August 20, 2020

03

Evening Light, Pastel Rendering — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Clingman’s Dome, Cherokee, North Carolina
The energy to be engaged
comes from tending our relationship
with the Source of Rapture,
Ecstasy, 
Euphoria
Awe,
Wonder...
that characterize the impact beauty has on us
in art,
music
and nature--
though it also can arise from particular encounters
with The Tao of Grace and Synchronicity.

Whether there is such a thing as the Source of those experiences,
I do not know.
But I do know that if we live as if there is,
it makes all the difference in our life.

All people everywhere have experienced
these things
from the beginning of people, 
and they have all seen what they have experienced
as issuing from God, or The Gods,
by whatever name they have called
"That Which Has Always Been Thought Of As God."

"God" comes entangled, 
enshrouded,
bound up in,
theology
and doctrine,
creeds,
dogmas,
beliefs
and assumptions
that go far afield from the Source of Awe and Wonder.

The Source of Awe and Wonder
is all we can say about the Source of Awe and Wonder.

Awe and Wonder happen to everybody everywhere.
No one has to believe any particular thing
or behave any particular way.
We all just go about our life 
and are Whammed out of Nowhere by Awe and Wonder.

Positing that as evidence of a Source,
puts us in position to develop our relationship with said Source
by meditating on the experience of Awe and Wonder,
and tracking it to all of the occasions resulting in Awe and Wonder.

One of those occasions is simply ourselves,
and the fact that we could be moved by such experiences
as those which move us.
And the more we explore ourselves,
the more we are open to being moved 
by the experience of being moved.

At some point, 
we track onto our Original Nature--
"The Face That Was Ours Before We Were Born."
Who is responsible for that?
How do we come to be who we are?
What an Awe and Wonder that is!

And all of this tracks back to the supposed Source of it all.
However, if we choose to stop here, fine.
We can recognize the Knower Within as The End of the Line.
If we track back to the Source,
the Source will also be recognized to be the Knower Within,
and we will be recognized to be One With The Knower AND with The Source.

So how do you want to count to ten?
By ones?
By fives?
By halves?
We can get to ten in ten thousand ways.
Well, a lot of ways anyway.

Same with the Source.

And improving our relationship with the Source 
is a matter of realizing all of the things that bless us
with the Grace of Awe and Wonder--
and putting ourselves on the path to be so graced
on a regular and recurring basis.

Simple! As! That!

–0–

02

Bright Angel Point 09/20/2005 — North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Awareness and imagination are our primary tools.
They have been with us from the beginning,
and will be the last things to go.
Whether I'm right about that is unimportant.
What matters is that we live as though, as if, it is so,
and let everything fall into place around that.

Awareness takes everything into account
and sees/knows/apprehends what is happening.
Imagination kicks in to figure out what to do about it.

Awareness and imagination are all we need
when combined with the most essential tool in our kit:
Bearing the pain of seeing what is to be seen,
knowing what is to be known,
and doing what needs to be done about it.

Courage gets a lot of hype,
but courage is just another word
for bearing the pain.

Bearing the pain is the ultimate test 
of our will and our spirit.
Do we have what it takes to bear the pain?
No matter what?
For as long as it takes?
Whether we feel like it or not?
Whether we are in the mood for it or not?
For no other reason than
because it is called for here and now?
Again-some more-still?
Anyway?
Nevertheless?
Even so?

If we can pick up our pain--
the cross of our pain--
every day and carry it all day long
the way it needs to be carried,
in doing what needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
we can count on our awareness
and our imagination
to provide us with all we need 
to make it from the jungles and the caves
through all the traumas of all the ages
to right here,
right now--
for as long as there are here's and now's 
all the way to the last ones
at the end of the line.

–0–

01

Mattamuskeet Moon 01 — Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina
There is only one thing
standing between you
and having it made,
as much as anyone can have it made,
living in a world where life eats life,
and what we want prevents us from having
something else we want,
and our inner conflicts and contradictions
make it impossible for us to have our way
and enjoy our life.

The one thing missing is this:
You have to be able to bear the pain 
of living in a world where life eats life,
and what we want prevents us from having
something else we want,
and our inner conflicts and contradictions
make it impossible for us to have our way
and enjoy our life.

You have to be able to bear the pain
of seeing what you look at
and knowing what is called for
in each situation as it arises
and having what it takes
to do what is needed
without worrying about
what it means for you personally
and letting the outcome be
whatever it is
and trusting everything to fall 
into place around that,
and trusting yourself
to have what you need
to find what you need
to do what needs to be done
in the next situation that arises
all your life long.

If you can do that,
you have it made.
as much as you can have it made...
as long as you can bear the pain
of being alive.

If you can do that,
the rest is a snap.

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, three sons-in-law, and five granddaughters, and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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