Minister's Post, Fri Mar 24

Dear Ones:

Mary Oliver's oft-quoted words remind us:
"To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go."
If we combine the first two into one -- loving what is mortal and holding it tight -- then we have two things: loving and letting go. These are the twin poles of care, on the one hand, and nonattachment, on the other.

Anne Cushman evokes these twin poles when she writes about reducing clutter:
"Bringing order to clutter, I begin to see, is not just about putting my spices in alphabetical order. It’s about balancing the twin poles of spiritual life: cherishing life and holding it sacred, while knowing that it will pass away. It’s about learning to care for the things and people that are precious to me -- and, when it’s time, freely letting them go."
Nonattachment doesn't mean not caring about things or not loving people. It means that, as we care and love, we also hold in mind the transcience of all things, including the very things and people we love.

Yours in the faith we share,

Join a Journey Group: http://cucwp.org/journey-groups

I.C.Y.M.I. (In Case You Missed It)

The Mar 19 service, "Musical Awe":

The Mar 12 service, "Transformative Awe":


From the Tibetan teachings called “Lojong,” our 29th training in compassion is: Don’t figure others out. Just: don’t. Think of all the time you spend analyzing and discussing acquaintances, as if you could know what was going on with them, as if you had a real line on them and their problems. We don’t understand ourselves – we’re so full of contradictory and underappreciated impulses – how could we possibly fathom what makes another person tick?

We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions. We tend to judge others by the effects of their action on us. This is one reason we so often come out feeling righteous: we think we know our own inmost intentions (and we are often wrong); and we assume the intentions of others based on our interpretation of their outward acts (and we are usually wrong). Instead, when you find yourself thinking about someone else's motives, needs, or feelings, catch yourself and remember that you don't really know what someone else is thinking or feeling, so you are better off assuming ze is doing zir best and that everyone is on the same human journey you are on. Maybe at the moment zir journey is leading zir down some nasty dark alley ways.

Practicing this slogan, repeating it to ourselves frequently, even in the midst of controversy with others, trains the mind to recall that we know little of what is in our own heart, let alone someone else’s. Yes, there are times when it may be a good idea to try to imagine what someone else is feeling, thinking, needing, or wanting. Doing that in the light of this slogan means doing it with humility, knowing that we may be mistaken.

See the full post: Don't Judge.

Here it is, your...
#151: The Sabbath

The Indian Poet Kabir (1440-1518), writes:
Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty?
In that great absence you will find nothing.

Be strong then, and enter into your own body;
there you have a solid place for your feet.
Think about it carefully!
Don't go off somewhere else!

Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things,
and stand firm in that which you are.
We come to Zen practice hoping it will show us a "place that will make the soul less thirsty." We can't help it. We must start somewhere, if we are the sort inclined to start, and this is where we start. Gradually, slowly, with many regressions and returns, the feeling may grow in us that there is no place that will make the soul less thristy. It is the nature of souls to thirst. Gradually, slowly, with many regressions and returns, we may throw away more of our thoughts of imaginary things, and more often stand firm in that which we are.

But if we are thinking that we are headed some place that will make the soul less thirsty, then naturally we would like others to also have the the satisfaction of such a place -- particularly our loved ones. So the question comes up: how can I encourage my partner to take up this practice? This is a thought of an imaginary thing.

Walk your path. Trust that others, including the most intimate others, are walking theirs. You might incorporate bits of their path, for the sake of walking together or because it feels right to you -- just don't think about how to get them to walk yours.

After Porcupine's final response to Wolverine, Mole spoke up.
He said, "I have something quite different to ask about. My spouse is not the least bit interested in our practice. Is there something I can do to encourage her?"
Raven asked, "What does interest her?"
Mole said, "She likes to go over to the Little Church in the Grotto and listen to the sermons."
Raven said, "Keep the Sabbath."
"Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work." (Ex 20:8-10)

Remember, and keep holy, it says.
On this day, no work.
Questions about that.
Are resting and working mutually exclusive?
Assuming they are:
Does working preclude holiness?
Does rest confer or constittute holiness?
Or are rest and keep holy two separate assignments?
Would work and keep holy be the two assignments for the rest of the week?
Or is rest, while not conferring holiness, a prerequisite for it?
Is keeping holy then something we do that is neither rest nor work?
What else might be neither?
Is play a form of rest?
Unless the game is our work?
Are writing poems, painting watercolors, playing music forms of rest?
Unless these arts are our work?
Or (if rest and keep holy are separate) is play a form of keeping holy?
And thus not a form of rest?

Remember, and keep holy, it says.
On this day, no work.


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