Sunday, December 31, 2017

to, with, as

At hospital

as patient visitor

this afternoon

Each one

speaks the here

of their being there.

From book tonight at practice:

Creation is the voice of God!
The crisis of the Word is a crisis of theology -- literally -- “God talk.” We have lost a Christian theology that adequately conveys the idea that creation is God speaking to us.”
  (--p.9, Care For Creation, [a franciscan spirituality of the earth], by Ilia Delio, Keith Douglass Warner, and Pamela Wood
We grow despondent as

a people, not knowing

what we are to be


to, with, as

saturday night


That’s what she sipped.
Ice water too.

Did I want coffee, she asks?
No, thanks, I say

Just someone rounding eights,
Warming her hands in mine

In hospice room

Saturday, December 30, 2017

coldest before dawn

Wood fire went out by time I come down at 4:50AM 

Two hours to practice.

Citta steals a sit on lap.

Red glow from brown wood-stove.

It, too, practices.

Friday, December 29, 2017

without ideals or violence

Two car batteries frozen at -4°F this morning. 

AAA arrives. He says I’ll be needing a new battery, rather than his returning daily this cold snap.  (He didn’t say that last thing, I did.)

You wonder how the trees stand it.
Winter Trees
     by, William Carlos Williams1883 - 1963 
All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Couldn’t go into prison today, nor did I plan to, but couldn’t if I wanted to. A vacation day. Submitted three change-of-grades for last spring’s students yesterday. Felt like I did something. Read a bunch of papers that reminded me how students make the best of questionable teaching.

The slim cat is bored. She jumps on my stretched legs. Her throwing up exercise is over. The dog won’t play with her. The cellar door is closed.  The porch is now at 6° and is off limits except for the tree with white lights standing stiffly.

End of year nears. The post Christmas feasts I used to note carefully (Stephen, John, Innocents, Becket) arrive and depart with cold appraisal. Faces and artwork of deceased compañeros glance desultorily onto the room. From dining room repeated beep of voiceless message perseverates its meaningless notification.

I’ve been up since before dawn. I learn the drug war is endlessly promulgating itself, the political do-si-do spins tirelessly across landscape, and song birds seem grateful for sunflower seeds on bitter days at foot of mountain.

A four-line stanza attributed to the founder of Chinese Zen, Bodhidharma (6th century A.D.),  tells of Zen:
A special transmission outside the scriptures
No dependence upon words and letters;
Direct pointing at the soul of man;
Seeing into one’s own nature and the attainment of Buddha-hood.  
Merton, in Mystics and Zen Masters, tells:
A disciple once asked a Zen master: “I wish to read the sutras, and what would you advise me to do about it?” The master replied: “Do you think a merchant who deals in millions would bother about making a few pennies?” (p.220) 
When I think of current tax legislation and the millionaires authoring it, there’s not much confidence they care about the nickel and dime constituents to whom they pander, but rather, seek their own gold-bar relief and that of their patrons dealing from the top of the deck with Kings, Queens, Jacks, and Aces.
My love she speaks like silence / Without ideals or violence                                                                                (--from, Love Minus Zero/No Limit,WRITTEN BY: BOB DYLAN)
That’s closer to it.

Maybe Satchmo Armstrong playing blues. He’s got a right to sing the blues. Like the men and women selling and shooting heroin in Baltimore and Oakland, the ones preying and praying on each other. The off-rhythm of our lives.

What do you think we’d see once direct pointing at the soul realized its aim?

Woodpile diminishes.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

from Greek, monos, alone

Political, the word, is rooted in Greek polisa Greek city-state;  broadly  a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community. (Dictionary)

When used as a derogatory epithet, is it because someone is attempting to speak for a particular segment of the community and not the particular segment of community someone else wishes to represent? 

And who speaks for the community as a whole?

We are not attentive to the whole.

Fragments are easier to attend to. It is easier to fragment than it is to whole.

The first line in John Fowle’s novel, Daniel Martin, is WHOLE SIGHT; OR ALL THE REST IS DESOLATION. It has been a koan for me. 


In Daniel Martin Fowles explores the concept of “whole sight” in a variety of ways. Sometimes he uses direct discourse. At one point the character Anthony tells Daniel,

"I'm still defeated by the conundrum of God. But I have the Devil clear."
"And what's he?"
"Not seeing whole."

From this we might infer that “seeing whole” can be linked to God, godliness, or the divine


If such an interpretation is valid, it could be argued that the majority of people might not be interested in seeing things whole. We might not be interested, therefore, in God. God as wholeness. Not the “God” appropriated and trademarked by established religions as mandated focus of fragmented doctrine and moral positioning.

E. M. Forester in Howard’s End is quoted:

  • She might yet be able to help him to the building of the rainbow bridge that should connect the prose in us with the passion. Without it we are meaningless fragments, half monks, half beasts, unconnected arches that have never joined into a man. With it love is born, and alights on the highest curve, glowing against the grey, sober against the fire. Happy the man who sees from either aspect the glory of these outspread wings. The roads of his soul lie clear, and he and his friends shall find easy-going.

    • Ch. 22
    • Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.
    • Ch. 22
    • In these English farms, if anywhere, one might see life steadily and see it whole, group in one vision its transitoriness and its eternal youth, connect — connect without bitterness until all men are brothers.
    Mono, in Greek, means one. (From Greek, monos, alone).

    It is a choice, some say, to be alone. Alone by oneself, alone with others, alone with the Alone.

    At meetingbrook the descriptive we use is “monastics of no other.

    Perhaps we should add: alone with all the fragmented.

    Wednesday, December 27, 2017


    Obama: Made America Greet Again

    Hillary: Meets America’s Groans Again

    Trump: Makes America Grate Again

    if you must weep

    Then there are the days the bear eats you.

    Not often, but sometimes, it feels like something large and unstoppable fills the trail ahead.

    The blustering and mendacious president and his obsequious opportunistic Republican Congress feel like looming bear who’s caught scent of traveler in middle of forest as last daylight looks to crawl behind darkening trees.

    Night arrives. Whiff of fear like cold weather carbon monoxide spreads.

    He is, it appears, a rapacious devouring golemesque anomaly. His devotees fill the public square with smug menace. Names like Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Hatch, Pence, Nunes, McConnell, Bannon, and other voices make you want to follow Lao Tzu out gate of despondency into obscurity.

    A poem by Stanley Kunitz offers sanctuary:

    God banish from your house
    The fly, the roach, the mouse 
    That riots in the walls
    Until the plaster falls; 
    Admonish from your door
    The hypocrite and liar; 
    No shy, soft, tigrish fear
    Permit upon your stair, 
    Nor agents of your doubt.
    God drive them whistling out. 
    Let nothing touched with evil,
    Let nothing that can shrivel 
    Heart's tenderest frond, intrude
    Upon your still, deep blood. 
    Against the drip of night
    God keep all windows tight, 
    Protect your mirrors from
    Surprise, delirium, 
    Admit no trailing wind
    Into your shuttered mind 
    To plume the lake of sleep
    With dreams. If you must weep 
    God give you tears, but leave
    You secrecy to grieve, 
    And islands for your pride,
    And love to nest in your side. 
    --Stanley Kunitz, “Benediction” from The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz.Copyright © 2002
    Suddenly, after long meandering, again listening to David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest this morning. 

    He cheers.

    The gritty Boston AA descriptive, prose raw and melodic, a hand on slumping shoulder, balm to terrible time. 

    Tuesday, December 26, 2017

    don't mind me

    It is the inner, contained, space for which we have no name.
    Eventually I came to understand that the Runa do not have vocabulary for the edges that we perceive separating one element from another. This reflects their social structure and their perceptions of the physical world and even their political status. (from novel, The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell page 233)
    We know edges, and we traverse edges. Walls, ceilings, floors -- these we name and dwell between. Gates, borders, property boundaries -- these we guard and protect with fierce determination.

    It seems to be how we are. It seems our vocabulary shapes our mental and physical space.

    Now that there is nothing left to say, perhaps everything will disappear.

    Where did I leave my mind?

    Monday, December 25, 2017

    what is between silence and poetry

    When words become real they are known as acts.

    If words sound true enough they likely become facts.

    Ultimately for a word to become a body it must be what it attracts.

    When it is time to create and realize what it means to be human, God, with silence and poetry, interacts.

    one body at a time through now into here.

    The one who is to come is the one that is here. Source moving forward and beyond what we can think.
    Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into a prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.   ~ from THOUGHTS IN SOLITUDE  by Thomas Merton"  

    At Sunday Evening Practice last night, after video excerpt from Ilia Delio, Catholicity, Cosmology and Consciousness: Why Wholeness Matters, followed by fish and linguini, and chocolate lovers torte, someone caught the thread of conversation with the observation — “We are source looking back at itself.”

    In Maine, snow.

    We wonder about this incarnation.

    With gratefulness.

    As wood stove needs feeding and coffee heating, white dog jumping up to abandoned bed.

    And from the future God draws us forward one body at a time through now into here.

    in quiet silence

    Just about now.
    14] For while all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, [15] Thy almighty word leapt down from heaven from thy royal throne, as a fierce conqueror into the midst of the land of destruction.  
    (—Book of Wisdom, Chapter 18).
    Here and here and here.

    So it is.

    So it goes.

    So are we . . . in the midst.

    Sunday, December 24, 2017

    well-trodden paths from house to house

    We are a Laura of Hermits.


    Of No Other

    Each wanders in, idiorhythmically, from houses and apartments scattered about midcoast and environs. No one, particularly, avows any kind of allegiance or stability to anything meetingbrook, except they wander in or follow trail to door, stop in, and pass through.

    We are mendicant ephemerals practicing impermanence with each passing face in each fleeting moment in each imagined existence we call ourselves.

    Krista Tibbett and Brother David Steindl-Rast converse on the radio:
    Br. Steindl-Rast: At the very core, because the core of every religion is the religion of the heart, and that is the monastic life. Of course, as an institution, and monasteries are also institutions, it also, again and again, hardens and becomes decadent, has to be renewed. But as an idea, the monastic life — all the different monasteries are a network of networks. Every monastery is a little network of monks and all the ones that belong to it.
    It’s interesting, for instance, that today, when the number of monks in most monasteries — not everywhere. In other parts of the world, like in Africa and in Southeast Asia, Benedictine monasticism… 
    Ms. Tippett: They’re growing. 
    Br. Steindl-Rast: Is growing, growing. 
    Ms. Tippett: Right, right. And they have many young people entering.  
    Br. Steindl-Rast: Yeah, they are growing. But in the West, it’s getting smaller and smaller as far as monks are concerned, but so many more lay people as oblates, as we call them, as extended family members, that the monasteries, if you count the oblates, are bigger now than they were before. And for these lay people who live their own lives every day, but in the spirit, somehow, of monastic life, because there’s a monk in each of us — for them, this is really a great help in their lives, and a help, also, to live gratefully. So, yes, I think monasteries have a real special vocation in our time to work as a model.
    Ms. Tippett: They have a new vocation, a renewed vocation. It’s a vocation that has evolved. 
    Br. Steindl-Rast: Yes, it has evolved, because this power pyramid that has characterized our society, our whole civilization from the very beginning, for 5,000 years now — this pyramid of power, where even all our admirable culture and music and inventions and science, is all bought at the price of oppression and exploitation. It’s very sad, but this power pyramid is in process of collapsing. 
    That’s what’s happening in our times. And if you speak to people who are close to the top, and I have been privileged to speak to people pretty high up in politics, in economy, in science, in all the different fields, medicine and so forth, and everybody says we have come to the end of the rope, things are breaking down — people who really have an insight — because this pyramid has no future. 
    Ms. Tippett: Right, the whole — the form and the structure of how we did power and created …  
    Br. Steindl-Rast: It has to be replaced by network. And everybody knows that. And every group — monks are by no means the only ones. There are many, many communes and other groups out there that live network: a network of friends; a network of women who serve. These networks, they are the future.
    Raimundo Panikkar — you probably came across him, one of the great minds of the 20th century — said the future will not be a new, big tower of power. Our hope in the future is the hope into well-trodden paths from house to house, these well-trodden paths from house to house. That is the image that holds a lot of promise for our future.
    We visit one another. Whether in hospital beds or hospice beds, nursing home chairs or prison chairs, wohnkuche seats or porch seats, zafus or kneeling benches — we visit one another.

    The future is of God.

    Now is God’s sight.

    If I say “I am here,” then, where are you?

    It is time to embody what we see.


    Saturday, December 23, 2017

    nightmare new religion

    Praise him, praise him, let his praises fill the air!

    Now that the republican chorus sings four part harmony the alternate hymn of the season lauding the occupant of the Oval Office, titled Meshugana (in Yiddish): משוגנה
    Ah one, ah two, ah three...

    The bubble machine spews empty accoladic refrains to the Meshugana and his Merry Apostates on a curving staircase in parody of manger tableau newly christened “The First Dough-Nald” and “O Come-on All Ye Failed Full-of-it”. “

    The new coup has gotten the child out of Christmas and substituted a swarmy sycophantism, a dangerous and fawning haruspication of a coming messy ire.

    Friday, December 22, 2017

    this, no other, truth

    In prison the heart sutra was recited.

    In it the sentence: “This is no other than the truth.”

    It caused 90 minutes of exquisite conversation.

    These few days before Christmas.

    Thursday, December 21, 2017

    must love Merton, must love universe

    Posted: 20 Dec 2017 07:12 AM PST
    Day 13 of the 2015 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar. A pair of one-half light-year long interstellar “twisters”—eerie funnels and twisted-rope structures—in the heart of the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8) which lies 5,000 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. (Special thanks to RPT) (A. Caulet (ST-ECF, ESA) and NASA)

    The shadows fall. The stars appear. The birds begin to sleep. Night embraces the silent half of the earth. A vagrant, a destitute wanderer with dusty feet, finds his way down a new road. A homeless God, lost in the night, without papers, without identification, without even a number, a frail expendable exile lies down in desolation under the sweet stars of the world and entrusts Himself to sleep.

    - Thomas Merton

    (—from louie, louie blog)

    this is true

    I liked Dan Berrigan.

    Poet, prophet, priest. Pain in the ass to those posturing as good guys but sly and devious and full of deceit underneath.

    Here’s his Advent Credo:
    “It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss—
    This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. 
    It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction—
    This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly. 
    It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever—
    This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace. 
    It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world—
    This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world. 
    It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers—
    This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams. 
    It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history—
    This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that the true worshipers shall worship God in spirit and in truth. 
    So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope. Let us see visions of love and peace and justice. Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage: Jesus Christ—the life of the world.”
    – Daniel Berrigan, Testimony: The Word Made Flesh (Orbis Books, 2004). 

    Wednesday, December 20, 2017

    placed in the future

    It was just after hearing for first time Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal , being captivated by it, its poetry and melodic invitation to investigate, that I happened on Ulisse de Corpo’s “The Theorem of Love” a 21 minute presentation at Science and Nonduality.

    Both enchanted.

    Then another piece, an article by Marco Galloni. Sort of a pre-Christmas visit by the ghost of Christmas Future.

    It was the creation from the future notion that attracted.
    Life originates from the future 
    Studying the properties of syntropy Fantappié found the mysterious qualities of living systems, namely the increase in organization, structure, order and complexity and arrived to the suggestive hypothesis that the origin of life needs to be searched in the future and not in the past. In other words, causality in life would not precede but be ahead. The academic world did not like the idea of introducing finalism in science and Fantappié was deeply religious. He repeatedly stated that the theory of syntropy had made him understand the basic mysteries of faith, the meaning of which appeared to him suddenly clear. Also the religious world did not like Fantappiè’s conclusions which were considered a sin not easy to forgive. The convergence of faith and science was not accepted in the scientific and religious community. The following passage from a letter written by Fantappié to a friend describes the implications of his theory:Mainstream physics is based on the dogma that causes must always precede effects. Fantappié was instead showing that causes can lie in the future and retroact on the present and that living systems would react to this backward causation. This was considered heresy both by the academic and religious world, and syntropy soon fell into oblivion, degraded into a philosophical idea of an eccentric mathematician, who had certainly been a genius, but, at some point of his career, had swerved dramatically. The echo of this negative attitude can be found in the sharp and hasty judgments which are found in the documents of the academic world. For example, the MATEpristem site of the Bocconi University write that: “Luigi Fantappiè left a hundred works of which the most notable is a large memory on analytic functionals, based on an ingenious transportation of the basic formula of Cauchy in the calculation of functions of complex variables to the functional. In his last years he also worked on scientific/philosophical issues, but with questionable results. 
    "In the days just before Christmas 1941, as a consequence of conversations with two colleagues, a physicist and a biologist, I was suddenly projected in a new panorama, which radically changed the vision of science and of the Universe which I had inherited from my teachers, and which I had always considered the strong and certain ground on which to base my scientific investigations. Suddenly I saw the possibility of interpreting a wide range of solutions (the anticipated potentials) of the wave equation which can be considered the fundamental law of the Universe. These solutions had been always rejected as “impossible”, but suddenly they appeared “possible”, and they explained a new category of phenomena which I later named “syntropic”, totally different from the entropic ones, of the mechanical, physical and chemical laws, which obey only the principle of classical causation and the law of entropy. Syntropic phenomena, which are instead represented by those strange solutions of the “anticipated potentials”, should obey two opposite principles of finality (moved by a final cause placed in the future, and not by a cause which is placed in the past) and differentiation, and also non-causable in a laboratory. This last characteristic explains why this type of phenomena has never been reproduced in a laboratory, and its finalistic properties justified the refusal among scientists, who accepted without any doubt the assumption that finalism is a “metaphysical” principle, outside Science and Nature. This assumption obstructed the way to a calm investigation of the real existence of this second type of phenomena; an investigation which I accepted to carry out, even though I felt as if I were falling in a abyss, with incredible consequences and conclusions. It suddenly seemed as if the sky were falling apart, or at least the certainties on which mechanical science had based its assumptions. It appeared to me clear that these “syntropic”, finalistic phenomena which lead to differentiation and could not be reproduced in a laboratory, were real, and existed in nature, as I could recognize them in the living systems. The properties of this new law, opened consequences which were just incredible and which could deeply change the biological, medical, psychological, and social sciences.”  
    "Mainstream physics is based on the dogma that causes must always precede effects. Fantappié was instead showing that causes can lie in the future and retroact on the present and that living systems would react to this backward causation. This was considered heresy both by the academic and religious world, and syntropy soon fell into oblivion, degraded into a philosophical idea of an eccentric mathematician, who had certainly been a genius, but, at some point of his career, had swerved dramatically. The echo of this negative attitude can be found in the sharp and hasty judgments which are found in the documents of the academic world. For example, the MATEpristem site of the Bocconi University write that: "Luigi Fantappiè left a hundred works of which the most notable is a large memory on analytic functionals, based on an ingenious transportation of the basic formula of Cauchy in the calculation of functions of complex variables to the functional. In his last years he also worked on scientific/philosophical issues, but with questionable results." 
    The God of Iron of Teilhard de Chardin 
    This opinion is not shared by Professor Di Corpo and his wife Antonella Vannini, who have chosen to devote most of their studies and their energies to these questionable results. The PhD thesis of Antonella Vannini was based on the following hypothesis: “if life draws its nourishment from syntropy, then the systems that support vital processes, such as the autonomic nervous system, must show pre stimuli activations. If this is true, the parameters of the autonomic nervous system, such as
    the heart rate and skin conductance, should react before stimuli.” The experiments conducted by Vannini for her PhD thesis show that the heart rate reacts before the onset of stimuli. These pre- stimuli activations are strong and easy to replicate. It is worthwhile saying that heart rate values change significantly in advance to emotional stimuli and this suggests that syntropy is perceived in the form of emotions. We would perceive our future only at the emotional level.
    Starting from this past-future duality another mathematician, the New Zealander Chris King, has developed a model of consciousness in which free will would arise from our being immersed in a dual stream of information travelling in opposite directions of time: on the one hand information from the past in the form of memories and experiences, on the other hand information from the future in the form of emotions. We must constantly choose between what our head reminds and tells us and what our heart points us to. The perfect balance of the negative and positive solutions would explain the symmetry between rational and emotional hemispheres 
    From a cosmological point of view, the syntropy model states that there is a starting point, from which energy diverged and a final point towards which energy converges. The starting point is the big bang, whereas the end point is the big crunch. Teilhard named the big bang the Alfa [sic. cf Alpha] point and the big crunch the Omega point. These two diverging and converging polarities work together, but in opposite time directions. In the big bang, energy explodes and diverges forward in time, but converging forces brings energy to condensate, to become matter, atoms, stars, galaxies, and lead the universe to increase its degree of complexity. Teilhard said that, as a child, one of the mysteries that fascinated him most was how matter could hold together. Speaking of a metal toy as a god of iron, Teilhard said: "I just cannot understand how matter can stay together." In fact this is one of the most difficult problems of classical physics: converging forces, like gravity, are described and studied, but they are not explained. The theory of syntropy, on the contrary, provides an explanation of converging forces: matter is cohesive because of attractors that act from the future and lead energy and matter to converge. Somehow the future already exists. The Omega point towards which we are evolving is already here, but the paths to get there can be the most different. The dual solution of the fundamental equations endows us with free will and we constantly have to choose our path, and the evolution to the Omega point and syntropy is not linear. 
    Di Corpo goes further: if the theory of syntropy is correct, three levels of time must exist. The sequential time to which we are accustomed to, in which energy is divergent and entropy prevails, would be typical of expanding systems, such as our universe. On the contrary, in a converging system the flow of time would be reversed as it happens in black holes. There are also systems in which diverging and converging forces are balanced, such as atoms. At this level time is unitary and past, present and future coexist. 
    (--from, The heresy of Fantappié and Teilhard and the converging evolution, in Syntropy 2012 by Marco Galloni) 
    And the perceiving our future only at the emotional level.

    And does the future already exist?

    Something to sit and feel about. 


    in dark

    white dog

    on foot of bed

    crowds feet

    in silence

    Tuesday, December 19, 2017

    where else


    Just stop

    the world

    I want to

    get off


    who is jesus today

    no more


    is good

    Monday, December 18, 2017

    stones to stone him

    Before Abraham was, I am.

    58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:58)
    Like zen koan inviting us to show our original face, the one we had before our parents were born, Jesus seems to be seeing through the illusions of time and separation.

    If we come to see that we are    where we are    what we are    as we are    --    and let go of all judgment opinion we have about all this -- we begin to rest quietly in a reality beyond control or worry.

    We are.

    As God is. 

    With each and all.
    More than two centuries before the Reformation, a theological debate broke out that pitted theologian Thomas Aquinas against an upstart from Britain, John Duns Scotus. In essence, the debate circled around the question, "Would Christmas have occurred if humanity had not sinned?" 
    Whereas Aquinas viewed the Incarnation as God's remedy for a fallen planet, his contemporary saw much more at stake. For Duns Scotus, the Word becoming flesh as described in the prologue to John's Gospel must surely represent the Creator's primary design, not some kind of afterthought or Plan B. Aquinas pointed to passages emphasizing the Cross as God's redemptive response to a broken relationship. Duns Scotus cited passages from Ephesians and Colossians on the cosmic Christ, in whom all things have their origin, hold together, and move toward consummation. 
    Did Jesus visit this planet as an accommodation to human failure or as the center point of all creation? Duns Scotus and his school suggested that Incarnation was the underlying motive for Creation, not merely a correction to it. Perhaps God spun off this vast universe for the singular purpose of sharing life and love, intending all along to join its very substance. "Eternity is in love with the inventions of time," wrote the poet William Blake. 
    Ultimately the church decided that both approaches had biblical support and could be accepted as orthodox. Though most theologians tended to follow Aquinas, in recent years prominent Catholics such as Karl Rahner have taken a closer look at Duns Scotus. Perhaps evangelicals should, too. 
    I'm beginning to understand what the Trappist monk meant when he told me to cheer up because things are only going to get worse. It is difficult to see any relenting of the seeming stupidity of ideological blowhards trying to frighten people with screeds that a coup d’etat is taking place against the sitting US president by the FBI and left wing sympathizers. Blood will flow due to their shrill insanity riling up the desolate and unhinged correctors of evil in our midst.

    In the words of my beloved (deceased Republican) grandmother, who called ‘em as she saw ‘em, “Stupid is as stupid does!” She would have poured kidney beans on the tv if Fox were on when she was alive.

    Here it is Monday, it is snowing, and mere anarchy seems loosed on the world.

    The monk is right. There’s no end to the corrections foisted on us by craven and besotted souls.

    Sunday, December 17, 2017

    dark days seen through

    Original face koan?
    57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.          New International Version (NIV) John 8
     Those with big sins are throwing big stones at everything standing in their way.

    Illusions die hard!

    Saturday, December 16, 2017

    saturday morning practice

    Cold morning.

    Now practice is in winter zendo.

    We listen.
    Advent Poem  by St. John of the Cross

    If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road 
    pregnant with the Holy and say, 
    “I need shelter for the night. 
    Please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.
    ”Then, under the roof of your soul,
    you will witness the sublime intimacy,
    the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever,
    as she grasps your hand for help,
    for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
    Yes, there, under the dome of your being,
    does creation come into existence eternally,
    through your womb, dear pilgrim,
    the sacred womb of your soul,
    as God grasps our arms for help:
    for each of us is His beloved servant never far.
    If you want, the virgin will come walking down the street,
    pregnant with Light, and sing!
     And continue to listen.
    Advent, by Jessica Powers   
    I live my Advent in the womb of Mary. 
    And on one night that a great star swings free 
    from its high mooring and walks down the sky 
    To be the dot above the Christus I. 
    I shall be born of her by blessed grace. 
    I wait in a Mary-darkness, faith’s walled place, 
    with Hope’s expectancy of nativity. 

    I knew for long she carried and fed me,  
    guarded and loved me, though I could not see.  
    But only now, with inward jubilee, 
    I come upon earth’s most amazing knowledge: 
    Someone is hiding in this dork it’s me.


    Friday, December 15, 2017

    here’s what Thomas Merton wrote in his The Seven Story Mountain

    The Christ of the Burnt Men

    I hear You saying to me:

               "I will give you what you desire. I will lead you into solitude. I will lead you by the way you cannot possibly understand, because I want it to be the quickest way.
              "Therefore all things around you will be armed against you, to deny you, to hurt you, to give you pain, and therefore to reduce you to solitude.
               "Because of their enmity, you will soon be left alone. They will cast you out and forsake you and reject you and you will be alone. Everything that touches you will burn you, and you will draw your hand away in pain, until you have withdrawn yourself from all things. Then you will be all alone.
                "Everything that can be desired will sear you., and brand you with a cautery, and you will fly from it in pain, to be alone. Every created joy will only come to you as pain, and you will die to all joy, and be left alone. All the good things that other people love and desire and seek will come to you, but only as murderers to cut you off from the world and its occupations.
               "You will be praised and it will be like burning at the stake. You will be loved and it will murder your heart and drive you into the desert. 
                 "You will have gifts and they will break you with their burden. you will have pleasures of prayer, and they will sicken you and you will fly from them.
                  "And when you  have been praised a little and loved a little I will take away all your gifts and all your love and all your praise and you will be utterly forgotten and abandoned and you will be nothing. a dead thing, a rejection. And in that day you shall begin to possess the solitude you have so long desired. And your solitude will bear immense fruit in the souls of men you will never see on earth.
                "Do not ask when it will be or where it will be or how it will be.. On a mountain or in a prison, in a desert or in a concentration camp or in a hospital or at Gethsemani. It does not matter. So do not ask me because I am not going to tell you.  You will not know until you are in it. 
                "But you shall taste the true solitude of my anguish and my poverty and I shall lead you into the high places of my joy and you shall die in Me and find all things in My mercy which has created you for this end  and brought you from Prades to Bermuda to St. Antonin to Oakham to London to Cambridge to Rome to New York to Columbia to Corpus Cristi to St. Bonaventure to the Cistercian Abbey of the poor men who labor in Gethsemani:
               "That you may become the brother of God and learn to know the Christ of the burnt men."

                                      SIT FINIS LIBRI, NON FINIS QUAERENDI

    (—from, Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain,  pp  422, 3)

    Thursday, December 14, 2017


    Played baseball as a youth years ago on Erasmus Field on MacDonald Ave just off Avenue M in Brooklyn. I was a little slow as a runner and did not have a strong throwing arm. But I had a good glove and fast reflexes playing a shallow third base and good range as a first baseman. No one would have called me a prospect. (The Yankee scout kept asking me to play back on third during drills!) My bat was mediocre. Although I did put a ball over the left fielder’s head in the first inning.

    Erasmus comes to mind these half dozen decades later.
    Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam (1467?–1536) was not a systematic philosopher although we discern in the large body of his writings a certain Erasmian habit of mind. He often reflected on subjects that invite philosophical inquiry: the influence of nature versus nurture, the relationship between word and thing, the ideal form of government, the nature of faith, and the theory of knowledge. Erasmus’ views on these subjects are of interest to historians today, even if they are unstructured, because his works circulated widely and his influence in Northern Europe was pervasive. In modern parlance, he was an opinion maker. If a general label is needed, Erasmus’ thought is best described as “Christian Humanism”, that is, a philosophy of life combining Christian thought with classical traditions. He embraced the humanistic belief in an individual’s capacity for self-improvement and the fundamental role of education in raising human beings above the level of brute animals. The thrust of Erasmus’ educational programme was the promotion of docta pietas, learned piety, or what he termed the “philosophy of Christ”. As a biblical scholar he supported the humanistic call Ad fontes, a return to the texts in the original language and therefore promoted the study of the biblical languages Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. He was in the vanguard of modern philology. His pioneering edition of the Greek New Testament shows that he had an understanding of the process of textual transmission and had developed text-critical principles. In politics, Erasmus embraced consensus, compromise, and peaceful cooperation, ideals he recommended to the participants in the Reformation debate, albeit with little success. Considered a forerunner of the Reformation by his contemporaries, he broke with Martin Luther over the latter’s sectarianism. More fundamentally, the two men disagreed over heuristics and engaged in a polemic over the question of free will. Erasmus took a skeptical position vis-à-vis Luther’s assertions. Unlike the reformer, he did not believe in the clarity of Scripture and used consensus and tradition as criteria to settle questions that did not allow a rational conclusion. Erasmus rarely ventured into doctrinal questions, however, favoring simple faith and devotion over dialectics and scholastic speculation. The circulation of Erasmus’ works was temporarily curtailed when the Catholic Church put them on the Index of Forbidden Books, but his ideas saw a revival during the Enlightenment when he was regarded as a forerunner of rationalism. His most famous work, The Praise of Folly, has remained in print to the present day, a distinction shared by few books from the 16th century. 
     Heuristic is a good word.

    To find out. Discover.


    [hyoo-ris-tik or, often, yoo-] adjective 1.serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.2.encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems on his or her own, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error:
    a heuristic teaching method.3.of, relating to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods.4. Computers, Mathematics. pertaining to a trial-and-error method ofproblem solving used when an algorithmic approach is impractical.
    noun 5.a heuristic method of argument.6. the study of heuristic procedure. 
    Origin of heuristic1815-25; New Latin heuristicus, equivalent to Greek heur(ískeinto find out, discover + Latin -isticus -istic 
    The Brooklyn Dodgers won the World Series in 1955. I stopped into every storefront a radio sounded from on 20th Avenue making my way home from Elementary school during the series.

    I never rooted for another baseball team after the Brooklyn Dodgers left Flatbush and Ebbets Field. 
    The Brooklyn Dodgers played their final game at Ebbets Field on September 24, 1957, which the Dodgers won 2–0 over the Pittsburgh Pirates. 
    On April 18, 1958, the Los Angeles Dodgers played their first game in L.A., defeating the former New York and newly relocated and renamed San Francisco Giants, 6–5, before 78,672 fans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.[32] Sadly, catcher Roy Campanella, left partially paralyzed in an off-season accident, was never able to play for Los Angeles. 
    2007 HBO film, Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush, is a documentary covering the Dodgers history from early days to the beginning of the Los Angeles era. In the film, the story is related that O'Malley was so hated by Brooklyn Dodger fans after the move to California, that it was said, "If you asked a Brooklyn Dodger fan, if you had a gun with only two bullets in it and were in a room with Hitler, Stalin and O'Malley, who would you shoot? The answer: O’Malley, twice!"
    My game, one I longed, even then, to play well, was heuristics.

    Still is.