Saturday, January 19, 2013

What time is it

The morning has its own way.

"Minutis minuendis (in a smaller yet corresponding way), every person represents and symbolizes all of reality." (p.141, A Dwelling Place For Wisdom, By Raimundo Panikkar, c.1995)

 Mutatis mutandis (only the necessary changes having been made) we appear together appearing in our difference.
Christianity is convinced that it bears a message of integral salvation for Man and thus sees itself as the fullness of all religion and the perfection of each religion.
. . . It should be clear from the very beginning that the Christian attitude not only does not contradict the corresponding Hindu attitude, but elicits in it a homeomorphic way,* for, just as if I really love you I will have to allow you to love me, so if I want to communicate the best I have to you -- even if I want to convert you -- I will have to let you also communicate your best to me -- even to the point of converting me.
[* By homeomorphism we understand the 'topologically' corresponding (analogous) function (a functional equivalent) within another setting, Hinduism in this case. Cf. R. Panikkar, the Intrareligious Dialogue, p.xxii.] (
--from The Unknown Christ of Hinduism, by Raimundo Panikkar, c.1964) 
Winter zendo is chilly. Snow falls surrounding. Rokie yawns, white on his white, in front of gas fireplace. Tibetan incense sifts up through holes in burner box. We are alone this morning. Our journey here is short -- out through barn, up short rise to Merton Retreat, around to door, to where we are, always here.

I delay arriving at seiza bench to finish these words, a privilege of solitude. Yesterday it came over me (again) how what is needed is a deeper experience of the primal awareness at origin of the many spiritual traditions found throughout the world and time and history. Even the symbols and images, icons and antiphons, mudras and stillnesses, bows and prostratations, chants and processions, beads and benches, suras and sutras, huts and temples, cathedrals and poustinias -- all these are the breath of participation in the here-holy!

I have fallen in love with the presence of everything. Even those things alerted as not my preference, I am learning to affirm. 'Difference' is a valued guest over coffee or tea. We sit with each other, lending and borrowing insight and intuition amid harmony and discord.

We read a letter from an inmate friend disclosing crimes and categories of classification not until now shared after years of sitting together. Yes, this is his facticity; yes, this is my mit-zein. He sends a poem about children sleighing hill by the Androscoggin River, homage to children of Newtown Connecticut.

Cody is let out through the barn and Rokie is released from zendo to greet him. The big boisterous German Shepherd is a goofy gift following the death of his mistress, Erika. He is one of those 'differences' in my perspective.

This space is still chilly. The small stove will work all day and be ready for the Sunday morning Quakers who will sit warmly with silence.

The ending bells will soon chime. I only sat on seiza a brief spell -- such delight in change of routine -- this big chair, these words, the twisting plume of fragrance, the rumination.

The white Border Collie is back at door. He knows what time it is!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Show me; what is real, what is true

It's not what we know; it's that we're willing to show. Appear. Show up. Present ourselves.

And enter the fray. Enter dialogue. Enter unknowing.
How Hegel structures and presents, from the viewpoint of the stage of the beautiful, as the stage of abstraction, the history of Greek philosophy, will not be further illustrated here. Instead, we will follow a short indication of Hegel's interpretation of four fundamental words of Greek philosophy. They speak the language of the key word "being", 'einai' ('eon','ousia'). They speak in ensuing western philosophy constantly up to our own times.
In the enumeration as translated by Hegel,, the four fundamental words decree: 1.'En', the whole; 2. 'Logos', reason; 3.'Idea', the concept; 4. 'Energeia', actuality.
'En' is the word of Parmenides.
'Logos' is the word of Heraclitus.
'Idea' is the word of Plato.
'Energia' is the word of Aristotle.
To understand how Hegel interprets these fundamental words we must attend to the following two points: on the one hand, to that which for Hegel is decisive within the interpretation of the aforementioned philosophers in contrast to what he mentions in passing. Secondly, the manner in which Hegel interprets the four fundamental words within the horizon of the key word "being". 
In the introduction of his Lectures on The History of Philosophy (Hoffmeister a.a.O., S. 240) Hegel explains: "The first universal is the immediate universal, that is, being. The content, the object is therefore objective thought, the thought of what is." Hegel means: being is the pure state of thought of what is immediately thought, without the reflectiveness of thinking that thinks this thought apart from its notification (Ermittelung). The determination of pure thought is "the indeterminate", its notification is the immediate. So understood, being is the immediate indeterminate representation in general,in such a manner, indeed, that it keeps awy from itself the omission of determination and mediation, as it were, inveighs against them. Out of this, it becomes clear: being as the first simple objectivity of the object is thought starting from its relation to the thinking subject thanks to the pure abstraction of the latter. It is important to note this, first of all, to understand the direction according to which Hegel interprets the four philosophers in question, but likewise to measure the power that Hegel attributes each time to the fundamental words. 
Parmenides' fundamental word is 'hen', the one, that which unites all, and so the universal. Parmenides explains 'semanta', the sign, through which 'hen' shows itself, in the great Fragment VIII with which Hegel is acquainted . Nevertheless, Hegel finds the "highest thought" of Parmenides not in 'hen', being as the universal. The "highest thought" according to Hegel is rather ennunciated in the statement:"Being and thought are the same". Hegel interprets this statement namely in the sense: being as "the thought, there is" ("der Gedanke, der ist") is a production of thought. Hegel draws from Parmenides' statement a prefiguration of Descartes, with whose philosphy the determination of being out of the essentially positing subject begins. Accordingly Hegel will explain: "With Parmenides has philosophy proper begun.. This beginning is certainly still nebulous and indeterminate"(WW XIII, S.296f.). 
Heraclitus' fundamental word is 'logos', the gathering, that allows the display and appearance of everything that is, the totality of entities. 'Logos' is the name that Heraclitus gives to the being of entities. But Hegel's interpretation does not orient itself strictly from out of the 'logos'. This is peculiar, very peculiar given that Hegel concludes his preface to the interpretation of Heraclitus with the words: "there is not a proposition from Heraclitus that is not contained in my Logic" (a.a.O.S. 328) From the point of Hegel's Logic, the 'logos' is reason in the sense of absolute subjectivity. But the Logic itself is the speculative dialectic by means of which the movement of the immediate universal and the abstract, being as the objective , is reflected in its opposition to the subject. And this reflection is determined as mediation in the sense of becoming, wherein this opposition is returned to itself, made concrete, and brought to unity. To conceive this unity is the essence of speculation that develops as dialectic. 
(--From Conference of the Academy of Sciences at Heidelberg, July 26, 1958, Hegel and the Greeks, by Martin Heidegger)

So much to be considered. For example, each other.

Let us pray!
Attend to the pleas of your people with heavenly care,
O Lord, we pray,
that they may see what must be done
and gain strength to do what they have seen.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

– Amen.
(--from Office of Readings, Friday morning)
Judy said we are all an extension of God. Creation is the extension of God. We are creation temporarily manifest. God is what is appearing through what is here to be seen.

Mountain. Dog. Cat. Another dog. Another cat. Woman. Man. Buddha. Christ. Holy Relationality. Icons all.

All windows through which what is true and what is real longs to shine through.

We are blessed!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Directly encountering

Ideology is not the answer.

Not even concepts.
In the second century, Nagarjuna wrote The Madhyamika Sastra, in which he used concepts to destroy concepts. He was not trying to create a new doctrine, but to break all the bottles, all the flasks, all the vases, all the containers, to prove that water needs no form to exist. He outlined a dance for us, a dance for us to drop our categories and barriers so that we can directly encounter reality and not content ourselves with its mere reflection.
(--From THE SUN MY HEART, From Mindfulness to Insight Contemplation, by Thich Nhat Hanh, c.1988)

Water is the teacher.

Direct experience, like water, seeks humble ground.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mine eyes have looked at...

Be careful what you look at.

You become what you see.

Look with love at love.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Interruption [of friendship] is disappointing but unavoidable

I have friends I've not seen or spoken to for years. For decades. Some for half a century.

This does not lead me to ask if friendship is friendship if it is not practiced in the open and full of bonhomie with pledges of affection, affiliation, and propinquity. Friendship is equally a thing of quiet and spacious distance whose nearness is the air we breath, the sky we see, the ground underfoot. Connection is everything; and all is connected, at all times, in all places, with the realization no time no space separates what is real. Interruption, yes; irrevocable separation, no!
3. IVO.You are right. I am most grateful to realize that you are concerned about your son. Nothing but the spirit of charity has opened my mind and its thoughts to you. Would that your kindness might grant me this favor, that whenever you visit your sons who are here I might have recourse to you alone just once, with no others present, and lay bare without interruption the ardor of my heart.3 
4. AELRED. I shall gladly comply. I am delighted to see that you are not prone to empty and idle talk, that you always introduce something useful and necessary for your progress. Speak then with out anxiety. Share with a friend all your thoughts and cares, that you may have something either to learn or to teach, to give and to receive, to pour out and to drink in. 
5. IVO. I am ready not to teach but to learn, not to give but to receive, not to pour out but to drink in, as my youth prescribes, my inexperience demands, and my monastic profession counsels. But lest on these distinctions I should unwisely waste the time needed for other matters, would you teach me something about spiritual friendship? What is it? What values does it offer? What is its beginning and its end? Can friendship exist among all persons? If not among all, then among whom? How can it remain unbroken and so without any troubling disagreement reach a blessed end? 
6. AELRED. I wonder why you think I should be asked these questions. Obviously all of them were treated more than adequately by the greatest teachers of old. I wonder why especially, when you have spent your boyhood on studies of this kind and have read Tullius Cicero’s volume On Friendship, where in an engaging style he fully treated everything that seems to relate to friendship and gave a sort of outline of some of its laws and precepts.
(P.56, Spiritual Friendship, by Aelred of Rievaulx)
The unbroken nature of friendship becomes apparent in the longing of heart for the friend. Time, distance, circumstance -- these are accidents of existence that color but do not remove the canvas of friendship once it has been marked. Canvas ages, weathers, dulls, and cracks. Still, what has begun continues in its own hue with its own perspective of changed clarity and shifted stance. Pentimento.

I have loved what I could not sustain and deepen at its time of origin. The tenderness of a friend's eyes, the timbre and tone of confiding voice, the ambling meander of strolling conversation through evolving and deepening spiritual friendship -- these etch themselves on both conscious soul and dormant self. I have been asleep during nascent love, unaware during another's reaching hand, distracted during someone's request for simple presence and honest response. For this, I am sorry. For this disappointment, I relent. For this abandonment, I linger in the solitude of slowly emerging awareness, and silently touch the surrounding forgiving emptiness of repentant recollection.
68. AELRED. Have you forgotten that Scripture says “a friend loves always”?64 As you recall, our Jerome also said, “friendship that can end was never true.”65 Sufficient and more than sufficient proof has also been given that friendship cannot subsist without charity. Since in friendship, then, eternity may flourish, truth light the way, and charity delight, see for yourself whether you should withhold the name of wisdom where these three coexist.69. 
IVO. To what does this lead? Should I say of friendship what John, the friend of Jesus, said of charity,“God is friendship”?66,70. 
AELRED.This is novel indeed and lacks the authority of the Scriptures.The rest of that verse about charity,however,I surely do not hesitate to attribute to friendship, because the one who remains in friendship remains in God, and God in him.67 This you will perceive more clearly when we begin our dialogue on the fruit or value of friendship.Now if in our guileless simplicity we have spoken enough about the nature of friendship, let us reserve for another time the remain ing questions you suggested for consideration.71. 
IVO. When I am so keen to learn, this interruption is disappointing but unavoidable, as I am summoned to supper, which I am not allowed to miss, and you must meet your obligations to the many who wait in line for your attention.
Here Ends the First Book on Spiritual Friendship(P.69, Spiritual Friendship, by Aelred of Rievaulx; translation of De Spirituali Amicitiâ by Lawrence Braceland, sj)
Many ask, 'Why is God so difficult?' Perhaps IVO hints at it when he says, "God is friendship."

And we are neverendingly interrupting God.

We break the continuity, but we cannot sever the reality.

Reality, is, I suspect, that what is, is as it is, eternally and infinitely.

This morning I am here with all friends. Those near, those far.

Still, all here.

This . . . this instills joy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

We/you, we/you, up we/you!

What is love?

Love tries to transform everything into itself by leaving everything as it is.

To extract: Love tries to transform, leaving everything; into itself, as it is.

Love turns everything into itself by leaving everything as it is.

To wit: Love turns everything, leaving everything; as it is, into itself.

Love is what is.

Love is what is itself.

No subject, no object.

Just, and only, merely: Itself.

Go ahead, ask yourself: What am I?

Go ahead, answer yourself: Love is the question/answer.

If we must ask, and we must: Be what you ask; Be what you answer.

... ... ... ... ...

The word "ame" gives a clue. I am me. I ame.

"Ame," in Latin and Old French, means "soul" or "spirit." In Romani it means "we."

We/you, we/you, up we/you!

... ... ... ... ...

Coming at this sideways, there are two songs found on YouTube:

Two different songs; two views of a similar "ame."

Song "Let Me In" sung by the United Pursuit Band.
"Look My Way,
Look My Way,
Look My Way,
Look My Way,
My Love."

Song Let Me In, sung by The Sensations.
"Whee-ooo, whee-ooo
Whee-ooo, whee-ooo, hoo-ooo-ooo, whee-ooo,
(Lyrics under video, press ^)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stepping aside to pray by oneself

From the center of what we call this apparent cosmos emerges mind. And from this mind emerges everything urging itself with imagination.

It is Sunday. Let there be Christian reflection of this imagination. Let it surround terrestrial, celestial, and far-stretching swirling vibration of matter forming stars, planets, suns, and clusters, galaxies and superclusters, all the observable universe, along with the invisible urge of Being to realize Itself in the center of everything, point vierge -- the virgin point of what is now, to be, and always at origin.

We are baptized into this emergence.

Waters of realization.

Through our nature.

Silence. And deep...