September 02, 2021


Sunset Penobscot Bay 09/27/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Deer Isle, Maine
When it comes to discerning
what needs to happen in the present moment,
do not think about it!
No Thinking Allowed!

Reason, logic, morality and ethics
tradition, doctrine, dogma,
and what your mother said
are useless
in discerning/perceiving
what is being called for
and what needs to be done about it.

Discernment and perception
are functions of 
perspective and awareness,
stillness and silence.

We have to look and listen
in order to see and hear.

Sit quietly in the silence
and watch, listening,
for what arises/emerges/occurs to you
out of the silence,
and see how you respond
in bringing it to life
in the situation at hand.

Allow the flow of what needs to be done
to carry you into action,
without motive/intention/willfulness/fear/
desire/sense of duty and obligation
interfering in any way.

Right action arises of its own accord,
at the right time,
in the right way
with those who are empty of plans
and ideas,
and are available.

Live to be empty and available.



West Prong Little Pigeon River 05 11/05/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — The Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
In any (every) situation,
there is the right thing to do/say,
and the wrong thing to do/say.

There is what needs to be done/said,
and there is what needs not to be done/said.

In any (every) situation
that comes along.

That is where we come in.

We step into any (every) situation
as those who are there 
to do what needs doing
and to do not what needs to be not done.

How do we know?
How can we be right about what is right,
and what is wrong?

There is a trick with this.
It is called getting out of the way
of The Way.

It is also called getting in the way
that is The Way.

The Way has always been called Tao
(pronounced "Dow" like "the Dow Jones Average"
whatever that is).

I do not know why it is called Tao.
That is just a convention for saying
what needs to be said.
The name is not magical,
but what it names is.
It is the magic of time and place,
of timing and pace,
and it flows through all times and places,
things and people.

To be "in accord with Tao"
is to be "in the grove,"
"in the flow,"
in sync with the moment
dancing with the music
of here and now.

How do you do that?
By getting out of the way
of The Way.

We get in the way of The Way
when we impose our ideas 
of how things ought to be
on the way things are
without any sensitivity
to how things are
and how they might feel
about our plans for them.


Our way is not The Way,
and that's a problem.

Think of a golfer on a putting green.
They can try to get the ball in the hole
their way or the green's way.
If they align themselves with the green,
and do it with the green's way,
they will come out better
than if they try to make the ball
go in the hole the way they want it to.

Putting is all about reading the green
and aligning ourselves with it.

The green has a different way
for balls at different places on the green.

There are different ways in operation
in every moment--
not just One Way--
depending on who we are and where we are
in the moment,
so it isn't a matter of forcing everyone
in any situation to do it the same way,
but of everyone in any situation
doing it the way the situation needs them
to do it,
given who they are and what they bring
to the situation.

Our place is know who we are
and to know what is ours to do
in being aligned with,
in sync with,
in accord with,
the flow of time and place
(and time and pace)
in each moment
of every situation as it arises.

May you move with the flow of the moment
in every moment
for the good of the moment,
in knowing what is called for,
and doing what needs to be done--
when it needs to be done,
how it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
without a thought about what's in it for you,
and allow everything to fall into place
around that,
from moment to moment all your life long.



West Prong Little Pigeon River 11/06/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
There is talk that matters not
about things that matter most
in circles you probably would 
never be drawn to
that I am going to tell you of
because it is there to be said
and that is what I do.

Research regarding the Tao te Ching
has come upon some early versions
which are called the Te Tao Ching.

"Ching" means "Book" or "Classic Book."
"Te" means "Virtue" or "Virtues" or "Power."
"Tao" means "Way" or "Path."

"Tao te Ching" would mean,
"The Book of the Way and its Power,"
which lends itself to the interpretation
"In possession of the Way we hold all Power."
And people have looked at Tao as the Way
to Immortality, Victory, Success, etc.

"Te Tao Ching" would lend itself to
"The Virtues (or Virtue) of the Way,"
which I much prefer,
in that following the Way blesses
those following with the virtues 
of balance and harmony,
sincerity and integrity,
spirit, energy and vitality,
as by-products (or side effects)
of tuning into each moment,
and following the flow of the Way,
in doing what needs to be done there,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
and then on to the next moment,
without a thought about,
or concern for,
what is in it for us.

The unmovable, adamantine, foundation
of life and being through all times and places.

Right there, right here,
waiting for us to align ourselves with it,
belong to it,
and honor it with filial loyalty
and liege devotion,
moment by moment,
situation by situation,
all our life long.

On the other hand,
there is the quest for money and power,
and that holds a compelling attraction,
in spite of a pronounced lack of evidence
of its actual value
in the lives of those who are devoted disciples.

So, what will it be?



Winter Sunrise 12/26/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Four-Mile Creek Wetlands, Charlotte, North Carolina
Communist China invaded Tibet in 1950,
massacring untold numbers of people,
destroying Buddhist temples,
and forcing the Dali Lama to take refuge
in Pakistan.

Not one word of vitriol, 
or even criticism,
has been heard from the Dali Lama
or any Buddhist 
in the aftermath of that event.

Sit with that,
for a while,
in light of the heavy traffic
in Tweets and Facebook posts
regarding all of the things to be
not liked in the world we live in,
without being ashamed
of what all that says about us
and our degree of compassion,
and the ability to rise 
to any occasion
with response that is admirable
and worthy of praise.

In any situation, 
the fitting response
avoids escalation
and the worst of possible outcomes
over time.

Jesus nailed it with, 
"You have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye..'
but I say to you, 'Do not respond with acrimony 
but with generosity and peace.'"

Sitting with that and the Tibetan response
to the Chinese invasion,
and wondering about the best way
to set appropriate limits
and draw necessary lines,
leads to the obvious realization
that when the law is broken
justice is to be served 
quickly and efficiently.

And that is the weak link in the US
response to domestic unrest
and the assault on Democracy,
and the widespread apostasy
in terms of breaking oaths of office
by members of Congress,
and the failure/refusal of those
in charge of democratic systems 
to make those systems work. 

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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