Saturday, March 09, 2024

we are the irrational animal

 Reading book Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason, by Justin E. H. Smith.

You'd think it would be off-putting. On the contrary, I find it encouraging. Anytime something appears to capture what is actually taking place, I affirm its willingness to walk beside me for a suitable duration.

So far, good company.

have full dignity within it

Maybe we should just shut up.

The Meaning Of Existence 


Everything except language

knows the meaning of existence.

Trees, planets, rivers, time

know nothing else. They express it

moment by moment as the universe.

Even this fool of a body

lives it in part, and would

have full dignity within it

but for the ignorant freedom

of my talking mind.

(--poem by Les Murray) 


 Or, perhaps, more modestly, attend with no-mind, watchful.

νόησις νοήσεως

What do you think? 

Aristotle's description of God's activity as νόησις νοήσεως, a "thinking of thinking," in chapters 7 and 9 of Metaphysics 12 raises some of the most significant and challenging questions in philosophy.  

(in, Aristotle on God As Thought Thinking Itself, by Thomas De Koninck

Review of Metaphysics 47 (3):471-515 (1994) Jstor

Two thousand three hundred forty six years gone, Heidegger thought that we are still not thinking.

God seems still beyond us.

God help us! 

who needs a mat

 In this simulation of the universe —

Mountain home walking,
You don’t step on dust,
Seldom meet anyone;
Who’s ashamed to be poor?
Tired? Then rest.
What do you need a mat for?
Forget about the form
And the shadow will disappear.

Gensei (1623-1668) dz

—there is nothing moving.

Go there. 

silencio y soledad de arpillera

Inflated globe hangs 

from ceiling 


coffee bean fifty 

pound empty burlap

Asobagri, 100%

Certified organic

It is my reminder

(As is everything)

Of Sanyassin 

Moving through

Mind/Body space

A desolation row

Such a large ocean

Such an immense

Cosmos —

If you want to know

Who you are

And what this is

(Oh -- There’s the sun!)

Ninety three million

Miles away — right

There at window bamboo

Shade, right here on

Back of hand —

Empty pathos 

This cold room



Friday, March 08, 2024

the letter ‘s’

“The only thing that can save the world from complete moral collapse is a spiritual revolution.” (—opening line, Prologue, The Ascent to Truth, by Thomas Merton, 1951)

Seems so.

In prison this morning we read from the Chandogya Upanishad, 8.7-12.

It was an in and out morning, some able to stay briefly, others late due to late meds, others for other appointments, some for long haul. Eight of us wondering about self, soul, spirit, breath.

Someone introduced (what he called) preconceived semantics. (He referred to S.I. Hayakawa.) Another wandered our attention to the semantics of individual letters of the alphabet by Laurel Airica and related a piece to illustrate.

The word semantics originated from the Ancient Greek adjective semantikos, meaning 'relating to signs', which is a derivative of sēmeion, the noun for 'sign' (--wikipedia).

Sometimes words don’t convey.

Meaning remains remote.

We have a way to go.

Thursday, March 07, 2024


President Biden gave 

SOTU speech tonight.

Good for US

where absence goes to pray

 Living a spiritual life

a meditative life

a contemplative

is no longer in

monastery, convent

or some such place

not in temple, zendo

mosque, hermitage or

parish church group

where, then, is it

It is in the solitude

of uncertainty

that place where 

emptiness is no

mystical comfort

where the next breath 

is a long shot, a pause

at end of exhalation

No talk of God

no certificates, thanks

or rounds of applause

A saint is deep within

silence and soliloquey

where what once was


is now where absence

goes to pray

not knowing

anything (yes)

all too well

awk, causing uneasy embarrassment

 It feels




Greatest danger

Is the man

Wanting to be

It’s president —

And it is,


billy clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas

It was a hard time.

 On March 7, 1965, the marchers set out. As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named for a Confederate brigadier general, Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, and U.S. senator who stood against Black rights, state troopers and other law enforcement officers met the unarmed marchers with billy clubs, bullwhips, and tear gas. They fractured John Lewis’s skull and beat Amelia Boynton unconscious. A newspaper photograph of the 54-year-old Boynton, seemingly dead in the arms of another marcher, illustrated the depravity of those determined to stop Black voting.

(—in Letters from an American, by Heather Cox Richardson, 6mar24)

It is a hard time.

Wednesday, March 06, 2024

they're selling selling postcards of the hanging



to say






morning, wohnküche, sensei(s)

 dog snoozes

cat naps

sun slants

in glass door

red squirrel 

under feeder

will not

stop looking

for what

feeds it

for unbroken


and yet

Oh, if we only had wit …

I am such that I do not know right and wrong and cannot distinguish false and true;
I lack even small love and small compassion,
And yet, for fame and profit, enjoy teaching others.

(—quote by Shinran, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu school of Pure Land Buddhism. Tricycle)

…and the wisdom to see humor in the absurd, and absurdity in those of us who do not see how absurd we are!

not this, not this

 A time

Will come

When truth

Will matter

Until then

Comfort one

Another —

We live



No outer


Tuesday, March 05, 2024

a single light in a dark alley

Let’s say I’ve only a passing interest in primary politics.

But, hey, how do you like them Vermonters!

say again

 Good time in prison

Yesterday talking about

The present

Which is not

Something, not 

Here nor there

The present is 

What we are

Moving through

It’s not

A thing not

A place

The present

Is what we are

Moving through

Duality is daunted,



Only the

Present will

Save us, and

The present

Is what we are

Moving through

the argument to let be


let me 

lift you

child --

no need

for fear

we adults 

are here

to spare

you dark

shivers of


come let’s

get ice-cream

and play

with puppy

who looks

to us




you don’t need to win elections

If there's ill-will, there's a wayward skill. 

There is, perhaps, a larger story behind the majority’s musings on future congressional actions. Its decision to go beyond what was required to decide a specific question and suggest the boundaries of future legislation pushed it from judicial review into the realm of lawmaking. 

For years now, Republicans, especially Republican senators who have turned the previously rarely-used filibuster into a common tool, have stopped Congress from making laws and have instead thrown decision-making to the courts. 

Two days ago, in Slate, legal analyst Mark Joseph Stern noted that when Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was Senate majority leader, he “realized you don’t need to win elections to enact Republican policy. You don’t need to change hearts and minds. You don’t need to push ballot initiatives or win over the views of the people. All you have to do is stack the courts. You only need 51 votes in the Senate to stack the courts with far-right partisan activists…[a]nd they will enact Republican policies under the guise of judicial review, policies that could never pass through the democratic process. And those policies will be bulletproof, because they will be called ‘law.’”

(--Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, 4mar24),  

Let's applaud the creativeness of duplicity.

Let's fight then for a better concept of reciprocity. 

Let's call dis-maneuvering what it is, disheartening.

the stones will cry out

Count on the Center for Action and Contemplation, every time: 

After almost fifty years of being a Franciscan Sister, I learned that beauty for Franciscan theologians and philosophers is the ultimate and most intimate knowing of God, another name for God, the name for God. Saint Bonaventure and Blessed John Duns Scotus teach that the beauty and diversity of creation nourish us through suffering and loss. When we’ve run out of purpose, when memories of war sicken us, when Earth is attacked with unparalleled savagery for coal, gas, oil, timber, and profit, when poverty runs rampant and extreme wealth for very few soars, when friends betray us, and everyone we love lives far away … then, still beauty endures, and helps us make it through. Like God…. [2]

I sense now that soul knows itself and its life within the great compassionate Mystery we strive to name. Soul stirs, rises, grows toward and within the unnameable silence and beauty of God, a mothering watery God, a rain beyond Catholic, beyond any specific religion or creed, a rain that soothes us in suffering and challenges complacency. Soul flowers in this rain of the worlds, of meteor showers, of the cosmos. [3]

(—from “The Stones Cry Out” by Marya Grathwohl)

Count on it. 




Where a 



To himself



Occupies his


Over and

Over, new

Gospel for


Christians, a


Stale smoke



Head fog

Until what

Is seen


There, what

Is there


Seen —



Our bedside



Lunacy like



Believing each

Bite chews his



Over and



decreating decreation

 Falling away

It is falling



Arms fall


Feet going

One by


There’s no




Mirror in


Only sound



Monday, March 04, 2024

and the land of the

Schopenhauer wrote:

“A man can be himself only so long as he is alone; and if he does not love solitude, he will not love freedom; for it is only when he is alone that he is really free.”

(Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms)

There's no-one here right now to ask if that is true. 

non compos mentis

It becomes too difficult to watch or read the, so-called, news.

Everyone is either insane or driving others insane. It's the way things are.

I'd like to say I'm not insane. But that would be insane to say.

So, I'll sit here. Insanely thinking about insanity. Like an insane person.

Sunday, March 03, 2024



God is



Is no



Just the seeing


the wonder of it

 three meatballs

with Breton


four cookies

green juice


all fitting

in these words

situated as they are

 So many ways to think.

Here’s one by Lincoln,

Our conversation touched on one of Lincoln’s insights, which governed his approach to slavery. This was a moral issue, but Lincoln did not assume that his opposition to slavery made him a better person than its proponents. Quite the opposite. In a 1854 speech to an audience in the free state of Illinois, Lincoln made a statement that, from the perspective of the twenty-first century, is almost disorienting.

He first declared that the Southern slaveholders were neither better, nor worse than we of the North, and that we of the North were no better than they. If we were situated as they are, we should act and feel as they do; and if they were situated as we are, they should act and feel as we do; and we never ought to lose sight of this fact in discussing the subject.

What leader would say in a speech, in the divided year of 2024, “Our side is no better as human beings than the people on the other side”? Present-day political rhetoric tends toward the opposite conclusion. It’s common instead to paint the other side as pure evil. Lincoln didn’t do that—though he was willing to say the other side was profoundly wrong.

(—Steve Inskeep, Abraham Lincoln, social scientist, Substack 3mar24)

I’ll think about that. 


first light

open window 

falling rain

to bed

center to center

 The natural world is imbued with soul.

Without such soul recognition and mirroring, we are alienated and separated from nature, and quite frankly, ourselves. Without a visceral connection to the soul of nature, we will not know how to love or respect our own soul. Instead, we try various means to get God and people to like or accept us because we never experience radical belonging to the world itself. We’re trying to say to ourselves and others, “I belong here. I matter.” Of course, that’s true! But contrived and artificial means will never achieve that divine purpose. We are naturally healed in this world when we know things center to center, subject to subject, and soul to soul.

I think of soul as anything’s ultimate meaning which is held within. Soul is the blueprint inside of every created thing telling it what it is and what it can become. When we meet anything at that level, we will respect, protect, and love it.

(--Richard Rohr, The Soul of Nature, 3mar24) 

Don't go anywhere else.

To be, saved 

sicut erat in principio

rain throughout the night

earth takes in water from sky

like prayers into soul

three two one -- there you are

 learn to pray always

each breath arriving as god's

true being, here --

passing through realty

nothing to look for elsewhere