Thursday, February 24, 2011


I made deals with my parents
To parent them
If they would love me
The currency of an economy misaligned
The country where no passport gains entry

Today I make deals with men
Hard currency hides black market exchanges
Protect me, help me, save me
The language foreign or frightening
They walk away

Monday, January 24, 2011

Postcards on the Search

These lines were written originally to describe the ways men can get lost when journeying through the world in search of their authenticity. Now the lines apply to both genders as men and women enter the "Unreal City," walk the trembling tight rope and decide to seek meaning or remain locked inside the familiar.

Unreal City,
Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many.
I had not thought death had undone so many.
- The Wasteland by T.S. Eliot

(he) climbs the building, kicks the football, boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city.
...Howls in his sleep because the tight-rope Trembles and shows the darkness beneath.
The strutting show-off is terrified.
- The Heavy Bear by Delmore Schwartz

Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.
And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.
And another man, who remains inside his own house,
stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church which he forgot.
- The Middle Passage by Rainer Maria Rilke

According to Jung, the greatest burden the child must bear is the unlived life of the parents.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Lord Cometh Indeed.

From The Friends Journal, January 2011:

The great mistake those of us who sit at God's left hand make is our insistence that all religions have equal value, that one is as good as the other, that it doesn't matter what we believe. This simply isn't true. When an entire segment of Christianity is looking forward to a cataclysmic battle in the Middle East that will usher in the second coming of Jesus, actually praying to God for a worldwide battle that will annihilate billions of people so a relative few can be transported to heaven, something is drastically wrong with that.

The Meaning of Universalism by Phil H. Gulley

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Collective Shadow

Nuclear submarine. Trident.

In the sudden silence, the conning tower I had mistaken for a building glided past, then a shadowy body like some ancient, light-eating beast barely visible beneath the sea, blacker than any black I have every seen.

"I would like to have seen it," said Sean, my fiance, when I told him about it later. He had read more than I ever hoped to know about that ship. He told me it could keep going all the way around the world, and around again maybe two or three times without ever having to surface. He said it carries twenty four missiles each of which has eight or ten warheads.

"Do you know that every one of those warheads has five times the capacity of the bomb we dropped on Hiroshima?"

I did not know. I bit my lip and looked at the floor, calculating. A thousand Hiroshimas. Fifteen times the number of Jews murdered in Nazi Germany. A submerged black shadow, waiting to destroy ninety million people.

We the people of the United States have created Trident. Not They - not an impersonal agency of government - but We - I, my family, my friends, and all the other citizens of my country.

Sean and I calculated that every man, woman and child in the United States is responsible for 4.5 cubic inches of that ship, a total of 18,700 tones of the psyche's nuclear power, consisting of all the unacknowledged destructiveness, hatred, rage and other rejected and denied qualities of 230 million people.

Saturday's Child: Encounters with the Dark Gods by Janet O. Dallett, 1991

Friday, December 24, 2010

Fear: The Great Diminisher

From Trying To Be Human by Cheri Huber:

When you sit still with compulsive behavior, what you confront is the underlying fear. Then you are onto something manageable.

Through meditating you will be able to experience the sensation in your body that you call fear. What would that sensation be without the belief system that goes with it? What is fear, actually?

“Well, I’m afraid I’m going to die.” You are going to die, that’s true. Are you dying in this moment? Not so that it shows.

So, is the fear an experience you are having, or an idea you are holding? What would that sensation be without that idea, the label, those beliefs, that conditioning? You can begin to learn that in meditation.

Watch how the process works in your mind. You wake up in the morning and everything is fine. Then a thought comes through, fear follows it, voices kick in with conditioned responses, and you are off and running straight into suffering.

In meditation you begin to watch that kind of process. You see the relationship between the sensation and that label; you see your reaction and the belief system that goes with it. And you begin to suspect that what’s really going on has nothing to do with what you think is going on. You begin to see that there are certain times when these patterns happen; you notice that they are in fact patterns, and you no longer believe them. You bring your attention back closer and closer to the sensation that actually triggers the pattern.

And you discover that there is no such thing as fear.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hardcore Zen

From Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen - Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality:

"Religions...have never offered anything more to me than sophisticated methods of avoiding the truth, of building elaborate fantasies in the place of reality. As far as I'm concerned, religions obscure reality rather than reveal it more clearly. They serve up vapid platitudes in place of answers to the genuine and crucial questions that burn in our guts.

"And philosophy, the academically sanctioned state religion of the Western world, isn't any better. Philosophers offer clever suppositions phrased in five-dollar words. Sure, philosophy can lead to a deep-ass insight or two....but soon enough you look around and the world is still the same old screwed-up mess.

"Politics? Politicians can't solve the problems of how to find their own asses with two hands and a flashlight, let alone figure out anything more complex or subtle.

"Fame, fortune, really great sex - maybe those'll cure all your ills. But beautiful people with loads of money are just as confused and miserable as anyone else...You can master tantric yogic poly-orgasmic Wonder Sex but you're still gonna die alone. There has to be something more.

"My own quest for truth began because I knew there had to be some way to see the truth that didn't involve following all the other cattle to the slaughterhouse."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

From Jack Kornfield's book After the Ecstasy, the Laundry:

"...Suzuki Roshi said, 'Strictly speaking, there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity.' This remarkable statement tells us that enlightenment cannot be held by anyone. It simply exists in moments of freedom.

"Pri Valayat Khan, the seventy-five-year-old head of the Sufi Order in the West, confides his own belief: 'Of so many great teachers, I've met in India and Asia, if you were to bring them to America, get them a house, two cars, a spouse, three kids, a job, insurance and taxes...they would all have a hard time."