Sunday, January 19, 2020


Give yourself time to make a prayer that will become the prayer of your soul. Listen to the voices of longing in your soul. Listen to your hungers. Give attention to the unexpected that lives around the rim of your life. Listen to your memory and to the inrush of your future, to the voices of those near you and those you have lost. Out of all of that attention to your soul, make a prayer that is big enough for your wild soul, yet tender enough for your shy and awkward vulnerability; that has enough healing to gain the ointment of divine forgiveness for your wounds; enough truth and vigour to challenge your blindness and complacency; enough graciousness and vision to mirror your immortal beauty. Write a prayer that is worthy of the destiny to which you have been called.


Monday, December 18, 2017


info at bottom third of blog

​" When you meet someone at the prayer level you are encountering them on the ground of their eternity. That is the secret heart of all  kinship and affinity. And when you journey in there toward someone else there is no greater intimacy that  could ever be between you."

John O'Donohue

“Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”
Dalai Lama XIV

Our teachers are Saint Francis of Assisi 
John O'Donohue
Fr. Thomas Keating 
FR. Richard Rohr
Thich Nhat Hanh 
Eknath Eawaran
Fr. Bede Griffiths
and John Butler 

Many are known but John Butler is new to most. Here is a video that exemplifies his teaching .

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”
Walt Whitman

 Main Street House of Prayer:
When you pray ( or practice Meditation)
Your soul sings its most beautiful song
The eternal melody that is hidden in the clay of your heart
Rises out of the silence to bless your life and your presence ...

And to mind and shelter those that are close to you
In the seen and in the unseen world
- John O'Donohue

Main Street house of Prayer is looking for two people to live here and share the load. We are looking for a brother or sister willing to join in a contemplatve life style with community work and some gardening. Retreats on site.
Much like St. Francis first group of friends.
Apply at email address listed below

"The Lord has called me into the way of simplicity and humility...He told me I am to be a new kind of fool in this world." ~ Saint Francis of Assisi (Mirror of Perfection)


The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving.
In giving gifts, we give what we can spare,
but in giving thanks we give ourselves.
-Br. David Steindl-Rast

 Our Song

But the spiritual journey is more than a psychological process. It is of course primarily a process of grace. God also speaks to us through nature. The more we know about nature, the more we know about the mind of God. Einstein believed that science was directed toward discovering God’s thoughts. Quantum physics itself is a kind of spirituality insofar as it is always looking farther into the ‘ unknown to see what is beyond the known. It is a search for ultimate reality.
God is available through many sources besides the religious quest. I don’t mean to imply that psychology replaces the work of religion, but it seems to me that it greatly supports religion and brings a certain clarity to areas of the human condition, especially the discovery of the unconscious.- Thomas Keating

We can do this together 

 So, OK now is the very moment to do it! We can begin a whole new conscious dying practice .
    At the house we are studying with  John Butler, H.H. Dalai Lama,  Suzuki Roshi, Thomas Merton, Father Thomas Keating, Father Richard Rohr , John O'Donohue, Eknath Easwaran, John Diado Loori , Thich Nhat Hanh, and Sogyal Rinpoche.
Recorded formation teachings in a series from meditation to conscious dying the good death.  

From Franciscan Richard Rohr :
Most Christian churches have spent an awful lot of time concerned about maintaining verbal and ritual orthodoxy--the official doctrines and liturgies (when even the Roman church legitimates at least 16 forms of the Mass in all of its Eastern Rites!). We must be honest and admit that it has focused much less on the practicals of the Sermon on the Mount or what Jesus spent most of his time doing: touching and healing people, doing acts of justice and inclusion, teaching and living ways of compassion and non-violence.

Franciscanism, insofar as it actually imitated Francis of Assisi, emphasized an "alternative orthodoxy," a different view on what really matters, which had much more to do with orthopraxy (right practice) than merely believing the right words. (Read Jesus' parable about the two sons where he makes this same point in Luke 21:28-32.) While not rejecting the traditional orthodoxy of the church, the Franciscan "alternative orthodoxy" was a parachurch viewpoint on the edge of the inside of organized Christianity. It often seems this is where wisdom has to hide, as Proverbs says, "Wisdom builds herself a house" (9:1). It became the entire history of Religious Orders in the Catholic and Orthodox churches: we went to the edge and emphasized different things, often to protect neglected Gospel values and teachings.

Brian McLaren uses the words "a generous orthodoxy" to describe something similar, a marriage of thinking and practice. Brian identifies a generous orthodoxy with "a consistent practice of humility, charity, courage, and diligence. Humility that allows us to admit that our past and current formulations may have been limited or distorted. Charity toward those of other traditions who may understand some things better than our group.... Courage to be faithful to the true path of our faith as we understand it, even when it is unpopular, dangerous, and difficult to do so. Diligence to seek again and again the true path of our faith whenever we feel we have lost our way..." (A Generous Orthodoxy, p. 34).

Franciscanism's offering, similar to the Quakers, Shakers, Amish, and Mennonites, was a simple return to lifestyle itself: including the outsider, preferring the bottom to the top, choosing social poverty and divine union over any private perfection or any sense of moral superiority, and an attitude of non-violence instead of religion as forced compliance, which invariably leads to a warlike mentality. Any alternative and generous orthodoxy can be found, if you look with non-dual eyes, in all sacred texts and traditions, and surely in Jesus, as we'll discover in this year of Daily Meditations. An alternative orthodoxy is never stingy with grace or inclusion because it has surrendered to a God who is infinitely magnanimous and creative in the ways of love and mercy."

From our Brother John O’Donohue
“Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment.”  

My monk robe
six pockets ( two inside)

I am a Celtic Franciscan

 Friends meet here in my house on several occasions per week.

So far , I've housed and fed homeless men and specifically homeless vets. Mentally ill men and women. Ex-cons and ex drug addicts. Teens in trouble and immigrants. We've visited prisons and held mindfulness and Centering prayer retreats for 11 years running. 

Some of our members have spent their lives in  Christian culture and tradition, and some have also practiced Buddhist teachings for decades.  With us much time has passed and  experience gained through the seamless blending of these two spiritual paths. As another example of Christian search ( Thomas Merton) has shown, the open dialogue with Zen practice only enhances one's life and therefore experience and devotion to God.
Contemplative prayer, and most especially the unified experience of God dwelling within, comes very close to the wordless non-dual dharma, if not passing through to the other side. 

Come join us and we can support each other in our spiritual journey.
We join in community as the early Celtic monastic sisters and brothers did. Sharing our practice and our loving energy in a communal setting. Practicing Chastity as couples or as individual monks .


The Five Mindfulness Trainings

The Five Mindfulness Trainings represent the Buddhist vision for a global spirituality and ethic. They are a concrete expression of the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path, the path of right understanding and true love, leading to healing, transformation, and happiness for ourselves and for the world. To practice the Five Mindfulness Trainings is to cultivate the insight of interbeing, or Right View, which can remove all discrimination, intolerance, anger, fear, and despair. If we live according to the Five Mindfulness Trainings, we are already on the path of a bodhisattva. Knowing we are on that path, we are not lost in confusion about our life in the present or in fears about the future.


Reverence For Life

Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance, which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination, and non-attachment to views in order to transform violence, fanaticism, and dogmatism in myself and in the world.


True Happiness

Aware of the suffering caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I am committed to practicing generosity in my thinking, speaking, and acting. I am determined not to steal and not to possess anything that should belong to others; and I will share my time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need. I will practice looking deeply to see that the happiness and suffering of others are not separate from my own happiness and suffering; that true happiness is not possible without understanding and compassion; and that running after wealth, fame, power and sensual pleasures can bring much suffering and despair. I am aware that happiness depends on my mental attitude and not on external conditions, and that I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy. I am committed to practicing Right Livelihood so that I can help reduce the suffering of living beings on Earth and reverse the process of global warming.


True Love

Aware of the suffering caused by sexual misconduct, I am committed to cultivating responsibility and learning ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families, and society. Knowing that sexual desire is not love, and that sexual activity motivated by craving always harms myself as well as others, I am determined not to engage in sexual relations without true love and a deep, long-term commitment made known to my family and friends. I will do everything in my power to protect children from sexual abuse and to prevent couples and families from being broken by sexual misconduct. Seeing that body and mind are one, I am committed to learning appropriate ways to take care of my sexual energy and cultivating loving kindness, compassion, joy and inclusiveness – which are the four basic elements of true love – for my greater happiness and the greater happiness of others. Practicing true love, we know that we will continue beautifully into the future.


Loving Speech and Deep Listening

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person. I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.


Nourishment and Healing

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth.

When you pray you know you are not merely human
You are more divine
Prayer is the incredible intimacy
And forgiving tenderness of God around our lives
You don’t need to go to super gurus to learn how to pray
You don’t have to go on a 55 step spiritual path
to learn how to say a proper prayer.
And you don’t have to get therapy backwards, forwards and sideways in order to be able to pray.
And you don’t need to get into the fundamentalist trip
And do a heavy weight hammer job on the most interesting parts of your own contradictions and complexities in order to pray.
You can pray wherever you are now in exactly the way that you are.
That’s the most real prayer of all is the prayer that emerges from the honesty of your own personal situation and from the depth of your life precisely as it is now.
All this waiting for the divine and all this journey towards the divine is postponement and distraction.
No matter what situation you’re in you can always call from your mind a lovely whisper or song of prayer.
- John O'Donohue

Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh

From the recent inter-religious dialogues of H.H. the Dalai Lama , Father Thomas Keating , Father Richard Rohr, Brother David Steindl-rast( his book Deeper than Words alone shows how this is possible) , Thich Nhat Hanh already has participating in his large retreats world wide many Catholic monks, priests and nuns. We have come away with the very clear vision that a new dawn is happening in monastic as well as lay circles. The time is ripe for inclusive vision and practice in new spiritual communities. 

Father Thomas Keating and The Dalai Lama
before speaking together in Boston in October 2012


Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.  —Thomas Merton

OUR   Contemplative  COMMUNITY

Main Street House of Prayer

 Our holy disorder of friends is called:

Le Jongleurs de Dieu
( The Clowns of God
this being the same name
Francis first gave his
little group of friends)

As our community members are socially engaged Franciscans and Zen Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhists.  We are all very involved with actively practicing compassion.

We work at the local food bank, set up AA meetings ( on site) , counsel local teens , practice Tai Chi for arthritis , teach and assist with conscious dying. and hold weekend retreats on Centering Prayer, Mindfulness, and Conscious Dying.

 One member  created the warming center in Augusta Maine to help provide a warm space for homeless people off the streets during the Maine winter. He is now looking into a Centering prayer ministry .

If you would like to explore within Zen Buddhism (Shikan Taza) or Centering Prayer  from the American spiritual view of the 12 steps we have a weekly group now meeting for the fourth year.

We also practice Zazen ( Shikan Taza) and can offer instruction to beginners. Our small community is here and thriving !
We offer instruction in Centering Prayer as well.

We are presently reading and discussing , Father Thomas Keating's Divine Therapy  and Father Richard  Rohr's Breathing Underwater as well as holding regular AA meetings. 

There is also guidance and instruction with conscious ( not assisted) dying as taught in Tibetan Buddhist centers such as Dzogchen Beara in Ireland .

At this time I would like to dedicate this site and our community efforts to my first spiritual teacher Eknath Easwaran

Sri Eswaran taught the first ( for credit) meditation course in the world at UC Berkeley in the 1960s
His inclusive world mystical view was the primary influence in my life's spiritual search
He is also the person that introduced me to:
 St Francis through the Prayer of St Francis

Thank you my dear dear friend and teacher
-W.S. Parks

We are also exploring in-house business on the Greyston Mandala model.

“Some people have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”

Abraham H. Maslow

Our schedule is roughly as follows :

6:00 am Centering Prayer/ meditation - daily

11:00 am Daily- Tai Chi

12:00 pm Centering Prayer/meditation

9:30 pm EVERY DAY Centering prayer/meditation

8:30am-11am Thursday 11th step 
Prayer and Meditation group ( Readings, discussions as well as two 20 min. meditations)
Thursday 7-8pm Big Book step study AA Meeting 

Go here to see about this :

 9-11am Saturday -
Center Prayer  ( listening to guidance)

Sunday evening advanced class ( A minimum of 5 years contemplative prayer practice , if possible ) 6-8pm

Exploration of Conscious Dying


Below is a short film about what it is like
when one finally "gets it"

Main Street House of Prayer

  listening hut  

 100 acre Wood

Bathing baptismal font/ swimming Pond
Basho's Pond

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

        Little Gidding V,
        Four Quartets.
        -- T.S. Eliot (1943)

Any inquires 
about joining us at any time
please contact  :

If someone asks
My abode
I reply:
"The east edge of
The Milky Way."

Like a drifting cloud,
Bound by nothing:
I just let go
Giving myself up
To the whim of the wind



I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,
     this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
     their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are
     crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the
     distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised
     and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

Walt Whitman
America's First Zen Master


Any inquires 
about joining us at any time
please contact  :

What is the Meaning of the Cross So Loved by St. Francis?
The Tao of the Tau

At least once in your life you’ll be asked about the meaning of the cross, usually made of wood, which is shaped like a “T” and is often worn by Franciscan friars. With the help of the portal, St. Francis Patron of Italy, we sought to understand the meaning of the Tau.
Ancient Origin
Tau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and was used symbolically in the Old Testament. It was already spoken of in the Book of Ezekiel: “The Lord said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over the abominations… (Ez. 9:4). The Tau is the sign placed upon the foreheads of the poor of Israel, it saves them from extermination.
It was then adopted by the very first Christians, for a twofold reason:
1.As the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, it prophesied the Last Day and had the same function as the Greek letter Omega as it appears in the Book of Revelation: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life … I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6;22:13).

What it is not
The Tau is not a magic amulet.
It is not a fetish, much less a trinket.
Nor is it a charm that is hung only because it “brings good luck.”

St. Francis and the cross
Because of the Tau’s resemblance to the cross, this sign was very dear to St. Francis of Assisi, so much so that it occupied an important place in his life as well as his gestures. In him the ancient prophetic sign was actualized, regained its saving power and expressed the beatitude of poverty, which is an essential element of the Franciscan way of life.
“Whenever necessity or charity required, St. Francis marked with this seal the letters he sent” “He began all of his actions with it” 

 The Tau was therefore the sign dearest to Francis.
Thus the Tau, which is backed by a solid biblical and Christian tradition, was received by St. Francis for its spiritual value. The Saint of Assisi took hold of this sign in a manner so complete and intense that, at the end of his life and through the stigmata impressed in his flesh he became the living image of the Tau that he had so often contemplated, drawn, and especially loved.
Why wood?
Wood is a very poor and flexible material, and the children of God are called to live simply and in poverty of spirit (Mt.5:3). Wood is a material that is easily crafted.

Any inquires 
about joining us at any time
please contact  :

Any inquires 
about joining us at any time
please contact  :