Reality in Tidy Boxes

Reality in Tidy Boxes*
by Tzvi Freeman, from Daily Dose, published by chabad.org)
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Tell me you found G-d in a tidy package,
I will tell you that is not G-d, that is Mind.
Tell me you found G-d in the limitless beyond-beyond space, beyond
time-
that too is not G-d. That too is Mind.

 

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Where the boundless dwells within a bounded space,
where darkness shines, where silence sings,
where bitterness is sweet and a moment lives forever-
there is G-d; there is the essence of all that is real.

~ ~ ~ ~

Listen up here now, I’ve some good advice for you, if you’ll listen. Are you listening? First, we put God in a box- one that we can carry around and talk about within the confines of our limited vocabulary. It has to fit in the trunk of our car, or at least in the glove compartment of our imaginations; otherwise, it will be too unwieldy and take too long to talk about. Times waits for no man, not even for  God when you get right down to it!

Next– and this might be, probably will be, necessary: others might come along claiming their god is better than our god. They might even have other names for God, or have God doing all sorts of special stunts and titillating tricks. In that case, we’ll need a little more pizazz, a little more hat, a lot more shiny paper! Look, God just isn’t that fun to look at since there’s nothing to see, so it’s not going to hurt anything or anyone or anyOne to dress God up a little. A little lipstick goes a long way- you know what they say. Hey! I’m not saying God’s a girl! I am saying that a little color, a little sway- the crowds like those things! Catch their eyes, make ‘em want to come back the next time you come to town..!

 

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Be extravagant!  Take your time! Nothing’s too good for God! And once you’ve got the package all figured out and put together, you can use it over and over and over again! The people expect a bedazzlement! And you’re ready to give them what they want! Go get ‘em, Tiger!

(Pssst..hey! Over here.. Y’know there are those interlopers- those charlatans in the thread-bare suits who will tell you that God is bigger than you can imagine, closer than a brother, blowing in the wind, and all kinds of things. They’ll tell you God is in the flowers, in the fields, or up in the air with the birds. They’ll try to make God out to be something they can’t get hold of but something they can’t let go of, both at the same time! They say God’s coming and going, here and there, and all kinds of stuff that doesn’t make any sense. Stuff they just made up, sounds like to me! They usually don’t want to talk about money at all..imagine that! Anyway, I’m just telling you about them so you can watch out for them. They’ll try to take your market away from you, count on it!

Sometimes you might have to get really rough with ‘em. It’s been know for a few of them to get invited out to the woods and then they get themselves lost..if you know what I mean?)

God bless ya, son. You’re going to do well ! Get out there and give ‘em hell..

 

 

*thanks and a tip of the hat to Ilyse Kazar there on the lower East side of Manhattan where she watches us daily on WNYC!

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Quaker Meeting Has Begun

“The Quaker meeting I attended on Sunday has been gathering since 1657. Nowadays only a dozen or so people attend every Sunday, pretty modest compared to the tens of thousands that flock each weekend around the likes of Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and T.D. Jakes. These megapreachers’ megachurches boast live bands, jumbotrons, and theater-style seating. In this meetinghouse, the seats are hardwood pews and the most advanced technologies are the oil lamp and the wood-burning stove.” (from “Fluent in Silence” by Stephen Prothero, Killing the Buddha, 02/03/10)

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Prothero was writing here of a Quaker meeting he recently attended in Massachusetts. The contrast between his experience there in a spiritually quiet place in contrast to a humanly noisy place is an interesting difference to contemplate. Quiet is the primary million year mileau in which our DNA was formed and from which our particular and specific genetic codes all evolved. Noise- constant and electrically enhanced is a fairly recent development and I wonder what it is adding to our perceived levels of stress and environmental discord?

We are so insulated from absolute quiet that we are often uncomfortable without the television or an iSomething playing. I’ve even been told (not often, but with regularity and friendly emphasis) that there are those in church who don’t like the one minute of quiet I try to have during the primary prayer. (Many others have indeed told me they appreciate it.) A Quaker meeting will last about 90 minutes. Oftentimes, after about 45 or 50 minutes, someone will have something to say, as they filled move by the Spirit to say something. Or someone will pray, or someone will begin to sing. Or not.

Notice the “quiet” of the  Quaker meeting room’s physical nature above, too. It appears that the lighting is the only electrically driven enhancement to the room. And the pews aren’t padded. The meeting room which Prothero attended was warmed by a small woodstove in the center of the room, which was attended to several times during the hour he was there.

The desperate desire for quiet is the source of the one experience most of us have had with Quaker meetings:

Quaker meeting has begun.

No laughing, no talking,

no chewing bubble gum.

It’s a meeting that is introduced with a pleading demand, and it is a meeting which lasts (normally) all of 30 to 45 seconds, on average. But it’s a start, and the fact that the children’s ditty gets passed on from generation to generation is evidence that the desire for Quiet is in us- we need it. we seek it. we must (I think) have it. We must. 

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Mary Dyer, Quaker, being led to the gallows on Boston Common, June 1, 1660. She was hung for being a Quaker after the birth of her stillborn and deformed child confirmed for the Court and Church of the Massachusetts colony that she was an undesirable heretic.

Please Call by My True Names

(This is one of the first pieces by Thich Nhat Hanh that I copied and saved. I wondered at the time (about 10 years ago) if this was a poem Jesus could have written. Now I know the answer. I probably knew the answer then, too.- David)

Please Call Me by My True Names

by Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh, Thich Nhat Hanh poetry, Buddhist, Buddhist poetry, Zen / Chan poetry, [TRADITION SUB2] poetry,  poetry

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow —
even today I am still arriving.

Look deeply: every second I am arriving
to be a bud on a Spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
to fear and to hope.

The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death
of all that is alive.

I am the mayfly metamorphosing
on the surface of the river.
And I am the bird
that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily
in the clear water of a pond.
And I am the grass-snake
that silently feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks.
And I am the arms merchant,
selling deadly weapons to Uganda.

I am the twelve-year-old girl,
refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean
after being raped by a sea pirate.
And I am the pirate,
my heart not yet capable
of seeing and loving.

I am a member of the politburo,
with plenty of power in my hands.
And I am the man who has to pay
his "debt of blood" to my people
dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.

My joy is like Spring, so warm
it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth.
My pain is like a river of tears,
so vast it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and my laughter at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart
can be left open,
the door of compassion.

1989

Psalm Four, Meditatio Divina

angry guy

Answer me, God!

All these other guys who are

finishing ahead of me, getting more applause than me, making more money than me, having more fun than me, feeling more important than me, and not lying awake all night worrying like me

are pricks. There’s no two ways about it!

They’ll get theirs’ in the end, right God? Right? It’s You and me, isn’t that right, Lord? Isn’t it?

~~

Hey you, man..it’s Me now..are you ready to do some listening?

These guys are pissing you off so you lie awake all night punishing them? You think they are more important than you so you’re angry at them all day? Did you scream at your wife because they’re having fun? Did you kick your dog because they have new cars? Exactly where, pray tell Me, did you pick up these convoluted, upside-down, masochistic responses to the convoluted, upside-down, masochistic way you see the world?

Have a glass of new wine- you don’t need any of that old stuff tonight, no matter how much you paid for it. In fact, why not just throw all that vinegar-tinged old stuff out, right now? Then, lie down. Put your feet up, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and listen to Me. I’m only going to say this once, but if you let it in, it’ll stay in you forever. Ok? You ready? I’m going to whisper it now:

I love you.

And you’re a prick, too. Which, weirdly enough, makes Me love you even more..        g’nite!

Psalm Three, Meditatio Divina

vbs and maiden voyage 095

Good Lord, what a mess!

(I think to myself over and over again)

How can so many things be so terribly wrong?

(and again and again and again)

So I lie down and breathe.

(because it is all I can do) I breathe.

And the chattering, the judgment and

the condemnation (yes, especially that)

are quieted.

I lie down and breathe.

And Who I Am is revealed again.

I Am not afraid

I Am alive!

I Am better, bigger, and brighter

than the dark noise of my heart.

Lord, bring me back always to the blessings of

These Moments.

Lord, deliver me from the clanging gongs

of yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s anxieties.

 

 

 

©David B. Weber, 2009

Psalm Two, Meditatio Divina

https://i0.wp.com/www.inclusive-solutions.com/images/Listening.jpg

Listen to words about God

spoken by kings who have God in their wallets..or,

Listen to words about God

published by nations in the colors of their flags..or,

Listen to words about God

read by priests in the languages of fallen angels..or,

Or..

tilt your ears to the Wind,

lift your eyes to the Light,

and press your heart against the Word made flesh.

Happy are those who journey beyond the words

of others

about God,

and get close enough

and quiet enough

to listen to God

for themselves..

@David B. Weber 2009

Psalm One, Meditatio Divina

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Psalm 1

Happy-ness

happens

with unfolding frequency to those

who sit

and wait

quietly

apart from the incessant inanities

of fear-mongers and fashion mavens

who say

(and say and say and say):

“Grab happiness, Buy happiness,

Hoard happiness, Begrudge happiness;

Lust for it, fight for it, demand it,

Pray for it

loudly, often, and publicly

in expectation, jealousy, and insatiability.”

You, close your eyes to that

manufactured tempest.

You, see the windstorms of

chaff-like wicked-ness

that have blown through the years.

You, thrust the seeds of your Wonder

Deep into the flood plain of God.

Let your roots spread and thicken in

the rich silt and dark mud at the River’s edge

and feel the Tree of Life (You!)

becoming the cool shade and rest (You!)

for others (Others!) who choose also

to Live..

@David B. Weber 2009