September 11, 2020


Bog River Falls 09/29/2014 01 Watercolor Rendering — Adirondack State Park, Tupper Lake, New York
We pretend it is going to last forever.
We do not look at the score.
We do not look at the clock.
We do not wonder "How much LOOONNNGGEEERRR
as though we need it to be done, NOW!

Our full attention is on the moment,
this moment,
the time and place of our living.
The moment that never ends,
but flows,
uninterrupted into the next moment,
and the one following,
on and on...

Though we will step out of the action,
the moment of our stepping out
will continue without end
through all of time
and beyond. 

The universe can disappear
into a Black Hole,
but the moment of its disappearing
goes on and on...

Our place in this "great scheme of things,"
is to shine as brightly as we can
for as long as possible,
bringing ourselves forth
as a blessing and a grace
on all of the times and places 
of our living.

Offering the gifts,
and life
that came with us from the womb
to the contexts and circumstances
of each situation that comes our way
over the full course of our life,
in ways that respond appropriately
to what is being called for--
"Without hope,
without witness,
without reward"
(Steven Moffat in "Doctor Who"),
as an expression/incarnation
of our Original Nature
because that is what we are born to do,
and it would be such  a shame not to do it.

We discover who we are 
in the act of standing up to meet the moment,
naturally doing what needs to be done
as only we can do it,
surprising ourselves by showing everyone
how much more to us than meets the eye.

We begin living that way
by daring to not know what we are doing,
and being curious about everything,
playing at being who we are
as we reveal ourselves to ourselves
to our continuing amazement,
all our life long. 



Sanskrit AUM 02 — From my Symbols of Transformation Collection
"Freedom's just another word
for nothing left to lose..."
I don't know if Kris Kristofferson 
knew what he was saying
when he wrote these words
(To "Me and Bobby Magee"),
or if he was just rhyming words,
He is spot on.

We aren't free until
we aren't afraid of loosing anything.
Until we are free from trying/hoping
to gain anything.

Freedom is having nothing to hold onto.
Freedom is letting everything go.
Standing at "the still point"
(T.S. Eliot)
of that place,
there is nothing anyone (or anything)
can do to us.
We are grounded there in a way
that nothing can touch us.
Nothing can knock us off that spot.

We are the adamantine Buddha
seated under the Bo tree,
unmoved and unmovable,
at one with ourselves
and free to do what is necessary
to be what is needed
in each situation as it arises
all our life long,
unafraid of anything.

At that place, 
we are our own authority
in determining what we do,
unafraid of going to hell even,
so confident we are in our own ability
to know what needs us to do it,
and free to follow our own sense of direction,
content to live with any outcome
no matter what it may be.

How do we get there?
We are never more than 
a simple shift in perspective
from here to there.
We are going to die.
There is nothing to gain or to lose.
All we have is who we are.
And what is that if we do not
live so as to express who we are
in each situation as it arises
all our life long?

Why hold anything back?
What are we saving it for?



Cullasaja River 10/21/2014 01 Panorama — Nantahala National Forest, Highlands, North Carolina
Extremes not only beget extremes,
they also become increasingly extreme over time.
Knowing when to stop and stopping
would be ideal,

Diets go over into anorexia like that (snaps fingers),
and anorexia spins off into bulimia,
and knowing when to stop doesn't mean stopping.

Having someone explain the danger of excessive
devotion to a cause
doesn't immunize us against extremism.

Hearing someone advise us
to "Live toward the center!"
doesn't enable healthy limits.

Vulnerability to being "carried away"
seems to be a human characteristic.
We cannot be trusted to know
where and when to draw the line,
and to draw it.

How often have we heard/said it?
"We are our own worst enemy!"
"No one can save us from ourselves!"
"It's all up to us!"
"Our safety is our responsibility!"

And we remain a threat to ourselves and others,
walking through our life,
waiting for something to trigger
our Excessive Response Mechanism,
and propel us into action.

Which underscores the danger
of Russian interference in our elections,
and manipulative language exploiting
our tendency to be emotionally hooked
into an ideologically based reactive 
way of living.

We are this close (crosses fingers) to being
swept up and away at all times.
Knowing it and being alert to it,
sensitive to, 
and aware of,
the ease with which language 
inflames and engulfs us,
may be our best defense
against the extremes,
and our best chance
of remaining grounded in the center.

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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