My 40.5 years of service as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) notwithstanding, people occasionally wonder if I am a Christian, and sometimes say, "How can you consider yourself to be a Christian?" My stock reply goes like this: "If you measure your Christianity by the Westminster Confession of Faith, including the Larger and Shorter Catechism, the Apostle's Creed, the Nicene Creed, and any collection of hymns ever compiled, I am most certainly NOT a Christian by that standard, and am proud to not be one. But. If you measure your Christianity by the Sermon on the Mount, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the passage about 'In as much as you done it, or not done it, to the very least of humanity, you have done it, or not done it to me,' and the Eden-Gethsemane axis, I am every bit as much of a Christian as Jesus was, and am very proud to be so." They generally leave the conversation with no idea of what I'm talking about. Oblivious to the likelihood that I am as close to Jesus as they are ever going to be in this life, if not also in whatever awaits on the other side of death. And, if that is all they care to put into their side of the conversation, I'm not going to argue with them about what is and is not "Christian." I have things I need to be doing, and "shooting the breeze" is not one of them.
I live to do what I'm doing, and upon retirement I dedicated myself to solitude and silence, which I define as having nothing beyond conducting necessary business to do with anyone not in my immediate or extended family. The vow of solitude and silence has served me well, enabling me to reduce complexity and diminish noise, and allowing me the time and space required to listen and look for what is important and for what needs to be done about it in each situation as it arises-- and to devote myself to its service using the tools (virtues, gifts, proclivities, shtick, genius, daemon [sounds like "diamond"], etc. that belong to my original nature and came with me from the womb) at my disposal to do what can be done about what needs to be done. The distance I have inserted between myself and life as it is, has helped immensely in maintaining my balance and harmony, my spirit, energy and vitality, my perspective and my response-ability in the "imminent and transcendent" aspects of my life, and I am glad to be able to live here and now in light of, and in relationship with, the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being. Retirement is a huge assist in the work of being present to and in accord with the Way and its Virtues, but that work can begin at any point in our life. It is only a matter of how we use our time and where we place our attention, and those are choices we make in every moment of every day. Being aware of what we are choosing to do with the time that is ours is the gate that opens and closes to how we will be and not be in each situation as it arises. Live to never open or close the gate unknowingly, and you will be a friend and companion of the Way all along the way.
Walkin' Jim Stoltz said, "One must be intent upon the path." It is only ourselves and the path. Keep to the path! Stay on the path! Become--and remain--one with the path! This is what "living in accord with the Tao" comes down to: Being intent upon the path! Being right here right now upon the path! Just doing what needs to be done-- and often that comes down to the next thing. Sometimes it is the next step. "One step at a time" is more than an AA slogan. It is the way of remaining in contact with The Way! Live on! Pass it on! It doesn't matter why. Trust yourself to the that. To the this. To the path. Forget about why. To ask why is to disengage from this path right here, right now. Do not lose the focus on the path! "One must be intent upon the path!" Pursuing "Why?" breaks our concentration. We stray from the path. We lose the way. We wander in the wasteland wondering why, why, why. Stop! Stop asking "Why?" Get back on the path! "One must be intent upon the path!" "One step at a time." All along the way.