April 16, 2021


Goodale Mirror Mirror Oil Paint Rendered — Adams Mill Pond, Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Living from the center
of our Original Nature,
seeking the Source of Life and Being,
embracing the Mystery at the heart of it all,
we become the Messiah,
The Anointed One,
come to set others free
to live from the center
of their own Original Nature,
seeking the Source of Life and Being,
embracing the Mystery at the heart of it all...

And so it is passed
from one to another,
the secret of doing what needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
when and where it needs to be done,
in each moment
of every situation as it arises,
all our life long.

Living well is responding well
to the circumstances of life
day in and day out,
with nothing in it for us
beyond living our life 
as it needs to be lived
one moment at a time.

See what you look at,
listen to what you are hearing,
know what's what
and what needs to be done about it,
and do it.

Time after time.

"Without hope,
without witness,
without reward"
(Steven Moffat, "Doctor Who").

Because it needs to be done.
Because it needs us to do it.
And here we are.
Why not?



Lake Haigler 12/26/2019 03 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
We have four problems:
Knowing what is happening,
Knowing what needs to be done about it,
Knowing what we can do about that,
Doing it.

That's it.
Everything falls into place around 
these four things.

In order for these four things to happen,
we need a perspective
that takes itself into account,
and enough distance between ourselves
and what is happening
to allow observation and reflection
to the point of realization,
and from there,
it comes down to courage.

My own, personal, path to being courageous
is to tell myself,
"I owe it to myself to find out
if I have anything to be afraid of."
Which means doing what I am afraid of.

The only way to know if our ghosts and goblins
are real
is to walk up to them
and spit in their eye--
prepared to deal with any outcome,
and trusting ourselves
to know what to do,
and do it,
no matter what happens.

Knowing what to do comes from
living from the center of our Original Nature,
and letting whatever happens happen,
continuing to live from the center
of our Original Nature
through it all.

We build up a very strong bond
with our Original Nature this way,
and with that as our anchor
to the rock of who we are,
we take the position of Ulysses
in being able to declare,
"I will persevere and endure.
And when the heaving sea
has shaken my raft to pieces,
then I will swim!"

The ghost and goblins will have
met their match.
And we will be reliably who we are
in each situation as it arises.
That is the optimal position
from which to live our life
through what remains of the time left for living.

Be there.
Do that.



Overlooks October 2019 Panorama Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
There are at least two things 
about the Dalai Lama that are instructive
and helpful at this point in our collective life.

The first reflects the Zen saying,
"If you meet an elephant coming toward you
along the path--

When China invaded and destroyed Tibet,
the Dalai Lama got out of town,
out of the country,
and took refuge in Pakistan.
The Dalai Lama saw what was happening
and knew what to do in response.

That is the first thing.
The second thing is like unto it.

The Dalai Lama is the shinning light
of compassion wherever he goes.
He has never said a disparaging word about China,
or the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
His demeanor is one of loving-kindness and humility.
He espouses love for one another and all others
all of the time.

And yet, and yet...

The Dalai Lama's bodyguards carry automatic weapons.

The Dalai Lama is no fool.

The Dalai Lama is the living example 
of the importance of embodying Yin and Yang
in our daily life.
Integrating the opposites.
Harmonizing the contradictions.
Balancing the dichotomies.
Living out of the tension of the polarities.
Dancing with the contraries.
Bearing the pain of incompatible truths.
Maintaining the peace and serenity of the center
"between the hands"
(On the one hand, this, and on the other hand, that).

These two things are how it is to be with us.

We harmonize, balance, keep the peace 
between opposing forces.
And bear in our body the marks of the cross--
the cross of irreconcilable poles,
treating the important things
as though they are important
without taking anything seriously.

Find that balance point
and you become the source of harmony
the world is dying for.

And you find that you are able
to do what needs to be done
when and where it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done, 
With equanimity, balance and harmony,
homeostasis and equilibrium--
like a gyroscope turning out of its own center,
stabilizing all the world.



Parkway Overlooks Panorama 10/29/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia
Which would you prefer:
to be loved,
or to be treated lovingly?

Think of Jesus' command
to "Love your neighbor
as you love yourself"
in this light.

Jesus doesn't care how we feel
about your neighbor.
Jesus cares about how we treat your neighbor.

When white supremacists say,
"I don't hate black people,"
but black people can't tell the difference
between being hated and not being hated,
they may a well hate black people
for all the good not hating them does them.

The idea is to treat all people of color lovingly,
along with all other people.
So they cannot tell whether we love them or not--
and don't care.

Believe whatever it takes
to treat all people lovingly.
That is as much theology as anyone needs.

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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