Saturday, April 01, 2017

night prayer

Man is not ready to become man.

Nor woman, woman.

We’re still too resentful.

Who will allow ego to fragment?

Who will take the future home?

I have seen no one ready.

We will have to stand here and watch.

Here I am, watching.

Surely someone will come along.

Am I no longer here?

No longer watching?




morning practice

snow this april first

(lite, not much), zendo incense

chats flakes on way up 

Friday, March 31, 2017

how's that work

man in hospice, in-

mate ethereal white dog

in his bed with him

says he'll pray for me

when he gets to heaven

I say thank you

and tell him when

he gets to heaven

to give them hell

friday morning, haiku

orange peel at edge

of bed folded over it-

self on brown blanket

as it is, infinite

Reading a piece about William Blake from a Sri Lankan site:
On the analysis of the themes of his poems and of his numerous engravings and paintings it is evident that Blake had an inner vision beyond sense perception and he was in constant touch with what he perceived through the eye of the soul. Blake emphasised this in his own words: ‘A spirit and a vision are not as the modern poses, a cloudy vapour or nothing. They are organised and minutely articulated beyond all that the mortal and perishing nature can produce.’ ‘With my inward eyes ‘tis an old man grey. With my outward, a thistle across my way.’  
Inner emotion  
Blake could visualise an inner emotion very quickly as he lived in the spirit which was source of his imagination. Blake’s philosophy was based on the exaltation of the sprit over the body, instinct and intuition over education and of spiritual vision over the impressions of the physical sense. He made a famous statement that it was possible to see the infinite and the external beyond the material appearances of the finite world. ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is infinite.’ As a mystic and visionary poet Blake rejected all beliefs, philosophies and attitudes that existed in the 18th century England. 
(--in The Sunday Observer, Sri Lanka, 19Oct2014, "William Blake, A mystical and visionary poet," by W.T.J.S. Kaviratkne
Looking at likeness sketch above icon of woman who held heart in unlikely and soft continuity as though mystical connection.

This Friday morning recollection.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

our new administration

if we look

at all

we seem

to see

a thousand

shards of



do you love

he asked

the fisherman

around, surprised

you know
I do; then

looked his

in his face

he'd been


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

concerning the obvious coverup in government, if there is any hope


Good investigative journalism
Active vocal citizens


reading obituaries

they simply die
no more

need be

once they stood
walked, or

sat beside
when we

talked or

it seems
some outbreath

a word

just keeps

until I

the fact
of it

where there is here

After a while
you realize



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

a life of transparence

The professor visited his student for the first time in the student’s monastery entered on 10Dec1941. The poem “Once in Kentucky,” was the fruit of the first visit the professor paid to his former student at the Abbey of Gethsemani. (cf. Steindl-Rast)

The professor, Mark Van Doren. The student, Thomas Merton.

Here's his poem as presented by Bro. David Steindl-Rast osb, in the Foreword to the book of poems (pp.xiv-xv) Practicing Silence, New and Selected Verses, by Bonnie Bowman Thurston. 

Once in Kentucky

In our fat times, a monk:
I had not thought to see one;
Nor, even with my own poor lean concerns,
Ever to be one.

No. But in Kentucky,
Midway of sweet hills
When housewives swept their porches and March
Lapped windowsills,

He, once my merry friend,
Came to the stone door,
And the only difference in his smiling was,
It sorrowed more.

No change in him, except
His merriment was graver.
As if he knew now where it started from;
And what the flavor.

He tasted it, the joy,
Then gave it all to me:
As much, I mean, as I could carry home
To this country,

To this country whose laughter
Is a fat thing, and dies.
I step across its body and consider,
Still, those eyes.

      (Poem, Once in Kentucky, by Mark Van Doren)
...   ...   ...

A life of prayer, a life of poetry, invites us into a life of transparence. 

Seeing through. 

Being seen through.

at barn door, morning chant

at barn door, morning chant

dark and cloudy sky

prayer ascends; loving-kindness descends

three sticks of firewood return to kitchen wood stove embers

Monday, March 27, 2017

I don’t know where this train’s bound

At Sunday Evening Practice, at table, we read:
We were sitting in front of a blazing fire when Thomas Merton again took up this theme of growing.  “The main theme of time is that of inner growth.  It’s a theme to which we should all return frequently in prayer.  There is a great thing in my life – Christ wants me to grow.  Move this around a little bit in meditation.  Instead of worrying – Where am I going? What kind of resolution should I make? – I should simply let this growing unfold in my prayer.  I should see what is holding me back from it.  What is it?  What kind of compromises have I made?  Am I substituting activity for growth?  (I have often asked myself, is this writing getting in the way?  For me writing is so satisfying an activity that it is hard to say.)  In someone else it is easier to see this process of growing and to see what hinders it.  But when it comes to ourselves, all we can do is try to honestly be ourselves.  
“One of the greatest obstacles to your growing is the fear of making a fool of yourself.  Any real step forward implies the risk of failure.  And the really important steps imply the risk of complete failure.  Yet we must make them, trusting in Christ.  If I take this step, everything I have done so far might go down the drain.  In a situation like that we need a shot of Buddhist mentality.  Then we see, down what drain?  So what?  (So that’s perhaps one of the valuable things about this Asian trip.)  We have to have the courage to make fools of ourselves, and at the same time be awfully careful not to make fools of ourselves. 
“The great temptation is to fear going it alone, wanting to be ‘with it’ at any cost.  But each one of us has to be able to go it alone somehow.  You don’t want to repudiate the community, but you have to go it alone at times.  If the community is made up of a little group of people who always try to support one another, and nobody ever gets out of this little block, nothing happens and all growth is being stifled.  This is possibly one of the greatest dangers we face in the future, because we are getting more and more to be that kind of society.  We will need those who have the courage to do the opposite of everybody else.  If you have this courage you will effect change.  Of course they will say, ‘this guy is crazy’; but you have to do it. 
(--from, Recollections of Thomas Merton’s Last Days in the West, BY BR. DAVID STEINDL-RAST, OSB) 
We admit to being weird, “in the good way,” one practitioner allowed, after telling the story of deciding to remain outside the structures of the organized expressions of religious groups. We are not idiosyncratic and idiorrhythmic -- (Late Greek idiorrhythmos (from Greek idio- + rhythmos measured motion, measure) --  to be those things. We are that way because that’s the way we are. There’s no intent to be that way; we are that way.
“It’s all a matter of rethinking the identity of institutions so that everything is oriented to people.  The institution must serve the development of the individual person.  And once you’ve got fully developed people, they can do anything.  What counts are people and their vocations, not structures and ideas.  Let us make room for idiosyncrasies.  The danger is that the institution becomes an end in itself.  What we need are people-centered communities, not institution-centered ones.  This is the direction in which renewal must move.“  
Maybe new structures are not that necessary.  Perhaps you already do know what you want.  I believe that what we want to do is to pray.  After all, why did any of us become religious if we didn’t want to pray?  What do we want, if not to pray?  Okay, now, pray.  This is the whole doctrine of prayer in the Rule of St. Benedict.  It’s all summed up in one phrase:  ‘If a man wants to pray, let him go and pray.’ That is all St. Benedict feels it is necessary to say about the subject.  He doesn’t’ say, let us go in and start with a little introductory prayer, etc, etc.  If you want to pray, pray. (--ibid, 
Every piece of rye bread and kombucha green tea is eucharist by any other liturgy or hermeneutic.

On this month’s mailing from Friends of Silence, this quote:
“Being prophetic means, first and foremost, being a dangerous listener.” (--Robert J. Wicks)

Some listen clearer. These might know what prayer might be -- something without object. Something in itself seeing into itself.

The sound of a tree forming one syllable every ten years readying to recite the entire oral mythology of ground and root, leaf and seed -- a billion year recitation of a billion year excursion -- one syllable at a     very     very     long     time.

The Great Correction (by Eliza Gilkyson) 
Everyone tied to the turning wheel
Everyone hiding from the things they feel
Well the truth’s so hard it just don’t seem real
The shadow across this land

People ’round here don’t know what it means
To suffer at the hands of our American dreams
They turn their backs on the grisly scenes
Traced to the privileged sons

Down through the ages lovers of the mystery
Been saying people let your love light shine
Poets and sages all throughout history
Say the light burns brightest in the darkest times

It’s the bitter end we’ve come down to
The eye of the needle that we gotta get through
But the end could be the start of something new
When the great correction comes

Down to the wire running out of time
Still got hope in this heart of mine
But the future waits on the horizon line
For our daughters and our sons
I don’t know where this train’s bound
Whole lotta people trying to turn it around
Gonna shout ’til the walls come tumbling down 
And the great correction comes 
Prayer knows nothing of piety.

It is goulash and lentil soups side by side on stove. Shakuhachi flute before and after zazen. White dog chasing green frisbee over snow-covered path after final circle with woman wearing hoodie. The carousel of practice onto which one steps without brass ring or ticket stub. A car leaves dooryard for Augusta.

May all beings be the way they are with acceptance and blessing after breath extinguishing candles,  gone 8pm. 

Gone where nothing goes when deep in prayer. 

Curving rails through wooded stretch of empty tracks where faintest echo of train gone by makes no sound on star white snow. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

a new language of prayer

Across the globe there is a rough conversation about what to do with those who are involved with either drugs, criminality, or political hegemony.

Is it possible that prayer, real prayer -- not egoistic plays of power and control -- will find our real mind and real heart?

A president far away says, “Kill the outlaws,” and they are killed.

He says, “Kill the drug dealers and users,” and they are killed.

He says, “The human rights advocates are also enemies,” and they looked at one another knowing where words like that lead.

Susmaryosep *

Nothing like that could happen here in the United States, right?



Elsewhere --

Political opposition is also dangerous. 

иисус Марии и Иосифу **

Weve got to learn a new language of prayer. That’s what the monk Thomas Merton said two months before he died.
This new language of prayer has to come out of something which transcends all our traditions, and comes out of the immediacy of love. We have to part now, aware of the love that unites us, the love that unites us in spite of real differences, real emotional friction... The things on the surface are nothing, what is deep is the Real. We are creatures of Love. Let us therefore join hands, as we did before, and I will try to say something that comes out of the depths of our hearts. I ask you to concentrate on the love that is in you, that is in us all. I have no idea what I am going to say. I am going to be silent a minute, and then I will say something...
O God, we are one with You. You have made us one with You. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, You dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realize that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection. O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept You, and we thank You, and we adore You, and we love You with our whole being, because our being is Your being, our spirit is rooted in Your spirit. Fill us then with love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes You present in the world, and which makes You witness to the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious. Amen.
(--Closing statements and prayer from an informal address delivered in Calcutta, India (October 1968), from The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (1975); quoted in Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master : The Essential Writings (1992), p. 237.)
Perhaps, finally, there is enough evidence to explain why we have forgotten what real prayer is and why so few enter into a life of prayer.

---   ---   ---
* Filipino slang, a contraction of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
** Russian, for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph