October 18, 2021


The Tree by the Road 02/11/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Union County, South Carolina
Balance and harmony
form the um-welt for,
and are the offspring of,
sincerity, spontaneity and integrity.

Living out of sincerity,
spontaneity and integrity
in the service of balance and harmony,
is to have nothing at stake
in the outcome.

It is to live from emptiness
in the companionship of silence,
doing what needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
and letting that be that.

No emotional investment.
Or involvement.

Nothing screws with balance and harmony
like emotional investment.
Like emotional involvement.
Like emotional reactivity.
Like having to have our way.

Doing what needs to be done
is not dependent upon the result
of our action.
It is itself the result
of our being called to action
by the situation which evokes
our response.

Doing what needs to be done
rests on us.

We have done our part
when we do that.
The outcome is beyond our control.
Or even our interest.

We do our work
and step back,
as Lao Tzu advised.
"And let nature take its course."

The recipe for balance and harmony.



Dawn Down East 11/06/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Down East, North Carolina
It isn't what we believe--
it is what we do,
in response to the situation
as it arises.

The Buddha is more like Jesus
than the people who rave about Jesus.

See what needs to be done
and do it.
Then, see what needs to be done
in response to what you did,
and do what needs to be done
about that...
For as long as situations arise.

It doesn't matter what you believe
as long as you do what needs to be done,
situation by situation.

If your beliefs assist that, fine.
If your beliefs interfere with that,
or prevent it, 
you need to change your beliefs
and do what else needs to be done.

We know what needs to be done
by seeing the situation as it is,
and by knowing what is called for there,
without prejudice
or predisposition,
and without imposing our will
for the situation
upon the situation.

What needs to be done in any situation
is unique to the situation,
organic to the situation,
arising from the situation,
and evokes our response
in a spontaneous, sincere,
kind of way.

The way a change in tempo
elicits a change in motion
from the dancers dancing
to the music.


Swan Lake 09/13/2019 Oil Paint Rendered — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina
It is easy to know right from wrong,
but greed and self-interest get in the way
and lead to bad judgment
in the service of unrestrained desire.

What we want to happen
can be confused with what needs to happen,
and the path can be obscured
by the noise of competing goods.

When we empty ourselves of preferences
and inclinations,
and see the situation as it is
"thus come,"
right action is evoked naturally
like the way of a stream
encountering an obstruction.

Emptiness is the way to the way,
and is, therefore, the way.
The water of life 
flows from an empty well.
Drink deeply from the empty bucket,
and all will be well.


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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