February 19, 2021


El Capitan Reflection — Yosemite National Park
We must talk to the world,
and the world must talk to us.
Though "commune" is more to the point
than "talk,"
for with "commune,"
the emphasis is on listening
and not on what is to be said.

How do we position ourselves--
to commune with the world?

Sit quietly.
Tune in.
Wait for the shift to happen.
The shift in perspective
that lends itself
to seeing/hearing/understanding/
what is being said to us 
in the silence,
and what is being called for
within the circumstances of our life.

is a way of opening ourselves
to the world,
not of shutting ourselves off
from the world.
Contemplation and reflection
are required for realization
and discernment.

When we do this,
what happens?
And what happens next?

If our life were a book
what would the title be?

What movie or myth
best represents our life?

What song or poem
best expresses how it is
to be who we are?

It helps to be fluent in metaphor,
and to be able to grasp
what the symbols are referencing
in order to turn the world
and the events of the day
into a mirror reflecting
the inner depths of ourselves.

We see ourselves looking at us--
for us--
when we take the time to listen
to what is going on.

We are speaking to ourselves all the time,
but no one is listening.
The world is speaking to us all the time,
but no one is listening.

We have to know how to read the signs,
to interpret our nighttime dreams
(They all are saying:
"This is how it is with you right now!"
How is it with us right now?)

We have to relate ourselves properly--
appropriately and authentically--
to the environment in which we are living

Religion that does not connect us 
to the here-and-now
is worse than worthless.
Religion that talks to us of the then and there,
or of the not yet but one day,
separates us from the only time that matters:
the present moment of our knowing,
or knowing-not,
what is called for
and what is to be done about it.

This what our communion with the world
will do for us,
open us to the time and place of our living
and provide us with the awareness
and the wherewithal
to trust ourselves to the impulse of our nature
in responding to the need of the moment,
all our life long.

And that is all that is ever needed
in any time and place.



Bow Lake Oil Paint Rendered — Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park, Alberta
Seeing each situation as it is
and responding to it
out of the spontaneous
impulse of our nature
is the foundation
of balance,
and flow, 
and evidence
of a heart 
that is noble,
and kind.

If we allow our concern
for the thoughts/opinions 
of others,
or the Thou Shalts
of parents or culture,
or the zeal for personal gain
or financial reward
to inhibit our following
the spontaneous act of compassion
and grace,
we will "leave the path,
turn aside from the way,"
and wander through the wilderness
of malcontent
and dissatisfaction
all our days.

To serve the moment,
we abandon thoughts of gain,
and seek only to know
how we might be of help
to the time and place of our living
with the gifts that come with us
from the womb--
the spirit,
and virtues/character
which are ours to incarnate,
and share.

Meeting the situation as it is
as one "Thus Come,"
offering what we have to give
to what is being called for,
is all anyone need do
through all the time 
that is ours upon the earth.

No one could do more.



Big Creek 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, North Carolina
Everybody is looking for something.
Ask them what,
and it comes down to,

The maturity level of the species
hovers around 2.5 years of age.

From the beginning to right here right now,
no one has ever been able
to grow someone else up.

Growing up is our responsibility.

And we all grow up--
those of us who do--
against our will!

We grow up--
those of us who do--
against our will
by accommodation,
and acquiescence.

It is called 
"Coming to terms 
with how things are."

It is also known as
"Taking 'NO!' for an answer."

How well do you do that?
On a scale of ten,
with ten being great
and one being not at all?

Ask three friends
you can trust to be honest
to rank you as well.

Make it your goal
to grow toward
and acquiescence
throughout the time
left for living.

Rank yourself
at the end of the day
every day.

Ask your friends to rank you
every three months.

Starting today.

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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