Saturday, November 14, 2015

prolegomenon to moral agency

Do what's right.

What's that?

You know.

Do I?

Yea, you do.

I do?


feeling forming itself


Some will look for causes and conditions. They will find them.

Some will claim the righteous punishment by God. They will condemn sinners.

Some will explain nihilistic fate and existential dread. They will find justification.

Some will find solace that class warfare and militant jihad are rife. They, too, nod and shrug.

Some will hear the news and look out window where twilight begins to silhouette bare November limbs against sliver of eastern light. They will silently say that if they could pray they would.

And they do pray.

For what do they pray? They're unsure. Intentions and directions seem an odd wish for control.

They pray, yes, for themselves. That they do not mow down and murder others. That they treat everyone with respect and kindness -- not torturing nor invading, not stealing their land and resources nor assassinating those who reject your way of thinking.

That prayer might effectuate a more profound awareness we are but one breath, one breath shared by billions, one breath entering and leaving the particular forms shaped in particular geographies, forms that walk and sit and work and share their forming creations with one another in an ordinariness of arriving dawns over and over.

Some will obviate prayer. They will buy more guns and bullets, drill and strategize how to identify and prevent "bad" guys from drilling and strategizing against "good" people. These leaders of the "free" world will lockdown and surveille and scrutinize every communication, person, and statement so as to root out any threat, dissidence, or appearance of off-kilter movement.

The sky arises above tree line.

Zabutons in bookshed remain still and empty.

Flame in gas heating blue stove flickers across room.

Some will sit in silence at Saturday Morning Practice. Chant Heart Sutra to steady beat on wooden fish. Read transmission story from one living Buddha to another living Buddha.

Then, from a quiet place of acceptance and surrender, will one by one say words that attempt to reveal what makes us real.

And what is it that makes us real?

I'll have to wait until that time at practice when that single breath sounds itself into that space amid those particular forms following the resonances crisscrossing the room, the planet, the cosmos, the unknown uncreated profundity of Being Itself evolving in this place at this moment writhing these forms as feeling creatures feeling their fellow creatures suffering.



. . . svāhā!

Friday, November 13, 2015

maintenant et

Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grâce,
Le Seigneur est avec vous.
Vous êtes bénie entre toutes les femmes,
et Jésus, le fruit de vos entrailles, est béni.
Sainte Marie, Mère de Dieu,
priez pour nous, pauvres pécheurs,
maintenant et à l'heure de notre mort.


comes morning, reading -- Praying to an Absent God: The Poetic Revealing of Simone Weil

And with morning, a lengthy quote from:

TitlePraying to an Absent God: The Poetic Revealing of Simone Weil
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsBaker, TC
JournalCulture, Theory & Critique
Date PublishedOctober

The poetic adoption of Weil stems, perhaps, from Wallace Stevens’s use of her philosophy of decreation to explain how it is that ‘the theory of poetry […] often seems to become in time a mystical theology’ (Stevens 1951: 173). In Stevens’s extrapolation, Weil:

    says that decreation is making pass from the created to the uncreated,
    but that destruction is making pass from the created to nothingness.
    Modern reality is a reality of decreation, in which our
    revelations are not the revelations of belief, but the precious portents
    of our own powers. The greatest truth we could hope to discover, in
    whatever field we discovered it, is that man’s truth is the final resolution
    of everything. (1951: 174–75)

Weil thus provides a way to see the human imagination, both individual and collective, at the centre of modern ways of being. Decreation provides a path from the world of belief to the world of the individual; when a system of thought predicated on creation fails, what remains is the truth of the imaginative endeavour. This move does not negate the existence of the world: in fact, the entire notion of decreation is predicated on the pre-existence of a broader creation from which all knowledge and being comes. Yet creation itself does not provide a way for its own understanding; the process of uncreating allows the individual to examine her role in relation to creation through the act of self-negation. As Simon Critchley summarises Stevens’s thesis: ‘God is dead, therefore I am. The problem is that it is not at all clear who I am’ (Critchley 2005: 43). Or as J. Hillis Miller expresses it: ‘God is dead, therefore I am. But I am nothing. I am nothing because I have nothing, nothing but awareness of the barrenness within and without’ (1990: 35).

    It is only in the death of God that the rest of the world is now revealed as unknowable and thus it is only when God is nothing that ‘man’ too may be revealed as nothing. As Jean-Luc Nancy writes: ‘“God”, the motif or theme of God, the question of God, no longer means anything to us. Or else – as is all too obvious to an unbiased eye – what the theme of God might mean to us has already moved or been carried entirely outside of him’ (1991: 112). God has been replaced in the human imagination by the larger created world, but without God the creation of the world is a mystery, and the stance of the individual in relation to that world is even more elusive. The problem, as Stevens phrases it in ‘Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction’, is that we are caught between a world revealed and understood through individual sight and the fear that this world is something which precedes us: ‘we live in a place / That is not our own and, much more, not ourselves’ (Stevens 1976: 102). Decreation is ‘a seeing and unseeing in the eye’ (Stevens 1976: 104); it is what allows the poet not to make the world, but to discover it:

[…] to impose is not
To discover. To discover an order as of
A season, to discover summer and know it,

To discover winter and know it well, to find,
Not to impose, not to have reasoned at all,
Out of nothing to have come on major weather,

It is possible, possible, possible. It must
Be possible. (Stevens 1976: 125)

The task of decreative art, for Stevens, is to discover the world without imposing on it, to encounter the world as it is created and, knowing the impossibility of creation, still see the world to be what it is. Poetry is no longer, in the words of mid-period Martin Heidegger, ‘the act of establishing by the word and in the word’ (1949: 304). Poetry cannot impose or establish. It is instead the act of revealing what has been uncreated: it sets out to discover, in a world in which godly creation seems impossible, what it is that remains.

(--from,    Culture, Theory, & Critique, Volume 47, Issue 2, p.133-147 (2006)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

de-creating, an invisible love

Creation creations.

Dog dogs.

Time times.

Each thing, each reality does itself.

At conversation, Cathy says: "Do me, God."

Cliff, looking at the whole picture from the circle, says, "This thing's big!"

Night nights.

Fire fires.

We do nothing; everything does itself.

God allows this.

God has withdrawn and left room for everything.

It's what you might expect from nothing else.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Why there are wars

War, they say, is necessary.


RE: Veterans Day
"Not everyone agrees with war and I can respect that, but do not understand how people can disrespect the men and women who provide their freedom.  So when I meet or see a veteran  I always take time to thank them."(JS)
This is well-stated. And I agree.
The issue has been a difficult one over the years. The question has been asked how to navigate the seemingly schizophrenic divide between honoring the men and women who serve and fight in our names and opposing the very military engagement wherein they are called to serve and sacrifice. 
One's heart goes out to such wounded combat veterans as the young man you mention, Travis Mills. That he has taught resolve and courage in the face of hard recovery is an inspiring fact. 
For the past 50 years, from the time of Vietnam to the continuing Afghanistan/Iraq deployments, there has been a mental split between one issue: questioning the intentions, morality, and legality of those ordering men and women into harm's way; and the other issue: wholehearted support to the men and women sent to do the devastating work of fighting and killing, being wounded and being killed in these battle zones. 
On such a commerative day such as today, the ideological divide is best laid aside for the time being. It is the men and women who have put themselves in harm's way we remember.  
Let our hearts and minds remain troubled by the cruelty and destruction of war. 
But -- and this could be a philosophical prayer -- may we begin again and continue with integrity the profound respect and honor deserved by each of our brothers and sisters (who've) engaged in the fight to assist justice and peace worldwide,  and the effort to desist wrongful suppression of freedom and dignity worldwide! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Before you say anything, consider everything

To be centered is to be at a still point.

To be off-centered is to wander in erratic movement.

By sitting still we settle into center.

By walking awarely we make each step its own.

There is only one peaceful spot in existence.

Do you know where it is?

Monday, November 09, 2015

limitless and lackless

Faint twilight follows white dog jumping on bed. Sliver moon and morning star dance ahead of day’s innuendo coming ‘round from our eastern rotation.

Richard Rohr writes.

The Great Turning 
Monday, November 9, 2015 
I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life. 
--Deuteronomy 30:19
Eco-philosopher, Earth elder, friend, and spiritual activist Joanna Macy, now in her eighties, has been promoting a transition from the Industrial Growth Society to a Life-sustaining Society for most of her life. She calls it the Great Turning, a revolution of great urgency: "While the agricultural revolution took centuries, and the industrial revolution took generations, this ecological revolution has to happen within a matter of a few years." She is hopeful as she sees individuals and groups participating in "1) actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings; 2) analysis of structural causes and creation of structural alternatives; and 3) a fundamental shift in worldview and values." [1, emphasis mine]
Macy understands that the third type of action--essentially, a new way of seeing--is "the most basic dimension of the Great Turning." Macy goes on to describe how this different consciousness is a wheel hub at the very core of the shift that is taking place. How do these transformative insights and experiences come about? Macy explains:
They arise as grief for our world, giving the lie to old paradigm notions of the essential separateness of the isolated, competitive ego. 
Or they may arise from our glad response to breakthroughs in scientific thought, to the new lens on reality provided by quantum theory, astrophysics, and general living systems theory--as we see, with a sigh of relief, that the reductionism and materialism which shaped the worldview of the Industrial Growth Society are about as useful as the abacus in understanding the nature of the universe. 
Or we may find ourselves moved by the wisdom traditions of native peoples and mystical voices in our own religions, hearkening to their teachings as to some half-forgotten song that reminds us again that our world is a sacred whole in which we have a sacred mission. [2]
Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179), a Germanic Renaissance woman, was doing this 800 years ago. In her book Scivias she writes, "You understand so little of what is around you because you do not use what is within you." Somehow she already understood what science has found: "The macrocosm is mirrored in the microcosm." [3] Science is finding that the world is an integrated whole rather than separated parts. We are all holons, which are simultaneously a whole and yet a part of a larger whole. This is moving us from a medieval, mechanistic, Newtonian view of the universe to a holistic/ecological view. [4] Nothing is static, and if you try to construct an unchangeable or independent universe for yourself, you will be moving against the now obvious divine plan and direction.
Gateway to Silence
Co-creating wholeness 

[1] Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown, Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World (New Society Publishers: 1998), 17.
[2] Ibid., 21.
[3] Adapted from Richard Rohr, unpublished "Rhine" talks (2015).
[4] Ilia Delio explored this concept at CAC’s CONSPIRE 2014 conference
...   ...   ...   ...
Seems perfect to have Capuchin Friar wandering around before early departure.

So, I grind coffee beans from Oso Negro, step onto chilly sunless porch, and begin the monastic observances of awe at beginnings, surrender at endings, and groundless (limitless and lackless, {thank you Rupert Spira}) awareness at each revelation passing through us.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

no subsiding

I was reminded today of the Bush fiasco of Cheney and Rumsfeld and their fiasco of invading Iraq and the sorrowful results that followed.

It seems a sin that they were never indicted for what they did.
No matter what  
We train our minds by looking into them. We just look in, not allowing ourselves to be carried away by our perceptions; we just look into what is going on, and ask, “Where does this come from?” We are training ourselves in the practice and study of Buddhism so that our thoughts and emotions do not disturb our true-nature mind, so that we can sit imperturbably no matter what. 
—Maurine Stewart, “Our One and Only Commandment" 
I can sit that way. I can also long for justice with a longing that does not subside.