Saturday, May 08, 2010

Green leaves give cover to earth and landing pad to sky. Rain nudges new canopy. Green seclusion. Light wanders off to resting place.

This stillness soothes.
Fallen leaves hide the mountain path.

No one around to ask directions. 

An old monk sweeps the ground.

A novice rushes up to greet me.

- Jungkwan Ilson (1533-1608)
We're thinking of conducting a new set of meetings. They'll be called, "Talking of Death," (ToD). We'll talk of death, our own and other's. Nothing fancy. Just talking.

We'll try it in a Pilot to Practice series at Tuesday Evening Conversations.

In his book How We Die, Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland writes, "Death belongs to the dying and to those who love them." Clearly, it should. But it doesn't. It belongs to doctors and hospitals and drug manufacturers and insurance programs and policy-makers, all of whom drive the direction of our care and treatment. They own our final days and months. They own our dying. They own it because, over the past several decades, we have turned it over to them. We have ceded control, and now we don't know enough about the process to redirect it or regain control over it.

It doesn't have to be this way. We can reclaim death. We have the power to change it, to make it ours again.

(--Excerpted from Talking About Death Won't Kill You. Copyright 2001 by Virginia Morris.)

Death is personal.


Deserving our words.

Like light nearing dusk in heavy rain.

Friday, May 07, 2010

We can lose our soul.

If we do not use awareness to recognize our soul surrounds us, we lose both awareness and soul.
Time for a walk in the world outside

And a look at who I am

Originally I had no cares

And I am seeking nothing special

Even for my guests I have nothing

To offer except these white stones

And this clear spring water.

- Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
O'Donohue suggests the body is in the soul.

If we are aware of what surrounds us and that of which we are part, we help create soul as the whole of re-integration of inner and outer.

We save our soul.




Thursday, May 06, 2010

Parker Palmer speaks of the soul as being shy, original, wild, natural, and elemental best glimpsed by silence and stillness.
Deep hearing, then, is not just an auditory sensation, involving the ear, but a matter of the whole . 'Deep hearing of the Dharma' means embodying the Buddha Dharma, an experiential awakening of the total self, conscious and unconscious, mind and body.
-Rev. Taitetsu Unno "Sound Meditation" (Fall 1999) Tricycle
The ground of Being is compassion, love, forgiveness, and equality. Do you want to use the word "God"?

Call it what you will. The name doesn't matter.

What matters is that you are what those words indicate.

What matters is the activity of Being.

Doing what words are.

Embodying them.



In act.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Final class. Final course...
Heart shouts. Mind quiets. Things pass --
Something about mother 29 years Cinco de Mayo

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Of course you can't change the past. You can only change your mind. Once the mind changes, there is no past.
The wind in the pines

Cleans one's ears, 

The song of the stream

Invokes the spirit of a dream.

After the prayer for the dead,

I drink a cup of tea, 

The wind and the moon

Always befriend me.

- Jungkwan Ilson (1533-1608)
Of course I am dying. I can only change my thinking. Once thinking changes, there is no death.
  The world of dew  
is the world of dew,    
      And yet, and yet-- 
--Kobayashi Issa, (1763-1827)
Life has been good. The 85 year old man said he was closer to death than I was. Nah, I said, it happens in a flash, with each breath. He was just shutting down quicker with age. Death is not concerned with age.

At dawn I heard among bird calls
the billions of marching feet in the churn
and squeak of gravel, even tiny feet
still wet from the mother's amniotic fluid,
and very old halting feet, the feet
of the very light and very heavy, all marching
but not together, criss-crossing at every angle
with sincere attempts not to touch, not to bump
into each other, walking in the doors of houses
and out the back door forty years later, finally
knowing that time collapses on a single
plateau where they were all their lives,
knowing that time stops when the heart stops
as they walk off the earth into the night air.

("Marching," from Jim Harrison's "Saving Daylight" 2006)
I'm not much interested as to where things go from here. Time is borrowed. I don't like loans.

The world no longer makes sense. There's not much sense heard in political, economic, religious, or academic corridors. Niches are carved. Wallets are stuffed. Ballots are bought. Concepts are bandied.

Hello must only be hello. Goodbye, goodbye.

It's hard to figure out what the fuss is.

Here's my mind. Lose it, please.

Better still, ignore it.

Monday, May 03, 2010

What is in where? Who is in whom? When are we in the place we are?

The questions have ramifications. I am caught wondering if the woman at reception desk, nurse at station, man in wheelchair rolling down corridor for lunch -- (all three in Belfast)-- whether these are contemporary expressions of someone named Siddhartha in India, Kuan Yin in China, or Jesus in Palestine.

What is in each? What is each in? In the realm of unknowing mystery and benevolent ignorance, who can claim to know what cannot be known?

the great advantage of being alive

the great advantage of being alive
(instead of undying) is not so much
that mind no more can disprove than prove
what heart may feel and soul may touch
--the great(my darling)happens to be
that love are in we,that love are in we

and here is a secret they never will share
for whom create is less than have
or one times one than when times where--
that we are in love,that we are in love:
with us they've nothing times nothing to do
(for love are in we am in i are in you)

this world(as timorous itsters all
to call their cowardice quite agree)
shall never discover our touch and feel
--for love are in we are in love are in we;
for you are and i am and we are(above
and under all possible worlds)in love

a billion brains may coax undeath
from fancied fact and
spaceful time--
no heart can leap,no soul can breathe
but by the
sizeless truth of a dream
whose sleep is the sky and the earth and the sea.
For love are in you am in i are in we

(Poem by e. e. cummings)

Reading about the Benedictine way of living at table during Sunday Evening Practice. The author wrote: "Existence cannot be understood, only experienced." (p. 68 in Always We Begin Again, by John McQuiston)

When mind changes, world changes. What you see is what you get. When you see, nothing is hidden, all is transparent.

Dutch tomato soup with garlic bread while watching a sting film about a con man getting conned. Everyone is in on it, but you only find out in the end.

In the end we'll find out. Until then, we're stuck in ignorance.

Happily, they say, some have seen through.

Stories worth hearing.

Like love, in, through, out.

Are in you am in I are in we.

Blessed words, blessed poet!

Written be you and me.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Morning prayer and remembrance. It is Sunday at hermitage. Turn of mind, words from Merton and scripture, bite of bread, sip of wine, spate of silence, toll of bell, bowing before exiting.

The sign on cabin porch reads, "We begin here...We begin now."

The words of James read:
Religion pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to give aid to orphans and widows in their tribulations and to keep oneself unspotted from this world. (James1:22-27)
Here's the way a hermit hears these words:
  • Religion is "this".
  • Help those who are no longer attached the way they once were.
  • Keep your self out of sight; don't be spotted anywhere.
Many people prefer to be out in the open. I prefer to be within the open. Like the Trappist monk who said his life was "in God," (a phrase to sit with), the preference to be within the open out of sight completely connected to "this" is s heartfelt sense of religion I can assent to this 1st Sunday in May, 5th of Easter, and a morning on which the Market Basket on the corner of Rts 1 and 90 have a special of coffee and muffin for one dollar.
Calvin's Theory of Predestination

Some people will be chosen
for the job, the Wednesday night poker game

for the limited number of spaces
available in heaven. Only so many

spoons fit in one drawer your mother
would say

and the same is true for clothes
and closets

shelves and cans and let's be honest
hearts and loves.

I cannot love you because I love another
is a problem

that sometimes gets admitted
over wine

in a restaurant
filled with people choosing

this dish over that meat
choosing something that will fill

the middle of their beings
or leave them slavering like a cheetah

who missed and pass that
would you? and let's be friends. Yes

let's drink to being friends
and then we can all go on our way

remembering the best part
about being chosen is that

you do not have to stop
for anyone along the way.
( Poem, "Calvin's Theory of Predestination," by Betsy Johnson-Miller, from Rain When You Want Rain. © Mayapple Press, 2010.
I sit in the loft of the meditation cabin. The wohnkuche is filled with coffee and tea drinkers, omelet and salad and potato eaters, apfel kuchen nibblers, and war story tellers. The bookshed is used by those needing respite from the crowd. But no one else would climb the tricky ladder to the loft of the chapel/zendo to feel the solitude of silence and feel the fresh air of the askance window looking out to Sally's land.

I am unspotted. The drifted away are happy with one another.

The phoebes work on their nest under the eave outside the left window down below.

I find "this" glorious.


A gratefulness for all.

Of this.

I am.