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?