Saturday, July 11, 2009

Wording shifts.
Just like meetingbrook! There's a conversation between two points of view.

This is the conversation now.
This is now the conversation.

At Saturday Morning Practice, after sitting, at Lectio, four of us worry the meaning of shaking the dust off your feet as "testimony against" as one translation of the scripture reading. Below is a different translation:
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them. (--Mark 6:7-13)
I would translate it: If you are not welcomed or listened to, keep moving, don't let the dust of non-acceptance put you and keep you where you really are not. Be, rather, where you are. Always practice speaking truth as you see it in the moment. Listen to others as they attempt to speak their truth. Welcome the differences if they appear. Remember, we are dealing with mysteries and unknowable realities. Still, try your best to enter more closely to the proximity of what is true. You are not to harm or dismiss anyone's attempt to near truth.
Nevertheless, in the face of hostility or inhospitality, be kind, but make tracks. Don't take with you any hostile or inhospitable attitude. Shake it off. Leave it behind. Let them see that such an attitude need not continue. Be a sign of dropping off that mind and that body. Let go into the wholeness that welcomes everyone and everything, be the belonging that longs to reside in and with all beings. Such dwelling nears our true home.

Coffee and tea cups washed, fried egg and toast eaten, fruit cup and yogurt enjoyed, laughter and conversation about dogs, death, crop-circles, and Shaker boxes and Shaker step-stools -- we adjourn to work on cedar siding, washing bottom of Loon IV, and the sunniness of Saturday morning.

It is the feast of St. Benedict, father of western monasticism. We are grateful for him, his teaching, and example, and the men and women who follow his rule of life.
Since sky and earth are mindless,
They last forever.
What has mind has limits.
A person who has attained
The Path is like this too.
In the midst of no activity,
She carries out her activities,
Accepting all unfavorable
And favorable
With a
compassionate heart.

- Yunmen (864-949)
So it is!

This is the conversation now.
This is now the conversation.
Now this is the conversation.

Oy gevalt!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The sentence arose at Friday Evening Conversation: "This is now the conversation."
If you want to freely live or die, go or stay, to take off or put on your clothes, then right now recognize the one who is listening to my discourse. That one is without form, without characteristics, without root, without source, and without any dwelling place, yet is brisk and very alive. As for all manifold responsive activities, the place where they are carried on is, in fact, no place. Therefore, when you look for that one, it retreats farther and farther, when you seek that, it turns more and more the other way: this is called the "Mystery."
- Lin-chi (d.866)
It's as good a new motto as anything:

This is


the conversation.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Everything is happening inside the whole. A wholly spirit.
The Inner History of a Day

No one knew the name of this day;
Born quietly from deepest night,
It hid its face in light,
Demanded nothing for itself,
Opened out to offer each of us
A field of brightness that traveled ahead,
Providing in time, ground to hold our footsteps
And the light of thought to show the way.

The mind of the day draws no attention;
It dwells within the silence with elegance
To create a space for all our words,
Drawing us to listen inward and outward.

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.

Somewhere in us a dignity presides
That is more gracious than the smallness
That fuels us with fear and force,
A dignity that trusts the form a day takes.

So at the end of this day, we give thanks
For being betrothed to the unknown
And for the secret work
Through which the mind of the day
And wisdom of the soul become one.

(-- from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O'Donohue)
Someone tonight said it's all a dream.

I wanted to know what's being left out of the sentence "It's all a dream."

Certainty often seems to leave something out.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Some say: "Let go and let God." Some: "Dropping off mind and body." Then others: "It's all been a misunderstanding."
Your self-partiality is at
the root of all your illusions.
There aren't any illusions
when you don’t have this
preference for yourself.

- Bankei (1622-1693)
Some say: "Wholeness." Some say: "Holy Spirit." Then others: "Don't ask!"

I ask.

If we let go of the partial, do we fall into the whole?

When time ends, is there only the infinite origin?

If there is not one concrete word or image expressed, is there anything actually being said?
Between Walls

the back wings
of the

hospital where

will grow lie

in which shine
the broken

pieces of a green

(Poem by William Carlos Williams)

Maybe the guy who likes math is right when he says (wishes?) all religions are collapsing and will disappear.

Only slivers of broken glass.

Don't walk barefooted, eh?

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Just last week, three and a half years later, I learn a friend's son, Sean Thomas, died in Oregon on Nov. 23, 2005 at age 33 of heart attack. I knew him as a tyke, and as he grew.

I recall learning last year that Mary Christina died in Pennsylvania on Nov. 22, 2005 at age 49 of lung cancer. It was three years later I learned of her death. I knew her over two dozen years as friend and colleague.

These deaths, especially sudden hearing of them, even these years later, sneak up on me.

Death, especially being out of touch, surprises.
As long as you are subject
To a life bound by force of habit,
You are not free from the
Burden of the body.

- Kuei-Shan (771-854
I note the coincidence of their deaths, one calendar day apart. Just that. And I light a stick of incense for them.
A Basque proverb reminds us, “Mountains don’t need mountains, but humans need humans.” Our need for each other is a birthday present given to each newborn child, for keeps. As we embrace this greatest of gifts, we learn to move gracefully in a dance of kinship.
(--from Loneliness/Belonging, Br. David),
I've not been much of a dancer. I don't just attend and sit off to the side, I don't attend.

Still, kinship.


And yet we belong the way Ragged belongs to Bald and rain from the sky to the earth. The myth is awareness. Logic says: Out of sight, out of mind; Out of mind, no longer existing; Out of touch, nothing felt.

We might not feel it. Might not see it. Nor even know it.

But we belong.

To one another.

And to all of it.

It is our calling.

This life!

All at once.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Each morning is the first. Each evening the last.

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Tao.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don't try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.

When you are content to be simply yourself
and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you.

(--from Tao Te Ching, trans. Stephen Mitchell)
Between evening and morning is night.

It is night centers us.

Look again.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

David Whyte advocates radical simplicity. "Try to get back to the essential steps," he says in interview on New Dimensions.

Laundry blows in Sunday morning breeze and sun. Roger Federer and Andy Roddick hit tennis balls back and forth in All England Finals at Wimbledon.

Sky clouds up again.
Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices,
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.

- Hakuin (1686-1768)
With Saskia away there's nothing planned for hospitality today. Just laundry. Nothing resembling Kornfield's "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry." My gloss would be -- during the laundry, a bit of solitude.

In that first
hardly noticed
to which you wake,
coming back
to this life
from the other
more secret,
and frighteningly
where everything
there is a small
into the new day
which closes
the moment
you begin
your plans.

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.

What you can live
will make plans
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.

You are not
a troubled guest
on this earth,
you are not
an accident
amidst other accidents
you were invited
from another and greater
than the one
from which
you have just emerged.

Now, looking through
the slanting light
of the morning
window toward
the mountain
of everything
that can be,
what urgency
calls you to your
one love? What shape
waits in the seed
of you to grow
and spread
its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting
in the fertile sea?
In the trees
beyond the house?
In the life
you can imagine
for yourself?
In the open
and lovely
white page
on the waiting desk?

(~ Poem by David Whyte, in The House of Belonging)
Becoming visible is difficult enough. Becoming transparent exceeds that task. Then, to just be the ordinary, manifesting itself in the everyday, is real practice.
A sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit
I acknowledge my transgression, says David. If I admit my fault, then you will pardon it. Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others. This was not the way that David showed us how to pray and make amends to God, when he said: I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me. He did not concentrate on others’ sins; he turned his thoughts on himself. He did not merely stroke the surface, but he plunged inside and went deep down within himself. He did not spare himself, and therefore was not impudent in asking to be spared.

(From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop; in Office of Readings, 14th Sunday of the Year, Ordinary Time)
I'm no longer fond of sin-talk.

There's something else to see. Another way of speaking.

"Love is a fierce form of attention in which you see yourself," says David Whyte to Michael Toms referring to Pema Chodron's path. To see yourself, clearly and with compassion, is to see everyone else clearly and with compassion. Not to see in this way is to perpetuate separation, discord, war, and suffering.

To see we must become visible so as to become transparent, so as to be ordinary manifestation of the Itself of God.

That peace, that loving compassion, is a manifestation devoutly to be wished.

Until such time, it is a day of solitude, drying laundry, and cutting weeds grown wildly huge during the weeks of rain.