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Beyond Companions


Lamentations 3:37-58


hunted me down like a bird.
53 They forced me alive into a pit
and threw stones on me.

54 Water rose above my head;
I thought, “I am finished!”

55 I called on your name, Adonai,
from the bottom of the pit.
56 You heard my voice; don’t close your ear
at my sighs, at my cries.
57 You came near when I called to you;
you said, “Don’t be afraid.”

58 Adonai, you defended my cause;
you redeemed my life.

Hebrews 4:1-16 (CJB)

for Good News has also been proclaimed to us, just as it was to them. But the message they heard didn’t do them any good, because those who heard it did not combine it with trust………

12 See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart. 13 Before God, nothing created is hidden, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

My version, derived from Mounce Interlinear

Now, the Word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword— slicing as far as the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow; able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creation is hidden from God’s sight, but (is) naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one in relation to whom we make our report.

Resonant phrases:

—Those who are my enemies for no reason hunted me down like a bird. They forced me alive into a pit and threw stones on me.

— it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow; able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

I was reminded of a passage in a famous Zen treatise on swordsmanship written by a monk named Takuan Soho. When I was young and deeply involved in the study of Karate, I studied his letters with great attention. I thought I recognized the image of cutting through to a place beyond division. Here is the passage I remembered:




From The Annals of the Sword Taia:

“Presumably, as a martial artist, I do not fight for gain or loss, am not concerned with strength or weakness, and neither advance a step nor retreat a step. The enemy does not see me. I do not see the enemy. Penetrating to a place where heaven and earth have not yet divided, where Ying and Yang have not yet arrived, I quickly and necessarily gain effect.

     “Well then, the accomplished man uses the sword but does not kill others. He uses the sword and gives others life. When it is necessary to kill, he kills. When it is necessary to give life, he gives life. When killing, he kills in complete concentration; when giving life, he gives life in complete concentration. Without looking at right and wrong, he is able to see right and wrong; without attempting to discriminate, he is able to discriminate well. Treading on water is just like treading on land, and treading on land is just like treading on water. If he is able to gain this freedom, he will not be perplexed by anyone on earth. In all things, he will be beyond companions.”



Again, I’m behind on the daily reflection, but I figure that if I’m not done after one day’s worth of pondering, well then, I’ll just keep pondering until something pertinent emerges. I’m running up against a problem in which I have a far-reaching and profound insight, and it simply won’t fit itself into words. It just plain won’t. Nevertheless, I’m certain that such insights are reliable and useful, regardless of whether or not I can squeeze them into word-suits that are one or two sizes too small. The seams rip as soon as I bend over…….

On the other hand, I did dredge up a haiku that I wrote a while back that seems apt:

Paraphrasing Yoda:
"Try; or Try not----
There is no "Do".

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Psalm 142
By the road that I am walking
they have hidden a snare for me.


Numbers 24: 1-13
“I summoned you to curse my enemies. But here, you have done nothing but bless them — three times already!"


Romans 8: 12-17
15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to bring you back again into fear...


Matthew 22: 15-22

“You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me?


The Way:
Snares, contrariness, fear, and traps. That’s samsara, is what that is. The literal meaning of “samsara” is “continuous flow.” If you want a synonym for ‘samsara’ maybe “flux” would do.

Necks in a noose, getting the opposite of what we expect, being betrayed by freedom, and hearing our own double-dealing words echo in our ears. There’s no escaping it, until we stop trying to escape it. That’s when all the sticky tangles just dissolve without even a sizzle. Where did they go? Who cares?
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