"Wheels Turning Inward" is a is a rich collection of over fifty poems, following a poet’s mythic and spiritual journey that crosses easily onto the paths of many contemplative traditions. The artwork at the top of this page, is one image found in the Gordon Moore Memorial stain glass window at Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, by the artist Kim Clark Renteria. The image of these three circles, is emblematic of both the Trinity and the title for this new collection of poetry now available from Friesen Press.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Grounded in Perfection (Tathata - Suchness)

such as it is
all of creation in which we dwell,
everything, is perfect in this single moment,

in exactly what this moment offers us now,
grounded in the infinite light and mercy of God.

whose compassion
lives in
our hearts
where we rest
in an embrace that transforms
all thought and image,

into a sacrament of stillness
and silence.

in which
we may perfectly mirror

created as we are
as an image of God.

in which
we may perfectly mirror

God who is Love,
who is Holy,
who is Spirit,
who is Truth,
who is Known,
who is Worshipped.

who is Incarnate
as Christ
as the Word
made flesh

who "Redeems Us"
through love
by calling
our name

whose most gentle
rains upon all

"Fear Not"

Ron Starbuck
Copyright 2009

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine" Isaiah 43

"Tathata as a central concept of Mahayana Buddhism, expresses the appreciation of reality within a unique moment. As no moment is exactly the same, each one can be savored for what occurs at that precise time."

This poem was inspired by the teachings of Geshe Michael Roache and Lama Christie McNally; the writtings of Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Thomas Merton; the writtings and teachings of the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault, Dom Thomas Keating, Dom John Main, and Dom Laurence Freeman; the theologians Paul F. Knitter, Marcus Borg, Paul Tillich, and many others. The poem touches on practicing meditation as a sacramental act, which is something Buddhists have been doing for over 2500 years, and Christians since the time of Christ and the early days of the Desert Fathers and Mothers.

Answering God’s call to hoilness (wholeness) through a sacramental practice of meditation is one way to experience the “Reign of God” in the present moment. Sacraments are an “outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace” whereby the Spirit of God becomes present to us; sacraments are a means of grace and a vehicle for the Holy Spirit to enter into our lives. Dom Thomas Keating has often said, “that intimacy with God requires not effort, but simple consent.”

Here are some suggested books to learn more about these peactices and the intefaith dialog between Eastern and Western spiritual traditions:

The Tibetan Book of Meditation by Lama Christie McNally

Without Buddha I Could Not be a Christian by Paul F. Knitter

The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind--A New Perspective on Christ and His Message by Cynthia Bourgeault

Jesus: The Teacher Within by Laurence Freeman

The Good Heart: A Buddhist Perspective on the Teachings of Jesus by Dalai Lama, Robert Kiely, Geshe Thupten Jinpa, and Laurence Freeman

Transforming Suffering: Reflections on Finding Peace in Troubled Times by His Holiness the Dalai Lamma, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Thomas Keating, Joseph Goldstein, Thubten Chodro

The Heart of the World: An Introduction to Contemplative Christianity by Thomas Keating

 The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton

The Wisdom of the Desert: Sayings from the Desert Fathers of the Fourth Century (Shambhala Library) by Thomas Merton

The Eastern Path to Heaven by Geshe Michael Roach and Christie McNally