Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Storm slowly approaches.
(Poem #882) Wind

This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up --
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

--Poem by Ted Hughes
There are books to be read and fears to be faced.

Friday, August 26, 2011

There's a collapse occurring. It's a little unnerving. Which is ironic in that we have lost our nerve to do what's right while the unscrupulous are not frightened & are full of nerve to do what is erroneous and injurious.

That, and the fact of an approaching hurricane!
As always, the moon
Night after night after night
Will stay on here
At this grass hut I put together,
And now I must leave.
- Saigyo (1118-1190)
This morning, for the first time, Rokpa accompanied us into the prison for a visit. He played soccer in the rec area of Close A, Protective Custody. He visited the Buddhist end of practice. He went with Fonz to the library. Guards gave him treats. Inmates scratched behind his ears and rubbed his rump. They talked of their own dogs. A scrum of more than a half dozen men returning to their cells stopped to surround and touch the white Border Collie. It was a good visit. Rokie was charming.

Still --

Where things seem to be collapsing is everywhere. Food, oil, money, housing, employment, crime, governance, wars, wars and revolutions, terrorism, political infantilism, media mockery, celebrity envy, executive corporate obscene salaries, head in sand, feet in tar sand, belief in belief and not in reality.
If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.
-- Confucius Saying on Learning
There is much to learn.

Let's not wait.

Let's begin now!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO. Next day my Imac crashes. Forty days ago the protection expired. Perfect!
18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
(Ex 33: 18-22)
"Glory" has always escaped me.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

(Matthew 24:42-51)
Hurricane wends our way.

It feels like things are disassembling themselves.

No fear. Just the annoyances of existence.

Even as it all disappears.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Maybe things will change in October. Maybe some Mayan or Hopi prophecy will turn things upside down. I don't know.

I can only live second by second, day by day. The unknowable hasn't much allure.

Unknowing, on the other hand, is always at hand.
True perfection seems imperfect... but is perfectly itself. --Lao Tzu
It's never easy to like someone else's narrative about the unknowable. The unknowable is so...unknowable.
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense"

-- Rumi, 1207-1273, trans. by Colman Barks and John Moyne)
The suggestion is that if we stay spiritually aware and without fear all will be OK.

A nice thought.

Worth sitting with.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Three quotes as epigraphs to sections of a novel:
A man is a god in ruins.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In the beginning was the World,
And the World was God, and the world was good."

--Fragment from the Heretic Bible

"I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful
to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes!"

--Also Sprach Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche
It might be said that the story we tell becomes the reality we live.

Choose carefully the words of your story.

Care decisively for the reality you are, the reality you live.
When I say there is nothing outside,
Students who do not understand me
Interpret this in terms of inwardness,
So they sit silent and still,
Taking this to be Zen Buddhism.
This is a big mistake.
If you take a state of unmoving clarity to be Zen,
You are recognizing ignorance as a slave master.

- Linji (d. 867)
I would like to choose my words benevolently, tell the story benevolently, live my life benevolently.

Good will, yes, friends!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The universe, the inventor-scientist says, will become aware.
"Does God exist? Well, I would say, ‘Not yet.’"
-- Ray Kurzweil
I talk to a man studying to become a priest. He feels his church must also become aware
"Listen to the secret sound, the real sound, which is inside you. The one no one talks of speaks the secret sound to himself, and he is the one who has made it all."
— Kabir
Kurzweil thinks the singularity is near. Biological man will merge with mechanical/computational, nano-technological artificial intelligence. It will signal the end of what we have known as humankind and enter into a new techno-phylum distinctly different yet incorporative of the data-experience of human compilation.
This leaky, tumbledown
Grass hut left an opening for the moon,
And I gazed at it
All the while it was mirrored
In a teardrop fallen on my sleeve.

- Saigyo (1118-1190)
Maybe Lowell was right. Maybe:
We are poor passing facts,
warned by that to give
each figure in the photograph
his living name.

(--from poem, Epilogue, by Robert Lowell)
As I think about it, it seems that those two words serve as one good epigraph and one good epitaph:

"Not yet!"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Music of Thailand in the film stays beyond end. So much of our sanity the roots of our tradition. The Overture is the music.
One continuous clear void, the night precisely midway; the moon, cool, spews frost. When light and dark are merged without division, who distinguishes relative and absolute herein? Thus it is said, "Although the absolute is absolute, yet it is relative; although the relative is relative, yet it is complete." At this precise moment, how do you discern?
How clear. Twin shining eyes before any impulse!
How stately. The eternal body outside forms!
- Hung-chih
Downpour subsides.

It is what emerges from between two sides that reveals what is next for us.

No winners; no losers.

Only this very step.

And this.