Saturday, May 12, 2018

inspiration and careful investigation

After reading opinion columnists of an evening:
Columns like this are becoming ledger sheets for tonnage of garbage carried to landfills. 
I wonder if there is any leftover value in the writings of the fourth or fifth estate to have any real effect on this morass of an administration currently occupying Washington DC and assorted golf courses frequented by drivers of the garbage. 
Where are the intelligent, skilled, prescient, witty, and biting commentators who might inspire us with genuine options of thought that could spark a tipping point response to the sludge-entrepreneurs  pouring stink on the people, constitution, and democracy once held in high esteem?  
We need more than descriptive snark. We long for inspiration and careful investigation lending pragmatic hope to a dismal landscape. 
Maybe the pen is no longer mighty. If so, we are left with the sword of insouciant mockery swinging with disdainful recklessness by chief and vice executive and cabinet sycophants unstoppably bloodying everyone within the wide arc of its grim thrust and grimy reaping.

saturday afternoon haiku

              for jo-ann



breeze --

she is

       in  bamboo


what silence does with itself while waiting

Morning after Friday Evening Conversation.

A trinity for meditation following Saturday Morning Practice:
  1. con-vivium    (to live with)
  2. com-patior    (to allow together)
  3. co-relatio      (to carry-back the story told to itself) 
...   ...   ...

(1) When we live with one another and all that is comprised of our being with whatever is with us, (2) and allow what longs for acceptance to belong to itself, (3) we practice retrieving the stories we tell ourselves during our everyday experiences and let them sit in silence until they realize that reality itself needs no story from us -- only whole sight and loving presence and compassionate listening.

...   ...   ...

They're only words, eh? 
"It's only words, and words are I have..." (Bee Gees) 
We are made of words.

Words are what silence does with itself while waiting for a deeper resting, and more stable rooting, in reality.

...   ...   ...
1. vivo, vivere, vixi, victus
  • conjugation3rd conjugation 
-- be alive, live
-- reside
-- survive
...   ...   ... 
2,  patior
patior, pati, passus
patior, pati, passusverb
  • conjugation3rd conjugation
  • voicedeponent 
-- allow
-- suffer
-- undergo, endure 
-- permit
                 (Latin Dictionary) 
...   ...   ... 
3.  (a) co-  
                    Origin and Etymology of co-
Middle English, from Latin, from com-; akin to Old English ge-, perfective and collective prefix, Old Irish com- with

     (b) relatio, relationis  noun
declension: 3rd declension
gender: feminine   
-- act of carrying back
-- figure of speech
-- narration, relating of events, recital 

Friday, May 11, 2018

what you get is to be changed.

Poetry helps.

Here's one:

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-
entering and exiting their own unison in unison) making of themselves a
visual current, one that cannot freight or sway by
minutest fractions the water’s downdrafts and upswirls, the
dockside cycles of finally-arriving boat-wakes, there where
they hit deeper resistance, water that seems to burst into
itself (it has those layers), a real current though mostly
invisible sending into the visible (minnows) arrowing
                                    motion that forces change—
this is freedom. This is the force of faith. Nobody gets
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. More and more by
each glistening minute, through which infinity threads itself,
also oblivion, of course, the aftershocks of something
at sea. Here, hands full of sand, letting it sift through
in the wind, I look in and say take this, this is
what I have saved, take this, hurry. And if I listen
now? Listen, I was not saying anything. It was only
something I did. I could not choose words. I am free to go.
I cannot of course come back. Not to this. Never.
It is a ghost posed on my lips. Here: never.
PRAYER (“minnows”) was written as a turn-of-the-millennium poem for the New York Times Op-Ed page, and was originally dated 12.31.00 
Jorie Graham, “Prayer” from Never. Copyright © 2002 by Jorie Graham. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
These are good words:
This is the force of faith. Nobody gets  
what they want. Never again are you the same. The longing 
is to be pure. What you get is to be changed. 
I'll sit with them. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

each and all, as it is, within itself -- ascension

Second reading          
From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop
No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven 
Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him. Listen to the words of the Apostle: If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even though what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies. 
Christ is now exalted above the heavens, but he still suffers on earth all the pain that we, the members of his body, have to bear. He showed this when he cried out from above: Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? and when he said: I was hungry and you gave me food. 
Why do we on earth not strive to find rest with him in heaven even now, through the faith, hope and love that unites us to him? While in heaven he is also with us; and we while on earth are with him. He is here with us by his divinity, his power and his love. We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity, but in him, we can be there by love. 
He did not leave heaven when he came down to us; nor did he withdraw from us when he went up again into heaven. The fact that he was in heaven even while he was on earth is borne out by his own statement: No one has ever ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven. 
These words are explained by our oneness with Christ, for he is our head and we are his body. No one ascended into heaven except Christ because we also are Christ: he is the Son of Man by his union with us, and we by our union with him are the sons of God. So the Apostle says: Just as the human body, which has many members, is a unity, because all the different members make one body, so is it also with Christ. He too has many members, but one body. 
Out of compassion for us he descended from heaven, and although he ascended alone, we also ascend, because we are in him by grace. Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; not because there is no distinction between the head and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head. 
Or, the final sentence translated differently:
Thus, no one but Christ descended and no one but Christ ascended; [up and down, in and out are dualistic designations nullified by nondualism]; not [only] because there is no distinction between mind and the body, but because the body as a unity cannot be separated from the mind. 
This, perhaps, is the real meaning of the story of the Ascension. The evolution of consciousness, the maturing of morality, and the realization transcending fragmented, partisan, and venal competitive control over persons and resources -- inaugurating a new vision, a new way of being, and a new embodiment of reality that has, metaphorically, been called 'heaven.'

Unity holds each and all, as it is, within itself. 

ascension thursday

In the morning
birdsong and sunshine

Nothing to do
nothing to say --

see yourself now

You the song
you the light

The silence --
inside everything

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

does anybody know how to pray

The president believes in torture. The nominee for the CIA believes in torture.

The Christian Right believes in the president. They believe God tortures.

I don't believe in any of them.

What remains of the idea of a loving God is something I continue to believe in.

And in good men and woman throughout time -- they have my respect and attention.

It's what prayer used to be.


This has been added as a meaningful signature.
Besiyata Dishmaya (Aramaicבסיעתא דשמיא) is an Aramaic phrase, meaning "with the help of Heaven". The acronym BS"D(Mostly written in Hebrewבס"ד) has become a popular term among Orthodox Jews, reproduced at the top of every written document (beginnings of correspondences, letters, notes, etc.) as a reminder to them that all comes from God, including the following content, and to contextualize what is really important in the text, that without God's help, nothing can be done successfully. BS"D is not derived from any religious law of the Halakha, but it is considered an old accepted tradition. 
B'ezrat HaShem (Hebrewבעזרת השם‎, "with God's help") is a similar phrase.[2] The acronym is B"H (Hebrewב"ה‎),[1] which is also often read as "Baruch HaShem".
The book "Toldot Yitzhak" (‘The Offspring of Isaac’), by Yitzhak Karo, Yosef Karo's uncle, offers the meaning of this custom of writing ב"ה (B"H), at the top of every letter, with accordance to the biblical verse: "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths" (Book of Proverbs 3:6)."
Aspiration, prayer stepping forward.

Sending it unknowing to unknown recipients in order to affirm an unknowable source.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

sir, no sir

Some think the corruption, lies, and deceit of this president make the American people corrupt, liars, and deceitful.

Either that, or America has decided to remake itself in an image it has been keeping in the closet.

Have we always been corrupt, mendacious, and without honor all along?

And is this president merely opening the closet door, taking off the disguise, and showing us ourselves at long last without camouflage?

Some ask -- is he merely the most corrupt, lying, and treacherous person to hold the office of president of the United States?

There is someone unwilling to salute.

This world
          by Ryokan

English version by John Stevens
Original Language Japanese

This world
A fading
Mountain echo
Void and

A light snow
Three Thousand Realms
Within those realms
Light snow falls

As the snow
Engulfs my hut
At dusk
My heart, too
Is completely consumed

-- from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan, Translated by John Stevens

Monday, May 07, 2018


Peanut butter on old saltines

water with remnant grapefruit juice

slice of pie, coconut ice cream sandwich --

between sounds, midnight silence

Sunday, May 06, 2018


Des zweiten Buches erster Teil

                                                      (The Second Book First Part)


Gib deine Schönheit immer hin 
ohne Rechnen und Reden.
Du schweigst. Sie sagt für dich: Ich bin. 
Und kommt in tausendfachem Sinn, 
kommt endlich über jeden.
                                          {-- Rainer Maria Rilke  (1875-1926)
       Aus: Das Buch der Bilder / Des zweiten Buches erster Teil (1906)}
Give your beauty always
without arithmetic and speech.
You are silent. She says for you: I am.
And comes in a thousand ways,
finally comes over everyone.
Beginning.                                         Simply give your beauty              without calculating or talking.                       You are silent. She says for you: I am. And comes in meaning thousandfold, at last comes over everyone. 

neither optimistic nor joyful

Sunday morning opinion columns are rife with Mr.Trump, ubiquitous and ridiculous. I respond to one of them:

I no longer worry that Mr.Trump is the problem. He, like all unpleasant, undesirable, and self-obsessed irritants, will always be a type that is ever with us.

But we are the problem. We. It is our response that is troublesome. We are not so much addicted as we are afflicted.

The pain and suffering coming at us and the world is a given. Our inauthentic response is both a disappointing and sobering diagnosis of what's to come.

The way we giggle and squirm, jump on the bus and careen down the twisted, dangerous, mountain road of blinding voyeurism, is a terrifying commentary on our intellectual unwillingness to think clearly in the face of vapid threat.

We miscalculated Osama bin Laden. We overlook the assault rifle infestation because we want to be able to shoot whomever we wish whenever we wish. We ignore the truth -- not because it will set us free, but because it will reveal the more disturbing reality that we love our chains and our torturers.

Mr.Trump is our blind spot. He is the perfect storm of latent ideological terror, tormented gunman in crowds of innocent people, and demented kidnapping of human slaves for underground pleasure and pornographic consumption.

This failure to understand what is happening in front of us is sad and tragic.

Contrary to Sir Kenneth Clark's partially hopeful ending words in the 1969 BBC "Civilization" series -- we might not be able to be optimistic nor joyful at the prospect before us.

We are sleepwalking toward a sheer drop.