September 29, 2021

01

Tri-colored Heron 08/27/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
There are things we need to do
without knowing why.

When those things come along
do them!

Don't delay looking for reasons!
Don't talk yourself out of doing them
because you can't explain doing them!

Having to give people "one good reason why"
you are doing what needs to be done
has kept more important things from being done
than I care to count
(I don't know why I don't care to count them).

Instinct and intuition
are the most underused and disvalued tools
in our psychic toolbox.

See what you can do about changing that.

Learn to feel what your body is feeling,
know what your body is knowing,
sense what your body is sensing,
do what your body is saying needs doing.

Allow your body to take the lead,
and see where things go from there.

It will be the smartest thing
your brain ever did,
getting out of the way.

–0–

02

Great Blue Heron 02 08/30/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
"Om Mani Padme Hum" can be understood as
"The jewel is in the lotus."
The jewel can be understood as 
enlightenment/realization/light/understanding...
with the lotus representing two things,
the light/blossom of realization 
and the root/foundation in the slime
at the bottom of the pond.

I understand "Om Mani Padme Hum"
as being one part of an antiphony,
both parts of which are understood/implied
in the phrase "The jewel is in the lotus,"
with the other side being
"The lotus is in the slime 
(at the bottom of the pond)."

"The jewel is in the lotus/
the lotus is in the slime"
sums up nicely the antiphony,
the contradiction,
the yin/yang,
the juxtaposition,
the blend of opposites,
the oppositional nature of reality
at the very ground/foundation/heart
of reality.

Life Eats Life!
In order for us to live,
something has to die.

What kind of sense does that make?
Absolutely no sense at all!

The jewel is in the lotus,
the lotus is in the slime.

We live "between the hands":
"On the one hand this,
on the other hand that."

"Thou Art That"
and "Neti, Neti"
(Not this! Not That!)
(Neither this nor that!).

We are the "third way,"
the middle ground,
the synthesis
between thesis and antithesis.

We harmonize/balance/maintain the tension 
bear the pain between
the opposites,
the absurdity,
the craziness,
the agony/anguish
of life in the world.

And it is essential that we do so
in the spirit of Edna St. Vincent Millay's
realization:
"Life must go on/I forget just why."

"Why?" is the stopper--
if we allow it to be.
"Why?" has no reasonable/logical answer.
Life Eats Life--Why???
stops us if we let it.

Why let it stop us?
Life must go on/I don't know why
is as good as it gets.

We do not know why
we must bear the pain of opposites,
of contradiction,
of absurdity and suffering.

It is the essence of faith in the unknown.
Of trusting ourselves to absurdity,
because to refuse to do so
is also absurd.
Why not?

So, we take up the chant,
"Om Mani Padme Hum,"
fully aware of the antiphonal responses
"The Jewel is in the Lotus,
the Lotus is in the Slime."
"Life must go on/It doesn't matter why!"

Can you do it?
Is the question.
Will you do it?

Will you live life just as it it
right out of the box?
For what reason you do not know?

Will you do it?
Will you join me in doing it?
Companions in life all the way?
Because, why not?

–0–

03

Hay Field Panorama 06/08/2012 Oil Paint Rendered — Rockingham County, North Carolina
The commitment to life just as it is
is the essential ingredient
in a life well-lived.

We have to say, "YES!" to life
without hesitation or qualification.

We have to know/understand/acknowledge/
assent to/acquiesce to/accept/embrace:
"This is the way things are,
and this is what can be done about it,
and that's that--
and that is the way things are!"
as the foundational agreement
we make with life 
upon exiting the womb.

We cannot live well shouting,
"NO! NOT THAT! NOT THAT! NOT THAT!...

We have to work with the givens
and do what can be done with them,
about them,
within the framework of what's what,
no matter how we feel about it.

We can feel however we feel about it,
but.
We have to do what is called for
in each situation as it arises
no matter how we feel about it
as our part in the process of life.

"The big fish eat the little fish
and the little fish swim through 
the mesh in the nets 
that haul the big fish to the cannery."
And that's how it is.

And we have to square ourselves up
with the disparity between 
how things are 
and how we want things to be/
wish they were.

We can imagine a better world
than we can live in.
We work in this world 
to make it as good as it can be,
knowing that it will never come up to
our vision/desire for it.

And, we have to say "YES!" to the deal,
because it is the deal,
the only deal there is,
and we don't get better choices
than the choices we have to make.

We could do better with better choices,
but.
Better choices are not a part of the deal.
The choices we have are the choices there are,
and we have to make the best 
of what we have to work with.

Say "YES!" to that,
and let's get to work!

–0–

04

Lake Francis 02 10/31/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
I will say it again:

It is all useless, pointless, hopeless, futile and absurd--
and coming to a very bad end:
We all are going to die!
And.
How we live in the meantime 
makes all the difference.

This is the realization of contraries
that we dance with throughout our life.

On the one hand, it is stupid to go on with it.
And on the other hand, so what? Why not?

Every person in each generation
has to assent to going on with it.
It is the Human Contract that we make with life,
and with each other,
to go on with it.
And to do it with all our heart,
believing in what we are doing,
and doing it with spirit, energy, vitality,
sincerity and integrity--
balancing and harmonizing the contraries
as though nothing matters more,
because nothing matters more.

And so what if 
"we all are playing the game
of not playing a game"?

It is the only game in town.
In every town.
In all towns.

And we all depend on each other
playing the game as though it
doesn't matter that it is a game,
which is the best game there is to play,
playing it as though it makes all the difference
that we play it,
and that we play it well,
winking and laughing,
sparkling and twinkling,
all the way.

It is a great joke,
the greatest joke,
and who cares if it is on us?
Just to be a part of it, 
to be a part of the magic 
of pretending it isn't a joke,
and knowing that it is,
and not caring whether it is or not,
is the best part of the entire extravaganza.

So, "Get in there and do your thing--
and don't worry about the outcome!"
(Joseph Campbell's summation of the 
Bhagavad Gita)

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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