Saturday, August 03, 2019

this is what is

I wondered after practice this morning about the words by Elie Wiesel. (The content after sitting, and chanting, was about contemplation and The Cloud of Unknowing.) Wiesel's words came to me, "Man defines himself by what disturbs him. and not by what reassures him." And then, "God means movement and not explanation."(--from, Legends of Our Time, The Wandering Jew)

Leaving the chapel/zendo I wondered whether if we did not become disturbed we would not be defined. It felt clearer then, and not encumbered by the possible interpretation that not being disturbed suggested not caring about that which was disturbing.

If not disturbed, is an infinity stretched out as our very being? Or, are we meant to be disturbed (I certainly am) by things and actions that arise contrary and threatening to what we consider the proper or right or humane? Thus, disturbed, we become local, finite, defined.

If heaven is the infinite, down to earth is the definite.

I listened later to someone beginning to talk about his near-death experience:
"I assure you, the only thing you've ever really known is your own consciousness."
"Consciousness is primary and fundamental in the existence of this universe."
(--Eben Alexander III MD, A Neurosurgeon's Journey Through the Afterlife)
 As a Buddhist/Christian, ("You can't say that," said a Catholic priest zen master. "Yes, I can," I responded -- to his smile) -- I hold there is only awareness, or consciousness, or mind. The material world is a manifestation of mind, and, yes, real -- but not the fundamental reality. Which makes this existence dreamlike.
Will you take part in
My life, my love
That is my dream

Life is but a dream
It's what you make it
Always try to give
Don't ever take it
Life has it's music
Life has it's songs of love
(--The Harptones,  1955)
My grandmother used to tell me to mind my mother and father. 

To mind something, now, suggests I enter respectfully and attentively to the reality presenting itself. To go into it. To see it for what it is, as it is, where and when it is.

What, then, is "no-mind"?

When we chant The Heart Sutra we meditate on emptiness. 
Mushin, translated as “no-mind” or “empty mind”, is a state where the mind is not preoccupied by any thought or emotion. It is empty in the sense that it is unbiased, free and adaptable. Mushin is the essence of Zen; and a core princlple of Japanese martial arts. 
In Japan, there is an expression that goes: “mizu no kokoro” or “mind like water”. Mushin is like that, it is like the moon reflected on still water without any ripples and on it’s surface a perfect replica of the moon is reflected, like in a mirror. However, when there are other factors like wind that creates ripples, the image of the moon becomes distorted too. In other words, Mushin is the state when what you observe and what you are become one. The watcher and the watched become the same. When you have thoughts in your mind and your heart, everything is distorted. So you can understand everything and sense everything the way it really is, you have to be completely empty. 
Mushin cannot be grasped with the intellect; it must be experienced.
(--from, Mushin: The Mind Without Mind
So, too, this morning, William Menninger ocso told that only God knows our heart. Out intellect might be known by several entities, but our heart, our secret heart, is known only by God. And God is unknowable but by heart.

So, I ask, what disturbs me? That another gunman is shooting in an El Paso mall? That the government is losing interest in the people? That money is the only moral force is business and power?

I am, indeed, disturbed.

I choose the Ganz Allein. The wholly one. The completely alone. The entirely with. That which is through and through loving itself.

In prison yesterday a phase emerged from a reading: "We are afraid of being alone." And, yes, it strikes me that is what God is -- Being Alone.

It is the Shema. The Lord Alone. The Lord is One.

This is what God is!


Friday, August 02, 2019

fifty years later

 Old friends

need know nothing --

ganz allein

Thursday, August 01, 2019

rejoice the heart

What does God want?

If God is a transcendent and supreme being beyond imagination, what is wanted?

If "God" is the originary energetic impulse inherent in all manner of matter, is there some destination or goal wanted?
“If we would completely rejoice the heart of God, let us strive in all things to conform ourselves to his divine will. Let us not only strive to conform ourselves, but also to unite ourselves to whatever disposition God makes of us.”  (--Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Uniformity with God’s Will, 5)
  What disposition?
1.  a person's inherent qualities of mind and character.
2. the way in which something is placed or arranged, especially in relation to other things.
What is there within us? Inherent?

Or, what is somewhere else? Beyond?
Gazing up at 
The cherry blossoms in spring 
My mind is refreshed 
I can even forget  
The ups and downs of life. 
- Rengetsu (1791-1875). (Dailyzen) 
Either way, it comes down to what is.

It is August.

Time to thank all originators and perpetuators.

Pray to have the heart for it!

a near mortally wounded government

In fifteen months we'll be down to one Democrat candidate for president. 

Between now and then the current occupant of the white house will have exhausted the patience and decency of the greater population. He will either have withdrawn or been deemed utterly unreelectable. 

The Republican Party, damaged beyond recognition after having backed and made excuses for the aberrancy of their prior four years will be splintered into revisionist apologists or reeducated extremists. 

A Democrat will be elected. Who will that Democrat be? It doesn't matter. Whoever it is will be a triage president caring for a near mortally wounded government. 

I think there are hard years ahead.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

unitary reality

Listening is the sacrament of silence and forgiveness.
But I remembered once meeting the great humanistic psychotherapist Carl Rogers, who was the grandfather of a good friend. Later, I studied films of him working with patients. I noticed that he rarely spoke, but that his listening was so devout it drew out the truth from his clients like a healing salve. Something he had written had always stayed with me:

Before every session, I take a moment to remember my humanity. There is no experience that this man has that I cannot share with him, no fear that I cannot understand, no suffering that I cannot care about, because I too am human. No matter how deep his wound, he does not need to be ashamed in front of me. I too am vulnerable. And because of this, I am enough. Whatever his story, he no longer needs to be alone with it. This is what will allow his healing to begin.

Sharing our stories helps us to heal. Intuitively, I sensed that the greatest gift I could offer Travis in that moment was my undivided attention. Listening without judgment is probably the simplest, most profound way to connect. It is an act of love.

Excerpt from: "The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully" by Frank Ostaseski. Scribd.
Each of us is participatory in another’s actions.

Suggesting a deeper prospect of unitary reality.

creation spirituality


Hands and feet

Touch and travel




no love, no god

Does saving our soul mean preserving the life of God within and thus without?
Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.”
(—Ignatius of Loyola)
Is this what I have been missing?

Is God before and beyond us as that which is praised, reverenced, and served?

Saying it differently, is that which is praised, reverenced, and served — God?

Do I love God?

And not loving, there is no God?

No love, no God?

For me?

Is God that which is in the very act of praising, referencing, and serving?

Without which nothing else is?

Today is Ignatius’ feast day.

I greet this reality.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

vive la différence*

There is a nomadic quality to monads. Wandering away from home into a solitude that longs for home.

We created a motto for our hermitage:
Embodying the dwelling place of the Alone;
Stepping aside to make room for Another.
While looking toward intimacy with all things, all beings -- there is a non-attachment that is called for which some mistake for detachment.

They're not the same thing.

...   ...   ...

* (responding to David Brook's op ed piece, 29july2019)

reversing the blade at each turn

      For Sam Manning (d. 9july19)

sculling through narrow

dockage, Sam stood for passage

to smiling kindness 

Monday, July 29, 2019

to love neighbor as self is unambiguous

He has a death grip on everyone's attention.

He will be remembered as a president who shattered the office, broke congress, made criminality his prime bragging right, and left in his wake a disillusioned country. 

He’ll wear all such designations as medals of accomplishment and Emmys of notoriety.

We have in this person a truly disconcerting phenomenon. 

He’s our president. 

We created him.

be an outcast

For a long time poetry has been the way, for me, to see through the world.

I like what I see when I see through poetry.

Be Nobody's Darling  
                  By Alice Walker
Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous
Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.
But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.
There is poetry to putting hands together in gassho whenever passing a cemetery.

Ask those there to pray for us. Invite them to be with God.

My plan is to fashion a tee shirt that says on front:
May God
have  mercy
on your soul 
And on back:
May God
put mercy
in your soul 
I will wear it to every gathering where prejudice and meanness is preached until I get arrested, go to jail, and die in prison.

Someone at Sunday Evening Practice said they'd visit me in prison, sit with me as I lay dying.

That was a kind offer.

Sunday, July 28, 2019


This is the age of compromised morality when virtue is for saps and the really cool guys and gals are devoid of any resemblance to family values and religious nobless oblige.

Rather, slime and seduction, mockery and megaphone insults — these are what a real (woe)man, a real leader needs to thrive.

I don’t buy it.

I think that Ms Dowd’s turn to herself as story with self referencing soap operatic memes is a brilliant display of trump-shtick writing mirroring the president-shtick tv show currently running on every channel and reviewed in every news column.

When the Theater of the Absurd had its run last century who would have thought it would be embodied and performed as our daily bread from political and church pulpits much the way Soma was delivered in George Orwell’s Brave New World.

Are we citizens now mere data points for meaningless unconscious consumption of both burlesque governance and parody punditry?

I am loathe to think...