October 17, 2020


Sourwood 02 10/09/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
Joseph Campbell, 
speaking about his college days
on the tract team at Columbia,
"I lost two races that were very important to me
because I lost the still place.
The race meant so much
that I put myself out there
to win the race
instead of to run the race,
and the whole thing got thrown off."

When we lose the still place,
we lose the rhythm,
the dance,
the balance and harmony
of ourselves in this moment in time,
where we act out of the stillness,
sincerely and spontaneously
offering what is needed
without thought of gain or loss,
without thinking anything,
just being in the moment,
free to be who we were being called to be
by the time and place of our living.

We lose that by trying to force a win,
by pushing our agenda,
by living from a motive of profit
and the desire to win.
That is to be out of accord with the Tao,
and it all goes south like that
(Snaps fingers).

We are here simply to run the race,
to live from the still place,
and offer what is called for
in each situation as it arises.

We are here to attend the moment.
To see what's what,
and know what is happening
and what is needed,
and how we can help with that
out of the gifts/genius/daemon/character/talents
we have to offer--
remembering Lao Tzu's advice,
"Do your work and step back,
and let nature take its course."

That's all it takes,
but it takes it day in and day out.
We are in it for the long haul.
The Hero's Journey never ends.

Get your game face on
and don't take it off.



Adventure Road 03 10/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
You can lead a horse to water,
and if on the way you stop for a while
at the salt block,
you can pretty well guarantee the horse will drink.

What's the equivalent to a salt block
on the spiritual journey?
What can we do to prepare ourselves 
for the serendipitous moment of illumination?
How can we put ourselves in the way of enlightenment?
How can we assist seeing,
Satori hinges on what? 

It often takes nothing more "spiritual" 
than a dead end.

Come to the end of your rope,
and there is the light.

Joseph Campbell liked to say,
"Where you stumble and fall,
there lies the gold."

And we've all heard the axiom,
"It's always darkest just before dawn."

All that we try that doesn't work
is cleaning the windows of perception.
"Not this, not this, not this...
is all important knowledge
on the way to knowing "This is IT!"

It is all preparation.
Nothing is wasted on the path to realization.
We hurry up awakening
by doing everything with our eyes as open
to what's what as they can be.

We can only see what we see,
but we can be conscious of looking,
and ask the questions that beg to be asked
about everything in each situation as it arises--
and say everything that needs to be said,
trusting the "click" to happen 
in its own time.



Goldenrod 03 10/08/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
Where is your zeal in the matter?
Any matter?
What matter holds the most zeal for you?
What brings you to life?
Calls you to life?
Infuses you with life?
Begin there.
Go there.
Do that.

I'm better off walking around
looking for photos,
or sitting with my computer
processing photos,
or writing,
or reading,
or cooking,
or playing at playing my djembe drum,
than most any other where
in my life.

Those are the things that ground and center me
and restore my balance and harmony.
If I am away from them for longer than I like,
I drift over into crotchety and snarly
and people start saying,
"Why don't you go find something to photograph?"

It's important to know where our zeal lies, 
and feed it what it feasts on as often as possible. 



Thus Come 03 –From my Symbols of Transformation Collection
The Buddha is recognized and revered
as "The One Thus Come."
The Christ belongs in that category as well.

As do all who are just who they are--
with neither pretension nor aspiration,
just so,
just this,
just thus.

Which is to say, naturally exhibiting
"the face that was theirs before they were born."

All natural things are Thus Come.

Rocks and waves,
wind and turkeys,
gold nuggets and porcupines...

The natural world is Thus Come.
Only human beings have the capacity
to be other than they are
in striving to create a future to their liking.

All humans Thus Come
are content with the way things are,
and have no need to transform things
into their idea of how they ought to be.

They do not walk around
with an agenda in hand
and a plan for everything in their life.

In trying to arrange a particular future,
we arrange ourselves in particular ways.
Terrible Twos are so called
because children at about that age
react violently when the way things are
is not the way they want them to be.

No puppy, kitten, bear cub or penguin chick
ever cried, kicked, screamed, bit their parents
or rolled on the floor
because things weren't going their way.

People in their eighties 
can still be in their Terrible Twos.
They are Thus Come in a way
different from the Buddha and the Christ,
and are avoided by everyone in their vicinity
for being the way they are.

Being our natural self
puts us in accord with the natural world,
and we live out our lives 
smoothly choreographed with the movement
of life around us.

This is to be aligned with the Tao
and at one with the times and places of our life.

It is to say "Yea!" to life as it is,
and to find ways of folding ourselves into 
our circumstances
and make a way for ourselves within the confines
of "what's happening now,"
in a "Okay, now what?" kind of way--
while those in the Terrible Twos Stage
are going,
all their life long.

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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