November 19, 2020

03

Fall Canopy 02 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
We see things the way we see things.
And.
Everything hinges/turns/flows from/falls out around
how we see things.
Nothing is more important
than being right about the way we see things.
That being the case--
and who could see it any other way--
you would think we would take the pains required
to see things as they are.

In other words,
to see the things we look at
as scientists would see them
and not as religious fanatics would see them.

That would mean
stepping back from the way we see things
to see ourselves seeing things.
And make inquiries.

Why do we see things the way we see them
and not some other way instead?

Where does the way we see things come from?

How many other ways of seeing things
can we imagine?

How do we know the way we see things
is the right way to see things?

Who would be proud of us 
for the way we see things?
Who would be disappointed in us 
for the way we see things?
Who are we trying to please/displease
by the way we see things?

Where do we get our ideas 
about the way we ought to see things?

Who are the authorities we respect
when it comes to how to see things?

Other than taking their word for it,
how could we determine whether the way
we see things
is the right way to see them?

What standards/principles govern
the way we see things?

What experiments can we devise
to test the validity of the way we see things?

How can we determine if we know 
what we are doing,
seeing things the way we see things?

What are we afraid of
when it comes to examining 
the way we see things?

What are the questions we are afraid to ask
about the way we see things?
What are the questions we refuse to ask?

How do we know that we know
what we are talking about?

Who says that the way we see things
is the right way to see things?
Who says that the way we see things
is the wrong way to see things?
How do we know who is right?

What are we taking for granted
when it comes to the way we see things?

What are we assuming to be so?

What justifies us in seeing the way we do?
What calls us into question?

What does how we see things
say about what is most important to us?
How do we know that ought to be important?
Who says so?
Who says not-so?
What makes us think they know,
or don't know,
what they are talking about?

Etc. and so forth all the way
to the bottom of the matter.

–0–

02

Sunset at Water Rock Knob 08/05/2007 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
What feeds your soul?
What makes your little heart sing?
What brings you to life?
What nurtures you,
nourishes you,
restores you,
centers you,
grounds you,
balances you,
harmonizes you,
reconnects you to you?

Make it your practice 
to incorporate the things
that do these things
into your life
on a regular basis.

You are responsible for 
your own self-care.

We neglect ourselves
to our own demise.
It is like dying a slow death
by our own hand.

Whose side are you on?
Would anyone ever guess
that you are on your own side
by the way you treat you?

You are your only hope.
You are the guardian
of your own Inner Guide.
Follow the guidance 
of the One Who Knows Within!

And start doing the things
that bring you to life!

Regularly!
Dependably!
Relentlessly!

–0–

01

Moss Glen Falls 03 09/25/2015 — Stowe, Vermont
How confident are you
of living out of your own center?
How courageous are you
in living out of your own center?

When your center comes under attack,
how do you defend it?
When you come under attack,
how conscious are you
of retreating to your center?

Your center is your adamantine core.
Your immovable,
unassailable rock. 
Your unshakable foundation.

Do you have any idea
of what I am talking about?

Are you blown about,
unsure of yourself,
easily talked into and out of
anything?
With no north star to guide you,
and no gyroscope 
to hold you on course?
Second-guessing and self-doubting
leading the way?

If so, it is time to find your center.

Your center is an extension of the Source,
with your own particular blend
of tastes/interests/peculiarities/
proclivities/idiosyncrasies/gifts/
ways/characteristics/etc.
forming the "I am" that grounds you
and sets you apart from everyone else.

You are alike everyone else
in that we all stem from the Source,
and we are different from everyone else
in that we are a unique combination
of traits unlike anyone who has ever been
or will be.

And the idea that we should abandon who we are
and be identical to everyone else is anathema.

Our place is to BE who we are
in relationship with everyone else,
in the old, "Define yourself
while staying in touch" kind of way.
Tricky.
And it all hangs on our knowing
and living out of our center.

Our center is the home 
of our Original Nature
and our Natural Rhythms.

Joseph Campbell said,
"We know when we are on the beam
and when we are off of it."
"The beam" here is a metaphor
for our center.

We know when we are centered,
balanced and in harmony with ourselves,
and when we are not.

We have to know what we know.
Pay attention.
Be aware.
And consciously allow our action
to flow from our center
by observing ourselves in action,
and checking to see if the origin
of what we are doing--
how we are living--
is flowing unimpeded from our center,
or if it is being directed 
by some other source
(Like the desire to be pleasing,
or the fear of being abandoned),
and doing the work
of coming to terms
with our vulnerabilities
by being aware of them,
and of living out of our center
by being aware of it.

Awareness is the solution
of all of our problems today
and every day.

Perhaps this would be a good time 
for me to mention
the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos
(The shortest ones first)
on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

It is difficult to live out of our center
without being aware of what we are doing.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the awareness guru.
Start with him.

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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