July 06, 2020


Cypress Morning 11/06/2006 — Private preserve in Eastern North Carolina, November 6, 2006
What needs to happen in any situation
conflicts with--
and stands in contradiction of--
what we want to happen there.

This is the story of the Garden of Eden
and the Garden of Gethsemane.

It is the story of the Buddha under the Bo Tree
and of Jesus in the wilderness.

It is the story that is repeated ad nauseam
through all of the ages of humankind--
and all the lives of each of us in all those ages.

Truth is found,
and life is lived,
"between the hands."
On the one hand, this.
And on the other hand, that.

I want this,
and I need to want that.
Which will it be?
The theme is at work
in each situation as it arises
throughout time.

And here we are,
now what?

We answer the question best
when we ask it with full awareness
of what we are doing.

We default instantly
to what we want to do,
to what we want to happen,
without considering what needs to be done,
what needs to happen.

We live to have our way
in each situation that arises
until we die.

We live our life
in a lifelong conflict of interest
with our life.
We want one thing from our life
and our life wants another thing from us,
and it is within this tension
that we live


Don't take my word for it.
Simply be still.
Sit quietly.
And wait.
Wait to become aware of 
the conflict of interest
at work in this moment
in your own life.
Be clear about what you want to happen.
Become open to what needs to happen--
to what the moment is calling for
beyond what you want for the moment.

Do this with every moment following this one.

And see what you do.

This simple process
calls into question 
everything we think and believe
about living our life.
Our sole motivation for living
is to have what we want,
to do what we want.

We talk of Freedom and Liberty, 
but it is always the freedom and liberty
to do what we want,
to live our life the way we want to live our life.
And anything that stands in our way
is interfering with our freedom 
to have our way.

What does wanting know?

Wanting has led you to this point in your life.
What is your batting average?
How often has your wanting known what it was doing?
How often did you want yourself to a rock wall,
or a cliff edge?
How often did you want yourself
to the end of the line?
And what did you have but more wanting
to lead you to the end of the next line?

Wanting is a very short-sighted guide.
Near-sighted-ness is not a particularly
sought-for qualification
when interviewing potential guardians and guides.
It isn't what we want that matters,
but knowing what we ought to want,
what we should want,
what we need to want--
and doing what we know needs to be done,
regardless of what we want.

This is the quality that will direct our living
past all concerns for our best interest,
our good,
our gain,
our advantage
and what is in it for us--
and deliver us into the service
of what is crying out to be done
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long:
"Without hope!
Without witness!
Without reward!" (Steven Moffat)

If you are going to hitch your wagon
to some horse,
let it be that horse,
and give it the reins,
or, better, forego reins and bit entirely,
and just go along for the ride!



Impatiens 07/05/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, July 5, 2020
"The Church of What's Happening Now" 
is the companion blog-page to this page,
and can be accessed through the menu above.

It is offered in light of its absolute necessity
in the work that we are to be doing--
the work that is ours to do--
here and now,
moment to moment,
situation by situation,
day in and day out,
because being both
involved/immersed in,
and aware of,
what's happening now
is more that any of us 
can do alone.

There have always been
communities of the now--
I call them "communities of innocence"
because they are completely sincere
about their work--
and of all the institutions
that have been developed 
through the ages of our accession,
they alone stand apart
by having nothing to gain
and nothing to lose,
beyond helping the individuals
they serve in living as those
who, themselves, have nothing to gain
and nothing to lose.

"Sincerity without contrivance"
is the motto of all communities of innocence.
Alcoholics Anonymous separates itself with its
"Attraction not promotion" slogan
and its recognition of "a higher power"
with no theology or doctrine to cloud and conceal
the essence of "that which has always been called God."

For me, "The Church of What's Happening Now"
is AA without the Alcohol (or the substance Abuse) part,
helping us to stay focused on being  here, now,
doing what is ours to do--
what needs to be done--
what the situation is calling for,
throughout the "Eternal Now" of our existence.

As I say in the introduction to the page,
"The Church of What’s happening Now 
is intently focused on, 
and involved with, 
the present moment, 
which, of course, is eternal and unending 
because it, in fact, never ends. 
It evolves, morphs, transitions 
forever into nothing more 
than the present moment 
right here, 
right now,

The Church of What's Happening Now
is a Community of Innocence
dedicated to helping its members
maintain their focus and clarity--
their balance and harmony--
while walking two paths at the same time,
being involved with the conditions and circumstances--
the "just so-ness"--
of the present moment,
while being intently aware
of the "also is-ness"
that connects this moment
with all those that have preceded it
and those that will flow from it.

Lawrence Tribe has said,

“Every possible future points back to 
and is contained in 
this moment in time and space, 
and every possible past 
culminated in this moment. 
So all that ever was or will be 
is right here right now 
with you and with me.” 

The present is eternal.
It is the fulcrum,
the pivot point,
"the still point
of the turning world" (Eliot).

It is the place of our acting,
or of our failing to act,
in the service of what needs us to do it
with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues
that are ours to share
as blessing and grace
out of filial devotion
and liege loyalty
to the good of the whole.

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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