Saturday, December 02, 2006

Free debt.

8 Owe nothing to anyone — except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”[a] These — and other such commandments — are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
(Romans 13: 8-10, New Living Translation)


Friday, December 01, 2006

What is God's will?

Wake up!

Let us shut out the fear of death and meditate upon immortality
Our obligation is to do God’s will, and not our own. We must remember this if the prayer that our Lord commanded us to say daily is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done, and then not promptly obey it when he calls us from this world!

(from The treatise of St Cyprian on mortality)

(Ask again.) What is God's will?

Rain falls on roof. Dead mouse under bed, removed.

Open window airs room.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The field is clear. You might say, clear light. Or the field is compassion, maybe God, love itself.

The sound
of water
what I think.

- Chuang Tzu

When on or in the field, all is clear. The only barrier is what we hold on to, clutching the small definitions we think is our self, with resentments, grievances, anger, ego, and assorted blockages.

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen.
--Matthew 4:18 - 22

Fishermen fish.

The field might be the sea. It might be consciousness, or existence. Maybe we are the field.

Live well therein.

Water speaking.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Smoke from fireplace in shop returns to back room from furnace pipe and curls out from under bricks of Rumford arch. The yearly battle begins: wood stove? or open fireplace?

“I am empty of everything and there is nothing left in my mind,” said the monk to Joshu. “What do you say to that?”
Joshu said, “Cast that away.”
But the monk persisted. “I have told you, there is nothing left in me. I am completely empty. What can I cast away?”
“In that case,” replied Joshu,”keep on carrying it.”

- Joshu

On the field of consciousness everything appears and disappears. The field remains. Like a second baseman taking the baseball infield for an inning, we assume positions then exit and disappear.

Tomorrow is the feast of St Andrew.
Christmas Anticipation Prayer
Beginning on St. Andrew the Apostle's feast day, November 30, the following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
In which the Son of God was born
Of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight,
in Bethlehem,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[hear mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

I remember the woman who taught me this prayer. She read an e.e.cummings poem once.

The world went thirty years by.

We'll think about the wood stove. We'll remember Andrew.

We'll pray toward Advent and through.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A great unkindness is inflicted by America on the people of Iraq. Their dead are strewn about the country. They are mute.

In America it is time to go shopping to honor the Prince of Peace, in whose name (curiously) war and murder occur. There is no spin to offset this stupidity. But spin many do.

Ever desireless,
One can see the mystery.
Ever desiring,
One can see the manifestations.
These two spring
From the same source
But differ in name.

- Lao tzu

It is time to admit the Christian message is delivered often by missionaries and preachers with failing emphasis. Their goading gloat about Armageddon and rapture is an embarrassment. Naive followers of simplistic narrative easily take hostile posture in defense of their certainty that God wishes (they say) to punish and condemn those not believing in him. More specifically, those who do not articulate particular formulas of belief. Many, said a woman at the shop, have had "formula conversions." To them, anyone not reciting word for word their statements of belief or testimony, are outside and alien to "the" true belief. The presumption and rote inanity staggers. This view is a learning that rivets fast the mind. If learning it can be called.

The enemy has hounded my spirit,
he has crushed my life to the ground,
he has shut me in darkness, like the dead of long ago.
So my spirit trembles within me,
my heart turns to stone.

(--from Psalm 143)

This is not a dirge, not a lament. It is a song of despair. There is no hope. Sorrow would be a step up. The song of despair is cold listening.

And yet, and yet, and yet. We hear a quiet sound. Something ends. Something begins. Are we still listening?

Advent nears. The feast of Christ the King was flat and uninspiring in today's delegitimized metaphor of regal rule. Advent, at least, brings a mind capable of contemplating a new start.

If we don't wake up -- now -- we might never.
If the path doesn't appear -- now -- it might not.
If the light isn't seen -- now -- darkness slaughters.
And, if we are not born into true wholeness -- now -- we remain partial and pathetic.

Let us say now an embodied prayer of kindness. End disembodied ugliness.

Begin the loveliness of incarnation with something true.

Redeem the time.

Unlearn everything.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Soon, I suspect, the switch will happen.

This is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is the Lord who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people
-- Jeremiah 31:33

All the stern-faced angry Jesus-will-condemn-you types will suddenly stop dead in their tracks.

It will occur to them that they've been terribly wrong.

They will weep.

Finally they will understand their own hearts.

There is where God comes through.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Truth is unrelenting.

Called from. Called out. Called to.

What does it mean to be called out?
Main Entry: ecclesi-
Variant(s): or ecclesio-
Function: combining form
Etymology: Late Latin ecclesia, from Greek ekklEsia assembly of citizens, church, from ekkalein to call forth, summon, from ex- + kalein to call -- more at: church

"Church" has become a nest. Very temporary.

If in a storm in a desolate terrain you are called out, be prepared to leave that place. If in a rich palace you are called out, be prepared to leave that place. If in solitude, if in community, you are called out -- leave that place. But only if you are foolish enough to follow truth.

What is the sequel to truth?

Shut up and go home!

Home, like truth, is nowhere we know.

In this silence and source, there is no knowing wherefore or why. Truth is its own relentless presence. Only enter. Only engage. Only disappear.

Too many steps have been
Taken returning to the root
And the source.
Better to have been blind
And deaf from the beginning!
Dwelling in one’s true abode,
Unconcerned with that without -
The river flows tranquilly
On and the flowers are red.

- Kakuan (1100-1200)

Leave everything behind. The next step contains the everything you are to also leave behind when you take the next next step.

I have moments in which I understand that there is no one who owns the narrative of my life, no one to whom the events of my life are happening, that all of creation is a huge, interconnected, amazing production of events unfolding in concert with each other, connected to each other, dependent on each other, with no separation at all. When these moments happen, I feel happy, at ease, and grateful. I think of them as experiences of enlightenment. They are real and I trust them, but they don’t last. However clearly I see, however much I think, “Now I will never lose this perspective,” my mind makes wrong turns and I do lose it.

When I discover that I am-once again-confused, I try to remember that the habit of return is what matters. I credit myself with the insights I’ve had and assume that I can get them back. I think about the Buddha charging his monks with the responsibility to go on by themselves. I think about the geese, programmed for their journey, and I imagine that we are programmed for our journey as well. I pay attention. I make course corrections. I think about “Strive on with diligence,” or “Move with sureness into the future,” and I remember that I don’t need to move into the whole of the future. Just the next step.

(-- Sylvia Boorstein, Shambhala Sun | September 2002, "The Buddha's Four Noble Truths")

What is truth for me? Dare ask?

For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."

Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

(-- John 18: 37-38)

The most eloquent response in all of scripture is what is recorded as Jesus' response to the question of Pilate.

Do you remember it?


Yes, it was, and is, silence.

Morning light.

Seed breaking bird.

Called out to next step.