Friday, December 26, 2008

Harold Pinter Oct 10, 1930 - Dec 25, 2008

"Poem" (1981)

The lights glow.
What will happen next?

Night has fallen.
The rain stops.
What will happen next?

Night will deepen.
He does not know
What I will say to him.

When he has gone
I'll have a word in his ear
And say what I was about to say
At the meeting about to happen
Which has now taken place.

But he said nothing
At the meeting about to take place.
It is only now that he turns and smiles
And whispers:
'I do not know
What will happen next.'


From Pinter's Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Art, Truth & Politics, in 2005. You can view it in its entirety here:

As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?

Truth in drama is forever elusive. You never quite find it but the search for it is compulsive. The search is clearly what drives the endeavour. The search is your task. More often than not you stumble upon the truth in the dark, colliding with it or just glimpsing an image or a shape which seems to correspond to the truth, often without realising that you have done so. But the real truth is that there never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other. Sometimes you feel you have the truth of a moment in your hand, then it slips through your fingers and is lost. ...

Political language, as used by politicians, does not venture into any of this territory since the majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.

As every single person here knows, the justification for the invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein possessed a highly dangerous body of weapons of mass destruction, some of which could be fired in 45 minutes, bringing about appalling devastation. We were assured that was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq had a relationship with Al Quaeda and shared responsibility for the atrocity in New York of September 11th 2001. We were assured that this was true. It was not true. We were told that Iraq threatened the security of the world. We were assured it was true. It was not true.

The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it.

But before I come back to the present I would like to look at the recent past, by which I mean United States foreign policy since the end of the Second World War. I believe it is obligatory upon us to subject this period to at least some kind of even limited scrutiny, which is all that time will allow here.

Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.

But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States' actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked.

Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America's favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as 'low intensity conflict'. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom. When the populace has been subdued - or beaten to death - the same thing - and your own friends, the military and the great corporations, sit comfortably in power, you go before the camera and say that democracy has prevailed. This was a commonplace in US foreign policy in the years to which I refer.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

That's What I Get . . .

Click on image
Thanks to 'Salon'.

Sufi poet, Fahkruddin Iraqi 1213?-1289

Fifth Night of Hanukkah

Although you may not know it,

If you love anyone,
it is Him you love;

If you turn your head in any direction,

It is toward Him you turn.

Let go of everything,
Completely lose yourself on this path,
Then your every doubt will be dispelled.
With absolute conviction you'll cry out
I am God!
I am the one I have found!

In the light I praised you
And never knew it.
In the dark I slept with you
And never knew it.
I always thought that I was me,
But no, I was you
and never knew it.

Hat tip to: Another Queer Jewish Buddhist

Christmas Day 2008

Summary of a paper presented by Bruno Barnhart at the Monastic Symposium on Purity of Heart / Contemplation at New Camaldoli in June 2000.

* * *

The Asian contemplative traditions attract Christians today by their depth, simplicity and experiential power, and in doing so invite Christianity back to the unity and fullness of its own internal 'East'. Here is monasticism, 'blessed simplicity' and contemplative interiority. Here is rediscovered the original unity and apophatic transparency of the Christ-event. This 'East' is also the place of solitude and emptiness, the wilderness of Exodus and the burning bush and the revelation of the Name, 'I am.' This is the place of Jesus' baptism, where the words are heard over the waters, 'You are...'. It is the place of Christian baptism or 'illumination,' the birth of the new person in God. Asian 'nonduality' catalyzes the rediscovery of the pole of unitive identity in Christianity. This, in turn, is the core of a new Christian wisdom.

Here, at the internal eastern pole of Christianity, we find the principle which most deeply characterizes the three great traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism. At the heart of each of these religions is nonduality. In polar contrast to the religions of the Word (Israel, Christianity and Islam), I would like to think of these three Asian religions as the spiritual traditions of the unitive Absolute - that is, of nondual reality, of the ineffable One, the source of all beings which is at once transcendent and immanent. While the three traditions of the West have prioritized relationship, the three Eastern traditions have deepened the dimension of identity. This unitive Absolute, or principle of identity (not to be equated with the western philosophical term), is the supreme metaphysical and spiritual archetype which, confronting the divine Word from the East, exercises a profound tidal attraction upon Christian spirituality and thought today. This unitive Absolute is the heart of what has been called the 'perennial philosophy'.

In the dialogue between Christianity and the Asian traditions today, this principle of nonduality - with its corollary, the nondual self - emerges as a central point not only of resonance but also of contrast. A number of Christians have embraced the personal realization of 'nonduality' as a valid expression of the goal of spiritual life. There has also been some examination of nonduality as a theological reality in Christianity, particularly in the Johannine writings of the New Testament. It is quite possible that nonduality will emerge as the theological principle of a rebirth of sapiential Christianity ('wisdom Christianity') in our time.

The unitive principle emerges in the New Testament both in the 'vertical' dimension of identity and in the 'horizontal' dimension of human relationship. It is present in the "I and the Father are one" and the "I am" of Jesus in John's Gospel. It is present in the koinonia, or communion, of the new, baptized, believers, which is a participation in the One which is God. (cf Jn 17:20-23) What is new as Christian spirituality rediscovers the nondual center today, under the influence of the Asian traditions, is the purity and autonomy with which the principle emerges. The unitive principle, standing free in its purity - detached from the second principle which is the Word, and then illumining the Word from within - becomes a hermeneutic eye which opens up each sector of Christian theology - long divided into nearly distinct kingdoms - to the central Mystery, itself newly open and luminous. From the God 'up there' and 'out there' of a dualistic western Christian tradition, we move to a conception of God become one with humanity in Christ: the central theological principle of divinization re-emerges.

When we look at Trinity and world together, unfocussing our Western eyes through Eastern lenses, we may suddenly glimpse what happened in Jesus Christ, in his cross and resurrection. In the 'fusion' which takes place in the body of the crucified Christ is the power of the cross. The nonduality here, comprehending heaven and earth, God and the universe, God and all humanity, is not the nonduality of the beginning (focus of the Asian traditions), but the nonduality of the end. In the cross of Jesus (that is, in his death and resurrection), God (or Trinity) and the Cosmos become one. This new unity is the 'body of Christ.' At this point, the Asian traditions today bring forward a further contribution: the mandala - a quasi-universal symbol of wholeness, of the unity of all reality. The 'mystery of the cross' - Trinity and creation become one - naturally expresses itself in a mandalic figure.


Thanks to Rob Matthews of Mumonkan Centre
And to Nonduality Highlights

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

If you pass your night

and merge it with dawn
for the sake of heart,
what do you think will happen?

If the entire world
is covered with the blossoms
you have labored to plant,
what do you think will happen?

If the elixir of life
that has been hidden in the dark
fills the desert and towns,
what do you think will happen?

If because of
your generosity and love
a few humans find their lives,
what do you think will happen?

If you pour an entire jar
filled with joyous wine
on the head of those already drunk,
what do you think will happen?

Go my friend,
bestow your love
even on your enemies.
If you touch their hearts,
what do you think will happen

Translated by Nader Khalili
'Rumi, Fountain of Fire'

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Barack Hussein Obama

Excerpt of speech given at Hampton University, June 05, 2007

YouTube here . . . .

Full speech here . . . .

The truth is, one man cannot make a movement. No single law can erase the prejudice in the heart of a child who hangs a noose on a tree. Or in the callousness of a prosecutor who bypasses justice in the pursuit of vengeance. No one leader, no matter how shrewd, or experienced, or inspirational, can prevent teenagers from killing other teenagers in the streets of our cities, or free our neighborhoods from the grip of homelessness, or make real the promise of opportunity and equality for every citizen.

Only a country can do those things. Only this country can do those things. That's why if you give me the chance to serve this nation, the most important thing I will do as your President is to ask you to serve this country, too. The most important thing I'll do is to call on you every day to take a risk, and do your part to carry this movement forward. Against deep odds and great cynicism I will ask you to believe that we can right the wrong we see in America. I say this particularly to the young people who are listening today. ...

I know that you believe it's possible too.

the Absoulute

"Understand then, that it is this conscious presence that you are, so long as the body is there. Once your body is gone, along with the vital breath, consciousness will also leave. Only that which was prior to the appearance of this body-cum-consciousness, the Absolute, the ever-present is your true identity. That is what we all really are. That is reality. It is here and now. Where is the question of anyone reaching for it?"
~Sri Nasargadatta Maharaj

Sunday, December 21, 2008


The core of ego is a feeling of deficiency, of poverty, of emptiness, of saying: "I am no good, I am worthless, I am empty. Give me, give me, more, more, more, more." In this state of deficiency I don't love myself, I don't accept myself. I reject myself. I want to run away, distract myself; maybe go to a movie, see a friend, have sex, eat, fill myself with knowledge, or pretend I am O.K. I am always wanting to fill this emptiness, always rejecting it, always afraid of it. In fact, we are all terrified by it. Most of the time people don't know that this emptiness, this deficiency is what is driving most of their actions. It's such a desperation, such a race to fill this bottomless pit. But how sweet it is to say "yes" to this emptiness. How courageous it is to say: "I feel empty, I feel deficient, and I won't attempt to fill it. I want to see the truth. I want to experience the reality of me. I refuse to manipulate. I want to wake up regardless of how painful it is." Only the hero will take this attitude, for it is a heroic act to see your deficiency, your neediness, your emptiness, and yet not try to manipulate your life to fill it. We are so compulsive, so driven to manipulate, to avoid feeling this basic deficiency of our personal ego. But believe me, my friend, there's no other way towards fullness. God will not pour His grace if you don't accept your deficiency and stop manipulating. Manipulation, striving to fill this emptiness, is only the devil doing its efficient work. It is constantly working to hide its weakness.

- A.H. Almaas

Hanukkah 2008

From within or from behind, a light shines
through us upon things,
and makes us
aware that we are nothing, but the
light is all.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Winter Solstice 2008

HOUSTON: I once ran into this Frenchman on the street and I knocked the wind out of him, and he said to me, when I was about fourteen, "Are you planning to run like that for the rest of your life?" I said, "Yes sir, it looks that way." He said, "Well bon voyage, bon voyage." And I ran to school, and the following week I met him, and we began to take these walks in the park, and they were numinous. He would say, "[French accent] Oh, Jeanne, Jeanne, look, look, a caterpillar! Hm! Jeanne, what is a caterpillar, huh? Moving, changing, transforming, metamorphosing. Jeanne, feel yourself to be a caterpillar." "Oh, very easily, Mr. --" I called him Mr. Teilhard -- "Mr. Teilhard." "And feel your transformation. Oh, Jean, sniff the wind. [Sniffing] Same wind once knew P¹re Jesus-Christ. [Sniffing] Ah, Marie Antoinette. [Sniffing] Ah, Jeanne d'Arc! Be filled with Joan of Arc." It was extraordinary. Everything was sentient; everything was full of life. He looked at you, he looked at you as kind of a cluttered house that hid the Holy One, and you felt yourself looked at as if you were God in hiding, and you felt yourself so charged and greened with evolutionary possibilities. And I used to go home and tell my mother, "Mother, I met my own man, and when I am with him I leave my littleness behind." And of course I found out years later, after he had died, it was Teilhard de Chardin I was meeting.

MISHLOVE: It's an interesting phrase -- "I leave my littleness behind."

HOUSTON: Leave my littleness behind, yes.

MISHLOVE: It seems that for many of us -- I know in my own life -- at times we get so caught up in our littleness we forget there's anything else.

HOUSTON: Well, we don't have time to do that anymore, do we? I mean, we are living in the most complex times in human history. I realize other times in history thought they were it. They were wrong; this is it. I mean, what we do -- in my travels around the world, which now are almost a quarter of a million miles, working in many cultures, in many, many domains of human experience -- I really discover that maybe we have ten or fifteen years of an open corridor to make a difference. Many people, all over the world, are really haunted by this. They wake up with a sense that they just cannot live out their lives as encapsulated bags of skin dragging around dreary little egos, and that all the walls are crashing down. I mean, we have extraordinary -- the membranes have cracked through as cultures begin to flow into each other. We are on the verge of a true planetary culture, with high individuation of individual cultures. Cultures are becoming more so, not less. The potentials of different cultures -- the potentials, for example, of an African culture that I have studied, which has no history of war, no neurosis as we understand it, incredible problem solving. And when I studied this culture in West Africa, and I saw how they solved problems -- they didn't say, "Uh, yes, what is it, A, yes, Subsection 1, 2, 3 --" No. First they danced the problem. [Singing] And then they sang it, and they danced it, and then they envisioned it, and then they drew it, and they talked about it, and they danced it, then they breathed it, and they all had the solution. Because they were operating on many, many frames of mind. In the harvest of world culture that is happening in our time, what we are gaining is not only different frames of mind -- thinking in images, thinking in words, thinking with our whole bodies -- but we are gaining access to the ecology of the genius of the human race. We are all becoming Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, but accessing this incredible domain of the human genius, so that we discover, for example, that we are in a state of chronic education. I have never met a stupid child. I have met incredibly stupid systems of education that diminish our ideas of ourselves, that give us a very limited, local notion, and we can't get away with it anymore. And we have incredible access to who and what we are. It's not for nothing that the whole earth as an image is in our mind at the same time as the whole brain, the whole, whole mind, and all these cultures converging, and -- what should we say? We gestate in each
- Excerpt from interview with Jean Huston - "Thinking Allowed,
Conversations On the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery,"

with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wedding Night

On December 17th, 1273 AD, Mevlana Jalal al-din
Rumi died at Konya, Turkey.
The 17th of December is thus
called Sheb-i Arus, meaning "Bride's
Night" or `
"Nuptial Night" or "Wedding Night," because of the
union of
Mevlana with God. As Rumi's epitaph
"When we are dead, seek not our tomb in the
but find it in the hearts of men."

O my noble friends, slaughter this cow,
if you wish to raise up the spirit of insight.
I died to being mineral and growth began.
I died to vegetable growth and attained to the state of animals.
I died from animality and became Adam:
why then should I fear?
When have I become less by dying?
Next I shall die to being a human being,
so that I may soar and lift up my head among the angels.
Yet I must escape even from that angelic state:
everything is perishing except His Face.
Once again I shall be sacrificed, dying to the angelic;
I shall become that which could never be imagined -
I shall become nonexistent.
Nonexistence sings its clear melody,
Truly, unto Him shall we return!
- - from the Mathnawi, Book III,
verses 3501 - 3506, in a translation by Professor
William Chittick

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"We each must become like fishermen,

and go out onto the dark ocean of
mind, and let your nets down into that sea.

"And what you're after is not some behemoth that
will tear through your nets, foul them, and drag you
and your little boat into the abyss. Nor are what we
looking for a bunch of sardines, that can slip through
your net and disappear, ideas like 'have you ever
noticed that your little finger exactly fits your nostril'
and stuff like that.

"What we are looking for are middle-sized ideas that
are not so small that they are trivial, and not so large
that they are incomprehensible, but middle-sized ideas
that we can wrestle into our boat and take back to the
folks on shore, and have fish dinner.

"And everyone of us, this is what we should be looking
for. It's not for your elucidation, it's not part of your
self-directed psychotherapy; you are an explorer, and
you represent our species.

"And the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new
idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of
good ideas. Our world is in crisis because of the absence
of consciousness.

"And so, to whatever degree, any one of us can bring back
a small piece of the picture, and contribute it to the building
of the new paradigm. Then we participate in the redemption
of the human spirit."
- Terence McKenna

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Riding the Bull Home

"Understand that it is not the individual which has consciousness; it
is the consciousness which assumes innumerable forms. That something which is born or which will die is purely imaginary. It is the child of a barren woman. In the absence of this basic concept "I am" there is no thought, there is no consciousness".
~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Only

English version by Robert Hass

A valley and above it forests in autumn colors.
A voyager arrives, a map leads him there.
Or perhaps memory. Once long ago in the sun,
When snow first fell, riding this way
He felt joy, strong, without reason,
Joy of the eyes. Everything was the rhythm
Of shifting trees, of a bird in flight,
Of a train on the viaduct, a feast in motion.
He returns years later, has no demands.
He wants only one, most precious thing:
To see, purely and simply, without name,
Without expectations, fears, or hopes,
At the edge where there is no I or not-I.

Czeslaw Milosz: Poems and Biography

from The Collected Poems, by Czeslaw Milosz

Near Enemies

The near enemies are qualities that arise in the mind and masquerade as genuine spiritual realization, when in fact they are only an imitation, serving to separate us from true feeling rather than connecting us to it. . . .

The near enemy of loving-kindness is attachment. . . . At first, attachment may feel like love, but as it grows it becomes more clearly the opposite, characterized by clinging, controlling and fear.

The near enemy of compassion is pity, and this also separates us. Pity feels sorry for "that poor person over here," as if he were somehow different from us. . . .

The near enemy of sympathetic joy (the joy in the happiness of others) is comparison, which looks to see if we have more of, the same as, or less than another. . . .

The near enemy of equanimity is indifference. True equanimity is balance in the midst of experience, whereas indifference is withdrawal and not caring, based on fear. . . .

If we do not recognize and understand the near enemies, they will deaden our spiritual practice. The compartments they make cannot shield us for long from the pain and unpredictability of life, but they will surely stifle the joy and open connectedness of true relationships.

- Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart

The Buddha Mind contains the universe.

In this universe there is only one pure substance,
One absolute and indivisible Truth.
The notion of duality does not exist.
The small mind contains only illusions of separateness, of division.
It imagines myriad objects and defines truth in terms of relative opposites.
Big is defined by small, good by evil, pure by defiled,
Hidden by revealed, full by empty.
What is opposition?
It is the arena of hostility, of conflict and turmoil.
Where duality is transcended peace reigns.
This is the Dharma's ultimate truth.

- Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'Ch'ing, # 76, 1600
Journey to Dreamland
Translated by Grandmaster Jy Din Shakya