Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, January 11, 2014

His cancer, he said, spreads


Dogen heard, “Dropping off mind and body,” and he took notice.

As we all.

Must.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Coincidentia oppositorum


When we no longer think in terms of opposition.


When meeting place is ground of intersection and coincidence.

My one companion is darkness.

Nobody else's footprint


The difficult part, they say, is to stay in your own footprint.
“Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or the particular monk they are intended to be by God. They never become the man or the artist who is called for by all the circumstances of their individual lives.  
They waste their years in vain efforts to be some other poet, some other saint. For many absurd reasons, they are convinced they are obliged to become somebody else who died two hundred years ago and who lived in circumstances utterly alien to their own. 
They wear out their minds and bodies in a hopeless endeavor to have somebody else's experiences or write somebody else's poems or possess somebody else's spirituality.”
 (--p.98, Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation)
If you want to find out where you've been or where you're going, pause a minute and -- look under your feet.
Exactly, see what is there.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

in all creation


Ethical study belongs to all of us about all if it for all times in all places.
If Sophia is God’s world as eternally conceived in his Logos, and if divine humanity is the crown and consummation of creation, and if then this world in its every order is an aspiration to that divine world, then any ethics worthy of Christian culture will be one of whose concern is total: it must proceed from a rationale found not merely in the conscience or dignity of the autonomous subject, nor in a gross estimation of material goods and desires, nor in a purely social economy of civic duty; it will have the form of service to the entire cosmos as summed up in and brought about through human action. It is through humanity that the glory of God will be revealed in all creation, as Paul says, and this truth is the principle that governs Solovyov’s ethical philosophy. Not that -- in The Justification of the Good -- this is by any means immediately obvious.
(pp.xlii-xliii, Foreword by David Bentley Hart to The Justification of the Good, An Essay on Moral Phiosophy, by Vladimir Solovyov, c.1897 in Russia, trans. by Nathalie A. Duddington,M.A. 1918; 2005 ed.)
It might not be obvious, but it is worth the inquiry. 

here, then, we are, well

What do you believe?

(No, that's not the question.)

Where do you locate whatever belief you have?

(Yes, I'll try that question.)

I used to try to fit what I held as true into a formulation that squared with a particular system or context of recognizable sanction by an organization itself recognized as a verifiable corporate entity with provenance and resume and references eliciting nod and verification stamp of authenticating approval.

I now see less and less need for pinpoint and justification. What is true often eludes enclosure. Truth itself is more the whole of it all than a fragment of evidence proving a hypothesis.

Did I love such and such a person? Yes, I believe so.
Did I wrong that person? Yes, I admit so.
Does the wronging disprove the loving? No, they both exist. One In the other and through the other.

Until, looking from a vantage point neither inside nor outside the experience, one and the other are no longer two, separated, nor counterpoint. They fall into the whole of experience which is our common residence.

Experience is our common residence, not thought.


Thought is what the mind does with experience, real or imagined.


I no longer hold any belief.

I no longer hold anything true. Not anything. Everything falls that I try to hold.

I am, rather, held in the ambience of faith and trust that what is is what is.

I am held by the open and uncontainable truth which is the whole of everything and that which is beyond anything conceivable.

I have fallen into this place.

I am fallen into this open falling.

(Is this the description that many have attempted to fit into the metaphor of “sin" by saying, "I am a sinner!"?)

I am the experience of falling through this open falling.

Don't look for me there, there is no there there.

Rather, look at yourself. Look here and here and here.

How fares this here with us?

Well, then, here we are!

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

perplexing the human race


Coming to end of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, a nascent compassion for my fellow beings.
Kobold 
Grimm has provided one of the earlier and more commonly accepted etymologies for kobold,[3] tracing the words origin through the Latin cobalus to the Greek koba'los, meaning "rogue". The change to the word-final -olt is a feature of the German language used for monsters and supernatural beings. Variants of kobold appear as early as the 13th century.[18] The words goblin and gobelin, rendered in Medieval Latin as gobelinus,[19][20] may in fact derive from the word kobold or from kofewalt.[16][21] Related terms occur in Dutch, such as kaboutkabot, and kabotermanneken.[12] Citing this evidence, British antiquarian Charles Hardwick has argued that the house kobold and similar creatures, such as the Scottish bogie, French goblin, and English Puck, all descend from the Greek kobaloi, creatures "whose sole delite consists in perplexing the human race, and evoking those harmless terrors that constantly hover round the minds of the timid."[22] In keeping with Grimm's definition, the kobaloi were spirits invoked by rogues.[23] Similarly, British writer Archibald Maclaren has suggested that kobold beliefs descend from the ancient Roman custom of worshipping lareshousehold gods, and penates, gods of the house and its supplies.[24].                                                         
(--from Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobold
Looking at the terrors that hover round our minds.

And those who marshal their agendas through such consternation.
At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts.... New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks – wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters -- to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets. 
(--from site, The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, By Naomi Klein) http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine
“Watch this,” said Hinzelmann to Shadow.


As witnesses, I suspect, we must. 

closer to ground

We're a worried people. The excessive vitriol of fevered minds spew crazy analyses of domestic or world events with a political carving knife sharpened to blood-searing manic telling without coherent connection to measure or proportion.

The right wing is becoming a new strain of contemporary fascism.

The left wing becomes a mirror of the bitter cold winds outside thin windows.

Minds are maddened with disturbing thoughts mutating into unrecognizable opinions spoken cynically into microphones, cameras and written into pixels, typeprint, and placards like billboards announcing the end will be bloody, cruel, and perpetrated by seemingly well-meaning assassins who yesterday were your coworkers, uncles, elected officials, and financial sector advisors.


Sound like a bad movie?

It is.

It is life at the beginning of 2014.

Last night at practice we watched a segment of Tibetan teachers speaking about the mind and light. How consciousness is beginningless. How disturbing thoughts divert awareness into agitation and anger.

We're a worried people. And worried people worry others whose narrow focus is to clear the streets of worrying people so that those who own the street can continue their unworried march toward peopleless legislation, banking, solocracy, control, wealth, and elimination of worrisome inequity by removing the unequal from the equation.

In my dream through the night I was handed a math test that I did not take. I was not able to discern what the test was for. I walked out without considering or recording a single answer to unread questions.

What alerts me is the possibility that thoughts are becoming the destruction of the mind.

Mind is the whole. Thoughts are carving up the whole into slices of opinion, judgment, and ideological waste that are fed to partializing operatives intent on confusing and contorting the fragmented into pawns of political players to funnel power to manipulating ambition.


I'm going to the mattresses.

Boil up a large pot of soup.

Grind coffee beans. Fill percolator with water. Stoke stove. Await the fragrance.

Meanwhile, in our own domestic chaos, two cats methodically prowl the house through the night knocking off whatever they can from shelves, desks, and tables in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen.

Breathing in, I know something else will fall.

Breathing out, I know, now, that everything tumbles closer and closer to ground.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

being, speaking, and thinking

Here is how Panikkar writes about being, word, and speaking:
...In this context, I would like to make the far-reaching distinction between terms as used in scientific language and words as symbols as used by authentic philosophy. It is from this point that I have worked out the quaternitas perfecta of the word, the fourfold aspect of the word: the speaker, the spoken to (the addressed), the spoken about (that of which is spoken), and the spoken with, language (by means of which is spoken); in other words, the I, the Thou, the It (meaning, idea), and the Whereby (matter). 
   (h) With that, another connection unfolds: The word reveals reality’s cosmotheandric nature. By means of the polarity between being and speaking, the word overcomes the tension between being and speaking, the word overcomes the tension between being and thinking (the tension, forming the basis of western self-understanding -- and the foundation of modern science). Being speaks. Our ultimate task is not to think being, thereby hoping to arrive at the truth; instead, it is to enable being to speak by means of an active listening and obedience on our part (obedience and listening are related in english [ob-audire] and in german: Gehorsam and hören). In place of the polarity between thinking and being emerges now the triadic relation of being, speaking, and thinking. We not only say what we think but also what we are. Being is not only thought of; it also speaks.
(p.98, in A Dwelling Place for Wisdom, by Raimon Panikkar) 
 We are invited to learn how to listen.

Two plus two


Four?

No, two plus two remains nothing other -- just two plus two -- eh, Noah? Was that it? Nothing other?

one’s not half two. It’s two are halves of one:  

one’s not half two. It’s two are halves of one: 
which halves reintegrating, shall occur 
no death and any quantity; but than 
all numerable mosts the actual more  

minds ignorant of stern miraculous 
this every truth-beware of heartless them 
(given the scalpel,they dissect a kiss; 
or,sold the reason,they undream a dream)

one is the song which fiends and angels sing: 
all murdering lies by mortals told make two. 
Let liars wilt,repaying life they’re loaned;
we(by a gift called dying born)must grow 

deep in dark least ourselves remembering 
love only rides his year. 
All lose,whole find
                         (--poem by e.e. cummings)
A last line worth being called that.

A whole poem worthy of such a last line.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Wind and fog


Rain and whitecaps in Rockport Harbor.


The oddity of 60 degrees temperature swing in two days.


In gale winds Timberwind strains to hold.


No dinghies. No skiffs. No sloops.

la atención la atención si se quiere...

Richard liked to remind us,"What you put your attention on, you become."

The three wise men or kings or visitors from the East read the stars and discerned where to travel resulting in their finding, the story goes, the baby with its mother and father in humble circumstances. Once there, they gave presents, attended to the appearance of this curious ordinariness, then departed with whatever it was they experienced, returning home, avoiding the authorities, settling, one supposes, back into their everyday routines with little further chronicling of their curiosities.


 Traveller, There Is No Path
                               by Antonio Machado:

Everything passes on and everything remains,
But our lot is to pass on,
To go on making paths,
Paths across the sea.

I never sought glory,
Nor to leave my song
In the memory of man;
I love those subtle worlds,
Weightless and graceful,
As bubbles of soap.

I like to watch as they paint themselves
In sunlight and scarlet, floating
Beneath the blue sky, trembling
Suddenly then popping…

I never sought glory.

Traveller, your footprints
Are the path and nothing more;
Traveller, there is no path,
The path is made by walking.

By walking the path is made
And when you look back
You'll see a road
Never to be trodden again.

Traveller, there is no path,
Only trails across the sea…

Some time past in that place
Where today the forests are dressed in barbs
A poet was heard to cry
"Traveller, there is no path,
The path is made by walking…"

Beat by beat, verse by verse…

The poet died far from home.
He lies beneath the dust of a neighbouring land.
As he walked away he was seen to weep.
"Traveller, there is no path,
The path is made by walking…"

Beat by beat, verse by verse…
When the goldfinch cannot sing,
When the poet is a pilgrim,
When prayer will do us no good.
"Traveller, there is no path,
The path is made by walking…"

Beat by beat, verse by verse.

(Translated by Asa Cusack)

At practice last night we also read from Panikkar.

Raimon Panikkar (1918-2010) wrote:
I have given myself nine rules, or sutras: 
1. Begin with myself (not trying to change others).  
2. Begin within myself (hence, without impetus from outside). 
3. Open myself to the whole of reality (not a 'specialized' spirituality). 
4. Begin where I myself am...no waiting for the ideal point of departure. For eg: once I have money, once I get married etc... 
5. Do not consider the consequences. Here one needs a pure heart: otherwise one will be afraid. No one can calculate all consequences ahead of time, not even a computer.  
6. Be in solidarity - hence not in isolation. Solitude need not mean isolation. Solidarity can mean group, family, friends, whatever. 
7. Be self-motivated - hence, without outside help, without predetermination, without a fixed goal. The true self can never be motivated by a goal! 
8. Be non-violent - not straining the will, not wanting to overcome anything. Otherwise one is merely repressing constantly. 
9. Always make a fresh start.  
(--from A Dwelling Place for Wisdom, by Raimon Panikkar p.156)

It is an epiphany of the Epiphany we long for.


A good day to watch. A good day to listen.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Twenty degrees


What once would be thought freezing is today felt as heat wave.


Funny how the body adjusts to winter!

Manifestation, Epiphany


It is said when something appears to our consciousness that it came from nowhere, and, bingo! There is is!

Not unlike the immense, intense, and intimate Cosmos -- which is the realizing presence/absence of The Whole, apparent/hidden, deeply within and completely beyond what we call Being, Existence, Becoming Itself. Similar to the Christ  -- which, it might be said, is the Cosmos manifesting its divine source of inner energy, Love Itself. Not unlike the subtle evanescence and mysterious permeation of this felt intuition, recognizing spiritual companioning, ungraspable insinuating connectivity, that we sometimes call (I don't know) Presence Itself.

Being, Existence, Becoming Iteslf.
Love Itself.
Presence Itself.

This, all this, as they say: Showing Itself.

THE MANIFESTATION  
Many arrivals make us live: the tree becoming
Green, a bird tipping the topmost bough,
A seed pushing itself beyond itself,
The mole making its way through darkest ground,
The worm, intrepid scholar of the soil --
Do these analgies perplex? A sky with clouds,
The motion of the moon, and waves at play,
A sea-wind pausing in a summer tree. 

What does what it should do needs nothing more.
The body moves, though slowly, toward desire.
We come to something without knowing why. 
                                                                             (--Poem by Theodore Roethke, 1904-1963)
It is the Feast of Epiphany (typically on the 6th, Little Christmas, but reformatted to fit the Sunday-Spirituality Roundup).

Roethke grasped it. His final three lines a koan of unceasing contemplation.

Of course everything, the universe, existence, being, becoming, love, presence -- are all strange to us. We long, exquisitely long, for each of them, each of these manifestations.

But so is "God" strange. Our longing, our desire to realize the incomparable gaze of kindly belonging, is the stuff of inconsolable beauty and irreparable stillness.

Today is the day to consider the untouchable desire to realize what we are, what this is, what child is this of our acquainting encounter.

And pause a while.

A little while longer.

Ah, yes, another few seconds.

To quietly gaze at the nothing we are, the everything we are, the showing of oneself to itself as itself.

Happy, (profoundly trusting), Epiphany!