November 08, 2020


Fall Leaves 07 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Every photograph that works
is synchronistic arrangement
bringing the photographer together
at the right time
in the right place
in the right light
to compose the image
that makes the photograph.

Every photograph that works
is a miracle in that way.
Is the Tao creating wonder 
and amazement
that we pass of with
"Pretty picture,"
on our way to something worth our time.

We are that way with miracles
of timing and grace
every moment
of every day.

Wherever we are,
in every moment
it is a miracle 
that we are there, then
with all that is there, then
with us.
And we miss it.

We think, "Here I am.
So what?
Everybody is somewhere.
What is the big deal?"

It is a big deal for anybody to be anywhere!
At the precise moment
that everything else is with us
right here, right now.

It happens all the time
and we don't notice it.

Take your cell phone
out of your ear
and start photographing 
something amazing
that occupies the moment with you.

Teach yourself to be shocked
that This should be Here, Now
at the same exact time that you are!

It will transform the way 
you take your life for granted.

We walk through miracles of pace and timing
every day
without noticing any of it,
with our cell phone stuck in our ear.



Rocks and Clouds Oil Paint Rendering — Yosemite National Park, California
How we see things
is a function of 10,000 things,
a significant one being
the way people close to us,
and around us, see things.

How they influence/impact 
the way we see things
depends upon the quality
of our relationship with them.

Growing up means growing apart
from the way things are seen around us
and growing into the way we see things
for ourselves.

We have to separate from others
in order to develop our own sense
of ourselves
and of how things are,
and how things ought to be.

Where there is no separation,
there is no seeing.

Seeing is seeing how we are influenced
by those around us--
and taking that into account
as we evaluate the accuracy of our perceptions
in light of the questions
that beg to be asked,
and the things that cry out to be said,
about them.

Who would be proud of you
for the way you see things?
Who would take issue with you?
Who encourages you to see things
the way you do?
Who discourages you?

What is a play
in your wanting to please the people
who are pleased with you
and being fine with displeasing
the people who are displeased with you?

What makes you think
that the way you see things
is the right way to see things?
Who says so?
Who are the authorities you recognize
to be a knowledgeable and proper authority
in the matter of the way you see things?
What makes you think they know
what they are talking about?

What evidence would it take
to change the way you see things?
What do you think needs to change
about the way you see things?

Where are you most open to the idea
of changing the way you see things?

Where are you already beginning
to change the way you see things?

When have you been surprised
to see that the way you see things
has changed?

Seeing the way we see things
and the things that influence
us to see the way we see,
is opening the door 
to seeing things as they are,
apart from how we think things are,
and that is a step on the way
to seeing our seeing
and knowing what's what
and what isn't--
and that is what seeing is all about.



Jordon Pond 01 09/23/2012 BW — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
A photograph that works
is a prefect example of the Tao
being exhibited in our daily life.

Tao is doing the right thing,
in the right way,
at the right time.
Like framing a photograph,
and pressing the shutter button.

When things click into place,
and you know that's "it,"
that's Tao.

Living in accord with Tao
is doing the right thing,
in the right way,
at the right time,
throughout our life.

Try doing that without
paying attention.

Try doing that without
being here, now.

Try doing that with
your mind on something else.

Living in accord with Tao
is living centered,
grounded in,
and aware of,
the present moment,

the list is long
of things that take us
out of the present moment
and transport us somewhere else.

"The noise of the world."
"The dust of the world."
"The 10,000 things."
Are terms the old Taoists used
in talking about all 
that interferes,
and/or disrupts,
our connection
with the flow of Tao.

Out of the flow,
we are a fish swimming
on the beach.
A bird flying in a cage.
A dog running
with its paws tied together.

Being in the flow
is waking up to being 
out of the flow,
breathing slowly and deeply,
pausing for a count of five
between exhale and inhale,
and bringing ourselves back
into the moment of our living.

Being here, now,
is being aware of being here, now.
Being aware of breathing here, now.
Being aware of what is happening
here, now--
and what needs to happen in response,
and how we can best respond to the situation
with the gifts/character/perspective/etc.
that we bring to the occasion,
without contrivance,
without judgment,
with compassion
and complete sincerity,
knowing where to place the camera
how to set focus/shutter speed,
aperture and iso
for a proper exposure,
and when to press the shutter button.
Or whatever the equivalent would be
for the present situation,
all our life long.

That. Is. All. There. Is. To. It.

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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