September 03, 2021


From my Symbols of Transformation Gallery on SmugMug:
Heinrich Zimmer said, "The best things cannot be said, 
the second best things are misunderstood, 
the third best things are the things we talk about." 

That would be, news, weather, sports, gossip and drama.

Lao Tzu exposed the emptiness of words with his, 
"Darkness within darkness--the gateway to mystery." 
And, "The Tao that can be told 
is not the eternal Tao 
(Or, as Martin Palmer translates: 
"The path that can be discerned as a path 
is not a reliable path."). 

Lao Tzu would likely close this with, 
"Those who know don't say. 
Those who say, don't know."



West Prong of the Little Pigeon River 11/05/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Chimneys Picnic Area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
We all drink from the same spring,
but our original nature
must compete with desire/fear/duty,
and we begin to separate from each other
according to our ideas of 
how things ought to be,
and what we can do to make them that way.

Sitting still,
being quiet,
invites, and occasions,
the return to the source,
where we ground and anchor
ourselves in ourselves,
remember "the face that was ours
before we--
or our parents--
or our grandparents--
were born,"
and live out of the spontaneous
realization of what needs to be done,
here and now,
regardless of how we might want things to be.



Zion Overlook 09/25/2005 Oil Paint Rendered — Zion National Park, Spring Dale, Utah
What needs to be done?
What do we need to do?
What is being asked of us
by the time and place
of our living?

If you can come up with
three better questions
to answer,
moment to moment,
in each situation as it arises,
have at it!



Wetlands Sunrise Panorama 08 12/26/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Four-Mile Creek Greenway, Charlotte, North Carolina
As long as money has the attraction it has,
for as many people as it does,
it will be a hard path
through desolate places
for everyone.

We find our way back to the land of promise
by re-ordering our priorities
and putting first things first.
"But first things ARE first!"
comes the reply.
which ends the conversation.

And comes the summation
from the first century CE:
"The love of money is the root of all evil."

The attraction of money
is that it will buy you 
whatever you want.
Except the end of wanting.
Money is no good for that.
We have to find our way to that
on our own.

And it is not a matter 
of wanting to empty ourselves
of our wanting.
That is just more wanting.
Wanting cannot be emptied
through wanting.
We end wanting
by ending wanting.
By simply doing what 
needs to be done
beyond wanting or not wanting.

Like sneezing and scratching your nose.

Like a dog wags its tail.

Without thinking about it.

Just doing it--
by living sincerely,
from the heart
in each situation as it arises.

without wanting or not wanting,
by not having a thought
about serving our own interests
through what we do.

No exploitation.
No manipulation.
No capitalization.

If the baby needs feeding,
feed the baby.
If the light bulb
needs to be replaced,
replace the light bulb.

Eat when hungry,
rest when tired.
Chop wood,
carry water.

Be what the situation needs.
In each situation as it arises.
Like that.



White Egret at Black Lake 08/12/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Campti, Louisiana
There is only one thing that matters,
with four things that support
and enable it.

The one thing is doing what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises.

The four things that support it are:
Knowing what needs to be done.
Knowing when to do it.
Knowing where to do it.
Knowing how to do it.

There is a fifth thing,
knowing why to do it,
but it is the same over all situations
throughout time and place:
Because It Needs To Be Done!

All of this flows together into
The Most Important Thing:
Doing what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
in every moment
of every situation as it arises.

And who says so?
We do.
And we have to be right about it.
But this isn't a problem.
All we have to do is what we think
needs to be done,
and see what happens.

If it becomes apparent that we were wrong
about any of the elements
crucial to the implementation 
of the most important thing,
we only have to make corrections and adjustments,
and do what appears to us
to be the thing that now needs to be done,
and see what happens.

Etc. and so on until we get it down.
Our spiritual practice
is practicing doing what needs to be done
until we get recognizing it 
when we see it down,
and then doing it as it needs to be done forever.

It's a lot like riding a bull.
Just keep climbing back on
and telling them to open the gate.

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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