You are surrounded. But, there's no sound to hear.

Still, listen carefully!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rubes.

That's what the carny folks would call an unsophisticated country bumpkin. It might refer to a very large swath of population. Like those who believe without investigation, panic without cause, follow without a lick of sense.

Governments, corporations, professions, street dwellers, churches, church folk, and by and large, all of us -- we are all in complicity with the ruse of belief, any belief, not just erroneous belief.
What these military men were not saying was that there was serious concern among strategists and policymakers that entire segments of the population could be so easily manipulated into thinking that something false was something true. Americans had taken very real, physical actions based on something entirely made up. Pandemonium had ensued. Totalitarian nations were able to manipulate their citizens like this, but in America? This kind of mass control had never been seen so clearly and definitively before.
(-- pp.21-22, about the 1938 radio broadcast of 'War of the Worlds' by Orson Wells, in Annie Jacobsen's Area 51, An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base, c. 2011)
Does a life without belief frighten? What is is what is -- with or without our beliefs. Giving up belief there still remains trust. Maybe faith. But a faith not willingly or easily fooled. A steely-eyed trust and faith that scans with an alert skepticism what arrives packaged and tied with a pretty smooth bow. I've come to appreciate that truth, as we call it, is rough and unfinished, and should be subjected to long conversation in the kitchen before inviting it into the parlor or the bedroom.
Just be straightforward and do not cling to
Anything. Deluded people grasp the
Dharma and hold on to the samadhi of
Universality. They claim that the samadhi
Of universality consists of sitting
Motionless all the time without
Any uprise in the mind.
Such an interpretation makes the
Meditators inanimate and hinders
The realization of self-nature.

- Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra
At conversation last evening words suggesting there's no need to know beforehand...not almost anything...but mostly what is going to happen in the world, or in heaven, or in that place we'd like to call the future.

Let it come.

Keep watch over now.

That's where everything arrives. That's how we get to live our lives with some sanity.

Looking at. Looking as. Acting with. Being with.

What is.

Now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sitting on cushion early morning. Sun shows up in quiet. No beliefs.

There is a way through this.

How?

By doing what seems like a question but is really a declarative response to what ails us: What is this!

This phrase: What is this!
When you stop your compulsive mind, to reach the point where not a single thing is born, you pass through to freedom, no longer falling into feelings and not dwelling on concepts, transcending all completely. Then Zen is obvious everywhere in the world, with the totality of everything everywhere turning into its great function. Everything comes from your own heart. This is what one ancient called bringing out the family treasure.
- Yuan wu (1063-1135)
If the phrase were a question, the response would be simply: This is holy!

But when it is not a question, it is the action of seeing into reality what seems to be not.

We deal best with that which is real.

Be that earth, God, or footsteps heard just outside our seeing.

Like eternal light. Or a night light.

Or, maybe, just a nod given with a recognizing smile to the stranger passing us in their way on our way.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maybe peace is an absurd idea.

Human beings want to own things -- land, buildings, apparati, books.

We want to own our life. It's hard to consider these things absurd. Maybe we're not listening.
"Read the book and you may live," he said. He reached out and patted the back of my neck. "Your life is all you have; guard it like a treasure."
--p.43, Neverness, by David Zindell, c.1988
Woman at Prompto says, "We'll be growing gills soon." Oil change. Morning wet, again.

At Southend's Old Snow Shipyard fog and mist hang over harbor. Rekord is at dock, deckhouse under cover. Grey morning. Office of Readings is on Revelation about the beast and a thousand years. The Rapture didn't happen this weekend. Instead sea gulls swoop and dogs play along muted wharf.
We loosely talk of Self-realization, for lack of a better term. But how can one real-ize or make real that which alone is real? All we need to do is to give up our habit of regarding as real that which is unreal. All religious practices are meant solely to help us do this. When we stop regarding the unreal as real, then reality alone will remain, and we will be that.
- Ramana Marharshi (1879-1950)
I don't own my life. And I certainly don't own life.

I'd rather be real.

With no estate.

Peace is real.

No?

Monday, May 23, 2011

If ever something wants to go, let it go.

If ever someone wants to go, if they say there is no love anymore, let them go.

One thing it is important to remember -- no one goes anywhere. Nothing goes anywhere.

Be comforted knowing this.

And this alone.

Only this.

Alone.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Still here. Sun might appear after days of fog and moist mist.

Pena Chodron writes:
"I used to have a sign pinned up on my wall that read: Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us...It was all about letting go of everything.
-- p.7” Pema Chödrön (When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times)
That kind man who tried hard to convince people the end of the world was nigh has refocused attention on the impermanent nature of all phenomena. We sat drinking tea as 6pm came and went. The workman, the woman, and the woefully-begone after a day of chores and cleanup. A comfortable silence. Tea. Some words. Then one cycled away and two walked with Border Collie the dripping mountain up and over back down to trillium plant by stairs at toboggan chute.
"If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher."
— Pema Chödrön
I look around. An empty time. No talks to give at prison, or hospice, or college classes to teach. No film series to lead discussion, no scheduled 1to1 conversations, no set meetings, no poetry at nursing home. No on the road audits with Saskia. For the next 9 days -- an empty calendar! Only practice, prayer, and conversations as lay monastics at meetingbrook hermitage.

Only morning and evening silent sittings, walks on mountain, rowing out harbor around Curtis Island, sipping coffee and tea, toast and peanut butter, soup and bread, reading a novel, thinking, watching, breathing. And the silence.
"Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that's all that's happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction. On the other hand, wretchedness--life's painful aspect--softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody's eyes because you feel you haven't got anything to lose--you're just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We'd be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn't have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together."
— Pema Chödrön (Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living)

So, here we are again. Birds chant morning into prayer. Solitude lengthens awareness of dripping green. Cat snoozes at bottom of bed.
Lesson 142
My mind holds only what I think with God
(ACIM, A Course in Miracles)
It is time to prepare the cabin for morning prayer. In will be our silence and words with Thomas Merton's The Book of Hours via Kathleen Daignon CND, psalm and Our Father from Northumbrian Community, a metta blessing for all our being(s), and bell chant. After tea and toast we'll sit with the Quakers for an hour observing the nothing and the everything in silence.

It is with gratitude these words appear. It is with mere humility I am here. It is with surrounding love we move through fear.

Good Sunday to you!