Saturday, June 24, 2006

We're already tied together.

Spring has its hundred flowers,
Autumn has its many moons.
Summer has cool winds,
Winter its snow.
If useless thoughts do not
Cloud your mind,
Each day is the best of your life.

- Wu-Men-Hui-Kai (1183--1260)

Don't let anyone tell you how to tie into their version of "the only way." It's madness to claim the wink and nod of God.

The word of the Lord was addressed to me, saying,
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
before you came to birth I consecrated you;
I have appointed you as prophet to the nations".

I said, "Ah, Lord; look, I do not know how to speak: I am a child!"
But the Lord replied,
"Do not say, 'I am a child'.
Go now to those to whom I send you
and, say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to protect you --
it is the Lord who speaks!"

(from Jeremiah 1:4 - 19)

John the Baptist was an odd fellow. His task was to recognize what he himself was -- only in another -- then, make himself obsolete.

Is our purpose likewise?

Friday, June 23, 2006

What possible purpose might it serve? That's what the character asked when questioned about testimony that could hang someone.

The sounds of streams are Buddha's speech.
The colored mountains are Buddha's pure body.
Night brings eighty-four thousand poems of Buddha.
Listen, and someday you may awaken.

- Su Shih (1031-1101)

Every cell of the body wants to understand what we are doing here.

Arise, then, beloved of Christ! Imitate the dove "that nests in a hole in the cliff", keeping watch at the entrance "like the sparrow that finds a home". There like the turtledove hide your little ones, the fruit of your chaste love. Press your lips to the fountain, "draw water from the wells of your Saviour; for this is the spring flowing out of the middle of paradise, dividing into four rivers", inundating devout hearts, watering the whole earth and making it fertile.
Run with eager desire to this source of life and light, all you who are vowed to God's service. Come, whoever you may be, and cry out to him with all the strength of your heart. "O indescribable beauty of the most high God and purest radiance of eternal light! Life that gives all life, light that is the source of every other light, preserving in everlasting splendour the myriad flames that have shone before the throne of your divinity from the dawn of time! Eternal and inaccessible fountain, clear and sweet stream flowing from a hidden spring, unseen by mortal eye! None can fathom your depths nor survey your boundaries, none can measure your breadth, nothing can sully your purity. From you flows "the river which gladdens the city of God" and makes us cry out with joy and thanksgiving in hymns of praise to you, for we know by our own experience that "with you is the source of life, and in your light we see light".

(from writings of St Bonaventure, "With you is the source of life")

Holy hearts long to be what Sacred Heart purports to see.

The peace and reconciliation between one and all.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

God's being springs from here. We are grateful for being brought here.

Without a jot of ambition left
I let my nature flow where it will.
There are ten days of rice in my bag
And, by the hearth, a bundle of firewood.
Who prattles of illusion or nirvana?
Forgetting the equal dusts of name and fortune,
Listening to the night rain on the roof of my hut,
I sit at ease, both legs stretched out.

- Ryokan (1757-1831) (

My father came here. Today is the anniversary of his transition from here to a deeper mystery of here. I honor his coming and his going.

The Lord shall write in the book of the nations:
"Here is their birthplace".
They will sing as in joyful processions:
"All my being springs from you".

(from Psalm 87, Thursday Lauds)

New aspirations might sound like: "From your being, here!" Or: "In your being here!" And: "In gratitude for bringing me here!"

There is no place like here. To see where we are is to appreciate who we are. Such appreciation is the beginning of accepting knowledge. Accepting knowledge -- with all its majestic and terrifying implication -- is the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom is full appreciation of what is here.

Remembering my father, I recall e.e. cummings' poem:

my father moved through dooms of love

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;

(from poem, "my father moved through dooms of love," by e.e. cummings)

When we look, glancing with attentive presence, shines out "here," calling for our care.

St Thomas More (1477 - 1535)
He was born in London, the son of a judge, and himself became an eminent lawyer. He married twice, and had four children. He was a humanist and a reformer, and his book, Utopia, depicting a society regulated by the natural virtues, is still read today.
Thomas More was a close friend of King Henry VIII. As a judge, he was famous for his incorruptibility and impartiality, and he was made Lord Chancellor -- the highest legal position in England -- in 1529.
When Henry VIII demanded a divorce from Catherine of Aragon, Thomas More opposed him. He resigned the chancellorship in 1532 and retired from public life; but he could not retire from his reputation, and so it was demanded that he take an oath to support the Act of Succession, which effectively repudiated papal religious authority. He refused, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London. After the execution of John Fisher, he was tried on the charge of high treason for denying the KingÂ?s supreme headship of the Church, found guilty, and sentenced to death. He went to his execution, on 6 July 1535, with a clear conscience and a light heart; he told the spectators that he was still "the king's good servant -- but God's first", and carefully adjusted his beard before he was beheaded.
He wrote a number of devotional works, some of the best of them while in prison awaiting trial. He fought his fight without acrimony, telling his judges that he wished that "we may yet hereafter in Heaven merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation".

We are complex beings -- even if we consider God to be the simplist of Being Itself. And in this complexity we are called to serve. And serve we will -- always aware of implications and consequences, should such grace be available to us.

God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping, then we may stand to our tackle as best we can, and, yes, Meg, then we can clamor like champions, if we have the spittle for it. But it's God's part, not our own, to bring ourselves to such a pass. Our natural business lies in escaping. (Thomas More, to his daughter Margaret, in Robert Bolt's screenplay "A Man for all Seasons", 1966)

When we run away into here, we are likely -- hurting and winded -- to arrive as the place where our origin is always ground for us.

let it go-the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise-let it go it
was sworn to

let them go-the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers-you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go-the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things-let all go
so comes love

(Poem by e.e.cummings)

Here is where I long to be.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

One thing is not the other. Some fear the distinctions and separations they've carefully cultivated over years will be dissolved by a vision that is not so separative nor hierarchical.

There is no other. There is only each one of us attempting to hear and respond to the call of love. Of truth. Of freedom. Of God. This is unfamiliar ground to many of us. But it is ground under our feet, in our being, and before our eyes.

The mind cannot seek the mind.
You ignore what is real and hold on to
That which is unreal, then try to find
What it is. You think you are the mind and,
Therefore, ask how it is to be controlled.

If the mind exists,
It can be controlled,
But it does not.
Understand this truth by inquiry;
Seek the real, the Self

- Ramana Maharshi

Perhaps the real cannot be experienced by the mind -- especially if as Ramana Maharshi says, the mind does not exist. Some say the experience of God is beyond mind. They call it faith, or hope, or love. What is meant by these three words is often different in the formulations of different perspectives. But there is a common thread -- namely, the presence of what some call God. Others might say -- that which is.

Happy the people that knows the cry of praise!
They will walk in the light of your presence, Lord,
and rejoice in your name all the day --
for you are the splendour of their strength,
and by your good will our standard is held high.

(from Psalm 89)

Today is Summer Solstice, first day of summer in northern hemisphere. In the north, today is longest day of the year; tonight, shortest night. We observe these realities, as we attend to the sound of birdcall, or neighbor calling cat in from field.

I learn to have compassion on those who cause and receive suffering brought about by those who think they must divide, exclude, and harm.

There is a place to go to seek, and find, our common ground.

Look up. Look down. Look around.

This is it.

We are here.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Morning dew on way to cabin. No place to step God isn't.

For twenty seven years
I've always sought the Way.
Well, this morning we passed
Like strangers on the road.

- Kokuin (10th century)

We are strangers to one another lost in thought that says, "We are strangers to one another." Every day the tension -- the instantaneous decision mind has to make -- this is not me, I am not that, I am this, that thou art.

God, when you set out in the sight of your people,
when you crossed the wilderness -- the earth shook.
The heavens sent down dew at your coming --

(from Psalm 68)

We come to have compassion for the suffering involved in separating oneself from everything and everyone in this existence, in this world. We often choose to spit out, to spew -- rather than not to split away, to feel the dew as we pilgrimage through wilderness.

We are new and ever-present wilderness.

God is passing through our midst.

Look under your feet.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The war is over. Occupation is going badly. Do not confuse fact with story.

Not to see what is right there before our face is to believe the story invented by someone else.

Don't believe the story; face what is there.

The great path is clearly before your eyes,
But the ignorant who are deluded
And confused cannot recognize it.
It is in one thought of the mind.
So why search for it elsewhere?

- Pao-chih

Of course it is impressive that one of the great deceptions of our age is continuing (as we speak) in Iraq and Washington DC. Here's how Thom Hartmann puts it:
Every time the media - or a Democrat - uses the phrase "War in Iraq" they are promoting one of Karl Rove's most potent Republican Party frames.

There is no longer a war against Iraq.

It ended in May of 2003, when George W. Bush stood below a "Mission Accomplished" sign aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and correctly declared that we had "victoriously" defeated the Iraqi army and overthrown their government.

Our military machine is tremendously good at fighting wars - blowing up infrastructure, killing opposing armies, and toppling governments. We did that successfully in Iraq, in a matter of a few weeks. We destroyed their army, wiped out their air defenses, devastated their Republican Guard, seized their capitol, arrested their leaders, and took control of their government. We won the war. It's over.

What we have now is an occupation of Iraq.

The occupation began when the war ended, and continues to this day. According to our own Pentagon estimates, at least ninety five percent of those attacking our soldiers are Iraqi civilians who view themselves as anti-occupation fighters. And last week both the Defense Minister and the Vice President of Iraq asked us for a specific date on which the occupation would end.

The distinction between "war" and "occupation" is politically critical for 2006 because wars can be won or lost, but occupations most honorably end by redeployments.

(Reclaim the Issues - "Occupation, Not War"-- by Thom Hartmann
Published on Monday, June 19, 2006 by

Deception is the job-skill of deceivers. Calling something what it is not is not mere lie -- it is uncreating what is true. If God is what is true, the (impossible) attempt to undo what is true is the antithesis of God. It cannot be done. But -- the story can be told in such a way that God (not undone) is replaced by the story in the minds of believers who do not experience the truth of God but who glom onto the substitute story.

It is said by C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters:
Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don't waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous -- that it is the philosophy of the future. That's the sort of thing he cares about.

The trouble about argument is that it moves the whole struggle on to the Enemy's own ground. He can argue too; whereas in really practical propaganda of the kind I am suggesting He has been shown for centuries to be greatly the inferior of Our Father Below. By the very act of arguing, you awake the patient's reason; and once it is awake, who can foresee the result? Even if a particular train of thought can be twisted so as to end in our favour, you will find that you have been strengthening in your patient the fatal habit of attending to universal issues and withdrawing his attention from the stream of immediate sense experiences. Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. Teach him to call it 'real life' and don't let him ask what he means by 'real'.

It is a dangerous time.

Some find it difficult to know what to think.

It's sad when we are convinced to deny truth in order to believe the story.

Can anyone make the conversion? Drop lie, find truth. End story, face God. Let dissolve ego, recognize authentic self.

No wonder conversion is so feared.

Chris today said a chaplain is like a bank -- whatever denomination is put into it, it returns equal value and worth to the transaction.

We need to argue better.

Tell truth.

Not story.

In John 18:38, Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Silence followed. Only the bare, present face of the man was seen. Pilate was given only Jesus' face, no explanation, no story.

Like Pilate, like Jesus, we must face the truth.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Peanut Butter Swirl ice cream with rhubarb comport. A fine ending to day.

Although we know that a frozen pond is entirely water,
The sun's heat is necessary to melt it.
Although we awaken to the fact
That an ordinary person is Buddha,
The power of dharma is necessary to
Make it permeate our cultivation.
When the pond has melted,
The water flows freely.
When falsity is extinguished,
The mind will be numinous and dynamic and
Then its function of penetrating brightness will manifest.

- Kuei-feng

The earth, Pannikar writes, is animal. It does not 'have' a soul -- it is animate.

He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone. (Mark 4: 34)

We tell story. We live story. But we seldom, if ever, comprehend story. The power of story is enough to accomplish much -- even the most nefarious goals -- just by sticking to your story.
What's most impressive about Mr. Rove, however, is not his ruthlessness, it's his unshakable faith in the power of a story. The story he's stuck with, Iraq, is a loser, but he knows it won't lose at the polls if there's no story to counter it. And so he tells it over and over, confident that the Democrats won't tell their own. And they don't - whether about Iraq or much else. The question for the Democrats is less whether they tilt left, right or center, than whether they can find a stirring narrative that defines their views, not just the Republicans'.
(from "Karl Rove Beats the Democrats Again," by Frank Rich. Published on Sunday, June 18, 2006 by the New York Times)

It becomes ludicrous to follow political snake's oil.

Rather, I go to brunch with my son. Before that I attend church at Chestnut Street Baptist. I got a pen and bookmark upon exiting. Context, for me, matters. Now, as chaplain, context places me where I will learn. They celebrate father's day with pastor preaching on Psalm 127.

March 8

Every so often my father comes over
for a visit he hangs his overcoat and hat
on my hat rack I brief him on recent
developments and serve us coffee
he is surprised that I like to cook
once when he made an omelette
he flipped it in the air much to my delight
and it landed on the floor yes that
was the summer of 1952, he remembered
the high breakers and how fearless
I was running into the ocean anyway
the important thing is to see you doing
so well he said and took his coat and hat
and left before I remembered he was dead

(Poem: "March 8" by David Lehman from The Evening Sun: A Journal in Poetry. c.Scribner Poetry.)

What I value in dreams is the showing up.

The visiting.

Earth alive.