March 31, 2021

01

Crepe Myrtle 02 Oil Paint Rendered
The deeper we get into truth,
the more horrible it becomes.

The more horrible,
the more detestable,
the more disgusting,
the more despicable,
the more despised, 
the more hated,
the more true.

This is the side of truth
they never tell us about.

They never get further into it
than, "You shall know the truth,
and the truth shall set you free."

They never unpack the truth 
of that statement.
They never ask the questions
it begs to be asked.
They take it and run with it.
It is all they need to fashion
the life of their dreams.

A life that ends in fascism.

They hear, "Free to do whatever you want!"
and that is what they expect
that we will hear
when they tell us 
what they have to say.
And too many of us do.
But, it makes eventual fascists
of all who embrace the lie.

Doing whatever we want
carries us straight into the heart
of fascism.

"Free to do what we want."

Think about it.
How free is that?
Doing what we want
is what freedom sets us free from--
and sets us free for
doing what needs us to do it!

The true completion of the statement
about being free is this:
"You shall know the truth,
and the truth shall set you free
to see what needs to be done
in each moment of your life,
and to do it
with the gifts, genius, daemon, virtues, 
character, perspective,imagination,
creativity, integrity, compassion, etc.
that comes packed within you
straight from the womb--
to enable you to do what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
in each moment
of every situation as it arises
all your life long!"

And we want nothing to do with any of that.

We want to be free to do what we want,
when we want it,
for as long as we want it,
and then be free what we want then
for as long as we want it,
and then be free to do what we want then...
Like children stuck eternally
in the Terrible Twos.

How free is that?

Freedom to do what we want is an idle fantasy.
What does wanting know?
Freedom of the will
is not being free to will what it wants.
Wanting trumps will.
Wanting corrupts everything it touches,
and forces us to do what we want
AGAINST OUR WILL!!!
Whether we want to or not.

How free is that?

Freedom is seeing what needs to be done,
being right about it,
and doing it
no matter what.

Freedom is complete integrity 
of being and doing.

And we are not free until 
we are that free.

And who wants to be that free?
So.
Are we going to be free to do 
what needs us to do it,
or free to do what we want to do?
How free are we going to be?

Fascism wants to know.

–0–

02

Blue Grosbeak 01 Oil Paint Rendered — Scenes From My Hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina
Buddhism is wrong
about the place of desire
in our life,
and denies,
dismisses,
disregards,
ignores
the contradiction at the heart of the matter.

Its "first noble truth,"
"Life is suffering,"
is taken with more seriousness
than it deserves. 
This statement is rightly met
with the rejoinder: "So what?"
and: "Don't let that stop you,
or even slow you down!"

But Buddhism makes a big deal of it.
The biggest deal.
And it goes down hill from there.

The "second noble truth" states:
"The cause of all suffering
is desire/craving."

The "third noble truth" states:
"The way to end all suffering
is to end desire/craving."

And the "fourth Noble truth" offers
The Eight-Fold Path 
for right-thinking and right-doing.

Buddhism calls everything an "illusion"
that detracts from its organizing principle
that suffering is the biggest problem
and it is caused by desire/craving.

All of this is flipped
by seeing suffering, desire and craving
as illusions which keep us from
seeing/hearing/knowing/understanding/responding
to the truth of how things are,
which is this:
"There is how things are,
and there is what you can do about it,
and that's that.
And that is how things are."

"Oh, suffering!
Oh, pain!
Oh, sorrow!
Oh, loss!
Oh, grief!
Oh, mourning!
Oh, ..."

Yes, that is how things are,
and this is what you can do about it,
and that's that.

Letting that be that,
and going on with our life,
anyway, nevertheless, even so,
is the proper response to make to suffering.

It is also the proper response to make
to desire/craving.

Yes, we want things to be different than they are,
but the disparity between how we want them to be
and how they are
and how they actually can be
is something we are going to have to recognize
and bear as the truth that must be borne
throughout our life
as we go about our work
of doing what can be done
about what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
and letting that be that.

And letting the outcome be the outcome,
and not allowing that to stop us
or even slow us down,
in our work to do what can be done
about what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
and letting that be that...

Desire is a completely natural response
to our circumstances.
Every living thing lives out of its preferences.
It is when preferences 
become controlling compulsions
that things move from balance and harmony
into chaos and devastation.

Wanting things to be different is one thing,
having to have what we want
to the point of "the desolation of abomination,"
is another matter entirely.

We have to know where to draw the line.
And we have to be right about it.
And we have to draw it.

These are the three noble truths.
The three-fold path is this:
We have to know what needs to be done
and we have to do it when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

This is all the religion anyone ever needs.
Anyone who tells you anything else
is trying to sell you something.

–0–

03

Goodale 11/07/2016 23 Oil Paint Rendered — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
We have to live as though what we do matters!
If you are ever going to take anything on faith,
let it be this!

It is so easy to believe what we see,
namely that we have no impact,
no effect,
and make no difference
on any level of life--
and to conclude that it is all
useless,
hopeless,
futile,
absurd
and decide we may as well sit on the floor
staring at the wall day after day
for all the good we do
with our life in the world.

Here is one just for you:

It IS all useless,
hopeless,
futile
and absurd--
and it is coming to a very bad end:
we all will die!

AND: How we live in the meantime
makes all the difference!!!

Believe it!
Live as though it is so!
Everything depends on it!
Everything!

Now, this is the important part:
You have to carry through 
in establishing the authenticity 
of your faith in what you do
by doing the smallest details
of the most insignificant aspects
of your life
as though they are the most important
things you do!

You have to do everything well,
really well,
in their most invisible respects.
As though you really believe in the value
of everything you do.

Live as though you care about it all!
Fool yourself!
So that you don't know if you care about it or not!
And if someone asks if you actually care about it,
about any of it,
be quick to say, "Of course I do!"
And when they ask, "Why?"
Be even quicker to say, 
"Because if I don't, who will?"

Be the one who cares
about every single detail of your life!

And let the outcome be the outcome!

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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