June 11, 2021


Cades Cove 01 02/28/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
I think it was G.K. Chesterton who said,
"When Jones follows his inner light,
Jones follows Jones."

To which I respond,
"What choice does Jones have?"

Jones has to follow Jones,
even if he takes the position of,
"I just do what I'm told.
It's easier that way."
Jones is then following
whomever Jones chooses to follow,
but Jones is making the choice,
and thereby "following Jones"
in following whomever 
is telling him what to do.

When Captain Jack Sparrow says,
"It's the pirate's life for me,
Gibbs. I have no choice in the matter!
He is choosing to have no choice.
Choosing not to choose is choosing
whom/what to choose.

Is choosing.

Jones/we cannot avoid our place
as the sole/rightful authority
governing the life Jones is--we are--

We abdicate/acquiesce at our own pleasure.

What is the equivalent 
of "the pirate's life" for you?
You have chosen it.
You are living it.
What is it?

I have chosen to listen to me,
to follow orders arising from within
my own psyche/center/source/unconscious,
and to know when I am "on the beam"
with that,
and when I am off it.

It's tricky,
knowing who is calling the shots,
directing my own life.
Is it me?
Or my Shadow?
Or my Ego?
Who is in control 
of what I am doing
and what I will do next?

I have to be quiet with that question,
and confess that I do not know.
I am doing what seems to be right
at the time.
And I am ready to do something else
when that seems to be right.

How do YOU know what to do,
What is guiding YOUR boat
on its path through the sea?

Getting to the bottom of us
carries us into The Mystery
of Life and Being.

We are led/guided/directed
by Mystery.
And, at the bottom,
that is all we can say.
And it is a cop-out 
to say that before reaching
the bottom!

We have to know that we do not know
who/what is directing our life!
And listen!
For what arises within.
For what appears.
Comes forth.
Occurs to us.
Compels us with an irresistible force
into some version of "the pirate's life."


Sail on! Sail on!
Not knowing who/what is at the helm!
But faithful to the task
and trusting who/what we do not know
to the path that unfolds before us
all the way.
All The Way.



Live Oak Park 04/28/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — LSU-A, Alexandria, Louisiana
There are three of us
within each of us.
We are a Holy Trinity unto ourselves.

There is the Knower,
and the One Who Knows the Knower,
And the Doer.

The Doer is the One Who balances/harmonizes
the Knower and the One Who Knows the Knower,
so that the One Who Knows the Knower
doesn't get the big hat
and think he/she IS the Knower.

The Doer balances/harmonizes the relationship
between the other two
in a way that results in
action in the field of action.

Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit--
which blows where it will--
harmonizing Father and Son
in a way that rises to every occasion
and produces action appropriate
to the time and place of its incarnation.

This Trinitarian view of the Self
comes to light when we consider
the Ego and its tendency to take over
and run the show
with its Should, Ought, Must, Mustn't, 
Want, Want, Want... Way.

Well, who is going to intervene 
and say "Stop It Now!" to the Ego?
Would that be the Ego's ego?
Some Super Ego?
Who has oversight of that ego?
Who is in charge of all of this?

In India they get rid of the Ego entirely,
and become submissive to some guru,
some Dharma/Duty/Caste,
who/that directs their life,
so that no independent thinking is going on,
and everybody is doing what has always been done.

Well, who says so?
Who says we must do what Swami-Guru says do?
What some Dharma/Duty/Caste says do?
Who is giving the order to obey Swami-Guru/Dharma/Duty/Caste?
Who says, "Not my will but thine be done 
(because I say so, because I will it to be done that way)"?

Who is the Ego's Ego?
Who works all this out?

We have Ego,
and we have Not-Ego,
and we have Mediator Between Ego and Not-Ego,
balancing/harmonizing the relationship,
determining what is to be done.

Ego can't get rid of ego!
No matter how hard or how long it tries!
We can only be quiet,
and be aware,
and move according to... What?

What moves us?
What directs our action?
What guides our boat
on its path through the sea?
What determines what we do???

It is a miracle.
Every action is a miracle.
No one is in charge of us.
"We" become, somehow,
through our actions
an independent,
mass of protoplasm,
making its/our way through
the conditions and circumstances
of our environment
as though we know what we are doing,
not-knowing anything
about how we know that,
or what makes us think we know that.

Why do we do what we do
when we do it?

Who says so?

The best we can do is to
be aware of all we are capable 
of being aware of,
and see what we do next.

Awash in wonder.
Astounded and astonished
at the miracle of it all.
Stunned and amazed
at the ridiculous
impossibility of existence. 
Waiting to see what we do next.

Lost in the radiance
of Life and Being.



Bluff Lake Swamp 11 05/14/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, Starkville, Mississippi
We have seized the ethical dimension 
of religion,
and have rejected the mystical dimension.
And that is why God is dead.
We killed God
by denouncing the God Within as heretical,
burning that God at the stake
along with the Gnostics,
and all the others extolling 
God's immanence, 
and striving to live "transparent to transcendence."

Just believe the catechisms
and "Live a godly, righteous and sober life,"
was the end of religion.

Joseph Campbell said, 
"Your life has to become a transparency
through which light shines...
the god in you must be allowed
to come through in your life!"

Jesus' "The Father and I are one,"
is to be everyone's model of life.
We live to be at one with God,
exhibiting the essence of godliness
in the way we live moment to moment,
so that, "If you have seen me,
you have seen God."

That is the meaning of
"The kingdom of heaven is within you."
We bring heaven to life here and now,
by becoming the living presence of God 
in the world,
inviting everyone to experience
the ineffable in us, through us.
So that being with us
is a religious experience.

No church ever said that,
or anything close to that.
And that is the pity and the shame.
Who are you going to believe?
Or everyone else?

What you do with this is up to you.
Jesus would say,
"Those who have eyes, let them see.
Those who have ears, let them hear."
He is saying,
"What you see, what you hear,
is up to you."



Oktoc Road Dairy 01 05/14/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Starkville, Mississippi
Sin is being wrong
about what is important.

Repentance is changing our mind
about what is important--
and being right about it--
and living in ways 
that are aligned with it,
serve it,
do it,
in the right way,
at the right time.
All the time.

What is so hard about this?
And why would it deserve heaven
when we die?

It's just basic humanity!
Why would we have to be rewarded
for doing the right thing?

And why do we think
God dances and sings
when we do it?

That's just a tiny bit
over on the totally absurd side,
don't you think?

Our mom never got that excited
when we pooped in the potty.
And that's a really big step!

We need to grow up all over the place.

And start behaving--and believing--
as though we are.

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.

One thought on “June 11, 2021

  1. Man, you are getting deep on us here now. All I know is that what seems good to me often isn’t.  When I let go into the mystery, this is clear. When I try to run my own life, I can’t.  One day at a time! Watching the butterflies ought be enough! Thanks, Jim & cheers! E$

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

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