May 09, 2021


Otter Point 09/24/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine
The problem with religion--
all religion--
is its take on blasphemy
and heresy.

A religion that embraces blasphemy
and encourages heresy
is my kind of religion.
The only way to find 
that kind of religion
is to create it on your own.

I have done that by saying,
"Don't listen to me!
Listen to YOU!"
And by encouraging people
to sit still and be quiet,
looking and listening
for what arises in the silence
to call/compel them to action.

The only thing you have to believe
is that it matters how you live
your life,
and then live as though it does.

That is all the religion anyone needs.

And it is religion 
because it is grounded in The Mystery
at the Heart of Life and Being,
about which nothing can be said
beyond "It is The Mystery
at the Heart of Life and Being!"

The Buddha held up a Lotus flower
and Mahākāśyapa smiled,
indicating he got it,
the only one in the crowd who did.
I'd say that is above average. 

The Buddha followed this up 
with his Flower Wreath Sutra,
in which he said,
"There is nothing more to say.
this is IT!!!"

Look around you!
This is IT!!! 

You either see the Mystery
or you don't.
You see the same old same old.
You see nothing special.
But you do not see what is 
so special about nothing special.

You want to be told something,
and I'm telling you all there is to say--

And if you still don't get it,
sit still, be quiet
and listen/watch for something 
to stir in the silence,
calling you to life.

The Silence is the essence
of true religion.
Waiting for disciples
in the right frame of mind
to spread the word.

The distance from the wrong frame of mind
to the right frame of mind
is the length of the spiritual journey,
and it is made sitting still, being quiet,
waiting, looking, listening
for something to come to life in the silence.

We stand at the door and knock,
waiting for us to open the door
and see.


The door is the Lotus flower!
The Lotus flower is the door!

Keep knocking!



Bodie Island Lighthouse 04 11/04/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina
The core/base/foundational requirement
for all spiritual practice
is non-attachment.

The three great temptations,
with Jesus in the wilderness
and with Buddha under the Bodi Tree,
were fear, desire and duty.

Detachment frees us from the threat
of all three.

Nothing to gain.
Nothing to lose.
Because we already have it all
right here, right now,
and nothing can take it from us.

We are anchored/grounded/attached
to the fundamental principle
of non-attachment,
and nothing can knock us off that.

So, begin to check out your attachments.
What matters to you?
What do you care about?
Upon what does your world turn?
Upon what does your life depend?

Begin the life-long process 
of detachment
by being aware of your attachments,
and reducing your need for them 
in your life.

Live to be strongly attached 
to fewer things year by year.

Distancing ourselves from our attachments
allows us the freedom to respond 
to our situations with no investment
in the outcome,
being present solely to do what is called for
with nothing to gain or to lose,
and nothing to stand between us 
and doing what needs to be done,
from the heart,
moment to moment,
all our life long.



False Hellebore 03 04/30/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Floyd, Virginia
What is your art?
What is your life?

Answer those questions correctly,
and you win!

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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