June 29, 2021

01

Sunset Dreams Oil Paint Rendered — Scott Creek, Edisto Beach State Park, Edisto Island, South Carolina 01/29/2015
Knowing when to quit
is knowing when its done.
And that is as important
as knowing what to do,
and when, and where, and how
to do it.

Put those five elements together,
and we have a life well-lived,
regardless of what we achieve,
accomplish,
or succeed in getting done.

Adam and Eve brought contrivance
into the scene.
Actually, that comes with us all
on our exit from the womb.
Contrivance is the original sin--
trying to improve our status,
and increase our advantage,
and insure our gain,
so that we always have more tomorrow,
and next year,
than we have today,
and this year.

As though there is some advantage
to having the advantage,
something to be gained
from making gains.

What is the measure of a life
well-lived?
Why isn't that enough?
How many well-lived lives
make the annual Who's Who list,
or are to be counted among
the Fortune 500?

The people who cheat
to gain entrance
to the National Honor Society,
are missing something essential
in integrity and spontaneity,
honesty and self-transparency.

But, they certainly belong to the 
heritage of Adam and Eve,
in doing what it takes
to get what they want,
no matter the cost,
regardless of the price.

What does getting what we want
have to do with a life well-lived?
Why want anything more than that?

–0–

02

Around Bass Lake 02 10/16/2016 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
What keeps us going?

The question opens the door
to a chaotic hoard of
questions begging to be answered.

"Why is that important to you?"
"What other reasons can you come up with?"
"How do you know there isn't something else
you are missing?"
...

And the end of them all
is the answer opening another door
to the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being:
"I don't know."

We don't know what keeps us going,
or why some of us stop long before
the end of the line.
We just do.
We just go.
We just quit.
Why?
We don't know.
What separates the goers
from the quitters?
We don't know.

Our life is grounded upon mystery
from start to finish.

You would think we might be more curious
about the Mystery--
that we would make it our quest
to get to the bottom of things,
or at least make a game effort,
by probing the unknown essence
connecting us all.

Where would we start?
How would we proceed?
How might we approach
the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being?
What can we know
about what cannot be known?
Who all have sought 
what cannot be found?
What did they find?

What clues does the Mystery
scatter about to point,
or suggest,
the Way?
The Way to the Mystery
that cannot be found.

Why bother taking up 
such a search?

The people who shun "hypotheticals,"
in favor of practicality,
are operating out of the hypothesis
that hypotheticals distract from
the business at hand.

The value of the business at hand,
and what makes it valuable,
is exactly the province of hypotheticals,
and the purview of the Mystery.

Opening ourselves to the Mystery
upholding Life and Being,
"puts us in our place,"
and reminds us that we do not know
what's what,
or what it means,
or where it's going,
and that humility and curiosity 
essential companions
in feeling our way along The Way
in service of the Mystery
at the bottom of it all. 

–0–

03

Ginkgo Magic 03 11/28/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Ballantyne Ginkgo Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
Learning to listen,
learning to see,
learning to be mindfully aware,
learning to be compassionately present,
learning to be attentively alive to the here and now...
is all one multi-dimensional perspective shift.

Perspective shifts are fundamental to
waking up.

Realization,
illumination,
enlightenment,
awakening...
are all perspective shifts.

It's the swing point
between seeing what is
and seeing what also is
with an optical illusion.

Changes in perspective
change everything.

We cannot see anything
without changing the way we see it.

We start with the proposal:
The way we see something/anything
is not the way it is,
but the way we see it.

As we change the way we see it,
we change our relationship with it,
we change who we are in relation to it,
and we change what it is in relation to us.

Which way is it really?
The question no longer applies.

"Really"
"Reality"
are not steady states of being,
but ways of perceiving
the people and things 
which make up our world.

All of reality has an independent existence
apart from how we see it,
and we cannot get int its essence,
its "just so-ness"
to see/know it "as it is."

We can only see/know "how it appears to be."

The same thing applies to ourselves.

Perception is a function of perspective.
What we see is a function of how we see.

How we are sober
is not now we are drunk,
or high.

Angry
or happy.

How are we "really"?
It depends on what kind of mood we are in.
On what time of day it is.
On a number of shifting variables.

So what?
So what we see depends on a number of things,
and cannot be trusted to disclose "what is."

So blanket judgments/statements about anything
are conjectures/inferences awaiting
further clarification,
and our perspective is an attitude
awaiting further clarification.

We are, at every point,
waiting for the mud to settle
and the water to clear.

And we are never more than a
perspective shift away from 
seeing,
hearing,
understanding,
knowing,
doing,
being,
becoming,
in order to do it all again.

Waking up is like growing up,
a process unfolding over time,
without end.

Sisyphean tasks for the ages. 

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: