Saturday, May 26, 2018

breathing’s silent prayer

Han sounds. It asks: Will you practice now?

Here, I wonder: Is that all there is?

A response: This, this is what that longs to be.

Morning birdsong.

Breathing's silent prayer: I am here we are this you are now — practicing dawn — as it is as is presenting itself.

Friday, May 25, 2018

waving to Karl


One year later Saskia and Rokie return to front desk of prison in a few hours.

A cheerful dream about Karl followed by children as he leaves town walking down street up across bridge. Man at bar wants to buy my shirt. A b&b where Beatles stayed and wrote some song. Young Hispanic child in tank top limping being helped by younger Black child make way down corridor.

Yesterday at Quarry Hill met first hospice patient not immediately breathing last breaths. Meet former student arriving there for work. She still has her written work these dozen or more years later.

The gift I’ve been given is to still be able to see, hear, speak, walk, and think. None of these done that well.

Cat stretches on desk. Breeze, cool and fresh, blows through open windows.

Morning in Maine! 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

on patch of island between two bridges where brook tumbles on either side, two people part ways

Trusting Continuance

1. Things have a beginning, a middle, and a continuance.

2.  We remember beginnings. We experience middles — (some delights, some difficulties).

3.  We don’t know what continuance will look like.

4.  We just step, and step; we flow, and flow.

5.  How do we continue when we don’t know, can’t know, where it goes?

6.  Look! (At branches of brook flowing by, going their way.)

7.  Our task — to let it go! To trust continuance, to

8.  Trust the mountain, the bridges, the fallen tree, and

9.  Trust ourselves as we go on with presence: boundaries of edges provided by earth’s natural sluice.     
          This —

10. Helping us go on,     trusting,    continuance. 
                                                                                                     (wfh/24may18, Parting Ways Ceremony,)

We stood with them as they moved toward silence.

don’t waste a moment

Morning twilight, woodpecker awakens at tree hits wooden Han* calling practitioners of zen to their practice.

Songbirds grumble their way into dawn zendo finding branch zabuton sprig green zafu measured anicca breath silently reciting: “The awakened way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it.”

This Thursday morning.

No, thing, special — woodpecker stalwart in its invitation.

Surely our neighbors are meditating on impermanence.

*Han: A wooden block hit with a mallet to notify sitters that zazen is about to begin. On the back of the han appear the following words of the Buddha:
Great is the matter of birth and death
Life flows quickly by
Time waits for no one
Wake up! Wake up!
Don’t waste a moment!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ex nihilo

I prayed today

I said: I don’t know

how to pray —

that was enough

to awaken god

and set the world

right. God loves

fools and unknowing

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

how words matter


am not

a poet

Monday, May 21, 2018

flip the coin

The president of the United States might be on his way out.

Or maybe it is merely the dissolution of the American experiment.

It was a nice try.

And it's a complicated political world.

But we no longer want flimflam or echolalia.

There will be no tears.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

money comes from: thin air.

Just when you think that we have money problems in the US, you have another
think coming.

Which changes everything.
In one of her most important academic papers, published in 2000, Kelton  
maintains that government doesn’t actually finance its activity by levying  
taxes or issuing bonds.  
Instead, it creates money by spending it into existence. If a government  
wants to build a road, it calls some contractors and puts money in their bank  
accounts to pay for it.  
Where does this money come from? The same place all money comes from:  
thin air. 
(--from, Stephanie Kelton Has The Biggest Idea In Washington, Once an outsider, her radical economic thinking 
won over Wall Street. Now she’s changing the Democratic Party. By Zach Carter, 05/20/2018 07:23 am ET, 
Huffington Post) 
We knew it all along, didn't we? All the economic, tax, and banking stress
played on ordinary working stiffs is and has been a ruse.

I'll have to sit and have a think on this.

psalms -- read them with your whole self, praying


Attraction and revulsion surround and interpenetrate each other like a sumie Ensō rolling at bottom of page with Four Vows of the Bodhisattva exploding where beginning and ending smash into one another as if surprised to learn they'd arrived where they departed and departed from where there was no point unarriving.

Who would use terms like wholeness or enlightenment when the startling point is a rereading of the maxim 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained.' No longer the 'Go do it!' interpretation but rather a sobering realization that nothing begins nothing ends.

We cannot understand this. It evades reason and hides in riddles. Like sitting with a dying woman as turkey walks back and forth outside patio door along split rail fence as dimming daylight hurries ground feeding songbirds sorting through broken open shells to wing back to night nest.

Psalms, as my dimness descends, attract and repulse.

Richard Rohr arrives this Sunday morning with his meditation:

The Psalms
Sunday, May 20, 2018

So much of our lives is dictated by our preferences, what we like and don’t like. We all naturally gravitate toward what we find attractive, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But we need to be aware that there are things deeper than our preferences. If we do not recognize that, we will follow them addictively and never uncover our soul’s deeper desires. Often the very things that don’t appeal to us have the most to teach us spiritually.
If you’re like me, you’d much rather spend time in the classical, medieval, or renaissance galleries than in modern exhibits. We tend to be attracted to whatever version of art makes us feel comfortable or reflects our worldview. We play this game of preference even in what we we’ve deemed the “sacred art” of the psalms. We prefer the calm bucolic scene of Psalm 23, but cringe when the psalmist mirrors back to us the messiness, violence, and confusion of being human. St. John Cassian (c. 360–c. 435) taught that the psalms carry in them “all the feelings of which human nature is capable.” [1]
Poet Kathleen Norris writes of her experience singing the psalms three times a day as a guest in a Benedictine monastery:
The psalms demand engagement, they ask you to read them with your whole self, praying, as St. Benedict says, “in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.” [2] . . . You come to the Bible’s great “book of praises” through all the moods and conditions of life, and while you may feel like hell, you sing anyway. To your surprise, you find that the psalms do not deny your true feelings but allow you to reflect on them. . . .
But to the modern reader the psalms can seem impenetrable: how in the world can we read, let alone pray, these angry and often violent poems from an ancient warrior culture? At a glance they seem overwhelmingly patriarchal, ill-tempered, moralistic, vengeful, and often seem to reflect precisely what is wrong with our world. And that’s the point, or part of it. As one reads the psalms every day, it becomes clear that the world they depict is not really so different from our own; the fourth-century monk Athanasius wrote that the psalms “become like a mirror to the person singing them.” [3] . . . The psalms remind us that the way we judge each other, with harsh words and acts of vengeance, constitutes injustice, and they remind us that it is the powerless in society who are overwhelmed when injustice becomes institutionalized. . . .
In expressing all the complexities and contradictions of human experience, the psalms act as good psychologists. They defeat our tendency to try to be holy without being human first. [4]
The Psalms—like all great art—lead us to a truer image of ourselves, reality, and God.