December 19, 2021

01

Woodlawn Cemetery 01 09/21/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Elmira, New York
Winning for me
comes down to 
being right about what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises
and doing it with the resourses
available in the situation
and in our own original nature.

This doesn't mean we will win the game,
particularly if the other team 
is better at doing this than we are,
but.
If we do it consistently/dependably,
we will win our share of the games over time.

And the more we do it,
the better we get at doing it,
and nobody will look forward
to playing us.

To be right about what needs to be done,
we have to be able to approach each
situation,
and each moment within the situation,
from the vantage point of 
the right kind of emptiness,
the right kind of stillness,
and the right kind of silence,
which will result in clarity,
or the right kind of seeing.

The difference between needing/having to win,
trying to win
and doing what it takes to win,
is the difference between air balls,
rim shots,
and swishes
(To use a basketball metaphor).

Being empty of needing/having/trying
is the right kind of emptiness.
The right kind of stillness
and the right kind of silence
are about reducing/diminishing
the complexity and noise,
generated externally and internally,
to the point of being able to
see and hear what is happening
and to know what needs to be done in response,
and allowing the innate instincts and intuition
of our original nature--our natural ability--
to respond spontaneously to the moment
and what is available there
in doing what needs to be done.

This is the formula for success--
how well we are able to execute it
comes down to awareness
and practice, practice, practice.

And practicing awareness 
is a part of practice.

–0–

02

22-acre Woods 11/17/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Indian Land, South Carolina
Having what it takes
to live on life's terms
is a good thing to have. 

Living to willfully force our way
on life/through life
is not going to produce what we think.

Live to see what is called for
in light of what is happening
and what needs to be done about it
from the standpoint of the situation,
and not our desire for the situation.

What does the good
of the situation as a whole require?
(Generally always, the answer is 
"Our cooperation")
Do that!

In every situation as it arises!

The Path winds through every situation
that comes our way.
Stay on the path.
With the right kind of emptiness
(No agenda, no opinion),
the right kind of stillness
(Just looking, just seeing),
and the right kind of silence
(Just listening, just hearing),
leading to the right kind of clarity
and the right kind of action.

Situation by situation
all day long
every day.

–0–

03

Big Rock Preserve 05 11/17/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Charlotte, North Carolina
If I could sit down with the world,
I would say,
"Empty yourselves of everything.
No wants, no desires.
No ideas, beliefs, ideology, agendas, opinions, preferences.
No fear, no compulsion, no duty, no obligations.
No noise, no static, no interference, no assumptions,
no presumptions, no inferences, no ideas...etc.
Be empty as the space between breaths.
Just breathe
with nothing more than the space between breaths
holding things together for you.

And notice how you are still you.

You do not need all the stuff
you carry with you to be you.
You can't help being you.
There is more to you than 
all the stuff you carry with you.

In the space between breaths,
you are just as you are.

Stay there.
Be that.
You and your original nature,
your natural self,
without any of the culturally induced
ways of being,
the organic you--
the original you,
'the face that was yours 
before you were born.'
Be that.
Breathing.
Live from there.

Live from the center
of the space between breaths.

Wait in the space between breaths
for something to arise in the silence,
to emerge from the silence--
do not think it up,
wait receptively for it to appear
of itself
on its own.

Just sit/stand/walk breathing,
watching,
listening,
waiting,
empty,
still,
silent...

Living from the space between breaths,
we are guided by something beyond
wanting/desiring/needing/fearing/
Thou Shalt and Thou Shalt Not.

What else could there be?
We owe it to ourselves to find out!

Take up the practice of living
from the space between breaths.

And see where it goes."

–0–

04

Country Cemetery 09-B 11/19/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — Lancaster County, Indian Land, South Carolina
We maintain our balance
in the flow of life.
Harmonize our original nature
with our context and circumstances,
and do what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises.

It is no more difficult 
or complicated than that.

No agendas,
no opinions.

No being side-tracked,
shanghaied,
or hijacked.

Seeing what we look at
and responding appropriately
day by day.

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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