November 30, 2021


Lake Haigler Orchard 04 11/14/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Reduce noise!
Diminish complexity!
Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!

The recipe for balance and harmony.

and chaos
are the recipe for frantically swimming
amid the clashing rocks
in the heaving waves
of the wine-dark sea.

And, we bring it all on ourselves.
By refusing to say "NO!" 
when it needs to be said,
and by refusing to take "No"
for an answer whenever it is said.

"Thou Shalt!"
Whether it is something we say,
or something said to us,
is the root of all our problems.

"Thou Shalt!"
is the dragon
we all must slay
on our way to emptiness,
stillness and silence,
balance and harmony,
sincerity, integrity and self-transparency.

Whatever its source.
Even if we turn it against itself
and make
"Thou Shalt slay the dragon called 'Thou Shalt,'"
we complicate simplicity
and muddy the waters of life and being.

Simply walk away.
Simply simplify.
Simply be filled with emptiness.
Simply be still and silent.
Simply wait for the way to open before us,
trusting ourselves to know it
when we see it,
and waiting to see if we see it.

Reduce noise!
Diminish complexity!
Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!



The Woods Next Door 11/21/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Lao Tzu despaired of his chances
and went off to the west to die.

Jesus despaired of his chances
and handed himself over to his accusers.

Socrates despaired of his chances
and submitted to the judgment of his peers.

The list is long of people of vision
being exhausted by the refusal of others
to see what is before them--
to see what they are doing--
to see much of anything at all.

Prophetic vision is always coming to grief
in the common protest of the prophets:
"Oh, Land, Land, Land!
Hear the word of the Lord!"
(Or, as Jesus put it,
"How long am I to bear with you?
How long am I to put up with you?")

And the Land cares not.

The land goes to hell in its own way,
time after time--
and none can stop it,
no not one.

The lemmings will rush to the sea.

It is the way.

And the way to deal with the way,
is to see it for what it is
and get out of the way--
in the spirit of,
"When you meet an elephant coming toward you
along the path,

Allow the lemmings their rush to the sea.
Allow those who see not
their blind satisfaction
with being led about by the blind.

Joseph Campbell said that the Bhagavad Gita
(With the oldest religious advice of the ages)
could be summed up as saying,
"Get in there and do your thing--
and don't worry about the outcome!"

The prophets of every age would do well
to take note,
say what they have to say,
and let that be that.



Fenced In Too 11/12/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Fort Mill, South Carolina
Things are not the way they need to be
throughout the world.
That is something we all can agree about,
which means we will never all agree about
how things need to be.

That is the fundamental divide
separating us all into groups
of people seeing like we see,
and groups of people seeing like they see.

It is the old Us/Them Divide
that has played its way out
in all times and places,
with Us killing Them,
and Them killing Us,
until we pare things down
to a manageable polarity
until stress builds
over the issues separating us
builds to the point 
of having to "thin out the ranks" again,
and it comes and goes 
like the cosmic tides and seasons,
Us and Them forever.

As stupid at any point
as it is at every point
from the beginning until the end 
of time.

All because we cannot tolerate differences,
or allow them,
past a certain flashpoint
of incendiary viciousness 
over opinions regarding 
how things need to be.

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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