October 18, 2020


Adventure Road 04 10/07/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
Shamanism, you could look this up,
is the world's oldest religion
starting up between 10,000 and 5,000 BCE.
Hinduism and Taoism come in next
from about 5,000 to 2,500 BCE.

From at least 2,500 BCE
Taoism is documented as saying
"It all comes down to doing the right thing in the right way"
(or words to that effect).

We have known what it takes--
all that it takes for 4,500 years!
And this is the best we can do
(Looking around, palms up, disgusted expression).

It is only about doing the right thing in the right way
in each situation as it arises!
This is not beyond any of us!

It's like litter.
It is a problem that is completely up to us
and totally doable.

About 500 BCE,
Lao Tzu grew disenchanted
and walked off into the woods
to live out his days in the company 
of the birds and animals.

It hasn't gotten better in 2,520 years.
I don't know why.



Sumac 03 10/09/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
It helps to believe in what we are doing--
in something we are doing.

Joseph Campbell believed that 
"devotion to one's own inner work
is the beam that keeps us on the path"
(Phil Cousineau).

We cannot live as tourists
looking for something to like
and finding things to not like.
We have to be living out of our own core,
and doing the things that serve
that central thing that we are,
while we also are making ends meet
however we can.

It helps if our job can be somewhat kin
to our calling,
to the things that "electrifies
and enlivens our hearts and wakes us"
(Joseph Campbell).

And we have to always be mindful
of walking on two paths at the same time,
integrating consciously
(and regularly)
the opposites,
balancing the responsibilities,
dancing with the contradictions,
and working things out.

But the main thing is to have a main thing.
Something we love with all our heart.
Something we must do with our life,
something that we build a life around,
that we coalesce around,
orbit around,
that serves us as our anchor point,
our center point,
our still point
in the turning world.

Something that we would bear
all manner of burdens to do
in serving with all that is within us.

We have to know what keeps us going,
to know that we will go through anything
to be able to do.

If we have that,
nothing can touch us.
In light of that,
we can say, "Yea!" to life just as it is,
because having found the gold,
nothing can take that from us,
and we have nothing to fear from the clashing rocks
or the heaving waves of the wine dark sea.



Pelicans in Flight 11/02/2008 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
No one gets anywhere
without changing their mind
about what is important.

Changing our mind about what is important
is the essence of the Hero's Journey,
the Spiritual Quest
and Growing Up.

And it isn't enough to just change our mind.
We have to be right about it.
About what is important.

That is the only thing worth knowing.
And serving with our life.

No one can tell us what is important--
well, they can, but we can't hear them
until we discover for ourselves 
what they are talking about.
Their words have to "click" with something within us,
something that knows the truth 
of what they are saying,
in a, "So, that's it!" kind of way.

We have to live ourselves into 
knowing what's important
when it is pointed out to us.
And it all starts with the realization
that "This isn't it."



Atman 04 — From my Symbols of Transformation Collection
The Atman is a Hindu term for our essential Self,
for the essence of who we are,
for the divine being at the heart of all living things.

If we were talking,
I would want to know about your life--
about the life you are living,
and about the life that is yours to live--
about what you do for a living,
and about what you live to do.

That is the dynamic
within which we work out who we are.

Working out who we are consumes our life.
By the time we figure out the basics--
if we do--
most of the time for living has been used up.

No one tells us early on
what the deal is.
Because no one knows
what the deal is.

Pleasing God and getting to heaven
gets all the attention,
or did through my growing up years,
not that I'm not still growing up,
but I could have spent my time in better ways
with better guidance
about how to spend my time.

When I was sixteen/seventeen,
I wanted a typewriter for Christmas.
Where did that come from?
When I was eighteen/nineteen,
I had an epiphany upon seeing
a 35mm single reflex camera
sitting on a table.
What was that about?
I could have used some pointers.

Carl Jung's autobiography is entitled,
"Memories, Dreams and Reflections,"
mine would be,
"The Tao, The Atman and The Silence."

I lived blindfolded looking for the Piñata,
with nothing to go on.
It takes a while.
But, the Tao, the Atman and the Silence,
do not go away,
do not give up,
but hang around like gravity
doing their thing,
and here we all are.

And if we were talking,
I would ask you about your life,
about what brings you to life,
about where your fascination is found,
about where your enthusiasm comes from
and where your hunger leads you.

And we could talk long into the night. 

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.

One thought on “October 18, 2020

  1. Much love & many thanks. Still figuring it out, but have discovered with a guarantee that retailing plants and unloading 30 & 45 gallon trees from trucks is not part of my center!! E$

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


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