April 15, 2021


Little Pigeon River, April, 2008, Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Think of Karma as the other side of Tao.
Living in accord with the Tao
creates good Karma.
Living out of accord with the Tao
creates bad Karma.

Living in accord with the Tao
creates balance and harmony.
Living out of accord with the Tao
creates complexity and chaos.

We add complexity and chaos to our life
by living out of accord with the Tao.
When we diss the Tao,
dismiss the Tao,
disregard the Tao,
deny the Tao,
fail/refuse to respect and honor the Tao,
we build bad Karma
that spills over into generations yet unborn.

The world has been building bad Karma
for as long as there have been people in the world.
The story of Adam and Eve symbolizes 
all people through the ages.
They live in Paradise
and think they can improve it.

People have their ideas for making things better.
Wealth was our worst idea.
The world will never get over that one.
That one is destroying the planet.
And is capable of destroying the cosmos.
Wealth frees us from the constraints 
built into the system,
and expands our power for creating
complexity and chaos exponentially.

Before wealth,
the world slogged around
in opinions and preferences.
Things were bad,
but they were not capable 
of the total destruction
of the self-correcting system
of Karma and Tao.

With wealth,
things quickly got out of hand.
Wealth is a tsunami of destruction
whipping around the world,
building speed and power
over generations.
It is the bad Karma it creates.
Bad Karma creating bad karma by the moment
leaves no room for recovery.
The Tao is trashed.
Good Karma is a distant memory.
Bad goes to worse and the worst is at the door.

Which gets us to us,
here and now.
It is incumbent upon us,
here and now,
to put ourselves in accord with the Tao
and live in ways which honor Karma,
by seeing what needs to be done
and doing it the way it needs to be done
in each moment of each situation 
as it arises--
with sincerity and spontaneity,
without contrivance and exploitation--
to be good for the moment
for the good of the moment,
with nothing else in mind.

To live like this is to live truthfully
and prayerfully--
it is to be the prayer we would say,
doing the things we would ask to be done for us.
We now ask them to be done through us,
and engage the power of prayer
by initiating the work of prayer
in lives aligned with the Tao
for the true good of all concerned,
with humility and compassion for every living thing.

Will you do that to the best of your ability,
day by day--
"without hope,
without witness,
without reward"
(Steven Moffat, Doctor Who)?

That is the hope of the world.



Jenny Adams OP — Harbor River, Beaufort County, South Carolina
We are primarily motivated by fear, anger and desire.
We live to get, acquire, possess, have, own, amass
and to keep from losing anything.
Ours is a foraging, aggressive, ambitious, driven stock.
We are from the steppes and the deserts,
invading, ransacking, pillaging, destroying, laying waste--
never satisfied, never quiet, never at peace.
Always looking for triumph and victory,
to vanquish and conquer,
plunder and loot.
Outer Space is just another booty source
awaiting our corporate takeover.
It isn't just about the money or the fame.
It is about taking their women and their horses
and leaving them hanging by their necks,
twisting in the wind.

Take that bent and try to civilize it,
and you get pretty much what you see everyday. 
The dregs of Viking raiders 
with no seas safe to sail.
It's all gone to Mafia Bosses
and their organizations running the world
behind a facade of life as it ought to be.

"Promise them anything and do what you want!"
reads: "Take their women and their horses
and leave them to the wind!"

Where is the Sherif that isn't on their payroll?
The Judges that aren't on the take?
The presidents and the princes/kings
not in their little black books?

Leaving the people with what?
Protest and Truth!
We all are Alexei Navalny!
It is all that is left to be!
We shepherd the Tao
and live as stewards of Dharma--
seeing and doing what needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
here and now,
moment by moment
in each situation as it arises.

Simple acts of kindness and compassion,
grace and mercy,
peace and love
as servants of Protest and Truth.

Our Sisyphean Task for the rest of time!



Price Lake Mirror Oil Paint Rendered — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Theology robs us of our role as truth-bearers
by telling us what to believe
and what to do.
That is our place to determine
and to effect.

"Why don't you judge for yourselves
what is right?"
Jesus puts it to us exactly as it ought to be.

We are to see what is right and do it.
in each situation as it arises.

We cannot even be thinking,
"What would Jesus do?"
What will WE do is the question?
"Who do YOU say that I am?"
What do WE say is right?

We are the authority governing
how we live and what we live for.
No one can do that for us.
Not the theologians.
Not the preachers.
Not the popes, cardinals, bishops...

We are on our own.
How shall we proceed?


Only prayer as it ought to be,
not as it is.

Living prayerfully is living truthfully!

Prayer is openness to truth.
Truth is realization born of experience.
Prayer is openness to the truth of experience
with everything on the line.
What is happening here, now?
What is being called for?
We step into each moment
out of our experience 
with each preceding moment,
alert to what those moments
can show us about this moment
and how we might best respond to it.

Prayerful, mindful, reflection and awareness
guides our acting on the field of action.

Prayer is more than Thanksgiving, Intercession,
Petition, Confession and Praise.
Prayer is Looking/Listening/Seeing/Hearing/

Living from the place of this kind of prayer
is living from the center of what matters most,
from the source of Life and Being,
from the Mystery at the heart of who we are.

We live to be who we are 
within the context and circumstances of our life.
Jesus couldn't do more.
We are born to do as much.
We do it prayerfully, truthfully,
with self-transparency,
and spontaneity,
balance and harmony,
and the virtues, gifts and daemon
(sounds like "diamond")
that came with us from the womb.

Deciding for ourselves what is right,
here and now,
and what to do about it,
all our life long. 



Yellow Maples Oil Paint Rendered — Greensboro, North Carolina
How do you know what to do?
How do you decide what to do?

We are doing constantly
throughout the day
every day.
What leads us to do one thing 
and not another?
What is the process by which you decide
when to do what and how?

We are here, now,
by virtue of the decisions/choices we made
from birth to here, now.
What guided us in making those decisions/choices?
How did we know what to do?
Why that and not something else instead?

What leads you to do what you do?
When to do it?

Sit down with these question
and all of the questions they raise,
until you stir realization into being.

What guides your boat on its path through the sea?

What alternatives can you imagine?
How might you go about changing 
the way you make decisions about what to do?

Are you willing to experiment?
To try new ways of deciding?
If not, why not?
What are you afraid of?
What keeps things as they are in your life?

Search out the answers.
See what you find!



Gifts From The Sea Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Harlan Howard's line that 
"country music is three cords and the truth,"
begs the question,
"How truthful is truth that conceals truth?"
"That denies truth?"
"That pretends what is 'Also Truth' 
doesn't deserve a spot on the charts?"

Flip through those country music charts
for the truth about racism,
trans-gender men and women, girls and boys,
the list is long.

The themes propounding "The Truth"
are few,
and worn,
and recurring--
because that is all 
anyone cares to hear.

Truth is the least popular item
in any genre on any day.
"You can take your truth and shove it"
sounds like the title
to a hot country song. 



First of Fall 09/28/2020 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Sumac, 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
See what needs to be done
and do it.
Nothing to it.
Then do it again.
And again. 
To The End.
That’s all there is to it.

Loneliness gets to be a problem,
particularly with the realization
that it is all up to us.
But it is always all up to us.

Marianne Moore said,
"The cure for loneliness is solitude."

The work is transforming our relationship
with ourselves.
With our Original, Innate, Nature.
We are more than capable
of seeing what needs to be done
and doing it.
We all have what it takes to do that.
We have made it this far,
we can make it all the way,
just by seeing what needs to be done
and doing it.

And by relying on our Original Nature
to be with us
as Guardian, Guide and Friend
all the way.

Work on making the Other You
a real and present force/friend in your life.

Pay attention to her/his presence,
her/his reality,
her/his dependability,
her/his caring, devoted, help--
your "very present help in time of trouble,"
and all other times as well.

The Other You is always there,
and will always be there.

Find ways of connecting with
this side of yourself,
become real to you.
Trust yourself to be what you need
in all times and places.
And you will never be alone again.


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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