Tuesday, December 31, 2002

With two dogs we walk across Hosmer Pond. Shroud of moist air clouds Ragged and Bald Mountains as daylight lowers to white gray silhouette.
"Do you think the ice is thick enough?" is often asked by one of the four.
"Yes!" the repeated answer.

Another year about to end
In my empty mountain abode;
Rivers and clouds,
Their trails indistinct;
Pines and cedars,
Their natures the same.
I arise from my nap
To find the taro roots done;
As the incense fades out,
I finish a scripture.
Who knows that real pleasure
Lies within stillness and silence?

- Wen-siang (1210-1280)(dailyzen.com)

Sign on shop door says, "We're closed a few days, Happy New Year."

Smoke rises from house and cabin chimneys.

Monday, December 30, 2002

Body and breath. Carnal and spiritual. And the dissolving of all that is seen into the unseen.

As calendar year ends, so does all time transmute into no time. In brief: beneath the story we tell about life is life beyond story, among and within what is itself no story.

Have you not seen the idle person of Tao
Who has nothing to learn and nothing to do,
Who neither discards wandering thoughts
Nor seeks the truth?
The real nature of ignorance is
The illusory empty body
Is the Dharma body.

- Yung Chia Hsuan Chueh (665-713)

The story is history. What is now is what?
The open is God Mothering/Fathering. The body is God Christing. The breath is God Spiriting.

Let's call it a day. Let's call it a year. Let's call it a silence.

The words Di sent apply. "Beyond, among, within, beneath" -- is everything -- silence, stillness, solitude, and sanctuary.

In the beginning was the word. At end will be the gaze.

For now, only the open alone invites and conveys body and breath.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

As we live and breathe!

In Murder in the Cathedral about the killing of Thomas a Beckett in 1170 in Canterbury cathedral, the chorus intones,
The last temptation is the greatest treason:
To do the right thing for the wrong reason."

(--T.S. Eliot)

Jonathan Mondaldo is on New Dimensions Radio talking of Thomas Merton with Michael Thoms this 29Dec., the date Thomas a Becket is traditionally celebrated. Montaldo reads from the Asian Journal a prayer by Merton to God which includes the phrase, "because our being is in your being."

Is our last temptation to do the right thing for the wrong reason? To pretend to be God is most often recognized as madness. To disappear into God is holiness. But the middle path, to recognize what God is recognizing, engaging and enacting our being within the being of God, what is that called?

There is no need to pretend we are God. We are not mad.
There is no need to disappear into God. Everything is revealed as it is with God.
There is no need to look for the middle path. We are the middle path. We are only to look as what is traversing the way of God.

The right thing is to be what, where, and who we are.
The wrong reason is to think we are trying to become, do, or accomplish something else by pretending or practicing that which we aspire to.

As we live, and breathe, we come to see our being in God's being. Merton's prayer in Asia was one he embodied.

No temptation. No treason.

Live. Breathe.

Saturday, December 28, 2002

There is no place to hide. Even when we long to disappear it has to be done in plain sight.

The little retreat is to hide
Among wooded hills;
The great retreat is to vanish
In the capital
- Kanzan

A curious dream. Waking up after dream of a monastic setting and another of beach waves behind sand dunes the idea of consolidation and enfoldment recurs. The woman from Lincolnville comes in and is fired as spiritual director (a self-appointed position that consisted of pizza and advice, both by the slice).

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, 'Mediocre hermitry exists in mountains; real hermitry downtown.' It means ordinary hermits retreat to mountains or forests; great hermits retreat to the center of the city. City life is quick-paced and it is difficult for hermits to find a quiet forest. In Lantau Island one can find a Trappist Haven Monastery, a group of true hermits - the cenobites. If wild life is forced to emigrate from this Concrete Forest, how could there be sufficient space for these cenobites? (on website, Trappist Monastery in Lautau)

What sleeping dream of monastic life and ocean proximity? What retreat does the inner solitary find in outer community?

Great hermits don’t know who should live and who should die. They allow life to see itself through. We need hermits and solitaries that continue to look deeply and long for, at, and as each of us.

There is no place to hide. What really interests is how to be hidden in the obvious. To find oneself out is it necessary to lose no self within?

Today we think of innocents. Those who die -- first in the minds of uncaring people, then physically at the hands of unkind people -- die without being seen by those who profess to know who they are. Their death is an ignorance that causes suffering in the world.

What do we do when we don’t know what to do?

Sit a while. Be unknowing. See what is there. Care for what is seen. Be kind to what is cared for.

Whether ignorant and harmful, or unknowing and hurt – these are two versions of innocence. Perhaps we might learn to look at “wild life” the way hermits look out of solitude. The world longs for what is looking at it with love.

What if innocence was treated with love?

Friday, December 27, 2002

John's words make of the Word a language of love.

Is he "the disciple whom Jesus loved"? Is it because he was loved that, in his words, Jesus the Christ was one who taught we must love one another?

Now whether withdrawn on a mountain,
or retired in a city, the essential
thing is the long maturation.
For this, it is good to keep
the examples of the old masters in mind,
or we will be pulled back into
the dust and delusion of the world.

- Torei (1721-1792)(dailyzen)

A long maturation is needed to learn through dust and delusion the longing of love for itself.
It seems muddled to suggest love has no object. Love has only itself, and itself includes one and all.

John was the son of Zebedee and Salome, and the brother of James the Greater. In the Gospels the two brothers are often called after their father "the sons of Zebedee" and received from Christ the honourable title of "Boanerges," i.e. "sons of thunder" (Mark, iii, 17). (Catholic Encylopedia)

Had mother Salome been the chosen reference, the honorable title for the boys might have been "Rogati Dei," or, "asked of God." They were asked to consider with their lives the question of love.

What is the question of love?
With our lives, in the beginning, we listen to the word.

When word and question become flesh, we'll sit in stillness, move with peace, our long maturation.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Shoveling 20 inches of snow 4 hours places one in prayer.

Christmas night white snow blowing northeasterly stops everything in Maine. Stephen’s Day pulls blanket from manger, covers everything with pause, and drops coat at feet of someone needing new way of seeing.

Where is Christ today?
Is each sculpting act, each falling flake, each wandering thought preparing this one to be the question? Is “this” – each instant as it is – the coming into being of Christ?
Like the words in the story told in Acts 6: "And the high priest said, “Is this so?”
I ask: Is this so?

More than the watchman for daybreak, let Israel hope in the Lord:
for with the Lord there is kindness and abundant redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all its transgressions.

(from Psalm 130)

Like the Dalai Lama -- who says that his religion is simple, his religion is kindness -- is the new way of being, “kindness,” replacing religion, as we’ve known it?

Absent all implements and instruments of religion, absent creeds and confessions, pronouncements and pontification, capital building fundraising and hoarded treasures in basement archives -- absent all these, can kindness revive religion? Or, perhaps, can kindness reveal the Itself, God, Ultimate Reality?

Is there a need to divest all extraneous possessions, a divestiture of special symbols, handshakes, & titles on the part of religions in order to restore genuine trust and everyday sacredness to the world?

What is religion holding on to that makes it so reluctant to allow appear the true face of God longing to shine through everything?

The vagaries of life
though painful,
teach us not to cling
to this fleeting world.

- Ikkyu (1394-1481)

Not to cling to this fleeting world, surely, means letting go the ornaments and prized differences so precious to religions. .

It is a terrible thing done in the name of God. Patronizing and murdering, growing rich with divisive rhetorical venom spit at others -- all the "others" -- and calling it entertainment, commentary, ecclesiastical and clerical fatwa, interdict, and casting into the darkness.

No wonder.
No wonder and fear replace wonder and love.
Kindness need not apply.

And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”. And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:60)

We're told that Jesus' words and Stephen's words were prayers to absolve those who killed them.
Kindness? No cry for justice. No curse of damnation. No promise of future retaliation or vigilante revenge. No elimination of enemies in the name of God, country, flag, or the deaths of the innocent.

What would the world come to if kindness were our prayer and act?
One need applies to everything, everywhere, everyone, and every time.



Wednesday, December 25, 2002

What is this?

Cesco looks over toward woodpile. We've returned from short walk along Ragged Mountain. I take wood to cabin. Smoke from woodstove chimney. Stillness.

Blue Lincoln pulls in as I sit at desk in house with Mu-ge tossing off, one by one, small things to floor and attempting to do same to words from computer screen.

Betty gets out, walks to cabin, and enters. Some time passes. Later, leaves. Bringing, and leaving with, solitude.

MoGLIAD, (i.e., Mother of God, Light In All Darkness), gift of Betty, icons north gable of chapel/zendo, as does her wooden turning centerpiece on Janet’s hermitage table in dining room

In front room of hermitage, incense burns rising behind clay carrying animal (reindeer? camel? donkey?) from artists Clarity with child in basket on its back.

Arrives child extending into life. Single candlelight glows behind child on animal between sitting Buddha and crucified Jesus. Arrives these two men expanding through death.

The whole season of a person's life celebrated of a day. Our Mother Light issues forth her children. We are gifted and served well!

"This," says song and script, "this, is Christ the Lord."
What is "this?"

I ask this so that we, each and all of us, might have life, and have it abundantly.

A sound! Nuthatch breaks seed on bell pole outside window.

This is good!

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

We like the invitation of a silent night.

"I'm not there yet," says Jerry from the bench and table by fireplace. He is writing. Cesco sleeps by door.

They shall tear down the Temple to Self for man is an unworthy God when man exalts something and heads into nothing.
There is no higher-minded goal other than love thy neighbor as thyself...otherwise the foundation of man is sand, washing away. Build it on stone so others can stand with you.
(Jerry at 4:45pm)

The people from New York finish their coffee and hot chocolate and leave with words of the season. Jerry goes. Sam and Susan arrive. Joan from Northport arrives. I can't imagine why we are open.

"Caring about people who are alone, who don't have much," that's what Joan relates Rev. Susan S. at Lincolnville said at this evening's service. There were four speaking people at four corners of the church and a woman in a gold scarf telling the Christmas story.

Soon solitude will watch doors close and cars disappear. The star atop Mt. Battie tower has focus tonight. Generator filled with fuel. Cold night air. Drivers heading north on Elm Street Route One might pause.

For now, that is all we can do.

What is being pointed out?

Monday, December 23, 2002

Stefanie, a student, leads her paper with two quotes:
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.
( -- Albert Einstein, letter dated 1950, quoted in H. Eves’ Mathematical Circles Adieu, 1977)

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.
( -- Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, foreword to The Dreaded Comparison: Human and Animal Slavery)

Is birthing Christ a dawning consciousness that recognizes one family?

A holy family? All beings – inanimate to animate, dirt to sentience, all species through human to realms unknown to any of us? Are we ready for this birth?

Another student writes:
I know I won’t emerge from this class as a philosophical scholar. In my “trained” way of thinking, I tell myself that I did not succeed in this class because I can’t put a pretty ribbon around the little box of wisdom that I didn’t gain from this class. Are you following me? Then, I realized that I do not need to because there is no box and no ribbon. There is only philosophy, which leaves things as they are; bare. In the end, I’m still holding onto the ribbon, but I’ve managed to throw the box away! (Josyln)

Perhaps the box is bare, empty. Without box, the empty content, that is, the emptiness that even the idea of box could not contain, much less the greater illusion that a container such as a physical box could contain what is wisdom, spills effortlessly into nowhere.

Put differently – what a lovely ribbon!

Is Christ a lovely ribbon remaining after what we thought we held has disappeared? When nowhere becomes now here?

Is Christ the light illuminating a circle of compassion embracing all and whole?

There is no shopping for this. This is gift given and received once and for all when the first sound resonated from the origin of sound.

Put differently – Let there be light!. (cf. Gn 1:3)

And there was, and is here, and ever will be -- this sacred ribbon.



Saturday, December 21, 2002

Haiku for Elizabeth

Wet old apple tree
watching orange sunrise wash
clear cabin window

(wfh, 21dec02)
Sometimes fire doesn't catch until you leave it alone.
After several attempts, not until returning to house, cabin woodstove chimney dances smoke. Woman arrives, walks mindfully to screen door, and disappears into chapel/zendo.

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans 16:25 - 27)

"Now," Paul writes, and "now disclosed." What is constant, and what is evermore constant, is honoring resplendence no longer hidden from our eyes, is born aware presence.

Coming to this, an advent pilgrimage is what is born, within and without.

We must first visit another. They too are near birth.

Visit Elizabeth, a name that means "one consecrated to God."

Friday, December 20, 2002

Aware presence sits in maximum-security prison around table in education. Eight inmates, two visitors, reading at random snippets from The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace, pieces from many minds collected by Jack Kornfield. Later we read a piece on history and who we are. We finish with poem by e.e.cummings let it go .

Then Sonny getting up to leave says it. One sentence. It sums up the gathered circle conversation with compact clearness.

Sonny says, "What Jesus was, we are now, if we let it be."

Turning the wheel of the Dharma
is the beginning and end
of the whole training.
With this aspiration one starts
giving one’s whole heart to the training;
with one’s heart in it, one does it.
Depending on it, one looks
for the wonder arousing,
mysterious state behind appearances.
That attained, the transformation
of one’s life has been completed.

- Torei (1721-1792)

Beyond appearances, at center of our very being, Sonny's sentence.

Saskia ends with their nodding affirmation, “May we all be at peace, now.”
What if we've never grasped the incarnation?
Is there an incarnational constant, similar to the cosmological constant?
Creation is God's way of saying, "I am here!"
What if God is, from the first, awareness becoming human?
What if Jesus saw through Christ what God from the beginning is creating?

Who, then, would not celebrate each birth, each awakening, and each leap of light through night to earth?

Christ is now longing to be born. Jesus knew this. And this is what God reveals as truth in time.

Imagine this: religion has done its job, holding sacred sound reverently as time unfolds voice to pronounce its song. Our breath rises in and out the body mother bestowed on one and all.

This. Know this. "This," sounds God, "is my son and daughter in whom I am. Well. Pleased."

Oh dear! Here we are! Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

"People don't write history, historians do."

I remember that line (or one similarly phrased) from a play attended in Callicoon NY in 1964, The troupe of theater players would descend to auditorium under church and rehearse a comedy about somebody's war. Our own war was nascent in Vietnam. Our personal wars with what and how we thought were like rocks in the near flowing Delaware River, temporarily diverting the rush of event and history, a surprising whitewater of resistance that splashed over us before continuing toward Crows Nest, Port Jervis, the Delaware Water Gap, Dingmans’ Ferry, down to Philadelphia, and out into Atlantic Ocean.

Historians have realized for a long time that monks of the eleventh and twelfth centuries invented a past in order to legitimize their claims to the present.
(-- from Introduction, in Monks & Nuns, Saints & Outcasts, Religion in Medieval Society, c.2000)

If I were to invent a past, what would I wish to legitimize as a proper present?

Monastic culture sought to control the future through the proper performance of liturgy. Prayer, for the living and the dead was the primary function of the monastic community, a function understood and cherished by all orders of lay society. Moreover, ritual actions showed the proper social hierarchy, they acted out the proper order of the world, or, when necessary, they dramatized the failure of human society to conform to the divine order.
(-- from ch 1, Monastic Memory and the Mutation of the Year Thousand, essay by Patrick J. Geary, op.cit.)

How would I write it? The divine order, yes, what is the divine order? No matter what anyone else calls it in their version of history, I'd say that the divine order is common use of commonly used property and possessions. A wise person with no personal ambition would be wise counsel to those who gather into communities of common intent.

(Of course there would be the non-gatherers, the non-commoners who would rather think of themselves as special and privileged, who take to themselves honor and rank and assemble under their benevolence minions of fawning prisoners to their control and protection -- not unlike the current day governments with their two party political charade that rivets attention on every proclamation and grumbling complaint to their benevolent patriarchy. But these are not the divine order in the history I write.)

The divine order is a circle, not a ladder, not a straight line. Women and men attend to creation. This might be birds, cats, spiders, clouds, mice, dogs, horses, chipmunks, dust motes, baking flour, branches of trees, elderly people or even children. All creation, once or formerly visible, is the work and leisure of the divine order.

In this history there is no entertainment industry, no recreational industry, no educational industry, no financial industry, no industry whatsoever. There are only people living their lives with nature and unseen nature. The circle of life encounters each and every individual on the circle with attention, respect, and engaging service to the needs of each and all.

Women are neither baby makers nor objects of sexual satisfaction. Men are neither baby makers nor objects of sexual satisfaction. Women and men are the created, creation, and creators in a circle of reverence and love. There is nothing to take and nothing to give -- everything we once thought of as sexual industry is reconsidered in the light of what is calling forth now. Is now a child? Is now a comforting? Is now a coupling? Is now a non-coupling? Whatever emerges will be a result of what now is creating -- and not a result of an industry, whether ecclesial, cultural, or consumer -- for the good of now and forever. What we once called procreation and perpetuation of genetic strain is no longer of interest. What is the divine order that is of interest? Ask yourself.

You alone are the creator, the created, and the creation. In the past we were tempted to say "God created...” When we did say that, we fell deeper into forgetfulness with the use of a word with three letters. Today, now, is the space of remembering. The remembrance we arrive at is the very fact of what we have called incarnation. It is an awkward word. But so is God.

You and I are not God. God is not God. (God is not a word that represents God). Nor is anyone else God. What else can we say?

Go ahead -- say it. It is the present. It is now. God is everywhere present, but nowhere found. And the mystery we call Christ is the realization in Jesus this season that God is now human. It is a curious phrase: God is now human. If such is so, perhaps this is why God is nowhere found. Are we looking in the wrong places? Are we looking in words? In sky? In routines and traditions that have no further role in locating and celebrating God? And is this why we feel so alone and not with God?

There is no need to write history. We are what historians choose to say about us. There is no need to believe what is said. We are condemned to repeat history when it is someone else's telling of history. Forget it. History, far from being a recounting of events gone by, is a story embedded within us right now in our hands and feet. With every move we enact history. Don't let anyone enact your life for you.

Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.
(-- George Bernard Shaw, 1856 - 1950)

Rather, be divine order. Write no history. Be the story of life as it is unfolding right now. Be what we are doing.
Yet the question remains -- If this common gathering is to simplify creation, who are we to say we are?

We are who we are and what we are, when and how we are there, as we are here.
Write this -- nothing other.

Breathe easy. The darkness of history is dying. Light will see us through.

Us. With us. God with us. Emanuel.
Write us -- no -- enact us well.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

There's no place to go but home.

Gathering simples, going home
White clouds flying
Mists melt black mountains
And this wandering mystic’s
Wandered astray.
Black apes call and green birds cry
A magic crane goes before me,
Dancing, leads me
To my cave.

- Yun-K’an Tzu

Home is not what we think it is. Home is where no thinking leaves us. After illusions reveal themselves and scuttle off. After long looking down many paths yields an empty road with no encouragement to continue further. After one of the numerous beliefs we've cherished collapses into vacant stare at nothing we can remember. After we discover one more 'friend' has bailed out with oblique words such as, 'There are other things I have to take care of.'

Home begins to take shape when after one or all of the above riddles our lives with disappointment. We realize there has never been a real appointment with any of them -- not illusory perceptions, not the direction of our life, not beliefs we've held with foolish courage, and not the friendships that have been mere convenience, and you and I are now inconvenient.

Home appears when we are looking the other way. It occurs during the dismantling of our special lives. Home is where nothing special takes place with arresting awareness.

A poet who looked the other way with words wrote:

let it go--the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise--let it go it
was sworn to

let them go--the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers--you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go--the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things--let all go
so comes love

(e.e.cummings, XXIX in 1 X 1)

Being led, dancing, to that cave. Love is where there is no place to go, but home.

Monday, December 16, 2002

"Where there is no one, I am." It was a silent phrasing during 1st sitting in chapel/zendo.

That's what came after arriving at the cabin for Sunday Evening Practice and the woman connected to Tibetan monks asked where she might sit. Moonlight over her shoulder placed window squares on ash wood floor.

The letters "w" and "t" keep phrase from saying, "Here, here is no one, I am."

Pure and fresh are the flowers with dew
Clear and bright is the singing of the birds;
Clouds are calm, waters are blue.
Who has written the True Word of no letters?
Lofty are the mountains, green are the trees,
Deep are the valleys, lucid are the streams;
The wind is soft, the moon is serene.
Calmly I read the True Word of no letters.

- Zenkei Shibayama (dailyzen.com)

Cesco occupies middle blue zabuton below as I sit in loft. In the house Saskia researches music order, Mu-ge races crazily up and down stairs, up and down table, desk, and chair. Sando sighs on bedroom bed with elderly tolerance of the new energy bouncing off the walls.

The day extends. We walk with dogs in state park. Back at cabin as sun sets and darkness curls around bare branches we light oil lamps to begin enclosing porch with clear plastic. When night and cold temperature rendezvous we gather tools on porch for morning and enter chapel/zendo for Vespers.

Prayer is sung in psalm-tone. There is a trust that in ways we cannot fathom what we do matters. We don't know if it does. We just do it with intention to remain in loving attention with all there is and each one there.

We try to do, simply and starkly, what we are doing. When being and doing have little or no separation between them, we begin to disappear. In that disappearance, the one we call God is no longer absent but still invisible, no longer unheard but still silent. In that disappearance there is no knowing.

We know nothing of God. We barely know anything of ourselves. What we do manage to know are odd details of finances, academic test questions, flaws of others, and how to divert ourselves from ourselves by becoming someone. When and if we ever fail miserably and wonderfully at becoming someone, it is there at that ground opening emptiness the one we call God resonates “I am.”

No need asking why and how. No reason, no explanation, satisfies. Just this: Where there is no one, I am.
“I am!” -- There’s that sentence! We are permitted to praise this. And give thanks.

Choose your own silent phrase. Sit with it. Lose track of everything else. Go away. Return home.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Advent in forceful wind.

Phil Berrigan died Friday, Dec. 6. Reading Phil Berrigan’s final words about nuclear weapons, their production, threat, and ultimate use:
Because of myopic leadership, of greed for possessions, a public chained to corporate media, there has been virtually no response to these realities... (“PHIL'S STATEMENT 12/05/02” (dictated the week before Thanksgiving, via Liz McAlister) (http://www.rcnv.org/rcnv/archives/philberrigan.htm)

He died soon after an unfinished sentence in a completed life. Compare Phil’s life with the incomplete lives and finished sentences of profiteers and politicians trying to convince us that destruction and death is good for the economy and our ideals of freedom.

I came late to the dharma,
But each day, deepen my retreat.
Waiting for mountain monks,
I sweep my simple hut.
Then down from cloudy peaks
You come through knee-deep weeds.
We kneel on tatami, munching pine nuts.
We burn incense and study the Way.
Light the lamp at twilight;
A simple chime begins the night.
In every solitude, deep joy:
This life abides.
How can you think of returning?
A lifetime is empty like the Void.

- Wang Wei

Brendan Walsh gave a eulogy for Philip Berrigan. Walsh is cofounder of Viva House, a Catholic Worker house in Baltimore that operates a soup kitchen, food pantry, and free law clinic. He said that during one incarceration, he and Phil lived like monks together in a tiny jail cell for 5 months, eating wonder bread and grape juice for morning Eucharist, doing scripture study during lockdown. Wang Wei's words, "How can you think of returning?” must have been heard by Berrigan each time he did an action he calculated to land him back in jail. He spent over eleven years in prison for civil disobedience acts of opposition to war and destruction of implements of war.

It is mid-Advent in the Christian calendar. The yearly meditation on the coming of Christ into human history is paled by homeland security in America, nostalgia for segregation, privileged rulings for the wealthy, and an odd intensity to rid the world of evil that particularly interferes with the interests of commercial vendors of oil, arms and weapons of mass destruction.

While churches sing and celebrate liturgical sentiments of anticipation of the prince of peace, others plot bomb coordinates, CIA assassination targets, and random terror. This is done in the name of Christian and Muslim causes and values, democracy or holy war. Is the world dangerous? Yes, the world is dangerous.

The wind is a clearer sound. It makes no statement trying to convince anyone of anything other than moving along a course of night, sounding through chimes hanging to record its passing. The wind is a haunting sound. The wind has integrity many long to hear.

Christ is being born. Phil Berrigan has died. Two persons and two sentences that serve to evoke sacred longing and spiritual crisis. There is a skeptical uncertainty initiated by these two moments of appearance and disappearance.

Phil Berrigan was a forceful wind. And so, through this night we wait and watch. We do so with friends whose longing and crises ask us to wait and watch with them.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

Woodstove smoke at 5:00am from cabin. Bald Mountain reveals and conceals itself with moving clouds along southern side. Inside we read Dogen's words on walking mountain. If we're unaware of a mountain walking can we be aware of our own walking?

Under the thin smoke of winter
The old temple is quiet.
After sundown,
All the visitors are gone.
On the west wind, three,
Four chimes the evening bell.
How can the old monk
Concentrate on zazen?

- Ma Chih-yuan (1260-1334)(dailyzen.com)

Following Saturday morning's conversation, Many Faces of Death, a woman said she thought the practice at Meetingbrook was a radical acceptance of & surrender to the reality of each person arriving here. Like death, we arrive, finally, at who we are as we are at that moment. Why not in life as well?

True love and prayer are learned in the moment when prayer has become impossible and the heart has turned to stone. (-Thomas Merton, quoted in The Grace in Dying.)

Today, in unrelenting driving rain, this impossibility of prayer surrounds the walking mountain, shrouding clouds, chimney smoke, and this stony heart.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Who knows what person we are?
The sound of each and every thing is sonorous within us. Which sound do we retain and claim to be us?

Or does our consciousness stretch to the extending edges of an expanding multi-verse far beyond the ideas we've held of a contained universe, enclosed mind, separate self, atomistic existence, or isolated unconnected people in a conditioning manipulation we call society and culture?

Dreaming, Chuang Tzu became a butterfly;
Waking, the butterfly became a man.
Who knows which is real?
Who know where endless changes end?
The waters of the deepest sea
Return to the smallest stream.
The melon-grower outside the city gate
Was once the King of the Hill.
Even rank and riches eventually disappear.
You know, and still you toil.

- Li T’ai-po (701-?)(dailyzen)

In Boston, the Cardinal resigns over issues of protecting child-abusing priests and denying the problem. In Washington the President chastises impromptu remarks by the returning Majority Leader of the Senate regaling segregation and lamenting the difficulties that followed not having a segregationist leadership in this country. In America the bait and switch technique so popular in retail minds is being applied to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in world affairs. Which one am I?

Mu-ge steals a slice of cheese from counter. Sando eats morning treat from pink bowl on bed. Cesco hides out under an unassuming alias. Snow melts from roof with warming sun.

Each is alone. We are not each other. Our true worth comes in realizing this, waking up from the very same dream, stepping out our life in the midst of everyone else sleeping, dreaming -- and waking.

Who knows who we are?
Who hears the sound of What Is being said?

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Sitting in cabin night and morning. Temperature 18 to 8 degrees. No fire. Incense, sunrise, starlight.

There’s no self and no person,
How then kinfolk and stranger!
I beg you, cease going
From lecture to lecture;
It’s better to seek truth directly.
The nature of Diamond Wisdom
Excludes even a speck of dust.
From “Thus we have heard,”
To “This I believe,”
All’s but an array
Of unreal names.

- Layman P’ang (740-808)(dailyzen)

Arraying myself with unreal names, warm socks, and woolen watch cap the sitting occurs as snowmaker at Snow bowl makes good use of cold.

All in prayer, there, as sitting continues. One bell, two bells, three bells. Mother and child icon, circles on wooden cross, one finger raised on rosewood Buddha -- stain-glass candle is warmth enough.

All day, dust motes carry on in our absence.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Today is Thomas Merton day. We're happy Thomas Merton was who he was.

Let the wise one watch over the mind,
So hard to perceive, so artful,
Alighting where it wishes;
A watchfully protected mind
Will bring happiness.

- Dhammapada

He died Dec.10, 1968. He is vital for us.

"Thomas Merton wrote in his journal:
If I am to be a saint - and there is nothing else that I can think of desiring to be - it seems that I must get there by writing books in a Trappist monastery. If I am to be a saint, I have not only to be a monk, which is what all monks must do to become saints, but I must also put down on paper what I have become. It may sound simple, but it is not an easy vocation.
To be frank, without being boring, it is a kind of crucifixion. Not a very dramatic or painful one, But it requires so much honesty that it is beyond my nature. It must come, somehow, from the Holy Spirit.
(Logan Alley's Eulogy for Thomas Merton, December 10, 2000, Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky, http://archives.marshall.edu/~altany/rst351-0002-list/0293.html)

The man of Tao
remains unknown
Perfect virtue
produces nothing
is 'True-Self'
And the greatest man
is Nobody

Thomas Merton, in The Way of Chuang Tzu

The Merton we knew, who is still in the lives of both of us, was a different man, and monk, from the saintly person of pre-fabricated purity that has become his image these days. He was a real person, not a saint; he was a mystic searching for God, but a God that crossed the boundaries of all religions; his was not a purely Christian soul. He developed closer spiritual ties than Church authorities will ever admit to the Eastern religions, Hinduism as well as Buddhism. In fact just before his appalling accidental death in December 1968, he was saying openly that Christianity could be greatly improved by a strong dose of Buddhism and Hinduism into its faith. These are things the record needs.
For us Merton was one of the seminal figures of our time. He was deeply curious about all religions, all areas of thought and philosophy. Rice says: "The Church has not done right by him. In fact, the Church has wronged him, and continues to wrong him, by glossing over, by evading the universality of his thought. The Church wants to obscure his basic human nature, his reaching out to other people in a desire to create a common bond, not necessarily based on religion."
"Sometimes I think there are two Churches," Rice says, "one run by the Vatican and the other by Merton. The one run by the Vatican is exclusionary and cold and based on dogma. The one run by Merton reaches out to the whole world and is based on faith."
(Jim Knight, in his recollection of Merton, along with Ed Rice and Robert Lax, in The Thomas Merton We Knew, http://www.therealmerton.com/tommie.html)

Merton's last recorded words were "...and now I will disappear."
And so, he did. But not before he was sighted in our midst.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Buddha's Enlightenment Day. Mary's Immaculate Conception. Meetingbrook Monastics 5th public proclamation of 3 Promises: Contemplation, Conversation, and Correspondence. Strong wind blows clear stars above ground snow.

You’re bound to become a Buddha if you practice
If water drips long enough even rocks wear through
It’s not true thick skulls can’t be pierced
People just imagine their minds are hard.

- Shih-wu (1272-1352)

He saw, the star.
She is conceived, with no barrier.

We are happy to be in a garden with what grows around Sunday Evening table. Still, the Cape Breton attraction. Who dares explain what draws us:
Alles Vergängliche
Ist nur ein Gleichnis;
Das Unzulängliche
Hier wird's Ereignis;
Das Unbeschreibliche,
Hier ist es getan;
Das Ewigweibliche
Zieht uns hinan.

(-- Chorus Mysticus: Faust)

(All things corruptible
are but reflection
Earth's insufficency
here finds perfection,
Here the ineffably wrought
is with love;
The Eternal Womanly
draws us above.)

(-- Mystical Chorus, Faust, by Goethe)

So it is, we are drawn.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

“Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aid of their country.”
I remember that sentence (parentheses added) from my youth. It was a typing exercise my mother and sister would peck out on the small Olivetti I’d been given. The sentence and sentiment seems renewed now.

So many in our country are passionately confused. Back our President and administration? Or, loyally, oppose their either preventive positioning or posturing pretense with regard to Iraq?
People in America are torn between the take-no-prisoners of the right wing politicians and commentators, and, the just-wait-a-minute of the undecided. Polls say the President’s focus on regime change and war with Iraq is much approved. The inner hearts of those who doubt either intention or motivation of this course of action at this time by this set of men in power – these hearts hardly show up in the count used to measure the will of the American people.

“I knew a priest once. When I lived in Beijing. He used to help me.” Shan spoke at her back. “Once I had a similar dilemma. About whether to seek justice or to just do what the bureaucrats wanted. Do you know what he said? He told me that our life is the instrument we use to experiment with the truth.” (-- p.319, in The Skull Mantra, novel set in Tibet, by Eliot Pattison)

For those wishing to experiment with the truth, there is something they can do. To find the truth amid confusion and diversion of attention away from it, there is something that must be done. Practice. Practice Now. And practice continuously.

Practicing with my life is the test and trial of my life. It is to try out – [L.ex-periri] – what is the very ground of my life. The word ‘experiment’ has this definition alongside several in dictionary:
“an operation carried out under controlled conditions in order to discover an unknown effect or law, to test or establish a hypothesis, or to illustrate a known law.”(p.293, Webster’s Seventh)

Practice, Now, and Continuous – this is what each is invited to do to learn the truth.

The immediate “now” of continuous practice is not something which existed in me from before. The time called “now” is not born from continuous practice. The time when continuous practice is manifested is what we call “now.” Consequently, one day of continuous practice by us becomes the seed of all the Buddhas; it is the continuous practice of all the Buddhas.
(-- from Gyoji, in Dogen’s Shobogenzo)

No one can accept another’s version of the truth without experimenting themselves, with their own lives, with the truth. One Zen Master, when asked for a definition of truth that would still be true in five hundred years, answered, “The truth is just like this.” And so each one must ask -- What is this?

War is a serious example of our unwillingness or inability to face who we are. The externalization of inner truth – the internalization of external truth – are ways of seeing what is whole and unbroken by our minds with their rationalizations, propaganda, self-interests, delusions, and deceptions. If we are truth, each one of us, everywhere, how do we account for the activities of destruction and elimination of what we are?

“Truth,” said Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "is only arrived at by the painstaking elimination of what is not true.” I can't help but wonder. Until we face what is not true within us we will never see what is true. To face who we are is the beginning of conversation. Are we, each of us, the conversation between what is true and what is not true? Perhaps Sherlock Holmes should have been given the line: "Truth is arrived at the painstaking awareness of what is true and not true now."

We are not at the mercy of those in power with their perceptions and intentions. Whatever they do cannot touch our true reality – that which is the Ground within us. Rather, we are at the mercy of ourselves. If we do not practice the alertness and awareness that will lead us to truth, to this truth available to each of us, then we do not belong to ourselves, and are lost. To practice, now, and continuous, is to look and listen – experimenting with the instrument of our life – with the truth.

“Truth” is embedded within. No one can ultimately manipulate or destroy it. Truth waits for us -- for our eyes, ears, nose, taste, touch, and simple awareness. Truth is not other than who and what we are. Don’t lose your truth.

By practicing, now, and continuously the truth we are, will help others, everywhere. From Washington D.C. to Iraq – we can help find the courage to experiment with the truth, deepen our lives, and painstakingly become aware of and live what is true. Elimination is not the necessity. Transparency, and embodiment of truth, is.

We pray for each one’s arrival, each one's discovery, and seeing each one through.

Monday, December 02, 2002

Kneeling/sitting with Omni bench in front room. Votive candle below bronze two-sided crucifix: corpus one side, tree other. Tree facing trees of Bald Mountain, body facing me in dimming daylight.

For a while we arrange and rearrange the details surrounding our lives. Soon enough we derange and descry the details of surrender of our life. It is not a difficult transition. Only, the reality of it often eludes us.

Power is the drama of monarchs and heads of state. Power is protected, always, by death and threat of death. In the Middle East Israel occupies Palestinian land. Angered, Palestinians strike back. America gives money and implements of power to Israel. Arabs and Muslims include America in retaliatory punishment. America unleashes death and threat of death in response.

The drama. The play. The actors.

Looking at crucifix one sees death and the threat of death do not exclude Jesus. He is dead; he surrendered to the power of this world; he was nothing special.

It is Advent again. He is coming, again. Boughs and cribs, lighted trees and choral refrains, again. The cycle of birth and death is dramatized in religious observance. In the Middle East a contemporaneous passion play in real time mirrors liturgical celebrations of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic religions.

Sacrifices are readied. Men, women, and children are primped, rehearsed, and sent out on stage. Rulers with serious faces give explanations for their motivations that are moronic. Tanks, machine guns, heavy artillery, bombs and victory parades are planned and positioned. These heads of state are something special; entourages, secret service, bodyguards, flags, salutes, posters, hiding places – the perquisites and pornography of power. Furtive agents of terror and secrecy sneak their wares through public everydayness and detonate their belief they are saviors, martyrs, and conquering heroes – the destructive and despondent spoils of delusion.

We wonder if Jesus embodied God. We listen to his words for an echo of God’s voice. We look at his deeds for an intuitive resemblance to God’s actions. We wonder, and our uncertainty keeps us wondering. If Jesus is nothing special, he is God’s nothing special.

All the other posturing and preening, the coveting articulation and demurring denials – these are the sad and sullen lines of demented characters in the play of power running on stages in our times. Who in their right mind kills people for applause and theatrical curtain calls? Our imaginations are not engaged. Something else is asked for. Strike the set. Lower lights. Empty the house. Can anyone find a script we can live with?

The light fades and Bald Mountain looms ghostlike across Barnestown Road. The last squiggly line of incense wafts by crucifix. Twilight, dusk, finally darkness.

When bowing, head to floor, the very gesture tells the body what sacred honoring it is doing. Each small, quiet bow following that one extends filaments of enclosure to each recipient of familial inclusive recognition.

I bow to you. I greet you there.

Saturday, November 30, 2002

A hard heart doesn't hear the voice of God. Not in silence, not in the conversations that intersect our thinking. "If today you hear God's voice..." Psalm 95 says, "harden not your heart."

Do not accept anything simply
Because it has been said
By your teacher,
Or because it has been written
In your sacred books,
Or because it has been
Believed by many,
Or because it has been
Handed down by your
Accept and live only
According to what will enable
You to see truth face to face.

- Buddha

Seeing God face to face is death -- death to ego, death to separate self, death to the powerful illusion we are alone. The voice of God sounds through everything and every sentient being. Seeing God face to face is a heart that is broken with compassion.

In the parking lot outside the restaurant there are screams. A young (man/woman?) was punching themself in the face and nose. Blood smeared. An older man and woman were in attendance. He tried to hold the hands. The person began banging their face on the car, Finally they agreed to get into the front seat, to have the seat belt buckled, to be driven away. This scene, autistic sorrow, covered the afternoon. The few in the shop spoke softly about the sorrow of autism.

One need not be supernaturally inclined to hear the voice of God. God screamed in the parking lot today. Our hearts sorrowed, softened, and stood ready to assist with helpless attention.

To enter God's rest is to pray -- that is, to open heart and mind to the sound of what is being said, the sight of what is taking place. Open mind, open heart, and open eyes -- without judgment, without separating oneself from the whole that is there -- this is how we learn to pray.

I pray for those three in the parking lot today. I pray for those hearing, seeing, and sorrowing the encounter.

I almost forget: he’d do anything for you. Love him
for what you might have become
and love him for what you are, not that far
from him. We are never that far. Love
everyone you can. The list gets longer and shorter.
We’re seldom better than weather. We’re nearly as good
as a woman we met in passing once at Invergarry.
Don’t be sorry, for him or for self. Love the last star
broken by storm. And love you. You hold it together.

( -- from poem Villager by Richard Hugo, in The Right Madness on Skye)

Friday, November 29, 2002

Bookshop/Bakery closed today. No open poetry reading there this afternoon.

White pail fell back down cliff from the spot alongside icy path we climbed up from rocky shore. I watched it bounce. It wanted to stay where I'd found it this morning.

Silent Illumination

Silently and serenely, one forgets all words,
Clearly and vividly, it appears before you.
When one realizes it, time has no limits.
When experienced, your surroundings come to life.
Singularly illuminating is this bright awareness,
Full of wonder is the pure illumination.

- Hung Chih Cheng Chueh (1092-1157)(dailyzen)

Take nothing for the journey, bring nothing back.

Poetry is one of the forms of joy, the most articulate, the most expanding, and, therefore, the most fulfilling form. It is no separation from the world; it is the mankind of the world, the most human language of man's uncertain romance with the universe. -- John Ciardi

Mu-ge finds crevice between table leg and file cabinet, hunkers down on spilt-over paper behind wires suckling electricity from strip plug, and watches me.

Poetry returns what is in words to itself.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

It is Thursday.
For that fact
I am grateful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

In America it is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a heavy travel day. Saskia yesterday, Jon today, off to places south and west. Sando, Cesco, and Mu-ge travel around the house, Ragged, and bookshop. Dredging of harbor continues. Emptying out and filling up is the rhythm of the day.

Better than a thousand hollow words
is one word that brings peace.
Better than a thousand hollow verses
is one verse that brings peace.
It is better to conquer yourself
than to win a thousand battles.
Then the victory is yours.

- Buddha in the Dhammapada (dailyzen)

We are stragglers and strangers wandering home. Just as there is no way to peace -- peace is the way itself; so too there is no way to get back home again -- home is where we are. Turtles, we traverse here to there, coming and going, dwelling and carrying our very home within and without.

Death reminds us of the illusion of fixed addresses. Certain addresses provide warmth, food, companionship, and a place to receive mail. But there is no longer any address that satisfies the psychological & spiritual need for home. Home is right where we are.

The eggshells of family visits temper the longing for home, for grandma’s house, during holidays. So much to reconcile from years and unfinished business gone by, so compact and charged a space of time to face it. We are nomads who feel every place and each relative we know owes us something we define as something we deserve but has somehow been denied us.

Beneath and beyond the opinions we cultivate and scores needing to be evened, we carry also the forgotten reality that is our very being. By forgetting Being we busy ourselves with tasks and appointments, people as resources and roles as defining identities. By forgetting Being we forget God.

Peace is remembering who, what, and where we are. Peace is who, what, and where we are. Ask those who radiate peace. Pray in their presence, whether they are alive and visible, or dead and invisible – either way, they are there. Ask Jesus. Ask Buddha. Ask saints and bodhisattvas. Ask the ordinary person sitting right next to you, or walking across the street from you, or passing on a bus, car, train, or plane.

Ask them, not necessarily with words or voice. Ask them with your eyes. Ask them with your heart. Ask them with your attention. Look at each one with silence and acceptance, and let your loving watchfulness be what you ask. You are asking them to consider where they are. Doing so you prayerfully and mindfully invite them to be at home. Stay a while at home. Dwell in peace.

May each dwell grateful as snow falling where it falls, finding where it is, home.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Worry, worry. It's not as though everything will not fall down around us. Leaves have. Deaths in Nigeria, Palestine, and everywhere else. Political parties pick up the pieces after wins and loses. Economy sags. War strains at its leash. Finally, this morning, some sunlight over new rows of wood Jon, Saskia, and I stacked Sunday.

To look at life is like being in a dream;
It is really noisy being in the dream.
Everything stops when the dreamer suddenly awakens,
And in the same way as a dreamer awakes,
The wise understand how to wake from the dream.
The deluded believe in the dream and are disturbed
That understanding and dreaming
Seem to be two aspects.
When once the truth is comprehended,
There is no other comprehension.

- Master Pen Ching (dailyzen)

Stepping through this dream -- what courage.

Francis M. Cornford in his translation and running commentary of Plato's Sophist, says, "The Stranger begins by pointing out that 'all discourse depends on the weaving together of Forms'."
Stranger. Yes, my friend, and the attempt to separate everything from every other thing not only strikes a discordant note but amounts to a crude defiance of the philosophic Muse
Theaetetus. Why?
Stranger. This isolation of everything from everything else means a complete abolition of all discourse; for any discourse we can have owes its existence to the weaving together of Forms.
Theaetetus. True.

The weaving together of Forms allows conversation. We experience it four evenings during the week around the fire in the bookshop and one evening around the Rhodes table at hermitage. No lecture, no performance, no sermons or reports -- just conversation weaving together the forms that have appeared.

When we as dreamer awake, we begin to experience comprehension of a truth well beyond distraction and inattention. The energy of awareness with its potential for sharing this teaching and practice with another -- is what Buddhists call faith. It is what Val used to call "holding as true." Our era, writes Thich Nhat Hanh, is a time of lost faith.

When we hold something as true we really don't "know" it to be true. There is room for doubt, for a change of form, for new insight. Faith allows us a temporary resting place for time to change hands.

There's no need to worry. What is going to happen will happen. What will not happen is what is not going to happen. In the meantime we must remember everything and forget everything at the same time. Worry is worthless. What is worthwhile is weaving together forms in conversation with each other and every one. This conversation is the origin of present moment. This conversation is the completion of dream and awakening of what we hold as true with each other.

Tonight ends the four-year volunteer facilitation by Susan Smith-Hudson of the Tuesday Evening Buddhist Meditation Studies. Her faithful service, choice of poems, and unwavering counsel to "breathe three times before speaking" and "no cross talk" will be the source of respect and ribbing for many years to come. We are grateful to Susan.

Monday, November 25, 2002

John Cassian conference read at Sunday Evening Practice. Is it possible that any act is in itself indifferent? That we receive it and impose on it the designation "good" or "evil?" And if our minds are open and unjudging? No matter what the intent of the one acting the act in our direction? Can it be that only good be received no matter how wrong the act appears to be?

It is quite the power of transformation to be able to receive all in the light of God. No slight, no hurt, no malicious intent need darken our minds/hearts/spirits. Yes, there will be sorrow. Yes, there will be delight. But the steady state of receptivity to all as the appearance of God -- and the freedom to accept whatever comes as the transformative grace of re-creation of the world -- is this in our everyday capability as public worship inviting divine transcendence with inner presence?

There is not much the world can do to touch our inner presence. Once God has disappeared into God's creation -- permeating inner and outer so that there is no absence of God's awareness -- then all can be received through us into God. Nothing can separate us from the awareness of God loving us within and throughout.

But, of course, our unawareness. It cannot separate us, but our unawareness will create the illusion that an absence of God prevails. While it is only illusion, it nevertheless overwhelms us with despondency, depression, and distraction. It is up to our willingness to surrender to the radical reality suffusing our uncertain reality -- surrendering to the ground of being waiting to be seen in each and every thing, person, or act. Even the acts that give every impression as being devoid of God.

Francis of Assisi called it perfect joy. Jesus called it forgiveness without fear. It is the radical acceptance of what is taking place. It is transformative reception of what is there. It is grace and gratefulness. It is gift to trust we are not lost in our falling but will be found safe in the open hands of a God beyond whom we cannot fall.

There is no place to go that is not the presence of God. Not a notion of a God that causes harm and wrong, but a reality of God who appears within the experience to see us through.

Love sees us through. We are seen through, and in that transparent gift of freedom, love sees us through.
This is an innerstanding, (Shunyata's word), with which I can only watch and pray while dwelling in silence, stillness, and stark surrender. It is most often an empty wait. So, don't wait. Rather watch and pray with what is within us and throughout all already. This is a gift one can live and die with.

One, with which, I am grateful.

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Are we going to wake up? Michael Thoms poses the question on New Dimensions this Sunday morning.

Terrorism is how our lives become devastated. It finally became "our" problem, after long plaguing other countries. Thoms' guest wonders whether our current response is just an attempt to strengthen the illusion that we are in control.

It's not only terrorism that threatens the illusion of control we cultivate. Everyday living and dying, everyday accidents, everyday surprises -- these too threaten the illusion.

Taking care of you is not a selfish thing. Taking care of others is not a selfless thing. There is a middle place. That place might be called leaving care. In that place is leaving care its own. Leaving care is abandoning both the selfish and selfless. Leaving care is allowing things to follow their own course -- with an exception. That exception is our watchfulness, our engaged, participatory watchfulness.

This notion of leaving care is out of our control. Life is living itself within, through, and alongside our presence. We cannot control anything for the long haul. It is our illusion to believe the brief spurts of balance (that we mistakenly call control) can be manipulated and extended throughout our lives, the life of our country and the life of our planet.

God is caring-itself. When we are involved in true care it is caring-itself lighting through us. Leaving care is allowing caring-itself freedom to enter the world in its own light.

Only gratefulness, for each thing and for everything, allows us to see within the light of God.

Thursday, November 21, 2002


companioning presence


Wednesday, November 20, 2002

God is
what is
looking through
with love.

Monday, November 18, 2002

Snow grows wet and slush hardens Ragged mountainside. Ji-Ji-Mu-Ge settles into hermitage. Jumps to table during Sunday Evening Practice knocks over two candles. Spends rest of conversation about the philosophy suggested by his name in the bathroom meowing his views.

Cesco perfumes himself on the mountain with some fragrance that is washed out of him in bathtub. He is cooperative and unfragrant again. Both Sando and Cesco stopped short on the path overlooking Hosmer Pond when a moving lump that turned out to be a porcupine ambled across our trek. We turned back.

Mu-ge and the two dogs circle for agreeable boundaries in the house. These wary obstacles of particularity -- spatial negotiations -- narrow and tighten and perhaps, in time, will disappear. So too with us. We move from the unboundaried to vague then clear boundaries, through permeable boundaries to no boundaries -- someday. So much of life seems to be the establishing then dismantling of boundaries. In the spiritual life the process is mandatory. In national and security matters the process freezes with establishing and protecting clear boundaries. Unless, of course, the will of the state demands more and more and more for itself.

We are grateful to be spared the responsibility for securing the state, the nation, and interests therein. It is a special service some take on for the rest of us -- to protect and preserve. Both church and state assume that task. The rest of us are free to let go and let God emerge where church and state do not control. That place is within. That place is no-place.

In prison Friday Andre's poem asked us to consider the word "capture." It is well worth contemplating. To capture = to take. (In contrast, to leave = to fail to take or refrain from taking.) To be captured by the sun after a storm is to be taken by the warmth and brightness, relief following danger. (To leave or to let go, to suffer, permit, or allow is to free and be freed from that which catches or gains control by force, stratagem, or guile.)

Likewise, Harold follows up his personal autobiographical inquiry with an investigator's efforts to interview those who knew him before his crime 25 years ago. The investigator writes he might not spell so well, but he'll ask the right questions.)

So too Shane is asking himself whether to continue here where he is or (in some way) depart. Maybe a new citizenship in another country. (Maybe in a way of thinking that is not so punishing.) It is a privileged education we experience visiting for conversation inside the walls of prison. We read Andre Cadrescu's essay on John Cage's Silence, and Shunyata's (Emmanuel Sorensen's) two chapters in Dancing With The Void and a New York Time's Science article on the Cosmological theory of an Inflating Multiverse and Limitless Space.

We're just conversing with each other.

Perhaps there is no boundary. I am in prison. I am in hermitage. I am poem being written. I am universe expanding beyond itself. I am inmate sitting at round table. I am guard looking in through glass window. I am Cesco snoozing on bed after bath washing away pungent smell. I am water draining into septic. I am kneeler in front room waiting for weight to posture itself in front of crucifix. I am wind chime hanging from cedar tree in strong wind. I am crusted snow with fallen oak leaves stretched along expanse. I am porcupine burrowing into hollow trunk on darkened hill. I am letters throwing themselves together into words that settle for now into narrative. I am silence and emptiness following final period ending this word.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

At shop Jeff strings stick. Hugh and Sam have been talking about starting a fire from scratch. Virginia and Susan watch on. They are intent on the experiment. It goes nowhere.

Muge arrived last night from local shelter. His full name is ji ji muge (or, harmony within diversity). More literally ji ji muge means between one thing/event/happening (ji) and another thing/event/happening (ji) there is no (mu) barrier/separation (ge).

He seems a sweet 4-month-old kitten. Some coon cat in him.
Cesco tracks him. Muge swats Cesco. Sando raises her head, glances over, and lowers head.

Ji ji muge -- welcome to this generous new arrival!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Crossing Oneself

To understand
what is here
begin to understand
our being there. Cross
"t" from there, comes here,
comes God. Dying cross,
lives God, there to here.


Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Joel brought firewood. Dropped it right by last year's stacked towers. It's out there. In drizzle. Yup. Waiting for this year's architecture. Beehive? No telling what shape might take.
Accomplishing Peace

November is emptying. The leaves of two prior months' turning have fallen. Rain and snow begin to saturate earth again.

We know this without going outdoors. The basement is under 13 inches of water today. Sump pump from last winter is ground down and muttering but not working. I sit and stare from broken wooden steps at floating debris. Saskia comes home from Rankin’s with new pump. Water flows over rims of green boots and freezes my feet while I twist hose and submerge plastic pail riven with holes containing new Flotec.

In the ocean of the holy dharma
There is neither movement nor stillness.
The essence of the wave is like a mirror;
When something comes, the reflection appears.
When there is nothing in the mind,
Wind and waves are both forgotten.

( - Gido )

Autumn is end-season. Piece by piece earth in New England reclaims what it gave. Nothingness of first season, winter. Seed and sprig of spring. Summer’s resplendent glorious fullness. Now autumn receives back emptiness, especially November.

Hosmer Pond can be seen through bare branches. So too the neighbor’s house. The chapel/zendo is prominent stark. It stands four square behind Loon IV and dinghy Immer Call back from salt-water heel and bounce to mountain stillness.

Elections are over. We will most likely enter another war. This one with Iraq. The war on drugs against American ghetto poor and anti-drug fumigations in Colombia continues. The war on terrorism home and abroad continues. The war on poverty was lost without a truce. The war against the middle class and lower class by the corporate class and wealthy class is raging in a seemly quiet. Whenever the administration in Washington wishes its way on any contemporary issue they simply call their opponents unpatriotic and liberal rhetorical sympathizers with the enemy. So many enemies, so little room for dissent, so complex a metaphor -- that of war.

It is the empty time between secular celebrations. Stores shelve their Halloween costumes and ready for pre-Christmas merchandise sales. Thanksgiving will show up as time to remember we ought to be grateful for something to do with fruitful fields, new occupancy, freedom of expression, and a sense we are blessed. It is a regional holiday, decidedly American.

It is an empty time between religious celebrations. Ramadan nears end, Christ prays an Advent of new consciousness, Buddha pauses before enlightenment the same day Mary readies to be conceived with no barrier to God, and Chanukah menorahs prepare to extend a hedge hope against lowering candles.

Darkness tiptoes across the middle of this hunter’s month. We, like frightened deer in wooded glen, listen for breaking twig and bolting metal in pre-dawn stillness. Death loads, takes sighting, and pauses. We’re unsure the light to come is flash of ordinance signaling our end, or nova spirit of life burning through our ignorance with news of liberation for human consciousness.

97 Jesus said,
The [Father's] imperial rule is like a woman who was carrying a [jar] full of meal. 2While she was walking along [a] distant road, the handle of the jar broke and the meal spilled behind her [along] the road. 3She didn't know it; she hadn't noticed a problem. 4When she reached her house, she put the jar down and discovered that it was empty.

(-- from the Gospel of Thomas from the Scholars Version translation published in The Complete Gospels)

It is a curious proposition that the Father’s accomplishment is emptying out. Emptying out, not noticing a problem as it occurs, not knowing that it is happening as it is happening.

There’s no joy in war. It is November. We are emptying. A nova nada, a new nothingness, perhaps, will release us within. We must find out who we are. We have to come to see who we are in each other’s lives. There is no opposite to war. There is only war, and those who live through war with peace in sacred emptiness. God alone knows how this is accomplished.

May each be accomplished.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Without Knowing Why

A Hallowed Eve arrives. We'll ready the chapel/zendo wood stove for sitting and psalms. We will try not to be veils between each other.

The spiritual light shines alone,
far transcending the senses
and their fields;
the essential substance is
exposed, real and eternal.
It is not contained in written words.
The nature of mind has no defilement;
it is basically perfect and complete in itself.
Just get rid of delusive attachments,
and merge with realization of thusness.

- Pai-chang (720–814)

Veils are willing to dissolve when we are willing to look through them. Veils exist to protect us from seeing too clearly what is there to be seen. Veils are thinnest this eve of All Souls, Celtic New Year's Eve, and Eve of Day of the Dead.

Some in spirituality speak of the death of the ego. It is when there is no longer any supportive energy for veils. The held belief we are isolated separated beings crumbles and dissolves. We are left bereft of what we once thought we were. This dissolving of the veil is a shocking invitation into a new way of being. A new energy is released.

Opening Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's book The Future of Man page 210 presents itself with these words:
After a short period of untroubled proprietorship every new source of energy, as we know by experience, gives rise to two related problems, that of the limitations to be imposed on it and that of its preservation. The new force must not be allowed to get out of hand or to exhaust itself. The same applies (although we have thought less about it) to the source of energy abruptly released by Nature through Man which I have called the 'force of purposive thinking.'

What are we to think when the veil thins? Are we, of necessity, compelled to both put limitations on, and try to preserve, what is revealed? How far are we from understanding Meister Eckhart's phrase "leben ohne warum" (life without the question why)? What is the alternative to our dependence on the question 'Why?'

If today you hear God's voice,
harden not your heart.

--Psalm 95

Will we always ask "Why?" when (or if) we hear the voice of God? Do we need to search and find the right wavelength, the right station on the dial, in order to hear God's voice? Or, is God's voice the permeating sound and silence resonating at heart of each and every being, each and every thing, each and every event and occurrence in existence? In life itself?

Tonight the veil thins. Something dissolves. Without limitation or preservation. Arrives. Softens.
Our hearts?


Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Cesco at foot of chair. Sando by door. Today quiet. Trees field chill air. If limbs bare, my spirit bares. Cold stillness. Some days it takes all one can to simply breathe. Thin air. Thin membrane between worlds. The thin place opens. No speaking there. Only stark learning silence.

After Jesus said, "This is my body, this is my blood," was he at that place? Where does one go once coming to earth and returning to earth?

Today, walking 4 road miles to town, I thought about each granule of soil. I thought about all I don't know.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Heart of Peace; Heart of God?

What is the cost of peace?

We know the cost of war -- dead bodies, enormous economic expense, consolidation of power in the hands of a few military or administration officials. But what is the cost of peace?

We'd have to consider justice -- equal treatment under the law. This equal treatment is at times more abused than held in honor. I frequent a prison. I know who is there and not there. Not many millionaires. Not those Wall Street or corporate activists drinking Black Label or sniffling white powder who've stolen from thousands of people and are protected by the weapons of lawyers. Rather, mostly poor kids. Those whose back street activities after beer and marijuana or heroin rip off two or three people brandishing extra bags to sell and a firearm for protection.

Peace costs less than war. But the cost hits us and our culture right where we hurt the most -- in the comfortable habits of our American life style. Peace would ask us to change our way of living. We in America are very wealthy. We are criticized that our way of life is decadent. Our way of life depends on others' living far below our standard. Would peace, real peace, ask of us to have less, consume less, demand less from others?

Christianity is loosely based on the life of Jesus, called by some Christ. The Ground of Being and Ground of Christ is the very Ground of Each One of Us. It occurs to me that to turn or return to that Ground or Christ would mean living the life of Christ. What is the life of Christ?

Here is where many part paths. It occurs to me that Christ is peace. Not security, not protection at any cost. Not deterrence. Not primacy in munitions or deployment of armed forces. Not detente. Not first strike ability. Not patsy. Not victim. Not martyr. Not savior of the world.

To say Christ is peace is to consider saying we are not other than Christ. We realize Christ realizing what Jesus realized. Jesus realized that to live God is to abandon the self that acts and operates in place of God. To find oneself dwelling God is to live what God is. What is God living?

Here is where many more paths part. To live God is to embody peace. Peace is the radical acceptance of the poverty of God. Emptiness is God’s dwelling.

God owns nothing. Thus, everything is of God.
God withholds nothing. Thus, everything is gift.
God sees everything as it is. Thus, we are transparent to God; there is nothing to hide.
God loves what is real. Thus, to be real is primary.

Peace is the dwelling of God. No economic wealth, no military strength, no ideas of hierarchical "we are the best" applies in the dwelling of God.
What does peace cost? And why can't we afford peace?

Peace costs nothing. And we, it seems, are unwilling to, or cannot, afford the nothing it takes to dwell there.

We understand war, killing, spoils of conquest, and exploiting fears.
What we don't understand is someone emptying himself or herself, taking on the form of one who serves others, and dwelling there with and as God. As God's dwelling in this existence on this earth.

Unless, of course, it isn't a matter of understanding. But a matter of simplicity, love, and life. Unless it is a matter of courage. Of heart.

Which brings us into the question; do we have the heart for peace?

Saturday, October 26, 2002

In Augusta Maine and Washington DC people gather to say "No" to President Bush's intended war with Iraq. In Minnesota a state mourns at the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, family members, workers, and pilots in plane crash yesterday as investigators prepare to sift through the site for clues as to how and why it happened. The weather turns raw and wet along the coast, a bleak statement corresponding to antipathy toward war and sorrow at death.

Before I was forty I quit my job
and came to tread the way
of saints and sages.
If I come out, it’s just
because I love the hills
and streams.
My ears are clean,
my vision’s ample.
When you ponder it,
this is true happiness.
The golden girdle girds calamity;
purple robes, pain.
Are they better than my briar
cane and cap of straw?

- Chang Yang-Hao

Who are these men and woman who give up briar cane and straw cap for purple robes of governance and power? And how can they, and we, sort through the temptations to ignorance so rife in human rational ego? How do we come to serve rather than be served? How transform the inclination to rule with benefit to some few and begin to serve with benefit to everyone?

Workers from Prock Marine are tearing out the deck pilings outside the shop. Sawn tired debris of 40 years lay on side. New full replacements stand fresh and green from mid-tide under dock. There is, always, much to replace, much to reform.

To transform is to allow what is occurring or being said by another to pass through our very form there present with another. Transformation is more difficult than replacement or reformation.

It is a day to pray for those attempting peace. It is a day to pray for those attempting to rule. For wisdom, compassion, understanding, and service.

It is a day to pray for those dying, and those who have died.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Waking this dawn, Meetingbrook mala beads in hand, the words occur:
Jesus lived his life living God.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Practice is practice

At Tuesday Evening Conversation on Buddhist Studies John C. and Saskia collaborate unknowingly on a wording of practice that fits: "Naturally -- it's not hard, and doesn't hurt -- practice."

Earlier a woman spoke of playing piano years ago. She seemed wistful when asked if she kept her hand in. "If you don't practice, you forget." (Susan F.) With prompting she realized what she'd said. Her words apply to any practice, particularly that of zazen and mindfulness.

We practice to remember -- to remember who we really are and what is the ground of our being. There is no future goal -- no goal of enlightenment or heaven. We practice sitting meditation and mindfulness to remember our ground.

When sitting there is no technique, word, breath regulation, mantra, image, or guided formula we follow. There is only sitting. There is no "subject" concentrating on some "object." There is just sitting.

Remember -- earth is earth. We arise from earth and return to earth. While sitting we sit with earth as earth.
Remember -- God is God. We are within God and return to God. While sitting we sit in this creation with this creating God.
Remember -- each one of us is each one of us. We present ourselves within the presence of each being. While sitting we sit with each presence as it is in itself.

This is what we practice, this remembrance.
If we don't practice, we forget.

Naturally, it's not hard and doesn't hurt, practice.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Four inmates and two outmates conversed about Jean Paul Sartre's "Condemned to be Free" essay and Andre's poem about that place within where we still have choice whether to go to light or to dark.

The fishing hole each finds is a virgin future. Alone in the moment, accompanied by the presence of all who have touched us, appreciating what is there for the first time. Ed brought us to that fishing hole. Paco brought the touch of all he's known with him. Andre brought his poem. Sonny knows the place well once and once again.

It was raining as we went inside the walls. The sun was shining as we said goodbye at the fishing hole of our appreciation for each other.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Lori calls to tell me Rocky B's funeral was today. Friend and neighbor of my parents on 69th street. We'll keep them in prayer.

All things are
resolved in the

- Bankei (1622-1693)

We know why he died. Because he was born. How can one be unborn? Much less come to terms with the phrase "Born again?"

Originally, yes, nothing is born.
Perhaps if we learn to unask a question we might learn what is unborn. Until then, tired, it is time to sleep.

Everything is relational -- no subject, no object. There is only two "jects," says Forrest at Thursday Evening Conversation. We laugh. Without "sub" or "ob" what is there but simply to be thrown?

Land well, Rocky!

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Theme: Trow-el: To Disturb or To Trust God?

Our country, right and wrong.

It occurs to me this damp storm-readying day that the difficulty we are having in this country with ethical thinking is lists. On one side of the page, correct behavior. On the other side, incorrect. Therefore, keep to the correct; avoid the incorrect. Sounds right and reasonable. Are we missing anything?

The exceptions to this list are thrown into the area known as murky or unclear. They follow the question, When is the right thing not good to do? Or, When is the wrong thing good to do?

When kill? When deprive people of their rights? When choose death over life by withholding services or medical assistance? When not make medical insurance, and thus care, not available to increasing numbers of people? When choose to take from the rich to give to the poor? Or, the more common decision - When take from the poor to give to the rich?

The murky unclear usually calls for guidelines or principles for use in determining where and when such and such an action might be taken without incurring punishment or too great a common public outrage. The human mind is often very clever in devising criteria for such situations. The popular mind shrinks differing views into simplistic allegiances and categories -- like Republican versus Democratic, or conservative versus liberal. Commentators and political pundits whose aim seems to be parody and divisive antagonism pick up still further simplifications. They load complex issues into simplistic jingoes and fire their guns into airwaves and newsprint. Their aim is to kill meaningful conversation and reasoned debate by substituting mockery, name-calling, othering, and arrogance.

Arrogance especially. Not asking questions in such a way inviting responses that explore ways to meaningful solutions honoring all participants affected by the issue, all touched by the topic. Instead, the bottom line becomes: them versus us; we've got it versus they want it; and finally, God favors the strong and bright and disfavors the weak and stupid. These designations are arrived at by architects of arguments who are intent on winning and preserving their way of life. It is not a conversation created by those seeking thoughtful insight, those longing for diminishment of suffering for all peoples.

We don't know the so-called right time and right place to concentrate the energies of the nation toward a purposeful goal of neutralizing or eliminating evil. Pragmatists and idealists alike worry that such goals are foolhardy. Others contend that if not now, when? If not us, who? If not definite action, what? Talk and more talk while outrageous attacks on individuals and communities continue?

This is the crux of ethics and our contemporary world. What used to be the concern of ethics and morality -- namely, sexual behavior, honesty in interpersonal and business dealings, use and abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs, assisting people to die according to their own decision, or not -- has changed. Today's concerns seem different.

Today's concerns have escalated from complicated issues that divide and offend cultures different from each other -- to simplistic solutions of elimination of those whose difference you cannot abide. This is another list. Ethnic, religious, sexual preference, economic status, racial complexion, class strata, political philosophy -- all manner of variety and diversity, plurality and difference -- are on a list. This list is earmarked for elimination.

In days gone by the list was controlled by religious zealots and institutional hierarchy. Those on the list were going to hell for everlasting damnation in fire and unceasing suffering. It was known as the division of saints and sinners. Agents of God administrated the list. The good went to heaven. The bad consigned to hell. Wars and inquisitions, crusades and ritual condemnation were enough to strike fear into hearts of the undecided.

Today, God is still used to condemn and destroy. Whole nations and/or whole sections of people are earmarked for destruction. We are capable of making these lists. We make these lists. We study the names. We check them off one by one.

My country does this. Many countries do this. And multitudinous factions within countries, religions, ideologies, and mental constructs do this. These mental constructs reduce all conversation and worldview to good/bad, right/wrong, evil/our way. It is a mind, a mental construct that is hopelessly dualistic. This dualism, a helpful way of navigating our technological and mechanized world, has deteriorated into an either/or in the moral/ethical realm that deeply endangers our ability to seek solutions that fall outside simplistic categories of deliberation.

I think we need to seek solutions using tools of archeology. We need to trowel and excavate awareness from the debris of history. We need to find again the lost origin of our being-in-the-world. This digging needs careful sifting through debris accumulated by dust raised by passing wars, laws, ambitions, failures, fears, accomplishments, and grand (at the time) successes.

What lay at bottom of human action? What ground wishes to reveal its original reason for being? What has the earth to say about what has emerged from it?

And where, really, is what we call "God?"

Our country is right and wrong -- about wealth, war, human worth, freedom, happiness, and systems of sharing resources of the earth with all dwelling therein and on. Beneath the right/wrong is the origin of our being here at all. Beneath the mental constructs we've developed to manage the opinions and resources of personal and planetary existence is a profound reality hidden.

What profound reality remains hidden beneath, beyond, and within us?

That profound reality hidden is life itself.

Not the mental construct that asks questions like: When exactly for legal purposes does life begin in a woman's body? When exactly are we justified to take another's life? Does life end when the body dies? Not the questions that proliferate the majority of minds -- about inheritance, investments, security, power, and pleasure. Neither the phrase “life-style” nor "the life of this country." But -- life itself – beyond the divisions and distinctions we place on it.

The profound reality hidden is how we look into permeating questions all share. Such as: What is life? Who are we in each other's life?

If we stopped everything for a week and asked ourselves this question, over and over, perhaps something will be unearthed.

Perhaps we will return to earth.

Finding there God.

Not right and wrong. Not ideas about God. Not creeds, constitutions, charters, real estate deeds, personal finance portfolios, nor nurtured hurts with (in the words of poet Richard Hugo) "compensations too lovely too leave."

Only God. Originating earth. Cosmos eternal. The ground, center, spirit, and light of existence.
Life and love. An ever-present origin, (in Jean Gebser’s words).

To think, or suppose, God?
Any trow-el handy?

Monday, October 14, 2002

Colors appear in crisp light. What matters appears in clear light.
Mark and friends visit from New York this Columbus holiday. Wind blows from northwest gusting to 35 knots.

See for yourself.
Directly transcend the
principles and activities
of the buddhas and patriarchs.
Go through the forest of thorns.
Transcend the barriers
of potential described by
ancestral teachers.
Pass through the silver mountain
and iron wall; then for the first time
you will realize there is a
transcendent fundamental endowment;
you can sit, helping people solve their
sticking points and untie their bonds.

- Shoitsu (1202-1280)

Walking Ragged this morning after zazen and psalms with Sando and Cesco, leaves glistening in first sunlight, cool air invigorating their pace.
Karl is back from Christ in the Desert, delighted. A honeymooning couple visit the shop. He'd been a short while with the Trappists. Retired Lutheran minister over from central Maine earlier. Those longing for unsticking point and untied bonds surround us.

The heart of monastic practice is wholeheartedness. David Steindl-Rast OSB said this to poet David Whyte -- about the antidote to exhaustion being wholeheartedness.

If we are going to sit, then completely sit. If praying the psalms, completely pray them (with objections as well as affirmations). If walking mountain trails, then completely walk the trail. All of it is prayer. All of it, mindfulness.

The terror of Bali explosion, Maryland/DC sniper killings, and the obsession of the United States president with attacking Iraq and its obsessive dictator is the realization how little matters to those whose eye is filled with death and destruction. Ideology doesn't equal the value of human life. Whether the ideology of capitalistic democracy or the ideology of oil powered tyranny -- neither come close to the importance of a single human life. Neither is more important than earth itself we stand on.

Look at us. Look at all of us. Abandon ideology; receive living beings with hospitality and humility.
Take a look at what really matters.

Look through clear light.
See for yourself.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

The human heart longs to return home to itself.

Moni dies. Several weeks ago she sat in center of canoe as we paddled the pond near Rangeley Lake. So quiet. She was experiencing back pain on her visit to the double 80th birthday celebration. On the canoe ride, peace and silence.

Reading Dowling Singh at this morning's 'The Many Faces of Death' conversation we wondered about the Ground of Being. Earlier at Lectio the parable of the wedding feast -- which at first and second reading sounds like the resolution just passed by Congress authorizing first strike permission to the president. On third reading it might be metaphor for abandoning ego self for God self -- else, punishing behavior toward everybody, even those gaining access to the mystical oneness of the wedding feast.

Punishment precedes and succeeds the self-aggrandizing posturing of dictators of every stripe, star, and crescent scythe. War cannot distinguish between the self-indulgence of tyrannical leader or democratic leader. All are punished for the evasion rife in willing the world in our own image.

There is sorrow in death, as there is sorrow in the preface to war. Powder is loaded and flint readied for striking.

If we were wise, we would say, “Send innocent and foolhardy peace pilgrims to Baghdad. Let them enter the feast of union, or let them be killed trying.” No one is killed when the innocent die willingly -- taking no life, but allowing their lives to be offered for peace.

But we are not wise. So we prepare to send warriors to shoot and bomb and kill those who do not wish to die.

We who are about to live in the prayer of peace and silence salute you in the name of what is holy. Do not create death by taking other's lives. Create life by abandoning all illusion and false ideology -- whether tyrannical power or executive power. Look for the opposite of war.

Look for what is looking for the human heart.

No war will return the human heart to itself.

Friday, October 11, 2002

At dawn, frost gathers on tent top. Unzipping sleeping bag not heavy enough for autumn in Canada, light glows behind island mountains across from St. Andrews.

Walking path behind Katy's Pond we see mother deer and two young ones at edge of beach across growing expanse of light.

Last night at Christian Contemplative Conversation, we speak of the word ecology. Oikos = ‘home’ in Greek. Logos = ‘meaning’ or ‘wording of.’ Wording of home, meaning of home, or dwelling at home -- this is what ecology is.

Once there was a way to get back home again, went the words of a song.


As sun peeked over island mountain, lengths of sticks waded in salt stillness near shore.
This is a way of seeing oneself home.

Two people, two dogs, and three deer walked that path one sweet cold morning in Canada.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

On the road, two days away.

My home’s in the
flowering mountains.
My joy is purest reflection
in a rush hut by a blue grotto,
at the end of a crazy winding path.
At noon I take a simple meal
and when I’m full
I take my staff
and wander to the
mountain top and gaze.

- Yun-K’an Tzu

What is there to see?
Looking at earth, at nature, at nothing in particular.
Looking as earth, as nature, as nothing in particular.
This cosmotheandric gaze – Earth/Nature, God, Each One of Us.

Nothing in particular?
God is not a thing, no thing, nothing. Is it true? Are we nothing in particular?

I have nothing to say about this. I don't know. God alone knows.
God’s language is earth, nature, each one of us.

God speaks silence lovingly within each one -- and all -- we see.