February 25th, 2008

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Good Morning!

The moon is shining in the sky this morning, announcing we may have sun.  It is as bright as the little bird next to me, a feathered friend I love.

My hair this morning has a piece that is sticking up like the topknot on a quail.   It seems it will be there until I hop into the shower.  It is quite determined to rise.  I think of my quail friends this morning.  They are often exuberantly here, chattering and defending and standing up even to the car.  I wonder where they are now, where they go.

I am reading Victor Vernon Woolf's book, The Dance of Life, about Holodynamics.   I'm not far enough into the book to understand it yet, or maybe a course is required to "get" it, but what I am absorbing so far is the idea of "becoming" something else, or someone else, to understand what is going on for them.  Vern was scuba-diving when he had a face to face encounter with a manta ray where the manta ray took him on a "trip" of experience.  He traveled ike Scrooge in The Christmas Carol.  (That's my analogy.  It may not be how Vern would describe it.)  It was quite something, so I thought this morning I would imagine myself as a quail.  Maybe today I will encounter them, though I believe they usually arrive later in the spring.  The trees continue amazing, with blossoms of pink, white, and yellow.   Each blossom is like a band-aid on the wounds that simmer within.   I am dwelling with the passing of my cousin Greg, and in great concern for little Kara who is not healing as we all have wished.   She will not come home from the hospital today.  It is agonizing for her and her family, and my body/mind shares their pain.  

Prayers for all who suffer right now.   I look out on the moon and swing myself up on its light, and still, I feel some weight of concern within.

and just as I type Light, the sky lays a pink blanket on the ridge.   Oh, and now, there is a pink streak  in the sky.   Wow!

Like that, may Kara heal and come home!!

egg stone

Peace -

The only way to bring peace to the earth

    is to learn to make our own lives peaceful.

                      - The Buddha

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Thomas Merton -

This is a touching account of a true way to live one's life. 

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The Burial of Herman Hanekamp

[The following entry from Merton's private journals describes the funeral of Herman Hanekamp, who did not succeed as a novice at Gethsemani, but who was allowed to live on Linton Farm, a property the Abbey owned. When Herman moved in, Merton wrote: "He came over in the rain with all his possessions in a mule cart. It was a pathetic sight." Many at the Abbey considered Hanekamp a "character" and a "bum". But Merton attests, perhaps seriously, that, of all the members of Gethsemani's community he had known to that point, he would have most wanted to be like Herman.]

This morning I went to the funeral of Herman Hanekamp in New Haven. Started out in the frost after dawn. The body laid out in the funeral parlor was that of a millionaire, a great executive. I never before saw Herman shaven, in a suit, least of all, in a collar and tie. He looked like one of the great of the earth. I was a pallbearer along with Andy Boone, Hanekamp's old friend Glen Price (a great stout man with a lined face like the side of an old building but very humble and gentle). Brothers Clement and Colman were pallbearers and another man with a shoelace necktie. . . .

When we came out of the church into the sun, carrying the coffin, the bright air seemed full of great joy and a huge freight train came barreling through the valley with a sound of power like an army. All the pride of the world of industry seemed, somehow, to be something that belonged to Herman. What a curious obsession with the conviction of him as a great, rich man, tremendously respected by the whole world! We drove back to bury him in the graveyard outside the monastery gate.

The bare woods stood wise and strong in the sun as if they were proud of some great success that had been achieved in secret with their connivance and consent.

As we carried the coffin through the sunlit yard, I listened with exaltation: it was hailed by the singing of skylarks on the second day of January.

What has triumphed here is not admired by anyone, despised even by the monks who also could not help thinking of Herman as a lazy man and an escapist. He had not taken seriously the world of business so important to us all. And now behold--a captain of industry!

Thomas Merton. A Search for Solitude. Edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham (San Francisco, HarperSanFrancisco, 1996): 245.

Thought for the Day

Herman, who was once a novice here (in the days before the first world war) is one of the very few members or former members of the community that I have ever had any desire to imitate.

A Search for Solitude: 242.

calder mobile miniature

thoughts -

My thoughts today are still strongly with my cousin Greg.  Memories flood back, and, as my brother says, the memories seem like today though many are over fifty years old.   How can that be?  It is the childhood memories that speak strongest, though one time after he had been stationed in Alaska for a winter, he visited us in San Diego.  I remember him now sitting in the chair, thinking he had gone to heaven.   He was astonished at the array of fresh fruits and vegetables, the air.  My friend Lee is in Alaska right now, and perhaps this is a mild winter.  She said it is 20 degrees above zero and people are out cavorting in shirts and shorts.  She is bundled, being of our weaker bay area blood.

Greg read my blog and sometimes teased me about the "California slant."  It was fun to know he was there, possibly rolling his eyes at times.   I miss him and his response.  

alexander calder

Be Peace!!

This morning I am with the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, Be Peace.  

It seems so simple, doesn't it?   Be Peace!!

Here are some words of Thich Nhat Hanh.


I believe with all my heart that the monks who burned themselves
did not aim at the death of the oppressors but only at a change
in their policies. Their enemies are not man. They are intolerance,
fanaticism, dictatorship, cupidity, hatred, and discrimination
which lie within the heart of man. These are real enemies of humans,—
not humans themselves. In our unfortunate fatherland we are trying
to plead desperately: do not kill man, even in man's name. Please
kill the real enemies of man which are present everywhere in our
very hearts and minds... You cannot be silent since you have already
been in action and you are in action because, in you, God is in action.

Thich Nhat Hanh,
Director of the School of Youth for Social Service
of the Buddhist University in Saigon, Viet Nam.





Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.

Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.

Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.


Thich Nhat Hanh,
Call Me by My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh, Parallax Press, Berkeley, California, 1999, p. 194

barack obama

Barack Obama -

I continue to hear and to read how strongly people fear for the safety of Barack Obama, fear that when we last had hope like this, our hope was assassinated right before our eyes, Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

We have to believe, to envision him held in a lovely cocoon of white light, envision him as our president in full and open stride.

How sad it is that Ralph Nader lingers on, the only remaining dinosaur, determined to do what?  What kind of ego would not see the damage he has done, and would not creep quietly away?   We have a man who offers hope, the father of two, and we fear for his life.  How sad is that?

People fear voting for him because they don't want him to die.  I must admit I had a touch of the same feeling.  I want him alive for his family, and for the country.   Surely, we can keep him safe.
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John O'Donohue

II (excerpt)
I arise today
Blessed by all things,
Wings of breath,
Delight of eyes,
Wonder of whisper,
Intimacy of touch,
Eternity of soul,
Urgency of thought,
Miracle of health,
Embrace of God.
May I live this day.

~ John O"Donohue ~
(Eternal Echoes)


Love for yourself -

In Sharon Salzberg's book, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, she writes:

    According to the Buddha, "You can search through the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere.  You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."

heart's desire

Taxes -

I told Jane I was going to do the taxes today that I had planned to do over the weekend, but then, felt too devastated to do.

She asks me just now if I am begun.  I explain that my doing of taxes is a ritual.   I have candles lit, and I am going through prayers, poems and meditations.  I prepare.  I consider the vast outflow of money that is taxes, the energy, and I want to honor the ritual of preparing my taxes, the gift of opening up to see what I gave this year, to honor what matters to me.

I like to image my tax dollars as used for children, parks, schools, and roads.   Other people can image their tax dollars for weapons and security if that is what matters to them, but I prefer to imagine children playing in parks, running and jumping with minds filled with poems, air and teachings of rational and intuitive thought.

This is a long explanation to say that for me doing my taxes is more than opening the forms, and pulling out the folder of receipts.  It is an honoring of a huge part of my life, a re-examination of this last year.

I take time to prepare before I begin the actual act, and then it seems to flow rather easily, but it takes me time to expand to begin.

sleepy sea otter

Notes -

Antonio Machado -

    People possess four things that are no good at sea: anchor, rudder, oars, and the fear of going down.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez -

    Imagination is like a car battery.  When you leave it inactive, is when it runs down.

D.T. Suzuki

    The event of creation did not take place so many eons ago, astronomically or biologically speaking.  Creation is taking place every moment of our lives.

Comfort There!

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blessing food with love -

David Ian Miller interviews Dean Radin in his column Finding My Religion.

I take an excerpt:

Last year you conducted an experiment with something you call "intentional chocolate." You had several Tibetan monks and a Mongolian shaman bless chocolate, and then you tested the moods of people who ate it. What prompted the idea?

It came up during a discussion with a chocolate maker from Hawaii. I'm not much of a foodie, so I don't think about these things very often, but I certainly know that there is something that seems different when food is cooked by someone you love. It feels better. It tastes better. And a lot of chefs swear by the idea that somehow their attitude, their intentions, make a difference in terms of how people respond to food. It occurred to me that this was a testable idea. So we did double-blind experiments to see what would happen if you exposed some chocolate to the highly trained intentions of expert meditators. It came out with results that significantly supported the idea people report having a better mood when eating the intentional chocolate as opposed to the placebo.

It was probably the strangest experiment that I've done so far because it implies not only that intention changes substance, but whatever is being changed also results in a behavioral difference.

I'll admit I had mixed reactions when I heard about this. On the one hand, I have a general feeling that when food is being created with love and attention that it actually tastes better. But another part of me was thinking: "Oh, come on! This is a scam." Has this experiment been replicated anywhere else?

I don't think it's been replicated; the study was just recently published. But I think I point out in the paper that there are previous studies that suggest that something like this probably should work. These are mostly studies involving water and people who do hands-on healing, like therapies of touch, perhaps. And they are asked to hold vials of water while they are doing the healing with the idea that maybe the water will be changed as a result of what's going on. Then you see if the water makes a difference when it's used on plants and seeds, as opposed to control water that is not handled. And most of the studies do show that there are small effects that can be detected.