August 19, 2020


Spring Streams, Watercolor Rendering — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greenbriar District
Musing on our Original Nature,
our Virtues,
and our Character
opens up pathways of reflection
that lead to new realizations.

What are the things that make us us,
that separate us from the crowd,
that stand us apart
and identify us as distinct
from every other person--
that are to our psyche
as our fingerprints are to our soma?

Would you recognize yourself
if you heard someone else
describing you?

Would you say,
"Hey! That's me you are talking about!"?

Do you know you well enough
to see you through someone else's eyes?

How do you enhance,
your relationship with your psyche-side?

How do you come to recognize 
the qualities you possess?

If you were to deliberately 
act like yourself,
what would you do?
If you were going to over-emphasize 
those things that are characteristically you
(The way you would
if you were doing your best John Wayne imitation),
what would you do?

What qualities,
are you particularly proud of?
How do you bring them into play
in your life?

Musing on our Original Nature,
our Virtues,
and our Character
opens up pathways of reflection
that lead to new realizations.



Zen Sun 02
Original Nature leads the way.

Relying on our Original Nature to guide us
is simply falling back on who we are
in meeting the requirements of each here and now--
after Carl Jung's quote:
"We are who we always have been,
and who we will be."

That is all we need to do
all we need to be,
wherever and whenever we are--
with this caveat:
"In ways fitting to the occasion."

We cannot impose ourselves
on our circumstances.
We are here to honor Yin/Yang,
to bear the pain of our contradictions,
to bear the pain of the tension
of mutually exclusive opposites,
and incarnate the truth of who we are
within the hostile circumstances
of our daily life.

This is what Jesus did
and it killed him.
Whether we die literally as Jesus did,
or metaphorically as working parents do daily,
as working people do daily,
doing what it takes to pay the bills
in order to do what we pay the bills
to do.

It is a contrary that pushes us to the limit,
and William Blake reminds us,
"Without contrary is no progression." 
Dancing with our contraries
all along the way of life,
is the way of life,
and the way to life.

We live to be who we are
within the time and place of our living,
working to make where we are
more like it ought to be than it is,
becoming ourselves
more like we are than we are yet--
taking our place in the long line of our ancestors
who rose to the occasion every day of their life,
and made things better by the way they lived,
and were a grace and a blessing
upon all who came their way.



Peyto Lake in the Snow 09/20/2004 — Banff National Park, Alberta
The people who don't care
about the impact of their actions
are a threat and a danger
to the people who do care
about the things the people who don't care
don't care about.

It takes caring about things working
for things to work.

But, there is a catch. 

Just as we can care too little,
we also can care too much.

Caring is a tricky act
of balance and harmony.
Thin is the line
and fine is the balance
among not enough,
just right
and too much.

If we are going to care,
we have to care enough
to get it right.

That means monitoring the moment,
Seeing the nature of our impact
on what's happening
and what needs to happen,
and adjusting our influence
to moderate/adjust the effect
we are having 
on the time and place
of our living.

We have to know what we are doing
and what that is doing,
and what we need to do about that.

We have to pay attention,
we have to be aware,
we have to be alert,
we have to know what's what
and what has to be done
in response to it,

And we learn as we go.

The way we live
will teach us how we need to live
throughout our life.

Throw away the rules and the recipes,
and simply see what you look at,
and know what you know,
and let that be your guide
as to how to respond to what is happening
over time.

It's like learning to ice skate,
roller skate,
and ride a bike.

We don't find "the sweet spot"
and rigidly remain in place.
We wobble a lot.
Now we have it,
oops, now we don't,
ah, now we do...
Controlled wobbles,
all our life long.

We have to care enough
to care at all.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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