Saturday, November 25, 2023

how the wealthy prosper

 Reading David Cay Johnston’s book The Big Cheat on Trump and his family, their schemes, frauds, and unethical dealings while in office.

How curious their deceits and illegal shenanigans.

Some day, it is said, justice might prevail.

how close am i

 Where do you find meaning?

Nowhere, nowhere at all.

Good, I’ll look there.

Friday, November 24, 2023

in a world of false opinion and importance

 Absurdity and

Meaninglessness is what we

Need to dwell within

gratia pro gratia.

 Leben ohne warum, wrote Meister Eckhart, Life without why.

From the Symposium with the European Academy of Sciences and Arts

Leben ohne Warum

—Der Ursprung des Lebens in der Theologie Meister Eckharts

Tatsuya Yamazaki

Brief summary of this Life Without Why: The Origin of Life in Eckharts Theology” is as follows: 

Meister Eckhart expresses frequently the opinion that there is actually no reason in living itself and the life is »without why«, as the origin of a life is God who is the why (quare) of all beings. The thought is justified biblically through the interpretation of the Chapter of the Gospel according to John. And it is drawn from this interpretation that all beings exist in God as the life which is not to be created. The proper name of God »I am what I am« (ego sum qui sum) describes according to Eckhart the divine life which is boiling up in itself. He explains the boil as the divine emanation of the Son and the Holy Sprit from the Father and the overflow which comes after the boil as the creation. On the basis of the relationship of the emanation to the creation, Eckhart places the incarnation (incarnatio) these two ones. The incarnation is the grace for grace (gratia pro gratia) which enables us to be the sons of God and with which God gives birth to his son in human nature (natura humana).

(--Institute of Oriental Philosophy,

In prison Monday we looked at Meister Eckhart after some words about Leo Tolstoy and Ivan Turgenev. (This, after wondering if self-proclaiming of one's Christian identity was enough, or, whether an external verification is also necessary. 

Rilke's poem was recited:

(Gieb deine Schönheit immer hin

ohne Rechnen und Reden.

Du schweigst. Sie sagt für dich: Ich bin.

Und kommt in tausendfachem Sinn,

kommt endlich über jeden.)” 


“Let your beauty manifest itself

without talking and calculation.

You are silent. It says for you: I am.

And comes in meaning thousandfold,

comes at long last over everyone. 


― Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Images

We sipped black coffee. "It says for you: I am." We don't say it. It says it for us.

Since Monday I've wondered about Eckhart's words. Originally we discussed the invitation to go beyond rational distinctions and analysis, rather leaning into a more existential "rising up as itself" appearing without calculation. 

Then it occurred to me that ohne (without) could have a hermeneutic that means that life without (i.e. outside the interior mind) is one of constantly asking 'why', a continual rationalizing, calculating, analyzing, comparing, and judging.

Whereas, innerhalb (within), suggests something else. Perhaps contemplative. Not looking for reasons. Rather attempting to dwell within the mystery of unexplainable manifestation.That which is beyond the facts and explanations, below the surface of accountings and speculations.

The fact of things. The arising into realization with no obvious preface or prediction.

Whereas the without of things asks why, the within of things looks with silence.

The revelation is, always, "I am." Things say it, plants, trees, and animals say it. Humans say it. And according to inchoate apophatic event-utterance, God says it.

There's no accounting of it, no accounting for it.

It is, what is, as it is.

Essentially, the underlying ungraspable mystery of things, the impenetrable reality of being-here, of Being-Itself. 

And we are asked, not to look at it and analyze it, but to look as it and become it.

What shall it be called? An immediacy of intimacy? An intimacy of immediacy?

Or as Rilke said elsewhere about whatever it is:

                 from all the borders of itself,

burst like a star: for here there is no place

that does not see you. You must change your life.

(--last lines of poem, Archaic Torso of Apollo, by Rainer Maria Rilke) 

Gratia pro gratia.

Thursday, November 23, 2023

looking out / in our directions


     BY W. S. MERWIN


with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

we are running out of the glass rooms

with our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it

standing by the windows looking out

in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

remembering wars and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you

in the faces of the officials and the rich

and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us

taking our feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

thank you we are saying and waving

dark though it is 


(—W.S. Merwin, "Thanks" from Migration: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2005 by W.S. Merwin. )

Poetry Foundation

And this:

Merwin was once asked what social role a poet plays—if any—in America. He commented: “I think there’s a kind of desperate hope built into poetry now that one really wants, hopelessly, to save the world. One is trying to say everything that can be said for the things that one loves while there’s still time. I think that’s a social role, don’t you? ... We keep expressing our anger and our love, and we hope, hopelessly perhaps, that it will have some effect. But I certainly have moved beyond the despair, or the searing, dumb vision that I felt after writing The Lice; one can’t live only in despair and anger without eventually destroying the thing one is angry in defense of. The world is still here, and there are aspects of human life that are not purely destructive, and there is a need to pay attention to the things around us while they are still around us. And you know, in a way, if you don’t pay that attention, the anger is just bitterness.”

Merwin died in March 2019 at the age of 91.

nowhere to go, nowhere to be; this breath, then this emptiness

 Days become

One another

Today is Thursday 

Body is 

One breath after


Inside is

Outside is


The question

Is not

Do you love me

Nor do I 

Love you

Rather ask

Is outside

Inside & inside



Shikantaza no


No boundaries

Steel ring dawns

Whole of it all

I cannot tell

If I am

Alive or dead

Chanting from

Somewhere lays

Baseline drone

I’m glad

You stop


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

for what we’ve done

 the day of mourning

for all our relations — the

originals, haunt

what are you, looking for

I suppose there was once a time when people thought they knew what to believe. 

"If you wish to seek peace of mind and happiness then believe. If you wish to be a disciple of truth, then investigate"             Friedrich Nietzsche, in letter to his sister, 1865

That was then.

Now, we wander.

Now investigation. 

sixty years later

 Rain this Wednesday

So refreshing — wooddrop tarped

Gate closed, good dog near

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

what is christ, what is bodhisatva



Itself is

Itself as

Itself . . .



Monday, November 20, 2023

falling into what is

 Until integrality

Parts will battle parts

Once wholeness

Then life together 

no place to hide

 They say our mind is in deficient decline

We no longer just dislike something and get on with it

Now we dislike and want to eliminate whatever or whomever we dislike

This is the deficiency of our rational mentality -- destroy what we dislike

This trend is troubling

We have guns

We demean and denigrate 

Denounce and shoot in the face

We do not suffer dissatisfaction

We make others suffer our dissatisfaction 

Cancel and castigate, imprison and impugn 

Cross off the list, consign to depletion and dirt

Patience no longer a virtue

Compassion is for fools

Fidelity is for suckers

The meek will be run off

The mind is compromised

The heart terrified

Men want their way

Doors close with strong locks

either way, it works


In for a penny in for a pound. 

Don’t start by trying to love God, or even people; love elements and rocks first, move to trees, then animals, and then humans. Angels will soon seem like a real possibility, and God is then just a short leap away. It works. In fact, it might be the only way to love, because how we do anything is how we do everything. In the end, either we love everything or there is reason to doubt that we love anything. This one love and one loveliness was described by many medieval theologians as the “great chain of being.”              (Richard Rohr, Building on a First Love, Daily Meditation)

There’s something we do not yet understand.

Microcosm is macrocosm.

Inch is mile.

Mind is universe.

I am you are me.

 No matter, never mind.
No mind, never matter.
Either way, it works 

- Ram Dass.

Face it, all of it!

It works, either way. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

before-knowing mind

 She doesn’t know where she is, or why. She wants to go home, to family, whoever or wherever they are, she doesn’t know.

Nor do I, but I only visit, sit with her, not knowing anything myself.

There we sit, the two of us, in the special wing, of a Sunday morning.

Until I get to go home.

Not knowing why.