Saturday, July 30, 2022

it's hard for thee to kick against the pricks

Animals live in the wild. Let them.

Men in war are forced into the wild. Pity them 

Hear the trumpets hear the pipers

One hundred million angels singin'

Multitudes are marchin' to the big kettledrum

Voices callin', voices cryin'

Some are born and some are dyin'

It's alpha and omega's kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn tree

The virgins are all trimming their wicks

The whirlwind is in the thorn tree

It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks 

Till armageddon no shalam, no shalom

Then the father hen will call his chickens home

The wise man will bow down before the throne

And at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns

When the man comes around 

Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still

Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still

Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still

Listen to the words long written down.                                                                                When the man comes around             

(--from song, The Man Comes Around, by Johnny Cash)

 Wilderness is a thin demarcation from civilized society. It's hard to discern the line.

This side and that side are indecipherable.

Inside and outside have no boundary.

Heaven and earth were once a comfortable distinction.

We're not so sure of any of the previous dualities anymore.

That is both a blessing and a curse.

ne le dis à personne

 tell no one

not one

what you tell 

would not be all

be content

(faire taire)

l'histoire d'aujourd'hui


is the 

story we tell

as if true

and call it

our life

as if

 nothing but


who is nothing


the void


what seems

to be






presence itself

as if, as is

completely there

on any given day

 Should I like? Or dislike? This?

It is tempting to postulate technological determinism as the answer to this question: Why are extremism, irrationality, fear and censoriousness especially rampant where they should be next to nonexistent? However, to blame social media for the anti-social behaviors that today characterize academia misses a larger, darker truth. 

What is still referred to, reflexively and anachronistically, as higher education is supposedly run by and for persons who are products of, and devoted to, learning. Today, this supposition is false. 

The Chronicle of Higher Education, the reading of which is in equal measures fascinating and depressing, recently published Joseph M. Keegin’s bracing essay“The Hysterical Style in the American Humanities: On the ideological posturing and moral nitpicking of the very online.” Keegin, a philosophy student at Tulane University, argues that, confronted with “the slow slide of academe into oblivion,” scholars — especially in humanities departments, which are losing undergraduates, prestige, jobs and funding — “desperately grasp for relevance.” They seek it by becoming “professors of ‘academic Twitter.’” 

They have, Keegin says, “by and large subordinated their work as professional intellectuals and historians to the news cycle, yoking their reputations to the delirious churn of outrage media.” Succumbing to “Twitter-induced presentism,” academics are “captured by” and “shackled to” — Keegin’s terms — social media, and they treat the past as “not of interest either for its own sake or as a means of illuminating the complexity of the present. It is, rather, little more than a wellspring of justifications for liking and disliking things in the world today.” 

(Opinion, Blaming social media for academia’s ruin misses a larger, darker truth, by. George F. Will,Washington Post, 29july2022)

In prison yesterday, a resident gave a tour-de-force spontaneous whiteboard lecture about yoga philosophy and a variety of intellectual concepts and constructs that would have fit in Oxford and Cambridge on any given day. 

He said about his return to prison, “I’ll be out in six years.”

faith goes beyond god


Ellie Arroway could not prove or provide evidence of her 18 hours journey to and from Vega.

No, experienced reality is not always obvious.

Friday, July 29, 2022

projective return


Even with no


Thursday, July 28, 2022

at once his own physical and metaphysical path or way.

  Sometimes, all one can do is look at what is or what is worded and wonder.

The Tradition of Han Shan

In his introduction to Chinese Poems, Arthur Waley sums up the qualities that made Han Shan so valuable as a visual icon.

In his poems Cold Mountain is often the name of a state of mind rather than a locality. It is on this conception, as well as on that of the “hidden treasure”, the Buddha who is to be sought not somewhere outside us, but “at home” in the heart, that the mysticism of the poems is based.

So the Cold Mountain name suggests Buddhist images of spiritual ascension and the image of a ragged but determined monk evokes the run-down hermitages of Taoist immortals.  Han Shan presents this combination of person, place and state-of-mind. 

From within these hagiographic and iconic conventions, however, the poems themselves perform a different task.  While talking about a Han Shan poem, Paul Kahn marks the change in this fashion.

The presentation of ideas . . . is different from the poetic conventions of its period. Han Shan is not describing a vision he has had of an immortal while traveling in the mountains, nor is he describing his own personal enlightenment while journeying to a remote holy place, both common themes in Tang poetry. The poet here is stepping right into the landscape, climbing a path that is at once his own physical and metaphysical path or way. He tells us this is the “way” to his home as well as his enlightenment. He directs his voice to the reader, challenging (or inviting) him to follow.

It is no longer clear what is mind what is not-mind.  Nor what is here what is not.

Dreamscape Haiku

sits hermit porch, breeze

old sailor looks up checks sail —

Just waving green leaves 


After zazen, deer does not disappoint — crosses up by yurt, sun-speckled.

without hindrance of desire or fear,

Years ago Peter S. spelled it out to me. It hangs next to the pictures of Robert Lowell and Thomas Merton 

Commenting today on a review of "Memoirs" by Robert Lowell, I post to NYTimes: 

There are two pictures on my wall, one of Thomas Merton, one of Robert Lowell. These two men were inspired intellects and knew troubled times. It was, perhaps, within those warrens their creativity sought and found expression. Lowell wrote in his poem Epilogue: "All's misalliance. / Yet why not say what happened?"


A further reflection: 



The experience of the world as it is, without hindrance of desire or fear, and the realization that this is [nirvana]. This is the aim of the [jiriki] approach described in Zen Buddhism.


“I can have the feeling ‘self’ only in relations to, and by contrast with, the feeling ‘other.’  In the same way, I am what I am only in relation to what everything else is.  The Japanese call this ji-ji-mu-ge, which means that between every thing-event (ji) and every other thing-event there is no (mu) barrier (ge).  Each implies all, and all implies each.”

Unseen dimensions, yes, but no barriers. Yes, no barriers.

The implications of which suggest that, while undetectable, different realms, both of materiality and of consciousness, co-exist without barrier or separation, except, perhaps, to our distinct awareness. our physical perception.

Poets and thinkers, perhaps, weave themselves through such warrens without obvious recollection or trace logs accurately notating the bumper ride taken. Rather, imagination has travelled the turns and travails through the seen-unseen and the unseen-seen in the realms of mind and soul so as to carry in deep unconscious repository the stuff of contemplative rumination for later expression.

All is misalliance.


Why not say what happened?

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

a stranger and afraid

“This is already it. This is already what we are looking for.” That’s what the guy talking about non-duality began with. 

Elsewhere, Professor John Lennox spoke in favor of God at the Oxford Union in 2012.

Thus, This and God, a meditation of a Wednesday morning.

“I, a stranger and afraid
In a world I never made.”

― A.E. Housman, Last Poems

 Lapsing into my retiro, I shelter in place, reluctant and reticent, not feeling well, nor knowing why.

And so, there and thus, with nescience and oblique intransigence, I remain.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


We sat together in the correctional center’s library during a thunder storm downpour talking about personas, masks, chameleons, truth’s revealing and concealing, preceded by one saying the important person, the reason I’m tolerated, was missing, but we’d go on anyway. (The big fellow, cringing and holding his head, says ”That’s cold man.”)  We all laugh.

We wobble through Monday morning with the white service dog in training nibbling at my handheld meditation beads as we spoke about the appearances and disappearances of who we are, have been, and moving through the revelations that each choice augurs.

It’s not an either/or, either you stand with, or you stand alone.

Rather, one stands with by standing alone, one stands alone by standing with.

There is being alone-with-others, as in never am I so alone as when I am with others. Or, never am I so with others as when I am alone.

Solitude is where one is. Community is where others are.

The eremite and the cenobite walk into a bar. One says, “I’ll have one.” The other says, “I’ll have another.”

Ein Witz ist die Art und Weise, wie sich Wahrheiten offenbaren. (A joke is the way truths reveal themselves.)

This chapter has described the difficulty that awaits us in our attempt to articulate philosophically an experience of God, a difficulty that oscillates between the either/or of the following metaphysical dilemma: either an unknowable, imperceptible, wholly other God, or a conceptual, and therefore equally fleshless, Idol; either Gott or Götze. In the modern past, metaphysics was content with the latter, that is, with the idea of God (see, for example, Descartes’s Third Meditation). It is that contentment that has been called ontotheology. Phenomenology, on the other hand, all too often rushes toward the former, mesmerized by the lure of the otherness of the Other like a but- terfly bedazzled by fire. Between the two positions, a third one is opened up in the paradox of the Pauline “icon of the invisible God.” That icon is par excellence Christ, “begotten in our image and likeness” but, by extension, every person “created in the image and likeness” of God. It was an iconic feature, namely, that of inverted perspective, that helped us to sketch out a phenomenological analysis of inverted intentionality, of a “vision,” in other words, that does not objectify God but allows Him to give Himself in the experience of myself as seen. Alongside our filled intentions (of presence and perception) and empty intentionality (of absence and imagination), a third kind of intention needs to be recognized. That third kind is the inverted intentionality of reflexive sensibility (and, as we shall see in the third part of this work, all sensibility is reflexive), where the intuition “yielded” is precisely me, that is, the self-experience of myself as experienced. Strictly speaking, in the “experience of God,” as given through the inverted intentionality, the phenomenon is not God but rather me (my inability to comprehend God, my lack of knowledge or intuition that becomes knowledge and intuition, etc).

The second half of this chapter addressed the phenomenological merit of prosopon, the Greek definition of the person as being-in-front-of-another, that is, as fundamentally a relational being. In the chapter that follows, we shall examine whether the prosopic understanding of myself and others, as well as the inverse intentionality through which such an understanding is gained, supple- ments the phenomenological reductions to the things themselves (Husserl), to being (Heidegger), and to givenness (Marion), and by doing so, whether it safeguards the person’s particularity.

(—from, p.34: God after Metaphysics A Theological Aesthetic! By John Panteleimon Manoussakis, 2007)

Then comes Kearney 

Richard Kearney is one of the phenomenologists of the new generation who follows the lead of Husserl, Heidegger, Marion and Lévinas. This Catholic and Irish philosopher proposes a fourth phenomenological reduction, i.e., going back to the eschaton which is entrenched in everyday existence: finding the voice and the face of the higher within the lower. It is like the realization of the following heideggerian idea which is found in "The Thing": "Only what conjoins itself out of the world becomes a thing". In everyday language and life a possibility is found to overcome skepticism, indifference and the boredom resulting from the world being into turned [being turned into] consumption and man into a marketing piece. In the face-to-face meeting the possibility of a revelation is presented, which makes the relation with the other, and especially with the foreigner, a wonder; and not a doubt, suspicion or distrust.

(Abstract for, Richard Kearney and the fourth phenomenological reduction! July 2014 Escritos22(49):313-335! Project: Fenomenología y teología! Author: Carlos Arboleda, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana 

Have you heard the one about the three eggs?


Two bad! 

(Ha — now

the yoke’s

on us!)

Monday, July 25, 2022

you do not know

 You’re right.

There are some things, some words, better left unseen, unheard.

The sons of Zebedee press Christ: Promise that one may sit at your right side and the other at your left. What does he do? He wants to show them that it is not a spiritual gift for which they are asking, and that if they knew what their request involved, they would never dare make it. So he says: You do not know what you are asking, that is, what a great and splendid thing it is and how much beyond the reach even of the heavenly powers. Then he continues: Can you drink the cup which I must drink and be baptized with the baptism which I must undergo? He is saying: “You talk of sharing honours and rewards with me, but I must talk of struggle and toil. Now is not the time for rewards or the time for my glory to be revealed. Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war and danger.” 

Consider how by his manner of questioning he exhorts and draws them. He does not say: “Can you face being slaughtered? Can you shed your blood?” How does he put his question? Can you drink the cup? Then he makes it attractive by adding: which I must drink, so that the prospect of sharing it with him may make them more eager. He also calls his suffering a baptism, to show that it will effect a great cleansing of the entire world. The disciples answer him: We can! Fervour makes them answer promptly, though they really do not know what they are saying but still think they will receive what they ask for.

(From a homily on Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop)

I’ll take a cold lemon lime seltzer and a pretzel rod and leave it at that, if you don’t mind. 


 Some worry we are sliding too far off-center on the seesaw 

That a chainsaw is cutting through the wood of the elevated side

Leaving the fantasy weighted side rooted against the ground 

No longer balanced or budgeable bloated by bombast and bullshit

No fun remaining, nothing 

but a real estate of swindled airspace

Look on this and weep

Democracy will not keep

Sunday, July 24, 2022

is that so

is not what we think 

it is

Not lovely, 
not easy, 

not blissful

There, right there at the edge 
of comfort zone, 

Outside favorite harbor — 

there is where 




abiding empty appreciation

 My prayer is silence and unknowing.

No God interferes with this nescience.

No church, temple, or cult beckons.

There is no return ahead, no relapse behind.

My prayer is to linger with you

At the end of the day

In a world gone astray

Where all is aseity 

This prayer is no prayer

This prayer abides

In empty appreciation

Mere facticity without purpose

It is Sunday morning

I sit in cabin, incense near end

No deer shows up yet

Revolving earth, endless cosmos

You, each of you, may you

Always be there

At the end of

Open heart open mind open yes