Saturday, April 28, 2007

Deeply skeptical/Profoundly trusting.

This morning these four words suggest an attitude of mind helpful toward maintaining balance and equipoise. When sitting in conversation, whether in open public or in enclosed prison environment, it is useful practice to maintain a mind that is balanced -- deeply skeptical/profoundly trusting.

Skepticism calls into question. Questioning is vital. The opposite of questioning is arrogance -- not questioning.

Trusting means firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing. The opposite of trusting is not caring, not investing any interest in contemplating wholeness.
Those who attain the Tao
Are masters of themselves.
The universe is
Dissolved for them.
Throw them in the company
Of the noisy and the dirty,
And they will be like a lotus flower:
Growing from muddy water,
Touched by it, yet unstained.

- Lao Tzu
Most friends and loved-ones would not understand saying to them you are 'deeply skeptical' of what they are saying or doing. They'd probably appreciate the 'profoundly trusting' phrase. Nevertheless, the slash between (/) is the solidifying presence of equipoise and balance that roots us in core center reality.

We are always to be questioned; always to be trusted. We are beings belonging to what is whole. At the same time we are creatures continually forgetting who we are, engaging in behavior often hurting oneself and others. It might be considered a useful gift to present to one another a presence suffused with deep skepticism/profound trust.
Never Forget:

Never forget:
we walk on hell,
gazing at flowers.

(--Poem by Kobayashi Issa, 1763 - 1828, from Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter, Translated by Lucien Stryk / Translated by Takashi Ikemoto)
If we would wish not to die in war, and wish to live in peace, we will have to learn a new way of seeing and being-with that is equanimous, harmonious, and rooted in keen-eyed awareness.

Daffodils under tube-chimes will open tomorrow.

Living soundly with one/an/other.

In middle place.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Good news!

Landlord sends letter with renewed lease for harbour bookshop/bakery, including upstairs harbour room used for visitor's retreats, meetings, respite stays, one-and-one conversations, and (of course) cooking. We're delighted for the opportunity to continue in the marketplace.
Each night, I gaze upon a pond,
A Zen body sitting beside a moon.
Nothing is really there, and yet
It is all so clear and bright.
I cannot describe it.
If you would know the empty mind,
Your own mind must be as clear and bright
As this full moon upon the water.

- Chiao Jan (785-895)
Cars are serviced yesterday, new phone service chosen, lots of food from outlet, and terrific interchange at Thursday Evening Conversation where we currently welcome a lively group exploring the Course in Miracles. Nancy, Dee, Kali, Irene, Lucy, Ananur, Saskia and I (in the spirit of absent conveners Jack and Kathy) laughed and investigated, listened and spoke about the invisible root acceptance of 'love' as a given -- with no need to add nor subtract, make special nor hold oneself back from the core root given reality. So much laughter at the gyrations and tumblesaults we each engage in to absent ourselves at the same time demanding 'specialness.'

I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my Feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch—
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

(--Poem: "875" by Emily Dickinson.)

It is true most of us most the time want to experience what is there.

And yet, what of another way of 'seeing' what is there? By 'seeing' or 'knowing' that the core root reality is 'the love of what is' -- are we able to relax, lighten up, and let go of the demands someone 'prove' their love, give evidence, demonstrate it, and meet our evaluative approval that, yes (maybe) their love is good enough in our eyes? If love is the core root reality of each one's life, perhaps our attention might equally be given to the appreciation of one's life.

"What is' -- (or, that which we call God) -- is the core root reality of what we are and where we dwell in what we name 'this existence, this reality.' And yet, we are just a bit blind to what is foundational beneath, surrounding, and beyond us. So we lash out at, berate, implore, deny, use (and abuse), idealize, push away, blame and adore 'God' -- very often doing all these things at the same time.
And God Said "No"
Author: Claudia Minden Welsz

I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as he loves me.
God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
The word 'idea' is from Greek, from idein, meaning 'to see.'

We practice seeing by practicing attention, often, in silence and stillness. Chickadee and cardinal, blue jay and red wing blackbird, white-throated sparrow and finch, junco and nuthatch -- all are seen at back feeder this rainy Friday in April.

Earlier the old dog and young cat walked me along mountain as drizzle began. It was a sight to see -- dog, cat, and walking stick ascending and weaving the clearing, then descending and herding the divergent wandering away of one of us with diminished mind (versus the unmindful and crazed-mind of the other two.)

We live to see -- within and without -- one/an/other in everyday life.

Joy of rain. Delight of coffee. Stillness of expectation. Emptying the special into the ordinary and dancing solitary hands-together bowing deeply (if only with eyes) at what is there, what is near, what is seen, what has been, what is true, what is you.
The tepid rain falls
On the bare thorn.

(--Haiku by Shiki Masaoka, 1867 ~ 1902)
As does drip faucet drop into last night's saucepan.

Greet one in all!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

epitaph, of ten

i have found
nothing else)
i want

{just now, --wfh, 27apr07}

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two Chickadee work hard on slender branches to keep creation ripe for the word of continuity chirping through neighbor's dog barking.

The word of continuity -- (now the second dog barks contretemps to first) -- is suffusing awareness. We are the vibrating appearance of that word of continuity in everyday phenomenological moving from emptiness to form and back again. It is this betweenness writers about Jesus found so intriguing: He's there; he's gone; oh, there he is; where'd he go? Jesus would slip through silence/stillness the way a slash (/) inserts itself between words/things to hold them together while distinguishing distinctiveness.

With Jesus, as with all properly understood and authentically apprehended slashes (/), there is a falling away, a falling through. With this birth/death, human/divine, resurrection/ascension motif -- wherein both sides (seeming to be 'two') fall off and disappear -- we are left with only the slash (/). This is the concretion. This is the between.

This betweenness is a concretion. 'Concretion,' i.e. "to make actual or real: cause to take on the qualities of reality" --#2, in Merriam-Webster's). This concretion/between then itself slips from view (having nothing to hold fast) and itself enters the dwelling-place of what-exists-between-us-but-is-not-seen-nor-felt until we practice interconnectivity.

This is the usual dwelling place of what we call 'God' -- (when and if we indeed ever do call God). This calling, by whatever resonating vibration formulating sound/name in human speech or by any other sentient being's utterance, is our aspiration with every prayer, any mantra, each and every soulful murmur heard.) Everyone and everything is calling out God -- is calling out to God, is the voice of God calling us to ourselves, is what-is-calling-itself. This calling (Do you have a calling?) is the resonance of a continuity of word. Entre nous, entre les etoiles!

Between us/between the stars is a consolidating continuity of word -- an expression of what-is invisible.
Magnanimous Mind
Is like a mountain,
Stable and impartial;
Exemplifying the ocean, it
Reflects the broadest perspective.

- Dogen (1200-1253)
(The first phrase of a well-known anthem asks the most compelling question: "O say, can you see?")
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News to all creation.
(--Mark 16:15)
Belief is like ice. If I had any beliefs, I would melt them down, pour them into the earth, and allow April to breath its transcending breath on them until they disappear into a deeper, more profound presence dwelling between one and the other -- becoming a concretion of one/an/other doing joyful circle-abouts on mornings when monks (chickadee, robin, junco, brook, branch, fallen limbs and leaves, bare trees, sunshine, cool air, curling incense, woman passing cabin window, boots unsheathed, candles lighted, cat at rest, and, finally, God Itself) -- all pass between what, in this sorrowful human world, -- (which thinks thoughts of separation, cultivating loneliness, domination, security, backbiting, exclusion, dismissing, king-of-the-hill, screw you, I'm the best, you're no good, my mother bakes better than yours, we're the only superpower, let's get 'them', you owe us these many dollars, I want your wife, just one more drink, you're not welcome here) -- has come to be called (mistakenly) "the real world."
We Are All Connected
The universe that we inhabit and our shared perception of it are the results of a common karma. Likewise, the places that we will experience in future rebirths will be the outcome of the karma that we share with the other beings living there. The actions of each of us, human or nonhuman, have contributed to the world in which we live. We all have a common responsibility for our world and are connected with everything in it.

(--The Dalai Lama, A Flash of Lightning in the Dark of Night)
Love yourself.

Disappear between everything.

Find what is silent/still.

Don't say a word.

Be what word is.

Between everything.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The 82 year old Buddhist from Nova Scotia sipped coffee at the shop. His hand shook when lifting cup. He said he had intentional familial tremors.
Intention tremor
A rhythmic purposeless shaking of the muscles that begins with purposeful (voluntary) movement. This tremor does not affect muscles that are resting. (--from Health AtoZ)
He says zazen helps. So does Jameson Irish Whiskey.

He said he'll send a postcard when he returns to the Highlands tomorrow.

He hopes to remain a happy agnostic until he dies.

"I don't know," I said.

He liked that.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth is home.

In Greek, "oikos," home, dwelling place. Morning -- walking Ragged, sitting on porch, then in loft of meditation cabin -- sound of chattering squirrel, chirping chickadee, and cascading brook. A solitary fly crawls across screen. Bare trees note warming April sun this Maine slow walk to spring.
Service to the Earth is divine service, just as the love of God is human love. All that remains is for us to spell it out in our own lives.
(p.152, in The Cosmostheandric Experience: Emerging Religious Consciousness, Orbis Books, 1993)
Reading Office of Readings, Book of Revelation. Some days the words fall off page and crumple like old leaves with no life in them. Only on some days. This is one of them. None of the ideas, beliefs, and concepts reach me -- like the frantic chattering of red squirrel reluctant to climb on green plastic mesh above feeder. (A second fly appears.)

It doesn't bother me that sometimes scriptures are dead, or that I am dead to them. Last night while chanting the Heart Sutra at end of sitting practice, the collective pitch and tone of the group reached funereal disarray. Sometimes something is lost. It happens often.

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, from the book Traveling Light: Collected and New Poems, University of Illinois Press, 1999)
I no longer see home as a fixed place. It becomes breath. Sometimes I'm at home. At times I'm away. A day will come when breath will take itself and leave me. I don't know what will take place that day. (The two-note of sparrow tells me its version. I'm grateful.)

Poet Thomas Berry in The Great Work invites entrance into "...the awareness that the universe is a community of subjects to be communed with, not a collection of objects to be exploited."

This morning -- meow of cat, song of sparrow.

I leave scriptures today to all my angry brothers and sisters, to all those convinced only they have access to the one and only way. I leave God to those who jockey for positions of power or right hand, who mount pulpits of pronouncement or proclamation, occupy offices of control and security. I have wandered out into the open where soles of shoes and expanse of vision hold me balancing aloft for the time being. Enclosed rooms where proper procedure and rules of worship prevail are not for me this morning. White-throated sparrow is chanting the choral line, blue-jay lends antiphonal response.

Each tree sits perfectly in its own meditation. The large pine on its side at edge of hill, snapped twenty feet up, beyond brook near clearing, reclines broken on mountain after last storm.

Today I might die. I consider such unknowing prospect gift. A car passes up Barnestown Road.
Another, down.

It doesn't interest me whether there is any other place, any other dimension, any other realm of being. I entertain no hoops to jump through, no formula to recite, nor any fear worth attention.

I am here now.

On earth.

If you ask me about God, I will say "God is not only...". (There's no need for any further predicate).

Silence and stillness reveal all that is needed to know here for now.

Earth is home.

(Dishes are washed. Windows opened. Second cup of coffee.)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Untie that line.
The Boat and Shore
When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine myriad things with a confused body and mind you might suppose that your mind and nature are permanent. When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self.

--Zen Master Dogen, Moon in a Dewdrop, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi
Drift off.

Don't row.