Hold It All

Philosophy/Poetics/Politics

Category: Wisdom Traditions

The Future Belongs to South America

Jessie Sandova, From the Monastery to the World: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Ernesto Cardenal (Counterpoint Press, 2017)

I had initial high hopes for reading the correspondence of Thomas Merton and Ernesto Cardenal. I started reading Merton in the early 80s and Cardenal in the late 2000s. Alas, unlike the blazing selected letters between Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac who were friends and equals, this correspondence was one between an older, maturer spiritual master and his devoted, younger student. There is a fair amount of mundane exchange on writing, publishing, translating their works in both the USA and Latin America. (There was at one point a Merton Reading Club in Managua.)

Most of the passages I marked were from Merton’s letters to Cardenal, such as the following…

Merton as kvetcher: Gethsemani is terrible. Tremendous commerce—everybody is going mad with the cheese business. I want to leave very badly.… Do you know that some fanatical Catholics in Louisville have burned my books, declaring me an atheist because I am opposed to the Vietnam War? …This country is mad with hatred, frustration, stupidity, confusion. That there should be such ignorance and stupidity in a civilized land is just incomprehensible…. On the other hand, I would be ashamed to be in a Latin American country and to be known as a North American…. We simply cannot look to the established powers an structures at the moment for any kind of constructive and living activity. It is all dead ossified, corrupt, stinking, full of lies and hypocrisy, and even when a few people seriously mean well they are so deep in the corruption and inertia that are everywhere that they can accomplish nothing that does not stink of dishonesty and death. All of it is rooted in the cynical greed for power and money, which invades everything and corrupts everything. Read the rest of this entry »

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Share the Wealth with Ayesha Akhtar: صبر (Patience)

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Every year, Muslims around the world take part in a month of fasting called Ramadan. Ramadan is considered to be a very holy month for us, and it carries quite a bit of weight and many blessings. Every year Ramadan came about, and every year I kinda felt myself just going through the motions, but not taking it as seriously as I should. Last year, 2017, after going through a bit of a rough patch, Ramadan came at the right time in my life and took on a whole new meaning for me, which is what I will be discussing at this Share the Wealth.

My name is Ayesha Akhtar. I majored in Accounting Systems and Forensic Accounting, finished my CPA exams, and am currently working as an accountant. I was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and came to the states when I was 3 years old. I lived in South Dakota, Illinois, and attended school in Saint Louis, where I am currently.

Join us
Sunday 4 February
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 p.m.
Ayesha begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Lea and Terry
4121 West Pine Blvd.
St. Louis 63108

Share the Wealth with Savannah Sisk: Sunday 28 January 2018

“Lying on soft earth,
carried into sky by longing,
humans respond to stars
with questions. Why is the Universe
so vast? Why are we so small?

Call and response through the night.

My whole life I have sent
these questions into space. And
listened for response.”

From Stars by Margaret Wheatley

Join Savannah Sisk in a Share the Wealth that explores our spiritual questions, faith journeys, and religious identities. She will discuss her ever-evolving love/hate relationship with Jesus (which has on occasion meant reading a dozen books on Jesus from the library within a month), her passionate search for right living and community, and the presence of both dark nights and luminous mornings. Everyone will be invited to reflect on their own spiritual paths/big questions, and the personal/communal rituals that move us forward. Read the rest of this entry »

Dharma Brother Wang Wei

Devoted Buddhist
Semi-recluse
Noticer of the minute particulars
Painter of vast emptiness
Appreciator of interbeing moment by moment
Befriender of sages, visitors and travelers moving in and out of the Ch’an world

His wife dead at thirty
He gravitates to Buddha,
The Dharma, the Sangha
And what better sangha
Than the 10,000 things
Which come and go?

See David Hinton, The Selected Poems of Wang Wei

Wang Wei

Be Here Now

Andrew Wimmer recently watched the documentary Ram Dass, Fierce Grace.  He sent me this reminder…

Aiming for the Supreme Goal in Life

Dear Perry

I am sending out the following to a few of my friends, Bengali-Americans, who haven’t heard of Sri Anandamayi Ma. I think they’ll be open to her.

I’m grateful we read her before I went to law school.

Namaste forever,

Tanya

 

It was reported that various Indian philosophers and scholars said to the Bengali mystic Sri Anandamayi Ma: “We have studied dry scriptures. But, we now see before us, a living embodiment of all that is contained in our holy books of wisdom.”

Sri Anandamayi Ma passed from this life in 1982. Even though we no longer have the opportunity of darshan of her “living embodiment,” we still can learn something from Joseph Fitzgerald’s The Essential Sri Anandamayi Ma: Life and Teachings of a 20th Century Indian Saint.  Given the pace of our lives, the intense pressures to achieve success, and our nagging sense of being frequently adrift, an acquaintance with Ma is a step toward sanity.

____________________

First, we can ponder reflections from Ma’s biographer, Alexander Lipski, like the following…

I felt as though I was mentally stripped naked. It seemed to me that she could see into the innermost recesses of my mind. I asked her to tell me what the chief obstacles on my spiritual path were. In response she revealed to me some glaring shortcomings of which I had been hitherto totally unaware. What She said was in no way flattering, in fact, painful, but Anandamayi Ma said it so compassionately, although firmly, that I did not feel condemned. I realized what true loving detachment was. Read the rest of this entry »

Waiting in Line To Order an Espresso

I overheard Sylvie Smith ask Emma Wong
“What’s up, haven’t seen you on Snapchat?”

“Yeah, I haven’t looked at  Snapchat
In three weeks”

Sylvie looked horrified
“THREE WEEKS?!!!

What’s going on with you?”
“Just into other things”

“You’re dating someone?”
“No, I’m reading someone” Read the rest of this entry »

For All My Friends Who Are Free Spirits

“What is now proved was once only imagin’d.”
–William Blake

Free Spirits desire the emancipation of all humankind
Free Spirits conceive a habitable, harmonian world
Free Spirits know that no revolution has gone far enough
Free Spirits reject cynicism & despair
Free Spirits resolve immobilizing antinomies
Free Spirits dream extravagantly
Free Spirits prepare the negation of capital
Free Spirits meditate social transformation
Free Spirits subvert the culture of regression and death
Free Spirits affirm the power of the imagination Read the rest of this entry »

Some of the Dharma/1

The dharma is everywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are.

All emotion is from thinking.

In my mind there are three things: concentration, loving-kindness, and peace.

Your heart knows everything.

Thoughts of the past and future spoil your time.

–Dipa Ma
from Amy Schmidt, Dipa Ma: The Life and Teachings of a Buddhist Master


Dipa Ma

Share the Wealth with Andrew Wimmer: Practicing Loving Kindness Meditation

I’m looking forward to talking with other meditators about my recent introduction to Loving Kindness Meditation as taught by Bahnte Vimalaramsi during a ten-day retreat at the Dhamma Sukah Meditation Center in southern Missouri. I began meditating in 1973 when I was introduced to Transcental Meditation and made what seemed like a natural transition to Centering Prayer (as taught by Basil Pennington and Thomas Keeting) during the twelve years I spent living as a Benedictine monk. I have continued with that form of meditation ever since, waxing and waning in my faithfulness to it over the years. On the first night of the retreat I was struck by two seemingly simple tweaks offered by Bahnte Vimalaramsi’s Loving Kindness method that led to a radical transformation for me. I’d like to share the merit of my experience with you. No background in Buddhism is needed, and the conversation will be quite practical.

Andrew Wimmer’s years as a Benedictine monk included time teaching seventh graders in St. Louis, working in a parish in Nicaragua, and pursuing doctoral studies in Boston. He taught courses in social justice and peacemaking at St. Louis University and has written about and organized nonviolent opposition to U.S. use of torture. He’s the father of two sons in their 20s and lives in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood.

Join us!
Sunday 29 October
Potluck dinner begins at 6:00 pm
Andrew begins sharing at 6:45
At the home of Chris Wallach
5 E. Lake Road
Fenton, MO
63026

From Chris: Directions from Google will take you to the mailbox at the end of my gravel road. Follow the gravel. When you see a three car garage (my mother’s house) look to the right for a right turn. Follow that down to the bottom of the hill and you will arrive at my house.