January 17, 2021


Pioneer Cabin Oil Paint Rendered — Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
We have to attain a certain level
of maturity
before we are able to live
with the kind of balance and harmony
required to dance with our circumstances
without being crushed by them.

People who aren't somewhat grown up
before their life begins to deliver
disappointment and heartbreak,
grief, loss and sorrow,
winking and saying,
"Just wait to see what 'cha got coming next,"
are going to have a hard time 
just catching their breath.

How do we grow up?
How do we develop the kind of perspective
that takes things in stride,
does what can be done about them,
and lets that be that?

All of the spiritual leaders
through the centuries
have been mature beyond their years--
and beyond their peers.

Jesus was old as a child.
The Buddha grew up through years
of coming to terms with how things are.

Maturity is an advantage
that wealth and position
cannot touch.

Knowing what is good for us
and what is not--
and going with the good--
is valuable knowing,
but without knowing how 
to pull that rabbit out of the hat,
we are no better off
for knowing what it would take
to be better off.

How do we increase our level of maturity?
How do we grow ourselves up?

Take those questions as yours to answer,
and live in the service of finding it
in the time left for living.



Mt. Rundle 02 09/22/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Banff National Park, Alberta
A caveat regarding The Other Within:

A partnership is not the way
to the realization of your dreams.
It is the end of contrivance in all forms.
And the beginning of complete sincerity
and self-transparency.

There is no using The Other for anything
other than The Other.

There is nothing in it for us beyond
living in accord with the Tao
through each situation that arises
all our life long,
with nothing to show for our work
except the satisfaction
of having done the best we could
with what we had to work with

"If you want to be my disciple,
pick up your cross daily
and follow me."

If Christians took the word of their lord seriously,
there would be very few people in church.
Their idea of a cross
is a decoration to wear 
as a pendant or a tattoo.

Jesus is supposed to be good for heaven,
else why bother?
And thinking The Other Within
is the path to fortune and glory
is to stray from the path,
to leave the way,
and to wander without direction 
through the wasteland forever.

So with Jesus or The Other,
understand it is about the quality of life
on the Journey,
and not about the acquisition of anything
along the way.

There is no merit to be gained.
There is only finding our life 
and living it,
for the joy of doing it.

The joy of having done it
is what forever is for.



Three Horses 11/25/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Horse Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Carl Jung said,
"There is within each of us
another, whom we do not know."

In order to transform our relationship
with ourselves,
we have to acknowledge,
and align ourselves with
The Other who resides within.

Sounds weird. 
Accommodating ourselves to weird
is one of the requirements
of the Journey.

The Other within is our best invisible friend,
and our guide, mentor
and access to the depths that are forever.
And only one aspect of The Mystery
at the Heart of Life and Being.

There are dimensions--
like light waves and sound waves
that we are incapable of seeing or hearing--
that are imperceptible and undetectable,
and as real as last night's dream,
and that close at hand.

Our place is to find our place
and simply be who we are,
trusting that to be our part to play
in the whole that is beyond describing.

It is like this:
I think it was Martin Palmer who said,
though I cannot locate the reference,
so it may be Thomas Cleary who said,
or someone else who said,
"The path that can be discerned as a path
is not a reliable path."

They offered this statement 
as an alternative translation
to the Tao te Ching's statement,
"The Tao that can be named/said/told
is not the eternal Tao."

I connect this with a statement Jesus 
is said to have said:
"The spirit is like the wind
that blows where it will."

I understand this to mean that
not even the spirit of God knows
what it is doing,
or what it will be doing next.
Even the spirit is on a path
that cannot be discerned!

We are all in the same boat.

It is all in flux and dependent upon
everything else.

There is no master plan,
and yet,
everything is just what it needs to be,
and can't be anything other than what it is.

Think back over your life.
Nothing had to be what it was,
and yet, 
everything had to be exactly what it was
to get you here, now.

We are totally free to be something
completely surprising (weird) in the next moment,
yet absolutely bound to being who we are forever.

We never out-live having been where we have been,
and never out-grow having had parents--
the specific parents we had,
and yet, we are unrestricted in making of that 
what we will.

This is karma.
Consequences have consequences.
"We meet our fate on the road we take
to escape it" (Carl Jung).
Freedom is bondage.
Make your peace with that
and live on!

Living on is the point,
the whole point,
and nothing but the point.
Martin Hägglund does a wonderful job
elaborating "living on"
in his book This Life,
though it is not for sissies.
Neither is life.

Which gets us back to the importance
of forging a relationship
with The Other whom we do not know.
We need all the help we can get.

Sit still, be quiet,
see what meets you there.
Reflect on your nighttime dreams,
and your daytime flights of fancy/fantasy.
Find the themes running through your life.
Explore everything.
Get to the bottom of you.

We are the source 
and the goal 
of our own seeking.
What we are looking for
is who is looking.

Who is The Other whom we do not know?
Make it your Quest to find out!

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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