December 07, 2020

04

Walnut Creek Trail 01 11/09/2020 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
Doing what our life asks us to do,
being who our life asks us to be,
faithfully offering what is called for
in each situation as it arises,
providing what is needed in each moment,
with compassion and kindness, 
sincerity and grace,
without contriving some outcome,
or seeking our advantage or gain,
is to be in accord with the Tao,
living aligned with the Way,
and fulfilling our destiny,
step by step,
through each day.

Jesus couldn't do better than that.
The Buddha couldn't beat it.
The Dali Lama aspires to it.
The people who toss it aside
in their search for more,
continue the legacy of Adam and Eve
in trading Eden for the Wasteland,
and throwing away their life
looking for life.

–0–

03

Beech Tree Panorama 11/27/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
The moment is where we come alive.
What is blocking our life-in-the-moment?
What is happening there
that keeps us from being alive?
What is our attitude 
about what is happening there
that keeps us from being alive?

There is caring too much
and there is caring too little.

There is wanting too much
and there is wanting too little.

There is thinking too much
and there is thinking too little.

You see where this is going.

We have to be capable of doing
what needs to be done
in ways appropriate to the occasion
in every moment of our life.

We need to have access to every
action we are capable of initiating
as a fully functioning member
of the species
without being incapacitated
by over-or-under reacting
in any area.

Living from the center,
from the still point between
all extremes,
requires optimal distance
from everything.

There is too-close and too-far-away.
Strive for the middle way
in all things.
Not caring too much,
and not caring too little.
About everything.

–0–

02

Lake Chicot 10/27/2015 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
Sit down,
be quiet,
watch your thoughts,
watch your response to your thoughts,
distance yourself from your thoughts,
observe by being aware
of being aware,
without judgment or opinion,
with compassion and non-contrivance,
not striving for anything
but awareness of everything.

If the things that arise
become overwhelming,
return your attention 
to your breathing.

Breathe slowly, deeply,
pausing between exhale and inhale
for a count of five.
After five breaths,
resume your observation
of thoughts arising in the silence.

For twenty minutes,
or for as close to that
as your schedule allows.
Do this three times a day,
as your life permits.

–0–

01

Breakwater and Headlight B&W 10/02/2002 — Rockland, Maine
There are two things to attend
in every listening session
with yourself,
and with everyone else:
What is being said,
and 
What is talking.

Both must be interpreted
in light of the context and circumstances,
and who is speaking, 
and who is listening.

We cannot remove ourselves
from any conversation
or any relationship,
and impact what is heard
by the way we hear it.

We have to take all of it
into account,
observing the situation
and our place in it,
moment-by-moment,
situation-by-situation,
day-by-day.

Particularly what is talking.
What is the emotional charge
behind the words?
Depression?
Dismay?
Hopelessness?
Anxiety?
Fear?
Worry?
Anger?
Rage?
Hatred?
Defensiveness?
Uncertainty?
Unease?
The push to prevail?
The need to win?
Etc.

When you respond,
speak to the emotion
as much as to the words.

Get to the bottom 
of the origin of the words.
To the source
of what is being said.

Do not leave the source un-probed.

Ask the questions that beg 
to be asked.
Say the things that cry out
to be said.

Take your time between
the statement
and the reply.
Allow yourself to process everything,
including your emotional response
to the statement,
and speak from your own center,
from the source of your own propulsion,
from the still point
between action and reaction--
the still point between thoughts.
Between feelings.

And make it your highest priority
to nurture your relationship
with the still point
through all the days 
of your life.

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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