September 24, 2020

02

Path Through Fall 10/28/2007 Watercolor Rendering — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Ambition,
incentive,
aspiration
are all over-hyped.

Who knows what to want?
Who wants what should be wanted?
Who can be forced to want
what they ought to want?

So, you spend your life 
in the service of things 
that don't matter,
thinking they matter,
working for
prestige,
status
and stature,
dry as desert dust
where you heart should be
because you've never loved anything
more than money
for as long as you can remember,
with no mulligans to bail you out
and only regret for company.
Who wants that?
Who thought that was what they were getting?

It's always going to be different this time.
How often is it really?

How many people are right
about what matters?
Ambition in the service of the wrong things
is worse than no ambition at all.

A life without ambition
is a life devoted to living
aligned with the Tao--
with the movement of the heavens
and the rhythm of the tides,
without contrivance
and with complete sincerity,
being in the moment for the good of the moment,
with nothing to gain and nothing to lose,
trusting ourselves
to find ways of being good for ourselves
and true to ourselves
in the service of the good of the here and now
of our living.

We walk two paths at the same time:
Paying the bills
and living the life that is our life to live,
that calls our name,
that fills our heart,
that is our soul's true joy.

If you are going to aspire to something,
aspire to that!

–0–

01

Sandy Stream Pond Autumn 09/2007 — Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine
We spend our lives fighting life,
thinking it is about one thing,
when it is about another.
"Climbing the ladder of success,"
as the old one-liner goes,
"only to discover
the ladder is leaning
against the wrong wall."

Chasing down
"Fortune and glory, Kid,
fortune and glory,"
with our soul's true joy
languishing and dying
for lack of attention and devotion.

Munching on the Forbidden Fruit,
with eyes for the bright lights and action
of Gay Paree,
we miss the white rabbit 
from another dimension
inviting us to the adventure of being alive,
and settle for shiny beads
and silver mirrors
while the hope of the gods for us
flickers and fades away.

We are never more than a shift in perspective
away from seeing, hearing and understanding.

But.

We don't ask the questions that beg to be asked,
or hear the things that are crying out to be heard,
or say the things that are trying to be heard.

And.

Are too busy dying to realize we have never lived.

What's it going to take?
All of the prophets and seers,
teachers and Bodhisattvas
are stumped by that one.

"When the student is ready,
the teacher appears,"
and in the meantime,
the teachers gather,
shaking their heads,
saying, "What's it going to take?"

The Native Americans were savvy as hell,
and idiot sportsmen looking for a thrill
wiped out their buffalo/bison in ten years.

Stupidity wins and loses at the same time,
certain it knows what it is doing,
wondering what went wrong,
and who is at fault
for things not being 
as they are supposed to be.

Who put the ladder against the wrong wall?

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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