Saturday, February 25, 2023

the temporal residence of the eternal vagabond

The final line seems curious.

What is it about man that should not prevail? 

Adjútor in opportunitátibus,

                                                   A helper in opportunity, 

in tribulatióne:

                                                    in tribulation.

sperent in te,

                                                    May they hope in you, 

 qui novérunt te:

                                                    who know your name. 

quóniam non derelínquis

                                                    For you have not abandoned 

quæréntes te, Dómine.

                                                    those seeking you, Lord.

Quóniam non in finem

                                                    For the poor 

oblívio erit páuperis:

                                                    will not be forgotten in the end. 

patiéntia páuperum

                                                    The patience of the poor 

non períbit in ætérnum:

                                                    will not perish in the end.

exsúrge, Dómine,

                                                    Rise up, Lord:  

non præváleat homo.

                                                    do not let man prevail. *

(--Graduale, Missa, 25feb2023, Neumz)

* It is my translation inserted in the final line. Neumz website translates the final line as "Rise up, Lord: do not let man be strengthened." 

I found it curious. 

I suppose the text could be interpreted as implying that "man" is at odds with the will of God. 

And that will? Perhaps the will of God might be construed as promoting the integrity and harmony, peaceful interrelationality and compassionate service to our brothers and sisters and all of creation.

It can reasonably be said that there is a significant percentage of the human population, or perhaps a significant number of people in positions of power, who do not exhibit a caring, egalitarian, and inclusive attitude and activity of responsiveness to all our relations.

Are these are those who the prayer exhorts " strengthened"?

Often, it seems, man does not care for man. Russia devastates the people of Ukraine. Demented ideologues using assault weapons shoot and kill students, theater goers, dance hall patrons, Walmart and grocery store customers, children in their classrooms, strangers on corners, almost anyone anywhere. 

"Rise up, Lord: 

do not let man be strengthened. 

Do not allow the fanatical gun manufacturers, gun lobby, takers of payoffs in congress, obsessed gun purchasers and owners intent on protecting their kind from those people, to prevail... Nor should the easy acquisition of street weapons become the argument of choice for settling the petty and gang initiated squabbles block to block in inner cities. 

We do not seem to believe in a God who requires mercy, not sacrifice. A God who tells us to look at each person with familiarity and kindness. That God, as has been suggested, is dead. And we have committed the murder, or, by neglect, allowed to die.

Hence, the prayer. But to whom is it directed? If God is dead, to whom do we pray?

 Who is the "helper in opportunity, in tribulation" being addressed? 

Are we praying to one another? Praying to one another for one another?

Or, as some have suggested, God-on-earth, the one long called the Christ, has been the death of God-from-away, was entombed, mourned over, and left for rot. And, as the story is told, in-an-instant -- Gone!

Gone from the tomb, gone from rot, gone from the despair of loved ones, gone from the machinations of political/religious conspiracy intent on termination.

Gone to where?

Here is where it gets trickier. 

Has God stepped away from Itself so that creation and "man" might step into Itself?

Is the inner "spirit" of each being now the residing place of divine habitation? Are we, each and all of us, the temporal residence of the eternal vagabond?

If so, is the task given us -- to drop into such crucial awareness of our own interior guest that, with alacrity and dispatch, realize how and who we are --  thus beginning to actuate the essence found at our deep and profoundly disconcerting center?

Some Christians call this being "born again." Buddhists call this "awakening realization." Others have other descriptions.

I call it "what is true within".

The eternal vagabond, with no name, no visibility, no place to be other than the center of everything, waits for us to accept new birth, awaken to what is true within, and realize -- with spirit, mind, and body -- a new way of being-with one-another.

So, we pray, "For you have not abandoned those seeking you, Lord."

Are we invited into this prayer, praying to, and seeking after, what-is-true-within?

If "man"is outside this vision quest, if "man" is hostile to this healing spiritual warriorship, then: "do not let man be strengthened" -- "do not let man prevail!"

Here is Kazantzakis:

  1. It is as though we had buried Someone we thought dead, and now hear him calling in the night: Help me! Heaving and panting, he raises the gravestone of our soul and body higher and still higher, breathing more freely at every moment.
  2. Every word, every deed, every thought is the heavy gravestone he is forever trying to lift. And my own body and all the visible world, all heaven and earth, are the gravestone which God is struggling to heave upward.
  3. Trees shout, animals and stars: "We are doomed!" Every living creature flings two huge hands as high as the heavens to seek help.
  4. With his knees doubled up under his chin, with his hands spread toward the light, with the soles of his feet turned toward his back, God huddles in a knot in every cell of flesh.
  5. When I break a fruit open, this is how every seed is revealed to me. When I speak to men, this what I discern in their thick and muddy brains.
  6. God struggles in every thing, his hands flung upward toward the light. What light? Beyond and above every thing!                                                                                                                                         
    (--from The Saviors of God, Spiritual Exercises, The Vision, by Nikos Kazantzakis, 1927)

all by oneself

The unwritten Torah is fogged window with mountain cold on frozen snowy ground in late february just up from atlantic ocean this side of Hope.

A family of deer have made our yard their restaurant.

Kabbala, (Hebrew: “Tradition”) also spelled Kabala, Kabbalah, Cabala, Cabbala, or Cabbalah, esoteric Jewish mysticism as it appeared in the 12th and following centuries. Kabbala has always been essentially an oral tradition in that initiation into its doctrines and practices is conducted by a personal guide to avoid the dangers inherent in mystical experiences. Esoteric Kabbala is also “tradition” inasmuch as it lays claim to secret knowledge of the unwritten Torah (divine revelation) that was communicated by God to Moses and Adam. Though observance of the Law of Moses remained the basic tenet of Judaism, Kabbala provided a means of approaching God directly. It thus gave Judaism a religious dimension whose mystical approaches to God were viewed by some as dangerously pantheistic and heretical.

God is still and silent.

In all, as each, through everything.

I have no desire to speak to God.

Icicles hang from roof.

Snow confides in yew branch and holly wreath on outside deck above rocking chair and lichened bench.

God longs to be listened to.

Saying nothing, such attentiveness has no reward, no recrimination.

Mere, morning, ganz allein. 

brother fire, sister snow, cousin cat on table

 fire in woodstove

reignites -- outside just one

degree -- in here -- fire-

box comes to life with three year-

old wood from under torn tarp

I decide to pray

as twilight new-eyes faint blue

lights up in east sky

it seems I'm crazy -- this, still,

sitting, within, everything

Friday, February 24, 2023

throughout, and with joy

 Responding to. Opinion piece, Marjorie Taylor Greene Has a Dream, Feb. 24, 2023, 5:00 a.m. ET,  Opinion Columnist

Sound and reasonable assessment. 
It is not our like-mindedness that saves us, it is our diversity and debatable differences that keep us healthy and moving forward. 
Such retrenchment and snide fragmentation such as propounded by the Georgia Legislator would only calcify our preferences and prejudices leading us into harsh antagonism and rock solid reliance on fixed ideas instead of deliberative innovation and responsiveness to what arises from our midst.

I stay with The New York Times and Washington Post for as much steady news and opinion as they can present.

I'm relying on their thoughtful elaboration of the thoughtless goings-on saturating the shouting platforms that have come to be schoolyard nests of bullies and belligerent kerfuffle. 

That said, it is the morning and night zazen that anchors me in not-knowing and only-go-straight.

There's something under everything that holds all up and asks, insistently yet kindly, to reveal itself in the space between us.

Our friends in prison this morning will have to wait to share their benevolent teaching with us. We do not make it in today. 

But we hold them in heart and mind, and all our brothers and sisters, all our relations, throughout, and with joy.

the ignorance of avidya

 I ask the koans

“Who am I?” and “What is this?”

What they want of me

They stare at me, say nothing

Then turn their backs, walk away

Thursday, February 23, 2023

a stubbornly persistent illusion.

On some days time and stillness sit next to you.

They don't ask much. One says "Ignore me!" The other says, "Become me!" 

Let’s start by guessing that the question is referring to one particular passage that Einstein wrote. This comes in a letter to the family of Michele Besso, his life-long collaborator and closest friend, and was written a few days after Einstein learned of his death.

Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Einstein did not reject the existence of time. Instead, he rejected the distinction between past, present, and future. This may seem like a minor difference, but it is not. 

(--Einstein Believed In A Theory Of Spacetime That Can Help People Cope With Loss, Quora)

 It is time to still the mind.

All at once, this, time.

Remaining, still, while moving through everything. 

nothing here to see

 If you were to love

Here is what you have to learn

Hold onto nothing

concretion, ganz allein



Snow begins

Falling to earth

Proleptic wisdom

Each flake each galaxy

From dark through light into dark

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

the odd weather of february

 No ice fishing house

on the pond, no eagles pick

What not left for them

other seeth things

While walking alone, one meets another.

Except, there is no one else there.  

Two eyes our souls possess:

While one is turned on time,

The other seeth things

Eternal and sublime.

(Angelus Silesius)

Once the realization "I am alone," then the appreciation "We are not alone."

It is this non-furcation we settle into when no-one-else arrives.

and beholdeth the deep profound

 It's not simply academic study. It is looking into the very core of what it is that holds us up and places us here. Like the senses of a rock climber finely attuned to smallest crevices to root boot and finger clutch -- we seek the frailest handhold in an instant of frightening unbalance. The mind seeks what can be grasped.

[19] Happy he who after his allotted destiny,

after troubles, after bitter earthly cares,
enters on the pathways of mind
and beholdeth the deep profound
that shineth with divine light.

[20] It is a labor to take flight
with the whole wings of those desires
that lift upwards to the universal Heart.

[21] Do thou only confirm thy flight
by such flights as transport to the ideal world,
and the Father will appear nigh unto thee
and will hold out His Hands to thee.

[22] For some shaft of light shall leap forth
to illumine thy paths,
and will unfold to thee the field of mind,
the beginning of beauty.

[23] Arise, my soul,
drink from the fountain that runs with gold.

(from Hymn 1, in The Hymns of Synesius 

 Synesius of Cyrene (c.370-c.413) was a Neo-Platonic philosopher who became bishop of Ptolemais in the Cyrenaica. He left behind a small corpus of texts that offer much information about daily life in Late Antiquity, and about the christianization of the Roman world. 

 The screeching impudence and sniveling impertinence of political buffoonery and cable-porn nightly reynard hosts no longer insinuate my eyes or ears. It all goes quiet and unread. The tweets and rants, the snide and sarcastic, the false questioning and delusional beliefs, ideology, swiping and sniping. 


As Kazantzakis says, we must save God, that vagabond, ascending.


כן (Yes)

Begin again

Be gone 

Bygones be bygones

(Un)Sure and begorrah

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

memento mori

On Ash Wednesday earth 

spreads itself on foreheads. Asks: 

do you remember?

the time will soon come

 Poem by Herman Hesse:

On A Journey

Don't be downcast, soon the night will come,
When we can see the cool moon laughing in secret
Over the faint countryside,
And we rest, hand in hand.

Don't be downcast, the time will soon come
When we can have rest. Our small crosses will stand
On the bright edge of the road together,
And rain fall, and snow fall,
And the winds come and go.

Translated by James Wright

 There's a possibility that ash wednesday and the lenten forty days could herald a journey this year that reveals something new, a realization that everything that has been invisible and hidden is no longer veiled and unseen, that it never has been so, but there and visible, although unseen, from the beginning, as origin, ever-present, and wonderfully appearing.

The idea appeals.

Ground, underfoot, uplifts.

A metaphor seen through.

what is real in itself — mardi la grâce

 What do we want to see? What are we looking for?

Vision lets us see what is here. Vision unveils.

I do not pick up where my childhood catholic faith dropped away into clear but unresponding memory.

Rather, an inchoate and nascent all-embracing re-intuited catholic vision arises in these late days.

All in all.

One in each one.

Corpus domine nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meum in vitam aeternum!

The body of our Christ, Jesus, and all sentient beings, gathers and safeguards us in life itself, infinite and eternal, here and now, as it is, as we are!

Translation reveals hermeneutical unveiling.

“What is” is “as it is” . . . Is . . . God, as emergent expression, whole and entire, within everything.

We have become, for now, flesh, spirit, mind.

We have become, for now, earth, cosmos, space and time.

This, this, is Christ the zen master. The lord koan of coming-to-be. This the revelation of Being Itself.

This, this, is what is, as it is, now.

The pious separation of religion from cosmos is no longer viable.

The intimate co-respondence of whole-sight and co-originating interdependence becomes its own way today.

Pray for a vision! Enter a vision quest! One that longs to see the fundamental ground of being and existence.

Let your being be with Being that which is becoming apparent and diaphanous to one-another, a liberation, transformation, and, redemption (retrieval) of what-is-real-in-itself.

What Is, 

Real . . . In Itself!

May it be so!

May all be heard and seen through!

Monday, February 20, 2023

not anything else

It is said that consciousness and poetry are good companions.  

Ancient Wisdom, Rather Cosmic 


So-shu dreamed, 


And having dreamed that he was a bird, a bee, and a butterfly,

He was uncertain why he should try to feel like anything else,

Hence his contentment. 


(Poem by Ezra Pound)

Both are good companions.

Hence, we might allow, contentment.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

it is the self becoming word, the word becoming world

The poet Conrad Aiken’s (1889-1973) father shot Conrad’s mother, and then he shot himself. Both dead, a murder/suicide, as young Conrad, age 11, discovered, afterward writing of it:

[A]fter the desultory early morning quarrel, came the half stifled scream, and then the sound of his father’s voice counting three, and the two loud pistol-shots; and he had tiptoed into the dark room, where the two bodies lay motionless and apart, and, finding them dead, found himself possessed of them forever. 

(-Aiken, C. (1952). Ushant: An essay. New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce.) (cf. Cosmos Mariner)

Who is experiencing what? And what the relationship between what we call dream and what we call reality? Is the butterfly being dreamt? Or the world?

Are we the active or passive agents in the dreaming?

I'm curious, because I want to know whether I am dreaming this chaotic world, or, am I being dreamt by it?


The locust tree spills sequins of pale gold

in spiral nebulae, borne on the Invisible

earthward and deathward, but in change to find

the cycles to new birth, new life. Li Po

allowed his autumn thoughts like these to flow,

and, from the Gorge, sends word of Chouang's dream.

Did Chouang dream he was a butterfly?

Or did the butterfly dream Chouang? If so,

why then all things can change, and change again,

the sea to brook, the brook to sea, and we

from man to butterfly; and back to man.

This 'I,' this moving ‘I,' this focal ‘I,'

which changes, when it dreams the butterfly,

into the thing it dreams of; liquid eye

in which the thing takes shape, but from within

as well as from without: this liquid ‘I':

how many guises, and disguises, this

nimblest of actors takes, how many names

puts on and off, the costumes worn but once,

the player queen, the lover, or the dunce,

hero or poet, father or friend,

suiting the eloquence to the moment's end;

childlike, or bestial; the language of the kiss

sensual or simple; and the gestures, too,

as slight as that with which an empire falls,

or a great love's abjured; these feignings, sleights,

savants, or saints, or fly-by-nights,

the novice in her cell, or wearing tights

on the high wire above a hell of lights:

what's true in these, or false? which is the ‘I'

of 'I's'? Is it the master of the cadence, who

transforms all things to a hoop of flame, where through

tigers of meaning leap? And are these true,

the language never old and never new,

such as the world wears on its wedding day,

the something borrowed with something chicory blue?

In every part we play, we play ourselves;

even the secret doubt to which we come

beneath the changing shapes of self and thing,

yes, even this, at last, if we should call

and dare to name it, we would find

the only voice that answers is our own.

We are once more defrauded by the mind.

Defrauded? No. It is the alchemy by which we grow.

It is the self becoming word, the word

becoming world. And with each part we play

we add to cosmic Sum and cosmic sum.

Who knows but one day we shall find,

hidden in the prism at the rainbow's foot,

the square root of the eccentric absolute,

and the concentric absolute to come.  

 (—from poem,  A Letter From Li Po, by Conrad Aiken) 

 "In every part we play, we play ourselves," says Mr. Aiken.

If so, then, who am I now? 

What dream is this, this going forward, this change from this to this, arriving at a change of scene, on a road that feels familiar, a trail I feel I've walked, perhaps someone I think I knew turning to say something I can't completely make out?

but from within

as well as from without: this liquid ‘I':

how many guises, and disguises, this

nimblest of actors takes,

Am I dreaming this life?  Or, am I not? 

It might be so, however unfathomably so. Nor does that make it any less real.

I look at you. What do I see?

You look at me. What do you see?

This dream is a mirror. Look into it.

More than that -- step into it. 

Where seeming two converge as one, remaining distinct so as to permit the dream to wander on its way into itself, emerging through and through the thin place where everything is felt and nothing known.

And so . . . we practice . . . living . . . here.

body and mind — where have they gone

                   “The poet is the priest of the invisiblle.”  (Wallace Stevens)

There’s nothing special

About zen — for heaven’s sake, 

Just open your eyes

What comes in is going out

What goes out is the cosmos