May 25, 2021


Roan Mountain Sunrise Panorama 06/26/2009 — Carver’s Gap, Tennessee
Can you bear the pain?
Will you bear the pain?
Why bear the pain?
For what are we bearing the pain?
What's with the pain?
Why pain?

The pain is the pain of being alive,
Life is pain all the way
from the pain of child birth,
to the pain of child rearing,
to the pain of children living home
to take up the pain of their own lives,
to the death throes of the dying.

We bear the pain because it must be borne.
To refuse to bear the pain,
to numb it with alcohol
or any of the 10,000 addictions
(Religion being a primary choice),
is to live in denial,
is to not live at all,
and we are born to live,
to be alive.

Our dharma/duty is to bear the pain of life,
and bearing it well makes things a lot better
than refusing to bear it at all.

But, why live at all if it only ends in death anyway?
We live to pass it on.
The pain is just a necessary inconvenience.
We live to pass life on,
in service to the radiance and wonder
of the experience of being alive.

For the art,
the poetry,
the beauty,
the majesty,
the glory,
the splendor,
the sublime nature
of being alive,
of bearing the pain,
of having done it
as well as we could do it,
as well as it could be done,
we pass it on.

We pass it on to discover what our contribution is,
what our art is,
what our shtick,
our specialty,
our thing is,
and develop it,
serve it,
share it,
celebrate it,
enjoy it,
delight in it
and pass it on.

We pass on the experience of all of it.
The victories
and the defeats,
the wins and the losses,
the gains and the broken hearts,
the impact of everything,
for better and for worse.

Where are you going to go to beat it?
Bear the pain well,
and pass it on!

It is essential that we do so!
And, in so doing, 
we take our place in the long line
of those who did so,
who passed it along to us,
trusting us to keep it going.

Don't let them down!
Bear the pain!
Keep it going!
For the radiance and wonder of doing it,
and of having done it!
Pass it on!



Spruce Flats Falls 05/15/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, Tennessee
Who are you?
What are you made of?
What is yours to be about?
What sets you apart from the rest of us?
What are your loves and your hates?
Your likes and dislikes?
Your specialties?
Your shtick?
Your talents?
Your gifts?
Your genus?
Your daemon (Sounds like "diamond")?
Your knacks?
Your fancies?

You are here to find out.
We live to know the answers
to all of these questions,
and all the other questions
pertaining to us and our way of being
in the world.

Live to know!
Find out who you are before you die!
And share it with the rest of us!

You might begin by developing 
a healthy relationship with silence.

Just sitting quietly opens doors
noisy living prevents 
us from knowing anything about.

However you choose to do it,
don't die without knowing who you are,



The Cathedral Group Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming
Too many people are living resolutely
in the service of the wrong things.
I don't know what to do about that.

It's the biggest problem we have.
If we could solve that one,
we would have it made.

We have too many wrong ideas
about what is important.
How can there be so many opinions
about that?
Particularly when everybody who feels that way,
can easily see how wrong everybody is
who doesn't feel that way.

How does "Wrong!" apply so often to someone else,
and rarely to ourselves?

What are our standards for discerning
what is right and what is wrong?

How do we know we are right
about what is important?

I remember working my way through
all of the questions
to the rightness of homosexuality
and abortion:

People can't help what their sexual
orientation is.
They have no say in the matter,
any more than anyone can help 
who they fall in love with,
and telling them,
"Oh, if you really tried,
you could fall in love with 
who we choose for you,"
is ridiculous,
and we know it when it is applied to us.

And no one has the right 
to force a woman to be pregnant
against her will.
Even God got Mary's permission!

So, just back off, 
and give people the right 
to their own lives!

Which, of course, means 
giving people the right 
to their own mistakes,
including being mistaken
about what is important!

But, everyone owes it to themselves
and to everyone else,
to be clear about their standards
for determining how they know they are right
about what they say is important,
so we aren't saying it is important
because that is quick/easy/convenient.

We owe it to everyone to ask the questions
that beg to be asked about our selection process.
And to keep a critical eye open
to the possibility of needing to change our mind.

I don't see much of that going on.

Do you?



Emerald Lake 09/24/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canadian Rockies
Our dharma/duty in each situation as it arises
is to trust ourselves
to our instinctive, 
sense of what is called for,
and to respond to that call
with the gifts,
daemon (sounds like "diamond"),
and spontaneous nature
that are ours from birth.

When Obi-wan Kenobi said,
"Trust the Force, Luke!"
he meant,
"Trust your instincts, Luke!"
"Trust your intuition, Luke!" 
"Do what is called for, Luke!"

We are all Luke,
just as we all are Jesus.
And our practice is to learn 
to read our instincts,
and our intuition,
and to live out of them
in all that we do.

This Duty takes precedent 
over all other duties,
social and religious,
that may try to keep us 
from serving the voice
arising from the silence
to guide our way
and direct our path.

Our work is to sit with 
the silence
until we can hear
what is being said to us
out of our instincts
and intuition,
and the to live the response
that is called for
in each situation as it arises,
and so save the world.

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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