Saturday, December 31, 2022

new year’s eve

no one has ever seen god

What is seeing itself

One does not see itself

One is not there to be seen

One is the emptiness through and through

As light is that which moves through darkness

Darkness, it is said, cannot grasp light moving through

Tell me this —

What is moving through

seeing through 

your life

Friday, December 30, 2022

don't let anyone put you down

Gotta love Anthony Hopkins:

causing suffering to another

 In prison today we spoke of the difficulty of someone getting into your business, giving you a hard time, harassing you.

"It's prison," a long-timer said to the relative newcomer, "there are bad people here."

Another inmate spoke of ways he goes about extricating himself from antagonistic or aggressive interactions. Short of violence, how respond?

Not an easy conversation.

Sidestepping for a spell, the old-timer wanted to talk about evil. Some words about the meaning of the name "Satan" "Lucifer" or "Shaiṭān." Adversary. Accuser. Missing mark mayhem maker.

Is it true that every act seems to the actor to be good, at least for them? Is "evil" the failure to respond to another in a way befitting our common connection and mutual longing for peace and harmony?

Why do we cause suffering to another?

Why the cross? Why the First Noble Truth?

These are hard questions. In prison there is no escaping them. Nor are they academic considerations. They are immediate, unrelenting, and everyday.

Options were brought up. Strategies. Tactics. Attitudes of mind. And recognition of the suffering, background and foreground, of those involved. "Hurt people hurt people" someone said.

No place for vague philosophy or bromide encouragement here. Just the hard work of considering the physics of light, weightless and shining through darkness, not eliminating it. An impossible nexus of science and spirituality.

Accepting the causes and conditions of real and present approximations of hurt people hurting on other hurt people.

Time grew short. We'd listened. We thought. We spoke to one another. We, by and large, understood the issue. In the context and confines of prison there's no escaping the suffering, misunderstanding, and set of bad choices available to someone faced with unpleasantness and aggressive encounters.

We were Muslim, Buddhist, Greek Orthodox, Catholic, and Shaivite. We talked about how these traditions see things.

We were reading Billy Collins poem "Flying Over West Texas at Christmas" for the second reading when the guard came in to say we had to end, things were shutting down ten minutes early. We did a fast final circle. Wished one another Happy New Year.  Bumped elbows, shook hands, fist knuckled.

The man who brought up the issue stopped at the door, turned, looked straight and steady into my eyes as we stood very close. He said it was helpful. Said he prays. He said he'd take what everybody said and mull it.

I get to walk out.

Lobby officer says, "See you next year, Bill."

"God willing," I said. 

In sha’Allah, I thought.

God help us, I prayed.

I get coffee at the place on Route 1.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

yes, they will soon die

 Innocent children

Are abused, hurt and die —

We adore the wealthy

The powerful above law

Justice cannot find its legs

how’s the wife and kids

I cannot read the name or message the new executive director hands me after the conference in Philadelphia.

In the dream John is sitting at his desk through door in lower gym out of reach; he has died and generous hospitality is gone.

Or course, of course, I have nowhere to go, an artifact of former time, these kindly strangers, don’t even ask who I am.

The wonder of desolation! There is no belonging in rucksack. It holds everything — images of ghosts, tranche confusion, unformed faith, 

Unreadable messages, indecipherable pericope, a failed hermeneutic of a particular life, more empty space than protons unadhering.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

listening to dogen’s uji

 They ski on Ragged

Snowmaking covers downhill —

I walk grassy field

and there she remained


In the middle

Of the night

I call

Your name —

But no sound



No name

Is there to be


No name,

No sound!

If so,

What am I


I think, 

“That’s it —

I am calling

No name with

No sound

In the middle of

The night.”

“And there,” as 

Aunt Ronnie

Would say, 

“She remained.”




Tuesday, December 27, 2022

some flowers before the stone

 Doris sends poem on Christmas.

It’s by Billy Collins.

Whose touch is nigh on perfect.

Flying Over West Texas at Christmas

Oh, little town far below

with a ruler line of a road running through you,

you anonymous cluster of houses and barns,

miniaturized by this altitude

in a land as parched as Bethlehem

might have been somewhere around the year zero—

a beautiful song should be written about you

which choirs could sing in their lofts

and carolers standing in a semicircle

could carol in front of houses topped with snow.

For surely some admirable person was born

within the waffle-iron grid of your streets,

who then went on to perform some small miracles,

placing a hand on the head of a child

or shaking a cigarette out of the pack for a stranger.

But maybe it is best not to compose a hymn

or chisel into tablets the code of his behavior

or convene a tribunal of men in robes to explain his words.

Let us not press the gold leaf of his name

onto a page of vellum or hang his image from a nail.

Better to fly over this little town with nothing

but the hope that someone visits his grave

once a year, pushing open the low iron gate

then making her way toward him

through the rows of the others

before bending to prop up some flowers before the stone.

(—Poem by Billy Collins,  from Aimless)

Monday, December 26, 2022

there’s nothing there

 Meister Elkhart writes that there is no image nor likeness with regard to God. In my youth I was taught that we were created in the image and likeness of God. 

We look for God and we find nothing. And we are surprised.

We search for our self, and we find nothing. We think self-knowledge will clarify things. We discover there’s nothing to know.

What is there to be done with this nothing?

There’s nothing to be done.

Where are we? And where is God?

.   .   .


Here we are.

Look no further than here.

. . .

The going out is the coming in. It’s a quantum paradox.

Here is where there is.going.  Where is that?

. . .


. . .

Finding nothing

Returns here.

. . .


Here is all there is.

There’s no there there.

. . . 

We are always and only here.

As is God.

. . .

As is,


one’s birth is not-i’s death

A story

Only tells

A version

Of reality

Reality itself



And silent

If  I 

Choose reality







I turn 


And there

You go

As I



Into here

Sunday, December 25, 2022

we are poor passing facts

 Happy Birthday, Creation!

And to humanity, a new beginning!

Suffer it well!

we are born for one another, oggi (today)



What is

As is


The Nativity -- The Adoration of the Shepherds

by Antonio da Corregio

As is


For us

Al giorno d'oggi

Saturday, December 24, 2022

{the person} {they are}

 “The {man} who loves for the sake of love only—{he is} completely free.”
    (Thomas Merton, May 4, 1963)

Become that person. Be born as such today, tonight, in the middle of the falling hours into dawn.

Be complete, and thereby, completely free.

Nativity is beyond historical.

It is what you are…

doing now.

that what is true will become evidently true.

A good day to remember that

fiction is the fodder for faith — 

that we create what is meaningful from 

the longing that what is true 

will become evidently true. 

May it be so!


 “Today, if you hear His voice,

8do not harden your hearts,”

(—from Psalm 95)

Friday, December 23, 2022

un buon natale a tutti noi

 The conversation circled around prison, monasticism, military, corporations, structure, intentional communities, and the neutral zone where longing to belong has no localized expression.

In final circle I concluded my preference. That preference is for an accidental, unintentional, haphazard, and non-localized disassembled coterie of irregulars passing (recognized by subtle eye, but unacknowledged, but for a covert synchronous nod in passing).

There’s no community but that of the nature of shared existence.

The Ontic/Cosmo/Theo/Andric community everything shares in, accepting and allowing idiosyncratic and idiorhythmic insouciant participation by dint of being an existent entity appearing and arriving and accommodating.

I pledge and troth myself to such a manifestation when and if and as it occurs.

There are no membership fees.

All is free.

All is safe.

All is happy even when sorrow accompanies.

All are dwelling in their and our true home.

Un buon natale a tutti noi.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

to see the real world

The temptation used to be to only look in temple, church, mosque, meditation hall, or sacred grove.

No more. 

I always liked that Saint Kateri Tekakwitha’s name “Tekakwitha” means “she who bumps into things.” What if holiness is a contact sport and we are meant to bump into things? This is what it means to embrace a contemplative, mystical way of seeing wholeness. It gives a window into complexity and keeps us from judging and scapegoating and demonizing. If we allow ourselves to “bump into things,” then we quit measuring. We cease to Bubble-Wrap ourselves against reality. We stop trying to “homeschool” our way through the world so that the world won’t touch us. Hard to embrace the world . . . if we are so protective and defensively shielded from it. A homie told me once, “It’s taken me all these years to see the real world. And once ya see it—there’s only God there.” 

—Gregory Boyle, The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness (New York: Avid Reader Press,

 If we elide one word from the opening line of William Wordsworth’s poem:

The world is … much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;

The world is not “too” much with us.  “Nature” is our core reality. Nature is much.

But we are not much when we erase or eliminate our “Nature” in favor of artificial constructs and selective beliefs that partialize us into categories of separation and erroneous comparison.

What-is “with-us” is the mystery of the mystical life.

When we began to elide “God” from “Nature” we began to pretend we had control over “Reality” its manifestation, definition, and meaning.

We don’t. Never have, nor ever will.

The only gift worth receiving is “with-us”.

Always and everywhere, as and in, everyone.



Not what we think, but who and what we are.

Only God there!

Bump, bump, bump . . .

Wednesday, December 21, 2022


          (hai, Vietnamese for “two”. For Vinnie who died in Vietnam 20dec1968)

Too many 




Is necessary

Go ahead

Say it


 The bleating

from unsound


fill airways

with absurd


like school-



it was too

good to be




and justice

yo no soy yo -- the transparent pervasive wholeness of endurance

There is a poem that, on second look, reveals itself as the perfect poem for the mystery of creation, incarnation, and the transparent pervasive wholeness of endurance.

The name of origin and enduring presence is I Am.

The name of what-is-being-revealed is Not-I.

The name of this essence, existence, and endurance which evokes and encompasses un-ending diaphaneity of pervasive perseverance is This One.

Here is the meditation:

I Am Not I

I am not I. 
              I am this one 
walking beside me whom I do not see, 
whom at times I manage to visit, 
and whom at other times I forget; 
the one who remains silent while I talk, 
the one who forgives, sweet, when I hate, 
the one who takes a walk when I am indoors, 
the one who will remain standing when I die.

(Poem by Juan Ramón Jiménez, 23dec1881– 29may1956: translated by Robert Bly)

For me, this year, this poem is the celebration of Christmas. 

     Yo No SoyYo

Yo no soy yo 

                 Soy este  

que va a mi lado sin yo verlo,  

que, a veces, voy a ver,  

y que, a veces olvido.  

El que calla, sereno, cuando hablo,  

el que perdona, dulce, cuando odio,  

el que pasea por donde no estoy,  

el que quedará en pie cuando yo muera. 

- Juan Ramón Jiménez

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

eve of solstice

 Dark night



To return 


Monday, December 19, 2022

much better than that

 For 24 hours I could not figure out the koan “Disappointment is giving acceptance."

Then, suddenly, it looked at me.

 Everything’s not OK. It’s much better than that: everything is falling apart around us, within us. But this is great, good news, for in Christ we have been grasped by the love of God and drawn irrevocably into the fullness of his desire for us. For God has, at last, heeded the lonely cry of his creatures, “Please surrender yourself! Lower the heavens. Come down to us.” And he begs for us to surrender to him in return, even as he astounds us, perhaps even disappoints us, with his unpretentiousness and weakness. A Rose has blossomed from Mary’s tender stem. And from this altar we receive his self-surrender to us in a scrap of bread, rose-red with his precious blood.

And I was seen. 

(something) imagined (not) recalled


(I recall)


only your 

eyes seeing 

this emerge


(I recall)


aspettare, non aspettare

 It’s Monday before Christmas.

We’re uncertain 

What is

Being born

To us



Sunday, December 18, 2022

disappointment is believing fiction


The monk said that confusion is grace.

That maybe 

disappointment is 




that means)

Saturday, December 17, 2022

consider this

Our ability to cooperate, says Yuval Noah Harari, is “The ability to invent and believe fictional stories.”     (--from, How Humanity Came To Rule The World | Yuval Noah Harari & Neil deGrasse Tyson on StarTalk, you tube  42 mins)

Tyson responded, “Maybe a better word would be…a bit of mythology.”

“I prefer to use the word fiction,” says Harari.

Friday, December 16, 2022

care and don’t care

The inmate resident quoted Emily Dickinson this morning: "The heart wants what it wants, or else it does not care,"

Tonight T.S. Eliot was quoted:  “Teach us to care and not to care. Teach us to sit still.”

In summary:

Give it no mind;

Do what needs be done;

Then let it go.

the woman in belfast said it

“Sit close

Be brought

Into the fold”

The baker’s

Preparation of

Linzer torte dough

Conversation and 



who are we

 Who we are


Who we are 


Thursday, December 15, 2022

spirituality with each breath

 Religion is the practice of what is holy.

What is holy is that which rises up each moment in each place.

Everyday and ordinary — the origin and manifestation of the holy real.

This religion, this moment to moment practice, is spirituality with each breath.

prayer is the awareness that prayer is this moment arising

Time to pray?




Wednesday, December 14, 2022

amar solo



noche oscura

 “It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.” 

“In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.” 

(— Juan de la Cruz, 1542–1591)

how we see something is how something is seen


Just maybe.

The world is how you see it and what you make of it. If you look at the world with benevolent eyes, the world reciprocates with benevolence. If you project suspicion and self-interest, you get the same in return. Trust begets trust and fear begets fear. Recognizing the benevolence of the universe is not to deny the shadow side, but seeing nature as red in tooth and claw and people as selfish and greedy makes us respond in similar vein. If we sow seeds of malevolence, malevolence will grow; if we sow seeds of benevolence, benevolence will grow.

(from, Satish Kumar, Soil, Soul, Society: A New Trinity for Our Time (Brighton, UK: Leaping Hare Press, 2017), 160, 161–162, 163)

Is that the essence of zen?

To see “what is” there?

“As it is” with us?

...   ...   ...

notes: from Online Etymology Dictionary

malevolence (n.)

"the character of being ill-disposed toward another or others; ill-will, malice, personal hatred," mid-15c., from Old French malevolence and directly from Latin malevolentia "ill-will, dislike, hatred," from malevolentem (nominative malevolens) "ill-disposed, wishing ill, spiteful, envious," from male "badly" (see mal-) + volentem (nominative volens), present participle of velle "to wish" (see will (v.)) 

benevolence (n.)

c. 1400, "disposition to do good," from Old French benivolence (Modern French bienveillance) and directly from Latin benevolentia "good feeling, good will, kindness," from bene "well" (see bene-) + volentem (nominative volens) present participle of velle "to wish" (see will (v.)).

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

una gioia vuota piena di tutto ciò che è santo


Con umiltà

I have

And am




This is

Una gioia

Monday, December 12, 2022


What else do we long for than to “be-with”? 

Vocabunt nomen eius Emmanuel, quod est interpretatum Nobiscum Deus” (Mt 1, 23).

“They will call his name ‘Immanuel’, which means ‘God with us’” (Mt 1:23).


The human longing, even among solitaries, to be-with.

Is that what God is?

Presence itself?

Do we long for God in this regard?

Do we long for one-another in this way?

For nothing else?

Be-withed presence.

One with another.

Whether in community or in solitude.


One with another.

Itself, no-other, co-responding.

And we wonder what love is…

re-spect — looking again at the person, seeing through the persona

 In prison today

Four of us spoke of the word

‘Correction’ — to stand 

Together, right with each one —

How we long a life to be

πολλαχῶς λεγόμενον*

 We are

So to speak*

Speaking the universe

Into existence

We are

πολλαχῶς λεγόμενον

Learning how to

Think by elements

Molecules and empty


Here we are

Mind becoming

Universe manifesting

One and another


The trees talk

Being listens

Being speaks

Tree limb’s winter buds

Stepping out of barn

Hard ground underfoot

Gate roped close

Brown white dog stares

Sniffing air lingering trails

Night animals zigzag remnant

Dawn speaks up saying

Now humans word world

As world thinks living beings

Into Being, a discourse 

Sounding one another

Pronouncing morning

Telling what will come to

Come quickly, cat at open

Window haunching, watching

Birds fly to and from

Green feeder hanging from 

Slow yawning branch thin

Green lime line hanging

Down, handing out, love

(So to speak)

Sunday, December 11, 2022

si loqueris, dic aliquid

 If you want to say

Something, say it, make it plain

Say it, then, shut up

他にない (hoka ni nai = no other)

 there, here, no other

where is nothing to reach out

hand to grasp or hold

At once we fall down fall up

Every direction at once

Hard to hear about 

chaos and great doubt, very

existence, dwelling

ungrasping and unholding 

what great faith and great trust breathes

Saturday, December 10, 2022

each 10december, remembering thomas merton, we renew our promises … happily so

 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. 


Quotes: 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)

follow the elipsis

 The deepest

Essence of

Now is

This …

where he, and everyone, goes

 Once Thomas Merton

Died this date 1968 —

Le point vierge, here

Friday, December 09, 2022

one thing creates another creates thing one

 Consciousness creates 


Reality creates 


And always 


twain shall 


i’m-a-go. … nah-i’m-a-stay

Inmates this morning (now called ‘residents’) talk about quantum physics, Vedanta, consciousness, good and evil, yogic types, and the evolution of spiritual insight into the nature of existence.

‘Just like this’

Truth and reality

Of a Friday morning.

‘Namaste’ one said. ‘Nah, I’m-a-go’ said another.

Thursday, December 08, 2022

and the world will live as one

 Quantum physics says that the universe is the cause and effect of its own existence.

Day by day.

Just drop all opinions and judgments,

See what happens.

Today in Catholic metaphor is feast of immaculate conception.

In Buddhist metaphor, Buddha’s enlightenment day.

In upper west side of Manhattan, the anniversary of John Lennon’s untimely killing.

At foot of ragged mountain, light from full moon.

All this.

It’s what we note.

nulla niente

 Q: Are you an atheist?

A: What is an atheist?

Q: Someone who says there is no god.

A: I’m good with no god.

Q: No god?

A: MU!

Q: Excuse me?

A: No.

Q: No?

A: Look, I’m good with MU, with un-ing all notions of god not immediate, direct, compassionate, or the quintessence of radical justice.

Q: Can I mark you down as an atheist?

A: MU! No! Mark me as present. Nothing attached. Nothing added. Nothing left out. Nothing remaining.

Q: I’m sorry.

A: No bother.

with impediments

 Think with me — begin

Today as impeded, lost

Absorbed with fully

Incomplete universe as

It tumbles around edges 

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

without impediment

 Maybe we’re special.

Something beyond raw matter

The stuff of  root breath

Unwitting agent birthing

All that will some day arrive

let’s face it

 To families experiencing times of difficulty and worry for your children — I wish you peace, and health, and consolation

luce dentro di sé

 I know a love…song

Begins with sound of rainfall

Ends with light switched

regurgitating the slovenly unstomachable

 Crime and disgrace, blech 

Old outdated ideas, who

Cares about venal

Men making millions off lies

No law can touch putrid fruit

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

walking among us

Senate is pat

Now the deal

Look at your hand

Play smart

The table is set

How many you want

Monday, December 05, 2022

chiaro e vero

 Don’t take. Don’t steal. Don’t covet. Don’t murder. Don’t ruin your or another’s marriage.

Any questions?

I didn’t think


don’t sing love songs you’ll wake my mother

 There’s a bullet

With his name

On it

Don’t load it

Don’t bring it near

The gun

Hate is

Justice without

(Yes) bother

When I became

A student of zen

I stopped killing

In my mind

I looked carefully

At evil

Deciding we are

All good/evil

At same time

Hence, choice

I have no gun

No scope

I’ve learned

To look at

The undead

Walking rueful

Poignancy feeling

No holster

No rifle

No thought of

Ending anything

Or anyone

Even him 

Così folle

Sunday, December 04, 2022

seeing through what is there to be seen through.

Heraclitus begins our reflection:

 The dead and the living, those awake and those sleeping, the young and the old are one and the same in us; the one, moved from its place is the other, and the other returned to its place is the one.      (-Heraclitus)

(Excerpt from: "Time and Space: A Poetic Autobiography" by Juan Ramon Jimenez,  iUniverse. Scribd.)

Then Plato:

 In the dialogue Plato introduces the story by having Socrates explain to Glaucon that the soul must be immortal, and cannot be destroyed. Socrates tells Glaucon the "Myth of Er" to explain that the choices we make and the character we develop will have consequences after death. Earlier in Book II of the Republic, Socrates points out that even the gods can be tricked by a clever charlatan who appears just while unjust in his psyche, in that they would welcome the pious but false "man of the people" and would reject and punish the truly just but falsely accused man. In the Myth of Er the true characters of the falsely-pious and those who are immodest in some way are revealed when they are asked to choose another life and pick the lives of tyrants. Those who lived happy but middling lives in their previous life are most likely to choose the same for their future life, not necessarily because they are wise, but out of habit. Those who were treated with infinite injustice, despairing of the possibility of a good human life, choose the souls of animals for their future incarnation. The philosophic life — which identifies the types of lives that emerge from experience, character, and fate — allow men to make good choices when presented with options for a new life. Whereas success, fame, and power may provide temporary heavenly rewards or hellish punishments, philosophic virtues always work to one's advantage.
(Myth of Er, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Finally, suchness:

Sunyata, or Empty of Inherent, Enduring, Independent Self-Nature 

One of the keys to getting to be able to see and experience reality this way is to recognize that things are empty. The term for this is Sunyata; emptiness. I’ve also heard the translation boundlessness, which is kind of cool because it basically means all of these individual things that we usually think or who we usually think have inherent, essential, independent, enduring self nature. There’s something inherently, independently real about them, and that that’s not actually the case, that all individual beings arise interdependently with everything else. That’s where we focus on emptiness. If you see the emptiness of things, then you see their true nature.

Emptiness can sound a little negative, right? It’s about what things don’t have, but there’s another way of describing reality, describing the absolute aspect of reality, which is more positive and has been around since a few hundred years after the Buddha or maybe even earlier. That term is Tatātā or Tathātā. This is translated as suchness or thusness because emptiness doesn’t mean a nihilistic void. Once we let go of our mental map of reality, of our attachment to an idea that something or someone has an inherent, enduring self nature, reality doesn’t just disappear. It doesn’t become a nihilistic void, it just is what it is without our mental map of it. Everything is such. 

(-from suchness-things-as-it-is, zenstudiespodcast )

 Sometimes, I don't know what to think.

Then it occurs to me -- that "not knowing what" -- is to begin to think.

When we know, we are not thinking. When we don't know, we begin to think. 

Like the Korean zen monk who stayed with us a few years ago on his ten thousand mile bicycle ride criss-crossing through the US, Canada, and Latin America, to begin (always just the beginning) to think is to recite the kong-an/mantra with every turn of the wheel on the road, "What Is This?" "What Is This?" as he did the whole way.

We think that thinking is undesirable. It is a belief of ideologues and fundamentalist dogmatists, as well as incuriously-minded followers of autocrats everywhere. 

But to begin to think is to engage the practice of seeing through what is there to be seen through.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

theopoiesis gets rendered as God-making or becoming divine.

Creation is just occurring.

Just now.

And justice is its poet.

Creation is a poem.

          (Ernesto Cardinal, Cosmic Canticle)

Why is “making” considered a sacred activity for gods and mortals alike? Making something out of nothing. Making something in the image of something else. Creators making creatures while creatures in turn make their creators. Making out, making up, making and remaking worlds in one’s image and likeness. In shapes and songs, paintings and poems, dreams and crafts. From the beginning to the end of time. One great game of holy imagination played with hands, mouths, ears and eyes. With bodies and souls. Art as divine-human interplay, again and again.

Theopoetics names how the divine (theos) manifests itself as making (poiesis). The term dates back to the early centuries, meaning both the making human of the divine and the making divine of humanity. As the poet scholar, Ephrem of Syria, wrote: “He gave us divinity, we gave Him humanity.” Or as Athanasius said in the fourth century: “God became human so that the human could become divine.” Catherine Keller puts it succinctly: “The term theopoetics finds its ancestor in the ancient Greek theopoiesis. As poeisis means making or creation, so theopoiesis gets rendered as God-making or becoming divine.”1

Theopoetics carries an attendant claim that first creation calls for second creation— re-creation or creation again (ana): a double act where humanity and divinity collaborate in the coming of the Kingdom. This play of recreation goes by the name of “ana-theism.”

(—from  GOD MAKING: AN ESSAY IN THEOPOETIC IMAGINATION, For Bill Richardson SJ, in Memoriam, by Richard Kearney, 2017)

When we complain about God we are complaining about ourselves. 

When we pray, (if prayer retains any elasticity for us), we are construction workers laying foundation for spiritual, corporeal, rational and imaginative living quarters to be habituated by us, our progeny, and all our relations.

God is coming to be in our becoming what God is coming to be.

you don’t say

During Friday Evening Conversation the thought arose: “How different are we?”

This morning the thought arises: “We’re no different.”


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dif·​fer·​ent ˈdi-f(ə-)rənt  
partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality DISSIMILAR
could hardly be more different
often followed by from, than, or chiefly British to
small, neat hand, very different from the captain's tottery characters R. L. Stevensonvastly different in size than it was twenty-five years ago N. M. Puseya very different situation to the … one under which we live Sir Winston Churchill
not the same: such as
different age groups
different members of the class
switched to a different TV program
she was different and superior
differentness noun
 Is it different than or different from?: Usage Guide 

Numerous commentators have condemned different than in spite of its use since the 17th century by many of the best-known names in English literature. It is nevertheless standard and is even recommended in many handbooks when followed by a clause, because insisting on from in such instances often produces clumsy or wordy formulations. Different from, the generally safe choice, is more common especially when it is followed by a noun or pronoun.

Being “no different” means that MU arrives in our perspective vision and becomes the cardboard paper towel holder through which our particular viewing of the world takes shape and place.

What do we see when we look through?

MU has the quality of undoing.

Sort of like saying, “Unask that question!” Or,  “Unsay those words!” Or even, “unthink that thought”, “untake that stance”, “uninterpret that interpretation.”

And there we stand, or sit, or walk around in circles. We are left in the uncertainty and ignorance of not-knowing. 

Why is that?

Because we don’t…

Know …

Hardly ever, mostly always, seldom without dissonance and a residual bafflement’s interior command to stand down, stand back, stand still!

And there we stand.

Or sit.

Maybe turn or twirl in circles.

And here’s the thing — there’s nothing wrong with that after-action, after-thought, after-all.

Being “no-different” is a deep realization.

It makes all the distinctions, realizations, explanations, and opinions we might have become a bowl of pistachios.

One by one, shells opened, ready to be devoured. 

And we are…devoured.

To the last molecule.

Taken in.


Finally seen… MU…more.

And all is as it is

Like monastery bells after Lauds tolling in themselves, for thee, to see, what-is-there, what-is-here.