May 20, 2021


Bluff Lake Swamp 12 05/14/2021 — Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, Starkville, Mississippi
It is difficult to find places
where we are free to 
ask the questions 
that beg to be asked,
where it is safe to say
what needs to be said,
where we are encouraged
to step beyond
the normal and customary,
where we are allowed 
to be who we are.

AA and Quaker Meetings
are the two places
in my experience
that come closest
to being Communities of Innocence,
but even they have
standards of acceptability
that inhibit or prohibit
free expression and exploration
of topics that demand/require
the freedom of expression and exploration.

In both of those places,
we know what we can say and not say,
do and do not,
and have to fit in
in order to belong.

That leaves us with Jungian analysis
and psychotherapy 
as the only places I know of
where we can say what needs to be said
and ask what begs to be asked--
in order to see what needs to be seen
and know what needs to be known--
and how many people can afford
the luxury of that kind of acceptance,
for how long?

Which means we can only be so awake,
only so aware,
only so honest,
only so alive...
Because we can be only so safe.

We can't even be safe alone with ourselves!

We need the counter-balance
of another perspective,
of other human beings,
to listen us to the truth of who we are,
and also are,
and enable us to bear the pain 
of that truth,
of the truth of full realization.

We need a community of innocence 
within which to do the work
of seeing, hearing, understanding,
knowing, doing, being, becoming. 

And our best chance of finding
what we need
is to create it ourselves--
to build around us a community
of three-to-five people
who are safe places to be,
with nothing to gain or lose
by listening each other
to balance and harmony,
realization and illumination,
beyond what we all have to gain and lose,
namely balance and harmony,
realization and illumination.



Currituck Lighthouse 05 10/25/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Looking Down, Corolla, North Carolina
We do not know what we have to say
until we start talking.
And then, 
we are afraid of what we might say,
so we stop talking.

This is the Dilemma of Truth.

We are dying to know and be known,
and terrified of what that may mean.
So we die unknowing and unknown.

We have to summon the courage
to bear the pain
of facing the truth
of who we are and also are.

This is the Buddha under the Bo Tree,
and Jesus in the wilderness,
and everyone who has walked into
an analyst's, or a therapist's, office
and remained there for the duration. 

Carl Jung said a couple of things
pertinent to my point:

1) "There is in each of us another,
whom we do not know."

2) "We are who we have always been,
and who we will be."

What we fear is right there all the time.
It only takes acknowledging 
what we already know.
And acting in light of that knowledge
in transforming our relationship
with ourselves, our life and other people.

Here, Rumi's poem, "The Guest House,"
points the way.

The healing process flows from and leads to
self-realization and self-acceptance.
Nothing happens without that.
We grow up against our will all the way.

Whose side are we on, anyway?



Field Road 03 11/14/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
The thing we keep forgetting
is that we have to walk two paths
at the same time.
All of the time.

For instance,
we have to live truthfully,
and the truth is forbidden
where we live.

So we have to sneak around.
Saying/doing what is true
when and where we can,
and not saying/doing what is true
when and where we cannot--
but knowingly knowing what we are doing
all of the time.

We play the game
of being truthfully duplicit
when necessary.

Always the rule:
Do what is necessary.
Do what is called for.
In each situation as it arises.

It is necessary to not be truthful
in situations where truthfulness 
is not permitted
and puts us in danger.

We walk two paths at the same time
in a thousand ways.

We do it by keeping one eye on
the other path
and one eye on this path,
always aware of what we are doing,
and doing what is called for,
embracing duplicity,
for instance,
where we must,
as the price we have to pay
to be true to ourselves
in situations where truth
is not permitted. 



Woods Stream 04 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Friedrich Nietzsche thought of maturity
as "a wheel rolling out of its own center."

That thought works best for me
if I modify it to a gyroscope turning
out of its own center,
relentlessly and constantly
maintaining its own balance and harmony
through all conditions and circumstances
of life
in each situation as it arises.

A mature individual remains consistently 
on even keel no matter what is going on
in their life--
because of their being grounded in
their sense of balance and harmony
and anchored to the rock
of what is deepest, truest and best
about them and their life.

They know what matters most
and will not be knocked off that foundation
by anything that arises in a day
to challenge their equilibrium
and their focus on being true to themselves
and their orientation to their axis mundi.

They do what is needed,
when it is needed,
where it is needed,
the way it is needed,
because it is needed,
all their life long,
no matter what.

That's maturity for you.

May it be so with us all
throughout what remains
of the time left for living!

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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