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