Saturday, April 11, 2020

no name for it

If you were to suddenly see yourself

in every being

And see every being as yourself

What would you call that?

to think well

 This from Simon Critchley:
Pascal writes of the inability to sit quietly alone in a room as the source of all humanity’s problems; of inconstancy, boredom and anxiety as defining traits of the human condition; of the machinelike power of habit and the gnawing noise of human pride. But most of all, it is Pascal’s thought that the human being is a reed, “the weakest of nature,” that can be wiped away by a vapor — or an airborne droplet — that grips me. 
Human beings are wretched, Pascal reminds us. We are weak, fragile, vulnerable, dependent creatures. But — and this is the vital twist — our wretchedness is our greatness. The universe can crush us, a little virus can destroy us. But the universe knows none of this, and the virus does not care. We, by contrast, know that we are mortal. And our dignity consists in this thought. “Let us strive,” Pascal says, “to think well. That is the principle of morality.” I see this emphasis on human fragility, weakness, vulnerability, dependence and wretchedness as the opposite of morbidity and any fatuous pessimism. It is the key to our greatness. Our weakness is our strength.
(--from, To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die,,by Simon Critchley, in NYTimes, He is professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research

Friday, April 10, 2020

mortem ad

Christic nature



Human nature


...   ...   ...

Is death what we do not understand about transformation of darkness and light into just this awareness of unexplainable Presence?

the cosmos conspires

Profound snowcial distancing.

No electricity for 24 hours (so far).

No cell signal.

Seven inches of heavy wet windy snow.

Branches broken and felled.

Dog loves chasing snowballs.

Powerless this Good Friday.

Just about the perfect day.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

just the way things are

Three inches of wet heavy snow

All power gone, no electricity

Wind —

Comes soon Friday

today, bread, broken

A meal.


a meal.

If you eat

a meal

with love

with others...

Presence itself

is present and

great revelation

takes place.

narrow chinks

What does it mean to look for God?
Ps 68:2-13
4. Laborávi clamans, raucæ factæ sunt fauces meæ;*
 defecérunt óculi mei, dum spero in Deum meum.

Psalm 68 (69)
I am wéaried with áll my crying,* My thróat is párched.
My éyes are wásted awáy *  from lóoking for my Gód.

The psalmist says something we do not hear. It hides in plain hearing. 

It is the translation that has confused us. And it both betrays and reveals the meaning.

“Spera” translates as “I hope.” The word “ quaeritis” would be “look for.”

Hence, ”dum spero in Deum meum” — “while I hope in my God.” 

And yet, the translated phrasing “from looking for my God” hides an interpretation that wishes to reveal a point of view.

To look “for” something need not mean to look for something that is out there to be seen. Another way of seeing this “for” is instrumentally or substitutionally. As in, “I am looking for God” meaning “I am doing God’s looking.”

This suggests — that which is looking is that which is being looked for. There is a simultaneity in that which is looking and that looked for. Jiddu Krishnamurti phrased such a point of view as “the observer is the observed.” We might add,”that which is observing is that which longs to be what it is, the observed observing.”

There is so much to see. It must be exhausting trying to translate something into something it is not — something other than what it is, straining to justify objectification, manufacturing a litany of things not as they are.

Is seeing as God sees exhausting? What would it be like to see everything as it is?

William Blake in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell wrote:
If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.
Is all seeing what we are within itself?
All seeing
We are
It is Passover.

It is Maundy Thursday.

And we are what we celebrate, for now, through narrow chinks. Cracks. A narrow opening. Our liturgies. Rituals. Looking through.

There is nothing other than what is here.

Where are we?

a different night


Behind Ragged




What once


But now


A collation —


Dove calling

Over turning


Wednesday, April 08, 2020

hello in there

Two things:

1. Passover: Even though mindless leaders carelessly condemn so many to mortal danger, may death pass by our doors for now.

2. John Prine:
October 10, 1946 - April 7, 2020)
So if you're walking down the street sometime 
And spot some hollow ancient eyes 
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare 
As if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello" 
(—from, “Hello In There”, song by John Prine)
Poet’s death over president’s sociopathy calls to heart tonight.

willed futility, no more

Is that the best we can reckon? A willed futility? Some turn from some imagined perfection that fell from us? A barrier appears to thwart us from attaining our purpose? Is that the best we can come up with?
Ægrotantis deprecatio
Vanitati creatura subiecta est ... propter eum qui subiecit eam in spe” (Rom 8, 20).
5Locútus sum in lingua mea:*
 «Notum fac mihi, Dómine, finem meum;
et númerum diérum meórum quis est,*
 ut sciam quam brevis sit vita mea».
Ps 38:2-7

A prayer in sickness
“Creation was unable to attain its purpose because of him who kept it so in a state of hope” (Rom 8:20).
And my tongue burst into speech:
 ‘O Lórd, you have shówn me my énd,
how shórt is the léngth of my dáys. *
 Now I knów how fléeting is my lífe.
Psalm 38 (39)

The world hits pause. Outdoors is off limits. The city is sequestered. Curb service. Concern.

Zen is the practice of no barriers. The direct experience of no boundaries. Just like this.

Hope might be a theological virtue, but smashed Hope is how we see through the world today.

We are asked to believe that hope is our foothold into the future.


Smashed hope is the ground of the present. 

There is no future. It is an illusion.

Just now, just now. This is all there is. What we call the future is what we think might come to be.

Without thinking, look into, look at, look as what is here and now.

Now I know. How fleeting in my life. My life is fleeting. To the question, “Who are you?” The response, “I am fleeting.”

What our mythic hermeneutic considers a punishment for some sin of disobedience can be seen differently. 

Let’s look at it as infraction of erroneous belief, a smashed hope of something else, a fleeting realization of the ground of being, sustaining and manifesting what is always and ever here.

Our idea of God punishing is our failure to stand our fleeting ground which opens up under us again and again and ever again.

We have misunderstood Dante. Here’s the text:
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!”
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate!”]  .
Dante (Daniel  Alighieri; 1265-1321)
       Italian poet
       From Dante’s epic poem 
Inferno, the first part of his Divine Comedy (written c. 1310-1321) 
       This line is the most frequently quoted part of the admonition inscribed over the entrance to Hell that Dante sees in the allegorical tour of the underworld he takes in the poem, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. It has also been translated as “All hope abandon, ye who enter here” and “Abandon all hope, you who enter here.” The full inscription above the entrance says:
      “Through me you pass into the city of woe:
       Through me you pass into eternal pain:
       Through me among the people lost for aye.
       Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
       To rear me was the task of Power divine,   
       Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.
       Before me things create were none, save things
       Eternal, and eternal I endure.
       Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
(—from Divina Comedia, Dante Alighieri, in Quote/Counterquote)

We’ve been missing what Dante infers by using the “me” as he does. View his use of “me” with fresh eyes.

Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote that hell is other people. We might consider an addendum: hell is other times, other places, anything that robs you of what is here, now, eternally present, eternal-presence.

We do not yet comprehend that heaven is what is here.

Without me?

My sickness is is my failure to enter where I am, to fully dwell in what I am, to completely become what I have always been.

Abandon hope.

Enter here.

And now.

For something completely different —


...   ...   ...

Was there ever a poem that said it better?

let it go – the
e.e. cummings
let it go – the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise – let it go it
was sworn to
let them go – the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers – you must let them go they
were born
to go
let all go – the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things – let all go
so comes love

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

and rest

Turning to sleep.

After compline.

Salva nos, Dómine, vigilántes, custódi nos dormiéntes, ut vigilémus cum Christo et requiescámus in pace. 
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep; that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace.(—from Compline)
The moon

Grows full

For earth


And rest

vale, o valde decóra

Of course there will be an end to night. It’s what day is for. As when someone will say —it’s over!
Come on out!

That day will come. As sure as the moon grows swell and round. Just as water seeks low ground.
That day will come.

We will count the dead. We’ll visit the sick. Store doors will unlock. Grills and pick your danish will
Open for business.

I need not tell you things have changed. There’s no going back. No, the bickering.
It will remain.

Many lies will put gloves on to bury truth. Pugnacious political hacks will fabricate new history.
The past will wear lipstick.

Ask me if I care. Ask if respect can arise from the tomb. Ask me why my gate stays closed. Hermit monks see no
Reason to buy a gun.

There is no telegram saying — War over. Stop. Come home. Stop. Bring butter and eggs. Stop. I don’t live here anymore.
Full stop.

when all at once it became hard to see

It’s not that things don’t pass on.

It’s not that things seem futile and forlorn

It matters not if you agree with me

Or even that you come to see

The ways in which we fail and flail

Replace ourselves with what’s unreal

The sudden wave of doubt and fear

Running away from here to there

Where no one knows our face or name

And nothing will ever seem the same

As when there was a glimmer of hope

Before it crashed and burned in smoke

Monday, April 06, 2020

drawing all things

 If anyone, Christicly, by going profoundly within and transcending any and all division found there, emerges into a new creation divisionless and divine, that one draws to themself any and all whose longing for wholeness has been a practicing prayer.
℣. Cum exaltátus fúero a terra. ℟. Omnia traham ad meípsum. 
℣. When I am lifted up from the earth,℟. I shall draw all things to myself.
(—in office of readings, Monday in Holy Week)
Who put whom to such a pilgrimage? Who gave over whom to such transformation?

But before giving answer, listen in the dark before twilight to the empty silence of all intent falling deeper into the sounding origin of organic matter itself, its pulsing heart urging upward what longs for light through darkness.

Darkness is not the enemy of light. It is companion. Not to be shed. To be respected as accompanying pilgrim ascending through all barriers and obstacles.

Such is why so many fail to realize their release from ignorance. They try to rid themselves of the road through illusory self by amputating the very ground consisting the passageway we think to be erroneous and traitorous.

The road is ground of inseparate reality, light and dark as giving way to one another in unceasing  dos-à-dos and vis-à-vis in originary perpetuity expressing itself.

Draw and sketch.

Or draw and shoot.

Never thinking you can picture, or kill, what you believe you are aiming for.

No picturing — because it cannot be imagined.

No killing, because it cannot be eliminated.

What is it?


I can’t help

But wonder


This president

Is talking

And acting

The way

He does

Sunday, April 05, 2020

listening closely

In the long reading of the passion on Palm Sunday, there comes the point after the drama and taunting and bargaining when there are these words: “and gave up his spirit.”

The words are not “he died.” Which is how we understand the five words.

The words in the liturgy emphasize: 

Phil 2:8-9: Christ became obedient to the point of deatheven death on a cross. Because of this God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.
There is a point of death going on these days that has everybody thinking. Maybe if we don’t watch the news, if we laugh at the creeping prospect of getting infected, if we mock the eminently mockable silliness of the president, if we wash hands, become faceless, maybe then it will all passover our houses and move to some less deserving door lintels.

That’s not giving up our spirit. That’s trying to pretend we don’t know what “spirit” means and what it means to give it up.

I’ve had my spirit broken, I’ve showed it around at times, I’ve even been spirit-ual here and there.

But to “...give up...spirit” — I don’t know what that means.

I do know what becoming obedient means. It means listening closely. It means following on closely.

This is the time we’ve got right in front of us.

This is what contemplation asks of us.

This week.

the triumph of self-emptying

Our yearly Holy Week retreat at Spencer Trappists is unavailable to us due to restrictions of the Coronavirus.

Here is the Abbot's Palm Sunday homily:
We began our liturgy this morning in the cloister with the blessing of palms and a procession into the Church. We do this as a way of enacting for ourselves what is referred to as Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. This procession also marks our entry into Holy Week. I sometimes wonder if the people who accompanied Jesus on that day really grasped what his triumph means. I wonder if we really grasp its meaning. 
In Mark’s Gospel the scene immediately preceding the triumphal entry is the healing of the blind Bartimaeus. And that scene ends with these words: “Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.” Apparently, the newly sighted Bartimaeus joined in the procession into Jerusalem. Theologically, this scene is telling us that we will need new sight, a new vision to really understand what Jesus’ triumph is all about. If we want to be part of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, as well as our own entry into Holy Week, we will have to see triumph with a clearer vision, from a new perspective. We already know how the liturgical story of this week will unfold. We will be singing a number of times throughout this week, in whole or in part, the familiar chant Christus Factus Est - "being found in human form, he became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  
If we are disciples of Jesus, no matter how weak or anemic our discipleship may be, let us not hesitate as we begin another Holy Week, a uniquely special one due to the coronavirus. Let’s not hesitate to cry out with Bartimaeus, for ourselves and for our world, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me…I want to see.” And let us trust that Jesus will respond by opening our eyes to a new way of being, a new way of living and dying for others. Because for Jesus, and so for us his followers, the only way is the way of kenosis - self-emptying; and the only real triumph is the triumph of self-emptying, the absolute abandonment of one’s self to God and to others; holding back nothing in reserve, as are so many health-care workers, risking and giving their lives during this crisis.  
(--Abbot Damian's Homily for Palm Sunday. St Joseph's Abbey, 6apr20) 
I will miss the quiet pleasure of being with my brothers and sisters this week. 

Change sits across from me, looking into my face.

"Supreme and complete enlightenment, because it is impermanent, is the Buddha nature." (--Dogen Zenji, in Shobogenzo)

palm sunday

Be the one who, when you walk in,
Blessing shifts to the one who needs it most.
Even if you've not been fed,
Be bread. 
- Jelaladdin Rumi -


Stay away from