Saturday, April 20, 2019

something strange is happening

One doesn't tire of these words.
The Lord's descent into the underworld 
Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear. 
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: "My Lord be with you all." Christ answered him: "And with your spirit." He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: "Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." 
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. 
Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden. 
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree. 
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you. 
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity. 
---
(From an ancient second century homily given on Holy Saturday by Bishop Melito of Sardis, read at vigils this morning at Trappist monastery)

Friday, April 19, 2019

reports and silence

It's not in the past.

It plays out continually --

Killing truth with impunity

a time to contemplate

When God stepped aside to make room for another, creation (our term for the unfolding of reality) entered a new movement of continuance.

When man -- this thinking, willing, feeling being -- came to emerge into the evolving reality, a mistake was made. Seeing so much diversity and difference, man decided to name that diversity and difference 'separation' and began excluding this from that and began to say 'this is good', 'that is bad', and 'some of us need to lord it over others so that some of us will benefit and others will not.'

This is a costly mistake, creating systemic separation, making of diversity and difference a commodity to buy and sell, punish and appropriate.

God, that is, the radical unity of all being and reality, seeing this, had to step into the evolving reality so as to restore the original wholeness that was of a piece and replete with what we have come to call 'love.'

So doing, being-nature becoming born-nature through woman into the creation, God lived, walked, taught, and finally, was punished for this teaching of wholeness, forgiveness, and love. He died. God, in Christ, died through the separation and illusion of man's beliefs and behaviors.

God, now dead to the separated and deluded world, moved through death, returning with wholeness into the creation, promising that this new reality will be the inner core of every being. That inner core of every being, holy breath, spirit of reawaken truth, protector of what is suffusive love deep in the inner life of each one -- is available to those who ask, seek, long for, and enact the face to face actions and trust that is once again our very nature.

It is Good Friday.

It is a time to contemplate. 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

beyond word

If

This

is my body,

then, I am

where you are

and we are

where anything

is

once here, here

To embody

human

being

is to begin

realizing

something of

earth

and cosmos

that does not

end

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

retreat

Let there

be

silence

who I am in each -- (completely different/wholly another)

Spent six hours in Gatekeeper workshop sponsored by the Hospice Council of Maine and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). The presenter was skillful and knowledgeable. Attendees as well.

Toward end of day the words of David Whyte, from elsewhere, quoting the following kept returning to my thoughts:
"Why are you unhappy? 
Because 99.9 per cent 
Of everything you think, 
And of everything you do, 
Is for yourself —  
And there isn’t one.”  
 -- From “Ask The Awakened, The Negative Way” by Wei Wu Wei (Terence James Stannus Gray, 1885-1986)
 It occurred to me that (useless to this day's itinerary) we very ofter labor under an erroneous belief that we exist as separate, isolated beings -- the experience of which is full of pain, anxiety, and suffering.

What is often beyond our understanding is dependent co-origination, the very real interconnection and inter-relationality undergirding our being-in-the-world.

We feel one another's misunderstanding and apprehension often experienced as desolation, depression, and despair over uncertainty and futility in our individual, detached, and seemingly separate existence.

Richard Rohr points out that -- In the beginning was and is the Relationship.

If we forget the ground-reality of what and who we are, we fall into deluded belief in separate self. Ultimately that misunderstanding devours us.

What we are is one-another, a radical reciprocity that depends on what Raimon Pannikar calls a cosmotheandric spirituality -- one wherein divinity, cosmos, and the human come to live and dwell and have their being in a perichoresis of mutuality -- one for the other, one as the other, one within the other.

Our difference is our unique participation in the coherence and compatibility of the ganz andere (completely different/wholly another).

We are not other.

There is no other.

At the hermitage we are monastics of no other (mono).

As the day ended in Augusta Maine yesterday, that is what I was thinking.

Thanks to all present, and those seemingly absent, I learned from each and all about suicide, its prevention, postvention, and who I am in each.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

辱める, komaraseru

I look forward to the time when we will once again not have to cringe when our president says anything anywhere.

Monday, April 15, 2019

standing outside, standing inside -- fire and thrownness

A man who knows philosophy stopped by with his wife this morning. He brought a gift, a limited edition of the Little Flowers of Saint Francis. He introduces me to the American philosopher Alphonso Lingis.

Just now, from Paris France, images of Notre Dame Cathedral burning. A horrendous fire engulfs.

A time of profound ekstasis and enstasis.

These are difficult times.
Ecstasy (from the Ancient Greek κστασις ekstasis, "to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere" from ek- "out," and stasis "a stand, or a standoff of forces") is a term used in Ancient Greek, Christian and Existential philosophy. The different traditions using the concept have radically different perspectives.
... 
 
The term is currently used in philosophy usually to mean "outside-itself". One's consciousness, for example, is not self-enclosed, as one can be conscious of an Other person, who falls well outside one's own self. In a sense consciousness is usually, "outside itself," in that its object (what it thinks about, or perceives) is not itself. This is in contrast to the term enstasis which means from "standing-within-oneself" which relates to contemplation from the perspective of a speculator.[1]  
This understanding of enstasis gives way to the example of the use of the "ecstasy" as that one can be "outside of oneself" with time. In temporalizing, each of the following: the past (the 'having-been'), the future (the 'not-yet') and the present (the 'making-present') are the "outside of itself" of each other. The term ecstasy (German: Ekstase) has been used in this sense by Martin Heidegger who, in his Being and Time of 1927, argued that our being-in-the-world is usually focused toward some person, task, or the past (see also existence and Dasein). Telling someone to "remain in the present" could then be self-contradictory, if the present only emerged as the "outside itself" of future possibilities (our projection; Entwurf) and past facts (our thrownness; Geworfenheit).[2]  
Emmanuel Levinas disagreed with Heidegger's position regarding ecstasy and existential temporality from the perspective of the experience of insomnia.[3] Levinas talked of the Other in terms of 'insomnia' and 'wakefulness'.[4] He emphasized the absolute otherness of the Other and established a social relationship between the Other and one's self.[5] 
Furthermore, he asserted that ecstasy, or exteriority toward the Other, forever remains beyond any attempt at full capture; this otherness is interminable or infinite.[6] This "infiniteness" of the Other would allow Levinas to derive other aspects of philosophy as secondary to this ethic. Levinas writes: 
The others that obsess me in the other do not affect me as examples of the same genus united with my neighbor by resemblance or common nature, individuations of the human race, or chips off the old block... The others concern me from the first. Here fraternity precedes the commonness of a genus. My relationship with the Other as neighbor gives meaning to my relations with all the others.[7] 
...
 [7] As existentialist scholar Alphonso Lingis writes: "Existential philosophy defined the new concepts of ecstasy or of transcendence to fix a distinct kind of being that is by casting itself out of its own given place and time, without dissipating, because at each moment it projects itself — or, more exactly, a variant of itself — into another place and time. Such a being is not ideality, defined as intuitable or reconstitutable anywhere and at any moment. Ex-istence, understood etymologically, is not so much a state or a stance as a movement, which is by conceiving a divergence from itself or a potentiality of itself and casting itself into that divergence with all that it is." —Lingis, Alphonso. "The Imperative," Indiana University Press, 1998. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecstasy_(philosophy) 
Last night at Sunday Evening Practice the words of Richard Kearney about Why remain Catholic? and The Guestbook Project.

I am caught by his observation that the same root word points to both hostility and hospitality. Also that unless there is included the new, the strange, and the different, no belief can thrive in place.

Can we learn to trust in that which stands out, that which stands in, that which appears face to face, changing and transforming, moment to moment? 

lining up

Watching the Masters final round yesterday.

Liked Brooks Koepke.

Can’t help delighting in Tiger Woods win.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

disappearance

The thought occurs after Sunday Evening Practice: Don't diminish difference, acknowledge it.

It is no longer sufficient to say, "We all do it."  That diminishes difference.

Rather say, "Wasn't that different?"

So too with "Black lives matter."  It is insufficient to say, "All lives matter."

Sufficiency is particularity.

Generality is insufficiency.

Difference is difference, it is neither better nor worse.

We cannot perform uniqueness.

No-performance is singularity.

Performance is generic.

Lack of performance is specificity.

To be one's self is not a performance.

To be one's self is disappearance.

go on

Praise and disgrace are twin appearances. Be wary of either. They are not you.

What is you?

You are that which continues despite praise or disgrace.

You carry nothing forward other than the carrying forward of what you are.
.
Jesus got palms. The twin would follow.

We go on.

Not knowing why nearly the whole time.

We go on.

This is what you are --

We going on.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

glad he wrote

There are kindred spirits.
Too lazy to be ambitious,
I let the world take care of itself.
Ten days' worth of rice in my bag;
a bundle of twigs by the fireplace.
Why chatter about delusion and enlightenment?
Listening to the night rain on my roof,
I sit comfortably, with both legs stretched out.
 
― Ryokan (1758-1831)
Mud everywhere.

Soon, in Maine, green grass and colorful flowers.

All by themselves.

his edge, a chip

Trying not to

think

about it

"There's nothing in my head" the golfer said in post second round interview.

A commentator, afterwards, wondered if that were possible.

He was not on his cushion.

His head was full of doubt.

Day three of the Augusta Masters soon to dawn.

Dripping drumroll from roof melt laying down a slow beat.

Friday, April 12, 2019

walking through

Is God that which we walk through?

Is God that Reality through which everything moves and has their being?

The reality of God is the Reality which is God.

It takes no effort to be surrounded by God.

Awareness of this surround is what used to be called spiritual life.

Now, life itself is all that is necessary to realize God.

Wu wei.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

listen, willingly

If you listen.

Intelligently.

Something reveals itself.

 “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” (– Aristotle)

Receiving is one thing. 

Entertaining is one thing

Accepting is another.

Be willing to listen.

We need one-another.

backward and forward

There are times when unusual scholarship about a little noticed topic fits perfectly into an afternoon's reading.

Just as something one way becomes something another way without leaving its original way.
With the emendation restoring the palindrome, the vocalized text of v. 4bcc reads wehäyä he äqöb lëmîsôr wërôsîm lëbiq â, and it means "And the rough landwill become a smooth land, and mountaintops will become a deep valley." Why did the author of Second Isaiah compose a palindrome here in Isa 40:4b, reversing on one side of a pivotal waw the consonants he placed on the other side of that waw? For one thing, Second Isaiah was the sort of person who
     2The original text is the text produced by the author, "the copy [or textual tradition] that contained the finished literary product and which stood at the beginning of the process of textual transmission" (Ε. Τον, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991] 171). The archetype is the text that can be reconstructed from the existing evidence in manuscripts and in ancient versions. Sometimes, there is "a large interval of time between the date of the archetype . . . and the original composition" (ibid., 167).
     2 4 "A diagnostic conjecture is an educated guess, sometimes no more than a filler or place- marker for a corrupt text" (Ronald S. Hendel, The Text of Genesis 1-11: Textual Studies and Critical Edition [New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998] 9). 
         
559 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY I 66, 2004

took delight in chiasms and concentricities generally. 25  He was creative. 26 
Beyond that, Second Isaiah had a particular reason to compose a palindrome at this particular, introductory, point in his work. In the rest of his work he would write of the reversal of historical events, of a return westward from an exile eastward, and he surely saw that a palindrome was, of its very essence, a form expressing reversal, manifesting movement in an opposite direction. Furthermore, in Isa 40:4b he was using the symbolism of geophysical reversal: rough land wouldbecome smooth, high mountains would become deep valleys.


     25 Anitti  Laato ("The Composition of Isaiah 40-55," JBL 109 [1990] 207-28) has shown a5chiastic macrostructure in Isaiah 40-55 as a whole. Freedman ("Structure of Isaiah 40:1-11") has viewed Isa 40:1-11 as a whole made up of a first part (vv. 1-4) and a second part (vv. 6-11) set around a "certerpiece" (v. 5); he has also noticed a reverse order of the divine names in each of the two parts.  
     26 On literary artistry, and on sometimes playful delight in variety as an explanation of variant spellings in the OT, see James Barr, The Variable Spellings of the Hebrew Bible (Schweich Lectures, 1986; Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1989) 194-97.
(from, Palindrome in Isaiah 40:4b: Allowing Restoration of an Original Reading, AELRED CODY, O.S.B. St. Meiηrad Archabbey St. Meinrad, IN 47577 
  560 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY I 66, 2004

The slender cat looks over my shoulder this sunny Thursday anniversary of a time long gone but fondly recalled.

Life together, even if apart, remains life together.

where’s thus

If you don’t know, don’t know —  be grateful.

If you know, know — be humble.

If you neither know nor don’t know, be among us — you are our teacher, our help and salvation.

Who can accept this as what is right before you?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

what words do

There is a new being born whenever two beings step into interrelational presence with one another.

Words marry beings.

We are
Not
Alone.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

and still don’t

Why do

I listen?

I don’t know —

That’s why

Monday, April 08, 2019

buzzer

Virginia, National Champions!

Sunday, April 07, 2019

morphing

1.

He slept last evening

after prune juice

and water

as lullabies played

Brahms and Disney

two weeks until

first birthday.



2.

She slept for

good as wood chair

pulled to side

of bed, I sit --

flickering residue

images of prior

night cable news

no longer of

interest.



3.

The nurse's dog

in main lobby

separates head

from doll's body

as CNA fills notes

her droll words

explaining

everything.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

void does in some marvelous way 'exist'

 Some wonder what will happen following what we've known as religion disappears.
In Anatheism, Richard Kearney sets a path of returning to God "after God". This is a road map for those who have moved intellectually away from the notion of God. Following the hermenutic tradition of Paul Ricoeur, Kearney sets way forward for adherents of the "death of God" theology, French phenomenology and literary deconstruction, to make a theological turn toward a Western and Christian notion of God. This returning to God is not a religious turn, but a hermenutic one. It does not promise salvation or religious certainty, rather shows a way of engaging in the world.  
Kearney analyses the literary tradition of the west as well the Abrahamic tradition. He locates the movement towards God, as lying in hospitality to the stranger and the alien. When we now accept God, we accept him/her as stranger and alien. This movement find its physical reference not in ritual, prayer, existential certainty or wish fulfillment but in the way we engage in the world ― a world that is strange and alien. Anatheism thus lies neither in the spheres of atheism or of theism, but in the yet unexplored lands of A/theism.  
Anatheism is a work of weak theology [*], other authors in this tradition include John Caputo, Peter Rollins and Gianni Vattimo. 
 (--Chris Samuel, (non)Conformist, Answered Jun 11, 2013, Quora) https://www.quora.com/What-is-anatheism
[*] re. weak theology, see Spring 2015 Report on Weak Theology, Westar Institute
Some wonder what will happen following what we've known as self disappears.
Bernadette Roberts' The Experience of No-Self is a remarkable and valuable book. It is an account of an inner journey she went on after many years of trying to live out the Catholic contemplative life, a journey that ended in what she called the experience of no-self. But this very word no-self and an attentive reading of her description of her experiences reveal an inner structure and language that is much closer to Buddhist enlightenment than Christian mystical union, a fact made all the more interesting because the author was not trying to explain herself in Buddhist categories. 
She will say, for example, "Where there is no personal self, there is no personal God." (p. 24) or God "is all that exists... God is all that is." (p. 31) The individuality of the object observed is overshadowed by "that into which it blends and ultimately disappears." (p. 34) What is is that which can neither be subject or object. (p. 67) God is not self-conscious (p. 75) and we must come to "terms with the nothingness and emptiness of existence" (p. 75), which seems equivalent to "living out my life without God." "I had to discover it was only when every single, subtle, experience and idea - conscious and unconscious - had come to an end, a complete end, that it is possible for the truth to reveal itself." (p. 75) 
But if there is no self, "What is this that walks, thinks and talks?" (p. 78) The end of the journey is "absolute nothingness" (p. 81), but "out of nothingness arises the greatest of great realities."(p. 81) It is the "one existent that is Pure Subjectivity" and "there is no multiplicity of existences; only what Is has existence that can expand itself into an infinite variety of forms..." (p. 83) Our sense of self rests on our self-reflection and "when we can no longer verify or check back (reflect) on the subject of awareness, we lose consciousness of there being any subject of awareness at all." (p. 86) This leads to the "silence of no-self." (p. 87) 
1 don't think it is necessary to go to great lengths to draw out Buddhist, especially Zen, parallels to these thoughts. There we will find talk of no-mind, and letting go of body and mind, and the question of who is walking, and the famous saying that emptiness is form and form is emptiness and so forth. Let's let one brilliant passage from Huang Po suffice: "When your glance falls on a grain of dust, what you see is identical with all the vast world-systems with their great rivers and mighty hills. To gaze upon a drop of water is to behold the nature of all the waters of the universe. Moreover, in thus contemplating the totality of phenomena, you are contemplating the totality of Mind. All these phenomena are intrinsically void and yet this Mind to which they are identical is no mere nothingness. By this I mean that it does exist, but in a way too marvelous for us to comprehend. It is an existence that is no existence, a non-existence which is nevertheless existence. So this true Void does in some marvelous way 'exist"'. (The Zen Teachings of Huang Po, P. 108) 
Bernadette Roberts as a Catholic and someone relatively unfamiliar with Buddhism has rendered an important testimony to the universality of this kind of mystical experience. But inevitably, she has had to face the question of its relationship to her own Christian contemplative heritage, and it is here that her conclusions need a careful examination. Since she had a deep life of prayer in the Christian contemplative tradition before she went on this journey that ended in the experience of no-self, it is understandable that she will see this experience as the next stage in the Christian contemplative journey, and a stage that the Christian mystics like John of the Cross know very little about. (The one exception is Meister Eckhart, a predilection which is shared by D.T. Suzuki.) Thus she is forced to put the no-self experience at a level higher than the spiritual marriage described by John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila and therefore place her own experience above that of the Church's mystical doctors. I don't think this interpretation is correct. This mysticism of the no-self, as well as Zen enlightenment, is not a supernatural mysticism that comes from grace and leads to an experience of God's presence and of sharing in His life. It is a very different kind of experience that attains to the absolute, to God, but through emptiness. (For details on this position see God, Zen and the Intuition of Being, and Mysticism, Metaphysics and Maritain, both by James Arraj.)
(--from, Inner Explorations, J. Arraj)  https://www.innerexplorations.com/ewtext/br.htm
That's Arraj.

Here's what Bernadette Roberts (who died November 2017) said:
There is really no great mystery about “self” or man’s self-awareness. The real mystery is the true nature of “what” remains when it is gone – has ceased to function. With the cessation of self-awareness, all the experiential effects it generated are gone in the blink of an eye. And what were these effects? They were the experience of “being”, of life”, “soul”, “energy”, “mind and will”, “interiority” (within-ness), the “affective system”, even theawareness of ”being one with God” all these experiences are suddenly blown out and gone forever! Now there is no center (God) and no circumference (self). In truth, this “blow out”(or cessation) is the only death-experience man will ever experience – could ever have, in fact. So take away self-awareness with all its experiential effects, and the real question becomes what is the true nature of what remains beyond all self?” This is the realmystery of man and the real question he needs to have answered.13 No idea in the mind could ever come up with a satisfactory answer to this mystery, only God can reveal the truenature of “what” remains beyond all self and individuation. Since only the Creator knows the true essence of man’s common human nature, only God can reveal its eternal oneness with God. I have written a book about this revelation, and its title is The Real Christ. 
THE END  
Some food for thought: Some time ago, listening to the quiz show Jeapardy, one of the questions was “What is the name of the German psychiatrist who had a patient say to him,“Doctor, I have no self”? No one on the panel knew the answer - which turned out to be Doctor Alzheimer”. For people who want to get rid of their “self”, at least Alzheimers might be one way to go. 
I have never advocated the idea of "getting rid of self" - why? Because no one knows what self is – until it is gone. Until people get to the Unitive State (what some call their "True Self"), all they know of self has been what Jung called the "ego-self". But who has ever advocated getting rid of the "True self" and its union with God? NOBODY! No human being can go beyond this Unitive State or could even think about doing so. Going beyond one’s (self’s) union with God – in this life at least – is solely God’s doing for God’s own purposes. 
(from, What is Self? A Research Paper by Bernadette Roberts )
Clearly, there's more to mull here.

We will.

I add W.S. Merwin's poem as epilogue:

FOR THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY DEATH 

Every year without knowing it I have passed the day 
When the last fires will wave to me 
And the silence will set out 
Tireless traveler 
Like the beam of a lightless star 
Then I will no longer 
Find myself in life as in a strange garment 
Surprised at the earth 
And the love of one woman 
And the shamelessness of men 
As today writing after three days of rain 
Hearing the wren sing and the falling cease 
And bowing not knowing to what 

-- W. S. Merwin, “For the Anniversary of My Death (1927–2019)
                 (Winner of National Book Award and 2009 Pulitzer Prize)

Friday, April 05, 2019

don't know

This, from Friday afternoon's Poetry, Tea, and Thee at Quarry Hill:

Spring Morning

Where am I going? I don't quite know.
Down to the stream where the king-cups grow-
Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.

Where am I going? The clouds sail by,
Little ones, baby ones, over the sky.
Where am I going? The shadows pass,
Little ones, baby ones, over the grass.

If you were a cloud, and sailed up there,
You'd sail on water as blue as air,
And you'd see me here in the fields and say:
"Doesn't the sky look green today?"

Where am I going? The high rooks call:
"It's awful fun to be born at all."
Where am I going? The ring-doves coo:
"We do have beautiful things to do."

If you were a bird, and lived on high,
You'd lean on the wind when the wind came by,
You'd say to the wind when it took you away:
"That's where I wanted to go today!"

Where am I going? I don't quite know.
What does it matter where people go?
Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.


(--poem by A.A. Milne,)

Thursday, April 04, 2019

one called into a life

Happy to read this piece by Simon Critchley in NYTimes, THE STONE, 3APR19, Athens in Pieces: The Happiest Man I’ve Ever Met.

At our hermitage, these words:


     Embodying the dwelling place of the Alone;
     Stepping aside to make room for Another.

The monastic vocation and practice invites the one called into a life of solitude in the midst of community -- with respect, recollection, and engaged kindness.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

following God

To be alone

with God --

monastic practice.

To be alone

in community --

hermit grace.

To be alone

with the

Alone --

anatheism

we've done here

Communication

is the practice

of listening

and speaking

with one another

toward achieving

clarity moving

into action

benefitting

each

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Monday, April 01, 2019

melt

river

through

Augusta

ice floes

one duck

slaloms 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

song to heal our time

let's look at each other
let's look at each other
let's look at each other

with love

let's listen to one another
let's listen to one another
let's listen to one another

with  light

let's find what is true
let's find what is true
let's find what is true

with no fear

and when we come to see
and when we come to hear
and when we come to feel

there will be peace

hospice house, Saturday evening

1.

In the room

he, not there,

only recently

wife takes guitar

so


2.

In another room

she, not there

hay square meal

lets family

go


3.

In rooms

sitting with

absence realizes

what is

unknown


4.

if asked

after silence

all response

adsum

Saturday, March 30, 2019

dazzle gradually

At Friday Evening Conversation, someone opened for the rest of us the maze-like stretch of E.E.Cummings
My father moved through theys of we, 
singing each new leaf out of each tree 
(and every child was sure that spring 
danced when she heard my father sing) 

then let men kill which cannot share, 
let blood and flesh be mud and mire, 
scheming imagine,passion willed, 
freedom a drug that's bought and sold 

giving to steal and cruel kind, 
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind, 
to differ a disease of same,c
onform the pinnacle of am

(--from poem My Father Moved Through Dooms Of Love , by e e cummings) 
That, and several Emily Dickinson poems made for a delightful hearing and wending conversation.
Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)                                                                                                                                      
                                                  BY  EMILY DICKINSON  
Tell all the truth but tell it slant — 
Success in Circuit lies 
Too bright for our infirm Delight 
The Truth's superb surprise 
As Lightning to the Children eased 
With explanation kind 
The Truth must dazzle gradually 
Or every man be blind — 

We see better in one another's company

Friday, March 29, 2019

direction

Some feel hope is vital for the health of a people.
  1. I hope Robert Mueller has a backup copy of his report.
  2. I hope Donald Trump decides being president is not his cup of tea.
  3. I hope Republicans in House and Senate become fewer and fewer.
  4. I hope paper ballot backups are mandated in the 2020 election.
  5. I hope citizens demand intelligent, ethical, and inspired leadership for the country.
  6. I hope Russia doesn't own the remnants of American democracy.
Hope feels useless.

Action seeks direction.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

no way

The kind Baptist man told us as we carried a hospital bed

to a room above the gymnasium that Jesus was the only way

I asked him which way did Jesus follow

There was no basketball to be found to take a shot

We settled for polite pleasantries until we said goodbye

he going his

we going our

way 

so do we all

There is a disruption in the noosphere

Someone is thinking disorderly

Everyone is off-kilter

Suffering

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

our journey, alone in community

Pope Francis has had some awkward encounters trying to prevent those greeting him from attempting to kiss his ring, a traditional gesture of respect and acknowledgement of authority. It appears he'd like a more humble expression of relationship.

I recommended to America Magazine that a simple practice of Gassho would be an option to investigate using in all encounters.

Here's how a piece on Being Zen speaks of Gassho:
How Does Gassho Relate to Zen and Buddhism? 
Zen didn’t invent the gesture, as the hands-together bow is used throughout Asia in countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, and India. However, the practice took on a different significance once Zen began spreading throughout Japan in the 8th century CE. 
Whereas gassho in its traditional sense was an act of greeting, apology, or reverence for another, gassho in Zen is about showing respect and reverence for life and serves as an act of humility where one can practice letting of the ego. In this way, gassho in Zen is a powerful practice which allows the practitioner to deeply touch their own spirit and that of the world around them. 
The great Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh said this of the significance of the practice:
Bowing is a deep form of communication. A bow may mean hello, thank you, good-bye, or excuse me. But it’s not just a way to be polite. It’s a way of recognizing and honoring the Buddha or the awakened nature in each of us. We bring our palms together carefully to form a beautiful lotus flower at the level of our heart. Then we look at the eyes of the person we will bow to and we smile.  
We say silently, “A lotus for you,” as we breathe in and, “A Buddha to be!” as we breathe out and bow from our waist. Then we straighten up, look at the eyes of the other person, and smile. Isn’t that an easy gift to give someone?
Respect and reverence for life is a core principle of Zen practice and something which is symbolized in the act of gassho. In Zen, practitioners bow to everything, everyone, and for almost every occasion. 
The practice is a constant declaration of reverence for the world as a whole. When you enter the Zendo (a Zen meditation hall within a Zen center or monastery), you bow. When you enter the lecture hall, you bow. When you arrive in front of your zafu (a Zen meditation pillow) for meditation, you bow. Wherever you go, and whatever you do, you gassho. 
The Zen practice of gassho is, in a way, an affirmation. An affirmation of your commitment to respect and care for the world around you in the same way that you would care for yourself. It serves then as an opportunity for more deeply connecting with the world around you, thereby nourishing you in the process.
(--from,  HOW THE ZEN PRACTICE OF GASSHO CAN ADD BALANCE AND MEANING TO YOUR LIFE BeingZen.com  
 Humility is balance.

You and I, face to face, continue our journey, alone in community.

morning lauds

Is the cross kenotic self-emptying?

Is this what is meant by glorying in the cross of Christ?

Is this what catholic means -- that if one does it, all feel and benefit by it?

Emptying oneself --

Becoming free

For all

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

sand

all is

not well

in the land

of the free

and the home

of the incredibly

brave --

truth be told

lies will destroy

us

longing for the true sound of...

What do the Jewish Tanakh, Christian Gospel and Letters, Hindu Vedas, Buddhist Dhammapada and Writings, Confucian Analects, Taoist Tao Te Ching, Muslim Suras, and worldwide poetry of every stripe -- have in common?

Words.  
One of the major symptoms of the general crisis existent in our world today is our lack of sensitivity to words. We use words as tools. We forget that words are a repository of the spirit. 
The tragedy of our times is that the vessels of the spirit are broken. We cannot approach the spirit unless we repair the vessels. Reverence for words – an awareness of the wonder of words, of the mystery of words – is an essential prerequisite for prayer. By the word of God the world was created. 
We have forfeited the reverence for words. Purification of language, therefore, remains a major task in theological discipline. Beginning by emphasizing deep sensitivity to words, its goal must be the sanctification of human speech. 
Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century. To relish more of his wisdom, read this review of "Abraham Heschel: Essential Writings," edited by his daughter Susannah Heschel that contains numerous quotes from Rabbi Heschel.   https://www.monasteriesoftheheart.org/monks-our-midst/rabbi-abraham-heschel-reverence-words 
Words are our true religion.

The question is asked: How religious are we? How religious am I?

My word! What a question!

So many words these days resemble the picture sketched in what a friend sends in these words:
"...the contraction of existence into a spiritual will to destroy, without the guidance of a spiritual will to order." (p.319, in Age of Anger: A History of the Present, By Pankaj Mishra)
The shocking and disturbing words of right wing politicians and fawning followers are matched with the apoplectic and outraged words of left wing counterparts. The centrist crowd straddles the seesaw with a shaky aplomb seeking to stake some solid rootedness in traditional law and values referring to the Constitution and a loose obeisance to a Christian canon.

Words become empty missiles launched against the other. And 'the other' is everyone outside narrow ribbon of fabricated enclave of unquestioning loyalty.

Martin Heidegger asked questions about these issues. He especially asked, "what are poet's for?"
what are poets for? They are not exactly philosophers, though they often try to explain the world and humankind’s place within it. They are not exactly moralists, for at least since the nineteenth century their primary concern has rarely been to tell us in homiletic fashion how to live. But they are often exceptionally lucid or provocative in their articulation of the relationship between internal and external worlds, between being and dwelling. Romanticism and its afterlife, I have been arguing throughout this book, may be thought of as the exploration of the relationship between external environment and ecology of mind.  
“What are poets for?” (“Wozu Dichter?”) asked Martin Heidegger in the title of a lecture delivered on the twentieth anniversary of the death of Rainer Maria Rilke. In his later philosophy, Heidegger meditated deeply upon three questions. “What are poets for?” was one of them, “What does it mean to dwell upon the earth?” was the second, and “What is the essence of technology?” was the third. Heidegger’s answers to the three questions turn out to be closely inter-related.
(--in The Winter Anthology, article What Are Poets For? by Jonathan Bate)  
 Poet Friedrich Hölderlin] says to us: poetically man dwells on this earth. 

The curious dance of Shiva and Kali comes to mind:
Shiva is the silent, eternal all pervading aspect of the Transcendental Reality. Shiva is often depicted as spending years meditating unperturbed. 
Mother Kali is the dynamic aspect of the Transcendental Reality. Kali in Sanskrit literally means ‘time’ 
Kali is depicted as dancing on Shiva to illustrate the interaction between Shiva the silent, all pervading force and Kali the destroyer of Time. Kali creates the cycles of time on the underlying structure of Shiva. 
Kali and Shiva are very close. They could be considered to be the Yin and Yang of creation.
http://www.writespirit.net/spirituality/the-cosmic-gods/the-relationship-between-mother-kali-and-lord-shiva/ 
We seesaw between creation and destruction, between order and chaos.

Our task is to intimately engage and word reality in such a way that the inner dynamic between the edges of wildly conflictual experience is the sounding of a radical compassion for the suffering practitioners of everyday living -- for the ideologues and the pragmatists, staggering, wending their way through life in the world -- as technology makes the peregrination seem easier and less worrisome by concealing the underlying issues.

Jonathan Bate continues:
In Heidegger’s theory, when man is driving technology, he does not become standing-reserve. Technological man orders the world, challenges it, “enframes” it. “Enframing” (Ge-stell) is the essence of modern technology. Enframing means making everything part of a system, thus obliterating the unconcealed being-there of particular things. Enframing is a mode of revealing which produces a styrofoam cup rather than a silver chalice. The chalice’s mode of being in the world, its Dasein, embraces aesthetic and social traditions—it is shaped so as to be beautiful, it is associated with customs such as sacrificial libations and the sharing of a communal cup. The styrofoam cup has no such associations. Its being is purely instrumental. The styrofoam cup is a symptom of modern technology’s forgetting of Dasein. “Above all, enframing conceals that revealing which, in the sense of poiesis, lets what presences come forth into appearance…Enframing blocks the shining-forth and holding sway of truth.” The techne of the craftsman, though it was not internal to the physis of the chalice, nevertheless revealed the presence, the shining-forth, the truth of the chalice. The enframing of modern technology conceals the truth of things. 
Both Plato and Aristotle said that philosophy begins in wonder. The history of technology is a history of the loss of that wonder, a history of disenchantment. Bruce Foltz explicates Heidegger’s version of the story: 
The need that [philosophy’s original] astonishment engenders is that entities, emerging of their own accord (phusei), must stand in unconcealment. The completion or fulfillment, then, of the necessity arising from this fundamental astonishment lies in techne, which keeps in unconcealment the rule of phusis. Yet precisely in techne as the fulfillment of this fundamental mood lies the danger (die Gefahr) of its distraction and ultimately its destruction; that is, there is a possibility that techne, originally allowing phusis to hold sway in unconcealment, could become detached from the mood of astonishment before entities in their self-emergence and hence become willfull and arbitrary in its independence from phusis. It is through such a “defection from the beginning” that unconcealment could become distorted into correctness, that the “letting-reign” (Waltenlassen) of phusis in unconcealment could become a demand for constant presence, that thinking could become metaphysics, and that the techne of the Greeks could be utterly transformed into modern technology.
(Bate, Ibid)  
Words and bodies, in poetic phenomenology, appear together.

When word deteriorates, so also do bodies.

When word is inchoate origin, incarnation originates.

When word presents itself, Itself emerges.

We seek the inspiration of word.

We long for the true sound of...

A kind of manifesting revelation,

What Is Originally Being Said.