This is my first posting in a while.

There are many reasons for this. I could say that I fell into a hole.  I could mention getting used to new responibilities, and a new era in my life.  I could talk about the teaching that I am doing now.  All would be part of the story.

Recently, I went on a journey to see friends in New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis.  I did not know how much I had been missing them until I was with them.  And being with them helped me realize that another part of my story, these days, is making sense of past and future in a time of transition.

It turns out that this business of aging, and moving from era to era, or stage to stage, in life, is something that all we humans do.  It is also something that our religious traditions, and our cultural backgrounds, either help us do, or hinder us in doing.

If our religious traditions are supposed to help us change–and I believe that they are–then here is another part of living that tests whether the traditions in which we are engaged are alive and vital, or not.  If not, we probably have hold of a stunted, or too rigid, or somewhat twisted version of our tradition.  Or we are holding on to pieces of text, or practice, or belief, as if they were life rafts from a smashed up boat, and we in some kind of shipwreck; when we would be better off looking around at what is in our vessels for a new time or situation.

During this time, I’ve been dreaming a lot about houses, rooms, places to stay, light and dark.  I think I may be building some sort of new structure to live in.  Or not.  Maybe it is more like what Rumi describes in his poem, Soul Houses (translated by Coleman Barks):

Who is this king

that forms another king out of the ground,

who for the sake of two beggars

makes himself a beggar?

Who is this with his hand out

saying, Please, give just a little,

so I can give you a kingdom.

He heals.  He enlivens.

He tells the water to boil

and the steam to fade into the air.

He makes this dying world eternal.

His greatest alchemy

is how he undoes the binding

that keeps love from breathing deep.

He loosens the chest.

With no tool he fashions where we live.

Do not grieve for your rusty, iron heart.

He will polish it to a steel mirror.

As as you are being lowered into the ground,

closed away from firends, don’t cry.

He turns the ants and the snakes

into beautiful new companions.

Every second he changes cruelty

to loyal friendship.

Remember the proverb, Eat the grapes.

Do not keep talking about the garden.

Eat the grapes.

From a rough stone ledge

come a hundred marble fountains.

Out of unconditioned emptiness

comes this planet with all its qualities.

Lakewater over there.

Out of one huge NO

comes a chorus of yeses.

Rivers of light flow from human eyes,

and consider your ears, where language

alchemizes into amber.

He gives the soul a house,

then another and another.

He descends into the dirt

and makes it majesty.

Be silent now.

Say fewer and fewer praise poems.

Let yourself become living poetry.

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