Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Coming to: ad venire; 28

Four men stacked the remainder of three cord of green wood I'd left under tarp where dropped the days surrounding Saskia's mother's passing transition here at the hermitage.

While they worked I was on a table watching someone's heart on large simulcast being explored one day then excavated the next by wires and cameras and balloons and meshy hold-em-opens.

God is good. People, all of us, are good. I gratefully acknowledge this and celebrate it.

I especially bow in gratitude to all the men and women extending acuity, skill, kindness, and care to those of us placed in their hands.

With love!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sometimes you do come back.
U.S. Life Saving Service Station History
The Surfman Motto:
"You have to go out,
but you do not have to come back!"

A letter to the editor of the old Coast Guard Magazine written by CBM Clarence P. Brady, USCG (Ret.) which was published in the March 1954 (page 2) issue, states that the first person to make this remark was Patrick Etheridge. Brady knew him when both were stationed at the Cape Hatteras LSS. Brady tells the story as follows:

"A ship was stranded off Cape Hatteras on the Diamond Shoals and one of the life saving crew reported the fact that this ship had run ashore on the dangerous shoals. The old skipper gave the command to man the lifeboat and one of the men shouted out that we might make it out to the wreck but we would never make it back. The old skipper looked around and said, 'The Blue Book says we've got to go out and it doesn't say a damn thing about having to come back.'"

Etheridge was not exaggerating. The Regulations of the Life-Saving Service of 1899, Article VI "Action at Wrecks," section 252, page 58, state that:

"In attempting a rescue the keeper will select either the boat, breeches buoy, or life car, as in his judgement is best suited to effectively cope with the existing conditions. If the device first selected fails after such trial as satisfies him that no further attempt with it is feasible, he will resort to one of the others, and if that fails, then to the remaining one, and he will not desist from his efforts until by actual trial the impossibility of effecting a rescue is demonstrated. The statement of the keeper that he did not try to use the boat because the sea or surf was too heavy will not be accepted unless attempts to launch it were actually made and failed, or unless the conformation of the coast--as bluffs, precipitous banks, etc.--is such as to unquestionable preclude the use of a boat."

This section of the Regulations remained in force after the creation of the Coast Guard in 1915. The new Instructions for United States Coast Guard Stations, 1934 edition, copied Section 252 word for word
as it appeared in 1899. [1934 Instructions for United States Coast Guard Stations, Paragraph 28, page 4].

source: U.S. Coast Guard http://www.lifesavingservice.org/motto.html
Include gratitude, to each and all, for safe return.

I do.

Coming to: ad venire; 27

Saskia brought flowers.
I don't crave fame and profit or care that I'm poor;
Hiding in the depths of the mountains
I keep far away the world's dust;
The year has waned and the skies are cold:
Who'd be my companion?
The plum blossoms are adorned in moonlight
One branch-new.

- Jakushitsu Genko (1290-1367)
Three of them. They are silhouetted in vase against 9th floor windows looking out to Fore River through veil of falling snow illuminated with city lights during a quiet stretch of hospital night.
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will proclaim your praise;
for you do not delight in sacrifices:
if I offered you a burnt offering, it would not please you.
The true sacrifice is a broken spirit:
a contrite and humble heart, O God, you will not refuse.

(from Psalm 51, Morning Prayer)
Prayer, I submit, is communion of thought and feeling intended toward someone's or something's healing recovery and healthy wholeness. Prayer penetrates and integrates where it visits, whether in this seeming existence or beyond into seamless inclusive presence of longing itself.

I am grateful for the kind thoughtful feeling prayer arriving here from other heres beyond this specific one.

Where, I occlude, and happily conclude, all is well.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Coming to: ad venire; 26

Time to change heart.

"My heart exults in the Lord." (1 Samuel 2)

Leap out, leap up, Skip beat, block passage. Get fixed, watch breath. Carefully.

This is today.

As is that which we call "Lord."

Right now he's snoring in next bed behind curtain.

As is Portland beyond window shade.

As am I before forgetting interdependent interrelational interbeing.

Change heart, see things through, with love.

Welcome, winter, returning light!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Coming to: ad venire; 25

Maybe this is as far as I go.
Under evergreens
I walk along a pathway
Now gone to sight
Beneath autumn leaves strewn there
By winter's mountain winds.

- Tonna (1289-1372)
I step out onto bulkhead deck as night and pre-dawn discuss their border edges before turning to their ritual exchange. I look up at stars. So many so far so beyond what can be entirely seen. It is hard to see beyond the edges of things, places, or persons. Still, we are called, to do, this.

The edge of everything is the startling invitation to consider going beyond what 'ego' sees to the completely beyond realization of what-is-awake within the one seeing itself.

Maybe 'I' stops at the edge of 'this' and cannot go further.

Maybe this is as far as 'I' goes.

As 'I' momentarily surrenders its passport and dissolves suddenly into surrounding landscape, there remains only 'this' only 'here' only 'now.'

Maybe this is as far as I go.

Ask: What's there to do?

Ha! Celebrate! Rejoice! Laugh and cry! Enter awakening realization!

Say: That's a good one!

Ask each other: Where've you been?

Yeah, yep, and yes...

Now here this...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Love is useful.

Does it matter if it emanates from the idea of christian thinking (divinity incarnating as love-with-us) or buddhist thinking (fully compassionate heart/mind realizing true nature)?

Use it.

Just be grateful.

And use love to be of service.

Coming to: ad venire; 24

I update WiserEarth profile. Most times the response to 'who am I?' is 'dunno!' -- but once in a while a longer meditation is required. Here's this morning's:

At meetingbrook hermitage we practice between traditions.
We attend to and cultivate three particular promises: contemplation, conversation, and correspondence.
The hermitage silent sittings, respite retreats, formal and informal conversations invite practicing deep listening and loving speech.
Our need for honest inquiry into true nature -- relational resonance with earth, cosmos, other people, all beings, and the holy sacred unknown some call god some call reality some call wholeness -- brings us to prison, correctional center, nursing home, hospice space, college classroom, quiet conversation, and simply being-with others in everydayness.
We call ourselves m.o.n.o. (monastics of no other) -- a literation where 'one' and 'my' and 'mu' dance and play with each another as might kitten or koan seeing itself in a mirror.
We are grateful for the gift of being here, alone with others, in the surround of thoughtful, creative, and compassionate community.
Our activism is being-here and responding to what-is presenting itself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

It is quiet around the hermitage
As
Daylight seeps into earth

Coming to: ad venire; 23

Language belongs to the earth. The earth speaks through you and me. Word and words.

Listening is the primary gift. Given and received.

We've been overlooking the obvious.

Advent is the coming to be of word and words through all that is, revealing and concealing, engaging creative experience of breathing intercourse birthing inimitable now with ineluctable here, a marriage replete with distinctive union, pregnant promise, pastoral sacredness -- all that we thought was somewhere else someone other sometime distant -- rather, in this place with this one in this instant a felt, proximate, living, and loving presence with your name my face your eyes my feet your seeing my finding your breathing my hearing your touching my tasting your fragrance as we are as it is as will be...

When we, as we, come to...

The sound of...

The sight of...

The feel of...

What is...

Coming to...

Us

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coming to: ad venire: 22

Sunday Morning Recollection of Sorrow in Three Parts

Preface:

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.
(--Ludwig Wittgenstein, from Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus)

1.
Death
Grinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hear
His famine should be filled.

- John Milton, Paradise Lost
(bk. II, l. 845)

2.
Last Convoy of American Troops Leaves Iraq, Marking an End to the War
By TIM ARANGO and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT

BAGHDAD — The last convoy of American troops to leave Iraq drove into Kuwait on Sunday morning, marking the end of the nearly nine-year war.

The convoy’s departure, which included about 110 vehicles and 500 soldiers, came three days after the American military folded its flag in a muted ceremony here to celebrate the end of its mission.

In darkness, the convoy snaked out of Contingency Operating Base Adder, near the southern city of Nasiriyah, around 2:30 a.m., and headed toward the border. The departure appeared to be the final moment of a drawn-out withdrawal that included weeks of ceremonies in Baghdad and around Iraq, and included visits by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, as well as a trip to Washington by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq.

As dawn approached on Sunday morning, the last trucks began to cross over the border into Kuwait at an outpost lit by floodlights and secured by barbed wire.
...
For security reasons, the last soldiers made no time for goodbyes to Iraqis with whom they had become acquainted. To keep details of the final trip secret from insurgents, interpreters for the last unit to leave the base called local tribal sheiks and government leaders on Saturday morning and conveyed that business would go on as usual, not letting on that all the Americans would soon be gone.

Many troops wondered how the Iraqis, whom they had worked closely with and trained over the past year, would react when they awoke on Sunday to find that the remaining American troops on the base had left without saying anything.

(--from New York Times, 18Dec2011)

3.
Hail, Coffee !

COFFEE affords a good restoring draft,
Which clears the fumes of wine too freely quaffed.
By her you gain, when you the table quit,
A calm more courteous, and a brighter wit;
And soon recovered, by her powerful aid,
You are not of a second feast afraid.
She by the god of verse is praised and loved;
The poet’s genius is by her improved.
Your frigid rimers, if at times inspired,
Write their best lines by coffee’s fragrance fired.
She can enliven philosophic plan,
And make an analyst a pleasant man.
Statesmen, through her, well feasted and content,
Form happy schemes of better government.
Knowledge sometimes to journalists she brings
Of court intrigues, and deep designs of kings.
Peace, truces, wars, she to his dreams can show,
And lets him, for three pence, the world o’erthrow.


(Poem by Jacques Delille, 1738-1813; From The World’s Wit and Humor, Volume X, French — Rutebœuf to Balzac; The Review of Reviews Company; New York; 1906; p. 237.)

Postscript:

There are some events in the world about which to add further personal words merely darkens, deepens, and disorients sorrow.