Saturday, October 30, 2004

This is no time to fall apart and throw away what holds us together

We’ve grown accustomed to explaining things away.

I wonder when we will near embodying what is true.

Good is to practice the Way and to follow truth.
Great is the heart that is in accord with the Way.

- Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

October will fall into November in two days. The light in Northeast New England will dim and shrink on the ground with curling leaves drying in night frost.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough

(Poem, "In a Station of the Metro," by Ezra Pound, published in Poetry magazine in 1913J

We’ll think of saints and souls. We’ll continue to pray for Ed who sleeps deep in hospital.

We’ll look to the end of Election Day and hope for the spirit of a people to rise from its own dark slumber.

We will cease explaining when we embody truth. We will present ourselves. We’ll see through one another.

Let’s pray for that. Let’s elect this prospect.

We’ll be indistinguishable word/body/act.

The word of God will return in us.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Charlie feels acceptance is giving up.

Those who are pure in heart and single in purpose are able to understand the most supreme Way. It is like polishing a mirror, which becomes bright when the dust is removed. Remove your passions, and have no hankering, and all will be revealed to you.
(- Sutra of Forty Two Chapters)

Michael feels similar to Doug. As does Ryan, Greg, Les, Rusty, Vaughn, Eli, Saskia and I. As well as Lao Tzu and David Wagoner.

Stand still. We know where you are. You are not lost.

To see what is really there we need one another. The Sangha. The community.

The conversation in prison listens to the voice of the soul.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Today the way opens for New England baseball fans: The Boston Redsox have won the World Series!

If you endeavor to embrace the Way through much learning, the Way will not be understood. If you observe the Way with simplicity of heart, great indeed is this Way.
- Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

An email from Chicago:
From Peter Gammons, quoting someone else (I believe):
"Calvinism is finally dead in New England."

I can't help but think of the fellow who lived above the shop, listening to the games on his radio during summer evenings, that loyalty for all those decades without his team winning the Series. Imagine.

It's like we're free now. The Sox are just another team, its fans just another set of fans. The misery and negativity and fear and paranoia: all gone. It's just a game again, not a history of failure.

Red Sox Nation is no longer Preterite Nation. Amen to all that.

Dan comes into shop with guitar in its case. On the case a sticker: "Thank God I'm an agnostic."

Joanie sorts common-reading-box. Myles' bookcases have fit themselves throughout shop and hermitage harbor room. Tom the mailman says he's from Connecticut -- an ambivalent topography of baseball allegiance. Leonard demands I read, not return to him, Pete Hamill's Snow in August. The crisp air in Maine feels clear and full of sunlight.

It's only a game -- that's what they say.

And water is only wet.

Wash well today!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I got irritable yesterday when a bevy of "Defeat Bush" passions found themselves gathered at the shop. It wasn't that I disagreed with their assessment. It was more that the negativity coming from the Bush-likes and Bush-dislikes is wearying and yet so vital as election nears.

To be free from the passions
And to be calm,
This is the most excellent Way.

- Sutra of Forty Two Chapters

Excellent way or not, there are innumerable voices claiming we are lost should Bush and cohorts be elected. It would be, they say, a confirmation for the first time by the people of the United States that we are, indeed, what George Bush says we are. This prospect of resembling what Bush and Co say we are -- empire, pre-emptive warriors, ignorer of human rights, ignorer of environmental sanity, ignorer of democracy and rights of citizens, global omnivores, and Christian fundamentalists intent on saving our sorry souls and ignoring the rest of the world -- this is what those who fear and feel helpless in the face of Bush are worried about, this is what their passionate desire to defeat bush is all about.

Are we lost?


Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

(Poem by David Wagoner)

The irony. Even this beautiful poem sounds calm and ready to carry on should our lostness and our Bushness coincide.

We'll have to find a new creativity to help see our way through.

I'd rather George Bush go back to Texas.

That's my feeling.

But for now, I'll be still.

And be found.


Monday, October 25, 2004

There is a light that goes beyond the muted faint shadows of our current world. We wander in dark confusion away from our true home.

Consider the world light,
And the spirit is not burdened;
Consider the myriad things slight,
And the mind is not confused.
Consider life and death equal,
And the intellect is not afraid;
Consider change as sameness,
And clarity is not obscured.

- Lao-tzu

Buddhist Zen and Christian Contemplation work together to let authentic light through.

"… For me the mu-experience, triggered by my working on the koan of Joshu’s dog, literally shook me inside out, and kept me laughing and even crying for about three days, as I remember. People around me must have thought I was going crazy then. I can only say at this point that the experience enabled me to see the truth, the forcefulness, the real reality of what Paul wanted to express in Galatians 2:20 - "It is no longer I that live, but Christ in me!" (Ruben Habito’s response to Koun Yamada’s Questions to Christians, "Christianity in the Crucible of East-West Dialogue"

When we get close to wisdom residing inward, we see the closeness of practice and faith from seemingly different views found in different religions.

"Hardly anyone today would question whether Zen enlightenment and similar experiences in other non-Christian religions are genuine experiences of the Absolute, even though they are impersonal in nature. Were they personal in nature, they would be the same as an experience of God in the Christian sense… Genuine mystical experience resists all attempts at conceptual expression. This means that anyone who attempts to do so will utilize the categories available, although this, by its very nature, can easily lead to misunderstandings.

"In enlightenment, the Buddhist experiences his deepest self as one with absolute existence, and is strengthened as a result in his faith in the nonduality of all existence. The Christian and anyone who believes in a personal God experiences the self not only in himself, but also in his relationship to an absolute personal reality."

(Hugo Enomiya Lassalle, Living in the New Consciousness. p. 121-122.)

We benefit from looking into the profound. Whether from a religious point of view, philosophy, poetry, nature, or ordinary open-hearted conversation -- we create the place where light begins to glow.

This is no time for short-sighted, bigoted, or petty statements that create fear, darkness, or loneliness.

Words must become lighted corridors through which we are heartened to search for the way home.

Do not accept sorry or cynical rhetoric.

Let's re-create a place of trust.

Let's come home.