Saturday, October 15, 2005

We can say yes to any part of the day, to any part of our life. Or we can hold no as yes-shattering cudgel each time someone invites us to view the passing yes from the place we are.

Cold cliffs, more beautiful the deeper you enter
Yet no one travels this road.
White clouds idle about the tall crags;
On the green peak a single monkey wails.
What other companions do I need?
I grow old doing as I please.
Though face and form alter with the years,
I hold fast to the pearl of the mind.

- Han shan

It rains and rains.

A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.
What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side?

(-- St. Teresa of Avila, 1515-1582)

No room of the inner castle, said Teresa, should be left unexplored. They are each places where water reaches. Room of joy. Room of depression. Room of insight. Room of pain. Room of doubt. Room of yes.

Of course there is a room of no. Just off the room of fear.

In each room, the reality of God takes place.

We are not to shun where we live.

Going on...hearing no...feeling fear...surrendering control...saying yes.

Passing through the place we are.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Language speaks. What's more, silence is its own language. Its dialect is sacredness.

All sacred places seek us to recognize them. Sacred places are everywhere found and nowhere absent. We humans might just be opportunities for sacredness to root itself to sentience.

Or, we might merely enjoy pepperoni and sausage pizza because it tastes good.

Mind set free in the Dharma-realm,
I sit at the moon-filled window
Watching the mountains with my ears,
Hearing the stream with open eyes.
Each molecule preaches perfect law,
Each moment chants true sutra:
The most fleeting thought is timeless,
A single hair's enough to stir the sea.

- Shutaku

Rain is coming again. Ground shrugs. Still damp from last torrent days ago, ground remains dark brown under yellow leaves on autumn green.

How To Be a Poet
(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill-more of each
that you have-inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

(Poem: "How To Be a Poet" by Wendell Berry from Given: New Poems.)

Maybe we're all poets. There is a silence in every word. Small words carry small silences. Great words reveal profound silence.

In such silence we pray back sacredness with stillness and sentience.

No need ever worry what to say.

Let silence reveal itself.

In your own words.

Without speaking.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Johanna Macy tells us to act our age. At 13.7 billion years of age, it is about time we recognize our interconnection and the mistakes we make when we fail to.

Magnanimous Mind is like a mountain,
Stable and impartial.
Exemplifying the ocean,
It is tolerant and views everything
From the broadest perspective.

- Dogen

It is time to turn to one another and live close and quiet.

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.
(-- Albert Einstein)

Rose crosses Elm with us. Walking back to shop from Camden Opera House we pass Gilbert's pub where five guys are calling loudly to passersby something about walking too fast. The fragrance of stale beer dances with their laughter.

Back at car alongside bookshop and bakery lights are out inside -- Peggy's group on non-violent communication has gone.

We look out at harbor.

On wind direction pipe up above deck, waving earth flag is ripped and fraying.

She told us not to be afraid of the dark.

Someone created light.

We recall wholeness.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

May all names, finally, be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Deep green needles glow against a cobalt sky;
They radiate something that only few can sense.
Snow white peaks, tops shrouded in the clouds,
Shine and echo, shine and echo
Through both sides of the skin line.
Oh, in all of this does lie some deep implication,
Yet when I try to say more, I become silent, mute.

- Ji Aoi Isshi

Teshuvah, return to the light at center of each moment and each molecule -- this is how community saves each member. Letting go into wholeness within wholeness.

Captain Renault: What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.

(from film, Casablanca, 1942)

What waters? Can anyone tell exactly why they find themselves where they are, doing what they are doing? And if someone does enter the deep water of human self-knowing, are they willing to share that water with anyone inquiring after their motivation, intention, and inner direction? Share, not sell.

Often, we're misinformed. We want to be informed. But mistakes are made. We fail to glean that form, as the Buddhists say, is emptiness. Instead we try to shape and form our impressions and desires into something solid and secure that will save us from something else we cannot even name.

A poem, as a manifestation of language and thus essentially dialogue, can be a message in a bottle, sent out in the - not always greatly hopeful - belief that somewhere and sometime it could wash up on land, on heartland perhaps. Poems in this sense, too, are under way: they are making toward something. (-- Paul Celan)

Yom Kippur invites us to speak -- to make toward God, to another -- about mistakes we've made.

Articulating and correcting mistakes, or perhaps better said, returning to original wholeness, is holy attention.

"Attentiveness," went one of Paul Celan's favorite quotes by Malebranche, a 17th century French Catholic priest, "is the natural prayer of the soul."

We pray tonight for all names to be written, finally, naturally, in the Book of Life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Play with new schedule at breakfast in Corner Shop -- silent sittings at evening conversations, incorporating prayer, and widening events -- this day spent mostly in Rockport.

When we cross parking lot later at Shaws market, Justin is walking out to gather shopping carts. We greet and hug hello. He is glad to see familiar faces.

Earlier we stop at Quarry Hill nursing facility to say hello to Fanny. She points out dahlia on window shelf. The flowering is lovely. She says she stays put. It is painful to move.

One who has attained the Tao
is master of herself,
and the universe is
dissolved for her.
Throw her in the company
of the noisy and the dirty,
and she will be like a lotus flower
growing from muddy water,
touched by it,
yet unstained.

- T'u Lung

The best we can do is pray. We say --"Au voir, Fanny!" We wish her well -- courage, peace, and rest. She says these are good things.

Leaving the food market earlier we call to Justin ranging over white lines to corral rolling carts, wave and say -- "Goodnight Justin!"

That's what prayer is -- saying hello, saying goodbye.

And feeling each utterance.

The poignance of passing.

Pronouncing each name.

Prayer at play.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Walking tree-lined road in misty rain.

Keep your heart clear and transparent
and you will never be bound.
A single disturbed thought, though,
creates ten thousand distractions.
Let myriad things captivate you
and you will go further and further astray.
How painful to see people
all wrapped up in themselves.

- Ryokan

We never really find what we look for.

We walk. Then turn. Head back. Sit and eat at corner table as water pours to lowering tide.

Each mouthful a prayer not needing to be said aloud. Each step what meditation would be if it did not calculate itself.

In this way we come to edge of sleep. In respectful silence. Another day.

No longer looking.

Ready to see.