Saturday, July 08, 2017

finding itself near you

Sit zazen

Chant heart sutra

Read Alice Walker poems

Mow grass

Sit with dying man

Walk field with woman sick from chemo

Eat key lime piece of pie

What's lovely about a Saturday in summer is the way presence finds itself near you

Friday, July 07, 2017

as God is

Presence is God.

Do you believe in God?

If so. Be present.

There's nothing between you.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

always for individuals, never for worlds

7.5 billion worlds on earth.

That’s the current (2017) population of planet earth -- counting only humans.

The United States (2017) population is 326,474,013.

Don’t even try to count the number of animals, insects, and plants. There are about 950,000 species of insects and about 1,589,361 species of animal groups.
No one knows for sure how many species of animals exist on Earth. In fact, some 10,000 species of animals are discovered each year, with over one and a half million species already described. Projections for the total number of species on Earth range from 2 million to 50 million.
Do we think that any two humans, plants, animals, insects see the same world?

Do we think that agreement, unitary vision, harmonious accord, or consensus is easily or remotely possible?

It seems to me the miracle is that the chaos we experience in the world is not absolute and irreversible chaos.

Laws, morality, codes of ethics, vows, contracts, letting the car to your right proceed first upon both of you arriving simultaneously at right angle stop signs -- these are the things that make us marvel at the temporary holding off of complete and irrefutable chaos and disorder.

We don’t live in the same world.

We occupy billions of worlds right here on earth.

And, so-called, off-earth?
Galaxy observations 
It's easier to count stars when they are inside galaxies, since that's where they tend to cluster. To even begin to estimate the number of stars, then you would need to estimate the number of galaxies and come up with some sort of an average. 
Some estimates peg the Milky Way's star mass as having 100 billion "solar masses," or 100 billion times the mass of the sun. Averaging out the types of stars within our galaxy, this would produce an answer of about 100 billion stars in the galaxy. This is subject to change, however, depending on how many stars are bigger and smaller than our own sun. Also, other estimates say the Milky Way could have 200 billion stars or more. 
The number of galaxies is an astonishing number, however, as shown by some imaging experiments performed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Several times over the years, the telescope has pointed a detector at a tiny spot in the sky to count galaxies, performing the work again after the telescope was upgraded by astronauts during the shuttle era. 
A 1995 exposure of a small spot in Ursa Major revealed about 3,000 faint galaxies. In 2003-4, using upgraded instruments, scientists looked at a smaller spot in the constellation Fornax and found 10,000 galaxies. 
An even more detailed investigation in Fornax in 2012, with even better instruments, showed about 5,500 galaxies. Kornreich used a very rough estimate of 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way's estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a "1" with 24 zeros after it. Kornreich emphasized that number is likely a gross underestimation, as more detailed looks at the universe will show even more galaxies. 
 So the question, Are we alone in the universe? is a tricky question.

Yeah, we are alone. Radically and completely, alone.

Because each of us is our own universe. Each is our own world. Each is alien to the other.

What can we say? What can we do?

Poet e.e.cummings dared us to a point of view with these words:
Better worlds, (I suggest), are born and not made, and their birthdays are the birthdays of individuals. Let us pray always for individuals, never for worlds.”   (e.e. cummings, in nonlecture 2, from “i: six nonlectures” 1953) ...:
We can pray.

For one-an-other.

inmates asked her to write a poem; this is her response

T h e   T e n t

When did hordes of sentences start beginning with So?
As if everything were always pending, 
leaning on what came before.
What can you expect? 
Loneliness everywhere, entertained or kept in storage.
So you felt anxious to be alone.
Easier to hear, explore a city, room,
mound of hours, no one walking beside you.
Talking to self endlessly, but mostly listening.
This would not be strange.
It would be the tent you slept in.

Waking calmly inside whatever
you had to do would be freedom.
It would be your country.
The men in front of me had whole acres
in their eyes. I could feel them cross, recross each day.
Memory, stitched.  History, soothed.
What we do or might prefer to do. Have done.
How we got here. Telling ourselves a story
till it’s compact enough to bear. 
Passing the walls, wearing the sky,
the slight bow and rising of trees.
Everything ceaselessly holding us close.
So we are accompanied.
Never cast out without a line of language to reel us back.
That is what happened, how I got here.
So maybe. One way anyway.
A story was sewn, seed sown,
this was what patriotism meant to me—
to be at home inside my own head long enough
to accept its infinite freedom
and move forward anywhere, to mysteries coming.
Even at night in a desert, temperatures plummet,
billowing tent flaps murmur to one other.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017


Nobody wants to die

Let's not make it difficult

While alive, live

When dying, see the arrival

When there, turn corner

taking up recurrence

4:01am, first call, mourning dove

I wait with beads

Light, new through eastern window screen,

silhouetted leaves, branches

Like lead soloist or conductor

whose job it is to begin, falls into

Stillness, silence as all awakening

ensemble takes up recurrence 

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

sparkled out

Of course the United States will retrieve its equilibrium. 

We're just at not sure when.

inviting trustworthy, loving, and faithful response.

We know the translation as “Bidden or Not Bidden, God is Present.” 
In a letter of November 19, 1960, Carl Gustov Jung explains and translates the inscription carved in stone over his front door:
By the way, you seek the enigmatic oracle Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit in vain in Delphi: it is cut in stone over the door of my house in Kusnacht near Zurich and otherwise found in Erasmus's collection of Adagia (XVIth cent.). [Jung had acquired a copy of the 1563 edition of Erasmus's Collectaneas adagiorum, a compilation of analects from classical authors, when he was 19 years old.] It is a Delphic oracle though. It says: yes, the god will be on the spot, but in what form and to what purpose? I have put the inscription there to remind my patients and myself: Timor dei initium sapiente ["The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."] Here another not less important road begins, not the approach to "Christianity" but to God himself and this seems to be the ultimate question. (1975: 611).
 Original life situation  (Sitz I'm Leben)

Continuous arrival

Arriving home

Arriving here

Arriving now

If you ask what freedom means or what independence is, this is my response -- it is the search for and inquiry into previous undiscovered truth{s}.

Perhaps God is our original life situation, the continuous arrival home here now.

Don't ask me if I believe in God. Rather, ask me 'What is this?' Or 'Is it now?' Or, 'What is here?' Or, 'Where is home?'

Finally, ask, 'What is this arriving?'

And 'this' will reveal itself to you, as you are, on the spot, as it is, inviting trustworthy, loving, and faithful response.

Met be that is what God is.

Monday, July 03, 2017

this (was, is, & will be) God

Arriving: is all there is.

Home: is where we dwell.

Here: is revelation and liberation possible.

Now: is the infinite, ineffable, eternal open made movement and moment.
Second Reading
From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope
My Lord and my God 
Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief.  
    Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvellous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection. 
    Touching Christ, he cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Paul said: Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what can not be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: You have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: My Lord and my God. Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see. 
    What follows is reason for great joy: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. There is here a particular reference to ourselves; we hold in our hearts one we have not seen in the flesh. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practises what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. Therefore James says: Faith without works is dead. 
(--from Office of Readings, feast of Thomas, 3july17)

A human being, 

acknowledged to be God ...


Looking at one...

He cried out

That this

Was God

The God he could

Not see

Sunday, July 02, 2017

when moment arrives

No need for illusion

Sadness and grief are companions of illusion

Living in illusion, we need these companions

Until we don't
I don't know what happens when people die  
Can’t seem to grasp it as hard as I try  
It’s like a song I can hear playing right in my ear  
That I can't sing  
I can’t help listening  
(--from song For a Dancer, by Jackson Browne)
We wonder about death

We wander near

Look over at it

Sip water
I haven’t said a word since you’ve been gone  
That any liar couldn’t say as well  
I just can’t believe the static coming on  
You were my ground, my safe and sound  
You were my aerial  
(--from song, Treaty, by Leonard Cohen)
At times, death is the cessation of illusion

When things open into themselves

No simulacra; no replica; no, (or, yes!) joy
I was never looking for a new religion. I was perfectly satisfied with my old religion."  
Other times, the Zen life wasn't enough. "I was sitting in the meditation hall one afternoon," said Cohen, "and I thought, 'This sucks. This whole scene sucks.' And I moved from that into cataloging the various negative feelings I had for the mother of my children. I found myself descending into a bonfire of hatred, you know – that bitch, what she'd done to me, what she left me with, how she wrecked the whole fucking scene. I was in there, I was in my robes, and the furthest thing from my mind was spiritual advancement. The furthest. I mean, I was consumed with rage."  
That day, Cohen's rage gave way to a moment of unexpected grace, a kind of temporary epiphany. "There was sunlight on the floor of the cabin, where we were waiting to go see Roshi," he said. "There were leaves outside and the shadow of these leaves was on the floor. The wind moved, something moved, and I disappeared into this movement. 
...  The whole scene blew up. A dog started barking, and I was barking. And everything that arose was the content of my being. Everything that moved was me. ... In certain blessed moments, we experience ourselves as the reality that is manifesting as everything. There's no 'I am one with the universe,' which is the cheapest mystical slogan." Cohen paused. "There is that moment," he continued, "and it decides that life is worth living. I was barking with the dog, but there really was no dog."  
(-from, Leonard Cohen: Remembering the Life and Legacy of the Poet of Brokenness, Rolling Stone, 30Nov2016)
What fades doesn’t disappear.

What does disappear is hope of retrieval.

What remains is movement of moment.
If the stars were all unpinned 
And a cold and bitter wind 
Swallowed up the world 
Without a trace 
Well that’s where I would be 
What my life would seem to me 
If I couldn’t lift the veil 
And see your face 
(--from song, If I Didn’t Have Your Love, by Leonard Cohen)                                                                       
No one sees the face of God and lives

But I have seen many, many faces

And, yes, I will die; and I will face that, too
At first glance, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face then later tells Him he can’t see His face and live. Yet, the first verse states that he saw God’s face then continued to live. The confusion comes not from God’s face, but from our assumption of the word live.  
In Hebrew, this word translated live in english is “Chayay.” In biblical Hebrew this word is taken from the Chai which means “life.” From other examples throughout Scripture, chayay is sometimes used, not to describe mortality or physical survival, but to be revived, strengthened internally into a full life or even to save a life. In other words, God was not saying that if Moses saw His face he would physically die. So what was He saying?  
The Lord desires that we get our strength from Him. This was the clear message in the desert when He told Israel that “man does not live [chayah] by bread alone, but man lives [chayah] by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD (Deut 8:3). Here again, this was not referring to physical life, but instead it is about being revived or strengthened. Man isn’t revived or strengthened by bread alone, but he is revived and strengthened by God’s word. This is why Jesus quoted this verse to Satan during His 40 day fast. Jesus’ temptation wasn’t about eating physical food, but it was about being distracted by physical things for your strength rather than being “fed” from God. That is a temptation that we all are faced with, whether fasting or not.  
This is what God is communicating here in Exodus. No one can see His face and continue to be revived and strengthened by natural means. No one can look directly at the Creator of Genesis 1 and simply call it a nice experience. Looking into the face of God can change us in such dramatic ways that our previous life is destroyed. But isn’t that what we want; to be dramatically changed? 
(--from,  No Man Can See My Face and Live, Hebrew Word Studies, Teachings / BY DOUG HERSHEY
When movement is recognized

When moment arrives

There’s no need for illusion
Only love can break a heart 
Only love can mend it again 
(--from song by Gene Pitney)