November 23, 2021


22-acre Woods 01 11/17/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Indian Land, South Carolina
There is a Zen saying,
"If you meet the Buddha on the road,
kill him!"

When Lao Tzu heard it said, 
he laughed
and replied,
"I meet the Buddha
in every person I meet on the road!
I bow in recognition
and pass on by!
That is the way the Buddha
meets the Buddha!"

Of course, Lao Tzu lived
a thousand years before
the development of Zen,
but then he never really said
most, if not all, 
of the things attributed to him.

Being a stickler for precision
takes the life out of living,
shrivels the imagination,
and shackles the soul
in a dungeon built of 
layers of policy,
procedures and crusty old theologians
with their propensity for
decency and order.

Jokes make better points than
lectures, dictionaries
and encyclopedias are capable of making.
And a lecture with no jokes attached
is something cooked up
in the devil's own kitchen.

Lighten up!
Laugh out loud
with every opportunity
that comes along!

That's the way the Buddha 
meets the Buddha!
(And the Christ meets the Christ!)



Rockport Harbor 03 10/13/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Rockport, Maine
Making things better
by the quality of our response
to what is happening
is the one great human contribution
to the cosmos.

The quality of response
is the gift of consciousness
to existence.

Everything else responds to its experience
in an instinctive,
locked-in and hell-bent
kind of way. 

With consciousness,
something new enters the game,
or is capable of entering the game,
depending upon 
how conscious we are of being conscious,
how aware we are of being aware,
and how well we engage the two worlds,
unconscious and conscious
in selecting a response
that is perfect for the occasion
out of all the possible responses
available to us
in the split-second between
impact and response.

This is an amazing experience in itself,
experiencing our experience,
and watching ourselves respond to it
in ways appropriate to the moment
and precisely what is called for
out of awareness itself--
with awareness including not only 
what is happening here and now,
but also what has happened,
and what needs to happen
out of our experience/memory/reflection/judgment,
so that "Boom!" there it is--
the right action
at the right time
delivered in the right way,
so that it is just what is needed.

Making things better
by the quality of our response
to what is going on.

(Of course, we can also make things worse,
much worse,
by the poor quality of our response 
to what is going on,
and that is the element of pathology
that humans bring to the table,
being capable of acting in ways
that are harmful to ourselves and others
in a sadistic/masochistic kind of way,
which is an inexplicable and inescapable
downside to the experience
of being alive.

We have the ability to be for ourselves
and for life,
and the ability to be against ourselves
and against life.

Which is weird and undeniable,
and, apparently, immune to conscious control.)



A Huddle of Horses 02/11/2014 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Between five and seven million years ago
the first human ancestors stepped into the world.
About two million years ago "modern humans" appeared,
and displaced (or killed out)
the non-modern humans
(Neanderthal and Homoerectus, principally).

In another two million years,
and certainly in five to seven million years,
we will be different than we are now.
Different-better, I'm guessing.

I'm guessing that because evolution 
doesn't back up, go in reverse,
become what it was, very often.
The movement is beyond where we are.

But the impact of human stupidity
upon the evolutionary process
has yet to be experienced,
so devolving isn't out of the question,
because stupidity is rampant among us,
and is driving the next evolutionary leap,
and there is no telling what is beyond that.

Life evolves, 
but there is no reason to think it ends.

Bodies die,
but that is no reason to think life dies.
Life winks out of existence here
and pops up over there.
Why not?

Life is eternal, everlasting,
an aspect of Mind, perhaps,
always "there/here,"
never going anywhere.

Flowing into existence in some form,
and disappearing out of existence,
to flow back into existence,
carrying nothing of its former existence
with it as it flows through the cosmos.

Always coming or going.
Always moving.
Never dying.
Only transitioning from one form of being
into another.

Mind being Mind, perhaps.
Doing what it does
because that is what it does.

Our experience is a very temporal/temporary thing.
Why waste any of it?
We are to live while we have the chance!
We have never been before,
in this particular configuration,
and we will never be again.
This is it!
Why not make the best of it 
while we can?

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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