Wednesday, August 16, 2017

our national disenchantment

DT45 seems offensive to sensitivities the United States tries to cultivate. Fairness, justice, humane values, kindness, ability to work with differing views toward common outcomes.

A notable topsy-turvy vertigo wafts over airways attempting to parse the message delivered from the chief executive of the US government about matters that touch intimately on racial, religious, cultural, business interests and safety of the populace.

The old battlegrounds of our national disenchantment are being readied for fresh bloodshed.

It doesn't seem there is a recognizable moral compass that is serving to steer this country through the storm roiling through the damp consciousness churning to the surface disrupting the polite disinterest and indifference of ordinary day to day routine.

And so we live, and so we die.

Does it matter?

Civility? Compassion? Decency?

He is not right. He is not a real man engaged in real governance. He is not really the right man for the job of president of the United States.

He should abdicate.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

the need to transform God

Here’s what we’ve overlooked -- if God oversees and looks into and peers out from everything and everybody, then God is not other than what is seen, what is seeing, and what is looking itself.

Namely, the whole of it.

We’ve been taken with the idea that “the whole” is the perfect and the complete. What we’ve overlooked is that the whole contains within it both the good and the bad, the compassionate and the malicious, the peace and the hostility.

The ancient Hebrew Scriptures telling of the smote and the smiting, the carnage of enemies, the slaying of firstborn, and the crucifixion of a good man -- these are not aberrations or naive postulations of an un-evolved spirituality. These are the telling of what is part of the whole.

Preachers like to tell us we are sinful -- as if this is aberration of some primal state of grace and innocence that was smashed when some act (apple, snake, expulsion) ruined our nature and occasioned the finding of lumber to build confessionals and the church structure surrounding them.  The coffers of mega-churches bulge with grace offerings of twenty dollar bills for smiling pastors who tell us that God loves prosperity and being born-again into the waters of goodness, silk suits, and multi-million dollar homes.

But this dualism is only a convenient narrative to bolster up an error much more primal than the Adam/Eve myth.

The error is the partializing. The dividing. The fragmenting. The bifurcating. Of the whole. Of reality as it is.

Hence: God and Satan; good and evil; right and wrong; blessing and curse; liberal and conservative; Obama and Trump; unifier and divider.

But what if we began to understand a more basic view that says the whole contains it all -- all the contradictory, perplexing, antagonistic, complimentary, and ambiguous forces at work in this material existence, physical universe, and psychological perception therein?

Would our view of God change?

And if so, would we be capable of avoiding the simplistic siphoning out of states, conditions, structures in such a way that posits factions of antagonism, realms of sins, and blessings of grace as rigidified oppositions and irreparable realms of warfare?

“God” might be looked at in a new appreciation of complexity as the choice to transform all latency within us into beneficial action outside us (so to speak). It is not a “war” between flesh and the spirit -- it is a recognition of ego-driven desire and a transforming of it into empathetic consequence benefiting everything and everyone surrounding.

Do some whites hate blacks? Do some Americans hate immigrants? Do some Republicans hate Democrats?


But that hate is not far from love. Nor is the desire to punch someone far from the need to hug that someone.

The original “stuff” of the universe is the original “stuff” of each one of us. Fierce forces pulsing to emerge out into appearance for purposes that evade our understanding.

But we are also emerging as sentient, cognizant, and enlightened beings capable of reflecting, restoring, and transforming what is emerging into something beneficial, caring, and pragmatically communal.

By transforming what is emerging we transform God.

As the existentialists of the 20th century pointed out, existence precedes essence. Everything, everything is in the process of origination, development, formation, reflection, assessment, transformation, and rinse, repeat, restore, refine, and recur. It is a human way of experiencing what we have called the Diving Mystery.

If you feel you love God, love the process of becoming human.

As Nikos Kazantzakis once pointed out, we need to become the Saviors of God.

I cite Kazantzakis and Irenaeus because they come to mind.
Underlying Irenaeus’ thought is the very simple, utterly amazing assertion that stands at the beginning of St. John’s Gospel: “The Word became flesh.” Or as Irenaeus puts it: “The only true and steadfast Teacher, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, through his transcendent love, became what we are, that he might bring us to be what he is himself” (Against Heresies, Book 5, preface). The first Christians had a very clear understanding of the unity of everything. As humans, we are one with the whole material world. All that exists is created and kept in being by the love of God, the maker of all things. The act of bridging the immense gulf between God and the physical cosmos, drawing human beings into a life like his, was no haphazard afterthought; it had been the plan and intention of divine Love from the outset. It is as we are that we are loved, for what we can become through the communion that God offers. Sharing the light of God’s eternal love, we discover that truly we are all made for a life that we never imagined possible.  (--from, A PORTRAIT, Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Taize) 
And then there is Dogen:
There are three points about Dogen’s view of reality to keep in mind here; first: “The whole of existence-and-time is our real body-mind, our ‘true self;’” second: “Every particular thing, in all space and time, that could—in any way, shape, or form—be known (experienced in any way) is, and by Dogen’s definition, must be, a real thing,” and third: “The only real things are mind (or, mental) things.” 
Thus, according to Dogen’s logic, “Since all real things are mind, all mind things are real.” One major implication of this view is that the universe and the self are coexistent, coextensive, and coeternal. To utilize one of Dogen’s favorite modes of expression, “Sentient beings fashion the universe, the universe fashions sentient beings, the universe fashions the universe, the universe universes the universe.”   (--from,  Zen Buddhism Dogen and the Shobogenzo, a blog  by Ted Biringer)
God longs for transformation. Humans long for transformation. God longs for the human. The human longs for God. Transformation longs for transformation.

And so it goes. 

Assumption of Mary

                                (a haiku)

There's nowhere to go

Once you've seen God-everyone

Might as well stay here

Monday, August 14, 2017

some flowers do not disappear from the heart

Fifty years ago Thomas Merton wrote about 2017:
The problem as I see it is no longer merely political or economic or legal or what have you (it was never merely that).
It is a spiritual and psychological problem of a society which has developed too fast and too far for the psychic capacities of its members, who can no longer cope with their inner hostilities and destructiveness. They can no longer really manage their lives in a fully reasonable and human way - only by resort to extreme and possibly destructive maneuvers.

A nuclear arms race.

A race to get on the moon.

A stupid war in Asia that cannot be won by either side.

An affluent economy depending on built-in obsolescence and the ever increasing consumption of more goodies than anyone can comfortably consume.

A bored, ambivalent over-stimulation of violence and sex.

We are living in a society which for all its unquestionable advantages and all its fantastic ingenuity just does not seem to be able to provide people with lives that are fully human and fully real.

There are wonderful people in it, and it is a marvel we are not ten times crazier than we already are, but we have to fact the fact that we live in a pretty sick culture. Now if in this sick society, where there are a lot of very scared, very upset, very unrealistic people who feel themselves more and more violently threatened, everyone starts buying guns and preparing to shoot each other up (remember the fuss about the gun in the fallout shelter in 1962), we are going to have an unparalleled mess. The result may eventually be that people will decide that the only way to maintain some semblance of order will be the creation of a semifascist state with storm troopers and, yes, concentration camps.
(-Thomas Merton, from an essay, “The Hot Summer of Sixty-Seven”, in a collection of Merton essays by William Shannon, “Passion for Peace". pp. 293-294)
At Sunday Evening Practice we listened to Pema Chodron tell the story of the youth (10-11yrs old) Chôgyam Trungpa’s first encounter with a fork, and his being told that he will one day teach the people who use such an implement and he would find they’d be more interested in remaining asleep than waking up. (He would later say,  “Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment.”)

I was reminded of the time I spent with Fr. Adrian Van Kaam in 1966 at a 3-4 day seminar in Portsmouth NH.
Adrian van Kaam was a Dutch Roman Catholic priest, a psychologist and a contemporary of Corrie ten Boom.  Though they most likely never met, van Kaam did within the Roman Catholic community what Corrie ten Boom did in the Protestant community to assist Jews in escaping the Nazi tyranny of World War II.  He himself was caught behind enemy lines during the Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944.  During this time, people from across denominational lines came to him for spiritual counsel.  As he sought God’s guidance for ministering to people under horrible circumstances, the seeds were planted which eventually blossomed into a comprehensive model of spiritual formation that he later entitled Formative Spirituality.  His model is oceanic in breadth and depth and increasing numbers of non-Catholics are benefiting from his scholarly work.     ... 
This journey into the detailed metatheory and intricate metalanguage of the van Kaamian model has provided me with a comprehensive model for integrating Christianity and psychology.  The model integrates the anthropology and the science of formation along with the theology of formation.  Van Kaam’s model is informed by the pre and post-reformation writings of the Christian spiritual masters.  The time it has taken to revisit the thinking of van Kaam and Muto has borne fruit for me personally and professionally beyond anything I would have imagined and I would like to share some of his concepts with you in the hope that they will stimulate your thinking and complement your work and perhaps motivate some readers to pursue training in van Kaam’s model. 
The concept of “detached curiosity and formative receptivity” is introduced by van Kaam in his work Religion and Personality.  It has been helpful for my clients to learn to detach from both external events and internal responses that are troubling to them.  Van Kaam encourages people to develop a detached curiosity as if interviewing themselves to better understand their reactions and internal dissonance.  Detached curiosity fosters an appraisal of the meaning of those exterior and interior events.  Formative receptivity is an attitude that helps a person recognize opportunities for spiritual formation when dissonance or a loss of peace identify an area of one’s character that God might want to transform or reform in his or her life.   Van Kaam offers a detailed “appraisal process” for people to intelligently guide themselves to a place where they open themselves to the transforming intervention whereby God forms their Christian character.  In a very pastoral way, van Kaam brings people to a place where they, “appreciatively abandon themselves to the Mystery” of God’s formative action. 
Another helpful van Kaamian concept is that of a “foundational life form.”  This term relates to the idea that God had us in His mind and that He loved us before He created the world (Ephesians 1:4-6; Psalm 139:13-16, NLT).  He made each of us a unique design (form) of the image of God.  Of course, we know that the form that God had of us in His mind was deformed by the fall.  Now, van Kaam encourages believers to see that God is in the process of reforming them or transforming them back into the form of the image of God which He originally intended us to be and this constitutes the purpose of spiritual formation.
(--from, The Formative Spirituality Model of Adrian van Kaam, by William Roth,  Th.M., Psy.D. He is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Loma Linda University School of Medicine). 
The experience of those four days with Van Kaam in a Portsmouth school, sitting on playground eating lunch in circle of formative souls, and meeting a Sister of Assumption, Jo-Ann, learning that psychological integrity was isomorphic (my term) with traditional spirituality, was a subterranean foundation for the many years of confusion and inquiry, practice and conversation to follow.

Merton introduced me to Robert Lax whose lifestyle and poetry remain foundational and interesting.

Perhaps Sandoz in Russell’s The Sparrow, and Gene Pitney initial singing -- (”Only Love Can Break a Heart” is the title of a popular song from 1962, performed by the American singer-songwriter Gene Pitney. The song was written by Hal David (words) and Burt Bacharach (music) and appears on Pitney’s second album Only Love Can Break a Heart., Wikipedia) -- reveal that a broken heart might be the signature and curious gift of God and love.

It is one of the gifts I’m willing to return to giver. (Disambiguation.) I am not a good receiver. 

Perhaps the shape and discourse of contemporary political and social culture is a coarsened reminder that we are not well-formed nor well-versed in the integration of spirituality and psychological integrality.

We are ill-behaved brats shouting our wants in crowded places. We believe our half-baked ideologies are balm for tortured psyches crying out for narcissistic satisfaction.

We go on. 

after an
he rolls
in his
me two
in the
for ‘no
(in the
(--from poem, Kalymnos: November 29, 1968BY ROBERT LAX)
My love for that dear soeur d’assumption, begun summer 1966, never diminished. 

She died this past November. 

Some flowers do not disappear from the heart.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

trying to remember what I’ve lost

The thief left it behind
by Ryokan
              English version by Stephen Mitchell, Original Language Japanese

The thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window.

(-- from The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry, by Stephen Mitchell)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

motionless in a far corner

Hosea, the 8th century BC Hebrew  prophet, wrote, 
"...since what I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts." (Hosea 5)
A commentator added:
God did not seek sacrifices and holocausts, but faith, and obedience, and righteousness, for the sake of their salvation. As God said, teaching his will through Hosea the prophet, What I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts. Our Lord taught the same, saying If you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless. Thus he bore witness to the truth of the prophets’ teachings while convicting the people of culpable folly. 
(--from, Irenaeus, Against the Heresies, Office of Readings, Saturday 12aug17)
We seem to be caught between sacrifice and holocaust. We seem estranged from mercy and knowledge.

"Mercy" is defined as "compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone it is within your power to punish or harm."

It is a time of the world when mercy seems scarce. Those in power, or those filching power by threatening the wellbeing of another with threat of violence, perhaps, feel it suggests weakness to promulgate peace and mercy.

Is this part of the evolution of understanding men have regarding God -- the movement from sacrificial death to compassionate life?

Sitting in a room with someone dying one does not think of punishment or harm. Rather, the wish for peaceful transition and arrival home -- however that translates into here into now.

In the novel The Sparrow by Mary Doris Russell, there is a description of a conversation following the question, "Do you experience God?"
 John responds, "Not directly. Not as a friend or a personality, I suppose." John examined himself. "Not, I think, even 'in a tiny whispering sound.'" He watched the flames for a while. "I would have to say that I find God in serving His children. 'For I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you cared for me, imprisoned and you came to me.'" 
The words lingered in the air as the fire popped and hissed softly. Sandoz had stopped pacing and stood motionless in a far corner of the room, his face in shadows, firelight glittering on the metallic exoskeletons of his hands. "Don't hope for more than that, John," he said. "God will break your heart." And then he left.
(--p. 50)
Good words. Haunting words.

I leave hospice room with questions for God, uncertain where to pose them.

I bow to my companioned sister with whom I've sat these four hours -- diminishing energy sometimes restless, sometimes resting, now still and quiet at dusk.

I wonder how we have managed to formulate the inscrutably-beyond with such narrative certainty of nothing to hold on to.

Nothing, that is, but trust. And that trust? One steeped in unverifiable presence. Longing chastened by soundless stillness.

I drive in silence most of the way northeast. 

Saturday, 6:44am

Morning fog.  Softening gray. Unmoving green. Chickadee arcs.

no belief beyond belief


And absurd.

The belief

That belief



It's trust --

Just trust

Sustains us

In face of

Insanity and


Thursday, August 10, 2017

bye gones

Hold nothing.
So first, you must become one. If you can become one then slowly your eyes open, then ears, tongue, body, and mind open. Open mind is Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi means that the truth appears. Sky is blue, tree is green, dog is barking woof woof, floor is yellow, cushion is brown - everything is the truth. What is not the truth? Everything is the truth! Before nothing - attain nothing. Nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing. Then next attain truth. If you attain the truth, then what? Then the Heart Sutra says: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha. That means together action. Together action is to help all beings. And not only in this life; life, after life, after life continue to try, try, try. That's our direction. 
This world is stupid. If you watch television, or listen to the radio, you will hear politicians say, "I am this and this and this. You choose me and I will do this, I have this and this." But what do they really have? Ha ha. "I, I, I, I," then "I, I, I, I." Ha ha. That's stupid! "I, I, I, I." But we have no "I." Very important is to take away this "I." Then WOW, I understand my job! Only help all beings. 
Usually human beings are always checking: "I could become famous, I could have a lot of money." Then their "I, I, I, I" becomes stronger and stronger. That's a problem. Look at animals. Animals never help each other. Mother or father helps a little baby animal, but when they grow up, watch it! That's animal mind. A dog doesn't understand a cat's mind. A cat doesn't understand a snake's mind. A snake doesn't understand a bug's mind. They don't understand each other. It's like the Soviet Union: BOOM! it disappears. Then many countries appear with many countries fighting each other. Many problems. That's our human world: only my opinion, my condition and my situation. Only holding, holding, holding - many problems.  
(--from Kwan Seum Bosal’s Hat BY ZEN MASTER SEUNG SAHN, Closing talk at Mu Sang Sa temple for the 2000 Summer Kyol Che)
Put it all down.

That’s what the Zen Master would say.

Be gone.

Let the gones go.

Then, bye gones. 

when yes calls for no

Do I think things will get worse?

Am I becoming profoundly skeptical?

Is there reason to suspect the current crowd in Washington DC are dangerously unreliable?




Wednesday, August 09, 2017

disarmingly present -- a way through

Dropping nuclear bomb on Nagasaki is unforgivable.

As is stupidity of any kind done in name of egotism and solipsism.

We need a new sense of pragmatic prayer and personal wisdom.

Idiots will always be with us.

We need not to be either an idiot or stupid mindless sycophant.

We begin here and now an arriving home at radical truth and fearless love.

Christ ...

Let us pray!

night watch


and all



Tuesday, August 08, 2017

there's a shadow

The 9th of August, Nagasaki.

This immense, unnecessary, bomb.

Precedent for what the current president and North Korea portend.

The horror of the prospect!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Shadow on the Rock

by Daniel Berrigan, S.J.

At Hiroshima there’s a museum
and outside that museum there’s a rock,
and on that rock there’s a shadow.
That shadow is all that remains
of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945
when the nuclear age began.
In the most real sense of the word,
that is the choice before us.
We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation,
or we will become Shadows On the Rock.

(Image: “Human Shadow Etched in Stone,” relocated and preserved at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum)
(--from, louie, louieExploring contemplative awareness in daily life, drawing from and with much discussion of the writings of Thomas Merton, aka “Father Louie”. 

three by angelus silesius

The rose is without 'why'; 
it blooms simply because it blooms. 
It pays no attention to itself, 
nor does it ask whether anyone sees it.

A monk asks: Is there anything 
more miraculous than the wonders of nature?
The master answers:Yes, 
your awareness of the wonders of nature.

Time is of your own making;
Its clock ticks in your head.
The moment you stop thought
Time too stops dead.

Angelus Silesius

(c. 1624 – 9 July 1677), born Johann Scheffler and also known as Johann Angelus Silesius, was a German Catholic priest and physician, known as a mystic and religious poet. Born and raised a Lutheran, he adopted the name Angelus (Latin for "angel" or "heavenly messenger") and the epithet Silesius ("Silesian") on converting to Catholicism in 1653.[1]

ohne warum

Funny story:

This man

was born




Monday, August 07, 2017

ama nescire, ama nesciri

Are you happy you were born?



I don't know why.

Are you worried about dying?


Why not?

I don't know why not.

because we have to

Buddhism by any other name.
“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.” W. Somerset Maugham
Life by any other phrase.
   13. "So it goes" 
Unlike many of these quotes, the repeated refrain from Vonnegut's classic Slaughterhouse-Five isn't notable for its unique wording so much as for how much emotion—and dismissal of emotion—it packs into three simple, world-weary words that simultaneously accept and dismiss everything. There's a reason this quote graced practically every elegy written for Vonnegut over the past two weeks (yes, including ours): It neatly encompasses a whole way of life. More crudely put: "Shit happens, and it's awful, but it's also okay. We deal with it because we have to."  
(--from, 15 things Kurt Vonnegut said better than anyone else ever has or will,, By Scott Gordon , Josh Modell , Noel Murray , Tasha Robinson , and Kyle Ryan, Apr 24, 2007  4:20 AM
 Practice by any other room to room ritual.

The sick, the dying, the imprisoned by any other work of mercy.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

lens of hiroshima

Christ and Krishna


And we are left

To figure out

What we are

Looking through

Saturday, August 05, 2017


Sitting with the dying

Saturday night


Friday, August 04, 2017

on way to poetry

what if

all prayer

is a calling


from the one

being prayed


what is


prayed for

what do you think

Prayer is funny.

You think God

And say

What is thought

Thursday, August 03, 2017

one must say ‘yes’ where one really can

This from Louie, Louie, a mailing from by :

Posted: 02 Aug 2017 07:06 AM PDT
Photo by Thomas Merton
 "If I can unite in myself the thought and devotion of Eastern and Western Christendom, the Greek and the Latin Fathers, the Russian and the Spanish mystics, I can prepare in myself the reunion of divided Christians.

"From that secret and unspoken unity in myself can eventually come a visible and manifest unity of all Christians.

"If we want to bring together what is divided, we cannot do so by imposing one division upon the other. If we do this, the union is not Christian. It is political and doomed to further conflict. We must contain all the divided worlds in ourselves and transcend them in Christ."

- Thomas Merton, "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander", p. 12
Posted: 02 Aug 2017 06:59 AM PDT
From the People Board of Blue Eyed Ennis; Photo by aleshurik (Flickr)

"The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes’ to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.

"I will be a better Catholic, not if I can refute every shade of Protestantism, but if I can affirm the truth in it and still go further. So, too, with the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists, etc.

"This does not mean syncretism, indifferentism, the vapid and careless friendliness that accepts everything by thinking of nothing. There is much that one cannot ‘affirm’ and ‘accept,’ but first one must say ‘yes’ where one really can. If I affirm myself as Catholic merely by denying all that is Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., in the end I will find that there is not much left for me to affirm as a Catholic: and certainly no breath of the Spirit with which to affirm it."

- Thomas Merton, Conjectures of A Guilty Bystander (NY: Doubleday and Company, 1966), p. 144.

then one becomes liberated in life

In its mind the slender cat is in some primordial jungle where enemies slither and stalk against her.

The waking white dog raises his head as she races across bed to flee or fight an encroaching foe and she hisses and bares teeth toward his ragamuffin drowse.

Rattled, he is wide-eyed and on edge as the interior feline movie of the wild cat rolls on. She tears out bedroom door.

He inches closer to my chair staring at the foreign land of another’s incomprehensible dream.
Paingala Upanishad 
Translated by Dr. A. G. Krishna WarrierPublished by The Theosophical Publishing House, Chennai 
Om! That (Brahman) is infinite, and this (universe) is infinite. 
The infinite proceeds from the infinite. 
(Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe), 
It remains as the infinite (Brahman) alone. Om! Let there be Peace in me! 
Let there be Peace in my environment! 
Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me! 
I-1. Then indeed Paingala approached Yajnavalkya as a disciple, and, having served him for twelve years, said: Instruct me in regard to the supreme mystery of Aloneness.
I-2. The eminent Yajnavalkya replied: Dear one, in the beginning this indeed existed. It was the eternally free, immutable, everlastingly one, secondless Brahman, full of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss.
I-3. In it existed the primordial and indefinable Prakriti, consisting of Gunas in a state of equipoise, red, white and dark, resembling (the existence of) water, silver, a man and outlines (respectively) in the mirage oyster-shell, a stump and a mirror; what was reflected in it was the Witness Consciousness.
I-4. Having been modified, with the preponderance of Sattva, and named Avyakta (the Unmanifest), it (Prakriti) became the power of concealment. What was reflected in it became God Consciousness. He has Maya under His control, is omniscient, is the initial cause of creation, sustenance and dissolution (of the world) and has the form of the sprouting world. He manifests the entire world dissolved in Him. Due to the power of the Karmas of living beings is the (world) spread out like this cloth and due to their exhaustion again is (the world) concealed. In Him alone does the entire world exist as a folded cloth.
II-17. As a result of past good deeds, at the end of many lives, men seek liberation. Then resorting to a teacher of Self-realization and (faithfully) serving him long one inquiries into bondage and liberation.
II-18. Bondage results from lack of inquiry; liberation results from inquiry. Therefore investigate at all times. One's own nature may be determined through superimposition and its repudiation. Therefore always inquire (into the nature of) the individual Self and the supreme Self. When the state of Jiva [Jiva is a living being, or any entity imbued with a life force] and that of the world are sublated, Brahman alone, non-different from the inner Self, remains.
III-1-2. Then Paingala said to Yajnavalkya: Set forth the explanation of the major text(s) [Maha-vakyas]. Yajnavalkya replied: Thou art That; Thou That art; Thou Brahman art; I am Brahman - One should meditate thus.
III-3. The expressed sense of the word 'tat' is the world-cause, marked by 'other-ness' (mediacy), having Being, Consciousness and Bliss as his characteristics, Maya as his adjunct and omniscience, etc., as his features. The very same with awareness mixed up with the inner sense, the object of the I-notion, is the expressed meaning of 'tvam'. Rejecting the adjuncts of the supreme (God) and the Jiva, viz.: Maya and avidya, the indicated sense of tat and tvam is Brahman, non-different from the inner Self.
III-4. 'Hearing' is investigation into the import o propositions like 'That Thou art' and 'I am Brahman'. Reflection is the exclusive dwelling on the content of what has been heard. Meditation is the fixing of the mind one-pointedly on the reality, made doubtless through investigation and reflection. Concentration, resembling a flame in a windless spot, is the thought (chitta) whose content is solely the object meditated, exclusive of the agent, and the act, of meditation.
III-5. Then (mind's) modifications referring to the Self, though shooting up, remain uncognised; they are only inferred from memory. By this (Samadhi) alone are dissolved Crores of deeds accumulated in the course of beginningless transmigratory existence. Through skilful practice, thence, then, flow, in a thousand ways, streams of nectar. Therefore, the best knowers of Yoga call (this) Concentration dharmamegha, cloud of virtues. When the meshes of latent impressions are entirely obliterated by virtue of it and the accumulation of deeds, good and evil, pulled up by their roots, the proposition (whose content was) earlier mediated on generates unimpeded and immediate realization (resembling, in its certitude) the gooseberry in the palm (of one's hand). Then one becomes liberated in life.
IV-3. Know the Self to be the rider in the chariot; the body verily to be the chariot; the intellect to be the charioteer and the mind to be the reins.
IV-4. The senses, the wise say, are the horses; the objects are what they range over; the hearts are the moving many-storeyed mansions.
IV-5. The great sages aver that the Self combined with sense-organs and mind is the experiencer. Therefore in the heart, immediately, is Narayana well-established.
IV-6. Upto (the exhaustion of) the operative deeds, the homeless liberated Self, behaves like the Slough of a snake, like the moon (in the sky).
IV-7. Shedding the body in a holy spot or (may be) in the home of an eater of dog's flesh, (the liberated one) attains Isolation.
IV-8. Afterwards, make an offering of his body to the cardinal points or bury (his body). Mendicancy is prescribed for the male, never for the other....
IV-12. When with the knowledge, 'I am That!' 'I am That' -- I, whose mind is pure essence, is pure Spirit, is long-suffering - wisdom is won, when the object of knowledge, the supreme Self, is established in the heart; when the body is dissolved in the state of achieved Peace, then one becomes destitute of the luminous mind and intellect.
IV-29. Whoso studies the Upanishad as a rule (every day) is purified by fire (as it were); by air; by the sun; by Vishnu; by Rudra. He has bathed in all sacred waters. He is versed in all the Vedas; has performed all the sacred rites taught by all the Vedas. He has ritually muttered Lacs of Itihasas and Puranas and one Lac times Rudra's (tantras). He has muttered a million times the sacred syllable, OM. He redeems ten generations of his line, past and future. He purifies the rows of diners of which he is a number. He becomes great. He is purged of the sins of Brahmin-slaughter, drink, stealth, adultery with (even a) teacher's spouse and of association with those who are guilty of these.
IV-30. That supreme Status of Vishnu spread out, like an eye, in the sky, the enlightened ones always behold.
IV-31. The wise, ever vigilant and diligent in praise richly glorify That supreme Status of Vishnu.
IV-32. OM-Truth - This is the secret teaching.
Om! That (Brahman) is infinite, and this (universe) is infinite.The infinite proceeds from the infinite.(Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe),It remains as the infinite (Brahman) alone. Om! Let there be Peace in me!Let there be Peace in my environment!Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me!
Here ends the Paingalopanishad belonging to the Sukla-Yajur-Veda. 
[Note: The date or author of Paingala Upanishad is unclear, but given its style and the texts it references, it is likely an early medieval era text because the 8th-century scholar Adi Shankara refers to it in his bhasya (review and commentary) on Brahma Sutras.[7][8]   (--Wikipedia) ]
Morning moves on.

Loon calls.

What will it be when “one becomes liberated in life”?

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

baptism of heart

And in India.
“God is not an object to be seen, He is the subject. He cannot be seen, He is the Seer, Find this Seer.” ~ Ramana Maharshi – excerpt from THIS, Prose and Poetry of Dancing Emptiness, Sri H.W.L. Poonja. 
Ramana instructed Papaji to re-focus his path and to locate this “seer.” Thus, Ramana pointed Papaji to what is called the direct path, known in India as Advaita (nonduality) Vedanta. Although Ramana never conferred his lineage on anyone, including Papaji, his repeated visits to Ramana’s Ashram in Tiruvannamalai imbued his future teachings with a certain implied credential many Westerners sought. 
In 1966, Papaji retired and settled in Lucknow, India, where he received visitors until his death in 1997. 
An afternoon association with Jayem in Indonesia, with Mooji in Jamaica, and Papaji in India.

So many ways to visit with those who wander close to home. 

epherema kissed


Is how

The dream


A Brooklyn


Some artist

Two muslims

Childhood cousins

The ephemera

kissed and

reference to Loyola

Sumie paper


Where were you


I created

this and

every single


within you?

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

summer slake

The small boy

In Rockport Harbor

Held water hose

By piling

Drinking from spray

and suddenly

August peeks around

calendar, hears crickets, sees

hillside blueberries 

Monday, July 31, 2017

a.m.d.g. (for the greater glory of god)

The Jesuits have a way of being annoyingly smart and morally active.

Ignatius saw to it.

We need to as well:
All of us ought to be haunted by the words of Nadine Yousif, a lawyer with CODE Legal Aid, a local Michigan organization that coordinated the response to the ICE raids. “Everyone thought this could not apply to us,” she said. 
Yousif’s comment calls to my mind Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem “First they came.” Perhaps each of us should rewrite Niemöller’s poem under the inspiration of Francis and Ignatius. 
Here’s my attempt — readers can certainly add to this incomplete list. 
First they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out because I was not a Muslim. Then they came for the farmworkers, but I did not speak out because I was not a farmworker. Then they came for the African-Americans, but I did not speak out because I was not an African-American. Then they came for people with disabilities, but I did not speak out because I was not a person with a disability. Then they came for scientists, but I did not speak out because I was not a scientist. Then they came after lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and I did not speak out because I was not an LGBT person. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.                                    (--from St. Ignatius, guide us to speak up for others, by   |
Because of Ignatius I think of Dan Berrigan. Because of Dan I think of Dorothy Day:
There she is in 1922 in Chicago, following an abortion, a failed marriage, and two suicide attempts, “fling[ing] herself about” and in love with the pugilistic, alpha-male newspaperman Lionel Moise.  
And there she is in December 1932, on East 15th Street, with Peter Maurin knocking at her door: Maurin, the street philosopher who, Hennessy writes, “didn’t say hello or goodbye, and every time he arrived … began talking where he had left off.” He told Dorothy that he had been looking for her. 
And earlier:
Day was about people, especially poor people, especially those whom she called with some wryness “the undeserving poor,” and the paramount importance of serving them. For her, what the Church defines as Works of Mercy—feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, sheltering the homeless, and so on—were not pious injunctions or formulas for altruism but physical principles, as inevitable as the first law of thermodynamics. Pare her right down to her pith, strip away all her history and biography, and what do you get? A fierce set of cheekbones and a command to love. That’s the legacy of Dorothy Day, and it is endless.   
(--from, A Saint for Difficult People, From bohemian to radical to Catholic activist, Dorothy Day devoted her life to the poor, however unlovable. by James Parker, March 2017 Issue, The Atlantic) 

I met many Jesuits in graduate school. They made learning important.
What St. Francis and St. Dominic have done, that, by God's grace, I will do. (-- Saint Ignatius)
You’ve gotta love a man who references and attributes! 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

taking the turn, pointing toward home

When I arrived the nurses at their station told me there were four deaths since my being there seven days ago. Of the four, I’d spent time in the company of three. I was surprised how this news arrived at my awareness. Working, I’d forgotten to call the house manager to see if a volunteer was needed at the hospice house that evening. I’m glad I was there to hear.
Watching yourself 
After all, to know yourself is to watch your behaviour, your words, what you do in your everyday relationships, that is all. Begin with that and you will see how extraordinarily difficult it is to be aware, just to watch the manner of your behaviour, the words you use to your servant, to your boss, the attitude you have with regard to people, to ideas and to things. Just watch your thoughts, your motives in the mirror of relationship, and you will see that the moment you watch you want to correct; you say, “This is good, this is bad, I must do this and not that.” When you see yourself in the mirror of relationship, your approach is one of condemnation or justification; therefore you distort what you see. Whereas, if you simply observe in that mirror your attitude with regard to people, to ideas and to things, if you just see the fact without judgement, without condemnation or acceptance, then you will find that that very perception has its own action. That is the beginning of self-knowledge.
(--Jiddu Krisnamurti, The Collected Works vol VI p 307)
I watched.

I sat with the sole resident for a spell. I chatted with staff and support volunteer. I had a slice of lemon meringue with those gathered.

Of course it is a hospice residence.

People come to see to the end of their days.
Understanding Hospice
Hospice is not a place – it is a concept of care. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of a patient’s last weeks, days and hours by offering the patient comfort and dignity. Many people associate hospice care with death, however it neither prolongs life nor hastens death. Hospice staff and volunteers provide a specialized knowledge of medical care that addresses all symptoms of a disease, with special emphasis on controlling pain and discomfort. Hospice care also deals with the emotional, social and spiritual impact of the disease on the patient and the patient’s family and friends.
And as a hospice volunteer, I come to be with those who’ve come to this turn in their lives.

Still, the loss we feel as those we’ve shared time and space with take the turn is notable.

I bow to the four empty rooms.

I make my way out into the salt air parking lot where, earlier, four wild turkeys scraped at the wood-chips and mulch adorning the garden plantings. We’d watched them. The dishes from our pie were rinsed and the cups cleaned and placed where they belong.

I slowly motor the curving road of Anchor Drive, turn right, then right again onto Route 1, and point toward home.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

four by machado

      In my solitude
I have seen things very clearly
that were not true.
      Wake up, you poets:
let echoes end,
and voices begin.
      But don’t hunt for dissonance;
because, in the end, there is no dissonance.
When the sound is heard people dance.

      What the poet is searching for
is not the fundamental I
but the deep you.

Friday, July 28, 2017

a stretch of blue smoke

Longing to see God everywhere is longing to see what is real wherever you look.

Not illusion. Not false impression. But, what is real. 
A Monk’s Hut  
Where a track diverges 
North and south of the mountain, 
Pine pollen, 
Soaked with rain, scatters.  
The monk returns to his hut 
With water from a spring, 
And a stretch of blue smoke colors the white cloud.    
- Yi Sung-in (1347-1392) (DailyZen)
The monk’s hut is the surround of what is real.
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (--Psalm 27:4) New International Version
Enter your hut. 

It is holy ground.

Dwell within with quiet joy. 

Even as you go out.