June 23, 2020

Carolina Girl 12/05/2014 Panorama — Shrimp Boat on Battery Creek, Port Royal, SC, December 5, 2014

We are here now and want to be somewhere else. Maybe, just anywhere else, and maybe, a clear and specific THERE! NOW! There are two ways to do it. 1) Leave here and go there. 2) Be here, now and see where it goes.

Which option applies to our current situation depends on what is being called for here and now. If we are in an enclosed space and fire breaks out, we have to get somewhere else (THERE) NOW! If we are in the third grade and decide we need to be a doctor, we have to stay here, now, and see where it goes–always choosing the next choice in light of our ultimate destination (Which won’t be a stopping place, but our chosen here and now, still on our way to other here’s and now’s that will open up from our present here and now.

Here and now can be trusted to get us to a reliable and valid here and now if we trust ourselves to it with filial devotion and loyalty, doing what is called for by the situation as it arises with our idea of who we are and what is us and not us firmly in mind.

Matthew McConaughey says that who we are not and what is not “us,” are easier to know that who we are and what is “us.” And that if we only know what to stay away from, that will be guiding us by default to who we are and what is “us.” As we live here and now in light of what we know about who we are and who we are not, we will be setting Karma in motion to deliver us to us throughout the course of our life.

And that’s the way to do it!

–0–

Pink Flame Azalea 06/23/2020 09 — Indian Land, South Carolina, June 23, 2020

There are so many things that have to happen all at once to transform our life from what it has been to what it needs to be that our old life would collapse and give up under the oppressive weight of utter impossibility. And our new life would delight in the adventure and wonder where to begin.

All journeys–particularly the wonderful ones–begin right here, right now. Orientation and assessment, Kid. Orientation and assessment. The first realization is: We are never going to arrive, anyway, so what’s the hurry? Hurry is the bane of our existence. Hurry keeps things unchanging by its insane insistence that everything change Right Now! Pace and timing, Kid. Pace and timing.

Look around. Take stock. Settle down. Breathe slowly, deeply, quietly. Just be here now. It’s not so bad. Even at its worst, it isn’t so bad. It just takes some getting used to, that’s all. Get used to being here now. It is the only place you will ever be!

“Oh, but I hate it so!” Good thing to know. Start there. What do you hate so about here and now? Sit down with that. Take your time. Make a list. Seriously. Make a list of everything you hate about your life, about being here now. As you write things down, categorize them into two separate lists: Things I want to be happening that are not happening, and Things I don’t want to happen that are happening. This could also be thought of as Things I want to get to and Things I want to get away from. Keep this list going over time, and add to it as things come to mind. This list–these lists–are a grounding, focusing, mirror of you and your life, helping you see things as they are.

This is the first rule of the Journey. See what you look at–look at everything. And the first thing to look at/see is your seeing. No one can see anything without reacting to it in some way. If there is no reaction, there is no seeing. Things are invisible that we do not react to. We literally/actually cannot see them.

Seeing is meaning. We only see the things that mean something to us, good or bad, positive or negative, like or dislike, plus or minus, right or wrong… Distinction is duality and that is the work of consciousness. If it weren’t for distinctions, it would all be a blur of color and texture. We could not see a thing. All of our seeing is evaluative. All of our seeing is feeling. All of our seeing is reactive. In seeing our seeing, we are seeing how judgmental we are. How biased we are. How programed we are to see things in a certain light, in a certain way. We are all products of our culture. Our culture is who we are. Our culture is where we have been, where we have come from, what we bring with us from where we have been into wherever we go. We cannot escape our past. We cannot outlive having had parents, for one thing, and their impact upon us for better and for worse. As with our parents, so with everything. Every influential thing, anyway. We have been impacted for good and for ill from the beginning, throughout our life, and as we begin to see our seeing, we will see the results of that impact over the full course of our life from then to now. We see as we have always seen. Think as we have always thought. Live as we have always lived. And, that is about to change.

It is at this point in our “conversation,” that I have to confess what I am doing to you. I am redeeming you. Saving you. Killing you. Destroying you. Resurrecting you. Death and resurrection, Kid. Death and resurrection. Your new life will eat your old life alive. Everything I say here is really about introducing you to, and inviting you to become a part of, The Church of What’s Happening Now. That is the other half of this web site. “Jim Dollar’s Photography and Philosophy” is about waking you up and bringing you to life by killing you dead, dead, dead to all that has passed for your life up until now.

Transitions are hell. You know all that you hate about your life? You prefer that to what you will have to go through to have another, better, finer life–because better, finer is worse beyond imagining in so many ways. Those of you who are members of AA can relate to this. You have died in a thousand ways in being born again into a life that isn’t killing you. It is a wonderful paradox, as all of our paradoxes are, and it is essential that you realize that, and come along on the Journey from where you have been to where we are going together–insofar as we can go together, because much of the Journey is you alone with the dark night of the soul, trusting me to know what I’m doing and hating me for not leaving you alone by forcing you to be alone, if you know what I mean.

What I mean is: Death and resurrection, Kid. Death and resurrection.

Jump back with me to seeing. We cannot see without evaluating until we begin to see our seeing without judging, finding fault, being disheartened, despairing, desponding, and contemplating suicide. You must promise me you will not take your own life! Actually, dying can seem to be a much better option that metaphorically/abstractly/figuratively/apparently dying. Actual death puts resurrection out of the picture, in spite of what religion tells you. You don’t die physically to be resurrected, you die metaphorically to be resurrected. Metaphorical death means you live to die again and again as you work through where you have been to be where you are. That’s the Journey. We are leaving where we have been to be where we are. And we do that by teaching ourselves to see what we look at without judgment, evaluation or opinion, but with compassion, kindness, good humor, and understanding–letting things simply be what they are because that is how they are, and what do you care, anyway?

Which gets us to caring. But that’s another story. We started this out with, “There are so many things that need to happen all at once…” But, we live in a linear world, or so it seems. We live in two worlds, actually, Yang and Yin. Linear and Non-linear. The actual, physical, tangible, concrete world of logic and reason is Yang, linear, sequential, causal, left-brained… And the metaphorical, abstract, figurative, apparent world is Yin, non-linear, intuitive, creative, holistic, right-brained… And the Journey is from one world to the other, and then, with both worlds simultaneously all the way to the end of the line. We are journeying from where we have been to where we are to where we are going to be when we get there, which is going to be exactly where we are, here and now, only fully aware of where that is and what it is calling for and what we need to do about it–in response to it–moment-by-moment-by-moment, day-by-day, for the rest of our life.

You wouldn’t want to miss that for the world. Because here, now, there is always “another story” and the wonder of that is beyond telling, and can only be experienced to know and understand what it is all about.

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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