Saturday, January 27, 2024


 Lone snow-groomer climbs

Mountain late Saturday night —

Dog outside to pee

Crunching snow underfoot the

Round wreathy lights glow dooryard

eternity's sunrise

It is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yes, to remember hate is necessary.

Remember, yes, but not embody.

Turn sideways, let hate fly by, exhaust itself.

Hate is an empty emotion, erroneous mentation, 

insubstantial absurdity.

There's plenty still around. It perpetuates itself

It turns around and hates the hateful.

It needs to enter oblivion. To dissolve in a deeper sense of consolation.

I read again Man's Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl.

“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

            ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The world is not given to us.

What is given is a moment of creative extrapolation wherein that which presents itself is de-composed and re-composed into the composition of the emerging imagination. 

This imagined emerging composition is the passing reality of impermanent presence moving through us.

Don't hold on.

Not to hate.

Nor to love.

Both pass through us.

We are porous presence enroute elsewhere while wherever we are.

Kiss the joy as it flies.

Blake has said it.

Friday, January 26, 2024

l'uno per l'altro

 To converse well 

Is it pray well —

Let us…

Enter oratory

each on its own

 Both Khrushchev and Kennedy were compromised by conservative military and state forces who didn’t like their movements toward cooperation and deescalation of nuclear and hostile footing toward the other. The third leg of their early sixties troika was Pope John XXIII. 

Their backdoor communications helped quell the fiasco with Cuba but led to Kennedy’s death and Khrushchev’s loss of power. Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli’s death on 3june63 was caused by cancer. He, too, had many dissenters alarmed at his opening the windows of the church.

Power is always shadowed.

The 1962 Cuban crisis was harrowing.

The official account of JFK’s assassination is a lie through and through. We’ve never recovered from either the event or the lie.

Russia’s retrenched. The church has folded in on itself. America is a glass vase falling from mantel portending shards.

History cannot help itself.

“Itself” is ever and always on its own.

As is each…one…of us.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

what occurs to you

Reading JFK and the UnspeakableWhy He Died and Why It Matters, by James W. Douglass., 2008.

Engaging and clarifying, although distressing and haunting.

Not hard to understand how there is so little trust in the agencies and governmental institutions by citizens.

Lies and fearful threats, along with actual additional assassinations of collateral individuals make for hard confidence in the secret keepers and harm contractors.

Raised in a small town in British Columbia and a student in Catholic schools in the United States, James Douglass was awarded an academic scholarship to study nuclear physics at the University of California at Berkeley. He planned to get his degree and then go to work in the nuclear-powered missile industry. But after only two months at UC Berkeley, he experienced an inexplicable emptiness, left college and joined the Army.

After his stint in the Army, Douglass enrolled at Santa Clara University where he sought “the best classes and teachers” with no design for where that would lead him. One place it led him was to English Professor Herbert Burke´s classroom, where Douglass was asked to question the use of nuclear weapons that could destroy the world, and was introduced to the people who were protesting against nuclear weapons, including the Catholic Worker movement and its founder Dorothy Day.

Douglass was moved and influenced by her when she visited Santa Clara. He began to write for The Catholic Worker. Douglass was also deeply influenced by the priest, writer, and social activist Thomas Merton. Douglass was drawn to Merton’s writings about “the Unspeakable”, a term Merton coined in the mid-sixties in response to the soul-shaking events of the time, particularly the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Robert F. Kennedy. In those events, Douglass writes, “Merton sensed an evil whose depth and deceit go beyond the capacity of words to describe…When we become more deeply human…the wellspring of our compassion moves us to confront the Unspeakable.”

It's not hard to understand the reluctance on the part of so many to un-curtain the truth of so much of our history. It is easier to ban such explication of racism, war against the poor, gender discrimination, class superiority, wealth domination, etc. 

Forced to face questions from innocent children and youth about the atrocious behavior of controlling ideology and mean thoughtless people -- it is impossible to articulate and justify the unjustifiable without resorting to irrational bigotry and domination behavior to repulse any truth or threat to the delusions carried forward by the dementia of denial.

I, too, would want to shut down academic courses, informative lectures, libraries and bookstores, educational tv, radio, and podcasts if I, too, carried the viral fear of truth and love.

It's no wonder religious institutions change their theology to match the fear and mimic escapism from this-world everyday revelation. 'Jesus has forgiven everybody', they cry, 'wait until the afterlife, you'll see, sit at the right hand of God, and enjoy salvation!'

Christ isn't there. 

Christ is care and compassion here.

Buddhas and bodhisattvas aren't in some distant nirvana.

They are engaged in opening minds and hearts to the reality wherein we dwell.

Why, some people ask, does anyone practice spirituality, meditation, contemplation? Why do christs and boddhisatvas walk among us, with ministrations and encouragement?


Ha! (Damned if I know!)

Sit a while. Breathe. Eyes open. Heart ready. Mind willing.

Come back and tell me what occurs to you.

I'm willing to sit with you and listen.

I'll try to empty out some room in my cluttered consciousness for us.

five remembrances of buddhism

Thanks to Chris of The Kennebec River Zen Center for helping us remember:

 “Five Remembrances” of Buddhism

    1. I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.
    2. I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape having ill health.
    3. I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.
    4. All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
    5. My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

These five remembrances, were first found in the Upajjhatthana Sutta (“Subjects for Contemplation”)

Another reminder, in non-dual mentation, to speak about life/death is to speak of one unseparated thing.

Death might be considered the diminishment of life, and, life considered as the ministration of death.

Cf:  —and —

Wednesday, January 24, 2024


 If you



To say —


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

at tuesday evening conversation



is what 

after death — 

Perhaps it
   is love …

(he said)

contemplative direction


Not at

Nor as



against all right and reason

She said this in an interview, “The far right is the tyranny of the minority.” (Ruth Ben-Ghiat, 22jan24)

Teaching “Man’s Cultural History” for the university at Maine State Prison in 1988, we surveyed Arnold Toynbee’s notion of “Dominant Minority.” 

In his A Study of History, here in Wikipedia:

He argues that the ultimate sign a civilization has broken down is when the dominant minority forms a "universal state", which stifles political creativity within the existing social order. The classic example of this is the Roman Empire, though many other imperial regimes are cited as examples. Toynbee writes:

"First the Dominant Minority attempts to hold by force—against all right and reason—a position of inherited privilege which it has ceased to merit; and then the Proletariat repays injustice with resentment, fear with hate, and violence with violence. Yet the whole movement ends in positive acts of creation. The Dominant Minority creates a universal state, the Internal Proletariat a universal church, and the External Proletariat a bevy of barbarian war-bands." 

—Wikipedia, A Study of History

Current historical resonance everyday in newspapers and television reportage suggest repetition and recurrence revealing itself in America and other right wing stronghold takeovers worldwide. 

The thump thump thump of Trump Trump Trump.

The enthusiasm of his dominant minority.

The idling incapacity of judiciary to pin him for his centēnārius baggage of felony indictments.

The enthusiastic and addled incoherence of his followers as to what exactly the man represents to them beyond mendacious and consumptive fraudulent cultism.

History watches with sober eye.

What seemed joke and farce looms ominously über alles.

Step carefully, dear country!

Or, as a departed Trappist zen friend once said to me, “Cheer up, Bill, things are only going to get worse!”

why, for mystics, ‘there’ is no god

Do you want to see me?

     No, I don’t want to see you.

What do you want?

     I want to see through you.

Monday, January 22, 2024


 Gone nuts

Is what they say —

Right wing 

quiet night tide of loving gratitude

I'm glad Maine doesn't have Death by Execution at their prison. 

Oklahoma does.

Even after all the words they had exchanged, about existence and mortality and human cruelty, Moss hadn’t been prepared for the finality of this moment. The conversation between the two had seemed, sometimes, as though it would never end; there were no conclusions, only more threads to unspool.

Looking at Hancock’s body, Moss surprised himself by murmuring a spontaneous prayer, which came out involuntarily, like a sneeze. He prayed that whatever came next for Hancock, that he would be dealt a better set of cards. 

The families of the victims, Jett and Lynch, spoke in the prison’s media room right afterward. “I am grateful that justice has been served according to God’s will,” said Lynch’s niece, reading a message from her mother. “I can only hope that he chose to get his soul right with God before his window of opportunity closed for eternity.”

Outside the execution chamber, the drizzle had turned into sheets of rain. Moss sat in his car and began to cry.

In his hand was the paper where he had written down his final message to Hancock. There were the instructions he had written to himself: “Call the spirit of humanity into this space.” And there was a sentence fragment he’d crossed out, following the word spirit: “Of the divine.”

Moss had gone back and forth on how to approach those last moments. He knew he wanted his final words to his friend to honor what both of them believed to be true, as he said driving away from the prison: “God has nothing to do with this.”

(_from, An Atheist Chaplain and a Death Row Inmate’s Final HoursDevin Moss spent a year ministering to convicted killer Phillip Hancock. Together, they wrestled with one question: How to face death without God., Jan. 21, 2024, NYTimes 

We talk about God in the prison. Not in any believer/churchy way. We wrestle with our mind's idea of "God" -- our heart's longing for what some say is the peace, serenity, and compassion usually attributed  as characteristics of God.

It is possible I am an atheist who loves God. An agnostic who knows nothing about God.  A Christian who concurs with Jesus that God abandoned him. As a prisoner relayed to me twenty years ago after his near-death experience, saying "There is a God, but it's nothing like you think it is."

I wish Hancock, Moss, Hosch, and Gov.Stitt (God bless him) -- well. Why not. There's not enough mercy around.

I think back over the 35 years I've been going weekly into Maine State Prison as university faculty and meetingbrook conversation volunteer and I realize at least two dozen men I know who could have been on death row. These have been fond friends who've shared and taught me much. 

Prison sucks, yes, it's hard to disagree. But they got to live and most are still with us. 

And we still share something that might even be God's breath, diaphanous distance-between, and even the quiet night tide of loving gratitude for knowing each other. 

surgimiento real y fascinante

 Perhaps an edit would be:

God is the diaphanous distance between each thing and everything else. 

Breath is that which is seen through arriving and departing.

It is within this encountering-between wherein God is a most real most unknown presence.

There's something notably mysterious and mystical about the emptiness and darkness stretching between each and every thing, each and every person, each and every being.

If “God” were to be seen through as that surgimiento real y fascinante (real and fascinating emergence), such vision would be an encountering of liberating and grace-surrounding existence.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

a misty borderland

Eeny meenie miny moe, tell all the truth but tell it slow. (Is anything ever accurately represented and fairly constituted?) 

Truth is a ragged and complex hobo wandering in and out of classrooms, churches, corporations, and charnel grounds. We’d prefer an editor’s eraser nearby and a wave of hand by storyteller indicating ‘don’t mind me, I’m just slinging words.’

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind — 

 We “can’t handle the truth,” said Colonel Jessup. It doesn’t always set, or seldom results in setting, us free. It might bring clarity, a moment’s pause in the quick run of bullshit, but in that hiatus what dreams may come seldom last.

They ate standing up in the grasshopper’s messy kitchenette, then kissed tentatively, brushing each other gently with their feelers. The ant rested her head on the grasshopper’s abdomen, and he stroked her antennae as the sun shone through his tiny window. 

They had sex again, took a nap, ate some fruit, and watched a movie. Then they decided to go out, not to anyplace in particular, just sort of around. And as they inched across the vast sidewalk, where the bike racks loomed so tall they seemed to touch the sky, the moral of the story finally dawned on them: they were just bugs. They always had been. They had no control over the world. They had no control over their own lives. All they had was each other, and not for very long. They reached for each other’s pincers. It was summer again, and this time they weren’t about to waste it. 

(—from The Ant and the Grasshopper: A Millennial Fable, By Simon Rich, January 15, 2024 , the New Yorker)

We are told by disingenuous people running for ideologist-in-chief to choose whatever facts they prefer over reputable truth. The people love this abnegation of truth, especially members of christian congregations long used to unquestioningly subservience to wealthy preachers and vestigial clerics who’ve long abandoned truth for the accoutrements of faith.

Good for grasshopper and ant. They’ve, temporarily got each other, and the near proximity of understanding their truth in the moment.

My church is this cluttered room. Ragamuffin ne’er-do-well hobo tramp mendicant beggar solitary hermit faith. 

“Trust-no-one” is an article of faith that doesn’t mean what at first you think it means. Read it again.

Friend sends me Kipling, referencing husband Sam, and friend, the Major.

…because the human soul is a very lonely thing, and when it is getting ready to go away, hides itself in a misty borderland where the living may not follow. (-Without Benefit of Clergy, By Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

Daylight comes through bamboo shade.

Heating pad leans against wrenched lower back.

It is 12 degrees. 

God is the diaphanous distance between everything and everything else.


     Let us pray.

Procedamus in pace!