A happy Veteran's Day to you. When this day rolls around I inevitably recall that it was originally Armistice Day, in honor of the Armistice that formally ended World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It hasn't been Armistice Day since 1954 -- before I was born -- yet, somehow, I find myself more oriented to the old holiday. Some years ago, I wrote a poem for this occasion, which I shall take the opportunity of this day to herewith share with you:
Yours in the faith we share,"Armistice Day. Armistice Day.
That's all I really wanted to say." - Paul Simon
It's Armistice Day
I would have no arms
Eleven eleven, like the first Armistice Day, 1918,
One one one one, we
Won won won won.
Won one, won one (how many did we lose?)
On the other hand, every birth is a win, isn't it? So we're all right?
On the other other hand, the planet can't handle all those wins?
I would be done with the back and forth of hands
I would have no arms, and thus no hands.
I would live in Europe, Asia, America, south and north, Africa, Australia, Antarctica,
and all the wide deep blacken blue oceans
I would have no Western front
I would name myself Peace Among the Nations
Hanging over the beleaguered of nations like a happy gracious fog, I would
I would weigh you down with uplifting serenity
I would double you four times, Woodrow Wilson World War
All ate of you, consumed by love, would have a thousand arms each reaching and
embracing every dying soldier every wailing mother every broken-legged horse,
enfolding them in doesn't-change-a-thing compassion
I would have no arms.
Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups
I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)
The Nov 6 Service, "Making Meaning and the Art of Navigating Chaos" (Rev. Lane Cobb)
The Oct 30 Service, "A Service of Remembrance"
SPIRITUAL PRACTICE: Abandon Hope
From the Tibetan teachings called “Lojong,” our 26th training in compassion is: Abandon hope.
Abandon hope? If you’re training your mind with these slogans, you probably have some hope that it will help you be wiser, kinder, and more connected to others. And hopefulness certainly beats despair or apathy. Yet there's a downside to hope. Hope turns easily to discouragement when the anticipated results don’t seem to arrive.
Our character does change over time. Improving or worsening, you won’t know. After 10 or 20 years of serious spiritual discipline, will you be different? Well, yes, but you’ll be different anyway. If you take the path of spiritual discipline, you won’t know how much of your change was the result of the discipline, and how much was the result of 10 or 20 years of just living and getting older.
It really is impossible to say for certain whether or not we have improved, so it is better not to frustrate ourselves with such useless questions. Instead, abandon hope and keep going with the training in the faith that it is worthwhile for its own sake. Neither look for improvement nor imagine there is no improvement.
You might notice improvements at first, but as you keep going, you hardly notice improvements anymore. You practice because that’s who you are – without any idea that you’re gaining anything from it.
So abandon hope. When you are excited about your progress or discouraged about your lack of progress, let go of that silly thought. Abandon hope and go happily on.
See the full post: "Abandon Hope."
Here it is, your...
MOMENT OF ZEN
#135: True Teaching
One evening owl asked, "How can you tell whether a teaching is true or false?"Verse
Raven said, "Moss on the rocks dries out when the creek is low."
Owl said, "Good teaching is always wet?"
Raven said, "Sopping."
Marvin fell in a lake. A man saw him fall in and came to get him out. The man asked him, "How did you come to fall in?" "I did not come to fall in,” said Marvin. "I came to fish.” -Bennett Cerf's Book of Laughs, 1959
The staples of childhood silliness
Taught me early that the world would not always make sense,
That proferred answers might be as unhelpful as big red rock-eaters,
And that giggling was how to manage these affronts.
Only later did I notice how often
I came to fish -- showed up
Intent on some shiny thing --
And fell in to what soaked me through:
Not what I came for.
Case adapted from Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonAPREVIOUS ☙ NEXT ☙ INDEX
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