Saturday, May 18, 2002

What is the coming of the Holy Spirit?

Is it the realization of what is in fact true?

Paul wrote:
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and all were made to drink of one Spirit. (1Cor.12:13)

The fact that we are one body, "so it is with Christ," remains a fact whether or not it is realized. Perhaps the coming of the Spirit is the realization of the fact.

The work of art is, indeed, the by-product of a state of high functioning. The state of spiritual exaltation is fundamental to creative activity, whole skills and measurements are secondary. It is the measurement of an ontological experience. The great painter Ku 'ai-chih (c. 344-406) points out that the purpose of painting is chu'an shen, or the revelation of the spirit. He says:

"Forms are used to reveal the spirit; when it is lost, one deviates from the principle of discarding the 'fishing net and the snare' and the purpose of painting is missing.... Even though there be light and shade in the painting, nothing is better than to communicate with its spirit when one gazes at it."

Wang Wei (fifth century critic) stresses the same idea: "When the spirit is not revealed in the form, what is carried by the form is not in action." What is in motion is revealed through form, but is itself not the form. When spirit is not in motion, it is the unrevealed reality in the form; when in motion, it vibrates in the vision of the beholder.

(in Creativity and Taoism, A Study of Chinese Philosophy, Art, and Poetry, pp.208-209)

Christ is revealed and realized in and with the Spirit. Jesus disappears so as not to be obstacle. Spirit reveals the transparency of that disappearance. That is -- the new dwelling place of Christ in the hearts and minds of those who love -- an incarnation that leaps from beloved children story in the Bible to felt experience resonating in the body.

Bamboo shadows sweep the stairs,
Yet not a mote of dust is stirred;
Moonbeams pierce to
The bottom of the pool,
Yet in the water not a trace remains.

- Zen Dust (dailyzen)

It is Eve of Pentecost. We border the realization.
We look with simplicity. We listen with silence. We act with service.

Some revelation is at hand. "It vibrates in the vision of the beholder."

Friday, May 17, 2002

Boats are lowered from Wayfarer's travel-lift at regular interval. Floats are in. Channel markers too. The harbor comes alive with brightwork, rattling, batten, and hull paint. Deckhands seize sail to mast-hoop as gaff-rigged schooners ready for season.

We have the farm under contract. This fact is equally disturbing and humbling. Karl, head shaved, says "calling" and continues eating Topfen Kuchen -- as though everything is said with that word. As though with each forkful raised to mouth the vocation of Meetingbrook is visible, the sound of it audible.

Every thing,
Every place is real,
Each particle makes
Up the Original Person.
Still, the absolutely real
Is voiceless,
The true body’s
Majestically out of sight.

- Chosha (9th century)(dailyzen)

So much to worry about and doubt.

I read the poet Randall Jarrell,
In a letter to his red-haired Viennese friend, Elisabeth Eisler, Randall prided himself on being "quite optimistic, mostly in order to save bother: I accept, dismiss and forget about bad things that happen as quickly and well as I can." I guess one of the great principles of my life is: 'O don't bother, forget about it...'"
Saving bother coupled with my own great commitment to William James's "Wisdom is knowing what to overlook" spared us many a squabble.

(Mary von Schrader Jarrell, in Introduction to Remembering Randall, A Memoir of Poet, Critic, and Teacher Randall Jarrell)

No bother. What takes place, takes place.

The elegant and large ketch Sumurun ties up at Willeys wharf.
Sam and Susan row by in their dory. Charlotte comes in under her large daisy hat and hangs flyer of the Wabanakis of Maine and the Maritime. Alan pours tea. A seagull inspects Waterfront Restaurant deck. It is warm.

James is right -- "Wisdom is knowing what to overlook."
The Original Person is what is only seen in silence and stillness. Transparence is her shape. Emptiness his sound.

Let's try wisdom. Let's listen to the voiceless.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Yesterday Isidore the Farmer looked over rolling acres and saw silence.
Today Ramana, the saint of primal awareness, smiles and remembers his name often pronounced in the Wednesday Evening Conversation reading from Lex Hixon's book.

Earlier Ignacio from Bolivia laughed and took pictures and talked about the United Nations stay he'd done for Franciscan International. Thirty-four years between conversations and I remember how sweet a fellow he is, and Francis our common bond.

There is much questioning about the farm negotiations. If they collapse, that would be fine. If they take root, also fine. But the most important incarnation is the Laura Common. That belongs to itself. We are caretakers of that belonging -- taking care to listen to it speak itself, taking care to watch it form itself.

Spirit, holy and true, inhabits the sound and form of what is Itself for and with others.

As the earth longs for the spirit of holiness and truth, so does the Spirit present Itself to any of us willing to dwell in that good company.

Come to earth! Dwell here in peace and good will!

Monday, May 13, 2002

Watering earth.
May mothering Spirit ground.

Liturgically we are between things. Between Ascension and Pentecost.

O monks, there is neither going or coming or standing still; neither is there duration or decline or growth; nothing is fixed and still, nothing moves nor has foundation. This is the end of suffering. (Early Buddhist text, quoted in Bruno Barnhart's Second Simplicity)

That which Barnhart the Camaldolese Benedictine points to -- pure ultimate unitive reality and to unitive contemplative experience, reawakening in the Christian tradition by the encounter with Buddhism today -- is rainfall today. Everywhere everything is watered.

Veni Creator Spiritus, Come Creator Spirit.
Being between mothering -- our unknowing birth.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Terence on life support Friday afternoon allowed my hand on his head, on his hand. Water, holy and wet, forgave him if ever he'd forgotten he too was water. Two women cried by his bed. Water remembering he was water as he died.

In the realm of True Purity
there is no such thing as
“I” or “he” or “she”
nor can “friend” and “foe”
be found.
The slightest confusion of mind
and innumerable differences
and complications arise.

- Muso (1275-1351)

This morning canoe ride in harbor after sunrise and Eucharist at 7:30 service, I bought ground coffee, muffins, and New York Times at French and Brawn. On Bayview Street sidewalk a still and stiff bird with blood splattered on neck similar to Terence’s. On one knee I pick it up placing on bed of flower against tree in front of ice cream shop. Like water under paddle earlier and wine on lips at altar rail the flow of life and breath, rising and falling, dispensation and death interspersing each other as coffee poured through filtered grounds to air pot.

Prayer touched Terence's head and hands in final hours. And prayer knelt to move bird to funeral bier. At Sunday Evening Practice we laughed at Cheryl's talking to a piece of cake, saying she was talking to her mother -- laughing -- when words couldn't do what words often can't.

We mother with our love whatever we attend.
Happy Mother's Day -- all of us-- who've ever let their heart attend life!