April 19, 2021


Dogwood 03 2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Andrew Jackson State Park, Lancaster County, South Carolina
The work is to live aligned
with our life.
To put ourselves in accord
with the Tao.
And see where it goes
and what is being asked of us
in each situation as it arises. 

Our original nature--
which has nothing to do with 
what we want/desire,
and everything to do with
our natural impulses
and propensities
toward one thing
and away from another--
it a trustworthy guide,
a reliable pilot
for our boat 
on its path through the sea.

We are not alone on the journey,
and have everything we need
to find our life and live it--
to know what's what
and what is called for
in each situation that develops
over the course of our life,
but must maintain regular
and reliable connection with
the silence and 
with the source of
life and being
in order to know what we know
and do what needs to be done.

This is the way of living from 
the center,
with balance and harmony,
sincerity and serenity,
without contrivance or exploitation,
spontaneously responding to the moment
and rising to every occasion
with what is appropriate 
and necessary for the time and place
of our living.

To do so is to live successfully
as a free and independent human being
with liege devotion
and filial loyalty
to our gifts/genius/daemon
and our place in "the great scheme of things"--
at one with the cosmos
and in sync with the AUM... of existence.



Bodie Island Lighthouse 04 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Bodie Island, North Carolina
We are always Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
In every moment we are faced with their choice:
To seize the moment,
assume control,
take our life in our own hands,
and throw ourselves into doing
what appears to be in our own interest
in each situation as it arises--
contriving to turn every opportunity
into its best possible outcome,
exploiting each occasion to serve
our desire du jour 
and live happily ever after,
or until the next moment,
whichever comes first.

The alternative to The Garden of Eden is,
of course,
The Garden of Gethsemane,
with it's "Thy will, not mine be done."

This is the redeeming, atoning, option--
and the Return to Eden--
if we could only see it as such.
But the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve
have their own idea about what is good (for them),
and so, we opt again and again,
for The Way of Eden
and not The Way of the Cross.

We live in The Wasteland all our life long,
with Paradise one slight perspective shift away
throughout our days upon the earth. 

Understanding the "Thy" in the Gethsemane formula
to be "Our Life As It Might Yet Be,"
or, as the ancient Chinese understood the term,
"The Tao of Life and Being"
flips the switch,
"turns the light around,"
and transforms the Wasteland to Paradise
before our eyes.

Submitting to The Tao,
acquiescing to the need of the moment
for the right action
done in the right way
at the right time,
here and now,
in each situation as it arises,
is the miraculous transition from 
My Way to The Way,
and the Return to Eden
and to Life As It Needs To Be.

Eden or Gethsemane?
Death presenting itself as life,
or death as the doorway to life?
Which will it be
here and now
every day?




Adams Mill Pond Panorama 06 11/09/2014 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
We perceive what is important--
what matters most--
in each situation as it arises.
And do it.
Here and now.
The way it needs to be done.

Finding--not forcing--the way.
Listening--not imposing.
Looking--not insisting.
Like a butcher holding the knife,
but allowing the knife to show him the path
between gristle and meat,
bone and bone.

all our life long.



Adams Mill Pond 36 11/10/2014 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Happiness is being at peace with the way things are.
Unhappy is being out of sorts with the way things are.
Letting the way things are get to you
is the way of happiness.
Refusing to let the way things are get to you
is the way of happiness.

People who let the way things are get to them
think they have no choice in the matter.
It is automatic with them.
There is no distance between them
and the way things are.
They do not know how to distance themselves
from the way things are.
They do not know where they stop
and where the way things are start.
They need to enter the silence
and wonder about these things.

People who do not let the way things are get to them
know where they stop
and where the way things are start.
They know what they can do about the way things are
and what they cannot do,
and they understand that their place
is to adapt themselves to the way things are,
not to force the way things are to mesh with their wishes
for how things ought to be.
They grasp the saying:
"This is the way things are,
and this is what you can do about it,
and that's that--
and that is the way things are."

The people who let the way things are get to them
will not accept this fundamental fact
about the way things are.

Our happiness depends upon our being able to
accept this fundamental fact
about the way things are.
Until we do that,
we are going to be unhappy
when things don't go our way.
And when they do go our way--
because then we will be worried about
how long it is going to be before 
they stop going our way.
And the very idea of that
will make us unhappy.

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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