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Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update April 2001

Theme: Holy remembrance too, keeping us wakeful at night.  (Holderlin)

 Round us the town is at rest; the street, in pale lamplight, grows / quiet /
   And, their torches ablaze, coaches rush through and away.
People go home to rest, replete with the day and its pleasures,
   There to weigh up in their heads, pensive, the gain and the loss,
Finding the balance good; stripped bare now of grapes and of  / flowers, /
   As of their hand-made goods, quiet the market stalls lie.

                                                  (from poem Bread and Wine, by Friedrich Holderlin)

Our upstairs neighbor, William Findley, died early March. His wife Ruth preceded him in death a year ago January. These quiet, elderly and accomplished people are held in prayer and simple presence at the cape on the harbor and in our thoughts.


“It is difficult for me to understand. Why do people live outside their own nature?”
She dared to ask. “What do you mean when you say that people lived outside their own nature?
“But you know that. Man’s real nature, the innermost core, is of God. From there speaks what I call the voice of God.”
“To everyone?”
“Yes. But they have isolated themselves and don’t listen.”
“They daren’t,” said Mary. “Their security lies in the conviction that they can control life.”
“I’ve realized that.”
 Then, almost despairingly, he said, “Mary, I had no inkling man was so evil.”

                        (Jesus and Mary from novel According to Mary Magdalene, by Marianne Fredriksson)

Perhaps we do live “outside our nature” -- temporarily, I hope. Perhaps when we breathlessly busy ourselves by facing away from our core reality, we perceive as in a mirror reflecting darkly “evil.” Is that what we’ve come to call ‘sin?’ Perhaps when we do not “live” from our own true inner nature, we are busy dying outside in the world of myriad distractions, scattered diffusive opinions, and disconnected fragmented separation. It’s an interesting interpretation of ‘evil’ – that when we live outside our own nature, our innermost core, we strive and grasp for security and control, carrying on in an unlistening and unlighted isolation.          

3.         His immense presence is what achieves the miracles, she thought. He meets them all individually, sees their suffering, senses their question: “Why does life treat me so badly?” The moment he gives his hand to the sick, they are in total fellowship.
        Presence is perhaps the innermost form of love.                (Fredriksson)

Harold, in Maine State Prison, conversing his autobiography and near death experience, asked me whether I knew how miracles take place. I said no, I didn’t. He told me that when the hand of God -- beyond and outside time, true ever-present power itself -- touches anyone within time, it is not so much that what was broken or diseased is mended and healed. Rather, when touched, the person is returned to original wholeness, before affliction…now! No time. Presence within love!  


Such is man; when the wealth is there, and no less than a god in
   Person tends him with gifts, blind he remains, unaware.
First he must suffer; but now he names his most treasured / possession,
   Now for it words like flowers leaping alive he must find.     (Holderlin)

I wonder if the words ‘Now’ and ‘God’ are two spellings of the same Reality? We leap alive from Now/God, and this holy remembrance keeps us wakeful. Sitting still, / doing nothing, / spring comes, / and the grass grows by itself.  (Zen poem)    We keep our vigil and watch with you!



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Meetingbrook Hermitage
64 Barnstown Rd.,
Camden, Maine USA 04843
Meetingbrook Bookshop & Bakery
50 Bayview St. (Cape on the harbor)
Camden, Maine USA 04843
e-mail: mono@meetingbrook.org

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