Saturday, January 17, 2004

What is this?

This is work that is alive,
Effervescent, free, liberated,
Gloriously enlightened,
True, and great.
Do you think it can be attained
By people who shut the door
And sit quietly with blank minds?

- Liu I-Ming


Still, today we sit quietly with blank minds. (Maybe not so.)

Still, today we sit watching mind empty itself into quiet.

This -- this practice of sitting walking sitting, this work remembering what is alive within and surrounding us -- this is our 3rd Saturday Mindfulness Retreat.

At 1st Interreligious Dialogue Friday Evening Conversation, Nancy, Patricia, Saskia, and I read opening words of The Heart of Islam, Enduring values for Humanity, by Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Imagine, surrendering into God, greeting God, facing God each way we turn!

At Prison Conversation earlier Charlie, Ryan, Saskia, and I read from A Passion for Truth by Abraham Heschel, then laugh and puzzle at the Irish folktale "The Man Who Had No Story."

The joy is conversation. With each other. Alone in silence.

Turning with one another.

Facing God.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Dangerously cold. All life seeks inner shelter.

Jesus told each one not to tell anyone what had happened. Some saw. Some walked. Some were healed of various infirmities.

Why not tell?

Because they didn't understand what had occurred?

John said at the shop at Laura Conversation he was troubled by miracles. The fire was dying and the room getting cold. Temperature was well below zero outside. And the wind.

They didn't understand that the miracle did not come from outside them. Nor did it come from inside them. And they certainly didn't understand who Jesus was as he was with them.

Robert said the real miracle was chocolate icing. Or maybe flour. Saskia suggested the whole cake. Dirk was opting for the course miracles take. Su Sane thought the real miracle might be or not be a miracle.

If you ask into something with prayer, you enter the question. Su Sane said questions and answers traveled in pairs.

There we are. In frozen temperatures inhospitable to human flesh, the matter is settled.

It is not a matter of perspective nor perception. The view itself -- the view is God. All is ordinary, all is miracle.

Awareness of what is seeing itself is question entered, answer lived.

Jesus needed no belief -- not his own, not anyone else's.

True faith is one's own being lived graciously and gratefully. This is thank you, you're welcome, even for the little nephew in Charlotte's story who prayed to catch a fish, didn't, and remembered to say thank you.

It's eleven below zero. Without wind.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Barge towed by tug heads out bay. Tide high. The dredging is done.

Do not remain in the dualistic state;
Avoid such pursuits carefully.
If there is even a trace
Of this and that, right and wrong,
The Mind-essence will be lost in confusion.
Although all dualities come from the One,
Do not be attached even to this One.
When the mind exists undisturbed in the Way,
Nothing in the world can offend,
And when a thing can no longer offend,
It ceases to exist in the old way.

- Seng Ts?an (d. 606)

Paul Krugman in Commonwealth Club talk and New York Times column today ("The Awful Truth") wonders, "Are people finally willing to admit the obvious?"

It's coldest tonight, they say, than has been in ten years.

Those who wonder about such things wonder whether what is happening in our country is more dangerous than they can remember.

"Listen, all people, and I shall speak;
I will bear witness against you,
O nations:
As Divine Presence, Eternal Flame of Love,

Shall I not find fault with what
you call holy,
these offerings of greed and war
that are before me always?

Your lies and deceitful ways,
your greed for power and wealth
are spawned by darkness;

Have you forgotten that we are to be
One in Love and Truth,
that all of life is Sacred Gift?

I know every creature, every plant,
every mineral;

I know you -- your every need
and your fears;

The Earth and all that is in it
belongs to the Whole, to be
tended by all in co-operation
with Love.

Shall I accept your proud and
boasting hearts,
the oppression, the injustices
brought about
through your fearful deeds?

Never shall I accept such burnt offerings!

Rather, offer to the Beloved a gift
of thanksgiving
with grateful hearts;

For what other return can you make
for all that Love offers to you?

My friends, search for the still voice
that dwells in the Silence.

(Psalm 50, pp. 97-98, in Psalms For Praying, An Invitation to Wholeness, c.1996 by Nan C. Merrill)

What's worth their wonder is the worry something is irreparably changing.

Are we forgetting a grateful heart?

Is it hidden away in the silence?

That all of life is Sacred Gift?

The thought cheers -- to remember grateful heart in silence as sacred gift.