And The Two Shall Become One

We’ve been advised,

not to be unequally yoked,

unequally wed.


Yet surely this


isn’t meant,

for us, our computers,

and entertainment—


Where’s the harm,

and where are the vices,

in being married to our devices?

What’s the problem,

and what are the sins,

in mating with new algorithms?


Mixing silicon

into our genetic ocean.

Certainly sounds

like a crazy notion.

Yet man’s progress and ambition,

casts off every inhibition.

So we will inevitably see;

(or already see)

this wedding of the century—


We promise to have,

and to hold them,

wherever we go;

in sickness,

and in health,

forever by our side;

to love,

and cherish,

all that they provide;

and never give our eyes,

to another.


They promise to mold,

and to shape us,

from cradle to the grave;

to conform us,

to data and to speed,

and always to keep us;


To teach our eyes,

to scan each page,

and to live our days,

in this same way;

to keep us always at the surface,

scattered, and safe,

from any depth.


Now all can view whole worlds,

through a variety of screens;

yet few possess discernment,

to know what any of it means.


A very modern matrimony,

between man and his technology.

The object of man’s devotion,

rules his mind and his emotion.

Leading man into a spiritless union,

and the two shall become one.



If Pride Went Tumbling



and truly parasitical,

I feel you cling to me;

dangling from my members.

Like mistletoe,

with a kiss so smooth,

though deadly.



so serious,

yet ultimately ridiculous,

I’ve let you ride me;

put a bridle in my mouth.

Like a monkey,

on my back you drive me,

and you goad me.



you’ve put me on parade,

and made me your showhorse:

I jump, I dance, and I prance,

to win the prize,

before my eyes,

manufactured by your trance.


You’ll whisper in my ear I know,

a secret tale of fear,

and woe:

you and I are a chimera,

from our head down to

our toes.


Oh pride—

What would you do though,

if I no longer allowed you?


Without your sweet mirages,

your tantalizing images:

my life no longer just a vapor,

a falsity and nothing more,

if you tumbled from my back and

my proper vision were restored.



January 30

We should look on man with wonder, conscious that his intellect, being infinite, is the image of the invisible God; and that even if it is for a time limited by the body, as St Basil says, it can embrace all form, just as God’s providence embraces the whole universe. For the intellect has the ability to transform itself into everything, and is dyed with the form of the object it apprehends. But when it is taken up into God, who is formless and imageless, it becomes formless and imageless itself. Then we should marvel at how the intellect can preserve any thought or idea, and how an earlier thought need not be modified by later thoughts, or a later thought injured by earlier ones. On the contrary, the mind like a treasure-house tirelessly stores all thoughts. And these thoughts, whether new or long held in store, the intellect when it wishes can express in language; yet although words are always coming from it, it is never exhausted.

~St Peter of Damaskos

Paths of Desire (part 22)

Though I had already been studying with MD off and on for several years, the way I see it, the official start to our community life began early in the summer of 1993 when four of the original members camped for several days on the rocky cliffs at Salt Point on the northern California coast. The location was remote enough, several hours up Highway 1 from San Francisco, that we didn’t have any other visitors during our time there; yet accessible enough, only a few hundred yards off the highway, that we could easily pack our sleeping and cooking gear down to the rocks from our car. Rather than sheer cliffs, this location had a series of large rocky terraces which gradually stepped down to the water, so it was quite safe and afforded wonderful views of the water from many vantage points and heights, some very near the ocean waves and others perched high above.

One afternoon, I sat on the rocks looking out to sea. The sun was high and bright and the ocean swells reflected brilliantly its light. The smell and the taste of the salt air filled my nostrils and lungs and I felt a great peace and calm come over me. As I watched the rising and falling of the ocean I noticed my own breath had begun to follow the same rhythm and pattern. Without forcing, but just observing, I felt myself inhale and my lungs expand as the ocean surged, and as I exhaled and my lungs contracted I watched the waves relax and subside. Over and over I observed the synchronicity between my own breath and the wave’s motion. At some point I no longer felt that I was watching the waves, but instead that they were moving within me; the reflection of the sun’s rays dancing on the surface of the water as it surged within my own chest, the ocean rolling through my torso, my own diaphragm responding to that same force which controls the tides.

This sensation startled me, and frightened me a little, so I turned away from the sea to regain my sense of normalcy. Where did I go just then? In a way I had lost myself; where do I stop, and where does the world begin; what are my limits, if not my physical body? I considered these things for a moment, and then lamented that I had turned away and broken my connection. I was unable to recreate the experience again, so I just watched the surf after that and enjoyed another beautiful day which transformed into another beautiful night. Each of the four of us found a private place among the terraces and rocky grottos to sleep at night. There is nothing quite so soothing and relaxing as sleeping under the stars with a gentle ocean breeze cooling your face as you snuggle down into the warmth of your sleeping bag, while in the distance the ocean hums a strong but gentle lullaby.

(to be continued)


January 28

Vanity of vanities; all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2). St John of Damaskos says the same thing: ‘All human affairs, all that does not exist after death, are vanity. Riches vanish, glory leaves us. When death comes, all such things disappear.’ And again, ‘Truly all things are vanity; life is but a shadow and a dream, and every man born of the earth troubles himself in vain, as the Scriptures say (Psalm 39:6).’

‘By the time we have gained the whole world we shall be in the grave, where king and pauper are one.’

~St Peter of Damaskos

Work (The First Convergence Dialog)

I found myself in a fantastic place, at a convergence; as if between two lenses: one lens as a mirror reflecting back in time, the other as a telescope projecting into the future.

Were I a train traveling through time, and were my rails made of purest light:

the left rail streaming forth from my past, the right rail bringing light from my future, all three would meet, myself, the right, the left, bending at this one point upon my horizon.

And here I stood, at the point of convergence, and like light arriving from two distant stars, two images appeared:  one young and one old; and here before me stood these men. And I recognized myself in them—as they began to speak—the younger first:

“Of what purpose does worldly work serve? Why must I do this worldly work?”

“Work is a tutor and a guardian. It is a gracious distraction, to keep you busy with trivialities. Until you are ready to seek God with all your heart and all your time, to seek His kingdom first, until then you will work in the world. Lest in your idleness you should fall further away from Him, through apathy and laziness.”

“You’re telling me work is for my benefit then? It feels like a chronic curse; the tedium, the weariness, the never ending busy ness.”

“For now, serve God by serving others. Seeking to know God is not trivial, that is the only non-trivial thing we can do, but we are not ready, or willing to do this, so until we learn that only God is meaningful, and only seeking Him gives our lives lasting purpose, we are occupied with other work which, though trivial, still trains us in the habit of effort, perseverance and service. And even this is better than a life of idleness.”

I’m glad the younger asked such questions of the older, for my troubles were much the same as his.

“I must return now to my work,” the elder said, “the work of prayer and devotion. But I will leave you with this final thought on your work before I go:

“Work makes us men, training out the child within us. But spiritual work makes us children of God, training out the worldly man within us.”

And with that, the images in the lenses faded, their light returning to their proper times, and I reflected on the value of work. I liked what the elder said about this, and resolved to keep this in my heart:

“Work makes us men, training out the child within us. But spiritual work makes us children of God, training out the worldly man within us.”



January 27

What is the point in amassing riches? Despite his unwillingness, the seeming possessor will have to surrender them, not just at the moment of his death, but often before this, with much shame, tribulation and pain. Wealth breeds innumerable trials–fear, anxiety, constant worry and troubles sought and unsought–and yet many have endured even death for its sake. But God’s holy commandment saves every man from all this and gives him complete freedom from anxiety and fear; often, indeed, it confers inexpressible delight on those who deliberately choose to rid themselves of possessions.

For what brings more delight than to achieve dispassion, and no longer to be under the sway of anger or the desire for worldly things? Regarding as nothing the things that most people value and rising above them, we live as in paradise, or rather as in heaven, set free from all constraints through our untroubled devotion to God.

~St Peter of Damaskos