Zen in the Art of Archery

"The right art," cried the Master, "is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen."

"What must I do, then?" I asked thoughtfully.
"You must learn to wait patiently."
"And how does one learn that?"
"By letting go of yourself, leaving yourself and everything yours behind you so decisively that nothing more is left of you..."

Eugen Herrigel's "Zen in the Art of Archery" (c. 1953)

"If I rise on the wings of the morning" Centering Prayer Retreat

body{font-size:10pt;font-family:arial,sans-serif;background-color:#ffffff;color:black;}p{margin:0px;}Contemplative Outreach of Metropolitan Washington (DC) holds it 2nd fall Saturday morning retreat on November 6th. It will include three 30 minute sits and viewing Fr. Thomas's reflections in the Heartfulness interviews on the meaning of sin as a radical sense of separation from Ultimate Reality - to "miss the mark".

A Poem from Anna Akhmatova - on "the miraculous"

Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold,
Death's great black wing scrapes the air,
Misery gnaws to the bone.
Why then do we not despair?
By day, from the surrounding woods,
cherries blow summer into town;
at night the deep transparent skies
glitter with new galaxies.
And the miraculous comes so close
to the ruined, dirty houses --
something not known to anyone at all,
but wild in our breast for centuries.

~ Anna Akhmatova ~

The value of bridges

So people learned from the angels of God how to build bridges, and therefore, after fountains, the greatest blessing is to build a bridge and the greatest sin is to interfere with one. – Ivo Andric

This snap is of the Chesapeake Bay bridge near Annapolis MD - 4.3 miles in length.

Contemplative Circle of Service meeting photos

I took these snaps during a break at a 3-day Contemplative Outreach Circle of Service meeting in New Jersey. Snaps 1-3 are of the memorial given to the U.S. by Russia after 9/11 - it sits in Bayonne NJ; snap 4 is of several Circle members looking at the memorial - very sobering (l-r Carl Arico, Susan Rush, Marie Howard, Padre Jaime Carujo, Mark Nowak, Susan Komis, and Bonnie Schimizu, Mary Anne Best [guest] backrow); snap 5 captures a surprise moment for Carl Arico in celebration of his 50th year as a priest; snap 6 is a gift, long-held and cherished by Fr. Thomas Keating, that Fr. Thomas gave to Carl on his 50th year as a priest including relics (clockwise) from St. Bernard, St. Anthony and St. Benedict; and snaps 7-8 were taken at Carl's church in Bayonne NJ..

Sin, Zen and Archery

The original meaning of the word sin in the Christian tradition is to "miss the mark." Thomas Keating speaks of the root of sin being the psychological experience of a separate-self sense (from Ultimate Reality). And when learning Zen in the art of archery one learns to release not only the arrow but also the "seperate-self sense." When such arrives hitting the "mark" ("bullseye") happens without effort.

"What must I do then?" I asked thoughtfully.

"You must learn to wait properly."

"And how does one learn that?"

"By letting go of yourself, by leaving yourself

and everything yours behind you..."

Zen in the Art of Archery - Eugen Herrigel

Sent from Ron's iPhone

Home alters/shrines

I suppose home alters and/or shrines have existed for centuries as symbols of spiritual realities. Here is my homemade one where I go to retreat each day. The wooden statue of Christ came from my mother -- the little chair from her mother -- the bronze incense holder was part of my parents living room for many years when I was a child - I eventually claimed it -- and the gong is Japanese. I've added a Contemplative Outreach logo of "patience waiting" (apt term for meditation) and a photo of the chapel at St. Benedict's Monastery, Snowmass CO.