Are there angels?
yourself -- what is
Are there angels?
yourself -- what is
A comment following New York Times article on Sir Anthony Hopkins:
This period of life had been called "second childhood." before we had a taxonomy of dementia that dehumanized this stage. Hopkins and I are among the lucky ones, both in our eighties who, far from suffering, are shedding life's disappointments to relish the comfort an infant feels in a loving family. My short term memory is sporadic, reminding me of the myriad jokes such as "the good thing about getting Alzheimer is you can hide your own Easter Eggs" This is actually true, but it also means that finding your glasses can be frustrating, as are the names of long time friends. On the beneficial side is that the residue of cognitive function allows the possibility of focused thinking unfettered by considerations of societal opprobrium. Those who are quite lucky, facilitated by a loving relationship, can relish the pleasures of sensual emotional comfort that are transformative. For me it even allows acceptance of the reality of our nation and the world being in the hands of a single individual. Anger isn't in my repertoire, nor is hatred, as the resolution is out of my control. Too many people suffer in this final stage of life, as the industry of "eliminating Alzheimers" thrives. Suffering during this stage of life would be diminished if no longer a source of profit for those marketing costly placebos.
(—re. article, “Anthony Hopkins Makes It Look Simple. (And Maybe It Should Be.)”, New York Times, by Kyle Buchanan, Nov. 19, 2020)
Ama Nesciri Camden Maine
He draws me in. I am mesmerized by his work.
I remember him in “Instinct” (1999), a remarkable film loosely based on the novel “Ishmael”. He is riveting as the traumatized and intensely committed anthropologist Dr. Ethan Powell.
Quote:” We have only one thing to give up. Our dominion. We don't own the world. We're not kings yet. Not gods. Can we give that up? Too precious, all that control? Too tempting, being a god?” (Hopkins as Ethan Powell)
In all his work he makes me smile with gratitude that I’ve been able to view his talent and unsurpassable presence throughout career and characters.
I am uncertain what to say.
Both Buddhists and Vedantists agree that this subtle ‘I’ should be given up if you want liberation, but disagree about the terminology and how belief in this ‘I’ can be annihilated.
Buddhists say: ‘There is no entity at all, no ‘self’ or ‘I’, just a sequence of causatively conditioned psychic and physical processes.’ For the rest they do not talk about an ‘I’. They even disapprove of talking in terms of ‘I’, for instance in a statement like “When we regard the nature of this knowing as being ‘me’ or ‘I’, and hold onto that concept – this is a small view, and it is confused, mistaken.”¹
Nevertheless in Dzogchen, the radical non-dualistic core of Tibetan Buddhism from which the last quote originated, a number of texts have been produced in the past in which the term ‘I’ is used, even with emphasis, to point out the highest principle, as being the ‘majestic creativity of the universe’. In one of the root texts of Dzogchen, the Kunjed Gyalpo, it is stated:
“I, the creativity of the universe, pure and total presence, am the real heart of all spiritual pursuits”; and
“Because all phenomena are none other than me, I, the all-creating
one, am the decisive experience of everything.”²
From texts like these it becomes apparent how comparative the term ‘I’ actually is. The same term that deserves to be disapproved as signifying a mistake, is apparently also used to denote the highest principle.
(—Excerpt from Introduction to: "I” Is A Door: The Essence Of Advaita As Taught By Ramana Maharshi, Atmananda And Nisargadatta Maharaj" by Philip Renard. Scribd.)
I don’t know what to think.
I think I am being watched.
Waiting for flu shot
Every chair a zafu
Each aisle for slow kinhin
One breath following another —
This place of zen practice
I have not come here to be alone
Alone has come here to be me.
When I am nowhere to be found
What is itself alone will be revealed
If I were a pessimist I’d take pleasure in the unhealthy state of the country and the unhealthy outgoing incumbent still at the helm.
But I’m not a pessimist.
I’m an unknowing being looking at a set of circumstances, causes, and conditions that suggest an ignorance and spiteful uncertainty at the fate of the 65 days remaining until a new president is inaugurated.
Time to go to war.
Time to disable democracy.
Time to suffer viral illness and die from negligence and inane behavior.
I’m not a pessimist. I’m not. I’m really not.
Thich Nhat Hanh has a breathing gatha that is familiar. “ Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.”
This morning I hear it differently:
This is how we know God — by doing what God is doing.
It is a kind of knowing that doesn’t know, but is, what is God’s present activity.
Dirk Vandersloot, the homeopathic doctor, introduced the writings of Ramesh Balsekar to meetingbrook twenty five years ago. We carried The Net of Jewels the year it was published the year we opened the bookshop.
“You have to be there to contemplate the terror of death and your impending absence therewith! Paradoxical, that you must be present first to give rise to the terror of your absence! In fact, the thought of not being here can only be contemplated precisely because you are always here! So death is an idea of absence within your presence!” (--Ramesh Balsekar)
During one of the last satsangs of Ramesh, he used the term ‘Vishal Hriday’.
What is Vishal Hriday? It literally translates as ‘Big Heart’. What it actually means is ‘One Heart’. To place it in the context of his teaching, it translates as ‘All there is, is Consciousness’.
Consciousness functions through each one of us; we are instruments through whom the same Consciousness functions. Nobody truly ‘does’ anything, but all events are a happening that had to happen according to the will of God… the Source… Consciousness. There is no ‘other’ to blame, condemn, or hate. When there is no ‘other’ to hate, there is truly no ‘other’. When there is no ‘other’ there is no ‘me’ as well, separate from the ‘other’. When there is no ‘me’ or ‘other’, then everything is all there is – and all is exactly as it is supposed to be in that moment. This is impersonal love: the absence of separation. Impersonal, for there is no ‘other’ separate from ‘me’ to love personally. Living this understanding (not just thinking it) is Vishal Hriday – a total acceptance of ‘what is’: acceptance of people exactly the way they are – including oneself, of situations exactly the way they are, and even of death – the end of the existence of ‘me’ as a separate entity.
Could there be a greater love than accepting whatever life brings in the next moment? Could there be a greater love than accepting people exactly the way they are? Could there be a greater love than not hating anyone? Ramesh used to say, “I’m not telling you to love everyone. All I am saying is, just don’t hate anyone.”
(--from the book Explosion of Love, in The End of Duality, by Gautam Sachdeva, writing about Ramesh Balsekar's death)
It was good to know Dirk (d. 2014) and good to read Ramesh (d. 2009).
As it happens, they were good to have happened.
These from podcast website Future Primitive.
“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community – a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Next Buddha May Be a Sangha”
“Venerating the past in itself will not solve the world’s problems. We need to find the link between our traditions and our present experience of life. Nowness or the magic of the present moment, is what joins the wisdom of the past with the present. When human beings lose their connection to nature, to heaven, to earth, then they do not know how to nurture their environment. Human beings destroy their ecology at the same time as they destroy one another. From that perspective, healing our society goes hand in hand with healing our personal, elemental connection with the world.”
– Chogyam Trungpa, “The Sacred Path of the Warrior”
This world is not what it seems. How shall I live in this troubling and mind boggling existence?
I think of the Kingdom of God as the Really Real (with two capital Rs). That experience of the Really Real—the “Kingdom” experience—is the heart of Jesus’ teaching. It’s Reality with a capital R, the very bottom line, the pattern-that-connects. It’s the goal of all true religion, the experience of the Absolute, the Eternal, what is.
God gives us just enough tastes of God’s realm to believe in it and to want it more than anything. In the parables, Jesus never says the Kingdom is totally now or totally later. It’s always now-and-not-yet. When we live inside the Really Real, we live in a “threshold space” between this world and the next. We learn how to live between heaven and earth, one foot in both worlds, holding them precious together.
We only have the first fruits of the Kingdom in this world, but we experience enough to know that it’s the only thing that will ever satisfy us. Once we have had the truth, half-truths do not satisfy us anymore. In its light, everything else is relative, even our own life.
(—Richard Rohr, Jesus and the Reign of God, Sunday, November 15, 2020)
You and me
This and that
Here and there.
Nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst. (– Luke 17:21)
I can hardly wait to learn to read. ‘Midst’ is middle. The kingdom of God is between you. Or, maybe, ‘within youse.’