January 16, 2022


Guilford Mill 02/17/2001 Oil Paint Rendered — Guilford County, North Carolina
Joseph Campbell refers to James Joyce,
Buckminster Fuller and Aquinas
in talking about art. 

He says "Draw a frame around an object,"
say the old mill in this photo.
And synergy will hold that object
together with, not only the rest
of the photograph,
but also, as you contemplate it,
with everything else in the universe.

Wholeness is what you have created,
by selecting a part of the whole
to consider.

One thing leads to all others.
Art, rightfully perceived,
connects us to everyone and all things.

This is the Buddhist realization
of "mutual arising,"
wherein everything is implicit
in everything else,
and "the whole system has simply arisen,
(in our imagination/realization) as
'thus come,' like the Buddha (or the Christ)
himself" (Joseph Campbell).

This is Wholeness.
And what that exposes/expresses
is the "rhythm of beauty" (Joyce)
which includes the relationships 
of colors, masses, space, conditions
and circumstances to each other
and all things.

"All elements," says Campbell, 
"are part of this harmonious rhythm."

This is Harmony.
The perception of Harmony,
flowing from Wholeness,
gives rise to Radiance,
to the "Wow!" that takes our breath,
and stuns us into silent reverie,
like the wonder of falling in love.

Wholeness, Harmony, and Radiance
are the three aspects of art
which result in "esthetic arrest"
and we have no thought of anything
beyond the fascination of the experience
of the moment, 
which suspends our ordinary/routine
way of evaluating reality,
"and the world--beheld without 
the judgement of its relevance
to the well-being of the beholder--
is recognized as a revelation
sufficient in itself" (Joyce).

If art doesn't do that for us, 
it is "pragmatic (or pornographic
[Joyce]) art,"
and not "proper art" (Joyce).

Now you know.

Begin putting frames around things,
and find the path from Wholeness
to Harmony to Radiance and Wonder.

It will change the way you 
walk through the world.

And open the way for you 
to religion in the best sense of the word.



November Woods 16 11/29/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
The secret can be known,
but not told.

"The kingdom of God,"
said Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas,
"covers the earth,
and no one sees it."

"The kingdom of God is within/among you,"
said Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.

"All it takes are eyes to see
and ears to hear," said Jesus throughout his life.

What is the secret to seeing and hearing?
It can be known/discovered/realized/understood,
but not told.

People who tell us they can tell us
are lying to us.

People who tell us, "Trust the force, Luke!"
are saying all that can be said.
We have to figure out what that means on our own.

One way of getting to the point of seeing/hearing
is taking up the practice
of emptying ourselves of everything,
including the desire to be empty.

Sit in the stillness and the silence
and empty yourself of everything,
for as long, 
for as often,
as it takes to realize you are empty of everything,
then empty yourself of that realization.

Being empty of everything
is to be open
to what is waiting to be known/realized/received/

By waiting,
we open ourselves
to what is waiting
for us to be open.

is a particular way of seeing/hearing.

It is like throwing a curve ball.
We learn to do that 
by throwing a lot of balls
that don't curve,
waiting for something to "click,"
to "shift,"
to "fall" into place.

No one can learn to throw a curve ball
without throwing a lot of balls that do not curve.

If we are looking for a quick way
to true religion,
we are trying to skip
the "throwing a lot of balls that don't curve" part.

"Make it quick, Preacher,
I tee-off at 12:15!"
Won't do it.

If you see this much, you are well on your way.
Keep throwing!



November Woods 05 11/25/2021 Oil Paint Rendered — 22-acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
What needs to be done always lies plain before us,
obscured by the Four Demonic Devices:
Greed (Desire), Fear, Loathing and Lethargy. 

Any time that we don't know what to do,
we only have to see how we are interfering with
our own psychic signals
through our ego-centered interests
getting in the way.

What we want and do not want
prevent us from responding--
certainly from responding appropriately--
to what needs what we have to offer
in each situation as it arises,

The solution,
once we see how we are preventing
our necessary engagement with our life,
is to grow up some more again
by dying to our wishes/wants/way
and living to serve the true needs
unfolding before us in the moment at hand.

Our soul's deep joy is to express itself,
using its gifts/daemon/genius/shtick/virtues
in service to the needs of the time
that is to be fulfilled here and now.

Our soul is here to meet the time that has come.
Here and now.

Every moment is the right time for something.
What, only the soul knows.
And we are our soul's servant
in all moments great and small
throughout the way that is The Way,
in a "Came not to be served, but to serve,"
and a "Thy will, not mine, be done,"
with the "Thy" being the needs of the moment,
response to the time and place of our living,
time after time.

Understanding this and acquiescing/submitting to it,
living in accord with it,
aligned as one with its service,
is to "enter into the joy" of full life,
spilling over, pouring out,
as a blessing and a grace upon all things.

And we can't beat that with a Super Bowl ring
and a Most Valuable Player trophy.


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: