Sunday, April 13, 2014

Remove the sandals from your feet

There's a resistance to opening oneself to an alternative reality. So says Avivah Zornberg — The Transformation of Pharaoh, Moses, and God,  On Being. Radio interview with Krista Tippett (originally, from 2005).

Obdurate and closed to appeals from the outside world. A hardened heart; Pharaoh. A slow and heavy mouth; Moses. A dull and uncomprehending mind; us.

This story, as with all stories, is ours. Right here and right now, ours.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you'll be travelling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey." 
(~~father writing to his daughter, Amelia, in the movie, "The Princess Diaries," script by Gina Wendkos, from the novel by Meg Cabot)
Adam and Eve are expelled. Moses and Aaron are expelled. You and I are expelled.

Into the unknown.

Our true home.

Prospective Immigrants Please Note                   
                        by Adrienne Rich 
Either you will 
go through this door 
or you will not go through. 

If you go through 
there is always the risk 
of remembering your name. 

Things look at you doubly 
and you must look back 
and let them happen. 

If you do not go through 
it is possible 
to live worthily 

to maintain your attitudes 
to hold your position 
to die bravely 

but much will blind you, 
much will evade you, 
at what cost who knows? 

The door itself makes no promises. 
It is only a door.
                               (Poem by Adrienne Rich) 
The possibilities of story, the endlessly open possibilities of our leaving, our exodus from the known toward the infinite and curious unveiling of what-is unfolding from the nothing we know into the nothing we don't know which sets in motion the nothing we are.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

just one look

If “love” is a fundamental ground of human desire and existence, then is it any wonder that we have adopted the belief that “God is love” or “Compassion is enlightenment”?

If Thomas Merton is correct that “love” has no opposite -- that there is only love and the perversion of love -- then our attitude toward love and compassion mirrors or determines our attitudes about God or the perversion of God.

If you are looking at me and I am looking at you, then is there only one looking?

A friend writes that his ticket has been punched by a conductor and the timetable for his departure is posted on the big board. I suggest that he “fool ‘em and ride on top of the coach.”

What vehicle is the coach? What rails are being travelled? What whistle at crossings is being sounded?

Who knows?

Tonight begins March Madness.

Here’s looking at you, kid!

(For, indeed: “Here” is looking at (or rather “as” you.)

Without you, I’m nothing.

Just one all it takes.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

ergo, igitur

Not knowing is not bad.

It presupposes not treating.

Knowing this is good.

Monday, March 10, 2014

visiting Kali

Solace, the singing group, sang for Kali Sunday afternoon.

She moved to the music in her bed.

The sound of everyone being told they are, indeed, beautiful.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

way; spare

Listening to Lord Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. He spoke about dignifying difference. 

 I am happy living simply 

I am happy living simply: 
like a clock, or a calendar. 
Worldly pilgrim, thin, 
wise—as any creature. To know 
the spirit is my beloved. To come to things—swift 
as a ray of light, or a look. 
To live as I write: spare—the way 
God asks me—and friends do not.  
(Poem by Marina Tsvetaeva, {1892–1941} 1919, Source: Poetry, March 2012).

What do I know of death?  Because it is inevitable does it diminish my belief in life?
“. . . inability to explain is no ground for disbelief. Not as long as the sense of God persists” (p.236, in "Mr. Sammler’s Planet, by Saul Bellow)
What is the “sense of God”?

I’ll go, for now, with Tsvetaeva’s phrasing: “spare—the way.”

I’ll sit with it. Attempt to see it from all sides. With all feeling. And all meaning.


The way.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

studded snow tires

 The 70 yr old woman said she was ready for death. She doesn’t want pain. The way her brother knew pain.

sometimes, i have conversations with an imaginary guru, naturally one who lives inside me. he used to be a psychiatrist: at least in the old days a lot of my conversations were started with, & a lot of my problems heard out or resolved by, an imaginary viennese who listened carefully, often accusingly, & showed me with a few apt technical phrases how far i had erred in my thinking, or behavior. the viennese fellow has disappeared; comes back if ever for very short visits; but has been replaced by chuang tzu (sometimes merton, or sometimes chuang tzu in merton translation) who tells me other wisdoms: usually the wisdoms of abstinence & avoidance; of retreat, prayer & preparation, of non-attachment, of “sitting quietly doing nothing,” of seeking smallness, not greatness, or of seeking nothing at all.  
as i don’t think i really understood the “psychiatrist” half of the time, i'm not sure i really understand “chuang tzu.” i respect him though, don’t resent him, as i often did the psychiatrist; feel that he knows i don’t know but that little by little there’ll be things i can learn. i picture him with shaved head, a listener (& yet a practical man), a listener who appreciates, a listener with humor; a storehouse-—but very light storehouse—-of wisdom; made like modern electronic ears of light, light materials, but of great receiving strength. 
what he promotes is wisdom, what he promises is grace. zen wisdom, perhaps; zen grace, but certainly wisdom & grace.  
one feels that all philosophies, zen, & yoga are ways of approaching wisdom & “enlightenment”—they are ways of approaching an enlightened state in which one’s behavior is always or almost always “spontaneously” right.  
to be “enlightened” is not to shine; nor to bring multitudes to the hill where one sits cross-legged, to listen.  
it is rather to know what one is doing (& even, perhaps, to enjoy it). 
(--Robert Lax, {1915-2000}, from his journals) 

I walk her through last night’s snow to her car. I watch for cars coming down hill. She backs out. Heads for town.