October 23, 2020


Little River at the Sinks 11/04/2006 Watercolor Rendering — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Wealth, power and privilege seem to have it all,
until we see how it interferes with
seeing what needs to happen
in each situation as it arises,
and doing it with the gifts at our disposal.

Buying it done won't do it,
when our destiny is calling us
to step forward
and rock the baby,
or clean up after the dog.

We spit on destiny
on our way to call someone
to do it for us,
whatever the "it" is 
that is ours to do.

Money is a way of skirting 
our responsibilities,
enabling us to devote ourselves exclusively
to making more money.

Our destiny knows Karma's first name,
and has her phone number.

And the distance between where we are
and understanding
what is ours to do 
and doing it
is called The Hero's Journey.
It is also called Growing Up.

We think with enough money
we won't have to bother with it. 
With growing up.
And having money is better 
than being a hero.
Buy them all a round or two.
They will love you just as much.

Lost in all of this
is the life that is ours to live.
The destiny that is ours to serve.
The emptiness that is ours 
to try and outlive.

The truth is that money is meaningless
except as a means
to buy the tools we need
to do what is ours to do.

We learn that lesson a bit late in the game
to do much more than regret what we missed
in our effort to make up for lost time
before we die.

If we learn it at all.



Along NY Highway 30 06 09/29/2014 — Tupper Lake, New York
The Tao is not good for the economy.
The Tao is as counter-cultural as it gets.
The same can be said for any spiritual practice.
The aims and activities of spiritual practice
are contrary to those of the culture--
any culture--
even the culture that is created
by the spiritual practice!
The more the spiritual practice
promotes itself,
the less self-aware,
it becomes
(Which makes AA unique in the field,
with its "attraction not promotion" slogan),
and self-transparency is the sine qua non
of spirituality,
and the essence of counter-culture-ism.

Seeing what we are doing
transforms what we are doing.
The culture--any culture--is unconscious
to the core
(Commercial advertisement depends upon
its "marks" being unconscious of the truth
being concealed by the hype they are hearing,
and religions that are self-promoting,
don't allow questions they can't answer).

Taoism stands apart here,
with it's,
"The Tao that can be said
is not the eternal Tao,"
"The Path that can be discerned
as a path
is not a reliable path,"
"Darkness within darkness,
the gateway to understanding."

That kind of language is no way
to make converts!

A self-transparent spiritual practice
sets up an immediate barrier 
to cultural absorption,
and distances itself automatically,
from the ends and means of the culture.

The more a practice embraces and serves
those ends and means,
the less spiritual it is.

The more we live out of our own heart,
grounded upon the source of our Original Nature,
and in tune with the drift of our soul,
the more we will distance ourselves 
from the cultural practices
and assumptions
at work in life around us.

There will be a natural separation,
an "in the world but not of the world"
ambiance will surround us,
without any rules or guidelines
or effort being extended
to set us apart.

The ends are not the same ends.
The means are not the same means.
The way is not the same way. 

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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