Saturday, February 14, 2015

symbolic scratches wriggling through


It feels, these days, each appearance of each person is the unveiling of one manifesting the One in the form of guru, avatar, incarnation, teacher, co-student, friend, lover, mirror, annoying (but necessary) embodied reflection of nothing other than what is to be realized for time being.

You've seen this, haven't you?
God is the All and more than the All. But that which is more than the All, how shall man conceive? He cannot conceive as the Divine, cannot approach or cannot recognize something that is too much out of the circle of his ignorant or partial conceptions. It is necessary for him to conceive God in his own image or in some form that is beyond himself but consonant with his highest tendencies and seizable by his feelings or his intelligence. Otherwise it would be difficult for him to come into contact and communion with the Divine.

Even then his nature calls for a human intermediary so that he may feel the Divine in something entirely close to his own humanity and sensible in a human influence and example. This call is satisfied by the Divine manifest in a human appearance, the Incarnation, the Avatar - Krishna, Christ, Buddha. Or if this is too hard for him to conceive, the Divine represents himself through a less marvelous intermediary, - Prophet or Teacher. This also is not enough; a living influence, a living example, a present instruction is needed. For it is only the few who can make the past Teacher and his teaching, the past Incarnation and his example and influence a living force in their lives.

The Sadhaka of the integral Yoga will make use of all these aids according to his nature; but it is necessary that he should shun their limitations and cast from himself that exclusive tendency of egoistic mind which cries, "My God, my Incarnation, my Prophet, my Guru" and opposes it to all other realisation in a sectarian or a fanatical spirit.

On the contrary, the Sadhaka of the integral Yoga will not be satisfied until he has included all other names and forms of Deity in his own conception, seen his own Ishta Devata (chosen divine form) in all others, unified all Avatars in the unity of Him who descends in the Avatar, welded the truth in all teachings into the harmony of Eternal Wisdom.

(--From: The Synthesis of Yoga. Sri Aurobindo Ghose, )
 We like to pretend we are not what we are.

In effect, we are nothing special.




It is good fun listening to roof creaking and cracking under old snow in bitter cold as new blizzard makes its way to midcoast Maine. The temperature is -8 (negative eight).

waiting on blizzard
Listening to man from Chile Swami Ramakrishnananda’s Podcast - A source for the Teachings of Yoga and Hinduism talk about Pantanjali and other aspects of yoga. He said that enlightenment is the death of you as an idea. The end of you as possessor.

Edmund Husserl said, zu den Zachen selbst (“to the things themselves”). William Carlos Williams said, “no ideas but in things.” Robert Creeley said, “words are things too.” Correspondingly, then, is it true that things are made of words?

And words? They are breath vibrating and resonating into speech, symbolic scratches wriggling through ink onto paper looking up into your eyes.

Tell me -- don’t you just love the intermediarity (betweenness centrality) you are?

In medio stat virtus.

The joy and strength, character and accomplishing gift you are in your disguise as nobody stumbling through the nothing you despair of ever completing?


Friday, February 13, 2015

on the way to becoming something else

The things we talk about in prison:

"Realities as basic as time and space are not the distinct realms they seem to be, any more than energy and matter are truly separate entities. We used to think matter was the solid unmovable ground of being, but now we know that matter is motion. Physics tells us that what we imagine to be solid is actually mostly emptiness within which waves fluctuate. And not just physics, metaphysics: Every universal truth is perceived from a particular perspective, which can seem to undercut universality. All is flux, which humans have felt forever. But now, because of Kant, Einstein, Wittgenstein, and their heirs, we see flux for what it is: everything. "God" is not fixed. "Jesus" is not fixed. "We" are not fixed. We humans can no longer take the measure of our world with anything like precision, because the measures themselves are always changing.
The Cloud carries a positive connotation, too, with its invitation to value the mystery, paradox, and ambiguity that remain forever foreign to machines.
To be human, therefore, is to be on the way to becoming something else. We can see this right in front of our faces now, every time we hunch over a handheld smartphone, or save a file to the Cloud, a meta-world that exists everywhere and nowhere. It may seem a stretch to find in suddenly ubiquitous but profoundly mundane technologies an image of world-historic evolutionary mutation, but perhaps this is the way evolution has always worked, a “secular" process in which life's most sacred secret is embedded."
(--from Harvard Divinity School Bulletin, "Who is Jesus Today? Bonhoeffer, Tillich, and the future of Jesus Christ.” by James Carroll) HOME / SUMMER/AUTUMN 2014 (VOL. 42 NOS. 3 & 4) /
That, and dropping ashes on the Buddha.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

even if all the empirical evidence suggests darkness

Dry wood.
"The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, humankind will have discovered fire." 
(--Teilhard de Chardin, Peking, February 1934, “The Evolution of Chastity” in Toward the Future, London: Collins, 1975: 86-87)

do you hear what you hear

 OM, Yom, Yawm, Oh my!
The birds they sang at the break of day  / Start again / I heard them say / Don’t dwell on what / has passed away / or what is yet to be. 
Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack, a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in.  
(--from "Anthem," by Leonard Cohen)
We looked at Shankara and Sri Aurobindo in class last night.

Is the Divine evolving?

Is a new species of beings emerging free from veil of ignorance (avidya) masking our true and (yet to show itself) nondual reality with and in and through all that is?

When the cat looked out the window I looked over at the cat.

When the cat disappeared from view I was nowhere to be found to see what was not there.

The icicle had nothing to say.

I listened carefully.

Eloquent emptiness.

Salmon sky Śhruti -- an acoustic accoutrement -- sounding, what is, being, said.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

under yesterday's sun




Tuesday, February 10, 2015

it is that silence


The idea of God and the reality of this present moment are equally troublesome.

Rather, descending stairs, opening doors to wood stove, a hissing conversation of frozen logs and encouraging coals, someone had been here. I did not hear them on stairs.

White dog on couch.

Gray cat stepping into overhang above kitchen.

These things are not troublesome. They are at hand, near to hand, recognizable everyday manifestations.

I don't know what this life is. One day arrives then it departs, coming from nowhere and disappearing into no place.

The time we have is sheer marvel. Snowshoeing woods in Farmington yesterday. Reading Shankara and Pantanjali in cold car. Driving home in falling snow and icy roads. Falling asleep.

Then these words.

This life is a passing conversation with mysterious curiosity asking from time to time -- What is this?

God and the present moment say nothing.

It is that silence.

That profound silence.

I love.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Bethlehem, pike

Swirling snow out window. End of storm. Monday morning.

At practice last night reading suggests that self-criticism is not a virtue, that when it exhausts itself, compassion breaks through.

Compassion as default.

As with learning of death of woman who wore bow in hair as we co-directed center near Philadelphia. I remember her graciousness. A family noblesse, I surmise. She was kind.

The past is like that -- past. 

I was so bad at so many things. (I'm waiting for exhaustion to set in.)

In the dream I am with a large family group, privileged and wealthy, and I am an outsider wondering how I can get back to wherever home is.

Solitary and contemplative, I have often been away from home, longing for return.

How kind so many have been taking me in when way was lost and return delayed.

No further criticism. No erroneous virtue. No being wrong, or right.

Only gratitude.

And a nod to innkeepers along the road.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

It does leave, damage

Maine snow, again. Hundreds of billions of flakes like half-forgotten prayers falling this way and that over, into, and through tree branch, slat fence, windswept heart.
MS. OLIVER: I've become kinder, more people-oriented, more willing to grow old. I always was investigative in terms of everlasting life, but a little more interested now. A little more content with my answers.  
MS. TIPPETT: There's this poem. The second poem in A Thousand Mornings, which is your 2013 book, which also to me just kind of, like, says it all. What’s the point of the — "I Happen to Be Standing." Would you read that one? 
MS. OLIVER: Oh. Yeah.  
MS. TIPPETT: It's just, there it is. 
MS. OLIVER: Yeah. "I don't know where prayers go, / or what they do. / Do cats pray, while they sleep / half-asleep in the sun? / Does the opossum pray as it / crosses the street? / The sunflowers? The old black oak / growing older every year? / I know I can walk through the world, / along the shore or under the trees, / with my mind filled with things / of little importance, in full / self-attendance. A condition I can't really / call being alive. / Is a prayer a gift, or a petition, / or does it matter? / The sunflowers blaze, maybe That's their way. / Maybe the cats are sound asleep. Maybe not. / While I was thinking this I happened to be standing / just outside my door, with my notebook open, / which is the way I begin every morning. / Then a wren in the privet began to sing. / He was positively drenched in enthusiasm, / I don't know why. And yet, why not. / I wouldn't persuade you from whatever you believe / or whatever you don't. That's your business. / But I thought, of the wren"s singing, what could this be / if it isn't a prayer? / So I just listened, my pen in the air."
(--from interview transcript, with Mary Oliver, Krista Tippett's On Being, Feb 2015) 
Poet remembers.

We usually forget 90% of what we see, hear, experience.

Poet says no, remember. Poet says yes, forgetting forgetting.

Not just reporting, the poet says, but empathy.

"I do know how to pay attention," she writes.

Whatever prayer is, she's got her experience carefully carried in brown bag of words.

MS. OLIVER: Oh, where’d I put my glasses? There they are. Yeah. The fourth sign of the zodiac is, of course, cancer. Oh, That's what I meant. "Why should I have been surprised? / Hunters walk the forest / without a sound. / The hunter, strapped to his rifle, / the fox on his feet of silk, / the serpent on his empire of muscles— / all move in a stillness, / hungry, careful, intent. / Just as the cancer / entered the forest of my body, / without a sound."  
Yeah. These four poems are about the cancer episode, shall we say? The cancer visit? Did you want me to go on to these others?  
MS. TIPPETT: Yeah. You want to go on? Is it too much? 
MS. OLIVER: No. This is the second poem of these four: "The question is, / what will it be like / after the last day? / Will I float / into the sky / or will I fray / within the earth or a river— / remembering nothing? / How desperate I would be / if I couldn’t remember / the sun rising, if I couldn’t / remember trees, rivers; if I couldn’t / even remember, beloved, / your beloved name. 
3. / I know, you never intended to be in this world. / But you're in it all the same. / So why not get started immediately. / I mean, belonging to it. / There is so much to admire, to weep over. / And to write music or poems about. / Bless the feet that take you to and fro. / Bless the eyes and the listening ears. / Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste. / Bless touching. / You could live a hundred years, It's happened. 
/ Or not. / I am speaking from the fortunate platform / of many years, / none of which, I think, I ever wasted. / Do you need a prod? / Do you need a little darkness to get you going? / Let me be as urgent as a knife, then, / and remind you of Keats, / so single of purpose and thinking, for a while, / he had a lifetime. 
4. / Late yesterday afternoon, in the heat, / all the fragile blue flowers in bloom / in the shrubs in the yard next door had / tumbled from the shrubs and lay / wrinkled and faded on the grass. But / this morning the shrubs were full of / the blue flowers again. There wasn’t / a single one on the grass. How, I / wondered, did they roll or crawl back to / the shrubs and then back up to / the branches, that fiercely wanting, / as we all do, just a little more of / life?"