Saturday, April 25, 2009

Until we can edit again on this website, for Hermitage Update and Events at Meetingbrook go to

This is what is there now:

April 2009, Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update

Theme: Not Something To Be Grasped

Friday, April 24, 2009

We strike the set.
Of one thing it is said
"that is bad"
and of another it is said
"that is good."
But there is nothing
inherent in things
that make them good
or bad, for each thing's
self is empty of
independent existence.

(- Samantabhadra-Bodhisattva-sutra)
Props, costumes, and backstage scenery are tossed out to proscenium.
When the loons cry,
the night seems blacker,
The water deeper.

(Opening lines of poem New Hampshire, by Howard Moss)
The woman to my left reacted to her own words when contextualized as, "God is everywhere you are not."

The view of you, she said, is too small. I agreed, I said. Even though I didn't.

"God is everywhere you are not," I say again. To no one not here.

It is all so beautiful!

As you are.


No curtain.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Final Course in Miracles at bookshop/bakery tonight. We stay late cataloging and packing a few of the dozens of book-boxes over the final 7 days until the 30th.
Calm and contemplation
has in itself a
clarity and tranquility
beyond anything known to
earlier generations.

- Kuan-ting
Talk of forgiveness and atonement. Rosie brings up that if we are at origin we’ve never left nor ever changed our true intimacy with God. Like the conversation between two people when some surprise revelation is made and one is asked by an embarrassed another not to tell anyone about the matter -- the phrase is used: "This conversation never happened." So too with what we've called sin and guilt. In God's slang: It never happened! Forgiveness is radical return to original state. Forgiveness is a radical re-turning to and with original intimacy.
YES -- even after my death
you shall not escape me
I'll follow you
in the eyes of every hawk,
every falcon, vulture, eagle
that soars in whatever sky
you walk beneath,
all the earth over,
Yes -- and when you die too,
and follow me into that deep
dark burning delicious blue
and become like me --
a kind of bird, a feathered thing --
why, then I'll seek you out
ten thousand feet above the sea;
and far beyond the world's rim
we'll meet and clasp and couple
close to the flaming sun
and scream the joy of our love
into the blaze of death
and burn like angels
down through the stars
past all the suns
to the world's beginning again.

(from "Earth Apples: Collected Poems," by Edward Abbey,, )
Judith speaks of “setting things right.” I think of hermitage table practice where in silence the table is set for reading, soup & bread mindfully eaten, then sharing of observations with deep listening & loving speech.

Setting things right for Maria also suggests an additional aspect of atonement, making reparation or acknowledging transgress.

There's a sentence in the Course that reads:
13 Look, then, upon the light He placed within you, and learn that what you
feared was there has been replaced with love.
(Ch 13 The Guiltless World, IX The Cloud of Guilt)
Like much of the language in the Course, this needs further translation for me. Fear is called the opposite of love. Often, over both ordinary and extraordinary occasions, we find ourselves afraid -- as when a loved one is in the hands of a medical doctor. Some would say that fear suggests an absence of love.

I translate the sentence in a different way. Fear feels alone and separate from what we desire to be the loving, healing outcome. And yet, like setting things right (as with the table), the sentence suggests that fear has been re-placed with love. By bringing fear near to the source and consoling presence of Love Itself, our fear is re-placed in proximity to, in warming circularity with, love, with Love Itself. Love is the only reality that does not exclude anything, not even fear. Fear has a seat at the table of human experience, not to be banished nor shunted off to the cavernous darkness of alienation. As Maria says, “Do the loving thing!” When fear arrives, place it near love at the table of human/divine Eucharist, the table of our lives wherein the revelation of love is our constant collation. The grace of gratefulness feeds and sustains us as our sometimes fears are embraced and befriended as Love's gift to human uncertainty.

Perhaps our task is to extend God's love here and there. To extend is to continue as...without separation or exclusion. That's all there is -- what is here.
Your capacity to care is God, it is your beauty.
Anywhere care comes alive, God is present.
(Two lines by John O'Donohue from Beauty)
I am as God is creating me.

Here's the thing about God's creating...(or is it God-creating?):

Some disappear into it and are not seen separately again. Saints, the released, we say.
Some experience it.
Some know it.
Some have none of the above, but believe it.
Some anticipate the possibility that someday they might...
And some depend on others, maybe you and me, to safeguard and preserve the fact and reality for them -- what the Quakers call holding in the light.

It's what is done by all of us when we extend God's love.


For each of our brothers and sisters.

With each.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth is home for now.

Welcome home.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I note there is a debate whether those who've tortured in the name of the United States should be investigated and charged with crimes. I'm sure inmates in prison will be watching the outcome of the debate. For if torture and killing were to be forgiven, there's a lot of folks who'd like to jump on that forgiveness truck. It is a grand notion -- to look ahead, not in rear view mirror.

Let's make it happen for all who've found themselves in a personal war. Forgiveness is a wonderful reminder that we all either kill or allow killing to be done in our names. Now is the time to set things right. Either fill the prisons with all who murder or empty the prisons of those in there for murder.
Here, beside a clear deep lake,
You live accompanied by clouds;
Or soft through the pines, the moon arrives
To be your own pure-hearted friend.
You rest under thatch
In the shadow of your flowers,
Your dewy herbs flourish
In their bed of moss.
Let me leave the world.
Let me alight, like you,
On your western mountain
With phoenixes and cranes.

- Chang Jian
A grateful woman writes: "If we stopped avoiding dying we could fully live." She's right, of course. Perhaps we should be busy living/dying. Nothing morose, mind you. Just the facts. An entropy of affirmation.

We are in transformation.

I want to call all the someones I've loved or tried to love. It's uncertain what happens around a curve out of sight. I'd say: I've loved you as long as rain fills April!
April Prayer

Just before the green begins there is the hint of green
a blush of color, and the red buds thicken
the ends of the maple's branches and everything
is poised before the start of a new world,
which is really the same world
just moving forward from bud
to flower to blossom to fruit
to harvest to sweet sleep, and the roots
await the next signal, every signal
every call a miracle and the switchboard
is lighting up and the operators are
standing by in the pledge drive we've
all been listening to: Go make the call.

(Poem "In Early Spring" by Larry Smith, from A River Remains)
I'll get to it. And if I don't, I've said it here.

Then again, that's my favorite prayer: 'Thanks for bringing me here!'

How it rains!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Raking stones back from grass. Cutting felled branches from path. Dismantling dam from second bridge still burdened from last week's flood.

Finishing work, sitting in green plastic chair by 1st bridge as twilight dimmed day. Heart slows. Head falls back. Bright light as I surrender.
Standing alone beneath a solitary pine
Quickly the time passes.
Overhead the endless sky
Who can I call to join me on this path?

- Ryokan
At table reading last night Henri Nouwen on his stay at Genesee Abbey.

I realize I am going to die.

It could be sitting by a brook.

It doesn't matter.

Living now.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The ubiquitous exclamation "Whatever!" is a one word position paper for the "Who gives a shit!" crowd. Who can fault them. It's not easy to care when every indicator points to the silliness of caring.

"Ask me if I care?' was popular a while back.

Something odd is taking place.
Sincerity is the fulfillment
of our own nature,
and to arrive at it we need
only follow our own true Self.
Sincerity is the beginning
and end of existence;
without it, nothing can endure.
Therefore the mature person
values sincerity above all things.

- Tzu-ssu (483-402 BC)
Existence might be ending.

Ask me if I care.

Because I do.

Don't you?

What do you mean "Whatever!"?