Saturday, August 12, 2023

across the universe

 Leaning back looking

Up last night cosmos full bright

Stars and stuff — today

Only blue washed sunlight white 

Puffs cloud sperse land sweeping breeze

lucha por la vida

 the struggle for life

this middle time walking through

we wander wonder

happying home from the dance

 Phrase from mister Joyce

In finnegans wake reminds

When girls were just girls

so we wouldn’t be so scared in the dark

 Telling a story

Keeping night creatures distant

Fire burns fear goes

Friday, August 11, 2023

via con dios

 you think its easy

saying hello and goodbye

over and over

aphasia can present as lexical-semantic deficits with verbal paraphasia

Meetingbrook Conversations are, if anything, diverse and divergent, anomalous and contemplative, literary and linguistically gymnastic. 

In prison this morning, among other things: 

  • reflecting on thalamus,
  • on gospel of Mary Magdelene, and
  • the structures of appearance and disappearance in social constructs.
In other words -- aporia, chaos theory, and apophatic silence.

We wondered about change. Confrontation or insinuation?
We wondered about post-dualistic triadic or trinitarian interrelation.
We wondered whether e.e.cummings was right when he wrote:

Better worlds (I suggest) are born, not made; and their birthdays are the birthdays of individuals. Let us pray always for individuals; never for worlds. "He who would do good to another" cries the poet and painter William Blake "must do it in Minute Particulars"—and probably many of you are familiar with this greatly pitying line. But I'll wager that not three of you could quote me the line which follows it

     General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, &flatterer

for that deeply terrible line spells the doom of all unworlds; whatever their slogans and their strategies, whoever their heroes or their villains.

(--from non lecture two, in six non lectures, by e.e.cummings, The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, 1952-1953) cf

 The thalamus, according to the National Library of Medicine:

 The thalamus is a mostly gray matter structure of the diencephalon that has many essential roles in human physiology. The thalamus is composed of different nuclei that each serve a unique role, ranging from relaying sensory and motor signals, as well as regulation of consciousness and alertness.          ... 

Though a central sensory relay station, thalamic lesions can paradoxically present with various non-sensory clinical patterns, thereby complicating diagnostic issues.

Thalamic aphasia can present as lexical-semantic deficits with verbal paraphasia but with intact repetition and naming. Characteristically this pattern of aphasia following thalamic strokes shows speedy recovery.                                                                                                                                (--Neuroanatomy, Thalamus,

As doorkeeper and distributor, one can imagine the passageway of: 

(1) The vast and incomprehensible in the field of Being entering 

(2) the portal/gatekeeper for directional distribution into the carbon-biologic entity we call human body. This biologic unit can receive and process only so much according to its specifications and capacity until it becomes surfeited and deluged shutting down further input. 

(3) Thereby, in this revolving stasis, there happens a falling through, an emptying into, a reorientation beyond material capacity, down into silent emptiness, wherein and whereby the ever-present origin without shape, time, or dimension -- dwells.

In our mythic theologic articulation through folkloric history, a placeholder designation has been ascribed, namely, trinity. 

This trinity -- origin, anthropos, and pneuma -- might be depicted as inception, conception, reception. Perhaps: the  eternal inchoate, the courageous engaged, the empty reposition.

In Western religious thought: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Perhaps: Being, Becoming, Beholding.

It is our experience that everything-that-is falls through that-which-is-aware into vast-emptiness-at-center.

This journey, if you will, is the spiritual narrative of birth, death, and beyond. Yes, there is death in the middle aspect of this journey. The body, the transportation, the collector and distributor, can only take so much burden, space, time, dimensionality and functioning of organs, before it ceases to contain and negotiate that which is passing into and through it.

So, Jesus dies on the cross after imploring the Father to find a workaround to this middle dilemma.

He says the Spirit (Άγιο πνεύμα) will carry on.

Like last breaths of hospice patients in quiet rooms going out and on beyond my comprehension, I am left with my compañeros and compañera in prison conversations, with one another in final circles of reflective contemplation and community.

With gratitude.

dizzying kinhin 3am

 Strong rain

Truck windows open

Stagger outside

Thursday, August 10, 2023

absent minded

How we think about things determines what the things are that we think about.

Thinking of Christ without oppositions of divine/human, without dualistic tensions of either/or, even without rationalizations attempting to include or exclude anything in some arbitrary attempt to define or categorize.

Emptiness is neither nothing nor something.

It is what it is and what it is not.

 Modern understandings of Christ are still formed in terms of the Greek ontological model. The great majority of Christians, while confessing Christ as both human and divine, tend to fall unconsciously into one or another of the heresies excluded by the early Fathers: in their minds, Christ either becomes God striding through the world, or a man with particularly godlike qualities. It is  

precisely this kind of conundrum that a Mahayana Christology can avoid because, in basing itself on the doctrine of emptiness, it refuses to define either the divine or the human nature of Christ. If things and persons have no essences, as Mahayana holds, then they have no specific differences in light of which they might be defined. Mahayana theology is not compelled to do an intellectual balancing act in order to reconcile two opposite natures attributed to the same person. 

(—from, The Emptiness of Christ: A Mahayana Christology, by John P. Keenan, Anglican Theological Review, Vol. 75 No. 1 Winter.1993, Pp48-63)

I sit with a man who breathes in a breath pattern twenty seconds of seven gasps followed by twenty seconds of faint near nonexistent breath followed by the gasping seven breaths across twenty seconds.

We listen to “Absent Minded” a piano and string piece by Gabriel Òlafs.

Christ hears us.

Christ graciously hears us. 

In that soundless sound, 

in that mushin no shin (無心の心)

we become 

what Christ is becoming 

with us.

perhaps, soon, literacy and elocution

 In poem “Mnemosyne” by Friedrich Hölderlin:

We are a sign that is not read  

We feel no pain, we almost have 

Lost our tongue in foreign lands

(—in, What is Called Thinking?, by Martin Heidegger).

la nostalgia è passata ieri

 There’s no visiting

the past. Over shoulder glance

then head turns forward 

Wednesday, August 09, 2023

its what happens next — upaya — skillfully

 We are holding stem

Flower of dharma twirling

Awakening hand

straddling my first birthday

 There’s no explaining Nagasaki. Don’t listen to any of the rationalizations. Nothing decent can be inferred nor intimated.

Ugly is as ugly does. My Nana was right. She’d say, “handsome is as handsome does.”

Nothing about 6aug1945 and 9aug1945 in Japan is other than horrendous and appalling.

The big dumb celebrations then and since echo in the ribald enthusiasm for a current day corrupt man who wants control over America’s nuclear arsenal. 

शिव चीज़ों पर नज़र रखते हैं  — (Shiva keeps an eye on things.)

not the transitory and impermanent

The actor, stepping from stage after delivering lines, takes off wardrobe specific to scene, plot, and role, returns to street garb, leaves behind that which was temporarily necessary for the performed play, going on into the resumption of their life unfolding forward through time and place traversed by each new step next breath next encounter.

It is the natural unburdening of task, title, and time.

To not let go of our false self at the right time and in the right way is precisely what it means to be stuck, trapped, and addicted to our self. (The traditional word for that was sin, the result of feeling separate from the Whole.) Discovering our True Self is not just a matter of chronological age. Some spiritually precocious children see through the false self rather early. Some old men and old women are still dressing it up. If all we have at the end of our life is our separate or false self, there will not be much to eternalize. It is transitory and impermanent. These costumes are largely created by the mental ego. They were useful to us in our development. Our false self is what changes, passes, and dies when we die. Only our True Self lives forever. [3]

[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2013), 27–28.  From “Letting go of the False Self”, Richard Rohr, CAC

 You can’t stay on stage once your bit player role is enacted and performed. You move away. Step off. Relinquish costume.

We are not who we think we are. We are, performatively, who we are coming to be.

All the world is a staging. Players erect, play parts, disassemble, and move on.

What goes on, what is perennial, is the theater of being, being itself, being here, (ultimately) this present moment — surrounding and surrounded by — the merely true in all its disguises, scripts, and deliverance.

Look at you!

We thought we wanted fame, to be famous.

 What we’ve really wanted is to be famished by and delivered unto — the play of it all.

Alas and alack, hithertofor and notwithstanding, treading and trodding, satchel on stick over shoulder, trippingly and traducing, we forge and forage on.

Do play nicely and well!

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

famiglia, il migliore

 Francis, Katherine

Nellie, Jim, Tom and Sarah,

Patricia — thank you!

post-ferry seen off-shore, pre-three lbs of coffee and bags of fragrant tea

 Drenching rain on beach

Running dog stepping through waves

Perfect morning walk

existence by numbers and ancestral change

 Begins eightieth year

Dawning seven and nine, this

Twenty twenty three —

One day by one day, minute

By minute healing forebears

Monday, August 07, 2023

one is there already

 Really, where do you think you are? 

Highest mountain in the West,                                                  

eighteen thousand miles from the East,

reaching the sky and dwarfing the other peaks. 

If one wishes to reach it, one is there already; 

for a Zen student can make a mountain 

wherever the feet are touching.


—Jakushitsu Genko Zenji (1290–1368) in dailyzen

Its easy to be mistaken, thinking we are somewhere when, in fact, we might be everywhere. 

Sunday, August 06, 2023


 Jesus says:

“See through me.”

going out, coming in

The mystery of spiritual journeying.

Ultreïa = further beyond

 ανάσταση = resurrection

The going out is the coming in.

Canadian author Sue Kenney – – suggests that pilgrims on the way to Santiago would say “Ultreya” to which pilgrims on their way home would respond “Suseya”. For her the term would be intrinsically linked to the way back, which was at the time a very important part of the Camino de Santiago with no easy transportation means.

Maybe that’s an invitational consequence of growing older — a meditation on destination-less travel (or is that desensitizing travail?)

So many I know delight in outward accomplishment, vacations to other continents, cycling or hiking glorious trails and mountains across the country. I salute them.

These days, I am accomplishing nothing, vacating the premises, doing kinhin in open-air terra-zendo, napping in imaginal reverie, chanting with birds and mewing cats.

Quite simply, there’s nowhere to go … I am … already dwelling.


four days of contemplation

 It is the sacred triduum of 

Hiroshima, Transfiguration and Nagasaki. 

America grew tired of God the Father

Preferring to rid itself of Jesus

Ushering in a new era of mass-killing

Crucifixion by nuclear destruction

Of course the acts were horrible

The mindless raving of exterior solution

We are left with interior silence and prayer

Seeing the cruelty, unrejecting Christ who

Lets be seen all IS and YES and HOLY

As we shade our sorrowing unseeing eyes 

This is the call of sacred numinous

Turn again and look, see what is there

See WHAT IS here

Entering emptiness

Released from delusional calculations

Warfare of comparison and dominance

Today, this transfiguration triduum,

Reject error of ignorant gain and greatness

See through love, see through wholeness

Right now, right here, may particular be seen

A new vision of each and any

This one, that one, anyone

Shining through many and all

Silent One Expression  — Inner Communion

Semblance of Christ

Within reflecting through 

A Heart Sutra inviting us

Beyond, awake, and wholly rejoicing