August 21, 2020


Blue Ridge Moon
There is how things are.
And there is how we wish things were.
And there is how things ought to be.

Our place is to be right
about how things are
and how things ought to be,
put aside how we wish things were,
and work diligently at the task
of making things more like they ought to be
than they are
throughout our life.

We work with the tools we have--
our Original Nature,
the gifts/genius/daemon/spirit/virtues/character/vitality
that came with us from the womb--
with sincerity, compassion and good faith,
without contrivance or deceit,
seeing what we look at,
asking the questions that beg to be asked,
saying the things that cry out to be said,
in each situation as it arises
all our life long.

Doing that much will change the world.

Prove me wrong!



First Light on Pyramid Mountain — Patricia Lake, Jasper National Park, Alberta
There is nothing wrong with us
that changing our mind about what's important
won't correct.

There is a catch.
We have to change our mind about what's important
until we are right about it.

Being right about what's important
is the solution to all of our problems today.
And tomorrow.

Why is it so hard to be right about what's important?
I was hoping someone would ask that question!
It is because we want what we want
and not what we ought to want.
What we want is not important.
I knew you were not going to like that.

Being right about what's important
is not pain free.
It is the right kind of pain.
It is the kind of pain that pain is all about.

Carl Jung said,
"Neurosis is always a substitute
for legitimate suffering."
He also said,
"There is no coming to consciousness
(Waking up)
without pain."

We experience pain by denying or escaping pain,
and we experience pain by embracing and accepting pain.
It is a different kind of pain.

We have to bear the right kind of pain--
the pain of consciously bearing our pain--
the pain of knowing and doing what's important,
no matter what.

Our life revolves around escape from pain.
Once escaping pain is no longer our primary diretive
and motivation,
everything changes for the better,
We are not pain free.
Pain is just no longer important.
It is only the price we pay for being alive,
and doing what needs to be done.

People who are alive 
and not doing what needs to be done
may as well be dead,
and are dead
to all that is life-giving
and vibrantly alive.

What you know needs to be done
will probably not be what your mother/father/etc.
thinks needs to be done.
And this is where we came in:
"Being right about what's important
is the solution to all of our problems today..."

We have to be right about what is important--
about what needs to be done--
about what needs us to do it--
and do it.
No matter what our mother/father/etc. thinks.

Joseph Campbell talked about The Primary Mask
(The one our mother/father/etc. thinks we ought to wear),
and The Antithetical Mask
(The Face That Was Ours Before We Were Born--
the mask we are built to wear,
being right about what is important and doing it).

Being right about what is important 
is not pain-free,
but it is the kind of pain that frees us
from the kind of pain that is killing us.

There is the pain of death and dying,
and there is the pain of life and living.
Bearing the right kind of pain
is dying the death that leads to resurrection
and life everlasting on this side of the grave.
Refusing to bear the right kind of pain
is being sentenced to "bear" the wrong kind of pain
(By trying to escape all pain),
and that is to be dead, dead, dead on this side of the grave.

Being right about what is important and doing it is life--
regardless of the price we pay.
We get to be alive all the way to the end of the line.

The kind of life we live
determines how alive we are.
How alive we are,
determines the kind of life we live.

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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