November 29, 2021

01

Ginkgos 06 11/28/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Ballantyne Ginkgo Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
Sit with these words and phrases
and mine them for their gold
as a regular and on-going practice.

Treat them as guides to the way,
and companions along the path.

Tend your relationship with them
with filial devotion,
allegiance,
and loyalty.

Emptiness, stillness and silence.

Balance and harmony.

Sincerity, integrity and self-transparency.

Spirit, energy, vitality.

Virtue, courage, resiliency, faithfulness.

Original-nature.

Grace, compassion and peace.

Live aligned with them.
in light of them,
forever.

–0–

02

Beach Tree Panorama 06 11/23/2021 Oil Paint Rendered –22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
T.S. Eliot wrote in "The Four Quartets,"
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

His idea that "we shall not cease"
and "at the end" 
we will arrive at the beginning,
connects me with Carl Jung's idea
of "the circumambulation of the self,"
where there is no direct way
to what we seek--
which is to know ourselves
and to live in accord with our original nature
through all of the conditions and circumstances
of our life.

Seeking to be is, itself, being,
and being here, now,
is all we can ever hope to be,
and "realized eschatology" is
comprehending that the "coming one"
has always been with us,
and is us,
just as we are,
particularly just as we are,
as one "thus come,"
like the Buddha under the Bo Tree,
right here, right now,
and on we go
being ourselves,
true to our original nature,
in every here and now
throughout time
and beyond time,
just by being where we are,
doing what needs to be done
the way we would do it,
knowing there is nothing more to it
than that. 

–0–

03

Fall Woods 01 11/24/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
"What's worth your time?"
is the easiest question to be wrong about.
Look around.
Everyone you see is wrong about the answer to the question.
Being right about the answer
would be bad for the economy.
Very bad.

The culture is geared to giving us 10,000,000...
(The zeros go forever)
wrong answers to the question
to keep us chasing after all that does not satisfy
and keep the cash registers on full ca-ching mode. 

What's worth your time?
You are afraid nothing is, right?
Nothing comes to mind,
so it must be that nothing is worth our time.
And we are stuck in a life
with nothing to live for
and nothing worth doing,
so pass the opioids 
because why not?

Because that is so stupid
it's nauseating. 
I'm throwing up just thinking about it.
"I don't know what's worth my time,
so it must be nothing. Pass the pills!"

"Pass the pills" is the quick fix
to the pain of being alive
and not knowing why we are alive
or for what we are alive.

Bearing the pain is the solution
to all of our problems today.

Sit still.
Be quiet.
And empty yourself of your fear
of emptiness,
of your fear of pain.

Open yourself to the silence,
and wait.
Waiting is a test of your mettle. 
We have to have what it takes
to do what is asked for,
and siting in the silence
is easy compared to 
doing what needs to be done
"without hope,
without witness,
without reward."
(Steven Moffat, "Dr. Who"),
which is what doing what is worth 
our time requires.

We have to bear the pain all the way.

So, open yourself to the silence and wait.
You can go about your life while waiting,
but remember you are waiting.

You are waiting for something to stir
in the silence,
for something to arise, appear, emerge,
wink at you and whisper your name.

And, like that, it's gone,
and you are left to wonder if something happened,
or if you just imagined it.

This is another test,
because you are as likely to dismiss
what occurs as it is to flash out of sight.
It's playing with you
to see if you can be trusted.

By now, you have rejected it 1,000...
(And all those zeros) times,
and it is tired of being ignored.
This is called pay-back time.

Keep sitting, waiting, watching.
As you go about your life.

It may appear in a dream,
the kind of dream that cannot be ignored,
or forgotten.

It may appear out of nowhere,
as you turn a corner,
and drive past it,
and are unable to get it out of your mind.

This is destiny crossing your path.
We don't go seeking our destiny,
we wait for it to come seeking us,
and we prepare ourselves to know
an open door when we see it,
by looking at every door that comes along.

When the door with our name on it opens,
we walk through.

The first step is the hardest.
The next most important thing
is refusing to quit in the service
of that which calls our name.

"Whoever puts their hand to the plow,
and looks back, has to remember how essential 
it is to not turn around,
but to trust themselves to the path
that is their path no matter what."

Living with troth for and trust in the way
brings help where we didn't think help would be,
and invisible forces seem to be protecting us
and guiding us along the way.

We cannot push our luck,
but we can trust it,
and we will find confirmation in 1,000...
(And all those zero's) ways
all along the way.

All it takes is trusting that it will be so,
and when the door opens, walk through.

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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