I have friends who are Quakers, friends who are Unitarian Universalists, friends who Dialogue in the Bohmian tradition, friends who are Mystics, friends who are Poets, and so many other friends who live lives of wisdom and wonder... this is my account of the meeting with these friends...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Brilliant and Clear Seeing

On Philosophy, Found Here:

"The near future of philosophy will be the continued unpicking of analytic philosophy in order to reveal just how much its purported rigour is just a cover for another set of biases. Certainly there is value in it, but it has no flesh: analytic philosophy is a matter of rejecting meaning as a human means the term for a shallower conception of meaning that leaves the reader unsatisfied.

This would almost be fine if there were no meaning to be had; then philosphy would be a matter of slowly waking up to nihilistic reality, but analytic philosophy doesn't even address that well: the way in which it handles meaning is by rejecting that which cannot easily be put into words, and expressed mathematically.

After the boldness of the 20th Century, analytic philosophy lives on as a kind of pedants' corner. Unfortunately, logical positivism, having engendered a general cleanup of thought across disciplines, now leaves large areas of study distinctly less human in its wake.

Beyond philosophy, we have Dennis Skinner's influence upon psychology, leading to perverse failures to understand conditions of mind, since all that is deemed real is the externally measurable. This means that if one condition obscures another, where the second would be said to occur in the general population under the same circumstances, the second is said not to occur in this case, which cannot be the conservative assumption. This kind of thinking results in a general inhumanity in caring for people.

That is only one example, there are many fields that need rehumanising. This, I would suggest, is philosophy's most urgent task. But it is only the beginning of the process, since purported rigour feeds the cult of "expertese"; experts will be lothe to overturn the methodological aloofness that is intrinsic to their own social status. The war needs to be won in every discipline, so that the hardening arteries of positivism can be countered early in each student's development."

~Tim Wesson

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Art is in the Meeting

    Q: Would you say that the reader perceives things differently from the poet's intention? Or can one really come to see what the poet sees?

to me, it can either be as a clash of cymbals, or as delicate as the sunlight's first morning-meeting with dew, but it is in the "meeting", where there'is the Art...

the artist meets the seeing
the seeing meets the silence
the silence meets the pen
the pen meets the page
the page meets the reader
the reader meets the mind
the mind meets the seeing
the seeing meets the artist

who was the artist here?
was it the seer?
was it the reader?
was it the pen?

it was in the meeting- all meeting in one place! this is the art!- at the death of anyone called "artist", does the art come into being...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

the wind's voice especially fierce this morning,
and last night
booming across the field
it has things to say
about hope
and giving meaning to things
truly none of our business
"Let Gods will be done" it says
meddling in the course of this moment
does not portend

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The BEST Christmas depression EVER!

It lasted all of Five seconds, well, maybe 15 if Im being honest...

it really was great fun, to see something that just a few years ago would have occupied my every thought from October to January, take only 10 seconds to go through its cycle...

I was watching tv for about 3 hours yesterday, while watching for a fed-ex delivery for my roommate ... you dont want to know how "important" this package was... it was not a Present for anyone- it was not useful to the world in any way- it was just a self indulgence really- but I was being charitable about it, and spending my time downstairs instead of in my studio, so I could watch for the package for him...

so, after 3 hours of "holiday" commercials and jumping around from "Law and Order" to CNN to wherever else - my roomate comes home- and now can take the "watch" for his own package... we say hi- he has some reasonably innocent (for him, innocent) comment about the smell of the kitchen (didnt like what I was cooking earlier for my dinner- but did like the brownie smell from what I had baked- and the comment was about them not "mixing" or some such) and I got "huffy"- for about 10 seconds... he said he was only joking, I said I knew that perfectly well- but it still got to me- I went upstairs ... didnt make it to the top stair, when it was completely gone...

about two minutes later, I saw everything- I was detoxing from the tv, and THAT WAS my traditional Christmas Depression, "asserting" itself LOL!!!

it was really so cool, and really a wonderful Christmas gift to myself, from myself, to see it all so clearly-

oh, and today, I had a bout with holiday shopping anger- it was the same thing- it lasted about 5 seconds, and I was smiling inside all through it - see the old "me" asserting itself, acting like the barometer that it is, for the human weather we were having... (the head cashier at Michaels, the craft supply store, was telling my cashier how she could have done the transaction "better" (I handed her a 100$ bill and she didnt have the change) when it was CLEARLY (in my not so humble expert - truly, Im an expert in these things- in my not so humble expert opinion) it was CLEARLY HER own doing that was confusing the issue! The computer screen was telling all THREE of us that she owed me 67.03 in change, but instead she had to know how much I owed the drawer so she could count it back manually, for some silly reason- (all she should have done is hand the cashier HER 100.00 in twenties to her, and the cashier could have taken it from there) - I said "whatever 100-67.03=?, why does that matter" (snarky, yes) "I need to know", she said. "I just want 67.03 is all" "yes I know, Im getting to that"... finally she caught on to the simplicity of it all, and she eventually, with some "difficulty" after this "destroyed" her certainty of how this should go, managed to give me my change- then she started to tell the young lady (20 years old maybe?) how she should next time do it some other way- I said, loudly, to the cashier "YOU did GREAT, thank you SO much, and merry Chistmas to you!"... the head cashier didnt look up, and skulked off, with her Christmas present of self righteousness... for myself- I was smiling smiling smiling BIG smiles inside, seeing NONE of this was me or my doing... there really was just Love in this entire unfolding! and it was all PERFECT!

God, its all so very Lovely, this life is...

Damn those Santa wannabes

Theres nothing like Good deeds going punished during the Holiday season

In Connecticut, one Barry Goldberg bought $1,300 worth of Wal-Mart gift cards valued at $10 each and started handing them out to customers in that store's lobby.

However, this was not too pleasing to the Stores Managers.

“The next thing I knew, they turned to me and said, ‘You have to leave the store. You can’t do this here. You’re soliciting,’” Goldberg said. “I said, ‘I’m not soliciting anything. I’m giving.’” Goldberg told reporters

Wal-Mart's reasoning seems to be that this particular Santa wannabe was interrupting the store's traffic flow.

It was reported that Target contacted him, and offered to swap out the Walmart Cards that he had left for Target Cards, and hand them out in their store...

nice move there, Target!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

The big picture

"Youre just not seeing the 'big picture'"

"no, YOURE not seeing the big picture"

"No, IVE got the big picture, its YOU thats not seeing the big picture"

"uhn-unh, Im seeing the big picture, You are the one not seeing it"

"what are you talking about? Ive got the big picture"

"IVE got the big picture"

"No, IVE got the big picture

"no, IVE got..."

whos got the big picture yet?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dont Know Mind

How Can You Stand Not Knowing? is a nice sermon by a fellow New Hampshirite and Deep thinker, Doug Muder, on things around Life and Death, and living and dying... do give it a read (or a listen, I did both as a read-along)... I LOVED being introduced to Hosea Ballou, and this bit from Dougs writing about Ballou's thought:

"the truly marvelous life is one aligned with the power of love. He pictured perfect love streaming down from God onto each individual, who can then reflect God's love into the world. Far from being sweet, sin smudges your mirror; it breaks your transmission of God's love."

This is PERFECT!

Monday, December 8, 2008


"Intelligent... spiritually mature... Inclusive... messy...

Why? Because messiness is the consequence of being inclusive"

I LOVE it!

see the whole thing here

Friday, December 5, 2008

A New Approach for my Bloglist

Aug 2011: the content of this post has been removed by the owner (Tom)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Two Favorites

These have become like Scripture to me- theyve helped me through some very troubled times... some very warm memories come with them too, of when they were recited among dear friends for instance, helping each other through dark times...

"It's the old rule that drunks have to argue
and get into fights.
The lover is just as bad. he falls into a hole.
But down in that hole he finds something shining,
worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street.
I took it as a sign to start singing,
falling up into the bowl of sky.
The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere.
Nothing else to do.

Here's the new rule: break the wineglass,
and fall toward the glassblower's breath.

~Jalal ad-Din Rumi

also, this by Rumi:

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
Your covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you've died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.
The speechless full moon
comes out now."

translation by Coleman Barks

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Word as Prayer

Sometimes, a word arrives as a prayer... it just comes, like, in the form of an inquiry lets say... and then to ponder that word, "contemplate" it (lit: con- "to, before" + temple- "to bring before the temple")

to see all the ways in which a word can be taken- to see the ways in which it is judged, "good" or "bad"

to go and learn how the word came into being, what its roots are, and where it might have changed meaning... the etymologies of words are very sacred things to me... like the DNA of language- etymologies carry meanings and sufferings and joyousness from the ages through to this very moment of my coming upon the word...

its in this way, a word is a prayer for me...

todays prayer for instance:


How does God view irreverence?
can God himself be irreverent?
is it ok to be irreverent with God?
maybe God wants me to be play at being irreverent with Him, and most reverent with his children?

see? - just a word, and Prayer in the form of Inquiry comes and floods this Temple...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Century of the Self

"Modern psychology has a word that is used probably more than any other word in psychology, it is the word maladjusted. It is the ringing cry of modern child psychology, maladjusted. Now of course we all want to live the well adjusted life in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities. But as I move toward my conclusion I would like to say to you today in a very honest manner that there are some things in our society and some things in our world to which I am proud to be maladjusted and I call upon all men of good will to be maladjusted to these things until the good society is realized. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to adjust myself to racial segregation and discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions to take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. Never leave millions of God's children smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society."

~Martin Luther King, 1967

Im watching a series available at Google Video, The Century of the Self
its absolutely fascinating!

see the transcripts here, with links to each video on the respective pages:

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

Saturday, November 22, 2008

this is what arrived...

...as the FIRST thing in my head upon waking up this morning...

"When you find yourself distressed over something, look to see what it is that you're holding in one of your hands...

Chances are its either a diploma or a receipt..."

these things just arrive...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quote me on this

Aug 2011: the content of this post has been removed by the owner (Tom)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

the Transition Town movement

YouTube - TRANSITION TOWNS: An Interview with Rob Hopkins

from transitionculture.org, the above interview transcript

Transition Towns - Wikipedia

Central to the Transition Town movement is the idea that a life without oil could in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfulling than the present "by shifting our mind-set we can actually recognise the coming post-cheap oil era as an opportunity rather than a threat, and design the future low carbon age to be thriving, resilient and abundant - somewhere much better to live than our current alienated consumer culture based on greed, war and the myth of perpetual growth."

(quote attributed to the Transition Town Westcliff website)

Added: (these two pages seem important to link here, they were hard for me to find on their homesite)

the official list:
Transition Towns/Cities/Di stricts

and the "mulling it over" list:
thinking hard

Friday, November 14, 2008

the company of those

"Keep the company of those who seek the truth, and run from those who have found it"
~Vaclav Havel

"Trust those who seek the truth. Beware of those who have found it"
~Andre Gide

"Grant me the company of those who seek the truth. And God deliver me from those who have found it"
~Isaac Newton.


(edit added: oh dear, now that Ive been linked to, I had better clean up my act! The above quotes will show up with several entries each if searched in Google, however I should have qualified with "attributed to" before each of the authors mentioned- I dont have hard facts on them, however Ive known that Gide had said something to this effect for many years... prior to the advent of the internet even :)

also, it should be mentioned, these were gathered by me for a comment left on Will's blog, along with the statement: "My religion is Inquiry, my faith is in meeting the other in THIS moment, my worship is the Dialogue that ensues...")

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

a detailed history of the future

Marshall McLuhan- known for coining the expressions "the medium is the message" and the "global village".

"The artist is always engaged in writing a detailed history of the future because he is the only person aware of the nature of the present...

Poets and artists live on frontiers. They have no feedback, only feedforward. They have no identities. They are probes..."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

palin know africa continent

palin know africa continent

I try very very hard to look at the mirror of my own judgments of others

this one will be a challenge

Ive already failed at keeping anything political off of this blog :(

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It felt really good, didnt it?

(Aug 2011 edit: note the date of this post: Obama was elected president of the US on this day)

is atonement the right word here?

it feels like that... it feels like as a human body, we made something a bit more right today...

bless that...

may Peace and Love be to all

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sobriety and Joy

in a forum thread called Sobriety and Joy, a Friend asked:

I have always thought that a relationship with God is a serious relationship, but ultimately a friendship. How do we balance the seriousness of God along with the joy of God? Is the only way we can truly enjoy the world is to spend it all the time in a state of constant serious prayer and meditation? It doesn't seem to me that that can be true. Does God really frown upon a lively conversation among friends, at a dance in the rain, or a bit of blues and rock and roll?

I Loved the question. I find myself singing a little less rock and roll these days, playing my guitar nearly as much, but dancing in the rain a lot more, and conversation with friends is generally dependent on their tolerance to my "seriousness"...

I replied there in the forum this way:

"How do we balance the seriousness of God along with the joy of God?"

I find a chuckle here, in reading this... the words came into my head immediately: "take the Joy of God Seriously!"

what is the Joy of God?

is a joy that I may be feeling the Joy of God?

what is the discernment there?

for me, if its about greed, lust, envy, then yes, it is self-centered joy and not God centered Joy - easy...

the moment I catch myself in the pursuit of greed/lust/envy based activities, Im faced with a choice, if I really am looking: 'do I continue this because its the easier thing to do, or do I look again, and discern for myself and God, the reasons why I would pursue this activity?'

for me, the moment I give it space, and Look, with sincerity in my heart, then I see that I AM in the Joy of God... this life, lived, is the Joy of God... this life lived in greed and lust and envy, is a life lived in the joy of "having" the joy of "getting" the joy of "obtaining" - that can easily be seen as self-centered activity, ambition... based on "more- more- more" ... that celebrates this life as if it were full of scarcity and lack- did God give us a world of scarcity and lack? Look at a starving child in a third world country, and it would appear so ... look at the greed that keeps that child from getting food, so that others can have "more", and there is the scarcity, there is the lack, there is the envy... is my playing a rock and roll song contributing to that? maybe so! maybe not...

am I looking to have an answer, so that I can continue to play the rock and roll songs? or do I really want to find out the truth of this?

see? there is God's Joy- finding out the Truth of abundance and scarcity... THAT is the Joy! the Truth of that... if you see that playing your music and going to parties is contributing to a child starving somewhere, then what? if you see it DIRECTLY, that it does or it does not, then what?

what will you do to see it directly?

will the opinion that I give here, be of any meaning or help, to your seeing it directly, and finding Gods Joy?

In the US, we are coming up on the Holidays... will I abstain from taking a meal on Thanksgiving, in solidarity with a starving child? will my statement mean anything to anyone but me? will the starving child feel this? THERE is God in the starving child, and THERE is God in everyone around the table! does a political statement make a difference to any of them? or to God? Is there another kind of statement?

If I sing a Christmas Carole, "Joy to the World" - and if the next song sung is "White Christmas" - or "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" - have I swung over from "good" to "bad" in such an instant, by such a participation? do the children in the room, who have yet to learn the meaning of Christmas, care? what does it mean to their parents, that I sing with them? that I pick up my guitar, and play along with the singing? is God in the words more than the voice? more than the notes?

stay in these questions, I say...

what value is my opinion, until you see directly, what is God's Joy? Until you come to know directly, how Love acts in the world, any ideas from others will lead you away from God... opinions, history lessons, theologies, they are all outward things... God is inward, go there... Look there- Be with Him there... and then, the other answers will come, without need of "doing" or struggle or conflict... action then will be pure- will be of Love, and not self...

the Joy of God, seriously

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a spate of haiku

all wisdom falls down
into its own cleverness
haiku from here on


five, seven and five
wild imaginings at bay
I bless the constraint!


about this word "wild"
does it slip off of your tongue?
leave it for the grave!


how do you do that!?
"I refuse to hide my joy!"
passion of the muse


a spate of haiku
from the midst of such doings
untethered repose

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The mirror of saying Yes!

James reminded us today of this from our friend Meister Eckhart:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.

This has been most relevant for me this past week- Ive been seeing it again- this thing that J. Krishnamurti would say over and over, "relationship is a mirror"...

and so Ive been seeing this more and more with each passing day- that even the tiniest event or the most horrid, is a mirror to who or what I am... the eyes that see and measure, are the eyes that are in THIS head- they are the filter through which THIS being perceives ...

so, when I sit in conversation with a friend, and a hypocrisy comes from what appears as his mouth- perhaps a comfortable 'middle class' hypocrisy, such as when one minute he will be speaking about how I need to do more to enhance his life or his finances (I stay in a room in his house) and then the VERY NEXT minute he is telling me that he is preparing to spend four grand on a drum set, that he already sold away once since Ive known him at an $1800 loss ... but the $30 that he gave me to get some food for myself must not become a "habit"...

yes, I see the mirror of that- Truly I do...

IF and only IF the request is coming from God... if its God asking me to do more, or to make do with less so that I can sit with my friend without judgment- then I can see that it is MY objection to God, that will contain this same hypocrisy...

this is a subtle and tricky thing to see, and only comes when I cease to measure, and simply ask God what it is that "I am" - "who is looking, God?" - "why am I measuring at all?" ...

but when it is shown that this measurement lives in ME, and NOT my friend, then yes, "thank you" is the only prayer...

thank you thank you thank you!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Internet Enthusiasm

Im taking the title of this post from the very root of the word enthusiasm, one of my favorite etymologies: en- in + theos- God... to be in God (or to find God within?)

you see, my idea of what makes a deep and inspiring theological treatise, comes from blog and forum posts... the "off the cuff" responses to some daily event or to another posters lookings is so much more filled with "Light" to me, than any well thought out defense or apology created in academic surrounds...

Is this a harsh statement?
perhaps it is - and as I type this very line of this post, I am resolved to reexamine it...

so let me just get to my intent in starting this thought - its to point you to this forum post, by punkrainbow (the keeper of the blog "Love Keeping The World Turning") which just epitomizes what Im speaking about ...its a must read

Actually, the entire thread is quite a testament to this terrific Friends Forum in which it arises - there is so much there to look at, admire, be inspired by and struggle with - these sorts of threads found in the odd internet forum are an amazing kind of literature in their own right... I think we need to find some way to appreciate them more profoundly than we do... some forum threads deserve to be set apart from the background in which they arise, and find a new publication for preservation of the heart and the insight that embodies them...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Building Bridges"

I drive past this single lane bridge on the way to the Quaker Meeting that I attend - it goes over a river that runs alongside the road for a good part of that distance... it looks like the sort of bridge thats a private bridge, that is, it doesnt look like its town or state owned... but that someone had to contract privately to put it there- so he or she could get to their property, no doubt... I pondered for a moment, how unusual such an undertaking is for most folks ... not a lot of people have the phrase "my bridge" in their personal daily vocabulary... but these folks would... I mean, not a lot of folks have "my barn" or "my horse" or "my tractor" either ... but "my bridge" seems exceptionally unusual... this person actually went and "built a bridge"... not over a garden fountain, or a mowing path over the spring creek that runs through the back yard - but a real live drive-the-car-over-me bridge... thats pretty cool, really...

of course, I asked myself about "building bridges" in the metaphorical sense on the rest of the drive home... do I build bridges? is that what I do, from and with the spirituality that I find here *points to chest*?

not so much...
no - I dont - really...

Im much much more likely, to be the guy who will slosh across the river whether theres a bridge there or not- just so I can know intimately what it is that separates us... I will go through any cold, wet, deep tumult of a river, to find out the truth of you and me... this is what I do...

I tend to leave behind folks that way, on the side where I came from... they are more wishing I had found a way to bridge the course... and I tend to frighten the folks who Ive come to meet on the "other" side - the wet and muddy clothes they find me in are none too appealing for them to invite me up onto the porch, let alone to a table for warm tea...

but... I know something about the divide... Ill have to say that... a bridge may have been easier- but tends to take too long, and cost more than many folks can afford - either in their taxes, or out of pocket... I need to know sooner than that... I need to meet you sooner than that... excuse the dripping please, but my love of humanity would not let me wait...

Monday, October 20, 2008

gravity is good

Timothy Travis just posted a great bit of looking on his blog, and I just have to give it a big recommend here- please give it a read:

"I don't usually spend a lot of time accounting for gravity in my decision making. I go through my life doing this or that without wondering whether gravity is going to work. When I wad up a piece of paper and throw it across the room toward the wastebasket I don't have a plan "B" in mind, a plan for what I will do just in case that ball of paper goes up rather than down.

My faith is not like that..."

For me, its something about how I use the word "surrender" ... I will write some more about this a bit later... for now, go give gravity... your attention...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wisdom Traditions

wisdom traditions, a conversation... From my own posting there, we were speaking some about zen:

"I am not a practitioner of zen, or any other such sort of regimen or practice ... Ive come to understand something about "beginners mind" that is unmistakable, but from my own deep inquiry/looking ...so I should not speak for zen just as no one should speak for Quakers ...my testimony about beginners mind was more of a revealing from inquiry, and stands as the same sort of things as my testimony about the Inner Light - I have seen it, unmistakably, independent of any religion, belief or practice, before coming to Friends - in the holding of Silence itself ...again, I use the word "Inquiry" for this Silence - I mean by it, a question that is known to need no "answer"... another way Ive put it is: "my body is my Inquiry"...

so, beginners mind to me, is a condition of perpetual Learning, or Listening, or Holding of the Light - however we might find it useful to phrase... and it is seen that it needs no conclusion - it comes to no end- it is convicted about nothing... the Inquiry itself is seen to be the Sacred - the Holding of what is Holy, is the very question that a flower asks when it opens, or the leaves ask when they turn to their autumn colors, or the sun asks when it comes up in the morning, and sets at night... the sun is not convinced of anything, and seeks no answers... the sun, is in this beginners mind... Gods Good Creation... this is what I mean by Inquiry... and it is there when I Hold the Silence - when I go inward, to Inquire of the Light (or Hold the Light and Inquire of the Silence! same thing!) - when I meet another without any preconceived judgment or notion... and should I find a judgment in my heart when I meet you, you can know that I will be Holding that to the Light for inspection, for Inquiry, and nothing will be convicted about that judgment...

this is the condition you find me in, my Testimony... nothing perfect, nothing special, nothing religious even... just a deep commitment to the Peace of Inquiry... I can do nothing else... honestly"

Also, along the same topic, this page, Quaker.org, is freshly posted in the Delicious Bookmarks again, and it really is a kicking webpage... Ive seen it referred to time and time again since first coming across it...

the UK Friends there wrote:
"Quakers share a way of life rather than a set of beliefs. Quakers seek to experience God directly, within ourselves and in our relationships with others and the world around us. We meet together for silent worship in local meetings which are open to all.

The Quaker way has its roots in Christianity and finds inspiration in the Bible and the life and teachings of Jesus. Quakers also find meaning and value in the teachings of other faiths; we acknowledge that ours is not the only way.

Our focus is on our experience rather than written statements of belief. Our sense of community does not depend on professing identical beliefs, but from worshipping, sharing and working together."

Love that!
Just Love that...

The Hippie Kid, and me

Ive been meaning to find again where I saw this post titled "Am I (Still) Quaker?" from (somewhere in the) Quaker blogosphere - it was one of the first articles I'd read since starting on my internet conversation with Friends (over a month ago now)... and this morning it came across my screen in a fortuitous way... Ive been calling it "the Hippie Kid" article, and it may go down as one of my most important influences in 1: What Im doing here in this Blog in the first place- and 2: What happens next in my relationship to Quakers, online at least... so it was only right that I find it and link to it, perhaps with a quote from the part that really spoke to me about my own lifes journey... the Posting of this essay by Sola Caritas author Ryan Dowell Baum is one of the best examples of how to make a long and complex History lesson into an easily digested snack (for those of us with ADD, right?)... give it a read, and learn in short order what you may need to know about "what is a Quaker anyway?"

From the page:
"The denominational family known today as the Religious Society of Friends (or more commonly by their nickname, 'Quakers'), was founded in the north of England in 1652 by a 19-year-old precocious little hippie kid named George Fox. Convinced that no one he knew had the real Truth when it came to matters of religion, young George ran away from home and schlepped all over the English countryside talking to anyone he could find--pastors, professors, and laypeople-- looking for someone, anyone, who could 'speak to his condition.' Finding no one, he was driven almost to the point of despair, when suddenly he heard a voice say to him..."

Yeah, see?
This I really get ... and in a way- it doesnt matter what words might have come to ones head from such a journey, the Clear Seeing of what exists as Truth in any moment, is just completely beyond words anyway... and this is what I find perfect in my relationship to the Silence that Friends will invite when meeting for Worship... this is so very important, to what I understand ones relationship to the Holy is... coming upon Truth for oneself - no matter how alone one may find oneself in conveying that to others ...indeed, letting ones Life speak, rather than making words fit...

Its a Blessed thing... and I thank friends and Friends everywhere who have looked with me - to discover that it was in the very meeting itself, in the mere coming together, where the Holy always resides... for me, in the Inquiry, "How do I meet you?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

This Mystics struggle with ritual

In the QuakerInfo Fourm, a Friend wrote: "Early Quakers argued that such practices were at least temporary and at worst a deliberate insertion into scripture by the Catholic Church or simply traditional arising from custom and practice."

The topic of that thread turned to Quakers performing Baptisms... I was a bit aghast to hear this - certainly, this is not the part of me that finds affinity with Quakers... on the contrary, I have a hard time with ritual of any sort...

I want to share my response here:

Ah, yes - and this most certainly is what draws me to Quakerism ... I do not have this religious affinity for things "ritualistic" by any means... and I really quite agree with what you are saying here...

now, there comes a "but" ... let me leave that agreement for a moment, and look within...

the mystic in me, HAS to look at why something as such has moved in THIS heart, and make ABSOLUTELY sure that its intention is SPOTless... spotless to where there is no intention at all - to where I can be completely certain that it is Spirit guiding me, and not more layers of "me" - layers of ego, that wants to 'have its way'...

so, I look and look again at ALL of this - at all things ritualistic... and rather than refer to something of the past (the very "Temporary" that you mention, I see as identical to "temporal" - "of time" - "of the past" - this is where "ritual" lives, in worship of the past over what is Holy here and now...) let me then take in the very Spirit of Fox, and put it ALL to the test of intention... that is, is this movement in me "me" or is it Spirit?

Clearly, if I whip out a text of any sort, and start to disect it and point to some passage that agrees with my position, and allow for less weight in other passages to let me bypass them in my 'studies' of this text - then Im doing NOTHING different than any other section of humanity's religious requirements, and looking to make my own version of truth stand out in debate...

that does not seem to me, what has been actaully going on in Quakerism over these hundreds of years... but rather to LOOK, INTO the Silence, and not into the Books and Texts and rituals, to SEE what is there for me to see! This is to show me how I act in the world - to give this ego space in which it may see itself and that which is temporal in it... the discernment then is one of ego and God... the discernment then is between "What is" and "what I think it is" or "what I want it to be"...

THAT is the INWARD journey... that is something for me to discern, and NOT to put upon any other being on this planet... ANY other... its MY relationship to the Holy that I must see here... and not judge anothers relationship (which I do ALL THE TIME!) ... this is the message of the Spirit to me... to Look and Look again! until I am spotless of intention... and if I should die before such a day comes, then so it is, so be it! but I will NOT live this life inflicting my intention upon another... this is the mystics Peace Testimony... it goes WAY beyond war... it goes to the very heart of "How do I meet another?"... and it STAYS in that question, until there is no question... if I claim clarity too soon, then I have started another war in the hearts of men... I MUST stand clear of that intention, that can do such... that is the mystics Peace Testimony...

Now, I return my gaze to the ritual...

How do I meet this?

How do I meet this?

will I meet this by thumbing through a text? and making footnotes and references to habits and practices of a time ago?

or, will I have the Silence, the Space, the Spirit of what is Holy, to meet this with Love, no matter what my ego-tugs may be...?

and if so...

if so, isnt it Love itself that will see and determine if there is any possibility of Love that infuses the ritual? Love only knows itself... it does not Judge, and it does not see Judgment ... Love will act here, how it acts... Spirit will keep me in the Silence, the Sacred Silence, to see Love acting, and not clash against the egos of men, with my own ego...

this is the mystics Peace Testimony...

Please understand - this is not written to agree nor disagree - this is not trying to make anyone see anything my way - or to come to my understanding - in essence, this is not written TO anyone here... it is merely the inward looking that happens here... and that has found an affinity among Friends of the Silence...

I pray for Love to inhabit all agreements and disagreements that come to this looking... for the Looking itself, is not mine, but the agree/disagree most certainly is... there is nothing in Gods Kingdom, for this heart to disagree with... I pray to stay in that Looking...

Peace to all hearts...

A Schism of my Own

Aug 2011: the content of this post has been removed by the owner (Tom)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Working Post (or, a maverick Mystics guide to Quakerism)

Aug 2011: the content of this post has been removed by the owner (Tom)

A tiny thing about Convergence

Aug 2011: the content of this post has been removed by the owner (Tom)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

So, the first one is a cheat!

Ive been wondering what Ill say for my first post in this blog o mine... and now I have some material ... as is typical of me, its in the form of commentary off of what someone else was thinking - but I still have this sneaky suspicion that thats ok... that God designed me this way, in order to allow my thoughts to integrate with the leadings and inspirations of others (whether they understand me or not - HA! ;P)

So be it - Let it be so ...

the piece I was reading was about just what was on my mind anyway... Here, by Ashley at A Passionate and Determined Quest for Adequacy (I Love her blog quote btw... Ill have to steal it from her for a posting here... maybe later)

Im my own words, her post is about finding Sacredness on the internet ... and that is just what Im saying my own leading in being here is born of... so my comment to her post, is presented below:

Ashley said: "sometimes when I post, I have an experience similar to how I feel when I give vocal ministry―I feel strongly led. Even so, I have a hard time thinking of blogging as a ministry."

Can I look at this with you for just a bit?

Im a newcomer to the Quaker Blogosphere, in fact, you have my first post - even before my own blog ;) ... (I find I often work best off of others thoughts, than to create them from "out of the blue") - but the Quaker blogs that Ive been reading and lurking around for the past several weeks (Ill bet you Martin has already spotted me showing up several times a day at QQ) have certainly inspired me to open up one of my own, in order to participate in the exchange here, even though Im new to the Society of Friends as well...

that surely seems like ministry to me! the very root of the word "inspired" does not escape the meaning Im giving it here - "In the Spirit", if you like... yes - why shouldnt anything from any corner of the world, from any faith or vocation, if its inspired in this deeply felt way, why should it NOT be called ministry? ... Bring me closer to God, with what you feel and see as you walk about this planet... it need not be at a meeting - you will be a minister to me...

the blogs here that Ive been circling around have most certainly done that... the energy and the Love that is poured into the many posts that Ive read, that is most certainly "of God", of the Spirit... there can be no question in my mind of this...

You all here, from California and the UK and the Northwest and Indiana and Texas and Korea and Russia and my own New England... You all here, are drawing this seeker closer to God, and perhaps too, Quakerism than I would have thought possible... Friend, thats a Meeting! ... I think its ok, to call that a Ministry :)

the Meeting Ive been attending has its own great Beauty, make no mistake - but too, make no mistake about this - so have the posts that Ive been privileged to engage with in this circle of Friends...

Bless you all for your ministry...

I promise, my first blog-post will be coming soon...