Saturday, December 27, 2014

mute ontic nothingness only silence

The poetics of mythic narrative serves to move the mind through impossible leaps of assumption and investigation.

John, if there was a John, wrote some words, if these are a valid reconstruction, about origin, if pinpointing a speck of infinite eternity with semiological coordinates and reference bespeaks a transcendance of mute ontic nothingness only silence (monos).

Still, this:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.   (John 1, NIV)
We're biasd toward English, or Indo-European. And the human species. A decipherable, translatable communication. Not tree-talk, or drop-of-water speak. Certainly not vague utterance of sand grain.

Outside our hearing, what does the urge-to-create sound like?

If we began to think about it, everything is alien to us. Even one another. It's a marvel anything is, and that the faintest semblance of sanity shows itself. So, we amble on tepidly assured ours is the prototype and apex. We shop at Walmart and Saks Fifth Avenue and turn our radios on after starting the car. If a prominent man embezzles 4 million dollars, we tsk tsk. If a street kid steals 50 dollars or some cigarillos we lock him up or shoot him dead. We're not fond of the not-wealthy or people a different skin-color. Our opinions are more important to us than God -- whatever ideas we have of that possibility.
What do you say to a space alien? This question might not be the foremost puzzle in your life, but it was the subject of a lively two-day conference at California's SETI Institute this week.
Here's why: A decade of research by astronomers now suggests that a trillion planets dot the Milky Way. It takes a real Debbie Downer to believe that they're all as dead as the Equal Rights Amendment. Unless Earth is special beyond reason, you can confidently assume there are plenty of societies out there.
But a linguist precipitated on this parade by noting that -- given the uncertainties about why Homo sapiens even has language (is it merely a talent conferred by a random genetic mutation that hit our species 150,000 years ago?), there's no guarantee that the extraterrestrials will be blessed with the gift of gab. They might not have language any more than we have a great sense of smell. 
(--from, Talking to Aliens, by Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute)Posted: 11/14/2014 12:13 pm
There's a simplicity to monos.

Someplace to reside thought after seeing no further reach toward sensible resolution of a given moment.

As if...prayer.

Ora sola.

Friday, December 26, 2014

think again; nothing to say -- the rare joy of unsaying

Now that word has entered voice, we must learn whether there is something to say.

How pronounce it, where to allow it to be said, and the skill to say it in silence.

All without any saying becoming attached to the one saying it. Emptiness.

If God is a success it is because this is God's open accomplishment.

God is before, because of, and beyond any words of God. 

As though hearing without hearer a wordless voice.

A glance, a mere gaze, through, unknowing.

The sound of what is being said.

A rustling of tree in wind.

An empty resonance.

A felt utterance.

Still, in all.

Gone by.





Thursday, December 25, 2014

And so, it is...


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

rain and mud

A single candle.

"When the sun rises in the morning sky, you will see the King of kings coming forth from the Father like a radiant bridegroom from the bridal chamber."
(--Antiphon, vespers)

Lighting what is near.

Faith, the zen master said, is "I am"

Will I?

Antiphon. “Today you will know the Lord is coming, and in the morning you will see his glory."              (--Invitatory, 24Dec2014)

Will we?
There is a wonderful Christian saying which says If faith, then faith. If you could penetrate that you would go right through to the bottom. If faith, what need of results? What need of changing things, getting things, getting rid of things? If faith, then faith. But so often faith is a bribe.   
We say to God, I’ll have faith in you, but you must deliver. And when he doesn’t deliver, we complain, saying, “I had faith in him so why is all this happening to me? Was my faith not strong enough?” If you have faith in the practice and this faith is that the practice is going to produce something for you, then you are a merchant trafficking in some kind of magical results for which you are prepared to pay what you call faith. But on the other hand, if faith then faith. If one prays to God and that comes out of faith, then nothing else matters.
(--from, A fountain of miracles, article by Albert Low)
Prayer is itself-faith.

Itself-faith is profound trust in what-is taking place, what-is showing up, right here right now, as it is.
Nisargadatta, in a conversation that he had with a visitor, said, ”Remember whatever happens, does so because ‘I am'”. You are the tenth person.* Everything is contained in you. To say, “I am everything” or “I am the whole world” is really redundant. ‘I am’ is “I am the whole world”. The whole world, at the moment, is the totality of your experience that is possible because ‘I am’. Even ‘I am’ is redundant. ‘The world’ is the result of being able to live without the sense of self, without the reflection back in a verbal way.   
The truth that the whole world is contained in ‘I am’ is fundamental. It is not something which we learn, nor is it a philosophy that we acquire. It is not something that we get hold of or get to know about. Everything, every philosophy, everything we get to know about, the whole division of experience in the multiplicity of words comes out of the most fundamental truth, the whole world is ‘I am’. Knowing is being. This is true whether you are conscious of it or not.
 Mu is non reflection. “From the beginning, not a thing is”, or, if you like, “True self is no self.” When Dogen said, “To know the self is to forget the self,” he too is saying no reflection. Let go of the reflection and then you are, as Bassui has pointed out, “one with the ten thousand things”. You must go directly towards simplicity. ‘Letting go,’ ‘non attachment’ is non reflection, non turning back. This takes great courage because in doing so you let go of the sense of self. It seems as though you are dying, because the sense of self gives the illusory sense of existing.   
All religions talk of thee need for the death of the old person and birth of the new. But all that is required is just an unfolding. For a long time we just don’t have the faith. We feel that we have to hang on, we cling, we struggle. But if we can see our practice as the self releasing its grip on the self, we will have the confidence that we are coming home. 
Wherever you are is real; you can never get outside yourself. Theoretically I could duplicate your body in every possible detail, but I cannot duplicate you. I cannot get you outside of yourself in anyway. There is no outside of you, nor is there an inside. 
Nisargadatta told his visitor, “Whatever happens, happens because ‘I am’. All reminds you that you are.” Everything is your face. He went on to say that to experience, you must be.  
When Nisargadatta says that you are, he don’t mean that you are ‘something.’ All that I can say is that you are; I cannot say what you are. I sometimes say that you are pure awareness, or that you are knowing. But this is saying far too much. I say it because I want to direct your orientation away from things and objects. But what you are is truly inexpressible. When I ask, “Who walks?” some people still sit and think about this. And yet I ring the bell, and up they leap and off they go without a thought. Now, who responded to the bell? Who walks? Who bows? Who eats?  
(--from Thoughts Along the WayZen Master of the Montreal Zen Center Albert Low’s articles about life, The Spasm of the Mind, by Albert Low 2Oct2014)

*Note: I thought , perhaps, there was a misprint with this word “tenth.” After research I came upon this interesting reference:
In the 2013 film, World War Z, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is riding through the streets of Jerusalem as Jurgen Warmbrunn (Ludi Boeken) explains how the city was able to avoid the zombie apocalypse: 
 The tenth man. If nine of us look at the same information and arrive at the exact same conclusion, it’s the duty of the tenth man to disagree. No matter how improbable it may seem, the tenth man has to start thinking with the assumption that the other nine are wrong.  
While Hollywood may have simplified the idea a bit for the screen, this is apparently a very real tactic which Israel has used in the past. Their military has a unit often referred to as the “devil’s advocate office” [PDF]. And yes, the goal is simply to avoid falling prey to group think.
(from, THE 10TH MAN THEORY, GOD OF DEVIL’S ADVOCATEJuly 28, 2014, 5 minute read, by Anoop Rajiv)   

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

nobody’s side

WIth us. A strange name, “With us.”
“O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.”(--antiphon, vespers)
Are you with us? someone asks.

You’re either with us or against us, another says. And it becomes clearer.

This side-taking talk is all about God.

With us in no side-taking.

Against us is side-taking.

a, b, c, d, -- the tremendous challenge of being;lettered

Who needs poetry?


What does poetry need?

"Poetry needs the breath. It needs the voice. It needs the body. It needs the mind."
(-- Anne Waldman, "Radical Presence")

OK. Now substitute spelling the word "God" for "poetry."

Now do you see why so few give themselves completely to either one of those spellings?

Monday, December 22, 2014


Silence means consent.
“O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.”
(--antiphon, Vespers)
Dust, the consonants of God. Vowels are God’s breath.

Breath and earth fashion the form of human comprising the word God is.

Cosmos opens its mouth.

It has something to say.


Start with bread where you are.

Now, go straight.

No need to know where you go.

Roethke tells us, we learn by going where we have to go. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

if God wanted to become human, why not our wanting to become human

“O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”
(--antiphon, Vespers)

Humans aren’t certain.

Often befuddled.

Only unhumans are certain and convinced beyond doubt.

toot, toot, toot -- train comes;train goes

Doris writes. She includes poem. 

                                                    Everywhere, everywhere, snow sifting down,
                                                    a world becoming white, no more sounds,
                                                    no longer possible to find the heart of the day,
                                                    the sun is gone, the sky is nowhere, and of all
                                                    I wanted in life – so be it – whatever it is 
                                                    that brought me here, chance, fortune, whatever
                                                    blessing each flake is the hint of, I am
                                                    grateful, I bear witness, I hold out my arms,
                                                    palms up, I know it is impossible to hold 
                                                    for long what we love of the world, but look
                                                    at me, is it foolish, shameful, arrogant to say this,
                                                    see how the snow drifts down, look how happy
                                                    I am.
                                                                                                         (--poem by Joseph Stroud)

The men in prison miss her. In her mid-eighties, she has moved from Maine closer to Hudson River and family member. They called her 'old cow' with affection after she told them the story about the zen woman.

Deano says again he'll soon write her after he finds her letter he misplaced. 

Not much was said about Christmas when we were there for final time this year. We did an experiment passing around in silence, person to person, some 16+ orbits, the exquisite & subtle book, Marla Frazee’s “The Farmer and the Clown”. This artistic, near wordless (but for "toot, toot, toot") book, engrossed and engaged a roomful of unlikely 'readers' gazing at a "for ages 3 to 9" masterpiece of visual poetry while the white border collie pursued a blue handball around feet and chairs.

It was a morning of smiles and handshakes and gratefulness (near;wordless) with our prison sangha.

Chris, Saskia, Bill, rokpa, Armin, Reed, Deano, Doug, Rory, Everett, Tony, Charlie, Greg, and all the others who looked in, stopped in, smiled at Rokie or rubbed his appreciated doggy presence. 

And the larger sangha from years gone by, some still there, or transferred to another prison, or released: Joseph, Sonny, Dennis, Douglas, Brandon, Dale, Ricky, Mark, John, Antonio, Pat, Olin, Ryan, Joe-Pete, Peter, Kevin, Wesley, Chris, Andre, Kyle, Tree, Danny, Sean, Chris, Darren, Josh, Stephen, Ed, Chip, Mike, Lamarr, Kyle, Matthew,  Brian, Artie, Jon, Nick, boots and gloves guy, Tony’s posse, Jonathan, Vann, Scott, Jose, and the ones whose faces & shoes I recall but names evade. The volunteers who joined us inside or visited in visiting room -- Erica, Jean, Gail, Cheryl, Seth, Doris, Chris. And dear friends who came in with us who've died - Janet, David, and Richard. To each and all, thank you! Plus the staff and guards who periodically sat in. Meetingbrook all.

Look how happy I am!

May all beings, in and out of prison, be happy, safe, free, and come to dwell in their true home!