Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, June 04, 2011

At steamboat landing I drink Irish tea while tossing sticks into salt water for Rokpa. We walk boatyard where shrink-wrap is folded into sheds and slanting boatstands lean against each other after a long winter holding up boats on the hard.

It is that nether time between the official beginning of the season marked by Memorial Day and the veritable start with calendar summer and the 4th of July when visitors buy new sneakers and shorts and take in the shops. I bail peapod.
St Augustine's homilies on St John's gospel
The two lives
There are two ways of life that God has commended to the Church. One is through faith, the other is through vision. One is in pilgrimage through a foreign land, the other is in our eternal home; one in labour, the other in repose; one in a journey to our homeland, the other in that land itself; one in action, the other in the fruits of contemplation.
The first life, the life of action, is personified by the Apostle Peter; the contemplative life, by John. The first life is passed here on earth until the end of time, when it reaches its completion; the second is not fulfilled until the end of the world, but in the world to come it lasts for ever. For this reason Peter is told “Follow me”, but Jesus adds, “If I want John to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me”.
You are to follow me by imitating me in the enduring suffering; he is to remain till I come to restore the blessings that last for ever. To put it more clearly: let action, which is complete in itself, follow me and follow the example of my passion; but let contemplation, which has only begun, remain until I come, wait until the moment of its completion.
It is the fulness of patience to follow Christ loyally even to death; the fulness of knowledge lies in wait until Christ comes again, when it will be revealed and made manifest. The ills of this world are endured in the land of the dying; the good gifts of God will be revealed in the land of the living.
We should not understand “I want him to stay behind until I come” as meaning to remain permanently but rather to wait: what is signified by John will not be fulfilled now, but it will be fulfilled, when Christ comes. On the other hand, what is signified by Peter, to whom Jesus says “follow me”, must be realised now or it will never be fulfilled.
But we should not separate these great apostles. They were both part of the present life symbolized by Peter and they were both part of the future life symbolized by John. Considered as symbols, Peter followed Christ and John remained; but in their living faith both endured the evils of the present life and both looked forward to the future blessings of the coming life of joy.
It is not they alone that do this but the whole of the holy Church, the bride of Christ, who needs to be rescued from the trials of the present and to be brought to safety in the joys of the future. Individually, Peter and John represent these two lives, the present and the future; but both journeyed in faith through this temporal life and both will enjoy the second life by vision, eternally.
All the faithful form an integral part of the body of Christ, and therefore, so that they may be steered through the perilous seas of this present life, Peter, first among the Apostles, has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, to bind and loose from sin. And also for the sake of the faithful, so that they may keep the still and secret heart of his mode of life, John the evangelist rested on Christ’s breast.
It is not Peter alone who binds and looses sins, but the whole Church. It is not John alone who has drunk at the fountain of the Lord’s breast and pours forth what he had drunk in his teaching of the Word being God in the beginning, God with God, of the Trinity and Unity of God — of all those things which we shall see face to face in his kingdom but now, before the Lord comes, we see only in images and reflections — not John alone, for the Lord himself spreads John’s gospel throughout the world, giving everyone to drink as much as he is capable of absorbing.

(-- from Office of Readings, Saturday of the 6th week of Eastertime)
The serrated blocks of launch ramp took a pounding during one of the winter stormy seas and are akimbo. A single orange cone serves as shy semaphore to offloading trailers as tide recedes.

I thought I heard that contemplation should continue until the time of completion of temporary evil. But the word was 'temporal' as in that faith will help the journey through temporal life.

There is much I do not see. If faith helps navigate through things unseen with confidence that all is well and all manner of things are well -- then, I embrace this trusting faith.

I put unfitting scored storm window for screen on southwest 2nd floor window of Merton Retreat, also a screen on new window of new bathroom in Saskia's mom's room, also known as repaired front room.

At Saturday morning practice, with Buddhist emphasis, sitting, heart sutra, reading from Sekito's Sandokai with Suzuki Roshi's help, circle reflection, metta, then bell chant, then coffee and toast.

Tomorrow we return to full Sunday morning practice mirroring Saturday's -- but with a Christian emphasis. The Quakers complete their visitation at meetingbrook this cycle and resume their Sunday Meetings at Children's Chapel in Rockport at 9am.

The words -- contemplative, zen, practice, hermit, silence, solitude, listening, simplicity, correspondence, as it is, and conversation -- all sound right during this quiet time.

More than right, they feel they are exactly what they say they are.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Tom and Lee over four weeks led a study of the Sandokai, a poem written in Eight Century China by Zen Master Sekito Kisen Diaosho.

In prison today we read from Joan Chittister's The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life.

At nursing home we read Oliver, Simic, Hall, Milosz, Merwin and a number of personal poems.
Mind has no color,
Is neither long nor short,
Doesn't appear or disappear;
It is free from both purity and impurity;
It was never born and can never die;
It is utterly serene.
This is the form of our
Original mind,
Which is also our original body.

- Hui-hai (8th cent)
The men in Protective Custody were interested to hear we consider them part of our monastic community. We're only practicing what is true.
Madmen

They say you can jinx a poem
if you talk about it before it is done.
If you let it out too early, they warn,
your poem will fly away,
and this time they are absolutely right.

Take the night I mentioned to you
I wanted to write about the madmen,
as the newspapers so blithely call them,
who attack art, not in reviews,
but with bread knives and hammers
in the quiet museums of Prague and Amsterdam.

Actually, they are the real artists,
you said, spinning the ice in your glass.
The screwdriver is their brush.
The real vandals are the restorers,
you went on, slowly turning me upside-down,
the ones in the white doctor's smocks
who close the wound in the landscape,
and thus ruin the true art of the mad.

I watched my poem fly down to the front
of the bar and hover there
until the next customer walked in--
then I watched it fly out the open door into the night
and sail away, I could only imagine,
over the dark tenements of the city.

All I had wished to say
was that art was also short,
as a razor can teach with a slash or two,
that it only seems long compared to life,
but that night, I drove home alone
with nothing swinging in the cage of my heart
except the faint hope that I might
catch a glimpse of the thing
in the fan of my headlights,
maybe perched on a road sign or a street lamp,
poor unwritten bird, its wings folded,
staring down at me with tiny illuminated eyes

(--Poem by Billy Collins)
If we talk with each other, if we listen with each other, we begin to remember who and what we are.

It's that simple.

Really.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

What if Ascension is leaving relying on self and ego and moving beyond to non-egoic non-self?

What does that mean?
You cannot describe it or draw it,
You cannot praise it enough or perceive it.
No place can be found in which
To put the Original Face;
It will not disappear even
When the universe is destroyed.

- Mumon (13th cent)
That face is the one you are before mother and father are born and long after the origin is no longer spoken of.

Breath is both inside and outside the body at the same time.

As is what we call God.

We are in the process of being what is creating what is to be God now and forever now.

Amen.

Jesus made the journey so that when we make the journey we'll each have one another to journey with.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Yes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

At end of evening sit, three bells.
Just still the thoughts in your mind. It is good to do this right in the midst of disturbance. When you are working on this, penetrate the heights and the depths.
- Yuan wu (1063-1135)
Morning listening to Vigils on ocean.

Salting wood planks back at dock.

Monday, May 30, 2011

We attend parade.

We row to Curtis Island. Then around it. We arrive late for afternoon concert at Camden Opera House.

The retired army colonel introduced the civil war songs at the Down East Singers' concert saying it is about longing for the end of war, the pleas of warriors, the weariness and desolation. It's no wonder, he said, facing another dawn of terrible fighting, a prayer rises up.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
While God is marching on.
He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave,
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave,
Our God is marching on.
(Chorus)
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Our God is marching on.

Warriors fight for the good of their country. They trust their leaders to point them in the right direction.
We are grateful for our warriors. For their sacrifice. But for their attendant sorrows, we grieve.
Vow to achieve the perfect
Understanding that the
Illusory body is like
Dew and lightning.
- Hsu Yun (d.1959)
War devastates.

Warriors need protection and our gratitude as they do for us what we cannot.

May their leaders be wise!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It is a time for wisdom and compassion.

This Memorial Day we remember and pray for all those dead and deadened by war.

Which includes most, if not all, of us.

If there is a way to get beyond war with it's deadening effects, we do not seem to yet know it or, perhaps, want it.

I long for that way.

It is for those deadened, and, those working to bring such a way of no-need-to-war, it is for these I pray.

For you.

And me.

And all we love.