as things go quiet
no need for words or hearing
sound — just close eyes, sleep
It's ok to break down
Just be willing to be built up.
To everything there is a season. Yes. A time to break down, and a time to build up. Yes. A time to keep silence and a time to speak.
-- Ecclesiastes ch.3, v.3 and v. 7.
And the leaves of the tree?
These are pages on which those who inquire write their journeys and findings to share with us.
And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
-- Revelations ch. 22, v.2.
Until you speak.
Then, listen to your own voice.
Sounding through what is longing to be heard.
The name Sertillange popped up. Some fifty years ago I'd read his book (in translation), La Vie Intellectuelle, son Esprit, ses Conditions, ses Méthodes. (1934)
For Sertillanges, the intellectual vocation is a calling to discover, articulate, and transmit truth. How far this is from the understanding and practice of the intellectual life in contemporary academia, in which one’s soul becomes grist for the collective academic mill, the function of which is to recuperate a perpetually dying, artificial, stillborn “intellectual life” of truth-indifferent and jargon-ridden journals, ruthless career-worship, status-quo opportunism, and inner-circle gossip-mongering. Try to live a genuinely intellectual life in the midst of that!
But there is hope, for Sertillanges notes more than once that the intellectual’s best and most essential friend is solitude, though isolation is to be avoided: “The man with too much solitude, “grows timid, abstracted, a little odd: he stumbles along amid realities like a sailor who has just come off his ship; he has lost the sense of the human lot; he seems to look on you as if you were a ‘proposition’ to be inserted in a syllogism, or an example to be put down in a notebook” (59). The intellectual’s worst and most dangerous associate is the world, especially a world like contemporary academia!
When the world does not like you it takes its revenge on you; if it happens to like you, it takes its revenge still by corrupting you. Your only resource is to work far from the world, as indifferent to its judgments as you are ready to serve it. . . . Do not busy yourself with the sayings and doings of the world, that is with such that have no moral and intellectual bearing; avoid useless comings and goings which waste hours and fill the mind with wandering thoughts. These are the conditions of that sacred thing, quiet recollection (xxiii, 47).
Of course, most of us have no choice but to dwell in the vengeful, worldly and wordy halls of academia, where much thought is “wandering,” and where bureaucratic “useless comings and goings” are endless. What Sertillanges counsels is not a flight from the world but, simply, balance. For example, the intellectual desperately needs the support of a robust and authentic community of fellow intellectuals, but sometimes it is enough, he says, just to know there are others laboring at the same task, whether or not there is face-to-face or close proximity to such a community. Perhaps blog communities fulfill this purpose in our community-starved day!
With regard to solitude, specifically, the amount of concentrated intellectual work that is required in the intellectual vocation, Sertillanges’ prescription is quite surprising:
Have you two hours a day? Can you undertake to guard them jealously, to use them ardently, and then, being of those who have authority in the Kingdom of God, can you drink the chalice of which these pages would wish you to make you savor the exquisite and bitter taste? If so, have confidence. Nay, rest in quiet certainty (11).
Two hours a day, when one thinks of it, is not an inconsiderable amount, especially when we consider the difficulty of engaging in even a few minutes of genuine, contemplative intellectual activity in a culture “distracted from distraction by distraction” to use T.S. Eliot’s incredibly apt phrase. For Sertillanges, the fundamental virtue required of the intellectual is attention, and two hours a day of it is plenty. Here he is in accord with Simone Weil in her fantastic essay, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God”: “Although people seem to be unaware of it today, the development of the faculty of attention forms the real object and almost the sole interest of studies.”
(--from, On the Intellectual Life, by Sertillange, Scribd, Uploaded by tjkozinski on Dec 03, 2013)
I have two hours a day.
The distraction of it!
Hallucinations aren’t at all what they appear to be.
In fact, they’re more than appearance.
They’re what sanity used to be before socially collective amnesia and apprehension forced people to pretend there’s a singular reality and our best interests reside in agreeing and affirming we all dwell within its protective custody.
“There is no trustworthy standard by which we can separate the 'real' from the 'unreal' aspects of phenomena. Such standards as exist are conventional: and correspond to convenience, not to truth. It is no argument to say that most men see the world in much the same way, and that this “way” is the true standard of reality: though for practical purposes we have agreed that sanity consists in sharing the hallucinations of our neighbors.”
(― Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness, 1911)
That’s the thing about both democracy and authentic spirituality — their expression is diverse and multivalent.
Do not buy into nor share your neighbor’s hallucinations.
Have, or be, your own.
When this week started, I was a hermit.
Before that I was an idiorhythmic monastic.
Now I am a recluse without anything resembling what a neighbor might recognize as kith, kin, or kindred.
Still, I water plants, spray the garden, feed the cats, seed the birds, and listen to all that sounds in my surround.
This arrived in email box at 1:41AM:
I remember a meeting in which a friend asked a strange and unexpected question: “What do you think is the most valuable land in the world?”
Several people threw out guesses, such as Manhattan, the oil fields of the Middle East, and the gold mines of South Africa, before our friend indicated that we were way off track. He paused for a moment, and said, “You’re all wrong. The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. In the graveyard are buried all of the unwritten novels, never-launched businesses, unreconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, ‘I’ll get around to that tomorrow.’ One day, however, their tomorrows ran out.”
That day I went back to my office and I wrote down two words in my notebook and on the wall of my office that have been my primary operating ethic for the last several years: Die Empty.
I want to know that if I lay my head down tonight and don’t wake up tomorrow, I have emptied myself of whatever creativity is lingering inside, with minimal regrets about how I spent my focus, time, and energy. This doesn’t happen by accident; it takes intentional and sustained effort. But I can say with confidence from my own experience and the experiences of others I’ve worked with that the effort is well worth it.
(—Die Empty, by Todd Henry, Nipun Mehta)
It’s a good day for that.
The birds are in their nave.
Noctem quietam et finem perfectum
concedat nobis Dominus omnipotens.
There is a constant undermining of the American tradition of democracy and justice.
It’s been a fragile construct based on privilege and race. But now that white America is experiencing the increase of multi-racial growth of population there is an intentional movement to slow down the vote and disadvantage those neither white nor rich from having too much say over electoral choice and candidates.
The strategy is to take control of elections and reserve power to a ruling elite benefitting from suppression of the vote.
There’s a consequent ignorance afoot.
Consequent ignorance is when we choose, for sinful reasons, to remain ignorant of things we can and ought to know. (D.Q. McInerny, A Course in Thomistic Ethics, 1997, pp. 40-42.)
The opposition to full and fair democracy is rabid and fierce. Who can blame the fear? Fear is where love goes when unable to control everything.
It is the continual decision we have to make — love or fear?
I’m not interested in fear.
I’d rather know love.
Why whisper into the night silhouette of trees at first light of matins?
Because, you might say, that is the transitional space of time where transformation takes place.
Praise, they chant praise, over and over while the rest of us sleep.
Rilke wrote, “Sie sagt für dich, ich bin.”
Someone says for you, I am.
Evelyn Underhill, considering mysticism, wondered, “I am, but who else is?”
Who else, indeed.
The earth turns.
I, alone, hear the first bird’s awakening song with glance toward east, the slow lighting its song awakens.
It’s not that we’re all alone that is significant. It’s that noticing such a thing, such haecceity — the thisness of this moment, this noticing, this one noticing, this bird having performed the introit, the opening antiphon of awareness — presumes the inquiry “who else is?” as primary quest and immediate koan of first light.
The statement and the question — I am! (and) Who else is? — becomes foundational realization and inquiry this early Sunday prayer without ceasing.
This is my body.
No one else is.
The astounding, and stark, haecceity of it!
Who, or what, is that “someone” saying for you...
If you ask what it is like with mystical spirituality, try this:
semper agens, semper quietus, colligens et non egens, portans et implens et protegens,
creans et nutriens, perficiens, quaerens, cum nihil desit tibi.
(--From the Confessions of Augustine, Book I, Chapter 4
(always working, yet ever at rest; gathering, yet needing nothing;sustaining, pervading, and protecting; creating, nourishing, and developing; seeking, and yet possessing all things.
We look for what we already have.
Always close at hand.
Tonight Bobby Kennedy will be shot. Two months ago Martin Luther King was shot. In six months Thomas Merton will die under curious and suspect circumstances.
It is 1968. Assassinations are difficult truths. America breaks. Lives change. Skepticism deepens.
Mr. Kennedy will die early after midnight at 1:44AM on June 6.
The trauma of 1968 sits deep within the bodies of those living through the shocks and deceits of public executions and murky lies following.
But this is what it costs to be alive.
We know and do not know what takes place everyday in the world of power, politics, and pretense.
Edna st Vincent Millay wrote:
Is that your answer
No, it’s my question
What is your answer
So, your question and answer are the same
There’s a black hole 58 million light years away from our Milky Way galaxy
At foot of mountain birds chant morning praise
In both places at once
Falling into dense emptiness and birdsong
This morning practice
There it is, again, there it is, sliding in alongside bamboo shade, morning sun.
Like vanishing dew,
a passing apparition
or the sudden flash
of lightning -- already gone --
thus should one regard one's self.
Now that it is June I have to try to remember who I was before my father and mother were born.
I recall a glass of orange juice, back stoop, chain link fences, portioned backyards.
The milk box, the clanking bottles, under bedroom window.
Backyard, DeSoto with whitewalls, sun slanting into alley from street with horse drawn vegetable wagon.
Silent ghosts pass under window walking into these words.
There’s no understanding trinity.
Except as some contemporary Three-In-One-Oikeó.
What is it that “houses” itself where I am?
The final three models of incarnational theology are all instances of incarnational soteriology. The first instance of this model, and the third model overall, is incarnational soteriology through the indwelling of Christ. This model is exemplified in Paul’s words to the Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) Christ is not enfleshed in me, Christ lives in me. There is no generation [ginomai] of flesh [sarx] when one lives by faith. Instead, by faith, Christ lives in me, Christ lives in my flesh.26 A Trinitarian understanding allows us to appreciate the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers in a similar way. Paul writes to the Corinthians: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16) Through the Spirit, God dwells, or “houses” [oikeo] in you. Paul’s usage of temple language makes an important point in regard to incarnational theology since the Bible consistently portrays God dwelling in the temple found in Eden, in the Tabernacle, in the Temple, in the person of Jesus Christ, and in (as here) the Spirit-filled believer.27
(—from, Christ is the only incarnation: Appropriate use of incarnation language, Sean McGever, ETS Far West Region Meeting April 2018, p.6)
I have an address, wear shoes and knee brace when taking a walk, the rap-tat-tat of hiking sticks, listening to book in my ears, gaze between ground and mountains and pond beyond beaver lodge. I move through. Any place I’ve been I’m no longer there. I’m a movement of consciousness through place and space going nowhere.
A temporary house.
Housing and being housed.
Today is celebrated Trinity. Someone called it Non Sequitur Sunday.
Anything said about it really doesn’t follow. (Ya folla?) It stays where it is pronounced.
Maybe we have to MU any pronouncing.
Unsay. Unask. Neti-neti (not this-not that).
Rather, becoming a passageway, and not being in the way.
It is worrisome
is becoming the political
stance of choice of
both US congresspeople
and white nationalist citizens.
There appears to be
a worldwide festering
of bellicose intolerance.
Or are we now
relegated to being
a reality TV audience
for performing egoic
the details as
ciphering there is
much to see
under the aletheia
(Ancient Greek: ἀλήθεια)
a covering over
hence the plea
to see under
inability to get to
the bottom of
needs no theories
but merely any
around itself until
we are left to
Republicans vote down January six commission.
It is a small victory for small-minded remnant of a once important political party.
It is a shame.
It will hasten demise of the Republican Party.
And beyond that, who knows?
A shameful, cowardly, small way to end.
To a sangha practitioner:
Heard richard rohr in one of his books say, (approximately):— Faith implies doubt and uncertainty. Evil is always certain and uncompromising.—
And so, living with unanswerable questions sounds like the right balance of great faith and great doubt.
We share the dharma the way May shares green deepening trees on mountainside.
We’re no nearer.
These words about technology:
Introducing the Bremen lectures, Heidegger observes that because of technology, “all distances in time and space are shrinking” and “yet the hasty setting aside of all distances brings no nearness; for nearness does not consist in a small amount of distance.” The lectures set out to examine what this nearness is that remains absent and is “even warded off by the restless removal of distances.” As we shall see, we have become almost incapable of experiencing this nearness, let alone understanding it, because all things increasingly present themselves to us as technological: we see them and treat them as what Heidegger calls a “standing reserve,” supplies in a storeroom, as it were, pieces of inventory to be ordered and conscripted, assembled and disassembled, set up and set aside. Everything approaches us merely as a source of energy or as something we must organize. We treat even human capabilities as though they were only means for technological procedures, as when a worker becomes nothing but an instrument for production. Leaders and planners, along with the rest of us, are mere human resources to be arranged, rearranged, and disposed of. Each and every thing that presents itself technologically thereby loses its distinctive independence and form. We push aside, obscure, or simply cannot see, other possibilities.”
(—from, Understanding Heidegger on Technology )
The proleptic character of technology.
We are fabricating untouchability.
I no longer wish to be deceived.
Nor do I want some other thing.
",,,truth is loved in such a way that those who love some other thing want it to be the truth, and, precisely because they do not wish to be deceived, are unwilling to be convinced that they are deceived."
(—St. Augustine, Confessions (10:23), Fifth Century)
Neither strident nor acquiescing, I wander in bewildering silence through today and today’s tomorrow.
"I am more and more impressed by the fact that it is largely futile to get up and make statements about current problems. At the same time, I know that silent acquiescence in evil is also out of the question."
(—Thomas Merton, Faith and Violence,1968)
Where is it that prayer and fasting lead?
Annual hibernation from news in small bits, twitter, cable, other cracked shell discarding 2 minute pieces off prompter.
Time for more thoughtful writings, books, heft, details of phenomenologic observation, necessary questioning.
It was too hot yesterday.
Inhaling nontraditional pizza topping nearly suffocates my choking throat last night.
Personalities, celebrities, broke-down politicians, mass murdering shooters, hawkers of products, spewers of rabid right wing drivel, or conjunctive left wing drivel, preachers of hellfire, or capitalistic rewards religions, for me, are incapacities.
Cedar tree outside window, branches curling upward, is zen teacher with no agenda.
never been close
paint on wall
paw on floor
here am I
not planet blue
As it is:
In a statement issued Tuesday evening, Trump called the seating of the grand jury “a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in American history.”
“This is purely political, and an affront to the almost 75 million voters who supported me in the Presidential Election, and it’s being driven by highly partisan Democrat prosecutors,” Trump said. “Our Country is broken, our elections are rigged, corrupt, and stolen, our prosecutors are politicized, and I will just have to keep on fighting like I have been for the last five years!”
A spokesman for Vance (D) declined to comment.
(—from, Prosecutor in Trump criminal probe convenes grand jury to hear evidence, weigh potential charges, By Shayna Jacobs and David A. Fahrenthold, May 25, 2021 at 8:52 p.m. EDT, Washington Post)
So it is.
Our Tuesday evening conversation:
Let Evening Come
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
Poem by Jane Kenyon
And may morning follow.
Carl Gustav Jung’s words.
A morning meditation:
“The individual ego is the stable in which the Christ-child is born.” – Collected Works Vol. 11
“The highest and most decisive experience of all . . . is to be alone with . . . [one’s] own self, or whatever else one chooses to call the objectivity of the psyche. The patient must be alone if he is to find out what it is that supports him when he can no longer support himself. Only this experience can give him an indestructible foundation.” – Psychology and Alchemy
“The divine process of change manifests itself to our human understanding . . . as punishment, torment, death, and transfiguration.” – Alchemical Studies
“The experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.” – Mysterium Coniunctionis
“On the level of the Son there is no answer to the question of good and evil; there is only an incurable separation of the opposites. . . . It seems to me to be the Holy Spirit’s task and charge to reconcile and reunite the opposites in the human individual through a special development of the human soul.” – The Symbolic Life
“[There is a] . . . continued and progressive divine incarnation. Thus man is received and integrated into the divine drama. He seems destined to play a decisive part in it; that is why he must receive the Holy Spirit. I look upon the receiving of the Holy Spirit as a highly revolutionary fact which cannot take place until the ambivalent nature of the Father is recognized. If God is the summum bonum, the incarnation makes no sense, for a good god could never produce such hate and anger that his only son had to be sacrificed to appease it. A Midrash says that the Shofar is still sounded on the Day of Atonement to remind YHWH (God) of his act of injustice towards Abraham (by compelling him to slay Isaac) and to prevent him from repeating it. A conscientious clarification of the idea of God would have consequences as upsetting as they are necessary. They would be indispensable for an interior development of the trinitarian drama and of the role of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is destined to be incarnate in man or to choose him as a transitory dwelling-place. ‘Non habet nomen proprium,’ says St. Thomas; because he will receive the name of man. That is why he must not be identified with Christ. We cannot receive the Holy Spirit unless we have accepted our own individual life as Christ accepted his. Thus we become the ‘sons of god’ fated to experience the conflict of the divine opposites, represented by the crucifixion.” – The Symbolic Life
(—from, these things inside, Jung on the Christian Archetype)
Then there’s this:
(—from, these things inside, Carl Jung says God is reality itself,)
There’s something to ponder.
This sunny birdsong cool breeze morning.
I think I’ll walk the dog.
It seems, like ocean tide, the phases of mythology rivet our attention on primordial in and out, arrival and departure, appearance and disappearance.
So too in Christian undulation mysteries:
Ascension, emptiness hiatus
Pentecost, fullness via illumination and clarification.
Ordinariness, revisiting, reappraisal, inchoate insight.
His Holiness The Dalai Lama describes the Mahayana Heart Sutra in terms of personal spiritual development as a continual spiraling through the five stages represented by the final mantra "GATE GATE PARAGATE PARASAMGATE BODHI SVAHA" in his talk (cf especially time from 8:50 to 19:04). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej0_39J4yts&t=1201s. 8:50 to 19:048
If we think we've arrived, we haven't.
We are always beginning again.
Why not laugh through it.
It's a healthy way to practice.
There's something to be said for explanation.
Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible.
(-Eugene Ionesco, Decouvertes (1969))
Point out, if you must.
Intimate, imply, hint -- even better.
Explanation, especially overexplanation, is where innovative insight goes to die.
What a phrasing!
The oblivion of human history. Where Salome danced. Where John was beheaded. Where you and I read this.
(—Machaerus Through the Ages, , Biblical Archeology Society)
Per síngulos dies*
et laudámus nomen tuum in sæculum,*
et in sæculum sæculi.
Dignáre, Dómine, die isto*
sine peccáto nos custodíre.
Miserére nostri, Dómine,*
Fiat misericórdia tua, Dómine, super nos,*
quemádmodum sperávimus in te.
In te, Dómine, sperávi:*
non confúndar in ætérnum.
… … …
Day by day
we praise you:
we acclaim you now
and to all eternity.
In your goodness, Lord,
keep us free from sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord,
May your mercy always be with us, Lord,
for we have hoped in you.
In you, Lord, we put our trust,
we shall not be put to shame.
(—ending verses of Te Deum, in Office of Readings, from Feast of Pentecost)