Wallace's Infinite Jest is on the 4th shelf down behind standing lamp. I get to see it because I'm sitting on futon opposite wood stove. I could begin it. But not tonight. There are visitors. They put lobsters in a pot. The white dog searches for green ball. I sip water. It is Saturday. Soon I can go to bed.
Friday, June 27, 2014
The phrase from my sidewalk days, "Cross your heart, hope to die!" takes on new meaning.
The heart is holy.
Stay within it: everything, everyone, dwells in that within.
If hope dies, become its resurrection.
It is the feast of sacred heart(s).
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
John said it was coming. He also was killed by those who thought he was crazy. He dared to speak.
John the Baptist (Hebrew: יוחנן המטביל, Yoḥanan ha-mmatbil, Arabic: يحيى Yahyá or يوحنا المعمدان Yūhannā al-maʿmadān, Aramaic: Yoḥanan) (c. 6 BC– c. 36 AD) was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River. Historians agree he baptized Jesus.John was a historical figure mentioned in each of the Canonical gospels, Aramaic Matthew and by the Jewish historian Josephus. He followed the example of previous Hebrew prophets, living austerely, challenging sinful rulers, calling for repentance, and promising God's justice. John is regarded as a prophet in Christianity, Islam, the Bahá'í Faith, and Mandaeism. Some scholars maintain that he was influenced by the Essenes, who were semi-ascetic, expected an apocalypse, and practiced rituals conferring strongly with baptism, although there is no direct evidence to substantiate this.I come across something written by Chris Hedges that resembles the madness of John the Baptist before Herod:
All four canonical gospels relate John's preaching and baptism in the River Jordan. Most notably he is the one who recognizes Jesus as the Messiah and baptizes him. The baptism marks the beginning of Jesus' ministry. The Gospels of Mark, Matthew and (most clearly) Luke relate that Jesus came from Galilee to John and was baptized by him, whereupon the Spirit descended upon Jesus and a voice from Heaven told him he was God's Son. Their lives (e.g., births) are believed to have been similar, although in Christianity, John is thought of as the last prophet and Jesus as the Messiah.All four canonical gospels relate John's preaching and baptism in the River Jordan. Most notably he is the one who recognizes Jesus as the Messiah and baptizes him. The baptism marks the beginning of Jesus' ministry. The Gospels of Mark, Matthew and (most clearly) Luke relate that Jesus came from Galilee to John and was baptized by him, whereupon the Spirit descended upon Jesus and a voice from Heaven told him he was God's Son. Their lives (e.g., births) are believed to have been similar, although in Christianity, John is thought of as the last prophet and Jesus as the Messiah. ...The faithful believe that John was the last of the Old Testament prophets, thus serving as a bridge between that period of revelation and the New Covenant. They also teach that, following his death, John descended into Hades and there once more preached that Jesus the Messiah was coming, so he was the Forerunner of Christ in death as he had been in life. According to Sacred Tradition, John the Baptist appears at the time of death to those who have not heard the Gospel of Christ, and preaches the Good News to them, that all may have the opportunity to be saved. Orthodox churches will often have an icon of St. John the Baptist in a place of honor on the iconostasis, and he is frequently mentioned during the Divine Services. Every Tuesday throughout the year is dedicated to his memory. http://ecumenicalbuddhism.blogspot.com/2011/01/last-old-covenant-prophet-john-baptist.html
The disintegration of Iraq is irreversible. At best, the Kurds, the Shiites and the Sunnis will carve out antagonistic enclaves. At worst, there will be a protracted civil war. This is what we have bequeathed to Iraq. The spread of our military through the region has inflamed jihadists across the Arab world. The resulting conflicts will continue until we end our occupation of the Middle East. The callous slaughter we deliver is no different from the callous slaughter we receive. Our jihadists—George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle, Thomas Friedman and Tommy Franks—who assured us that swift and overwhelming force in Iraq would transform the Middle East into an American outpost of progress, are no less demented than the jihadists approaching Baghdad. These two groups of killers mirror each other. This is what we have spawned. And this is what we deserve.
(--Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, writes a regular column for Truthdig every Monday. Hedges’ most recent book is "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.")
(Alternet, 6/23/2014, http://www.alternet.org/world/iraqs-destruction-reminder-ugly-face-american-empire page=0%2C2&akid=11948.268057.1M2UH&rd=1&src=newsletter1005992&t=13&paging=off¤t_page=1#bookmark )It is hard to look at the events of 2001 in America and the 2003 invasion of Iraq by America without wondering whether the stories of the New Testament are still being written and undergoing exegesis.
Was the writing of the Gospels a series of one-off best sellers that gathered a large and fervent readership? Or, is the history of peoples, nations, and individuals meant to be included as linked appendages to the work -- a continuing series of sequels and subsequent picaresque episodes of reappearances of the christ in covert identities and masked personage?
Is first century Galilee 21st century Palestine? Is Herod et al Bush et al? Are we dwelling in a repetitive loop of imaginary history that eternally recurs like Dr. Who through time and galaxy?
There is more to John the Baptist than river and dancer and platter.
He is the fierce vision and undying trust that what is coming is worth the bother of being true to what longs for manifestation in hermeneutic and history, vision and visage.
Today I sit with this.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Ah! Morning sun starts out in front room.
It was this very first class on a Monday morning. The wise teacher, a couple of years shy of retirement, started the day by asking her class of high school students: “Here is a quiz for you. You are sleeping. You are dreaming. A big tiger is chasing you. You try to run away and you see a tiger coming in front of you. You turn sideways, but every side you turn to, you find a ferocious animal coming after you. How can you escape?”
There was silence in the classroom. No one dared a response.
So finally the teacher said, “There’s only one answer: Wake up!” (Source | Philip Chircop. This is my own retelling of a story I heard years ago.)
It’s all about waking up. Waking up one enters a whole new world of reality, different from that of the world of dreams. What was a huge problem in the dream state often becomes a non-issue in the waking state.
“Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know, all mystics -Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion — are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.” | Awareness, http://philipchircop.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/wake-up/#comments
A salt doll journeyed for thousands of miles over land, until it finally came to the sea.It was fascinated by this strange moving mass, quite unlike anything it had ever seen before.“Who are you?” said the salt doll to the sea.The sea smilingly replied, “Come in and see.”So the doll waded in.The farther it walked into the sea the more it dissolved, until there was only very little of it left. Before that last bit dissolved, the doll exclaimed in wonder, “Now I know what I am!”Source | Anthony De Mello, Song of the Bird (Image Books, 1984), page 98
We go into prison this morning to listen to what words say. We'll consider that words are salt entering the sea as we enter the silence between one another mulling how different each is from the other. Until we dissolve.
As time goes by we come to realization words are silence grounding us within what can never be spoken but only presented in the entirety of our showing up for the enquiry.
It's the job and joy of the zen master to ring the bell and send us away.
Sunday, June 22, 2014
When my father died thirty nine years ago today, I wrote a koan on front porch, saying the feared intruder had entered the house.
Over the years I wondered what that meant. Tonight, at practice, we read from The World of Silence by Max Picard.
I enter the zen master's room.
It is silence that entered the house in 1975.
I listen for the bell.