Saturday, July 25, 2015

truth be told

Hammering nails from old wood, pulling from demolition, an afternoon’s decomposition. Just this. Nothing else. I no longer find opinions to be interesting.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

the achieving of integration

Armin hit the wooden fish (moktak), seven of us sang “happy birthday” to the woman in Maryland whose birthday was yesterday.

It was a sweet exercise.

She’s hurting, they sing for her, and maybe, in an exercise of magical perception and conscious evolution, she might have heard the melodic metta being transported across the miles from maximum security prison.

That’s what prison is for -- thoughtfulness and well-wishing.
According to Hegel, the relationship between self and otherness is the fundamental defining characteristic of human awareness and activity, being rooted as it is in the emotion of desire for objects as well as in the estrangement from those objects, which is part of the primordial human experience of the world. The otherness that consciousness experiences as a barrier to its goal is the external reality of the natural and social world, which prevents individual consciousness from becoming free and independent. However, that otherness cannot be abolished or destroyed, without destroying oneself, and so ideally there must be reconciliation between self and other such that consciousness can "universalize" itself through the other. In the relation of dominance and subservience between two consciousnesses, say lord and bondsman, the basic problem for consciousness is the overcoming of its otherness, or put positively, the achieving of integration with itself. The relation between lord and bondsman leads to a sort of provisional, incomplete resolution of the struggle for recognition between distinct consciousnesses. 
 (--Hegel: Social and Political Thought, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)
Sometimes, even the most unlikely experiences define new neural pathways through human consciousness.

You are not alone.

Never were.

Otherness is self-recognition of distinct intersubjectivity.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

other words and other worlds

From Ruth Ozeku novel "A Tale For The Time Being," these words:
   I love to fly. Have I mentioned that? There is truly no feeling more splendid or more transcendental. Sometimes zazen comes close. I am sitting zazen every day. Thank you for suggesting it. I am comforted to know that you are sitting too. 
   I'm afraid my day is approaching and my next "official" letter to you may be th Mothe last one you receive from me. But no matter what nonsense I write in it, please know that those are not my last words. There are other words and other worlds, dear mother. You have taught me that.  (p.258)
Part lll begins with a quote from Dogen Zenji:
Do not think that time simply flies away. Do not understand "flying" as the only function of time. If time simply flew away, a separation would exist between you and time. So if you understand time as only passing, then you do not understand the time being. 
To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.
--Dogen Zenji, Uji (p. 259)
For the time being we share this world.

And, in other words, other worlds.

My mother often used the phrase "in other words." 

hoc olfacit*

Sandra Bland died in jail cell from cigarette smoke in trooper's nostrils.

Men with guns and tasers want only to smell your "Yes sir, sir!"


• [Latin, "this smells"] 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritatus

Sonny has a way with words.

He also went to hospital last Friday with unstable palpitations. He stayed overnight. His heart was making him dizzy. He fell in his cell. He has the bruises to show it.

This morning during our Ilu Coto (illusion of boundary) at prison he asks Saskia to read the paper he wrote in response to article in Philosophy Now, The Party Without Me, by David Rönnegard.

Sonny responds, these excerpts:
-- Spiritual eyes cannot see if they are inhibited by belief. Emotions crave emotions and the intellect only gets in the way. Common spiritual sense can become victim to nonsense. My words to an Atheist, “Open your eyes, expressions of spiritual reality exist within each of us and also all about us. Spiritual reality does not depend on any belief system to exist.” 
--The Atheist is correct, the physical consciousness is extinguished when we die and “good riddance.” The physical consciousness is created by our physical senses and is commonly conceptualized as perception. This in turn is provided by evolution. All personally internalized beliefs die with us since none has any foundation in Heaven. 
--Don’t worry about Heaven. Mr. Atheist, you are headed to Heaven whether you believe in God or not. Everybody returns to heaven carrying with them their life experience. That’s right, we remain ourselves after death, but will not understand why and what we were in life. There is no punishment, only an understanding. Hell as it is portrayed in popular culture does not exist. Hell is what beliefs make out of life. 
--You cannot deny God, you can only deny a culturally constructed conception of God. 
--Infinite awareness is our Heavenly fate as we leave our erroneous beliefs behind.
--After death we KNOW.
                                 --(HRE Jr., July 2015, MSP Warren) 
Knowledge without belief; I wonder if such a state would free us from our ridiculous internecine slaughter?

So, for now, we converse with one another. We explore the illusion of boundary, false barriers, erroneous divisions.

Mostly we are listening to one another listening to one another as each listens to the one each other attempts to hear within la diferencia that holds us together.

Finally, some Latin:
              If less is more, then nothing is everything.
2. Richard de BuryPhilobiblion, I, 9:

And finally, one must consider how great the ease of learning 
there is in books, how yielding, how trusty! 
How safely we reveal, without shyness, in the face of our books 
the poverty of our human ignorance! 
They are teachers who instruct us without switches or rods, 
without slaps or anger, without notice of rags or riches. 
If you approach them, they are not asleep; 
If you ask a question, they do not hide; 
They do not mutter at you if you make a mistake; 
When you are ignorant, they do not know how to laugh at you.  

               When all else fails play dead. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Inner life.  Inner peace.  Inner emptiness.

A vantage point worth seeing.
Epicurus is considered a major figure in the history of science as well as philosophy.  He argued that we should only proportion belief to empirical evidence and logic, and he propounded the scientific view of atomism, according to which all facts in the macroscopic world are caused by the configuration of atoms or indivisible elements in the microscopic world.    In ethics he is famous for propounding the theory of hedonism, which holds that pleasure is the only intrinsic value.  As we shall see, however, his view of pleasure is far from the stereotypical one.  For Epicurus, the most pleasant life is one where we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve an inner tranquility (ataraxia) by being content with simple things, and by choosing the pleasure of philosophical conversation with friends over the pursuit of physical pleasures like food, drink, and sex.
And seeing, taking refuge in wisdom, truth, and community.

as if all worlds were there

What we think we know has to be scuttled to know what we think.

Knowing is thinking, but thinking will always be changing with what is presenting itself  to us.

Hence, the thinking of knowing is changing with each 'this' appearing 'here.'

With this thinking, here is a new set of words for my tombstone:

He wanted
To be written

Monday, July 20, 2015

just barely not dead

Someone writes about causes and conditions of their current life: “'s not an unacceptance it's literally too much to bare.”  

I like what seems to be a substitution of the word “bare” for “bear.”

To let into the open? Or, to hold up and carry? Both have their wisdom, both their demands. Both, however, involve suffering.

Last night at end of reading at table section of Sunday Evening Practice, Robert Thurman’s words are written: ”For the enlightened, life is art, and for the unenlightened, art gives life.” We took time to unpack the reading titled “The Wonderful Ambiguity of Art” (in Inquiring Mind, Vol 18, #2, Spring 2002).

It leads me to think of our friend. It leads me to think of ourselves.

Pain is disorienting. It narrows the world into a tight unyielding place. It is an unsharable, uninhabitable by others, place. No one can share or take away your pain. What another or others can do is be present to your pain. Attending. Offering whatever comfort possible. Being there as another human being can be there. 

It is difficult to be in pain. It is difficult to be with someone in pain. These two difficulties are not the same. But they are in correspondence. This correspondence might be an unsatisfactory solution to the problem of pain. But it is something. Perhaps not much. But something.

A friend of ours suffers pain and works hard to find suitable plans to move beyond pain to genuine healing strategies to be incorporated into her life.

We practice contemplation, conversation, and correspondence with her. 

For now.
RT: This question, Is loving your enemy a life practice?, I like that question. It is a life practice, certainly, for everyone. It relates to the idea of, Is this a householder practice or is it a monk practice? I think it’s both. Everyone has that practice. Everyone has the same life purpose, which is the quest of happiness for oneself and for others. Human beings are such social animals. We’re very connected with the feelings of those we’re close to, so we can’t really be happy when the ones we are close to are unhappy.  
The most important enemy for everyone is their own illusion that makes them unrealistic or exaggerates their sense of self-importance in the world. Ironically, you’re the super secret enemy. Whether lay or householder, everyone has that internal enemy. 
What Sharon Salzberg and I are really hoping to do in this book, Loving Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier, we’re using the word “love” in the Buddhist meaning of “love,” which means “the wish for the happiness of the beloved.” It isn’t the meaning of love where you somehow desire that one or you want them or want them to love you.  
If you love your enemy, that means you want your enemy to be happy. If your enemy is happy, then why would they be bothered to be your enemy? Being someone’s enemy is no fun. It does not add to happiness. You take up energy towards someone because you think loving your enemy doesn’t just mean caving into your enemy. It means first of all liberating yourself. Martin Luther King said famously that he was not going to hate the oppressing white people of the South, because the burden of hate was too much to bear for the hater. Hate poisons your life. He was going to love them no matter what they did. Because that made him happier. That’s the kind of practical understanding of the “love your enemy” teaching of Jesus and Buddha and other great spiritual teachers in history. The problem in our society is the ego psychology and conventional wisdom about “look out for #1.” That conventional wisdom thinks that “love your enemy” is to some a principle no one can ever live by, and we don’t think that’s correct.  
Take the example of people who are being most unrealistic—people who are beating monks to death and torturing them. Why shouldn’t you be angry or hate that person? Well, the person who is doing that is very unhappy. They are being ordered by a higher-up. The person who creates the policy is afraid of Tibetans or afraid of religion, or they are afraid that Tibetans are going to demand their country back and China is going to lose their territory.The person who is tormenting the Tibetans feels they have to get rid of the Tibetans in order to be happy.  
If you love that person and say, I can just be like them, do it my way, I want to get rid of them, then there’s the endless, vicious circle back and forth between you and the enemy. Or you say, Well, is what these people really want ownership of Tibet? Is that what is going to make them happy? If someone gets a bigger house, does that automatically make them happy? Maybe for a second. But then they worry about the bigger house and how to take care of it. A possession can’t make you happy. Therefore, what is it that they really want? They want love in their life. They want to be respected. They want to have wealth. How can there be a method of them getting that without destroying Tibet? That love, in the sense of wishing their happiness, will cause your actions to be effective in relation to that person.  
(Robert Thurman Interview, in Origin Magazine) 
While we’re still alive, we wish one another happiness. Doesn’t matter your religion, politics, ethnic origin, class status, wealth, or any other variable. 

If you are alive, we wish you happiness.

If you are dead, we wish you happiness.
RT: People in Tibet have an expression. When you reach a certain degree of venerableness and age, and people ask, “How are you?,” there is an expression that people use that means, “Just barely not dead.” Some people might be frightened by it but I think it’s quite funny. In that light, what makes me fully alive is anything. Really just being alive is enough.  (Ibid)
If you are just barely not dead, we wish you happiness.

And a life of art.

“The work of art unpins everything, undoing us in the process; it raises a million questions that amount to one question: who are we and what are we doing here?             
 (-- Norman Fisher)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

letter to oneself:

Let's suppose we wished the hand of God has been intermixed into this current stretch of apprehension and uncertainty. As such, God is as uncertain as you and as interested in you as those you allow to be troubled with you as to the next step, next move, next difficult act of trust in what is revealing itself before you.

If there is such a presence as God-presence, then such a presence is admixed within the complexity of our situation and circumstance. We, poor examples of clear vision and loving kindness, stumble along with doubt and confusion, distress and despair, tears and sighs, wondering where help will come from. Our insufficient awareness struggles to see.

I suppose there seldom are clear and easy trajectories of sight and understanding about the course of our lives. Some folks, maybe. I don't know. But for the rest of us, not so much.

But-- and here's the kicker -- you are loved. By your kids, by your kids’ other parent, by your mom and dad, by your wider relatives, by your friends and passing acquaintances, by your medical familiars, soft-serve vendors, the nursing personnel, the guy who flies the plane and taxi driver sipping his coffee.

Surprised that everyone does, indeed, love you? Yeah, problem is the vast majority of most of us have poor understanding of what love is what love looks like what love tries to leave out of its behavior. But, under it all it is love that breathes us into each body into each set of eyes into each next circumstance of our lives.

But, again, there's an additional consideration: yes, everyone loves you, and no, some are just not yet aware of how and how much they love you, or how and in what way you feel you prefer to be loved by them. So, at times, they (from above list)  seem distracted or short tempered, argumentative or unkind, presumptive or dismissive, sweet or over sweet, or perhaps just bored with the routine and stuff of their own lives. This happens. Often.

And yet -- they all really love you. How do you know? You know because (here it comes, the buried lead in a 1st term journalism intern's first assigned writing), there's nothing else but love!


It's an indefinable intuition usually grokked and vaguely realized at 2AM on Thursday vigil-watch on high-sea ocean trawlers just outside entrance to Black Sea in late autumn. And at bottom, at root, it is the only thing any of us really want really long for really value.  Love is awkward for many of us. It is a stretch. We're ambivalent about recognizing it within ourselves and within others.

But you. But we. But all of us, are both loving and loved. That's the God-presence. That's what we long to discover in ourselves and others -- no matter how annoying we and others are.

So here's my prayer for you, and correspondingly, my bottom line: "I want love to grow in me [in you] through this."

Good journey...