Saturday, February 09, 2019

then what happens

The work, the rabbi says, is soul finishing with dead body

The grief it feels

The way forgetting drips, very very slowly, from hard hard ice

friday mornings

 These numbers are harsh.
Even with all the attention it receives, the scale of incarceration and punishment in the United States can still be hard to comprehend. On any given day, about 1.5 million people are in state and federal prisons; another 750,000 are in county jails (most still awaiting trial); and over 4.5 million are on probation or parole. Over the course of a year, over 600,000 people enter prison, and roughly the same number are sent home; and over 10 million people are admitted to jails annually. About 2.5 million more enter or leave parole or probation. 
Put differently, the United States is home to about 5 percent of the world’s population but holds over 20 percent of the world’s prisoners and nearly one-third of its women prisoners. The only countries with rates even close to ours are places like El Salvador, Turkmenistan and Cuba; allies like Canada, France and Germany have rates on the order of one-tenth ours (yet have similar crime rates and substantially lower homicide rates). Ours is a massive experiment in punitive social control that imposes disproportionate costs on people of color and those who are poor—and one that is nearly impossible to justify even remotely, at least on public safety grounds.
(in, Why today’s criminal justice reform efforts won’t end mass incarceration, by John PfaffDecember 21, 2018, America Magazine)
We sit together.

It's not much.

But it's something.



In prison, CJ gives wood sculpture
book on stand, poems and quotes
laser engraved -- "Was gonna write
on it 'Good riddance'."  I wondered
aloud how much I could get on eBay.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

calling out

I can’t help but wonder

how to survive the stupidity

that man sets to drowning 

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

leave the mud, stand up

We are encouraged to stand up.

It takes effort.
Blowing through the heaven and earth, and in our hearts and in the heart of every living thing, is a gigantic breath — a great Cry — which we call God. Plant life wished to continue its motionless sleep next to stagnant waters, but the Cry leaped up within it and violently shook its roots: ‘Away, let go of the earth, walk!’ Had the tree been able to think and judge, it would have cried, ‘I don’t want to. What are you urging me to do? You are demanding the impossible!’ 
But the Cry, without pity, kept shaking its roots and shouting, ‘Away! Let go of the earth, walk!’ 
It shouted in this way for thousands of eons; and lo, as a result of desire and struggle, life escaped the motionless tree and was liberated…. 
Animals appear—worms—making themselves at home in water and mud. “We’re just fine here,” they said. “We have peace and security; we’re not budging!”
But the terrible Cry hammered itself pitilessly into their loins. “Leave the mud, stand up, give birth to your betters!” 
“We don’t want to! We can’t!”
“You can’t, but I can. Stand up!”
And lo! after thousands of eons, humans emerged, trembling on their still unsolid legs.
The human being is a centaur; our equine hoofs are planted in the ground, but our body from breast to head is worked on and tormented by the merciless Cry. We have been fighting, again for thousands of eons, to draw ourselves, like a sword, out of our animalistic scabbard. We are also fighting—and this is our new struggle—to draw ourselves out of our human scabbard. Humanity calls in despair, “Where can I go? I have reached the pinnacle, beyond is the abyss.” And the Cry answers, “I am beyond. Stand up!” All things are centaurs. If this were not the case, the world would rot into inertness and sterility.
(--in, Report to Greco, by Nikos Kazantsakis, 291-292) 

As the nation hears tonight one man's version of the State of the Union, hundreds of millions who sit skeptically at the edge of their seats, ready to rise, quietly pray --
“Leave the mud, stand up, give birth to your betters!”  

nothing of the already made

What we think of God, what we think God is, is not God.

We cling to the already. God is not yet.

Approaching God is a process of movement, action, and contemplation.

Ours and God's.
Everything is obscure in the idea of creation if we think of things which are created and a thing which creates, as we habitually do, as the understanding cannot help doing. We shall show the origin of this illusion in our next chapter. It is natural to our intellect, whose function is essentially practical, made to present to us things and states rather than changes and acts. But things and states are only views, taken by our mind, of becoming. There are no things, there are only actions. More particularly, if I consider the world in which we live' I find that the automatic and strictly determined evolution of this well-knit whole is action which is unmaking itself, and that the unforeseen forms which life cuts out in it, forms capable of being themselves prolonged into unforeseen movements, represent the action that is making. itself. Now, I have every reason to believe that the other worlds are analogous to ours, that things happen there in the same way. And I know they were not all constructed at the same time, since observation shows me, even to-day, nebulae in course of concentration. Now, if the same kind of action is going on everywhere, whether it is that which is unmaking itself or whether it is that which is striving to remake itself, I simply express this probable similitude when I speak of a centre from which worlds shoot out like rockets in a fire-works display-provided, however, that I do not present this centre as a thing, but as a continuity of shooting out. God thus defined, has nothing of the already made; He is unceasing life, action, freedom. Creation, so conceived, is not a mystery; we experience it in ourselves when we act freely. 
(--Henri Bergson. "On the Meaning of Life -- The Order of Nature and the Form of Intelligence", Chapter 3 in Creative Evolution, translated by Arthur Mitchell, Ph.D. New York: Henry Holt and Company (1911): 186 - 271. 
A lecturer told about the dark night of the spirit.

It is when what we imagined and thought God to be disappears.

We are left with nothing familiar, nothing resolvable, nothing at all.

Then, you can say, begins prayer. 

Monday, February 04, 2019

s w i g

At Sunday Evening Practice, in the quiet composure of a roomful of shikantaza practitioners sitting at hermitage, the following occurs to mind as what we are doing:





Reading the room, and following the words, slowly and carefully, a few times -- a revelation of various things.

It's what practice does. 

alea iacta est

Now that America's most solemn, hermeneutically analyzed, and religious event of the calendar year is over --

Go in fervor!

Sunday, February 03, 2019

for their new Han

       (welcoming neighbor)

Standing at barn door —
From across mountain foot water
Insistent call from cousin wood
To practice morning


“Who knows anything?”

“I do,” says Place looking at Time.

Time says nothing.

Looks at Place, looks away, and does not stay.