Friday, May 10, 2002

Ascension Thursday was our decision time:

We have decided: 1) to obtain a lovely farm to live a quiet, contemplative, and engaged service life that can invite others to do the same in their own communities and homes. We have one picked out and are making an offer. 2) We will retain the bookshop/bakery on Camden’s Bayview Street with its retreat room above it on the harbor – it will be supported by membership subscription.

So it is.

"Here's the hardest part," says the man struggling.

The container is not what it contains. The institution that has conveyed within it a core essence is only a conveying shell, not the essence itself. The essence, he says, is that which belongs to everyone. Water may be conveyed by brook, pail, bottle or cupped hands. But water is the essence.

When you’re settled in Zen,
Your mind is serene,
Unaffected by worldly distractions.
You enter the realm of enlightenment,
And transcend the ordinary world,
Leaving the worldly while
In the midst of society.

- Fenyang

Right in the middle of society, right in the center of the conveyance -- right there within your heart, right here looking out from our eyes.

Gratitude for the carrying forward. Now, go home!

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Light Dancing From Water to Brown Wood Planks and Beams
(A Thursday poem after 40 days)

It is where the heart is.
The sun rises warm on right shoulder.

Harbor surface calm with small ripples rubbed by breeze.
It is Ascension Day!

If Christ were to disappear from our eyes,
Would it matter to the heart?

It is the heart that sees what the eyes cannot.
The very next person I look at, the very next awareness of my heart,


Christ has returned home. Christ is seeing what you are

Tuesday, May 07, 2002

Here it is again.

A Proposal for Intentional Community:
Meetingbrook Hermitage -- A Laura Common
Maine USA, and dwelling places elsewhere

Meetingbrook proposes a Laura of Hermits, an intentional community, a loosely knit association of individuals seeking what might be called Zen Contemplative Ecology. A “hermit” is one longing to dwell with simplicity, silence, & service -- deepening their life alone or with others. “Embodying the dwelling place of the Alone, Stepping aside to make room for another.” Hermits are those longing to dwell in their true home and in true community.

For the purpose of Meetingbrook’s proposal, “laura” means the pathways and waterways connecting us on our journey. A laura is:
1. a gathering of individuals living their own lives in their own dwellings;
2. peripheral to a central location shared for communal use;
3. building community with distinct yet similar shared intention to deepen one’s life;
4. each engaged in idiorhythmic practice (i.e. according to one’s own rhythms and schedule) -- whether prayer, meditation, contemplation, energy work, healing unease, encouraging physical, intellectual, spiritual health & balance;
5. with periodic sharing of each person’s conversation & practice in community;
6. devoted to the common intent of cultivating peace, compassion, engaged service, merciful reconciliation, and lovingkindness;
7. welcoming hospitality and generosity of spirit within and toward others.
8. A Zen Contemplative Ecology is, for this proposal, the practice of seeing directly & clearly -- now, safe, & whole -- interrelationships of individuals in community, sentient beings in nourishing environments, and a cosmotheandric awareness (of earth & nature itself, divine presence, and human family) that caringly and carefully makes room for each other.

A Meetingbrook Laura Common -- welcomes individuals, couples, & families. Members of any or no religion are welcome. Members of sanghas, orders, followers of specific teachers, are welcome. Those on any particular spiritual path, those willing to allow others to practice their own religious and spiritual path, are welcome. Inclusive, autonomous, & generous hearted people, are welcome. Those who appreciate diversity and a plurality of seeking, those realizing and embodying what is natural, sacred, and human – the immeasurable gift of existence and life beyond compare -- are welcome.

The mere prospect of connecting what already touches us is attractive. Identifying, consciously and intentionally, as part of Meetingbrook Laura of Hermits, deepens the affection and mystery of living life alone with others. Whether you prefer: to live alone on one’s own; live with others; or live alone together – we will explore how to dwell engaging solitude and community – a dedicating of life and love -- with God, each other, oneself.

If interested, come join us for some exploratory conversations toward the creation invited by a Meetingbrook Laura of Hermits. If nothing else, it might provide some thoughtful considerations, laughter, & a spate of belonging!
If interested in such an exploration, please email or call 236-4346, leave name and #.

Thanks, Bill Halpin and Saskia Huising 25Feb2002 - 6May2002

Proposed Engaged Service Projects for Meetingbrook:
1. Conversations in Prison
2. Community Bakery Volunteer Connections and Recipe Ethnography for those in Good Health and Healing Recuperation
3. Practice and Study of Inter-Religious Peace, Understanding, & Tolerance.
4. A Laura Common – A Practicing Zen Contemplative Ecology Community.
5. Respite Community Resource -- Time Apart for Those Suffering Alone or With Others.

Sunday, May 05, 2002

Theme -- Meetingbrook Hermitage: As and In A Laura Common

Writing this on 5May2002 I remember my mother who died this date 1981. It is also four days until the Christian feast of the Ascension. On that day we will have chosen the way Meetingbrook will go on. It might have been an arbitrary choice of date for decision – but it’s ours.

Ascension, however else it has been conceived and celebrated, is the feast of Christ returning home to dwell as and in Father/Mother, Spirit & Truth. That Jesus opened himself completely to this Christ Reality is the joy of his followers.

Ascension is the return to one’s true reality. Some have called it one’s true self, others the absolute, divine self, ultimate, nirvana, liberation, or the ground of our being.

It might entail disappearing into undifferentiated suchness, as Buddhists speak of it. It might entail giving up our attachment to separateness and embracing unity. Or perhaps it entails a final tiring of fear and a corresponding surrendering to love

Ascension is coming home.

In Jesus’ Ascension it appeared he was leaving those who loved him. They were wary of his assurance he’d be with them always. Always! They might have been consoling words, but their eyes saw him no more. He was gone. No longer out there to see.

Here – that’s the promise Jesus tried to assure them – I am here. Here with you. See me, he said, and you see the Father, and the Paraclete (a supportive comforter – like sangha, community) will come. And all will be well with each and all.

(As I write this I break to dash to kitchen stove every five minutes to spray and bake bread.)

Still uncertain but open to what Ascension means for Meetingbrook, we listen and watch, both in silence and conversation. We don’t know. What we trust is our “yes” to the call to contemplate, converse, and correspond with all that is taking place.

If you want to be no
Different from the buddhas
And Zen masters,
Just don’t seek externally.
The pure light of a
Moment of awareness
Is the Buddha’s essence within you.

- Linji (d.867) (dailyzen)

At the end of his Gospel account, Matthew has Jesus saying as he ascended,
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Mt.28:19-20)

“To observe all,” – what a lovely teaching and learning to dwell with one another in common!

Here is what we propose: To engage the lovely teaching and learning – the sacred reality that observes all dwelling with one another in common.

In trusting appreciation, we go on.