Saturday, December 12, 2020

toward daily life in awakened awareness

     Every year on or around December 10, the anniversary of Thomas Merton's death, we renew our promises in a public meetingbrook event so as to have witnesses. This year, at Friday Evening Conversation over zoom, we so did.

With gratitude for all witnessing and quietly complicit

    Meetingbrook: the Three Promises

Three promises: 

Contemplation,  Conversation,  Correspondence. held by Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage “m.o.n.o.” (monastics of no other).

...   ...   ... 

    Contemplation  is the promise of simplicity.
It is a gift of poverty inviting open waiting, receptive trust, attention, and watchful presence. It is a simple Being-With. 
It is attentive presence.

    Conversation  is the promise of integrity. 
It is a chaste and complete intention to listen and speak, lovingly and respectfully, with each and all made present to us. It is a wholeness of listening and speaking. 
It is root silence. 

    Correspondence  is the promise of faithful engagement.  
It is responsible attention and intention offered obediently to the Source of all Being, to the Human Family, to Nature. It is a faithful engagement with all sentient beings, with this present world, with existence with all its needs & joys, sorrows & hope.
It is transparent service


Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage invites & welcomes individuals interested in the practice of these 3 promises in their life. Whether the interest is in conversing, praying, deepening, learning, or even holding these 3 promises, we invite you to enter the inquiry and stillness. May the loving light and the compassionate peace of the Christ and the Bodhisattva accompany and support the efforts of each one. 



1.  We are going to have to create a new language of prayer.  (Thomas Merton, Calcutta 1968)

2.   When you go apart to be alone for prayer…see that nothing remains in your consciousness mind save a naked intent stretching out toward God. Leave it stripped of every particular idea about God (what he is like in himself or in his works) and keep only the awareness that he is as he is. Let him be thus, I pray you, and force him not to be otherwise.   (Anonymous)

3.   I long for a great lake of ale. / I long for the men of heaven in my house. / I long for cheerfulness in their drinking. / And I long for Jesus to be there among them. (Brigid, Celtic saint)

4.   It is not by closing your eyes that you see your own nature. On the contrary, you must open your eyes wide and wake up to the real situation in the world to see completely your whole Dharma Treasure, your whole Dharma Body. The bombs, the hunger, the pursuit of wealth and power - these are not separate from your nature….You will suffer, but your pain will not come from your own worries and fears. You will suffer because of your kinship with all beings, because you have the compassion of an awakened one, a Bodhisattva. (Thich Nhat Hanh)     

5.   He who truly attains awakening knows that deliverance is to be found right where he is. There is no need to retire to the mountain cave. If he is a fisherman he becomes a real fisherman. If he is a butcher he becomes a real butcher. The farmer becomes a real farmer and the merchant a real merchant. He lives his daily life in awakened awareness. His every act from morning to night is his religion.  (Sokei-an) 

Friday, December 11, 2020


In The Atlantic, this: 

In political science, the term coup refers to the illegitimate overthrow of a sitting government—usually through violence or the threat of violence. The technical term for attempting to stay in power illegitimately—such as after losing an election—is self-coup or autocoup, sometimes autogolpe.

( from, ‘This Must Be Your First’, DECEMBER 7, 2020, Zeynep Tufekci, Contributing writer at The Atlantic)  

Sounds like swallowing one's self. 

louise glück, a reflection of poetry

She quotes Emily Dickenson:

              I’m nobody! Who are you?

               Are you nobody, too?

             Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell! 

              They’d banish us, you know… 

She finishes with:

Those of us who write books presumably wish to reach many. But some poets do not see reaching many in spatial terms, as in the filled auditorium. They see reaching many temporally, sequentially, many over time, into the future, but in some profound way these readers always come singly, one by one.

I believe that in awarding me this prize, the Swedish Academy is choosing to honor the intimate, private voice, which public utterance can sometimes augment or extend, but never replace. 

(--The Poet and the Reader: Nobel Lecture 2020Louise Glück NYRB, Jan.14, 2021 Issue)

There's a reflection of poetry! 

orange sky before sunrise

 Yes, insanity is in the air.

The death toll daily from coronavirus reaches over three thousand in US.

I am purchasing a wood backscratcher.

There, at least, some relief.

O my brothers and sisters, may you be well!

Breathe carefully.

Mask out insanity.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

it is thomas merton’s death day, 1968

Experiencing this


 In Silence God ceases to be an object and becomes an experience. (—Thomas Merton)

He was


One man 

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

refusing reality

 It is a difficult time. I wish the lame duck president would stop his dangerous and devious denial of the recent election which he lost decisively.

He is attempting to overturn the election.

Some losers refuse reality.

dialogue with a student


I agree with most of what the author said in this chapter. However, there are probably many unknown circumstances that contributed to the Shaolin monk’s decision to create a system of martial arts. I believe the rationale the monks employed to justify the creation, and execution of an art that seems to conflict with their beliefs, is as timeless as sand. Of course, whether their commitment to martial skills conflicted with their beliefs is debatable. I personally think it does, but that contradiction returns the near mythical mystique of these venerable monks back to the[ realm of humanity.


Enjoyed thinking along with you.


I loved your thesis sentence: "The root of my topic really is the rationale human beings use to justify actions that contradict their belief systems or even their conscience."


It contains four fascinating areas of thought; (maybe 5):

1.     human beings

2.     justifiable actions

3.     belief systems

4.     conscience

For me, it invites some of my thinking:


1.     So many use the word “human” as a justification of imperfection (“I’m only human.”) I feel this is a misuse. I submit we are not yet human. Someone (I don’t remember who) said something like: To be truly human is to be human/divine. There might be a Christ-related insinuation in such a statement. But it intrigues me. Are we on the way to being human? Is contemporary man the missing link between primates and the human being? Is the real revelation of the Christian metaphor – not that we are sinful and deserving of condemnation – but that we are in process and have no fixed identity in this fluctuating state we find ourselves presently. That our true dwelling place is in the ambience of compassion and radical truth?


2.     We act because actions are what is required of us. (E.g. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.) We are creatures of movement. The question is – to what are we moving?


3.     When the movement and the fluctuating uncertainty become too difficult for us, we create beliefs to slow and root us. Belief is a holding place for the activity of thought which is quickly and always on its way elsewhere. 


4.     We have a natural and unassailable rock foundation in our developing nature for assessing what is right and what is wrong. We are, I submit, situationally astute and morally aware of what we should do and what we should not do. But then, at this point, we have to return to your thesis sentence.

You send me to the exhortation so often heard – that we should have the courage of our convictions. 


Tricky word, “conviction”: 


Definition of conviction

1: the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court of law

2a: a strong persuasion or belief

b: the state of being convinced

3a: the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth

b: the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth


I’m going with 3b. We are compelled to admit the truth. To let it in. It is there. It most likely is the ground of being. It is what we are.


Admitting what we are – ah – there’s our difficulty and our glorious potential.


So it comes down to your thesis sentence.


And then there’s #5 of the fascinating areas of thought:


5.     rationale – “a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action or a particular belief.”

Instead of operating from the felt center of our being, we, novices of logic and belief, create reasons for our turning away from the truth/truths we inherently know.


And here we are.


Thanks for the prompt.


[per. jw ]

dialogue with student


Well kids, I’ll tell you, ideals don’t often reflect reality or the true nature of things.  People kill for all sorts of reasons. 


True. And you raise the stakes here.  

I agree that “the true nature of things” is a noble quest. But we have to consider there is “the nature of things” – that which appears before our senses and evokes a response. And the “true nature of things” which some thinkers posit as being that which remains hidden from the senses, residing at core, an unreachable (by reason) reality that is the ground of being, the root of reality, the essence of existence.  

These phrases are suggestive of the hiddenness of Truth. 

How, then, do we live in the truth? 

How discern what is the ground, the root, the essence? 

Heidegger took the Greek word as if it was, and pointed to, truth:

Aletheia (Ancient Greek: ἀλήθεια) is truth or disclosure in philosophy. It was used in Ancient Greek philosophy and revived in the 20th century by Martin Heidegger.

Aletheia is variously translated as "unclosedness", "unconcealedness", "disclosure" or "truth". The literal meaning of the word λήθεια is "the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident." It also means factuality or reality.[1] It is the opposite of lethe, which literally means "oblivion", "forgetfulness", or "concealment".[2] According to Pindar's First Olympian Ode,[3]”. (wikipedia)

...   ...   ...


We are getting to the crux.  There is an inherent flaw in a society that relies exclusively on the “dignity framework” (as opposed to the honor framework of earlier societies). 


 Great word to use here. In the Christian metaphor, “cross” might be the “inherent flaw” on which “Christ” or “truth” was hung upon.


Then, the problem for us: does truth die and the inherent flaw remain? Or, does truth become entombed in the deep hidden unapparent ground – awaiting each individual’s resurrecting awareness to (temporarily) emerge and enlighten the circumstances wherein it is called?


Myths and metaphors are lovely. They involve us.



Tuesday, December 08, 2020

remember remember the eighth of december

Siddhartha. Mary. John.

Gautama. Mother of Jesus. Lennon.

Happy enlightenment day. Happy being-conceived day. Happy death-day.

We are all enlightened. We are conceived with no barriers. We have the poetry and music to imagine.

One Buddha. One full of grace. One giving peace a chance.

Touch the earth. Open to God. Sing your truth.

Remember one. Remember one. Remember how the hero was never hung.

Monday, December 07, 2020

dialogue at a distance


I would choose a benevolent dictator.


Thanks for the prompt.

Democracy, or a pale version of it, is troublesome. The thought is that people gathered together will come up with good standards for living and assisting other people to live.  

Monarchy, or a single ruler, benign or despotic, can get things done without the push and pull of differing opinions. 

If Hobbes is right and we are of a troublesome nature, which type of correction is most likely? Stab the monarch? Vote out the cad? Which is the best solution? 

It is a magnificent and difficult discussion as to what type of system is to be best employed for our troublesome population. 

As a semi-hermit, I prefer no one telling me how to live. On the other hand, as a semi-hermit who is of advancing age, I’m glad not to be rummaging through trash bins for my daily sustenance. 

If a benevolent leader who is not corrupted by the power invested in him/her were to presume to rule this unwieldy bunch of miscreants that are my brothers and sisters, I would reluctantly consider giving that person a chance.  

But there’s always that echo of Thomas Hobbes shaking his head and saying – Be careful, be careful!

declaration of conscience


To what is

To what is coming to be

Preparing open heart and mind

The difficulty of existence

Advenire Arigatō


Sunday, December 06, 2020

and with your breath


To be

With you


Happy Sinterklaas Day!

Make yourself a present!

Love from Maine

seeing this

(2 halves of a panaromic view up north in the Laurentians.

Photos by Mark Greenwald, pic 265)



                              (after pic 265)

Some say there’s no God

They’re right — MU — God’s no-where. Here,

Seeing this — such grace!

(wfh, 6dec2020)

couplets for those nearly insane

It is said that stupid is as stupid does.

Brazen stupidity does not diminish stupidity.

Love God. Love neighbor. Same thing.

Pray a cure for and recovery from stupidity.

When we can say “I see you, I see truth”

A long nightmare will fade and be forgotten.