Saturday, March 20, 2010


Clean meditation cabin.

Place rugs in bookshed.
Delusion, enlightenment
just fox-words fooling
Zen practitioners everywhere.

- Daito (1282-1334)
Thank you winter.

Hello spring

Deep bow!

Friday, March 19, 2010

was winter
then (wait,
will be
when winter
no longer
but was

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let's say the truth is love.

Let's say that grievances are the ego's way of saying there's something greater than love and truth. Some call it fairness. Some, justice. Some even self-preservation.

I'm not sure about this.
Pushed along by wind,
Clouds layered along the peaks
Diffuse at daybreak:
Honking geese who've crossed
The mountains open the fall.

- Saigyo (1118-1190)
I think that truth-telling is best.

I think that love-creating is best.

There's nothing beyond truth-telling and love-creating.

And that nothing is what we are about.

There's nothing better than best.

Only this.


This truth-telling.

This love-creating.
Let's call it love-truth.

Nothing more.

Nothing else.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When younger this day was a bigger deal. I'm just happy to remember that once it was and's just the 17th, I wear a bit of green, and finish stacking wood.

The Rose Tree
“O words are lightly spoken”
Said Pearse to Connolly,
“Maybe a breath of politic words
Has withered our Rose Tree;
Or maybe but a wind that blows
Across the bitter sea.”

“It needs to be but watered,”
James Connolly replied,
“To make the green come out again
And spread on every side,
And shake the blossom from the bud
To be the garden's pride.”

“But where can we draw water”
Said Pearse to Connolly,
“When all the wells are parched away?
O plain as plain can be
There's nothing but our own red blood
Can make a right Rose Tree.”
(Poem by William Butler Yeats)
A melancholic theme.

The 18th nears.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Parker Palmer suggests that to transcend is not to get out and away, but rather to enter in, to in-spire, to breathe within the reality. Those who want out are doing something else.
We must resist the popular tendency to think of transcendence as an upward and outward escape from the realities of self and world. Instead, transcendence is a breaking-in, a breathing of the Spirit of love into the heart of our existence, a literal in-spiration that allows us to regard ourselves and our world with more trust and hope than ever before. To experience transcendence means to be removed -- not from self and world, but from that hall of mirrors in which the two endlessly reflect and determine one another. Prayer takes us out -- not out of self and world, but out of their closed circular logic.
(p. 13, in To Know As We are Known, Education As A Spiritual Journey by Parker Palmer, c.1983)
It is, they say, a complicated world. Take the financial meltdown.


Michael Lewis writes about some few who saw the disaster coming.That these sub-prime mortgage bonds were going to tank was obvious to a few people. Why not more people?

In Ireland, Switzerland, and Germany (so far) there are scandals involving the Roman Catholic Church and sexual abuse. Some folks knew it was happening when it was happening. Why not more people?

In the wars America fights in Iraq and Afghanistan there have been egregious criminal shootings and killings committed against civilian men, women, and children. These precipitous shootings, done by both military and mercenary private contractors, were cloaked under rhetoric proclaiming noble patriotic safety behavior -- essentially the ethic was: we have the guns and the vehicles and you are in our way. Some knew the abusive and criminal acts were taking place. Why not more people?

I suspect that we all knew. Ignorance is no explanation or excuse. We knew but decided not to know what we knew.

Lewis, speaking with Terry Gross on "Fresh Air" about The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, his book assessing the Wall Street fiasco, says that it was a folly of perception. He says we are incentivized not to see what we see.

What is it that I don't see? I don't see the source of being -- even though I most likely do, as do you.
I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.

- Lao Tzu
The back roads to Bangor were clear and sunny.

I have no idea about anything in my life these days. Not why I exist. Not what I am doing. Not why so much seems so silly. I do know I am alive, and, here. That, for the time/being, is enough.
Root Cellar

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!
Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

(Poem by by Theodore Roethke)
There is only bare breath remaining.

This one. And this.

And this.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New moon.

New moon, seemingly, with no light, no moon.
The moon shining in the middle
Of the sky swallows the lights
Of all creation.
The light in every age so clear
And mysterious that no words
Can describe it.

- Baekoon Kyunghan (1299-1375)
Wind sways trees. Rain pauses.
Students, when you want to say something, think about it three times before you say it. Speak only if your words will benefit yourselves and others. Do not speak if it brings no benefit.
Silent today.
I ask how I am within myself today? Am I particularly tired, stressed, or off-form?
If any of these characteristics apply, can I try to let go of the concerns that disturb me?

(--in Sacred Space,
Only today. There is no tomorrow.
Of course, nothing that exists exists for its own sake; it exists for the sake of the whole. In origin, the whole is pregiven for man; it takes on for man its conscious character in the time-free present, for consciousness is not restricted to time and space. It cannot be concretized in conceptuality since conceptuality deals with abstractions and absolutes. It can be fathomed only dimly in vital, magic life, and is realizable through imagination and experience, as in myth and mysticism, only in a twilight of consciousness. It is approached in thought, but thought immediately closes itself off since in its process of deduction discursive thought always eludes any openness in its compulsion to system.
The new mutation of consciousness, on the other hand, as a consequence of arationality, receives its decisive stamp from the manifest perceptual emergence of the spiritual.

(--p.541, Ch 12, TheConcretion of the Spiritual, in The Ever-Present Origin, by Jean Gebser,c.1949)
The arational, that which is not based on or governed by reason, in Gebser is acausal and integral.

The answer to the question "Why?" in no longer "Because!"

The new answer is "Be acausal!"

As I said, what is there...

To be said?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wind blows down from Ragged Mountain. Rain runs for lowest places. It is an hour later than yesterday at the same time.

Don't talk about awakening.
The Second Patriarch Hui-k'o stood in the snow, cut off his arm, and awakened. The Sixth Patriarch heard someone recite the Diamond Sutra phrase "arouse the mind without placing it anywhere," and he awakened. Ling-yun saw a peach blossom and awakened. Hsiang-yen heard a tile fragment strike bamboo, and he awakened. Lin-chi was given sixty blows by Huang-po, and he awakened. Tung-shan noticed his own reflection when he was crossing a river, and he awakened. In each case, these men met the Master. - Daito (1282-1334)
Finally get to stack strewn wood. Wind tosses the tarps. I set them again. And again.

When a woman used the word 'spirituality' at conversation on Friday, I asked her what she meant by that word. She thought then said "universal connectedness..." which seemed right to me.

To live a solitary spiritual life sounds odd. The realization that we are universally connected means that to live is to live as one, whether together or alone.

Like the Willie Nelson song, solitaries and cowboys are always alone -- even with someone they love. The distinction used to be between the eremitical and the cenobitic life -- the solitary and the communal life.

Today it could be thought of as the Asperger Contemplative Outsider and the Socializing Active Insider.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1855-1919)
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

(From: Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox)

It need not be pain. Just a walking through something that feels formless. A psychical uninhabitation.

There's no one else there.

Even if you are there, there's no one there. It doesn't seem right.
"The sense is obscured whenever we focus only on small, finished segments of being." --Chuang-tzu
Feast and fast.

Take your time.