Is what you think it — rather,
(Don’t make —me— say it)
We spoke of guns, open carry, concealed permits. Prison meetingbrook conversation, and Friday evening conversation both weave through the concerns of gun owners, the unbalanced attacks on innocent crowds, and what mental health really is.
We attempt to reverse engineer what learning is.
Those who fall into the safety net of silence find that it is not at all a fall into individualism. True prayer or contemplation is instead a leap into commonality and community.
We wonder if toothpaste will ever re-enter its tube once squeezed out.
And you know your lives are as intricately interwoven as nerve cells in the mind of a great being. . . . Out of that vast net you cannot fall. . . . No stupidity or failure or cowardice can ever sever you from that living web.
I don't own a gun. Never have. My father kept a sawed off pool cue in his car. If I had a knife, would I even use it on an assailant?
As a resigned fatalist, I expect death every moment. Or is that the readiness of a contemplative monastic?
Walking through the prison mile we meet and greet old friends. One with a puppy. One inviting to visit in his new pod for honors residents. “Namaste,” he calls, walking down corridor.
We meet the librarian at final doors. She says she’ll be the last librarian the prison will have. Books are fading. Times are changing.
The lobby officer calls goodbye and we leave.
It’s a Poustinia.
A fecund silence, like trust, washes over each gathering.
Words like water slake drouth.
The flow of it!
So many hungry
ghosts — the ninety plus year old
sangha elder mourns
The deficient mental structure of consciousness seeke to eliminate what it considers, projecting its own deficiency, enemy or other.
We must get beyond this, transcending the deficiencies in order to allow a new structure of consciousness to emerge.
Gebser and Wilber write of this.
By remaining in our deadly dualistic either/or mentality we will perpetuate shootings, killings, hostile takeovers, and wars of all unkindnesses..
Yes it is guns. Yes it is mental illness. Yes it is ignorance and fundamentalist stupidity.
But more, and deeper than that, it is the fear of evolving out of familiar beliefs and opinions into authentic freedom of seeing proper relationality and wholesome inter-connectivity.
Let’s help one another through liberation and emancipation.
My brothers and sisters are shot dead in Illinois in Ohio in Kentucky in New York in Texas in many other places in America.
Can you hear the weeping through the silence?
Of course you can.
What to do with this sorrow?
Do not listen to those who say we must eliminate one another.
That’s how the mind kills everyone and everything.
Change that mind.
Don’t say you don’t know where to look.
Look where compassion looks.
Look where (what we once called) love looks.
It’s a lonely place, that looking.
Say what you see.
I remember when
I was not insane, a brief
while — without this mind
Everyone was kind, said “You’re
Lucky!” I didn’t know why
…. … …
* Matthew 5:22 is the only passage in the Bible where the term raca is used. Raca comes from the Aramaic term reqa. It was a derogatory expression meaning “empty-headed,” insinuating a person’s stupidity or inferiority. It was an offensive name used to show utter contempt for another person. Jesus warned that the use of such a word to describe someone was tantamount to murder and deserving of the severest punishment of the law. https://www.gotquestions.org/raca.html
It’s a curious thought, that there is nothing to be seen. As my eyesight gets more and more blurry I’m grateful for the sight I’ve had all these years.
Still, the prospect that there is nothing to be seen, intrigues. What does this mean, this nothing?
Imagine there is One Thing. That there is nothing other. That our notion of “other” is a delusional belief that posits separational fragmentation instead of communal wholeness as the fundamental ground of existence and being.
You might come to suspect that wholeness intimates there is nothing inside itself and nothing outside itself. There is only Itself.
This is odd stuff to us. Here’s Kierkegaard with his thinking on the matter:
“The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but that the relation relates itself to its own self.”
― Søren Kierkegaard,
Perhaps wholeness suggests there are circles within circles, that seeing anything is seeing everything, that nothing remains to be seen.
Wallace Stevens’ wonderful poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird includes this:
I suspect we consider our edges to be geographical demarcations signaling personal or property boundaries with ‘no trespassing’ signs aloft — rather than intimate embracing connectivity whose touch and trembling nearness longs to seed new life and growth along the rows of grounded fertilization.
There’s nothing to be seen because we are nothing other than the wholeness perennially becoming itself throughout what is itself emerging.
Richard Rohr writes of Reality as Communion with help from Thomas Merton:
We come to know who God is through exchanges of mutual knowing and loving. God’s basic method of communicating God’s self is not the “saved” individual, the rightly informed believer, or even a person with a career in ministry. God communicates primarily through the journey and bonding process that God initiates in community: in marriages, friendships, families, tribes, nations, schools, organizations, and churches who are seeking to participate in God’s love, maybe without even consciously knowing it.
Thomas Merton wrote, “The Christian is not merely ‘alone with the Alone’ in the Neoplatonic sense, but [is] One with all ‘brothers and sisters in Christ.’ The Christian’s inner self is, in fact, inseparable from Christ and hence it is in a mysterious and unique way inseparable from all the other ‘I’s’ who live in Christ, so that they all form one ‘Mystical Person,’ which is ‘Christ.’” 
Until and unless Christ is experienced as a living relationship between people, the gospel remains largely an abstraction. Until Christ is passed on personally through faithfulness and forgiveness toward another, through concrete bonds of union, I doubt whether he is passed on by words, sermons, institutions, or ideas.
(—from, Reality as Communion, Week Twenty-Seven: Humanity is a Community! Richard Rohr)
They say that no one has ever seen God.
I don’t want to see God.
What some people over history have seen, I suspect, are projections of partiality that have been filed under partitioned beliefs affixed to segregated systems of who’s in and who’s out.
God is nothing to be seen. Or, nothing (to be) seen. We cannot see what is (to be).
There’s nothing there.
It’s all here. Not (to be) seen.
Or, as the first line of Daniel Martin, the novel by John Fowles, presents itself — (as a koan):
“Whole sight; or all the rest is desolation.”