Life without backgrounds or frames: “Time’s Arrow,” by Hiroshi Sugimoto

"Time’s Arrow" (1987), by Hiroshi Sugimoto (seascape: 1980; reliquary fragment: Kamakura Period, 13th century) Gelatin silver print, gilt bronze.

I first saw “Time’s Arrow,” the 1987 photo collage by Hiroshi Sugimoto, as an illustration in the Spring 2018 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.

The image grabbed me, and I saved it as an image for contemplation.  It has taken me a while to grasp what the image suggests for me.

After a series of difficult personal losses and challenges over the past two months, I set the image as the lock screen for my laptop.  It is the

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Flow

"Poise," by Mike Shell. Red leaf floating in water on blacktop, with reflected light. Cradle of Forestry, Pisgah National Forest, NC.

There is nothing in this moment
+++that stays.
+++Nothing to guide me,
+++Nothing to hinder me.

Those are all thoughts and feelings
+++that rise and fall.
They come from nowhere
+++except from
+++previous thoughts and feelings.

Yes, there is sensation and emotion,
+++the brain’s tools for
+++sifting through

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How did the poem “Fixed” come to me?

I’ve not tried before to retrace in memory how my poems come into being. Yesterday a close friend’s response to “Fixed” move me to do so.

This poem came to me, as most of them do, in much the same way that spoken ministry messages come to me during Quaker waiting worship.  I am inspired by something, perhaps something very minor, that crosses my awareness, and suddenly there is an image or word or phrase.

My usual morning practice

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Expectation

About a month ago I made a mistake. It happened sometime between my early morning preparation for waiting worship and the rise of Meeting.

The concept of the transpersonal is one which I have thought I understood intellectually for decades, going back to my naïve fascination with mystical paths in the 1970s, and maturing through years of contemplation and study.

That First Day, though, the concept became viscerally alive as I read a selection in The Essential Ken

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“Pray for Others”

Each year on my birthday, I look forward to reading the meditation for August 29th in Daily Word, the devotional magazine of Unity Church.

The message has always tended to be something I could welcome as a motto for the new year, something which affirmed my sense of self and reassured me that I was on the so-called “spiritual path.”

This year, however, I stumbled mentally. The day’s topic was “Pray for Others,” and the opening affirmation was:

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Descartes’ other error

One of my Friendly correspondents has reminded me that, back in February, I addressed some of the concerns of the previous post from the perspective of my alter-ego Walhydra’s hopeful skepticism.

In “The Virgin of Hollywood, Florida,” Walhydra groused at length about the gullibility of “the masses,” who blithely toss their belief after every tabloid headline, urban legend, or political sound bite.

Yet she found herself wondering: “How does one move from scorn for the credulous to a working, sustaining

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