October 10, 2021

01

Sunset at Morton’s Overlook 06/06/2002 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
It is our place
to be sure that our actions
are in the service of balance and harmony,
and not in the service
of the forces of destabilization.

Sex, drugs and alcohol 
are the top three most popular choices
in the service of destabilization
in the name of seeking balance and harmony.

"Just a little more,"
can become all there is
in short order,
and there is nothing then
to remove the massive degree
of destabilization we achieve thereby.

And, thus, the saying,
"We meet our fate 
on the road we take
to escape it" (Carl Jung).

The solution is to meet--
and bear--
the pain at the start.
To stand up to the forces
of destabilization
before they build up momentum
and create karma.

We have to say, "No!" early on,
while those forces are young and malleable 

Changing our relationship with our life then,
stops what is causing instability
in the early stages of imbalance.

We can't wait until they eat our life
for breakfast,
and begin looking around for lunch.

–0–

02

Fall Woods 03 10/27/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
By acting out daily
in full view of the entire world,
Donald Trump--
as President of the United States,
no less--
called forth the dark side
lying latent in the immature
and unbalanced
throughout the land,
every land.

Everybody has something 
to be angry about.

Masks and vaccinations for COVID19
became overnight symbols
of resistance and opposition
to all that is proper and appropriate
about life together.

Look at it as adolescents rebelling
against the necessity of accommodating 
themselves to the requirements
of adulthood.

Trump is the eternal child--
the Puer aeternus--refusing to grow up,
and drawing to himself all those like him
in his infantile insistence
that how he wants things to be
is how things ought to be.

We all grow up against our will--
or remain an eternal child forever. 

Growing up is an inside job,
accomplished only by those 
who have the inner resolve
to do what needs to be done
whether they want to or not:
Wear a mask!
Be fully vaccinated!
Etc. ad nauseam. 

Trump laughs at the idea,
and says, "First I want
you to do me a favor..."

"I want" is the unending refrain
of those who will not grow up.

Growing up is the capacity 
to do what needs to be done--
and to go on doing it--
when there is nothing in it for us.

Flash back to the Garden of Eden,
Adam and Eve,
Original Sin.

The original sin is not eating
the forbidden fruit.

The original sin is The Profit Motive!
"If we eat this,
the world will be ours!"

Or, as it is written,
"The fruit of the tree was good for food 
and pleasing to the eye, 
and also desirable for gaining wisdom,"
which, as everyone knows,
was the path to happiness and glory everlasting.

"First, I want a favor..."
"I want. I WANT!"
"I don't want. I DON'T WANT!!!"

The "old, old, story," is being acted out today,
with "acting out" being
the primary mode of transmission.

Refusing to grow up is the bane
of human existence.
And dealing with those
who refuse to grow up
was the agony of Jesus,
who shouted,
"How long must I bear with you?
How long must I put up with you?"

We know exactly what he meant.
And if Jesus could not solve
the problem of terminal immaturity,
what chance have we?

Our place is to understand 
that Jesus IS the solution
to terminal immaturity--
that the way back to Eden--
the way to the Promised Land--
is death to our dreams of having our way.

“We must be willing to let go of the life 
we have planned 
so as to have the life 
that is waiting for us” (Joseph Campbell).

And "But first, I want a favor,"
has no place in this deal.
There is only doing or doing not
what waits to be done,
namely, living our life on our life's terms--
As though it were our idea from the start.

And if we do not die the death required
to do that,
we die the death of the eternal child
living in the service of "I WANT!!!"
all the way.

–0–

03

Fall Woods 02 10/31/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Indian Land, South Carolina
The Original Sin from a Taoist perspective
is The Profit Motive--
the idea of what's in it for us.

Taoism would say emptying ourselves
of even the desire to be empty
is the primary ground of being.

That from the emptiness comes the silence
that is the source of all than needs to be.

And that what we get out of being still
and quiet,
and listening to the silence
is the opportunity to serve
our original nature
in the eternal (Sisyphean) work
of doing what needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
no matter what,
with nothing in it for us
beyond the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction 
of having done it,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

Doing that is having it made
from a Taoist point of view.
It is being one with the heart
of life and being--
and that is all there is to be.

–0–

04

Fall Woods 01 10/29/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Indian Land, South Carolina
In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell said:

"(It is) a matter of being able to accept chance. 
The ultimate backing of life is chance—
the chance that your parents met, for example! 
Chance, or what might seem to be chance, 
is the means trough which life is realized. 

The problem is not to blame, 
or explain, but to handle the life that arises.

The best advice is to take it all 
as if it had been of your intention—
with that, 
you invoke the participation of your will. 

Thinking in mythological terms 
helps to put you in accord with 
the inevitabilities of this vale of tears. 

You learn to recognize the positive values 
in what appear to be 
the negative moments and aspects of your life. 

The big question is whether 
you are going to be able to say 
a hearty yes to your adventure—
the adventure of being alive.

You’ve got to say yes 
to this miracle of life as it is, 
not on the condition that it follow your rules."

"The adventure of being alive,"
is the path of growing up.
Of taking things as they are,
and doing what we can imagine 
to do with them.

To take what happens
and work with it
to produce what it might become--
who we might become,
as we are brought forth
in our work with what happens to us
day-to-day 
along the way.

It is magical,
it is miraculous,
it is amazing,
and it all waits for us
to give our ascent
and full cooperation
to the task that is before us:
being who we are (our original nature),
where we are,
when we are,
how we are,
doing what needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
because it needs to be done,
no matter what,
with nothing in it for us
but the joy of doing it,
and the satisfaction 
of having done it,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

–0–

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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