Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Surprise visit from Rob, Randy, and Suzanne down from Belfast for Friday Evening Conversation.

Rob said to my “It’s great to see you here!” that, “It’s great for me to see you seeing me here.” A thread in the fabric of the meetingbrook community stitched closer through many years between Camden and Thomaston and Warren.
What you believe is what you see. The label is the behavior. Theory molds data. Concepts determine percepts. Belief-dependent realism. (p.21, "Mr. D"Arpino's Dilemma", in The Believing Brain, From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies, How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths, by Michael Shermer, c.2011)
This morning’s practice reading from Thich Nhat Hanh’s You Are Here the moving story of the war veteran beginning again to live through and beyond the memory of killing children in Vietnam. A roomful of thoughtful reflections on our need to begin again in so many areas.
It is all pervading, spotless beauty;
It is the self-existence and uncreated
Absolute
Then how can it even be a matter
Of discussion that the real Buddha
Has no mouth and preaches no dharma,
Or that real hearing requires no ears,
For who could hear it?
Ah, it is a jewel beyond all price.

- Huang-po (d. 850)

I like the thought that what we believe is what we see.

And if you believe nothing...do you see nothing?

Nothing is the wholeness seeing nothing outside it.

What a gift!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bald Mountain at dusk is wavy outline against remaining light.
One instant is eternity;
When you see through this one instant,
You see through the one who sees.

- Wu-men (1183-1260)
This morning, out in Penobscot Bay during a 6.7km row, I leave a quarter on R2 bell buoy beyond Curtis Island and red nun, then a quarter on red and white channel marker bell buoy out past Sherman's Point. I leave these coins for mariners, alive or dead, who need passage toll.

You never know who might be in need of a coin for the ferryman. Some arrive unexpectedly. Some forget the cost. Some wander aimlessly in the wide and deep ocean trying to remember where they are going.

It's the least I can do. Even when kayakers or sea gulls remove the coins from the buoys an invisible purse serves the wanderer beginning their journey.
A peopled home is the ocean bed;
The mother and child are there;
The fervent youth and the hoary head,
The maid, with her floating locks outspread,
The babe with its silken hair;
As the water moveth they lightly sway,
And the tranquil lights on their features play;
And there is each cherished and beautiful form,
Away from decay, and away from the storm.

(-- final stanza of poem, The Drowned Mariner, by Elizabeth Oakes-Smith 1806-1893)
Wherever there is loss, there remains a way to go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The people are being played for fools. One man not the right color has right wing ideologues slashing and spitting at phantoms and fantasies they call government. What they want is a government of their own kind with the power to subjugate and sequester.
If you can see a thought as it arises
This awareness will at once destroy it.
Whatever state of mind should come,
Sweep it away, put it down.

Both good and evil states
Can be transformed by mind.
Sacred and profane appear
In accordance with thoughts.
- Han Shan Te Ch'ing (1546-1623)
The right wing is in it's ascendancy. No one can stop them from their appointed disquisition and diatribe against those they consider other.

A hard time is upon us. Haughty times and heightened inequality loom.

Jesus has been appropriated and compromised by hacks and heinous intent. Where will the ordinary and simple take refuge?

A wasteland encroaches on civil sensibilities.

It is time to move deeper into a hidden geography.

Into the true desert of the heart. Into the vast emptiness of the mind.

Do not allow them the slightest inkling of false fealty. They must come to know they dwell in a desolate deception.

It is possible I am wrong.

That said, do not suffer fools gladly. We are in a hard and trying time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In prison class on the philosophy of friendship today we read the final pages of Mark Vernon's book The Meaning of Friendship. There is an intimate relationality between philosophy, friendship, wisdom, and moral value. As, too, in the sound of the two words "adios" and "amigos."

There' a journey to make.
What You Have to Get Over

Stumps. Railroad tracks. Early sicknesses,
the blue one, especially.
Your first love rounding a corner,
that snowy minefield.

Whether you step lightly or heavily,
you have to get over to that tree line a hundred yards in the distance
before evening falls,
letting no one see you wend your way,

that wonderful, old-fashioned word, wend,
meaning “to proceed, to journey,
to travel from one place to another,”
as from bed to breakfast, breakfast to imbecile work.

You have to get over your resentments,
the sun in the morning and the moon at night,
all those shadows of yourself you left behind
on odd little tables.

Tote that barge! Lift that bale! You have to
cross that river, jump that hedge, surmount that slogan,
crawl over this ego or that eros,
then hoist yourself up onto that yonder mountain.

Another old-fashioned word, yonder, meaning
“that indicated place, somewhere generally seen
or just beyond sight.” If you would recover,
you have to get over the shattered autos in the backwoods lot

to that bridge in the darkness
where the sentinels stand
guarding the border with their half-slung rifles,
warned of the likes of you. 

(Poem by Dick Allen, "What You Have to Get Over" from Best American Poetry 2010, Scribner, 2010)
Most of what is important is just beyond sight in the open-hearted possibilities a reserved optimism allows.

These men are friends.

Over twenty two years visiting and conversing has warned and revealed the likes of me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The night is quiet. For the moment, that is enough.

It is as if our heart and mind learned something only night teaches.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Everywhere -- in prison, on an island in Norway, in kitchens and street corners and quiet residential lanes away from cities -- actions are taken to rectify or irradiate some impedance, some perceived injustice or blind insult rendered and needing remedy.

Is some shabby variation of underground faux-justice playing out? Are we leaning toward something more immediate than our stated system of justice can pronounce?
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)
What's the difference between truth and illusion?

Not much. Except, neither of them are to be feared.

Only seen through.

With clear intent not to get stuck in either.

As Donne said, every man's death diminishes me.

I am much diminished by events near to home and around the world these days.