Saturday, September 09, 2017

can you tell me


Where does


Come from

Friday, September 08, 2017

the fall

Sitting around outdoor fire in iron circle pit

We ask into balance between all opposites

Honoring the individual in the group

The group as individuals

Making no choice to separate them --

Not even by spelling the names

Of religions that attempted to contain

Drop the words

Hold the experience

Then drop the experience

And fall

And fall

Thursday, September 07, 2017

stay and hold things, absurdly, up

He ended his final words to me by writing, “ in chaos my old friend...”.

I don’t think that’s how I am where I am. I’m more sure of the chaos, unsure of the ‘rest'.

Maybe that’s where many if not most of us are -- restless in chaos after someone we know takes their own life.

R. did. (So we were told.) No newspaper yet lists any death notice. I look.

I am chagrinned. (“Stressed or embarrassed at having failed or been humiliated.” --Dictionary)

It’s always that way when a sudden cutout in the fabric of familiarity reveals an empty nothingness.

Jennifer Michael Hecht wrote:
So I want to say this, and forgive me the strangeness of it.  Don’t kill yourself.  Life has always been almost too hard to bear, for a lot of the people, a lot of the time.  It’s awful.  But it isn’t too hard to bear, it’s only almost too hard to bear.  Hear me out. 
In the West, in the past, the dominant religions told people suicide was against the rules, they must not do it, if they did they would be punished in the afterlife.  People killed themselves anyway, of course, but the strict injunction must have helped keep a billion moments of anguish from turning into a bloodbath.  These days we encourage people to stay alive and not kill themselves, but we say it for the person’s own sake.   It’s illegal, sure, but no one actually insists that suicide is wrong. 
I’m issuing a rule.  You are not allowed to kill yourself.  You are going to like this, stay with me.  When a person kills himself, he does wrenching damage to the community.  One of the best predictors of suicide is knowing a suicide.  That means that every suicide is also a delayed homicide.  You have to stay.  The reason I say you are going to like this is twofold.  First of all, next time you are seriously considering suicide you can dismiss it quickly and go play a video game (or something else meaningless and fun, it’s when we try for meaning that we go crashing into the existential wall – the universe is absurd, to get along with it, you should be too).  Second, and this one’s a little harder to describe, if you are even a tiny bit staying alive for the sake of the community, as a favor to the rest of us, I need to make it clear to you that we are grateful that you stay.  I am grateful that you stay alive.  
(--from, January 11, 2010, On Suicide [by Jennifer Michael Hecht])
And I wonder -- was it because he saw the chaos of the dirt cellar and the haphazard sump-pump dug hole after a torrent of mountain runoff threatened our vulnerable furnace as the moribund old pump gave fits and starts, coughs and seeming death during a Sunday Evening Practice that made everyone but me nervous and anxious to do something?

It was a restful chaos that night.

Or his purchasing fittings for the new pump that balanced on century-plus stone foundation wall just above the archaeological grid of an ancient burial ground subterfuging order and efficiency.

He fled.

In early February he wrote:
We all connect with the source individually.  To have that mediated - by anything:  church, state, canon, etc - is antithetical to the alpha and omega of the life experience.  To allow oneself to be intermediated in such a way is, in my opinion, giving up the essence of being.  I will cite the manner in which Jains choose to slip the mortal coil.
He’d implied a reference to Sallekhana. I’d not looked it up. I did today

Coming around only in emails decrying something I couldn’t decipher. Maybe the ignorance of the people who pretended to lead the world. Maybe the futility of trying to understand the idiocy of our collective deception and simpering intellectualization promulgated by pundits and professional commentators for set fees per shows. Maybe he saw something that hid beneath his ability to word it into submission.

As uneasy as the communiques may have made me feel, I was always glad he sent them. Like a hanging walk-bridge over a deep and dangerous chasm, there was a gladness it was there, but an uneasiness to step out onto it.

Until it fell.

And the river below raged to cover and obliviate any sign of what it took with it.

Hecht said, “the universe is absurd, to get along with it, you should be too”.

I will rest in those words

photo from R’s meditation room, rec’d 14june17

Attempting to find balance.

A little while.

encountered with care

Adam and


(let's say)

Earth dirt


Air breath

Are told

Not to know 

What is 







The first


Was zen

Don't know

(you see?)


Know --

Only take 


As a living


Longing for

It’s source

(let’s say

maker, creator)

Without knowing

Who or


Other than




With care

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

hurrying cain if abel



states with


and there

is nothing

to do





Monday, September 04, 2017



I learn today that someone who practiced with us died recently. (We are told. By his own hand. I’ve found no written evidence of this news anywhere. Watching Neil deGrasse Tyson on c-span I am urged to find some corroborate supporting evidence.)


A shock to learn.

He ended his last email I received with these words:
Or, more likely, we are - all of us - inextricably planted in Bourdieu fields ... All of us who live, have lived, or will ever live ... But then I'm just rambling on ... Truly I wish you well in chaos my old friend. ..
I sent a playful response:
Bourdieu in August
             (An Etymological Haiku) 
'Ha’  bit  us          [we suddenly laughed] 
  do  xa*                [we are seldom nearer than far away] 
fi   eld                  [fie on elders]         -  {fie on objective relations which exist ‘independent                
“'.of individual consciousness and will 
ah, embodiment!
…   …   ...
* [The word  xa is used in Chinese meaning ‘far']

Commentary: R, Good to hear from you. Cheers, and thanks for well-wishes! And you as well! B
That was 1August17.

Today, I mourn.

As the story is heard.

arriving encounters, healthy responses

Chemo makes you sick.

Chemo makes you well.

It is the coinciding time that rivets attention.

Like meditation devotees dwelling in charnel grounds, dissolution of ego and it's attachments until arrival at indissoluble clear core of one's being beyond defense or delusion. There, the seeing and assaying, the assenting and sunrising of equipoise and compassion toward the suffering and transforming of what is presented to us.

In prison Friday one man said, "The world is our response to it."

At table practice Sunday evening we read article from Lions Roar about the crucible of spiritual intimacy. Afterward the man who lives half the year in Thailand spoke about how we continuously accuse reality and bring charges against it thus promulgating and prolonging suffering where mere loving attention and caring response longs to be.

Each event arrives as a refugee at our door of self. The story we fabricate about the event, the reaction we emit, the complaint and charges we bring against the arriving fact -- these comprise the house of narrative suffering we build for ourselves to inhabit.

Can we dwell in mere encounter without making of it anything other than what is there, what it is of itself, what is called for in response without reactivity or ego histrionics?

It is Labor Day.

The work is loving presence.

The day is our life.

Maine turnpike flows southwest with departing cars.

Maine stays.

Like our ground self, there is a watching depart that which departs, and a watching remain that which remains.

Safe home to those traveling home!

Healing home to those hospitable to arriving encounters and healthy responses to them!

Two thirds of chemo regimen, her six month practice, walk out of wood stove-warmed meditation cabin last night, into a candlelit table of loving community and challenging teachings she has chosen for us to sip with delicious soup brought from Hosmer Pond residents and chocolate cookies from Wiley Road cookie lady -- a warm practitioning gathering on an otherwise cool and rainy night.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

blueberry pancakes, coffee, and gratefulness.

What does it mean to “cause to appear to oneself”? * 

Silence arrives in sight and sound.

As if... nothing there. Or, extensive expansion of what is without separation or disconnection by thought.

“Thinking” is still and still takes place.

Thinking is a word worth thinking about.*

But no thought breaks into pieces this-one-reality-now.

In Thomas Merton’s writings on silence and writing (Echoing Silence: Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing - Thomas Merton - Google Books.webarchive-- in From a Letter to Victor Hammer, May 14, 1959, Merton writes: “The beauty of all creation is a reflection of Sophia living and hidden in creation. But it is only our reflection.”

Later in the letter he writes:
 “For Sophia is not an ideal, not an abstraction, but the highest reality, and the highest reality must manifest herself to us not only in power but also in poverty, otherwise we never see it. Sophia is the Lady Poverty to whom St Francis was married. And of course she dwelt with the Desert Fathers in their solitude, for it was she who brought them there and she whom they knew there. It was with her that they conversed all the time in their silence.) Echoing Silence, Google Books
We need poets and mystics. They see things many of us don’t. They think about things. And there is much we might think about that would change the foundation of our understanding of the basic ground of existence and the mind that looks at it.
Soloviev thought of Sophia as the universal oneness, the oneness of God with creation. He saw history as a process of man and nature falling away from God and splintering into separateness and then eventually reuniting in a higher synthesis. Sophia symbolized that potential synthesis. For Soloviev that all-oneness with God became the goal of history. But Sophia was to him more than just the abstract idea of Divine Wisdom. Influenced by the symbolic language of the mystics and by the description of Wisdom in Proverbs, he perceived Sophia in feminine form. She was the Eternal Feminine, “the feminine soul of the world.”  
In his most famous poem dealing with Sophia, “Three Meetings,” first published just two years before his death in 1900, he tried to describe the three indescribable mystical encounters that he apparently had with her. The last was in an Egyptian desert in 1875, and he writes of her eyes full of azure flame, appearing amidst the purple of heavenly splendor and the smell of roses. The image of her filled his being. Only she existed. Past, present, and future were all encompassed in her gaze, as were the blue “seas and rivers,” the “distant forest,” and the “heights of snowy mountains,” all of which Soloviev stated he saw stretched out before him. Earlier, before even leaving Cairo in 1876, he wrote a poem (“My Queen Has a Magnificent Palace”) about Sophia, his “queen,” which described her palace with its golden pillars, her jewel-filled crown, and her garden full of roses and lilies and a silvery stream. But when far below she sees her abandoned and desolate friend, she comes to him bathed in light and full of quiet tenderness. She covers him with her radiance. Thus, to Soloviev, Sophia represented not only the mystical oneness of the universe, but also a tender, loving, maternal force, and his most potent symbol of beauty.    
In one of his Lectures on Godmanhood he stated that “Sophia is the ideal or perfect humanity, eternally contained in the integral divine being or Christ.” Both Godmanhood and Sophia represented his utopian desire to bridge the gap between heaven and earth and to create a universal oneness. As he had indicated years earlier in a letter to a cousin, he hoped to help bring about the Kingdom of God on earth, “the kingdom of eternal, spiritual relations, of pure love and happiness.”   
(--from section “Vladimir Soloviev’s Godmanhood and Sophia, in WISDOM FROM RUSSIA: THE PERSPECTIVES OF DOROTHY DAY AND THOMAS MERTON, by Walter G. Moss)the perspectives of dorothy day and thomas merton - The Wisdom Page
It is the final celebratory weekend of summer.

Time for blueberry pancakes, coffee, and gratefulness.

...   ...   ...

* From Online Etymological Dictionary

think (v.) Look up think at
Old English þencan "imagine, conceive in the mind; consider, meditate, remember; intend, wish, desire" (past tense þohte, past participle geþoht), probably originally "cause to appear to oneself," from Proto-Germanic *thankjan (source also of Old Frisian thinka, Old Saxon thenkian, Old High German denchen, German denken, Old Norse þekkja, Gothic þagkjan).

Old English þencan is the causative form of the distinct Old English verb þyncan "to seem, to appear" (past tense þuhte, past participle geþuht), from Proto-Germanic *thunkjan (source also of German dünkendäuchte). Both are from PIE *tong- "to think, feel" which also is the root of thought and thank.
The two Old English words converged in Middle English and þyncan "to seem" was absorbed, except for its preservation in archaic methinks "it seems to me." As a noun, "act of prolonged thinking," from 1834. The figurative thinking cap is attested from 1839.