Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, September 24, 2011

In lower Manhattan the police are tired of democracy and act like tired bullies to protestors. It's understandable. Freedom to speak your mind is often met with a shove, an elbow, or mace. The police are ordinary people paid to protect wealth and property. They're only doing their job. In a capitalistic society that job requires strong measures against those who favor a more equitable system of shared resources.

But that's just one man's opinion. What's yours?
While everyone else
Is so busy striving,
The lone traveler
Is at ease by himself.
He's been living outside of convention
For a long time now;
In his pouch there is nothing at all.
When he walks,
He takes a cane for a companion;
When he talks,
He has the rocks for an audience.
If you ask him what his religion is,
When hungry it's a bowl of rice.

-- Wen-siang (1210-1280)
Maybe I'm just being cranky.

Maybe the police suspect that sudden overthrow of their benefits and livelihoods is being planned. It is, but by the people they're protecting, not by the protestors. Maybe the training they are receiving from homeland security and counter-terrorism experts needs a practice forum to iron out the wrinkles in their roughshod tactics. Or maybe it's only a few macho guys intent on re-establishing their manliness by macing women and dropping young men to the ground who speak to them.

We need to be protected from these protestors. Wall Street has to be able to run its course.

Downhill.

Into the gutter.

But the protestors have taken to the gutters and are stealing the space where the runoff needs to flow into the sewers.

So complicated, isn't it, today's financial outlook?

The times are a stretched and weary rubberband fraying at the edges.

There was the Arab Spring. Is this AIAWA? Autumn in America with Anger?

Friday, September 23, 2011


Sometimes it's hard to know.
The Niagara River

As though
the river were
a floor, we position
our table and chairs
upon it, eat, and
have conversation.
As it moves along,
we notice—as
calmly as though
dining room paintings
were being replaced—
the changing scenes
along the shore. We
do know, we do
know this is the
Niagara River, but
it is hard to remember
what that means.



(Poem by Kay Ryan)

And even when you seem to know, it's hard to realize what you think you know.

Except that conversation is what takes place between us.

I prefer to live in-between.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preparing for morning's workshop in prison.
Theme:

Spirituality
as
Simplicity of Awareness
Seeing and Feeling
What is
Here Now

A Forum of Questions, Poems, and Conversations

Lifetime Portfolio Project
Maine State Prison
Fri, 23Sept.2011

Bill Halpin
Meetingbrook


Five Questions for us to face: (questions developed by some of the inmates)

  1. What emotional issues exist for us that we need to recognize prior to release?
  2. What does it take to face and realize the emotional damage incarceration has inflicted on us?
  3. What are we willing to say about the emotional experience of shame and guilt over committing a serious criminal offense?
  4. Is there a need for us to develop a more realistic appreciation or understanding of how emotional and overwhelming release will truly be?
  5. What do we feel will be the emotional impact of living with the undeniable stigma of being an ex-offender?
Finally:

Villager



What's wrong will always be wrong. I've seen him lean

against the house hours and glare at the sea. His eyes say

no boat will come. His harsh throated seemingly

good natured mother bends her back to the soil

and there at least all grows well. When I speak with him

his eyes move away to the sea and I imagine

the red in his face from drink is also from

some ancient tribal shame. To him I'm wealthy.

When we talk I know how wealthy I am.


The police have him on file: petty theft.

I'm certain he steals to make up for the nothing he finds

every day in the sea, and to find money for drink.

Some days a woman picks him up, a sister I'm told,

takes him away and hours later delivers him back

passed out. Next morning again he's propped against

the house, the tide out in his eyes. I imagine

his sister, if that's who she is, knows oblivion

is what he must have often to survive.


I have much to tell him. And nothing. I'd start

with the sea. I'd say, there was another sea something

like this long ago, and another me. By the time

I got to the point he'd be looking away and be right.

No two hurts are the same, and most have compensations

too lovely to leave. At night, a photo glows alive

inside him when his mother's asleep and the cops

aren't watching. It lights up in the dark

whenever he looks hard and by dawn has burned out.


I almost forget: he'd do anything for you. Love him

for what you might have become

and love him for what you are, not that far

from him. We are never that far. Love

everyone you can. The list gets longer and shorter.

We're seldom better than weather. We're nearly as good

as a woman we met in passing once at Invergarry.

Don't be sorry, for him or for self. Love the last star

broken by storm. And love you. You hold it together.



(Poem by Richard Hugo, in The Right Madness on Skye)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tonight I am executed.
The Lotus (padma) is a very important symbol in India and of Buddhism. In brief, it refers to the complete purification of body, speech and mind, and the blossoming of wholesome deeds in liberation. The lotus refers to many aspects of the path, as it grows from the mud (samsara), up through muddy water it appears clean on the surface (purification), and finally produces a beautiful flower (enlightenment). The white blossom represents purity, the stem stands for the practice of Buddhist teachings which raise the mind above the (mud of) worldly existence, and gives rise to purity of mind.
An open blossom signifies full enlightenment; a closed blossom signifies the potential for enlightenment.

http://viewonbuddhism.org/general_symbols_buddhism.html
I do not want to forget the words: "I am you!"

Rest safely, Mark MacPhail.

Rest safely, Troy Davis.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I like how Cynthia Bourgeault speaks about the Trinity. Father as formless love. Son as love in form. Holy Spirit as the energy of love.

Kin to form is emptiness, emptiness form -- and the movement of attentive awareness being the vitalizing force.

Home after four days.

The world is...

As you...

See it!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Be-live!

What I thought might have been a mis-spelling of 'believe' became its own word. It looked at me, daring me to consider it a mistake, and I relented. It had its own consciousness and wanted me to reach out connectively.

Be-live
, and you will be safe. For what? Or, from what?

Saved from moribund mental conceptual cloaking thought which sees everything through concepts, images, categories, opinions, or abstracting absences.

Saved, I submit, for active, present, alive, immediate, aware, and intimate inter-being and exchange of conscious experience where you are and as you are.

A writer named Robert Thompson references Ewert Cousins in his writing:
This is why I say that properly understood, Christ is the Christian word for the divine pattern of connection. Christ is not a person but a power. Christ is not the object of faith but the divine power that makes faith possible.

Here is where Ewert Cousins becomes our teacher. Cousins says that we experience Christ whenever we have the experience of a Power that includes and at the same time transcends our personal identity. We experience the Divine pattern of connection, Cousins says, when we see the world as others see it.

Out of personal experience, Cousins writes about what it is like to pass over into the culture, the experience, the consciousness of especially those who are different. For some time Cousins lived among Lakota Indians in South Dakota. He writes of his experience of passing over into the consciousness of the Lakota Indians: “I remember the day, while I was talking to a group of Sioux, that I felt my consciousness, as it were, extend itself out of my body and passed over into their consciousness. From that moment I felt I could see things from their perspective and experience their values from within their world. Also I could look back at my own world and see its values in a clearer light–and its limitations! I became increasingly aware of human values that the Indians preserved and that we had lost: their love of the land, their organic harmony with nature, their sense of time as a flowing process…I perceived their awareness of Wakan tanka, or God, in nature and in their lives.”

For a brief moment, Ewert Cousins looked at the world through Lakota eyes. He saw the world not as a Roman Catholic white man but as the Lakota saw it. The experience changed Ewert Cousins perspective of himself. But more importantly he saw the world with new eyes
. (--from, Christ of the 21st Century
Posted by Robert "Voluptuous" Thompson under Voluptuous Thinkers, 5June2008)
http://avoluptuousgod.com/heretics/?p=119)
Anchoring conscious experience in shared exchange.

Shared.

Located nowhere but in the loving exchange of what is between everyhing and everything else.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

When the Trappist monk with large hands says, "This is my body," I be-live him.