January 20, 2021


Fort Buhlow 01/25/2017 BW Oil Paint Rendered — Pineville, Louisiana
Living aligned with our life
and living in accord with the Tao
is bringing our best to meet the day,
like water seeking its way,
not forcing its way,
by responding appropriately,
at the right time, 
in the right way,
to each situation as it arises.

That sounds simple enough. 
What makes it difficult?
Why is it impossible?

Carry this with you as a 
a modern koan, 
to resolve before you die.



Crested Dwarf Iris Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Spiritual has no necessary connection
with religion,
or conviction.

It has everything to do with truth.
With integrity.
With doing the right thing,
in the right place,
at the right time,
in the right way.

Spiritual is living so attuned to,
so in tune with,
so at-one with,
so aligned with,
so in accord with
the moment and what is called for there
that our spontaneous response
is exactly what is most fitting,
proper and appropriate
at that time
and in that place.

The participation in that kind of truth,
of that kind of integrity of being,
and being witness to it,
are both spiritual experiences
that draw forth the spontaneous Yes!
of acknowledging the perfection
of oneness of life and being
with time and place.

Spiritual is being thus aligned
with life and being, time and place.

The old Taoists called it 
being in accord with the Tao.

It is the foundation of spirituality
across time and space.



Sourwood 02 11/04/2020 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Becoming conscious is our sacred obligation
from birth to death.

We live to become conscious
of life, living, and being alive.

A moment spent being unconscious
is a moment we will never get back.
A life-time of mindlessness
is wasted,
is thrown away.

Living like cows following 
the cow in front of them
from the barn
to the pasture
and back to the barn
is life as we live it--
as it has always been lived
by those who have gone before us.

We must live to break the pattern.

Start with Jon Kabat-Zinn's YouTube videos
(The shortest ones first),
and practice Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction
like you practice breathing
throughout the time left for living.

Ask all of the questions that beg to be asked.
Say all of the things that cry out to be said.
Slay the dragon named Thou Shalt! daily,
Live to be aware of the moment of your living,
to see what is happening
to hear what is being called for in response,
to do what needs to be done
without contrivance
or self-interest,
with sincerity
and spontaneity,

Live like the stream seeking its way to the sea
with nothing in it for you,
making a path where there is no path,
finding a way where there is no way,
exerting a will that is more than a will
and is not a will at all
all the way to the end,
where you start the journey over,
being water on its way to the sea,
being water all the way,
being who you are,
living to discover who you are,
doing what is yours to do
as only you can do it,
as time and place allow it,
demand it,
require it,
all our life long.

If we are not being conscious,
why not?

What are we waiting for?  

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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