Saturday, August 20, 2022

ainsi soit-il

 In the silence of an afternoon, sun through tree canopy, bright splotches of light on years-old crumpled leaves, branches unwavering in breezeless stillness, the ending of terce from France a time differential recording across Atlantic, this meditation cabin screened porch at foot of Ragged Mountain, solitude.

Moss-covered stone wall, bowsaw hanging around camping candle, photograph of Han from Hosmer Pond neighbor's house, clouds passing out of view cooling wooded stretch between cabin and yurt, brook not flowing but watered from 24 hour rain this week, no bell sounds from chapel-zendo.

This is how prayer sounds. Nothing to hear from no-one praying. 

Glance and listening.

I suspect God is the the entirety of whatever is, well within itself, glancing and listening to whatever is seen whatever uttered with an interested reciprocity to each appearance each resonance each attenuation fitting the shape and size of beings in Being as they are.

I don't believe in a God.

I sense God is what is surrounding and embodying all which appears -- actually, surround-itself, embodiment-itself.

We walk through God moving within each thing glancing and listening as itself with itself to and as itself . . .

No other


Psalmic love and compassion 

as it is

Ainsi soit-il

revealing source once and for all


is what 

I think


hear this

exclusion into beneficent seclusion

 I’ve gotten older

Everything is just itself

Nothing going on

smoothing small stones

 One thing after an-

other, oscillating tide 

successive wavelets 

Friday, August 19, 2022

a revolving circle of good humor and trusting contribution

 The young man from the South was explaining the intricacies of Tantric philosophy.

The cautious man from the Aegean seacoast town expressed his wariness of police and priests.

The quiet man from years of military service drew on a sheet of paper while others spoke.

The excited man from New Jersey wrote on the board: "That that is is that that is not is not is that it it is" -- and invited punctuation.

The tall man when he finally spoke quoted Sartre and Existentialism and challanged with push back.

The old man at corner of table marveled at the variety and depth of conversation and inquiry as to whether we die at the end of our lives or if we are dead from the beginning and emerge into life by resurrecting through a veil of ignorance.

We read and ruminated:

Death is not at end of life. Death is that from which and through which we emerge as we become alive to the manifestation and revelation of what is being asked of us in this existence.

We will not see this, cannot be taught or told this, until we undergo this and emerge through this into this present moment, this unveiled illusion, this naked truth -- all we are is all this is -- completely and wholly integrated with love.

(--meetingbrook blog, 4:59am, 6aug22) 

A Friday morning conversation in prison.

Others dropped in and out, or greeted in hallway enroute their meetings with teachers or administrators concerning plans for graduate studies or other projects.

Friday morning Meetingbrook Conversation at Maine State Prison, after thirty years, remains a catch-as-catch-can continuity of poetry, philosophy, personal stories, beliefs, experiences, current events, sorrowful recollections and hopeful plans all in a revolving circle of good humor and trusting contribution to the ambiance of thoughtful communication and wondering attentiveness.

The lobby guard started the process before wanding ritual by asking, "Do you know what the reading of a will is? (Silence.) "A dead giveaway!"

At end of morning, barbed wire and steel doors left behind, one is reminded how even the most unusual places are occasions of joy and friendship, even hearing the resonance of deep affection of one to another, these mates-in-residence together.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

what did you say

 It seems I do not much like it when people in a group share their experiences of times when you were not there, or, to regale you with what might be accounted for as a recounting of their activities so as to fill the time hanging loosely overhead like misting rain on a long afternoon.

It surprises me that I said so aloud at a Tuesday evening conversation. I wondered if it might be construed as not being interested in what people said. It gave me pause.

If I were to amend my words, I’d add that to speak about what is right there, to engage vision or idea or inquiry or insight as it emerges from the immediacy of presence revealing itself right here right now, the refreshing realization of now and now and now manifesting itself as new arrival in fresh perspective — would be what delights, would be what creates, the unfolding immanence of the invisible being urged into creative transparent diaphaneity.

Or, maybe, I’m just a cranky reclusive misanthrope.

religion has not been banned from the world at all

When is relationality no longer relationality but reality-itself formerly known by concepts no longer sustainable by thought? 

A question of presuppositions, I suppose? Postmodernity and the ‘Return of Religion

Caputo is often aligned to what today is called postsecularism, the awareness that after secularization religion has not been banned from the world at all. On the contrary, postsecularists argue, whereas the traditional theory of secularization suspected the complete downfall of religion at least in industrial and urbanized societies, a return of religion is to be noted even in those civilized circles consisting of religion’s former despisers. This section will show just how this postsecular world takes shape for Caputo. Modernity, and enlightened thought in general, falls prey to its own excesses. It is far from difficult to come up with a few examples of all this: an overestimation of rationality, a craving for progress at all costs, etc. Caputo names the following, from a more philosophical perspective: “Good riddance to the idea of pure wordless and solipsistic subjects, to the ideal of pure presuppositions to science, to a pure prelinguistic world, to pure objects, to pure consciousness, and to pure reason”.1

The Enlightenment, and its call to freedom and autonomy, may in effect have turned rather soon to a new form of oppression—‘thou shalt not be irrational’—a fate which it obviously shares with many revolutions. The search for pure reason soon became as dogmatic as the religion it rejected. The quest for the ‘conditions of possibility of knowledge’, knew in the end very little: the one thing it could be certain of was the object, of which it could configure the geometrical coordinates in a clear and distinct manner; it, of course, knew of the human being—the subject who knew the object—but this being was perhaps already on the verge of losing its humanity if only because it was expected to prescribe to the world its being in a stable, permanent and unaltered way. The transcendental subject, Lacoste writes, is nothing less than a monster and the illusion of autonomy, of a being unrelated to any other being if only with itself, has fortunately been overturned. Yet we know that this critique of the Enlightenment, this “New Enlightenment, one that is enlightened about the limits of the old one”2 all too readily reverses in its counterposition. One might for instance think of the idea of relationality: if the desire for autonomy is abandoned because it too easily turns into a bloodless, lifeless and worldless monadic monster then this ‘new’ Enlightenment all too easily opts for the contrary and posits the dream of a total openness of one subject to another—I am nothing without my network and my relations—which, in the best of all possible worlds, would of course be accompanied with a complete openness of the other toward myself. If the reference to the world of managers and business is perhaps not to be interpreted as a coincidence, the philosophical point about this reversal is nevertheless more important: one can indeed legitimately wonder whether this dream of total openness not simply repeats the old, metaphysical idea of adequatio, of a correspondence of thought with the matter at hand, of a clear and no less distinct idea of this matter on another level, for this correspondence may well no longer lie in a relation-less subject (relating everything that is to itself) but now rather lies in the dream of an adequate—since total—openness, ‘between’ subjects (relating to one another and, through, this to everything else).3 Just as the causa sui, in the old days, was configured as the cause that caused everything else but remained itself uncaused, so it is easy to configure ‘God’ as the relation that instigates all the other relations but is not and cannot be related to itself—remember, for instance, that for Aquinas already, there is no ‘real relation’ between the world and God. The end of metaphysics? Are we there yet?

For Caputo, we are however well on our way to this ‘end’, if only through at times taking a step back. Caputo will in effect argue that there is an analogy between the precritical thought of the Middle Ages and postcritical postmodernity: it is not that we all of a sudden have relapsed in an age of obscurity (although some might like to see postmodernity in this way) in which faith is accorded a more primordial role than reason, it is rather that the postsecular account of deconstruction now notes that faith is not entirely bereft of reason just as reason does not seem to be entirely exempt of belief. In this way, deconstruction is held between premodern and modern thought: it does neither opt for blind faith without reason nor for a pure reason without faith but rather for a faith in and of rationality.

(—from,  Holy Ignorance? John Caputo's Religion without Religion (Draft), by joeri schrijvers)

 The course I took with John Caputo at Villanova was on Heidegger. It was the late seventies. He had just published (1978) The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought (Ohio University Press). 

Philosophy, poetry, and zen encircled me as I wandered an alternative country path.


Ein anderer Weg


see without knowing

know without seeing — now — this 

faith/reason saunter


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

refracting (yes)

 We are looking for

that which is looking through us

seeing   (yes)   itself

kenotic shunyata

 Buddha, Jesus, earth's

fine brothers, their christic minds

one is no other

noch einmal bitte

 from the cosmos, earth

from the earth, humanity

comes then christic whole 

die große stille

capturing stillness

each and every movement sees 

universe praying

needs (to be) thought about


 "To be a poet in a destitute time means: to attend, singing, to the trace of the fugitive gods. This is why the poet in the time of the world's night utters the holy." --Martin Heidegger.

And this:

“The poet is the priest of the invisible.” Wallace Stevens


to be 



Monday, August 15, 2022

go ahead, go on

 hospice patient dies

disappears, goes off further

confounding those left

itadakimasu *

fifty five years gone

since drive to Nicolet for

Jo-Ann's vows ... taken 

...   ...   ...

    * Japanese, in a literal sense "I humbly receive"

a directionality in evolution

There is, they say, a band of thought encircling the planet. Not just the bits and data of internet cloud stringing every house and town from Russia to California, from Manilla to Iceland. 

Rather a realm of thought, conscious or unconscious, emanating from the evolutionary impacted emergence of human ratiocination translating consciousness into mental deliberation, theorizing, and opinionating judgment.

(cf. The Third Story of the Universe | Brian Swimme | TEDxBerkeley,    Time 15:11)

For better or worse, a new phylum of evolutionary appearance that becomes an active player in the specific cosmic neighborhood of planet earth and its extensions.

 In the theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements. It is also currently being researched as part of the Global Consciousness Project.[19]

Teilhard perceived a directionality in evolution along an axis of increasing Complexity/Consciousness. For Teilhard, the noosphere is the sphere of thought encircling the earth that has emerged through evolution as a consequence of this growth in complexity/consciousness. The noosphere is therefore as much part of nature as the barysphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. As a result, Teilhard sees the "social phenomenon [as] the culmination of and not the attenuation of the biological phenomenon."[20] These social phenomena are part of the noosphere and include, for example, legal, educational, religious, research, industrial and technological systems. In this sense, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere thus grows in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. Teilhard argued the noosphere evolves towards ever greater personalisation, individuation and unification of its elements. He saw the Christian notion of love as being the principal driver of "noogenesis", the evolution of mind. Evolution would culminate in the Omega Point—an apex of thought/consciousness—which he identified with the eschatological return of Christ.

(--Noösphere, Wikipedia)

I'm not sure we've ever come close to understanding the story, the mythology and imaginative urge, of Christ-reality. 

Is Mary the earth?

Is Christ the cosmos?

Is Jesus humanity?


Elsewhere --In her Monday poem email Doris sends William Carlos Williams:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
                                                William Carlos Williams
….  ….  …

I respond: 

plum, tuckered, out

no, not forgiveness,
i cannot abide your cheek —
leave here, don’t come back

I don't want to be harsh to the poet thief, after all, he seems contrite with a dubious delight in his caper. And maybe my haiku response will soften and relent and simply savor the good doctor's playful confession. 

Human thought, in all its myriad shapes and stretching extension, leaves us no longer at the mercy of elemental materiality and biologic viability. We become what we think. The earth becomes what we think of it and what we think for it.

This is not merely an anthropocentric or anthropomorphic  conceit. It is raw and serious impactful reality.

What question, what koan, is being presented to us for our practice as novices in this interstellar zendo we call "my life," "our life," "life-itself?"

The state department of transportation dumptrucks, layers, steamrollers, and men with shovels and rakes have moved past our roadside gate after asphalting the other lane of Barnestown Road.

This feast of Mary's Assumption.

This liturgy of Monday morning.


 Prime bells across earth

The presenting of something

Not physically there

Sunday, August 14, 2022

as these things go

For the moment no

Pain. And for the moment mere

Gratitude, for this

songs of hope and comfort

 Hospice patient breathes

Inside sound of Yo Yo Ma —

Simply passing time