January 31, 2021


Smoky Mountains Morning Panorama 01 04/12/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
What do you do for the sake of doing it alone?

Live to expand the list.

When there is nothing in it for you
beyond doing what you are doing
for the sake of doing it alone,
you are engaged in living
for the experience,
the expression,
the wonder 
of being alive to life
and not to get something more
from it than that.

This is the essence
of a spiritual experience.

No spiritual experience
can offer more than this.

When we live for the joy of being alive,
we are dancing for the love of dancing,
and that is all there is
in the sense of
"There is only the dance"
(T. S. Eliot).



Pamlico Sound Sunset Abstract 10/25/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina
What are your questions?
Not the questions you want answered,
but the questions that are yours to answer--
the question you live to answer--
the questions your life is an answer to.
What are those questions?

Here are mine,
the ones I am aware of at this point
in my life.
I am aware of growing into my questions.
My life lives me into awareness.
I assume it is the same with you.
My circumstances raise questions for me
I never considered until these particular
circumstances came along.

My life is teaching me to live
by answering the questions that are mine 
to answer.
Maybe that is so with you as well.

Fraser Snowden said,
"The only true philosophical question is:
'Where do you draw the line?'"

That is certainly one of my questions!
And I answer it differently
in each situation as it arises.
In this I am "like the spirit
that is like the wind
that blows where it will,"
meaning the spirit makes it up
as it goes along.
The spirit isn't following 
a recipe book,
a book of rules and ethical standards
regarding what to do when.
The spirit doesn't do what anyone
requires to be done,
or even expects to be done.
The spirit does what is called for

That's me and drawing the line.
It all depends on what the moment
calls for.

This is my second question:
What is the moment calling for?
That also has to be answered
here and now,
in the moment that is being
presently lived.
I can't answer that from afar.
I have to listen to the moment,
to attend the moment,
to be alive to the moment
in order to know what's what
and what is being called for then and there.

The third question is implied
in the first two:
What is important?
What matters most?
Right here, right now?

My stock answer to this one
can be answered from afar,
and applied across the board:
Going to hell!
It is important that we go to hell!

By that I mean it is important
that we know clearly,
without ambivalence or hesitation
what we would go to hell for,
and going to hell for it
when the circumstances require it.

This means dying,
symbolically, metaphorically,
and, if need be,
actually, literally.

We live to die.
What would we die for?

When everything is on the line,
will we know it?
Will we do what is called for?
Will we go to hell, if need be?

If we would go to hell for it,
it's important.
Do we know what that would be?
That's where we draw the line.
And do what is called for.
No matter what.



Lake Martin Reflections 04 02/08/2014 Oil Pant Rendered BW — Beaux Bridge, Louisiana
Why questions should be disqualified
as a legitimate means of inquiry,
and left to gather dust in some museum
as an artifact with a pedigree of uselessness
from the start.

Why questions are all answered ultimately 
in one of two ways:
"I don't know."
"Because I say so."

The other questions,
are all valid and helpful methods
of getting to the bottom of our experience,
putting things together,
finding connections,
and coming to new realizations
and better ways of living--
particularly when we understand
that the primary function of questions
is to raise more questions,
in the work to ask all of the questions
that beg to be asked
in each situation,
and of every experience,
as it arises.

New discoveries flow from 
questions that refuse to stop.

Why? is the search for a stopper.



Kisatchie Creek Panorama 01/31/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
No matter how much better I get,
I could still do better.

Better, I'm talking about,
on every level.
In every aspect of life.

Consciousness, for example.
You might think that by now,
I could at least be conscious.
I've been practicing being conscious 
all my life.
I'm not conscious of half of one percent
of all there is to be conscious of
in any moment.
How's that for progress.
The same thing applies
to every other aspect of my life.

As far as I can tell, 
human beings are the only sentient beings
who are aware of the possibility
of self-improvement,
of getting better. 

Lions are what they are.
Pine trees just do what can be done
with what they have to work with
and let it be.

A human being who is "thus come"--
who is just who/what they are,
without any interest in being
different in any way,
is someone I have yet to meet.

Buddhists talk about the Buddha 
as being "The one thus come," 
The Buddha spent his entire life
becoming "thus come."
And so do all the Buddhists after him.

Being "thus come,"
is an ideal to achieve,
not a state of being to flaunt
and glory in.
Any flaunting and glorying 
is evidence of having yet to arrive.
There is no arriving.

Carl Jung thought of Individuation
and an unending quest to be ourselves.
He talked about "circumambulation" 
as the process of infinitely/eternally
spiraling around the Self at the Center
of our being
without ever attaining integration,

We can always get better at being who we are,
by being less concerned with perfection,
and more concerned with expression--
being in each moment who we are
as "thus come" as we are,
as true to ourselves as we are,
and letting that be that.

Like a lion would do it.
Or a pine tree.



Filmore Glen 10/03/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Filmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York
The Buddhists waste a lot of time
denying duality.
It is just a way of seeing.
A perspective.
It is a doorway to being
at one with everything.

At one with everything 
is not one thing--
it is many.
As many as the jewels
in Indra's Net.

Pick a point--
any point.
How many points are there?

How many points are there
on the head of a pin?
On the point of a pin?

Let's take the point of a pin
as the point we pick.
Now, go to the center of that point.
And make that the point we pick.
Now, go to the center of that point.
You see where this is going.
But, you probably don't see the point.

The point of the number of points 
there are
is that there are an infinite number
of points in every point.
Points upon points.

This is the point of the still point
of the universe.
The Axis Mundi.
The World Center is everywhere.

Hang with me here.

We talk about "living from the center."
Which center would that be?
Our center?
Great! Let's go there.

As we delve down to the center of ourselves,
there is the center of the center
to consider.
And the center of that center.
When do we reach The Center?

And everybody is seeking the center of themselves!
When we get there,
we will discover
that we are at the center of everyone's center!
At the center of ourselves
we are one with everyone's center.

We are one.
We are all.

There is no "I and Thou,"
no "You and Me."
Certainly no "Us and THEM!"

We all are WE.

All of us are aspects of all of us.
Each of us lives out the potential
inherent in--and expressed by--
the rest of us.

We greet ourselves when we greet each other.

When we get the point,
this is the point we get.

Hating me is ridiculous.
I am an extension of you.
At the center of ourselves,
are all selves.
What is true for one
is true for all.

Stop acting as though you are special.
You are an aspect of the whole.

In our duality we are one.
In our oneness we are dualities.
We are an optical illusion.
Now we are one.
Now we are many. 
We are one and we are all.
So what?
So stop acting as though 
there is us and them!
Live from the center of the whole!
Live in ways that are good for all!

Thou Art That!

Live as though it is so!

It is so!

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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