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
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
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
Your name —
But no sound
Is there to be
What am I
“That’s it —
I am calling
No name with
In the middle of
“And there,” as
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?
. . .
. . .
. . .
Here is all there is.
There’s no there there.
. . .
We are always and only here.
As is God.
. . .
one’s birth is not-i’s death
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)
The Nativity -- The Adoration of the Shepherds
by Antonio da Corregio
Al giorno d'oggi