April 29, 2021

01

Sunrise 06/26/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Roan Mountain Highlands, Tennessee
Check everything in light of your
emotional/psychological
(Where does that line lie?}
balance, integrity, harmony and stability.

You know when you are on the beam
and when you are off it.
When you are balanced,
inner with outer,
and when you are not.

When you are integrated, harmonized, stable,
at-one with yourself and the moment--
in the perfect position
to take what comes
and do what needs to be done with it.

And when you are not.

What are the balancing,
integrating,
harmonizing,
stabilizing
factors at work in your life?

What are the unbalancing,
disintegrating,
disharmonious,
destabilizing
factors at work in your life?

Is silence vibrantly,
vitally,
present?

Are your conflicts/contradictions/
opposites/polarities
clearly identified 
and in a steady state
of equilibrium--
well-within your normal range
of tolerance--
and at an acceptable stress level?

Are you able to pay the right bills?
Is your future relatively secure?
Can you count on things being
the way you need them to be,
day in and day out?

What needs to be done to move toward
balance/integrity/harmony/stability
and away from destabilization?

This is your core problem.
Get this resolved,
and you are ready for anything.

Once your base is secure,
and you are grounded/anchored
upon the fundamental requirements
for life,
and can pay the right bills,
you are set to step into the day,
every day.

Until then, 
"you are like a fiddler on the roof."

The single most important thing you can do
to introduce balance/integrity/harmony/stability
into your life is to make silence 
vibrantly,
vitally,
present
in a central kind of way.

Live from the silence.
Be guided by the silence.
Be always attentive to the silence,
at-one with the silence,
alive with the silence,
and you will move toward balance, etc.
and away from imbalance, etc.

This is called returning 
to your original nature.

–0–

02

Hunting Island Beach 11/13/2017 04 Oil Paint Rendered — Hunting Island State Park, Beaufort County, South Carolina
We live too loudly to listen.

Noise is everywhere.
We are never noise-free.
Never quiet.
Never silent.
What does living noisily 
keep us from thinking about?

Keep us from facing?
Keep us from having to deal with?
Because we don't know how to deal with it?
What to do about it?

What is at the bottom
of all our striving?
What pushes us into the noise
that keeps us from breathing?

We live looking for action.
What kind of action?
Any kind of action!
In the meantime,
we will settle
for sex, drugs and alcohol,
though not necessarily
in that order.

That will keep us reasonably
sane until the right kind of action
sweeps us away.

We have no idea what that would be,
but we live seeking it
to get away from 
what's at the bottom
of our discontent.

What's at the bottom
of our discontent?

Go there.
Find out.

Enter The Silence
seeking the nature
of your discontent.

Don't leave
until you find it.

Disclosure alert:

Once you find it,
you will never leave The Silence.
It will be your home for life.
You won't be able to live without it.
It will be for you
life enabling life.

–0–

03

Mile Post 244 06/05/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Doughton Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Everything in our life
has worked together
to be where we are,
here and now.

That is all we can say
about what happens to us,
it works together 
with all the rest
to get us where we are.

If we look for direction,
meaning,
and purpose 
in all of this,
we will be imposing
our desire for
meaningful structure
that is important
and exists only 
in our head.

Life just is.
No reason.
No purpose.
No meaning
beyond what we imagine
and impose.

We make things meaningful
(to us)
by the way we respond
to what happens to us.
We are the ones who determine
what is meaningful or not.

We are the conductor,
the choreographer,
the director
seeing meaning
in the thread
that runs through our life.

"Because of that,
THIS!" we proclaim.
Well, yeah. But.
"THIS" did not bring that forth.

It was not for "THIS" 
that that happened.
That "just happened,"
and here is "THIS."
Which is just happening.

Anything we make of it
is all our doing.
We make up the story
we tell ourselves,
the narrative we spin
about what happens to us
and how it all works together
to produce our life.

What happens to us produces us
and our life
because we respond to it 
the way we do.
But nothing makes us respond
the way we do.
In this sense,
we produce our life 
more than it is produced
by what happens to us.

How free are we to be
different than we are?
How different can/could we be?
We will never know,
and the question is moot.
What matters is what we do next
in response to what is happening now
and what will happen next.

And so, we are led,
moment by moment, 
situation by situation,
to wherever we will be 
when we get there.

All of which is to say,
it is important that we do our best
to make our best possible response
to whatever happens,
moment to moment,
situation by situation--
because what we do will lead
to what's next 
all along the way.

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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