Sunday, December 10, 2023

of true and undifferentiated oneness

At times, the question comes down to God and the soul.

As in: which is which? Is one in the other? Is there no-other?  Is realizing one's soul realizing God? 

Is there, so to speak, a creating of the world from within oneself when the undifferentiated suchness of isomorphic existentiality emerges into and onto the visible, tangible and cosmic plane of the ontotheologic landscape/horizon? (cf. International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vol.8(3), 297–327; 2000, Ontotheology? Understanding Heidegger’s Destruktion of Metaphysics * Iain Thomson

Have we not understood the nature of reality, the nature of self, the nature of God?

     God and the soul -- that too is what Eckhart desired to know. Nothing more, but nothing less either. At one place in the fifty-third of the German sermons the Meister summarizes the content of his preaching in terms of four general themes that are really aspects of the correlative mysteries of God and the soul: 12 "When I preach I always speak of detachment (abegescheidenheit) and that man shall be free of himself and of all things. Second, that man shall be formed anew (ingebildet) in the simple goodness that is God. Third, that man shall think of the great nobility that God has bestowed on the soul in order that he miraculously come to God. Fourth, [I speak of] the purity of the divine nature -- any brightness that is in the divine nature is ineffable. God is a word, a word that is not spoken."13 Eckhart's proclamation of the necessity of inner detachment from the self and from all created things is a necessary precondition to union with God because only a totally naked soul can receive the naked hidden God -- "the greater the nudity, the greater the union."14 Man must make a pilgrimage into the desert with him in order to encounter the wilderness (einoede, wüestunge) of the hidden Godhead.15. Perfect union with God on the one hand is a reformation, a recreation, a remaking (inbilden) of man back into the simple ground of God; on the other, it is a recognition of the Godlike nobility that the soul never loses, an intellectual conversion to the noble part of the soul that Eckhart speaks of as the vünkelin,  the bürgelin, or the grunt.16 Finally, since the soul is truly divine in its innermost ground, and since the goal of life is the attainment not just of similarity and unity but of true and undifferentiated oneness with God,17  the pure ineffability of the divine nature will always be the most fundamental theme of the mystical preacher's message. 

(--pp.4-5 The God beyond God: Theology and Mysticism in the Thought of Meister Eckhart, by Bernard McGinn, in The Journal of Religion, Jan.,1981, Vol 61, Mo.1, {Jan.1981} pp.1-19, The University of Chicago Press), or,

We wonder. We wonder about our origin, about the origins of all that is, about the process of emergence, from where? and into what? 

We look everywhere, with telescopes and satellites, meditation and contemplation, colloquy and wordless silence in the face of what is presenting itself.

3. Lebemeister or Lesemeister? Eckhart as Mystic, Theologian, and Philosopher

In much contemporary spiritual literature, various popular new-age tomes, and not a little academic scholarship, Meister Eckhart has been characterized first and foremost as a mystic—and only secondarily as a theologian or philosopher. This characterization has to do, in part, with the recovery of Eckhart’s vernacular works by nineteenth-century Romantic and Idealist movements in Germany for whom the so-called “mystics” symbolized the representatives and custodians of “true” religion (Schmidt 2003). (Eckhart’s more “scholarly” Latin writings were not discovered until the second half of the nineteenth century by which time he had already been claimed for mysticism.) Relatedly, Eckhart’s vernacular works lent themselves well to a growing interest in religious perennialism and a desire in the burgeoning fields of religious studies, philosophy of religion, and religious psychology to locate parallels between the attitudes, experiences, and ideas found in Christianity and those of other religious and spiritual traditions (Griffioen 2021: 9–12). Already in Volume 2 of The World as Will and Representation (1844), Schopenhauer compared Eckhart’s ideas with those found in Buddhism, Sufism, and the Upanishads (Schopenhauer 1844 [2018]), and Rudolf Otto compared the Meister to Shankara in his influential 1926 Mysticism East and West (Otto 1926 [1932]). Since then, Eckhart has often been set alongside other figures sometimes claimed for mysticism—e.g., Abraham Abulafia, Ibn ‘Arabi, Rumi, Zhuangzi, and Zhu Xi, to name just a few—and his work has been compared to traditions as wide ranging as Advaita Vedanta, Confucianism, Sufism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and Zoharic Kabbalism, among others. Indeed, Eckhart remains a significant touchstone for scholars of comparative mysticism today.

This morning, rain. Firebox and portable heaters stand in vigil for expired furnace. Chocolate milk and Mrs. Dunster's Crunch Nuggets attend this time before dawn. Bodhi-Chitta, the cat, wonders, if I am sitting here on the wohnküche couch, why hasn't her breakfast appeared?

These day I am aware of entropy, the gradual decline into disorder that is my physical and mental disestablishment.

I'm not looking for God. (Unless, in effect, I might be doing the looking for God?)

Still, it is the season of Advent, that mostly commercial selling time of materials for presents and celebratory occasions that seamlessly coincide with religious holidays and natural cycles having to do with light, inner and outer, mehr licht, enlightenment, and eternal return in all its aspects.

I open the winter drapes. I step outside to feel the morning mist and fog, the quiet scrunch underfoot. 

It is the time of prayer. Laudes and Prime chanting from France. Cats are given their morning bowls. Donuts and milk are put away. Two logs placed into firebox.

I think of the Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn. One of the dharma teachers in his school writes:

For many of us, answering the big questions and developing a “spiritual” connection or–what we would call in our tradition–finding your “True Self” or “Big I” seems to take a certain amount of effort and dedication over years. That is why it is so often said that the time to start is now. “Hurry, hurry. Soon dead.” You might have read some words like from our founding teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn.

It is actually a cheerful meditation "Hurry, hurry, Soon dead."

Faint light appears outside windows in dooryard. Snow on ground and branches give definition. 

It is the anniversary of Thomas Merton's death. Here the well-known Merton prayer.

We are grateful for his life. 

Saturday, December 09, 2023

pour ceux perdus en mer

 It is the sorrow of things

Holds us fast at night

Where the end of things 

Closes minute by minute

Until nothing makes sense

And sense itself becomes nothing

ta, shane, and, ta ta

Glen Hansard and Lisa O'Neill Perform "Fairytale of New York" at Shane MacGowan's Funeral in Tipparary Ireland

final circle

 I have


to say

about God

and I


say it







what is



to be


fire-box watch





for this

I am



Friday, December 08, 2023

good night

 I have





is no


to speak of

used phrase lot



Will go at auction

Like an old DeSoto

How many 


How many words


In it

an archeology of resignation and redemption

 one chocolate donut

with chocolate milk

tending fire on frigid night

after furnace fail

before morning prison

rohatsu ends

the young 'almah  girl is born 

(with no barrriers)

buddha is enlightened

John Lennon is shot dead

sliver moon off east

one last log for vigils office

as night crew makes snow 

on mountain, droning spouts —

Sinéad O'Connor birthday

(she was right, you know)

if you cannot find me, it changes nothing

 we tend fire in wood stove

she turns around on belly-chest

purring brief stasis

just as we tend friendship

enough for warmth

but not too hot to strike

fear destruction at 2:15AM

cat climbing head-butting

kneading arm claws just

shy of ripping skin --

I do not have friends

it is a flaw that fails 

to right itself, solitary 

soon to be off, worrying

the night, a red-lined furnace

space heaters 15 degrees cold

I keep vigil as she turns again

stretching for an inch of comfort

the way night holds us

barely aware of God 

silencing away

Thursday, December 07, 2023

the demise of decorum

 It’s possible that

His mental disturbance has spread

Across the whole country

One after another

Become deranged and gleefully

Drool their uncontainable foolhardiness 

hermit afternoon

 No lineage no future

just fire in wood stove snow on ground --

how lucky how lucky

francis carrying his snow brother


(sh, 7dec23)

經行, kinhin

 kinhin on mountain

cold morning breath across brook

bridge squeaking snow steps

théâtre de l'absurde -- a play in one question


Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone reported today that one of those MAGA Republicans, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), spoke freely Tuesday night at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., at a celebration for the National Association of Christian Lawmakers. Although the address was being livestreamed, Johnson apparently believed he was speaking privately. He told the audience that the Lord called him to be “a new Moses.”

Johnson, an evangelical Christian, told the audience that the U.S. is “engaged in a battle between worldviews” and “a great struggle for the future of the Republic.” He said he believed far-right Christians would prevail. (--in Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, 6dec2023)

A Play in one Question

    by M. Ostly Risible


        Mike Johnson, as himself, a vaudeville hoofer

        Moses, a historical personage, deeply embedded in literature

        Christ, something radical, passing through cosmic consciousness

Act 1

    Moses: He said what? 

    Christ: [silence]


...   ...   ...

        Billboard Theater Review: 

        Audience was heard to ask: "When is the next performance?"

wood stove through night

 breaking open day

sliver moon stars planets, snow

cold white settled in

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

i support your right to kill yourself, not others

 guns guns guns guns (god)

my dear brothers and sisters

you have gone so wrong

南無阿彌陀佛男眾唱頌 *

Buddha doesn't move

Cosmos sways in and out chant

no-mind follows joy

...   ...   ...

* (I entrust myself to the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life.)

cf. The Buddha of Infinite Light and Life, Mark and Taitetsu Unno, Tricycle

Tuesday, December 05, 2023



colder weather in the autumn

The only form of life that hangs onto the past is man. When nature has brought in colder 

weather in the autumn, the leaves fall. They fall because the tree has finished its annual 

cycle and it needs them no more. The tree has no fear as it lets go of each leaf. It has no re- 

gret at letting go of something that has served its purpose. Those leaves will never return, 

but there will be new leaves in the spring to serve a new purpose.  (--in, As A Center Of Consciousness You Are Invisible, by Raymond Charles Barker)

I can remember 

your name

I have not 

forgotten you

you looked at me

across restaurant

table near Yale

decades ago

(told me not to lose

any more weight)

as we were





one another 

tolle et lege

    Why, for example, does acousmatics, or the teaching model by which the teacher remains hidden from the disciple who listens to him, belong to a prephilosophical Pythagorean esoterism, just as, much later, auricular confession corresponds to a secret intimacy of sin and forgiveness?    (--in Listening, by Jean-Luc Nancy)

    The sound filled out that solitude to which the tone gave rhythm ahead of time. (—Raymond Queneau, A Hard Winter)

mute muse  

sits in kitchen

no coffee

this --

cold morning

doing nothing

Monday, December 04, 2023

irish sunset

Shane MacGowan dies

Sinéad O’Connor dies

both December born

she the 8th, he 25th --

their music 

their music

end of solitude

 blue-gray twilight 

snow hangs wet 

from bending branch

cat jumps to counter

have i told you lately

                The joy of waking up to who and where you are —and loving it—is an ecstatic experience of freedom.                                                                    

                                    – Dale S. Wright,  “Why Should I Appreciate Life?” Tricycle

 first snow

over everything


house and trees

electricity out

I sit by dooryard glass

looking through

what is here

and what is 

not here 

the stillness of

which reveals

what lets go

of itself

Sunday, December 03, 2023

no boat will come

 I am not waiting for Godot

not waiting for anything

that train has rolled off

station left and right empty

sparrows land on bared yew branches

cat looks over shoulder, yawns

Thought about church this 1st advent

then thought again, made coffee, sat --

nothing there that is not here

wind nudges tired prayer flags

rain begins raw falling

they say some snow tonight

in December harbor few fishing boats

docks on the hard gripped by muscles

there are reasons to stay in Maine

one is empty mooring, another 

friend emptiness itself walks

on weary feet through gate by road

it's got a good beat and you can dance to it

 Listening to Scott Simon's book Swingtime for Hitler: Goebbels’s Jazzmen, Tokyo Rose, and Propaganda That Carries a Tune, (c. Sept.2023)

It "confronts the disturbing parallels between disinformation in Hitler’s Germany and fake news today." (Notes, Scribd)

The audios of the Nazi band swing and jazz propaganda songs are fascinating.

Shows the madness of lies and the converse longing for truth in a new light.

The Right Wing insanity in contemporary America has long ancestry and strong faith.

Listen carefully.

Their song is playing.

Many are dancing to it.  

Saturday, December 02, 2023

who would fardels bear

Something a young man in prison said yesterday led to engaged conversation. He described two suicide attempts, then added: "You don't know how many times I've tried to be not here."

Si jeunesse savait; si vieillesse pouvait. (If youth knew; if age could.) (--Henri Estienne 1531–98 French printer and publisher: Les Prémices (1594) bk. 4, epigram 4)

The circle listened. The conversation went on. He was happy a friend encouraged him to leave his pod to be in the room with the seven of us talking about Camus and meaning, Sartre and the primacy of existence over essence,  and the resource economic outlay of Frank Herbert's Dune.

That phrase of his, "to be not here" -- beckened. If a comma is inserted, then: "to be not, here."

We talked as a group about absence without the stigma of negativity.

Like the absence of presence (or, God) is it possible to say that "to be not" can be accomplished in the selfsame arena as "here"?

Thus, "to be not" is a dwelling "here." Or, "to be not" is simultaneous with what-is "here."

Do we long to resolve the conundrum that we are both alone and never alone, that we might be dwelling in illusion when we think we are detached and separate? That to be at all is to be intimately one-with-another, to be (consequently) one with One, an impossible calculation made only slightly less incomprehensible with the intuition of non duality and isomorphic resonance?

Along the vast arc of history and theological intellection, the question of is there a God?, or, is there not a God? has arisen, been put down, picked up, fallen to the side, countless times and in myriad locations.  

Metaphysical philosophy would pose the question whether something can be and not be at the same time. The question of Schrödinger's Cat, while seeming absurd to some, leaves us suspended in possibility until evidence produces outcome.

Is the man's narrative of a faulty firing pin, and an incomplete absorption of a plethora of pills, a story of wanting not to be, and to be, here, in the same instant?

Is God's nature not to be, and to be, here?

Is this a paradox (1)., one man asks. Or is it a coincidentia oppositorum (2), another suggests.

   (1). paradox: a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.


 (2)  the unity of opposites (Latin; unio oppositorum) is the central category of dialectics, said to be related to the notion of non-duality in a deep sense.[1] It defines a situation in which the existence or identity of a thing (or situation) depends on the co-existence of at least two conditions which are opposite to each other, yet dependent on each other and presupposing each other, within a field of tension.

It causes the further question whether everything we do or think is either a conscious or unconscious longing for God?  (Is this longing for God equally a longing of God?)

This is both an annoying and intriguing mystery, as is all theodicy and speculation about the divine.  

Hamlet spoke it

Krishna talks with Arjuna.

Dylan Thomas asks for fierce response.

Theodore Roethke in the voice of a school custodian gives us a hint.

On Friday morning we say goodbyes. I walk the mile back through many clanking doors out through entrance lobby out into front walkway to parking lot where black truck unlocks and drives down hill to Friendship Road.

gratia plena, prison request

 When the monk prays

There is only listening

I listen for Bama’s dad

In bad way; for Michael’s

Son serious since hit and run, for

Matthieu grateful for any parenting

His thirty years institutionalized

Since 8th birthday, for the way

Camus helps with absurdity

Gathered offering Christ as love

Yes, I say, I’ll pray for each and all

In middle of night, holding beads alight

Friday, December 01, 2023

imagination, you say


Present again

Everywhere found here

into my rest

The psalmist sensed God was pissed

Hence, these words:

They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.

So I swore in my anger,

“They shall not enter into my rest.” (Ps95)

No one knew what the “rest” of god was —

Still don’t —

I think quiescence is off the table

Veracity and largess disappear too -

Cheeky bastard! Takes toys and goes home

Somewhere off beyond understanding

Off into intimate proximity, existential

Aphasia, startling amnesia, a somnambulant 

Fog where nothing computes nothing matters —

God is in the wind —

We’ll never grasp such petulant pique, the

Enormity of swearing non-separative seclusion

Wandering into December with no clue, 

Leaving love alone

No ox no ass, where to look? What do?

For forty kalpas we stare at the riddle

Until Dogan, Francis, and

Kaku-an Shi-en in 12th century help

Move into the disappearance of

The whole being

Thursday, November 30, 2023

beholding and beheld -- a meditation on andrew's day

Perhaps there are no good guys or bad guys. There's just us. We're both. 

The wheel of history turns. When and where you live determines whether you get crushed or lifted by it.


As imperfect as we are, the United States needs our story to survive. It’s what holds together a multiracial democracy at home and differentiates us from Russia and China abroad. 

That story insists that a child in Laos is equal in dignity and worth to our children and that the people of Chile have the same right of self-determination as we do. For the United States, that must be a part of national security. We forget that at our peril. 

(--Ben Rhodes, in nytimes op-ed 30nov23, Henry Kissenger, The Hypocrite

Colonel Jessup's "You can't handle the truth!" echos.

Perhaps truth is we do bad things for good ends. Perhaps the good we do results in the bad we do not intend.

We are prone to say, "It's complicated."

As is faith.

Is faith something like a dark and profound trust that all is well no matter how prevalent our partitioning inclination overshadows everything we touch?

Is there a value to faith? 

Not what many consider, when the word 'faith' is mentioned, that they are talking about belief, dogma, denomination, tenets, prohibitions, affirmations of belonging, brotherhood snd sisterhood, commandments, principles, salvific narratives, and the majestic personage of the Son of God with miracles and supernatural awe spread akimbo amid pealing music and ecstatic rapture.

No, faith as empty presence.

Faith as absence, an integrating affirmation made into a silence that promises nothing and often delivers.

Faith, that is, dwelling with what-is, abiding with no-self, inhabiting within a truth that never fully (or even partially) reveals itself.


Faith of our Fathers! faith and prayer

Shall win all nations unto thee;

And through the truth that comes from God,

Mankind shall then indeed be free.


Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


Faith of our Fathers! we will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife:

And preach thee too as love knows how,

By kindly deeds and virtuous life.


Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


Faith of our Fathers! faith and prayer

Shall win all nations unto thee;

And through the truth that comes from God,

Mankind shall then indeed be free.


Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.     

 Text: Frederick William Faber, 1814-1863

And, I suppose, with death, a new integration of our fragmented consciousness and localized soul into a continuum of compassionate being wherein what-is is what-is, and no separated self is off to the side, but each and all flows as holism, i.e. whole-within-parts, parts-within-whole, all, within-and-without, beholding-and-beheld.

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. 


Keep the faith, baby!


Keep baby-faith, that which doesn't know anything -- but for being-held!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

lonely truth

 Conspiracy believers don’t think they are being lied to. 

They create lies and try to convince others the lies they’ve created are the truth.

Reality is never good enough.

Only lies will satisfy those who lie for a living.

Until truth becomes what we long for, we will be duped and scammed by liars.

radicata catholica -- inter nos

 In response to nytimes op-ed:

Perhaps "radicata catholica" is a term worth including. A "rooted catholic" is a designation fitted between the conservative/liberal popular split.

As a rooted catholic I note the right-wing intransigence and hostility to Francis' urgings. And I note the left-wing impatience and disbelief that Christ-Reality suffers restrictive and reactive political stances.

Karl Rahner noted that "The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all."

With so much political dismantling and angry secular/religious invective haunting us, let's hope that contemplation and self-surrender will be again considered a way of prayer going forward.

Here, at meetingbrook, I add: 

         Inter Nos 


Catholic and Buddhist


thisness and thusness 

(contemplation and zen)


mysticus et radicata

(mystical and rooted)


ut habitemus in pace

(may we dwell in peace)


ut in pace vivamus

(that we may live in peace)