June 17, 2021

01

Reelfoot Lake 63 11/04/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee
Each of us has our own talents,
interests,
specialties,
daemon (sounds like "diamond"),
gifts,
genius,
knacks,
shtick,
proclivities,
nature,
virtues,
trajectory,
path,
etc.
and our adventure
is finding and being
who we are.

The culture and social order
are allied against us
with their "Thou Shalts"
and "Thou Shalt Nots,"
and we have to grow up into 
being our own authority
in recognizing who we are
and what we are being called to do
with our life.

Living within the tension between
who society/culture says we must/must not be,
and who we know who we must/must not be,
is the dangerous path,
the slippery slope,
like a razor's edge--
and how well we negotiate the passage
is the tale our life tells
in the living of it.

The mystery we serve
is the unfolding of our own unique nature,
the living of the life that is right for us,
and no one can tell us how to do this.
We are the only one who knows
what is IT for us,
what fits for us,
what resonates with us,
what IS us.

We find the way that is our way,
by taking our clues where we stumble upon them
to the unveiling of ourselves.

This is our work.
It is the work of our psychological/spiritual
transformation/illumination.

This is the gold of spiritual realization
and fulfillment.
We are the Philosophers Stone,
turning our base physical body into
the precious metal that is hidden away
within our own heart and spirit.

We transform ourselves
by bringing out who we are capable of being
over the full course of our life,
and not resting until we are done.

You are it.
I am it.
We are that which we seek.
It's been right here with us
all along!
Hiding out in you and me!

Now it is up to us to bring it forth,
and "let our little light shine,"
wondering in amazement
how this could be us.

–0–

02

Cades Cove Loop 10/22/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee
The true church has no theology.
Real religion has nothing to say.

If you understand this,
you have all you need
to find what you need
to do what needs to be done
at the right time,
in the right place
and the right way,
because it needs to be done.

And that is all you need to do
throughout the time left for living.

–0–

03

Lake Haigler 04 08/22/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Heinrich Zimmer said,
"The best things can't be told,
and the second-best things are misunderstood,
and the third-best things are the facts
like news, weather and sports."

The best things are experiences
with the Numen,
with the numinous,
with the ineffable,
the sublime.

The second-best things are
the Bhagavad gita,
the Tao te Ching
and the Sermon on the Mount.

We spend our time with 
the third-best things
because it is easier that way.

And so, the importance
of asking all of the questions
that beg to be asked,
and saying all of the things
that cry out to be said.

Anyway,
nevertheless,
even so.

Do not be quiet
just because no one gets it,
or is interested!

Someone is listening.
Someone cares.

Say what needs to be said
to those who need to hear.

Without pause,
without letup,
without ceasing,
without end.

–0–

04

Closed Gate 02/09/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Mission San Jose, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, San Antonio, Texas
Carl Jung said the world is in the mess it is in
because people do not have a place to tell their stories.

Who listens to what you have to say?

How much do you say in a week
that is not a repetition
of something you have said that week?

How many new things do you say in a week?
How many new thoughts do you think?
How many new ideas do you have?
How many realizations come to you?

Where do you go to be heard?

We do not know what we have to say
if we do not have a place to be heard.

We have our best chance of being heard
by working to create an environment
in which it is safe to say 
what needs to be said.
We do that by listening 
to what others are saying to us.
We do that by listening
to what we are saying
in response to what is being said to us.

We cannot listen to others
without hearing ourselves.
As we begin to hear ourselves,
we will attract others 
who can hear themselves,
and, therefore, can listen to us.

We create places to say what we have to say
by listening to what others have to say.
And everyone is better off
because we started listening
to ourselves
listening to others.

Be what you seek.
It's the oldest wisdom in the book of wisdom.

–0–

05

Geese on the Wing 02 Oil Paint Rendered — Guilford County Wetlands, Greensboro, North Carolina
All the Bible we need consists of:
The Sermon on the Mount,
The parables of the Prodigal Son
and the Good Samaritan,
and the bit about
"Inasmuch as you have done it,
or failed/refused to do it,
to the least of humanity,
you have done it,
or failed/refused to do it,
unto me."

That's it.
No theology.
No doctrines.
No dogma.
Just straight out
and to the point:
"This is the way it is,
and that is all there is to it.
What you do about it
is up to you."

There is no discussion.
There is no debating.
There is no believing or not believing.
There is only doing or not doing.
What's it going to be?

–0–

06

1-2-3 Panorama Oil Paint Rendered — Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge, Starkville, Mississippi
Here is one thing we have to come to terms with:

All religion has a mystical center
beyond theology.
"The path that can be discerned
is not a reliable path"
(Martin Palmer).
"The Tao that can be said/told,
is not the eternal Tao"
(Lao Tzu).
The more you say about God,
the less you know about God.

The Mystery/The Mystical is the heart of religion.
And our task is to associate ourselves with it--
to collaborate with The Mystery 
at the heart of Life and Being.

We have to enter the mystery
in order to relate to the mystery.
We have to be open to the mystical
in order to recognize and perceive the mystical.

Meister Eckhart said, 
"The final leave-taking 
is leaving God for God."

Leaving the God of Theology and the Bible,
for the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being.
Which is at the very center of each one of us.
WE are the Mystery!
And the deeper into us we go,
the less of us we know!

And the kind of knowing we are moving into
is a "knowing knowing,"
and not a "thinking knowing."

We move from a "thinking knowing"
when we are learning to play tennis,
or the piano,etc.,
into a "knowing knowing" as we master
the game or the instrument, etc.

Moving into The Mystery is like this.
First we think our way forward,
and then we move beyond "thinking knowing"
into "knowing knowing."

Oneness with The Mystery is a "knowing knowing" thing.

Joseph Campbell often referred to The Mystery
as "the Transcendent,"
and said that we are to "move into the Transcendent."
That is what we are doing
when we "leave God for God."

And Campbell said, 
"That entails leaving the life you had planned on having,
in order to have the life that is waiting on you."
Discovering that life is finding the Mystery,
and entering the Transcendent.
And that is the adventure of a lifetime!

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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