Saturday, April 30, 2016

“Why do you walk?” (Daniel Berrigan)

Dan Berrigan has died.
While he was known for his wry wit, there was a darkness in much of what Father Berrigan wrote and said, the burden of which was that one had to keep trying to do the right thing regardless of the near certainty that it would make no difference. In the withering of the pacifist movement and the country’s general support for the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, he saw proof that it was folly to expect lasting results. 
“This is the worst time of my long life,” he said in an interview with The Nation in 2008. “I have never had such meager expectations of the system.” 
What made it bearable, he wrote elsewhere, was a disciplined, implicitly difficult belief in God as the key to sanity and survival.
(Daniel J. Berrigan, Defiant Priest Who Preached Pacifism, Dies at 94,
Annoying poet and pacifist priest.

For whom I am grateful.
 (to the Plowshares 8, with love),                                                         
          by Daniel Berrigan 

Some stood up once, and sat down. 
Some walked a mile, and walked away. 

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
“It’s too much,” they cried.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
“I’ve had it,” they cried, 

Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in. 

Some walked and walked and walked –
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air. 

“Why do you stand?” they were asked, and
“Why do you walk?” 

“Because of the children,” they said, and
“Because of the heart, and
“Because of the bread,” 

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread.”

Theme -- Nothing, what's with you?

“Thus each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future." 
      (--Rupert Sheldrake)

Perhaps all learning is relational. Maybe everything we learn is somehow offered to everyone else. Maybe the thoughts and memories of every person, every creature, are available to everyone of us once we enter into correct relationship with anything.

"An alternative assumption is that awareness goes all the way down the evolutionary tree. This leads to the conclusion that the cosmos is a vast field of information that is also aware, a field of knowing knowing itself." (--Peter Russell)

Someday I'll go and call up Rudy 
We worked together at the factory 
But what could I say if asks, "What's new?" 
Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do 

Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger 
And old rivers grow wilder every day 
Old people just grow lonesome 
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello" 

So if you're walking down the street sometime 
And spot some hollow ancient eyes 
Please don’t just pass ‘em by and stare   
As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello”   
(excerpt, from  song, Hello In There, by John Prine

• Here is my philosophy of education for 30April2016:    
        Is education relational caring reflecting what is learning between us?  (--bh)

Note: “what is learning” is a trick theological and philosophical phrase. The magical structure of consciousness allows for a variety of       spacings          to pop up:
what           is learning
what-is            learning
what is learning
“what is” as God
“what is” as reality
“is learning” as the educative emergence of Being
“is” as between “what” (the so-called objective world) and “learning” (the act of relational caring)

In segregation unit visiting booth yesterday DB and I discussed Krishna and Arjuna’s relationship similarity to the LORD God walking in the Garden with Adam. We decided to call such mythic evocations “strolling friendships” depicting the relational caring mode of being necessary for mutual learning toward dwelling as now-being and moving toward becoming-future.

Prison is new monastery. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

There was a tree in front of the house


Of Siena.

And Bensonhurst.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

knowing knowing itself

Awareness is ground. Whatever steps onto the ground is held by awareness until it steps off.

There is nothing other than awareness, ground, and what steps thereon.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

as if an opinion meant something

I don’t like obscenely rich anything

desserts, athletes, politicians, churches
banks, musicians, or actors.

And I don’t care that I don’t care
that I don’t like what I don’t like.

There’s a reason cars pass
at night along country roads --

they’re going somewhere;
once you’re dead, you’re dead

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

in conversation with students

drawn between
A blackbird struts behind my car. I sit at Rockport Harbor. A young Russian girl holds out her hand saying, "It's snowing!" Her brother, a few inches taller than his sister, asks the parents ahead of them pushing a stroller, "How could it be snowing in Spring?" They drive away. And, yes, it is snowing!
I've been reading and reflecting on the writings so far on this epilogue. They are wonderful and evocative!
And I think of my friend who died forty years ago, the one I just learned about last week. His daughter, I discover, has written a book of poems, many of which give a glimpse of the experience 40 years ago.
Here's one:
The Door Flies Open
There’s my mother at the kitchen table
with a bowl of soup.
I’m around the doorframe
where she goes to talk on the phone, twisting
the cord into the other room.
My dad is upstairs with the nurse.
A thread of steam
pulls up from the soup. The spoon
stays on the table. Sometimes
you have to watch the icicles in the windows,
check for movement in the clouds.
We can hear the nurse walking on our ceiling,
the toilet flushing in the wall, the cuckoo clock
that my dad brought back from Florence.
See how my mother has pulled back, like a sticker?
The world keeps falling into her
like the trees in the car windows.
She loves the names of the streets here:
Cedar, Walnut, Ash, all going north to
Priest Lake where they spent the week
Nixon resigned, sat in the car to listen to the news,
said Why are we here in these evergreens,
one after another? This isn’t New York.
They don’t have to clomp their shoes down hard
on the sidewalks, carry sandwiches
and umbrellas. This is no longer
the blue-mountained future.
She dips her spoon in the soup, cool enough now.  
    (-- from, Instructions for My Mother's Funeral, by Laura Read, c.2012)

Truth be told, I don't understand death -- not what it is, nor the things that are said about it, what happens after it occurs, nor the thinking that suggests, either way, it is a good thing or it is a bad thing.
But this is what I am learning:
  • It is a fact.
  • Just about everything dies, eventually.
  • It is poignant.
  • We either think about it, or we don't think about it.
  • It evokes deep and profound feelings.
That's the learning. Now, I ask myself, what about the education? 
A few weeks ago I defined (for the 2000th attempt) what education might be: "To emerge out into presence."
Having watched Wit last week, I am struck again that perhaps it is the process itself of experiencing life that death is about. Said differently, death is less about the cessation of life than it is about the living of life as life unfolds itself.
What we call 'death' is the curtain drawn between what we know and what we don't know.
This wording suggests to me that what we don't know is what we are afraid of. And this, I suspect, is true. We do seem to fear what we don't know (e.g. the stranger, the foreigner, the immigrant, the different sex, gender, the unknown other). 
And yet, the unknown, and that which we don't know, are as much a part of us as our toes, the hair on top of our heads, and the thumb that scratches our chin. I wriggle my toes, I (used to) brush my hair, and I do a 'thumbs up' to express approval of this or that.
In other words, I engage what I don't know, I interact with it, I respect it for what it is -- the unknown. 
The snow falls heavier. I still have my snow tires on. The blackbird has flown off. I turn engine on to heat up car -- there's a chill.
 I've long wondered what it meant to dwell in the between. 
  • There's an easier version: to dwell within what is said or takes place between you and me. 
  • And there's a more difficult version: to dwell in the place between the known and the unknown. 
  • Then there's a meditative, reflective, contemplative version: to dwell in the veiled/unveiling space that is the curtain -- that revealing wonder -- crossing borders, straddling boundaries, stepping into the thin place between everything and everything.
Ranciere and Jacotot spoke of the panecastic vision -- everything in everything -- suggesting, it seems to me, that there remains yet a marvelous field of exploration that might diminish our hesitation and fear about the between place of life in death/death in life.
I'm going to think a little further about  'death' as curtain drawn between what we know and what we don't know. 
Aristotle began his writings on Metaphysics with:
Part 1 

"ALL men by nature desire to know. An indication of this is the delight we take in our senses; for even apart from their usefulness they are loved for themselves; and above all others the sense of sight. For not only with a view to action, but even when we are not going to do anything, we prefer seeing (one might say) to everything else. The reason is that this, most of all the senses, makes us know and brings to light many differences between things.
(--Metaphysics, By Aristotle, Written 350 B.C.E., Translated by W. D. Ross)
He might be right, that everyone of us desires to know. That we long to emerge out into the presence of what is true, good, just, loving, and real. That there seems to be a curtain we must put our hand to.
And draw it.
Inch by inch.
Letting light through. 
To see and feel what is there.
To share with one another.

Monday, April 25, 2016

truth is in the telling


my words

give  Christ a narrative

with which

to story the earth

with a way

of seeing

Sunday, April 24, 2016


"If you are grateful,
you are not fearful.
If you are not fearful,
you are not violent."
   (--David Steindl Rast, from TED talk, 2013)