May 04, 2021

01

Darwin Falls 04/02/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Death Valley National Park, California
Our practice comes down to
the way we consciously
follow a particular program
for our life.

The elements of that program
are unique to each individual,
but include a basic set of:

Grounding in the silence.

Conscious development
and readjustment
of our relationship 
with ourselves,
one another
and the invisible world.

Distancing ourselves from
distractions such as 
noise,
desire/craving/wanting,
judgment/opinion,
fear/resentment/anger/hatred,
guilt/shame/humiliation/embarrassment.

Following the Alchemical observation,
"One book opens another,"
in reading the works of those
who have sought out what works
through the ages,
and making our own contribution
to their effort
through reflection on their experience
and ours,
without taking anyone else's word for anything.

Looking for things that ring true,
that resonate with something within,
that call us to look closer,
investigate further,
know more.

Listening to our heart,
our body,
our nighttime dreams,
and our daily life.

Knowing when someone 
is pushing their way 
into our life
in a way that diminishes
our capacity and responsibility for
thinking our own thoughts,
coming to our own conclusions
and deciding for ourselves 
whom to listen to
and what to do--
and drawing the necessary lines.

Trusting ourselves to know
what to do,
when, where and how,
and following the guidance
that comes from within
in all matters great and small.

Finding the tipping point,
the balance place,
between the "I" and the "We,"
so that "Thou Art That"
remains a personal realization
and not a communal imposition,
and we remain in charge of
what to say "Yes" to
and what to say "No" to
all our life long--
so that the life we live
is ours in the fullest sense of the term,
and what we do here, now,
is entirely up to us,
for better and for worse,
throughout the time left for living.

–0–

02

Field Road 06/24/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
We live best from the ground up,
and from the inside out.

This is called Living Organically.

Responding to the world
from our Original Nature
is offering what we have to give
in the service of what is called for
moment by moment.

To manipulate and exploit
each moment
in light of what we hope to gain
from the moment
is to impose our idea for our life
on our life
in the service of having our way.

This is called Living Inorganically.

The difference is the difference
between living to be who we are
and living to be who we want to be.

No difference is greater than this difference.

It is the difference between having it made
and having nothing at all.

–0–

03

Painted Hydrangea 05/17/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Greensboro, North Carolina
Milton Erikson tells a story about a horse walking
into his yard when he was a child,
and his father ordered him to take the horse home.
Milton had no idea where the horse came from,
so, he climbed up on the horse's back
and kept it from stopping to eat grass,
and the horse took itself home.

This is a wonderful metaphor for our search for
home,
God,
The Way,
The Tao,
enlightenment,
illumination,
awakening,
awareness,
realization, etc.

The 14th observation in "Cultivating Stillness" reads:
Although we speak of attaining the Tao, 
there is really nothing to attain, 
since we possess it from the very beginning. 
We arise from the Tao. 
The Tao resides in us. 
We cultivate ourselves from within.

This is the way it is with 
home,
God,
The Way,
enlightenment,
etc.

We only need to know what we know,
what is "there" already,
within.

We have to figure out 
what it might mean
to keep ourselves from stopping to eat grass,
and watch us take ourselves home, etc.

What are we doing to
"shoot ourselves in the foot,"
and stop ourselves 
from going "home"?

How are we interfering with
our own illumination/awakening/enlightenment?

Take these questions into The Silence,
sit quietly,
and see what arises/emerges/occurs/beckons...
within.

And notice where we "stop to eat grass"
on the way to The Silence."

–0–

04

Field Road 11/13/2014 06 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
What happened to knock you off track--
if you have been knocked off track?

What took the wind out of your sails?
What caused you to give up?
Quit?
Say, "What the hell?"
Take up drinking
and druggin'
and stop exercising?

When did you give up
and start doing whatever it takes
to get through another day?

Write yourself a letter 
about that entire experience.
Say all you have to say about it.
Delve into it.
Don't just pass it off.
Explore it.
Relive it.
Remember it.
Write it out.
All the way out.
Keep the narrative going
for as long as it takes.

Ask all of the questions
that beg to be asked--
and all the questions
the questions raise.
And do your best to answer them.

And ask all of the questions
the answers beg to be asked.
And answer them.
Etc. And So Forth.

This is called getting to the bottom of it.
You owe it to yourself to do that.
The self, I mean, that was counting on you
to not do that.
That self needs you to do this.

It's a way of redemption,
of atonement.
Of confession.

The best way.

Start writing.

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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