August 19, 2021


Sunflower 01 08/05/2008 Oil Paint Rendered
When The Way is not trusted,
duty comes to the fore.
Dharma tells us how to act.
replace our natural,
sense of what is called for
in each situation as it arises.

We begin to live by the book
instead of living from the heart.

The way of the child,
before Should/Ought/Must
bear down upon her (him),
is to respond sincerely
and honestly to the moment
in doing what she (he)
feels needs to be done there.

Our task is to get back to the child,
to "the face that was ours before we were born,"
and to live in our moments
as those who are open to each one,
and free to respond instinctively/intuitively 
to what is happening there--
just doing what needs to be done,
just being what is called for there.

Allowing the circumstances
to elicit our natural response,
without artificially imposing
our idea of what should be done--
spontaneously offering the right thing,
without thinking about what we are doing.

Can we do that?
Can we just watch what we do
without meddling with the moment?
Without thinking about what we ought to do?
Without imposing The Rules?
Just allowing our heart to lead us
in the dance with time and place?



Blue Ridge Tree 02 05/30/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Living tactfully, artfully,
moment to moment
is paying attention
to the time and place of our living,
without contrivance,
or agendas,
or designs,
or schemes,
or plans,
or intentions,
or goals,
or ambitions,
or ideas
squeezing the life out of the moment
in ways that might be beneficial to us.

Living tactfully, artfully,
moment to moment 
is seeing the moment,
hearing the moment,
knowing what is happening there
and sensing what is being called for,
and speaking/acting
in light of what the moment needs
from us,
and not in light of what we stand to gain
from the moment.

With nothing to gain,
nothing to lose,
and nothing at stake,
everything is possible
in any moment.

The good lies in being who we are
and letting things fall into place
around that.

No contrivance, just being.

Doing flows from being
in response to what needs to happen.

The identity of water--
water being water--
is its blessing.

All things find their place
just by being what they are.

No wanting, no seeking,
no striving to have, 
to attain, to gain...

Agendas and ideologies,
ambition and aspiration,
wanting and desiring and
having to have
are at odds with the way
of the moment at hand
and what needs to happen here and now,
and spontaneously serving it
in each situation as it arises.

See clearly.
Respond appropriately.
The key to life.



Magnolia 08 06/04/2009 Oil Paint Rendered, Greensboro, North Carolina
Being prepared for anything
is being grounded in,
anchored upon,
our original nature.

We are born with everything we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done
in any situation that arises,
in a "Here we are, now what?"
kind of way.

We don't know what is coming,
but we can know who we are,
and trust ourselves to bring forth
from our own depths
what is needed
to find what is needed
to do what needs to be done.

The Mystery is what to do
about what needs to be done.
We do not think our way there.
We simply wait to see what we do
in response to the situation at hand,
without forcing anything.

It is like giving birth
when we didn't know we were pregnant.



Oconaluftee River 07 04/13/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina
The mysterious power arising within
is not a function of willful,
deliberate, striving,
but of being in accord with The Way
of time and place meeting opportunity
in the field of action,
with our only responsibility being that
of being present and being open
to the situation at hand
in a "Here we are, now what?" kind of way.

Reading the context and circumstances,
aware of what is happening
and alert to what is being called for,
standing aside
and allowing our response
to be evoked by the occasion
in ways appropriate to the occasion,
achieves miracles
while doing nothing miraculous at all.



The Windows Drive 05/23/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Arches National Park, Moab, Utah
clatter and chatter,
complexity and complication,
trauma and drama,
diversion and distraction
disrupt our focus and concentration,
and prevent us from simply 
being present with what is present
with us,
here and now,
as servants of instinct and intuition,
urges, nudges, hunches, whims, inklings,
inspirations, revelations, realizations, etc.
in putting what needs to be done
together with how it needs to be done
to create a response appropriate to the occasion,
in each situation as it arises.

Stillness and silence are the operative requirements
for seeing/hearing/understanding/knowing/being/doing.
The louder we live,
and the more fragmented and disarrayed we are, 
the less likely we will be able
to offer what is called for,
when it is called for,
the way it is called for
in the time and place that is at hand.

Being anchored to our original nature,
with balance and harmony between that and
the context and circumstances of our life,
is the key to being who we are where we are.

And that is the essential requirement
for being fully alive in the time and place
of our living.

So diminish the noise, etc.
and increase the silence and stillness
for the work that is to be done.

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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