Saturday, August 18, 2018


Ninety two year old lobsterman retired two years ago invited me to his house for coffee next time I’m passing by his place.

Sure will.

make no mistake

Rain on roof of meditation cabin. Woodpecker practicing moktak on tree up path.  Final minutes of silent sitting. Which self is not Self?
A particular kind of music, often called “minimalism,” seeks to disrupt our normal way of listening, intentionally producing these transcendent moments. Though it’s debatable whether Coltrane could be lumped under that umbrella, Philip Glass is essentially a spokesperson for the genre. I remember being excited as a teenager by this sentence from his own liner notes to Music in 12 Parts 
“[W]hen it becomes apparent that nothing ‘happens’ in the usual sense… [listeners] can perhaps discover another mode of listening—one in which neither memory nor anticipation… have a place in sustaining the texture, quality, or reality of the musical experience.”  
That sounds a lot like what Laurie Anderson has jokingly called “difficult listening.” And in fact, Glass admits that this kind of music can be more of a challenge to its audience than to its performers. But make no mistake, this music is made foran audience, as he himself argues.  
All three of the musicians featured here consider(ed) themselves deliverers of liberation from ego, transmitting dharma/grace/awareness received directly, through their very performance, to any audience brave enough to listen. In that way, they are all bodhisattvas.  
(—from, Weekend Reader, Musical Meditations,  8-17-18, Lion’s Roar, Andrew Glencross, associate art director, Lion’s Roar magazine)

Each of us from cushion responds to words spoken by Rupert Spira about love and understanding. 

Even when we disagree with some we permit his view. We have had long experience with the separating mind.

He soothes our restlessness.

We wonder: Is the ground of everything love?

Rain falls to earth.

So too, we.

Friday, August 17, 2018


Villanelle for our time
                  by Leonard Cohen

From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.

This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.

We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.

The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.

Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.

Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart
We rise to play a greater part 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

when nothing is what it seems

What do we remember? How much is constructed, how much recalled? And does fiction become lore and fact over time via the convenience of wish?
 In Julian Barnes’ novel The Sense of an Ending, a precocious schoolboy named Adrian Finn recites, from memory and in reply to a teacher, a definition of history:
History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.
Then, later :
With pristine irony, Barnes lightly enacts for us, for our experiential intellection, a moment of vertiginous epistemic uncertainty. We have not only a muddled and unreliable narrator, telling a story at some decades’ remove from the events which, at this point, can only be said to have “inspired” it; we have this narrator recalling words spoken by a friend to whose dark fate he may have contributed with an act he’s determined not to remember; and the words in question are, according to the friend, a quotation, that is, the friend’s recollection of the words of another; and he recalls that his friend recollects too the name of the author of the words: Lagrange. 
There are too many potential points of failure along this chain of recollections and representations to count. Taken in its full context, it is a tidy, carefully-crafted satirization of the idea of epistemic authority, and it’s neither fussy nor demanding: read literally, it supports the novel’s themes; if one ponders the fact that the quotation is remembered, it supports the novel’s themes; if one digs and digs into it, and cross-references it with the world beyond the novel, one suddenly realizes that —as one of the book’s refrains has it— one didn’t understand, didn’t get it; and this supports the novel’s themes. 
(That one clings to the authority of the definition, is attracted to its neatness, yet must accept that in its contextual totality it is self-subverting —approaching, from a distance, a sort of liar’s paradox— is delightful as well).
(—from, Mills Baker, blog, meta is murder, The Sense of Uncertainty)
 I am no longer confident that what I think I know is knowable.

I fail to verify the slightest intimation of experience or interpretation.

The so-called things that happen morph into debatable opinion as to the data accuracy and someone says “this is so” when it isn’t, and “that never happened” when it did.

It is the time of our times when nothing is what it seems.

We are left standing staring out at landscape as if an artist is brushing mountain into existence and poet is erasing what we see with pronouns and commas that suggest wordless silence is what is both necessary and salvific.

It is an art and, perhaps, a grace to say nothing well.

poetry surrounds us everywhere

This, from louie, louie:
the silent call of the earth.   Posted: 15 Aug 2018 07:11 AM PDT 
                                           Shoes by Vincent Van Gogh 
The philosopher Martin Heidegger saw the painting on exhibition in Amsterdam in 1930 and later wrote about it: 
"From the dark opening of the worn insides of the shoes the toilsome tread of the worker stares forth. In the stiffly rugged heaviness of the shoes there is the accumulated tenacity of her slow trudge through the far-spreading and ever-uniform furrows of the field swept by a raw wind. On the leather lie the dampness and richness of the soil. Under the soles slides the loneliness of the field-path as evening falls. In the shoes vibrate the silent call of the earth, its quiet gift of the ripening grain and its unexplained self-refusal in the fallow desolation of the wintry field." - Martin Heidegger 
"Poetry surrounds us everywhere, but putting it on paper is, alas, not so easy as looking at it. I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream." - Vincent Van Gogh
(—from beth cioffoletti blog,  louie, louie, contemplative awareness in daily life, drawing from and with much discussion of the writings of Thomas Merton, aka "Father Louie")
 Sitting in garden, strewn apple tree fell fruit, surrounded by light raspberry cosmos’, seagull slanting, long leashed beagle sniffing hesitant four year old, his father met dozen years ago by Warren river, view of lighthouse breakwater behind moored sailboats, wood bench after reading aloud from “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, laughter at dog’s suspicion of White House conspiracy to suppress dew claw, the closing of visit, where words hide behind aphasia weeds, wave goodbye from lawn edge, left turn at corner.

I grow quiet.

There is yoghurt, ice cream, half and half to buy.

I grow even quieter.

Disappearing into diminishing light backroads to barnestown road.

Until there are no words hiding.

They’ve gone.

Only poetry.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

to the white house


As for the rest of us:
The wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher.     — Zen proverb

thinking about God; beyond thinking, God

It is a curious feast. A woman assumed bodily into heaven? How does that happen?
Ave Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui, Jesus 
Ave Maria!
Ave Maria Mater Dei
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Ora, ora pro nobis
Ora ora pro nobis peccatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis
In hora mortis, nostrae
In hora mortis mortis nostrae
In hora mortis, nostrae
Ave Maria!
The psalmist writes,
It is he, the Lord Most High,who gives each his place.In his register of peoples he writes:“These are her children,”and while they dance they will sing:“In you all find their home.”  (Ps.87)
A body kept free from all corruption. And taken into heaven, however we conceive of that. This is difficult to imagine, much less comprehend.
The feast day of the Assumption of Mary celebrates the Christian belief that God assumed the Virgin Mary into Heaven following her death It is celebrated on or around August 15 in many countries, particularly in parts of Europe and South America. It's also called the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God (in the eastern countries), or the Feast of the Assumption.
Here is what Dormition reads out in Wikipedia:
 The Dormition of the Mother of God (GreekΚοίμησις ΘεοτόκουKoímēsis Theotokou often anglicized as Kimisis; Slavonic: Успение Пресвятыя Богородицы, Uspenie Presvetia Bogoroditsi;Georgian: მიძინება ყოვლადწმიდისა ღვთისმშობელისა) is a Great Feast of the Eastern OrthodoxOriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches which commemorates the "falling asleep" or death of Mary the Theotokos ("Mother of God", literally translated as God-bearer), and her bodily resurrection before being taken up into heaven. It is celebrated on 15 August (28 August N.S.for 
those following the Julian Calendar) as the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God. The Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates the Dormition not on a fixed date, but on the Sunday nearest 15 August. 
The death or Dormition of Mary is not recorded in the Christian canonical scriptures.   
This morning is quiet.

If God is beyond thinking, then God is hard to come by.

Only mythopoetic twirling, a Sufi dance of ecstatic wordless gaze, allows any entrance into what is about God beyond thinking.

I nap on this, a dormition of Vidyā, a letting be of aphasiac indecipherability.
O Waly, Waly 
The water is wide I cannot get o'er, 
And neither have I wings to fly.
Give me a boat that will carry two,
And both shall row, my love and I. 
O, down in the meadows the other day,
A-gathering flowers both fine and gay,
A-gathering flowers both red and blue,
I little thought what love can do. 
I leaned my back up against some oak
Thinking that he was a trusty tree;
But first he bended, and then he broke;
And so did my false love to me. 
A ship there is, and she sails the sea,
She's loaded deep as deep can be,
But not so deep as the love I'm in:
I know not if I sink or swim. 
O! love is handsome and love is fine,
And love's a jewel while it is new;
But when it is old, it groweth cold, 
And fades away like morning dew.

Still, I remember Jo-Ann from Nicolet and Meriden. Janet from Camden. And things I cannot explain or comprehend from places beyond and about.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

until samsara ends

This from Tibetan Dedication prayers:
Long-Life Prayer for His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama 
In the snowy mountain paradise
You’re the source of good and happiness.
Powerful Tenzin Gyatso, Chenrezig,
May you stay until samsara ends.
 We are fond of the Dalai Lama. When a leading person exudes intelligence and grace the air is clearer for us to listen and see what is being said and done. The ground for trust seems firmer.

Samsara, further, is explicated:
In Buddhism, samsara is often defined as the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Or, you may understand it as the world of suffering and dissatisfaction (dukkha), the opposite of nirvana, which is the condition of being freed from suffering and the cycle of rebirth.  
In literal terms, the Sanskrit word samsara means "flowing on" or "passing through." It is illustrated by the Wheel of Life and explained by the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. It might be understood as the state of being bound by greed, hate and ignorance--or as a veil of illusion that hides true reality. In traditional Buddhist philosophy, we are trapped in samsara through one life after another until such time as we find awakening through enlightenment. 
However, the best definition of samsara, and one with more modern applicability may be from the Theravada monk and teacher Thanissaro Bhikkhu
"Instead of a place, it's a process: the tendency to keep creating worlds and then moving into them." And note that this creating and moving in doesn't just happen once, at birth. We're doing it all the time."
 (—O'Brien, Barbara. "Samsara: the Condition of Suffering and Endless Rebirth in Buddhism." ThoughtCo, Jun. 22, 2018,
The observation by the Theravadan teacher suggests a participating co-creating function each one of us contributes to and embodies in this existence in this world. (I cannot speak of, nor do I know, if and what nor how other dimensions or other worlds might fit into this consideration.)

Not enlightened, I only seem to be able to function with these five senses, some intuitive speculation, and an organizing intellect that seems to work only part time during a three day workweek.

My ineffectual concern and disappointing anger seem to be on a loop of arrival and departure that would successfully mirror the schedule of the Lincolnville Beach-Islesboro ferry.

So it is the Dalai Lama should stay around until samsara ends.

He is such a delight!

Monday, August 13, 2018

smartass smartmouthed smarmy sneering

Imagine such a response to Washington Post opinion piece, This is not a hoax, and things are not okay,   by Joe Scarborough, 12aug18!
Thank you, Mr.Scarborough! 
I concede the stupidity of my fellow laddies and lassies when it comes to cold eye hard look appraisal of obvious patterns and trends. We seldom see what we are looking at; but we always see what we are looking for.  
My esteemed but myopic relatives do not see craven and debilitating men tearing through the fragile fabric of civilized stability. Rather they see in the Trump, Pence, McConnell, Ryan cadre the smartass smartmouthed smarmy sneering bullies they wish they could be, swinging wildly their submerged rage at the unfairness and hypocracies inherent in utilitarian inequality where majority or might takes batten and spoils from minority or weakness citing only “winners take all” or “losers weepers” to the madding crowd. 
A time will come, I trust, when the weeping will become so prevalent that no one will escape the God-awful truth that what has been lost has been lost irretrievably due to incredulity at the threat, lack of faith in innate goodness, and the horrendous hubris of perverted men who cared for nothing else than their own delusional celebrity. 
At the edge of my cinematic memory I recall a ragged sign fluttering in devastating emptiness, “There is still time...Brother” — and I wonder, will we ever be able to look at one another with respect again?

knowing both vidya and avidya together

I love the website’s name: Never Not Here.
Isha Upanishad - 18 Verses Explained 
The Isha Upanishad (Devanagari: ईशोपनिषद् IAST īśopaniṣad) is one of the shortest Upanishads, embedded as the final chapter (adhyāya) of the Shukla Yajurveda. It is a Mukhya (primary, principal) Upanishad, and is known in two recensions, called Kanva (VSK) and Madhyandina (VSM). The Upanishad is a brief poem, consisting of 17 or 18 verses, depending on the recension.  
Invocation in Sanskrit: Om poornamadah poornamidam poornaat poornamudachyate,
Poornasya poornamaadaaya poornamevaavashishṣyate. 
Invocation - Direct Translation: Om, That is complete, This is complete, From the completeness comes the completeness.  
Explanation to Invocation: ‘The invisible (Brahman) is the Full; the visible (the world) too is the Full. From the Full (Brahman), the Full (the visible) universe has come. The Full (Brahman) remains the same, even after the Full (the visible universe) has come out of the Full (Brahman).’ 
Verse 1: ‘Whatever there is changeful in this ephemeral world, all that must be enveloped by the Lord. By this renunciation, support yourself. Do not covet the wealth of anyone.’
Verse 2: ‘In the world, one should desire to live a hundred years, but only by performing actions. Thus, and in no other way, can man be free from the taint of actions.’
Verse 3 : ‘In to the worlds of the asuras, devils, enveloped in blinding darkness, verily do they go after death who are slayers of the Atman, the Self.
Verse 4: ‘The self is one. It is unmoving: yet faster than the mind. Thus moving faster, It is beyond the reach of the senses. Ever steady, It outstrips all that run. By its mere presence, the cosmic energy is enabled to sustain the activities of living beings.
Verse 5: ‘It moves; It moves not. It is far: It is very near. It is inside all this: It is verily outside all this.’ 
Verse 6 : ‘The Wise man, who realizes all beings as not distinct from his own Self, and his own Self as the Self of all beings, does not, by virtue of that perception, hate anyone.’
Verse 7 : ‘What delusion, what sorrow can there be for that wise man who realizes the unity of all existence by perceiving all beings as his own Self?’
Verse 8 : ‘He, the self-existent One, is everywhere-the pure one, without a (subtle) body, without blemish, without muscles (a gross body), holy and without the taint of sin; the all seeing, the all knowing, the all-encompassing One is He. He has duly assigned their respective duties to the eternal Prajapatis (cosmic powers).’
Verse 9 : ‘They enter into blinding darkness who worship avidya (Ignorance); into still greater darkness, as it were, do they enter who delight in vidya (Correct Knowledge).’
Verse 10: ‘One result they say is obtained by vidya, and another result, they say, is obtained by avidya, thus have we heard from the wise ones who explained it to us.’
Verse 11 : ‘He who knows both vidya and avidya together, overcomes death through avidya and experiences immortality by means of vidya.’
Verse 12 : ‘Into deep darkness do they enter who worship the asambhuti. (the world of Becoming as detached from Being). Into still greater darkness, as it were, do they enter who delight in sambhuti. (pure Being or Brahman).’
Verse 13 : ‘One result is obtained by the path of sambhava (pure Being), and quite a different one by that of the asambhava (Becoming). Thus have we heard from the wise ones who taught it to us.’
Verse 14 : ‘He who knows sambhuti (Brahman) and vinasha (the perishable world of Becoming) both together, overcomes death through vinasha, and achieves immortality through sambhuti.’
Verse 15 : By the lid of the golden orb is the face of the Truth hidden; Please remove it, O Thou, Nourisher of the world. So that I may see Thee — I who am devoted to Truth.
 Verse 16 : O, Nourisher, O lonely Courser of the heavens, O Regulator, O Sun, thou offspring of Prajapati, Remove Thy rays, gather up thy effulgence, So that I may see that which is Thy most auspicious effulgence. The Person that is in Thee, That am I.
Verse 17 : ‘The vital forces (in me are about to merge in) the immortal Prana (the cosmic energy); then this (mortal) body shall be reduced to ashes. Om! O mind! Remember; your (good) deeds, remember.’
Verse 18 : O Agni (Fire God), lead us by the good path that we may (enjoy) the wealth (the fruits of the good deeds we have done). Thou knowest all our deeds. Lord, destroy the deceitful sin in us. We salute Thee with our words again and again
The above write-up is adopted from the online edition of "Isha Upanishad." For detailed explanation follow the link mentioned below:
Upanishads- Timeline: 1200 - 500 BCE 
The Upanishads (Sanskrit: Upaniṣad; IPA: [ʊpən̪ɪʂəd̪]) are a collection of texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts of Hinduism, some of which are shared with Buddhism and Jainism. The Upanishads are considered by Hindus to contain utterances (śruti) concerning the nature of ultimate reality (brahman) and describing the character of and path to human salvation (mokṣa or mukti).
The Upanishads are commonly referred to as Vedānta, variously interpreted to mean either the "last chapters, parts of the Veda" or "the object, the highest purpose of the Veda". The concepts of Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and Ātman (Soul, Self) are central ideas in all the Upanishads, and "Know your Ātman" their thematic focus.The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought and its diverse traditions. Of the Vedic corpus, they alone are widely known, and the central ideas of the Upanishads are at the spiritual core of Hindus.
It should be noted that Of all Upanishads, Isavasya Upanishad (Isha Upanishad), Kena Upanishad, Katha Upanishad, Prasna Upanishad, Mundaka Upanishad, Mandukya Upanishad, Thaithiriya Upanishad, Chandogya Upanishad and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad are considered to be the most important.   
(—from, Never Not Here) 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

sleepless in st.andrews

did i tell you the one 
about nothing


have you heard the one
about no


if you ask me, the one
about two