Saturday, March 23, 2019

will we come to see

When final breath is taken and released, what is it that occurs?

The particular form that we call "the body" becomes still and inanimate.

We sometimes say that the "soul" has left the body. Is that true?

Or has the body in its particular detectable form now become undetectable?

Yes, the particular form we've come to know lays still and unbreathing on the bed.

But where does the undetectable formless embodiment released from previous particular form go?

Has it become formless being?

Are our senses not capable to follow the diffused breath now exhaled and intermingled with every breath exhaled in the last 4.5 billion years of earth and the last 66 million years of man's tenancy?

Have we made the mistake of calculating the being of being and the being of particular beings as not of the same lineage?

When final exhalation of particular forms occurs, we are witnessing the continuation of wholeness in ways less and less observable.

Like the observation of silent shikantaza, we gaze at what is before us, seeing and unseeing.

By and by -- will we come to be what we see and unsee? 

Friday, March 22, 2019

ligatura naturans

We are.

Whatever distinction added afterward -- body, spirit, mind. soul. elements, matter, human, divine, reason, emotions -- merely follow.
In this article I propose a theory of the biological and embodied nature of religion. This theory rests upon two premises: (1) Human (and all animal) embodiment places a sentient organism in a meaningful environment, that is, correlates an autopoietic self with a meaningful environment; here meaning” entails both cognition and value, this latter involving some affect and an aesthetic dimension. (2) All human meanings are embodied, including cultural meanings based upon language. Thus, human beings are radically embodied. 
While these two claims stand undisputed among scholars working in em- bodied or enactive cognition,the impetus for this article is that many scholars of religion, as well many scholars in the wider academy, often ignore and often hold beliefs or assumptions that contradict the radical nature of our embodimenteven as they may engage the topic of the body.” Such contrary views ultimately rest on some version of mind-body dualism, which in turn rests upon a picture where humans can abscond from our bodies, including the language and traditions that are extensions of, indeed forms of, our embodiment, in hopes of reaching a God-like vision of reality. Sometimes this entails a narrow and discarnate focus on language. Kimerer LaMothe observes how many scholars of religion assume the primacy of the linguistic and ignore or subsume the bodily.Donovan Schaefer decries the following notion of the body influenced by the linguistic turnA body determined by languagea deanimalized bodyis a blank slate without preexisting affective dispositions.
(from, A Theory of the Embodied Nature of Religion*, David Nikkel / University of North Carolina at Pembroke 3 The Journal of Religion, 137-138)                                     
 It seems to me: To be is to be religious.

Whatever thought, belief, apprehension, or practice follows upon our being as and where we are, firstly we are.

Related and connected, we are.


Ligatura naturans.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

merely where I dwell

No longer thinking about god, God becomes all not thought about.

Walking up stairs, sitting in chair, sipping coffee, watching squirrel.

There is no other place to be; here is what is here.

Do I pray?

I look for nothing not here.

If someone asks for prayer, I say yes.

Do I think of Jesus? Only now does that question resonate.

At no other time does Jesus come to mind.

I glance within.

I see nothing there...

Just within itself.

Expanse beyond expanse, beyond awareness, within immense within.

Do not ask if I believe in God. I cannot answer that question.

I cannot answer because I cannot see beyond that question.

There is nothing I can say that would not sound absurd.

God is beyond belief.

God is this moment speaking. God is this moment coming to be.

I do not believe in this moment.

It is merely where I dwell.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

au printemps, turiya (तुरीय), venīte

It is possible we are becoming lost in victimhood.

Yes, those with money and power have ruled over those without money and power. And yes, the human race seems to be transmogrified into persons of personal opinion rather than persons of relatable rational thought and balanced emotional equanimity.

Universities, students and administration, seem intent on politically censuring or muffling different points of view, focusing on personal pique and social adumbration, rather than intelligent dialogue and dialectics fostering clear and response-inviting interactive conversation.
Blueprint” — and its theory about the evolutionary origins of virtue — became his balm. That’s clear in the book itself, which makes unmistakable allusions to the Yale ugliness. 
“I have seen the effects of overidentifying with one’s group and witnessed mass delusions up close,” he writes. He rues America’s intense polarization, which perhaps makes this “an odd time for me to advance the view that there is more that unites us than divides us.” But advance that view he does.  
His reasoning, oversimplified, is this: Complex societies are possible and durable only when people are emotionally invested in, and help, one another; we’d be living in smaller units and more solitary fashions if we weren’t equipped for such collaboration; and human thriving within these societies guarantees future generations suited to them.  Yes, there are hideous wars and horrid leaders. But if that were the sum of us, how to explain all the peace and progress? Christakis urges a wide angle and the long view.  
“To accept this belief that human beings are evil or violent or selfish or overly tribal is a kind of moral and intellectual laziness,” he told me. It also excuses that destructiveness. “The way to repair our torn social fabric is to say: Wait a minute, that’s not quite right.” 
He mentioned theodicy, which endeavors to vindicate God’s existence despite so much suffering. “Blueprint,” he said, is sociodicy: It tries “to vindicate society despites its failures.” 
A ‘Disgusting’ Yale Professor Moves On, By Frank Bruni, NYTimesMarch 19, 2019,)
It appears we are frightened. We are frightened by what we are. At core, in our 
metaphorical hearts, down to the bone.

We seem to be besieged by frightened men and women in high office who battle 
their demons on a powerful stage by projecting their fear and anger on the 
vulnerable, the unthinking, and even the dead.

It is eminently possible that the core of our individual and collective being is loving-kindness. And we might be afraid of that core.
What’s so important about loving kindness? Well, compare loving kindness with how we normally go through life:
  • Normally: We get stressed, frustrated, angry, anxious, overwhelmed, and then deal with it by running away and going to comfort foods and distractions (or other comforts). With kindness: We might still feel these difficult feelings, but then give ourselves compassion and loving kindness to help deal with it.
  • Normally: We mess up somehow, either by not sticking to a diet or a new habit we’re creating, or not being the person we want to be … and then we feel guilty, beat ourselves up about it, etc. With kindness: When we mess up, we notice the feelings of guilt or harshness and then deal with it by giving ourselves compassion and loving kindness.
  • Normally: We get upset at someone for not acting in the way we’d like, and this can result in us being harsh with them, damaging our relationship. With kindness: We see that this person is acting less-than-ideally because of some difficulty they’re having, and we might give them some compassion or loving kindness. Our relationship gets better.
As you can see, every time we act with compassion and loving kindness, things improve. When we act with harshness or by running away, we make things worse.   
(--from, The 44: The Power of Kindness)

 It is, the Chinese curse would exemplify, an interesting time.

Inter = between.

Esse = to be.

We are beings between -- and we're not fond of being between. We don't seem to like ourselves because of where we locate ourselves; we don't seem to like one another.
So we run to a far edge, and shout from there or write memos from there.

I prefer to be in the middle.

Curiously, it is eremitic there.

We can be alone together there.

I recall a photo of someone on an elevated outcropping looking out. There were words: 
When you find me here, don't think me lonely, only alone. 

Au printemps.

Turiya (तुरीय).


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

why he eschews belief

"That's a long wait for a train don't come." (Mal, in Serenity)

Belief comes slow, late, and seldom at all.

Can we live without belief?

Can we?

of the constellation

A morning of John O'Donohue:
Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality some intimate kindness holds sway. This is the heart of blessing. To believe in blessing is to believe that our being here, our very presence in the world, is itself the first gift, the primal blessing. As Rilke says: Hier zu sein ist so viel — to be here is immense. Nowhere does the silence of the infinite lean so intensely as around the form of a newly born infant. Once we arrive, we enter into the inheritance of everything that has preceded us; we become heirs to the world. To be born is to be chosen. To be created and come to birth is to be blessed. Some primal kindness chose us and brought us through the forest of dreaming until we could emerge into the clearance of individuality, with a path of life opening before us through the world. 
(--from, Kindness: The First Gift--by John O'Donohue, syndicated from, Nov 28, 2014) 
This day of my sister's remembrance of birth twenty years gone.

During the octave of Irish and the remembering of Joseph of the constellation of Mary with Jesus.

worth a listen

This is as good as I've heard.
Senator Warren answering "What role does faith play in your life?"

Monday, March 18, 2019


Three words: here, now, within.

If here is presence, albeit a presence both discernible and indiscernible, might we understand Father by "here?"

If now is immediacy, albeit a now both temporal and eternal, might we understand Son by "now?"

If within is interiority, albeit an interiority in both inner and outer form and appearance, might we understand Holy Spirit by "within?"

These three words are common, everyday, pragmatic.

If our religion is to remain meaningful in an irreligious environment, we might need to reimagine traditional religious concepts into ordinary language rooted in ordinary experience.

Right here.

Right now.

Looking within.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

respect the unsaid and unsayable within

That’s what John O’Donohue said in a talk we watched at practice tonight.


data, Blondel, and the news

Data will be the new currency, said Stephen Fry, rather than petrol or the dollar.  (CSICon 2018 in Las Vegas on October 20, 2018)

I am rich these days. The reading I am able to access is borderless.
All this to say that Merwin’s conception of poetry is devotional in its service to other languages and cultures. The Mays of Ventadorn is not only a story about troubadours handing down their songs through the ages, but about how poetry itself seems to engineer twists of fate in the lives of its acolytes. Early in the book, Merwin relays the story of how Richard, Coeur de Lion, was captured and held prisoner while en route to England after the Third Crusade. His enemies “worked out a ransom for the king that was meant to cripple Richard’s kingdom before he was returned to it”—in addition to stipulating, among other things, that his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine (or Queen Aliénor, as she’s called in the book), marry Count Leopold of Austria’s son. But apparently Richard’s jongleur, Blondel, was pursuing the king’s whereabouts on foot in Austria, when out of nowhere he heard Richard 
singing one of his poems, a tenso: a poem written as an exchange of alternate voices. When pthe [sic] first stanza ended, Blondel sang the second in reply, and so they went on to the end of the poem, each certain by then of who the other was, and Blondel spread the news.
This delightful tale may seem improbable, but is it any less amazing that Richard was the son of Aliénor, the granddaughter of Guilhem IX (considered the first troubadour), who brought their language, the langue d’oc, to Poitiers, where she established a court devoted to chivalric love and song? And that Bernart de Ventadorn followed her entourage as a courtly lover? And that the Holy Roman Emperor himself, Henry of Hohenstaufen, would sit with his prisoner, Richard, and talk about poetry, agreeing to exchange verses? Out of their chat came Richard’s most famous poem, and eight hundred years later, it became the first translation Merwin ever published. It begins, in his updated version:
No prisoner ever said what he was thinking  
straight out like someone who suffers nothing  
but to ease his mind he can make a song.  
My friends are many but are poor at giving.  
It is their shame that, with no ransom coming,  
these two winters I am held. 
(--from, Whole Earth Troubadour, by Ange Mlinko, December 7, 2017 issue, New York Review of Books )
On Friday mornings in prison, in the corner room, the men, having dispensed with tedious dayroom apophatics, cross the border into open thought, and we speak together.

With, as it were, Blondel -- spreading the news.