December 02, 2020


Om Mani 05 — From my Symbols of Transformation Collection
Joseph Campbell emphasizes the importance
of creating a sacred space
as a place to retreat
from the world of normal, apparent, reality--
in order to return to the center, 
amid the things that are central
to "the harmonization of your own life."

A sacred space is a decompression zone,
where we return to ourselves
and know the joy and peace 
of being sealed off 
and at one with meaningful items
that help us find our way.

Campbell says, "You must have a sealing-off
place for yourself whenever you need it--
it is an absolute necessity
if you are going to have an inner life."

We need a play room where what we do
does not have to have any significance
beyond doing it.
Where we can play a drum,
or read a book that goes nowhere,
or listen to music that we love,
or sit looking out a window.

We need a place where our heart and soul
can come alive,
and we can come alive to them,
and join together 
in the joy and wonder of being alive. 


Adams Mill Pond Mirror 01 11/10/2014 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Ours is the most neurotic generation in history.
I say that based on the central place
of money and addiction worldwide.

Money and addiction are substitutes
for a viable, vital, vibrant and alive center.
We have no center,
no core,
no adamantine rock-solid foundation
upon which to stand,
balanced and harmonious
in the face of the clashing rocks
and heaving waves
of the wine-dark sea
that constitutes our life.

And so, the attraction of certitude
of any kind.
We will follow anyone who knows
what they are talking about.
And so, Qanon and Donald Trump.

The theme song of our age
is "The Paradox of Needy":
I'm so needy!
I HATE being needy!
And I need to be needed
by someone who needs me
to need them too!
But I'll hate them if they do!

All neurosis is a box
with no center
and no door,
and no floor.
A square black hole.
A womb with no due date.
With money and addiction,
lights and action
to take our mind
off free-falling
through endless neediness
and a life that has no meaning.

What's the solution?
Waking up.
Bearing the pain, laughing.
Knowing there is no fixing any of it
only dancing with all of it,
for what?
We do not know!

Shoulder uncertainty!
Tolerate anxiety!
Trust the unknown and unknowable!
Dance with the darkness!
Play with terror and with fear!

Native Americans would tell their children
as they left home to find their way in the world,
"When you get out of sight of this place,
you will enter the land of darkness and doubt,
and you will come to a chasm.
When you do, JUMP!
It is not as far as it seems."

Neurosis is refusing to jump.
And takes everything more seriously
that it deserves.

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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