The memoir concludes with an adaptation of a piece published twenty years ago in the inaugural issue of the journal Quaker Theology.
There is nothing I can do, or anyone do for me, that can rescue me from being what I am: a human animal conditioned in every sense. No deliverance from guilt, pain, death. No act, belief, or experience that would make acceptable the unacceptable. No person, institution, concept, or intuition to hope in. Nothing to hold, seek, or look forward to.
Watching the concept of spiritual attainment deconstruct ….
Deep, mindful silence dissolves borders and illumines our relationship to all that is. Silence, therefore, is a door to wisdom, the “gateless gate” of enlightenment. Metaphor can help guide us on the path to that gate, leading us to life.
If, when I’m feeling a little playful, someone were to ask me to summarize Quakerism in a sentence or two, I might say this: You have a heart. Use it. If the person looked puzzled or expectant, I might say more: It’s not the heart your parents gave you. […]
Lent begins today. I will perform no acts of penance; not because I have not sinned, but because I have no fear of knowing divine wrath after death. I have, in fact, no fear, or hope, of knowing anything at all after death.
When I go deeply into myself, I don’t find anyone or anything – which is why I sometimes resist going deep. But the depths are always there, always in the heart of my heart. I may try to repress it, but I can never completely cover the trace of untouchable nothing at the center.
Enlightenment eludes me, but endarkenment: that I know. It is my spiritual condition, a kind of seeing in and by the dark.
Increasingly, I live in emptiness. To live in emptiness, I find, is not a deprivation, nor is it an attainment, nor is it salvation. It is simply to be surrendered to reality. To live in emptiness is not deprivation, although it is disillusionment. As my friend Gary G. has pointed out, to be dis-illusioned should…
a meditation developed from a little verse, titled “Dōgen’s Miracle” because it had been inspired by a reading of Zen master Dōgen (13th century C.E.), that I wrote more than fifteen years ago