February 13, 2021

04

Dorys Oil Paint Rendered — Rockport Harbor, Rockport, Maine
Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to God."

And, Jesus said, "Do not throw your pearls before swine."

And, Jesus said, "Judge not, that you may be not judged."

What would Jesus do?

Whatever Jesus would do,
it would likely be contradicted
by something else Jesus would do.

Like telling the story of the Prodigal Son,
and then cursing a fig tree
for not bearing fruit out of season!!!

So, what I'm saying about all of this is this:
Decide for yourself what you are going to do
in each situation as it arises,
and do it--
and use what happens then
as food for thought
in deciding what you are going to do
in the next situation as it arises.

Do not follow a recipe book of what to do when!
No maps! No maps!
No path! No path!
Each moment is a fresh start.
Decide what you are going to do there
based on your cumulative experience
with all the moments that have gone before!

Trust yourself to follow the impulse of your nature,
and let that be that.
Use the information you glean
from that experience to collect 
as grist for the mill
for the next moment.

We are milling awareness, here!
We are milling maturity!
We are milling grace and compassion--
for ourselves as much as for anyone else!

Living is the lesson, 
life is the teacher.

Do what you would do
and let that deepen, expand, enlarge
your response potential
in the next moment.

You be your own authority
in deciding how you live your life
and determining what to do in each situation.
Give it your best effort,
and make the necessary adjustments
to meet the next situation.

That is your life plan.
Beat it if you can.

–0–

03

Dome Sunset 09/26/2001 Oil Paint Rendered — Clingman’s Dome, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
Our role is not to choreograph life,
willing things into place,
pushing,
shoving,
insisting,
demanding,
ordering,
directing,
compelling,
threatening,
serving our way,
imposing our agenda...

Our role is to fold into life,
to merge with the current,
to become one with the flow,
to let things be
waiting for the right time
to act in doing what is called for,
and being a steady influence
over time.

Like water, finding its way,
not forcing it,
wearing rock away
to create the Grand Canyon
with its unrelenting presence,
moment-by-moment,
day-by-day.

In accord with the Tao,
integrating yin and yang,
transforming the landscape,
changing the world,
doing nothing
in the special way
water has
of being water.

–0–

02

Lake Chicot 03-B 03/22/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
We have to live the kind of life
that allows us to be who we are.

There has to be a close correspondence
between how we live
and who we are.
When there is too much dissonance,
we sacrifice our original nature,
our natural self,
for the sake of who our lived environment
requires us to be.

Too much "civilization"--
too many "Thou Shalts"--
and we are living in The Wasteland
of Lost Souls,
looking for a way back to Eden.

The way back to Eden
is the return to "the face that was ours
before we were born."

What is the impulse of our nature?
How are we restraining ourselves
in deference to our surroundings?
How is our life inhibiting our ability--
our freedom--
to live the life that is crying out
to be lived?

Everywhere there is striving and forcing,
contriving and conniving,
seeking and serving our way
in pursuit of what we want now!

Where do we simply sit,
waiting quietly
"in a perpetual state of centeredness
in undirected alertness,"
watching for things to open up
"of themselves,
according to their nature"
(Quotes from Joseph Campbell),
in order that we might act
in accordance with the rhythm
of time and place,
here and now,
with no concern for,
or attachment to,
the outcome?

Where do we merely look
to see where we might best
bring what we have to offer
in response to what is being called for
moment-by-moment?

Always, everywhere, there is only
doing this to get that,
or to keep from losing that.
Never just to act innocently,
nobly,
"not missing the moment of life,"
allowing "life to be lived of itself"
like dancers at one with the music,
disappearing into the moment,
stepping aside,
allowing the dance to be danced 
through them
(Quotes from Joseph Campbell).

The return to Eden
is the return to the innocence 
of the time before contrivance 
and expediency.

As Campbell said, "What is keeping us
out of the Garden (of Eden) is not
the jealousy or wrath of any god,
but our own instinctive attachment
to what we take to be our lives."

And as Jesus said, "Whoever seeks
to save their life will lose it,
but whoever loses their life
(in the service of what is called for
moment-by-moment)
will find it."

–0–

01

Country Cemetery 04 05/16/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, South Carolina
Sincerity and self-transparency
are the basic building blocks
of a true human being.

Which is to say that 
truth is fundamental and foundational
for a true human being.

Truth is integrity,
is integration,
is Yin/Yang,
is Tao
is living aligned with ourselves,
in accord with the Tao,
at one with who we are,
where we are,
when we are,
how we are,
here and now.

No duplicity.
No duality.
No denial.
No pretense.
No hidden agendas.
No ulterior motives.
No mixed signals.
No gaming.
No pretending.

Who we are is who we are.
Across all situations
and circumstances.
times and places.

We don't go 
were we aren't welcome
to be who we are.
Where appearances
don't express/exhibit realities.
Where the visible
conceals the invisible.
And the truth is not
how it is presented to be.

The life of a true human being
turns life as it is being lived
upside down.

Do we have what it takes 
to be who we are?

What would have to change
about our life
for us to be able to live in ways
that are true to ourselves?
That are in the flow?
That are on the beam?
That are integral exhibitions
and identical incarnations 
of the values and virtues,
vitality and spirit
of who we are?

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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