Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tommy and I took garbage to the dump in his pickup. Going out to house he lets me out to give a woman with two heavy bags a ride home. Walking Mechanic street it occurs to me that picking up and dropping off and picking up and dropping off again is good enough learning.

The nature of the one Reality must be known by one's own clear spiritual perception; it cannot be known through a learned person. Similarly, the form of the moon can only be known through one's own eyes. How can it be known through others?
- Shankara

To be stranger in familiar places is to choose to acknowledge and allow each thing to be its own reality, nothing else. You cannot own strangers. We ought not try.

The hermit belongs where he is. The hermit is her own. Hermits are reminders we are not far from death. In the shop the woman with asthmatic condition said her doctor told her she could just drop dead at any time. I thought about that. The doctor should have asked her first if she thought death an illusion before he told her the odds she'd be dead in a flash.

A hermit slowly dies in this conditioned world. He says nearly nothing with a silence each must learn on their own.

This inclination to chatter on and on is a land far away from the close hermit.

It is a strange land.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Spirituality isn't about denying the world; it is about relying on truth and love to transform oneself in the world.

At conversation the other evening some spoke about ignoring the news about Iraq, the news about political mud, and the news about the various cultural wars flaring across the nation and the world. Some suggest a "higher" path. I don't know what that path is. "Higher" and "lower" are the products of dualistic thinking. Ecological insight might present a clearer perspective.

Sitting on top of a boulder
The gorge stream icy cold
Quiet fun holds a special charm
Fogged-in on deserted cliffs
A fine place to rest
The sun leans and tree shadows sprawl
While I view the ground of my mind
A lotus comes out of the mud.

- Han shan

I asked Joe today in prison how often he looked at the back of a mirror.

The whole truth and nothing but -- is the cry of both sides of the mirror.

The world is an odd place. We are many odd people.

I can say "yes" to the world and not be smothered by it.
I can see "wholeness" and not fear parts that intimidate.
I can feel "compassion" and not shrink from critical thinking.

These three ways of God do not frighten me.

What frightens me is refusal of God in the world.

We pray by entering the world as God is.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Downing Street Memo is required reading. It points out that the war was begun as a lie.

Spirituality isn't a private relationship with God. From the beginning everything is in the open. It is when there are attempts to hide or to fool that everyone suffers.

You cannot describe it or draw it,
You cannot praise it enough or perceive it.
No place can be found in which
To put the Original Face;
It will not disappear even
When the universe is destroyed.

- Mumon (13th cent)

The face of God is not hidden. It is the open itself.

Be wary of disguise and deceit. Death and destruction are its fruits.

With eyes and heart open.

See Original Face.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The body begins to weaken.

An old man alone on a darkening ridge
retiring to my hut I accept white hair
but sigh that today and the years gone by
are mindless, like the rivers flowing east.


The mind is lost.

The aperspectival unmaps and the intuitive remaps the terrain of consciousness. Old maps no longer tell where we are going.

Water finds low ground.

If we become water, ground absorbs our passage.

When I die -- water and ground remain water and ground.

Such kindness!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A woman from Europe sat and spoke about Americans. "They lie," she said. "They don't say what they really feel. And they seem always to be telling me to 'Go home'."

We spoke of an unlikely way of finding truth and staying at home.

I have always loved friends of the Way
friends of the Way I have always held dear
meeting a traveler with a silent spring
or greeting a guest talking Chan ...

(--Han-shan, hermit of Cold Mountain)

We spoke of the theological virtues -- faith, hope, and charity (or love).
Faith is yes. Hope is trusting integrity. Love is inclusive compassion

Saying yes means we allow the possibility of what is said to reside awhile in stillness. Yes cradles new arrivals with temporary respite.

Trusting integrity is holding wholeness as template for whatever is viewed or heard. Wholeness lets whatever withholds itself by saying "no" -- some breathing space so as to reconsider the chill of fragmentation.

Inclusive compassion lets in the suffering of the excluded. Compassion surpasses understanding by forgiveness of that which tries to elude -- yes, wholeness.

Born Thirty Years Ago
Thirty years ago I was born into the world.
A thousand, ten thousand miles I've roamed.
By rivers where the green grass grows thick,
Beyond the border where the red sands fly.
I brewed potions in a vain search for life everlasting,
I read books, I sang songs of history,
And today I've come home to Cold Mountain
To pillow my head on the stream and wash my ears.

(--poem by Han-shan, 8th Century poet, tr. from Chinese by Gary Snyder)

We wash our ears with conversation about -- yes, wholeness, compassion.

If we consider truth our home, our real dwelling place, then don't leave it.

She said goodnight.

On her way.

Back home.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Let us be what is where we are.

Soon, we might learn to say: "This is where I am."

While sitting on daybed in kitchen beside Sando, Saskia says: "We are where and who we are...fully."

"Grace" is that which is...given.

“I believe in a poetry determined by the language of which it is made. I look to words, and nothing else, for my own redemption… I mean the words as opposed to content.”
—Robert Creeley

No doubt about it, nor any external reference point, we are what is where we are.

If the words "Christ consciousness" are said, they are the thing itself flowering -- not imposed from without, not inhabited from within -- but, what is itself flowering, as it is, no other.

Do not speak of God. Reveal, instead, what is the manifestation of Itself. Word the wordless with becoming silence.

As you just might be doing right now.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Words pass in silence. They are heard more clearly in their passing away.

I have not heard of a single Buddha, past or present,
who has been enlightened by sacred prayers
and scriptures.

- Bassui

Sando just showed up at cabin door and was let in. Later came Cesco. They arrived in time for Heart Sutra. After the silence and the chanting they knew there would be dinner.

To destroy dualism means to have an attention that is on the border between presence and absence, between good and evil, between A and not-A. Attention directed solely to Presence, to the higher, is the inner equivalent of blind devotion to an external God. For the Higher or the Innermost is actually external to myself here and now. Those who say they are not seeking the external God of the West, but the Innermost self are in danger of a subtle deception. It is still in essence attachment to the world of holy words, images, visualizations. Attention directed solely to the lower is the inner equivalent of atheism and leads to "suicide" -- cynicism and loneliness.
(pp. 159-160, Fr Sylvan citing St. Simeon the New Theologian in Lost Christianity, A Journey of Rediscovery To The Center of Christian Experience, by Jacob Needleman, c.1980)

Around table at Sunday Evening Practice individuals spoke: of dark rooms while wearing dark glasses; of middle places without compass; of patience arising from suffering; of temporary awareness that "lets" and the "letting" necessary to pass through into extended watchfulness. These fragments of reflection -- the curious incursion through doubt, neurosis, and once fixed but now deteriorating belief about anything -- into what we say is another day.

This attention of the heart, this question within movement is actually another, intimate movement that spontaneously arises in the moment between life and death, when the ego is wounded and God is still distant; this attention is prayer in the sense of the Psalmist who asks, and asks and asks; it is that which watches and waits in the night.
(--Needleman, p.160)

We watch and wait in the night.

Asking again and often: "Let us?"


Our midst.