August 11, 2020


Katahdin Panorama 10/29/2009 — Mt. Katahdin range, Sandy Stream Pond, Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine, October 29, 2009
We don't have to be right about the meaning of life.
We only have to know what is meaningful to us about our life--
and live in ways which serve it
to the best of our ability.
And we have to be right
about it being to the best of our ability.

Doing our best in the service of what means the most to us
will put us on the path to what is truly meaningful.
Meaning has a way of leading us to meaning.
Meaning grows us up,
transforms us,
brings us to life.

Start anywhere with what is most meaningful to you,
and you will wind up somewhere else.
Actually, you won't "wind up" anywhere.
You will always be "on the way" in the service
of what is most meaningful to you at the time,
and, over time that changes in the most amazing ways.

At one time, fishing was the most meaningful thing I could think of.
But, as the old alchemists would say,
"One book opens another,"
and fishing led to nature photography,
and nature photography led to experiences
with ineffable wonder,
and that led me to explorations into mythology
and religion,
and philosophy,
and meaning,
and now I am awash in things to explore.
All because I liked to fish.

We start somewhere,
with something,
and take off,
not knowing what we are doing,
or where we are going,
or where it will lead,
or what will be next.

It is an adventure that unfolds before us
as we start walking.

It is called "Being alive to the life we are living."
If you can find something better than that,
do it!



Cape Lookout 05/23/2009 01 Watercolor Rendering — Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook, Oregon May 23, 2009
We are here to live our best life possible under the circumstances,
understanding that our circumstances are necessary
to bring us forth in utilizing all of the gifts/genius/daemon/spirit/virtues/character
that we bring with us from the womb,
because we are fundamentally lazy and lethargic,
and will opt for the course of least resistence
in all matters great and small,
and have to be challenged to bring forth our best
in all the times and places of our living.
So we are here to do what we can with our circumstances.
That is just the way it is.

Every time we want to quit
because it's just not fair,
and besides that it's hopeless,
and absurd,
we have to remember that we are born for this,
and cannot refuse to be--and go on being--
who we are
and do what is ours to do
just because it's hard and we don't feel like it,
or aren't in the mood for it,
and are tired of it
and want to lie back and rest until we die.

And then, get up and do what needs to be done.
The way it needs to be done.
When it needs to be done.
For as long as it needs to be done.
Because it is our place to do it,
and if we don't do it,
it won't be done,
and we will have failed in our mission,
and everything depends on us doing our part.

(Whether it does or not doesn't matter--
we have to live as if it does
and that it all goes to hell if we don't, 
in order to get up and go meet the day every day,
and it is important to those who depend on us
that we live like it matters that we live
because it matters to them!
And, besides, bringing our best to bear
on our circumstances gets our best out there,
and who knows what will happen
in response to that?)



Hatteras Sunrise 10/26/2003 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, October 26, 2003
The word "occult" simply means "hidden,"
and is an aspect of our experience
that we label as "paranormal"
or "metaphysical,"
meaning that it lies beyond the range
of rational, logical, Aristotelian
(A is A and not Not-A) categories.

Religious and mythological symbols
bridge the worlds
so that when Jesus, for example,
talks about death and resurrection,
or dying in order to live,
or when Buddha talks about oneness
and the illusion of duality,
they are talking about the same experience,
using metaphorical language
to communicate something that cannot be said directly.

Sheldon Kopp said 
"Some things can be experienced,
but not understood,
and some things can be understood,
but not explained."
In the presence of those things,
we can use the approach of poetry and metaphor
to say indirectly what cannot be said directly,
implying "like,"
or "as if,"
or "as though,"
so it is "like/as if/as though"
we die yet live
or move from a world where duality
is the foundation of reality
and things are either/or,
and into a word where duality disappears
and things are both/and 
and all are one.

Something can be true paranormally
that is false normally,
and it is a shift in perspective
that makes it so.

Walking two paths at the same time,
or living with a foot in both worlds at once,
is the task of the artists and poets,
the seers and prophets
who bridge the worlds,
and speak to us in this world of that world,
bringing the hidden things to light and to life
in this world of normal, apparent, reality.

What is true here is not so much true there,
and what is true there is not so much true here,
but to get the most out of this world,
we have to learn to live as if/as though
the other world is as real as this one is,
and bring the other world to life in this one
as fully as possible--
and that means laying aside the goals and values
of this world which lay waste to 
the goals and values of that world.

Ancient people lived in this world in light of the other world.
Their sacrifices acknowledged their dependence 
on the other world for balance and harmony,
but they were sacrificing the wrong things.
They killed their first born sons
and their virgin daughters
in order to live the way they wanted
and have what their hearts desired,
instead of sacrificing their wants and desires
and living in ways that honored oneness
and decreased duality.

We talk of equality and justice
and of living in ways that honor the natural world,
and we live in ways that destroy the natural world
and make a mockery of equity and justice.
And the other world is not to be mocked, or tricked, or fooled.

We are living in ways that work against the things
that enable us to live together,
enjoying one another 
and all that life affords--
and our life is anything but joyful and abundant.
Because we try to create abundance
through buying, spending, amassing and consuming
instead of sharing and restraining our insatiable appetites.
And the other world is not to be mocked, or tricked, or fooled.

Balance and harmony,
spirit, energy and vitality
are the products of oneness,
not duality.
All of the old manuscripts say so.
They knew what they were talking about
in the old days.
No one was listening.
And here we are.

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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