August 16, 2021


Green River Mesa 09/23/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah
We divert ourselves 
from the truth of our life
by adding complexity and noise
in the form of diversions,
and immersion in the 10,000 things.

Interesting complexity
is still a diversion.
Beautiful noise
remains a distraction.
Interfering with our real business
of experiencing our experience,
engaging the silence,
exploring the drift of our soul,
the pull of our heart,
the interests of our mind,
the reality of our life
having a life of its own
and needing us to live it.

There are worlds within us
calling us to seek the treasures
they have waiting to be found.

In every situation 
and all circumstances,
inner space has more to offer
than outer space can begin to match--
and can match all of the chaos,
anguish, fear, grief, loss, sorrow,
and "the clashing rocks,"
and "the heaving waves of the wine-dark sea"
of the outer world,
with calming reassurance,
consoling presence,
guiding grace,
peaceful confidence,
grounding direction,
anchoring purpose
and the constant balancing
of a nuclear powered gyroscope
keeping us centered and focused on 
simply doing what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done
the way it needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what,
day by day by day,
throughout the upheaval,
trauma and drama of our life.

With all that going for it,
you might think that
establishing and maintaining 
our relationship with our inner world
would be at the tip top of our list
of things that have to be done now.

When, in truth, it is the first thing that goes,
and the last thing we think of.

What a loss that is.
And so easily avoided and averted.

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen..."



7:00 AM Ferry to Swan Quarter 10/31/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Pamlico Sound, Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, North Carolina
We cannot establish and maintain
a salvific relationship
with the inner world
without adjusting/transforming
our relationship with the outer world.
Which isn't going to happen
until our outer world experience
becomes intolerable and undo-able.

People do not attend AA meetings
because they are fun and entertaining.

We have to reach the end of our rope
before we can change our mind 
about what is important--
and change the way we live
to incorporate it into our life.

If the work to enter/engage the inner world
doesn't interest you today,
keep it in mind.
Things are always changing.
"Shift happens."
And the inner world will be there
when you need it,
if you aren't hijacked by the easier escapes
offered by drugs and alcohol--
which provide additional incentive
to seek out the inner world
and commit to its requirements
for life and being.

The doorway/threshold/portal/portkey
is always with us,
right here, right now.
And is as easy as remembering your breathing
while being still and quiet.

You can do that in a crowd
or in the privacy of your own room.
On a park bench
or walking along a stretch of beach.

We can make anywhere we are still and quiet
just by attending our breathing
and closing off the world.

The world comes immediately to mind.
No place is as noisy as the inside of your mind.
The preferred response is straight out of
Rumi's "The Guesthouse" (Google it),
welcoming all of the clatter and banging
without engaging any of it--
without emotional response to it--
just watching,
just seeing,
just knowing,
but not being swept away by it,
anchored by your breathing 
to what you are doing here and now,
waiting for "the mud to settle
and the water to clear."

Patience here is the key.
We cannot hurry the process
of settling the mud and clearing the water.
We only wait, watching.

The waiting and watching 
may be extended over time.
You may have to leave the stillness and silence
and return to it again and again
waiting for the mud to settle and the water to clear.
Your task is to do that,
watching, waiting and breathing.

Eventually "shift happens,"
and you begin to notice things--
ideas, images, realizations--
out of the silence
with a special/unique value.
These are the "strange attractors"
that "catch your eye"
and invite exploration.

If you were on a vision quest,
these would be the "visitors"
offering guidance and direction
at this particular time and place in your life,
and calling you to see where they lead,
like the white rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland,"
winking at you and flashing around a corner
or down the rabbit hole.

You have to be attuned to the difference
between the normal noise and clutter
that occupies the silence,
and these sudden appearances
of messengers from "out of the blue."

Knowing when to "follow,"
and when to return to your breathing,
is essential knowing,
and is the tipping point
between more of the same old same old,
and the wild adventure of being alive.

This is the initial evidence
of there being something to
this inner world business,
and encouragement for you
to devote time and attention 
to other areas of engagement/interface
with the inner world.

Those areas include you nighttime dreams
and your daytime flights of fancy/fantasy,
your moods,
your intuition, instincts, imagination,
your obsessions and compulsions,
your recurring memories, thoughts, ideas,

Become aware of all of your mental activity
as a treasure-trove of avenues to exploration
and adventure.

Do not discount/dismiss/disregard/ignore anything--
and catch yourself doing it when you are tempted to,
and listen there,
look there,
poke around there...

"The stone the builders reject," you know,
"becomes the chief cornerstone."

Notice everything.
See what it has to offer,
and how you respond
to what you think it might be saying.

"Everything is grist for the mill,"
and we are milling ourselves here--
our relationship with ourselves.
And the future hangs in the balance,
with everything at stake
on how attuned we are,
and how attentive we can be
to what is going on 
on all levels/frequencies of awareness,
moment by moment,
day by day.



Sevier River Falls 02 05/16/2010 –Bryce Canyon National Park, Garfield County, Utah
We are responsible for our own
balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity,
spirit, energy, vitality.

But no one explains this to us,
and very few prepare us to be so,
by modeling for us
what these terms mean and appear.

From the beginning we all 
are unable to undertake,
an much less, achieve,
the fundamental characteristics/qualities
of human being-hood.

And the world is the mess it is
because of it.

How many people do you know,
or know of,
who dependably exhibits
balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity,
spirit, energy, vitality?

Helen Keller, comes to mind for me.
And Eleanor Roosevelt
under the "know of" category.
There are 26 in the "know" column,
and I won't embarrass them by naming them
(I will say more than half are women,
and I am not related to any.

We are on our own
in figuring out the basics
and working them into our life.
"Good luck,"
as they say,
"with that!"

It comes down to what we do
and how we do it,
with what is in it for us
not even coming into the picture.

We live without an eye on 
what is in it for us.

Jesus proclaims that with every word and deed.

And it is the primary focus of life in the world.
In this world,
it is all about what's in it for us--
for every living thing.

It is to be different with human beings.
We are equipped to have what we need
to find what we need,
but we are not designed to sock it in
and store it away.

We all have to live out of 
the basic awareness of what
constitutes enough,
and keep one eye on that
as we move on the scale 
between not enough and too much,
and with the time not spent
on making our "ends meet,"
we devote ourselves to the task
of doing what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done
because it needs to be done
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what.

With balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity,
spirit, energy and vitality,
in each situation as it rises,
all our life long.


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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