April 06, 2021


Trout Lilies 02 03/14/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina
Doing what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
and repeating this process
through each moment 
of every situation as it arises,
is more about listening and looking,
seeing and hearing,
than it is about prioritizing.

We need less thinking
and more realizing.
Realization comes from seeing and hearing.
Action is spontaneous,

Look and listen.
Here and now.

Hear what is being called for.
See what is happening
and what needs to be done about it.

Do it with the gifts 
you have to share
and the daemon (sounds like "diamond")
you live to serve.

And let nature take its course.



Crepe Myrtle 04 Oil Paint Rendered
Theology is the end of religion.

The religion that has to be explained,
spelled out,
nailed down,
and debated
into being
is dead on arrival.

Living religion thrives
on fascination,
balance and harmony,
good faith,
good will,
and on and on like this...

Religion ends
when it tries to make sense
or make disciples.

We find it with our heart,
not with our head.

We live our way there.
We do not think our way there.

Check out 
The Non-subscribing Church of What's Happening Now
at www.jimdollarsphotographyandphilosophy.com




The Tree on Roan Mountain 06/20/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain National Forest, Carver’s Gap, North Carolina
are the result
of seeing what we look at.

Of hearing what is being said--
particularly what we are saying.

we see and hear
what we expect to see and hear,
what we think we are seeing and hearing,
what we assume we are seeing and hearing.

Take an object,
an old hubcap perhaps,
anything will do.
Draw a frame around it
(The frame can be imaginary),
and consider the object
in a contemplative,
kind of way--
the way you might look at
an optical illusion--
until you see the object as it is,
and as it also is. 

Sit with the object
and allow it to reveal itself to you.

When the shift occurs,
continue looking
until you see all
that is in the frame
with the object--
until the entire cosmos 
is in the frame with the object.

This is called 
"Seeing things as they are."

Look at everything you see
in this way.

This is called "Seeing."



Cape Hatteras Sunrise 11/02/2002 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
We live to make peace with our contradictions--
to balance our extremes,
to harmonize our excesses and deficiencies,
to integrate our polarities,
to bear the pain of our conflicts
and to walk two paths at the same time.

We do that by walking carefully
along the way,
with one eye on this path,
and the other eye on the other path,
always conscious of both paths at once,
threading the needle
between Yin and Yang, 
and making our home
on the edge of the coin.

Sometimes we do it this way,
and sometimes we do it that way,
and we can never be sure
which way we will do it next.

If people demand consistency of you,
hand them a brick,
and wink.

Live playfully
in the service
of what the situation calls for,
rising to every occasion
and doing what needs to be done there--
without worrying about precedent
or tradition--
and let the outcome be the outcome
and the opening 
to the next moment
where you do the same thing,
consistently inconsistent over time,
and always in tune with the moment
and what is best suited to here and now.



Yellow-rumped Warbler 01 Oil Paint Rendered –Scenes From My Hammock, Indian Land, South Carolina
We cannot help how we see things,
or what we think about how things are,
or how we feel about the present situation anywhere...

My current way of thinking about these things
is to say it all depends on several contingencies:
Where we come from,
who we run with, 
who we admire,
who we dislike/detest
who we want to please...

Change any of these factors,
and we don't see the way we see,
think the way we think,
feel the way we feel...

Which is to say that
we are very much 
the product of our environment,
no matter how independent
and self-directed
we think we are.

We are where we live,
and who we live with,
and who we love,
and who we want to love us.

We want the right people
to be happy with us,
and thus,
our seeing,
and feeling.

Or we want to irritate/enrage
the right people,
and thus, 
our seeing,
and feeling.

How would we see,
think and feel,
if we were cut off
from all human contact,
and lived by ourselves alone?

Check it out.
Spend a week by yourself,
in complete seclusion,

No movies,
no books,
no TV
no newspapers.

Walk on a lonely beach.
Camp in the woods.
Build a log cabin.

See how that impacts
how you see, think and feel.

Or, you could just observe
yourself seeing,

Ask all of the questions 
that beg to be asked--
and all of the questions 
the questions beg to be asked.

Investigate your seeing,

Where does this come from?
Why do I see/think/feel this way?
Who do I know that would 
see/think/feel this way?
That would be happy-or-upset
with me seeing/thinking/feeling this way?

Explore! Explore! Explore!

Get to the bottom of it!

Get to the bottom of you!

And see how you see/think/feel about you!

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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