Saturday, June 29, 2019

the realm of I don’t know

I asked if she had anything to tell me.


I told her all would be well.


I sat in silence.

Birds sounded through open door, air refreshing.

I said some prayers. Chanted Om Mane Padme Hum,

(Behold what is within without)

Watched her lovely face relax. It was just us.

I get up to leave as undertaker arrives.

Thank her for allowing me to sit with her.

Gassho. Bow. Grateful.

Friday, June 28, 2019

what, originary presence

Writing about Jean Gebser, Jeremy Johnson says:
This incipient integral nothing short of a leap from civilization as we know it (to what, we know not yet). It is an age unfathomable to us, however necessary, one in which Gebser suggests to us that, "the divided human being is replaced by the whole human being." ...At the outset, the integral is an intensification of originary presence in the human person.
Then, further down the page:
In the rolling thunder of the immanent present, all that we are, all that we have been, and all that we could be, is radically us.
Time is whole and therefore you are whole. 
(- pp. 2-3, Seeing Through the World, Jean Gebser and Integral Consciousness, 2019) 
Outside, bamboo wind chime oscillates hanging from extended wire eighteen inches from bird feeder. Something has lander. Maybe Bluejay. Morning song alongside road tires. Woodpecker's own hollowing from distance.

If what we are and what we will be is radically us, and what I have been and what I now am is me, then -- what?

Is originary presence the ground of Being, the stretch of origin through what we call time?

Is awareness of this 'what' the intensification of originary presence?

Everything arises in the moment and returns to the moment in what we might call a stretch of duration.

Dryer rounds.

Cats circle.

Time to dress for prison conversation.

Thursday, June 27, 2019


Sitting out on porch

chapel/zendo after walk —

nothing but silence

padre y hija

father and daughter,

faces hidden in Rio Grande waters --

perdónanos! perdónanos!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


She don't ride these days. Her big Harley grows weeds for two years. Same way catspaw is on its gunnels. Then again, for want of a nut, black bicycle's tire leans against workbench.

The deficiencies of a season.

Maybe it is hospice volunteer time come home -- the way bodies slowly go to longer stillness.

Or maybe it is the deterioration of the ethos of crude and rude presidency and surrounding cynical support faces smiling anger and bald-facing lies.

Or it's June. The way it lets go of spring and lets summer step over with blackflies, no-see-ums, mosquitos, and ticks. Suddenness of sun. People from away in new shorts and sneakers. Lines of cars as you watch from town stop signs.

Whatever it means these days, its probably what we used to call depression. Blahs. Who cares? Barn sill and floor undergirdings soften. Squirrels steal birdseed. Skunks plan their summer vacations to dooryard. House-cats want out. Democrats want in. Rain wants to stay.

Naps seem like the best paycheck.

Zazen calls.

As does Lauds. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Feels like early November

Rain distressing

Politics with no thanks given


If A.I. (artificial intelligence) points out the G.A.U. (God-awful unintelligent) reality of our woebegone president and company, I'd be willing to concede there is hope for its place among us.  

Otherwise, n.s.f. --  not so fast.

I would like to think an intelligent person doesn't belittle, bully, or betray dignity.

I would like to suggest that truth has value. (Albeit a diminishing presence in our social carelessness.)

Instead, we are in a tortuous time.

And, yes, my inadequacies...

I grieve.

Monday, June 24, 2019

having no function except communication

For Meetingbrook, winter ended at Sunday Evening Practice when we'd moved zafus and zabutons from Merton Bookshed Retreat (winter zendo) over to Dogen & Francis Chapel-Zendo. It wondered where we'd been. The reverberation against pitched rafters of the wooden fish (Japanese, Mokugyo; Korean, Moktak) during chanting of The Heart Sutra gave strong resonance to welcoming us back.

In Catholic tradition, Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity, and Corpus Christi had wandered the esoteric fog of our psyches and settled on cushions as equinox twirls, stops, and rewinds both the planet and our thinking.

All in silence, all in quiet practice.
Very simply, the resurrection is the overcoming or surmounting of death. It is a reawakening or a rebirth; a change of mind about the meaning of the world. It is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit’s interpretation of the world’s purpose; the acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. It is the end of dreams of misery, and the glad awareness of the Holy Spirit’s final dream. It is the recognition of the gifts of God. It is the dream in which the body functions perfectly, having no function except communication. It is the lesson in which learning ends, for it is consummated and surpassed with this. It is the invitation to God to take His final step. It is the relinquishment of all other purposes, all other interests, all other wishes and all other concerns. It is the single desire of the Son for the Father.  
The resurrection is the denial of death, being the assertion of life. Thus is all the thinking of the world reversed entirely. Life is now recognized as salvation, and pain and misery of any kind perceived as hell. Love is no longer feared, but gladly welcomed. Idols have disappeared, and the remembrance of God shines unimpeded across the world. Christ’s face is seen in every living thing, and nothing is held in darkness, apart from the light of forgiveness. There is no sorrow still upon the earth. The joy of Heaven has come upon it.(--from, What is The Resurrection, Manual for Teachers, ACIM)
The women-of-the-flowers dig and prod and plant in various garden spots at the hermitage. The ne'er-do-well of the books finds table reading from Norman Fisher's The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path -- love at center of conflict, impermanence, patience as empty of patience -- during soup and bread we ponder these pointers sipping cheddar-veggie spoonfuls.

This morning, Gregorian chant from French monastery, day-old coffee, sunlight and road-noise along bamboo wind chime and mewing cat, I hear Kingsley say: 
"Theres nothing more dynamic than lying down." (--Peter. Kingsley, on sacred incubation, dying before you die)
These days I practice regularly this napping meditation alongside upright shikantaza. Sleeping and wakeful states intertwine like interrelated vines on climbing trellis. I'm offable in an instant, dreams are my alternate breaths, dissolving alertness into who-knows-where, drifting.

I see a man on hospice several times a week. The brooding incubation toward new hatching!

The little tyke at Hospice House in Rockport was leaving as I arrived on Saturday. His recent surgery and new shunt visible at top of head. He is called little angel, miracle, sweetheart by those attending his visits these eight months.

Joy Harjo is Poet Laureate. Three people read her poems at Friday's Poetry, Tea, and Thee at the Nursing/Retirement Quarry Hill. I find this beginning of her poem "Becoming Seventy" (for Marilyn Kallet):


when the days

grew legs of night.

Chocolates were offered.

We ate latkes for hours

to celebrate light and friends.

We will keep going despite dark
or a madman in a white house dream. 
Let’s talk about something else said the dog

who begs faithfully at the door of goodwill:

a biscuit will do, a voice of reason, meat sticks — 

I dreamed all of this I told her, you, me, and Paris — 

it was impossible to make it through the tragedy

without poetry. What are we without winds becoming words?

Becoming old children born to children born to sing us into

(--from, Becoming Seventy, by Joy Harjo)  
The men inside who drop into Friday morning meetingbrook conversations at Maine State Prison continue their bodhisattva persistence to awaken us into a useful practical knowledge and wisdom about what it means to be lovingly attentive to one another, to listen, and to laugh face to face. Last Friday we read from Richard Rohr's new book The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe. "The Christification of matter" resonated in our cinder-blocked room, through our fond hearts. Everything is the manifestation of body in God, with and as.
Saskia will be posting a GoFundMe page for her project Meetingbrook Healing Respite Sails. (What do people our age have any business doing something like this?) Same, I suppose, as the 98yr old planting a tree on a hill overlooking a wide and irrepressible vista. Something seen cannot be unseen.

A practitioner at sitting practice asks if we will foster-care the Han he had made in Japan. Will it reside awhile on the porch of the zendo, he wondered? I'd seen it once. It is beautiful, and sharp-loud. If it comes, we will announce with it the completing of each sitting and the sending out both blessing and the admonition to wake up, stay awake, life is short, benefit all beings!
Looking back over this piece, it occurs that if I had a dharma name it would probably be ne'er-do-well. It would serve as good reminder that here is no originating person, nothing special, nothing to see, no being of any merit -- but only that which is given and received, with humility and gratefulness.

And so -- Itadakimasu -- everything is received from on high! A soul-friend taught me that -- for which I am profoundly grateful.

Trusting in your well-being --
Saskia, Rokpa, Panta, Chitta, Bill &
all who grace Meetingbrook Hermitage

Sunday, June 23, 2019

on end

Earth is earth. It belongs to itself. So too galaxies; they belong to themselves. And you; you belong to yourself.
Isn't it a pity?
Now, isn't it a shame
How we break each others hearts
And cause each other pain?
How we take each others love
Without thinking anymore
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?
(--George Harrison)
To use another metaphor: Christ is Christ. It belongs to itself. Creation is creation; it belongs to itself. All matter and all energy are not other than Christ.

Today is Corpus Christi.

It is the feast of the Body of Christ.

It is creation's birthday.

Energy and matter -- seen and unseen -- the body of creation itself.

But we don't see it, do we?

Isn’t it a pity?

Not seeing one-self?

The ding an sich:
The thing-in-itself (German: Ding an sich) is a concept introduced by Immanuel Kant. Things-in-themselves would be objects as they are, independent of observation.              (-Wikipedia)
Keep on going.

On end.

It's today.

Consider the metaphor.