October 24, 2020

04

Sumac 05 10/21/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
It takes active participation with--
intentional identification with--
the center and ground
of our original nature,
our life and being,
to live in accord with the Tao--
doing things in the right way,
at the right time,
in aligning ourselves with rhythms
and movement of nature's energy
moving through and directing our lives.

Our bodies are natural extensions
of the earth,
as much as trees and streams,
oceans and whales.

We are one with the forces of nature,
and live best when we nourish and nurture
a faithful presence in the world of nature,
being with nature in a regular and recurring way.

And when there,
we are to listen,
feel,
attend,
be aware
of how our bodies react
to the allness of our experience.

We have to consciously "be here now,"
seeing what we look at,
hearing what is being "said"
around us, within us,
noticing what is happening,
and what we are "picking up on"
beyond the range of sight and sound.

Nature is pure intention
toward life and being--
toward realization,
incarnation
and expression.

Nature's sense of what is 
and what needs to be
is as true as the turn of the tides
and the orbits of the stars and planets.

Our lives are a part of that choreography, 
of that orchestration,
and go so much better
when we consciously cooperate
with that which calls our name
and knows the time and place
of our presenting the gifts we carry
to the need that even now is in the making.

It only takes listening to our intuition
and paying attention to our instincts
to know that it is so.

–0–

03

Tickseed Sunflowers 10/08/2020 02 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
We've been on the wrong track for so long
we will never get the light turned around
as a culture.
Only as individuals do we have a chance
of making the switch.

The switch I'm talking about
is the one Joseph Campbell preached
his entire life:
Symbols and metaphors are not facts.

Symbols and metaphors do not refer
to things Out There,
but to things In Here.

The betrayal, death and resurrection
of Jesus is symbolic/metaphorical
of our own personal experiences
with betrayal, death and resurrection.

To say, "The cup of suffering
is the cup of salvation.
The bread of affliction
is the bread of life,"
is to invite us to explore in our own life
places where suffering was the door to salvation,
where affliction was the threshold to life.

The question is always and forever,
"Where have you experienced the truth
of this symbol/metaphor
in your own life?"

That is the ground of true religion--
religion without theology/dogma/doctrine/creeds/catechisms
but with the ever-present experience
of life's impact on us
and our path for dealing with it.

The place of true religion
is providing us with a perspective
for finding our way
to the life that is ours to live
and living it with joy
as full participants in "the sorrows of the world."

Symbols and metaphors point us to ourselves!
We use symbols and metaphors as guides us, 
as Campbell might say,
"To what electrifies
and enlightens your own hearts, 
and wakes you up
to the work that is yours to do,
and the life that is yours to live!"

Symbols and metaphors do this for us
when we approach them as portkeys
into the Mystery from which we come
and into which we return,
ask of them, 
"What can you show me about life
and how to live it?"

"Ah," say the symbols and metaphors,
"I'm so glad you asked!"
And the light comes on.
And lights our way through the darkness
of "working on mysteries without any clues."
(Bob Seger).

The symbols and metaphors are the clues!

–0–

02

Trekker Loop 01 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, Adventure Road Access
What does it for me are
reading/writing
seeing/hearing
looking/listening
seeking/finding
asking/searching
exploring/imagining
feeling/thinking
knowing/doing...

I just want to know what's what
and what needs to be done about it
and what makes me think so
and who says so
and what makes them think so
and what does being right about something mean
and how long does it take before being right 
becomes wrong
and how knowing leads to doing
and how doing leads to knowing more
and knowing more leads to doing differently,
and how far have we come actually
from living in the caves
and in the jungles
thinking fire was the coolest thing?

We're playing the game as though it matters,
and what matters is playing the game
as if it matters,
because that keeps the game going,
and that's better than not playing the game,
because that just leads to a quick death,
or to being dead a long time before we die,
and the game is fun when played knowing
we are playing the game of playing the game
as though it matters
because it matters that we don't die
before our time
because it is a game we play through time,
and everybody who has ever lived,
or ever will lived,
has played/will play the game,
because the game is all there is.

Here we are.
What are we doing here?
Now what?
We all ask the same questions.
We all come up with the same answers.
Joseph Campbell said, "It's all the same mythology!"
It's all the same game!
"Working on mysteries without any clues"
(Bob Seger).

Everybody thinks they have the formula,
the angle,
the recipe,
the plan.
They are all playing the game,
being played by the game.
Gaming the game is being gamed by the game.
It's a game.
How can we play it, 
knowing we are playing it,
and play it really well?

"It's not whether we win or lose,
but how we play the game"
(Grantland Rice).
We are not going anywhere,
we are not getting anything,
we are playing at playing the game
of seeing/hearing,
knowing/doing,
feeling/thinking
looking/listening...

Waking up and being here, now.
Doing what needs to be done here, now.
The way it needs to be done.
In each situation as it arises.
All our life long.

That's all there is to it.

"Get in there and do your thing!
and don't worry about the outcome!"
(Joseph Campbell's summation
of the Bhagavad Gita).

Don't even keep score.
Just play your heart out.
And when it's done,
let it go.

–0–

01

Bog River Falls 09/29/2014 Watercolor Rendering — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, New York
One of the primary, recurring, experiences
of humanity is that of 
Betrayal - Death - Resurrection.
We are born to be betrayed,
to die,
and to be born again.

We are all one with Jesus,
and repeat his experience
throughout our life,
learning, one would hope,
as we go,
so that Resurrection
increasingly means New Life
that takes the Old Life
into account,
knows what is coming,
and is ready for it
in the way of not taking it seriously,
and building a life around it
that is replete with good humor,
wisdom,
kindness,
compassion,
and all of the values
that are called forth
to meet the reality
of the human experience.

Meeting the reality of the human experience
in ways that deepen, broaden, 
lengthen, heighten, enhance
that experience,
and make it truly,
unbelievably wonderful--
wonder-filled,
marvelous,
awesome,
fascinating,
sublime,
radiant,
resplendent, 
transcendent,
"an awe inspiring mystery,"
worthy of our fullest possible participation
"in the sorrows of the world,"
is the story of religion
in the best and truest sense of the word.

Religion (and it's precursor, mythology)
help--enable us--to meet the world
on the world's terms,
providing us with the metaphors
("Betrayal, Death and Resurrection")
to make sense of it
and initiate us into it,
telling us,
in the words of the Native Americans,
sending their children off 
to seek their fortune,
"When you live in the service 
of your vision,
the birds of the air will shit on you--
do not stop even to wipe it off!"
And,"When you leave in the service 
of your vision,
you will come to what appears 
to be a great chasm.
Jump!
It is not as great as it seems."
(Both stories related by Joseph Campbell)

We all need help squaring ourselves up
with the realities of our life.
Good religion is metaphor/mythology
that has not been concrete-ized,
made literal/historical
as Christianity has done 
with the Christ myth.

We are all, each one of us is, the Christ
finding our way to the self-realization 
of our calling.
We are all The Anointed One
come to wake each other up
to the truth of our destiny:
Being awake to the wonder 
of meeting life head-on!
To the wonder of being alive!
Being awake to the joy
of perceiving the world as a portkey
to wonder, awe, fascination 
and mystery beyond words!
Dying figuratively in the process 
of realization and of life,
so that by the time our dying
becomes literal,
we are ready to Jump the Chasm,
knowing it is not as great as it seems.

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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