March 15, 2022


Beulah Land 16 Oil Paint Rendered — Left Mitten, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona
When we live transparent to ourselves,
aligned with our original nature,
seeing what's what,
hearing what is called for
in each situation as it arises,
and doing what needs to be done about it
with the gifts and virtues
(The things we are good at)
that come with us from the womb,
we are one with the spirit of life and being,
and the source of living water
in a parched and arid land.

We live to be a blessing in the moment 
of our living--
not to plunder the moment
and seize what we want from it.

Turning the light around
and walking through the gateless gate
allows our "little light to shine,"
and makes the difference we are capable of making
for the good of the situations that come our way.

Which turns the world around,
and makes things a lot better than they were
when we got here.
One situation at a time.



The Endless Porch Oil Paint Rendered
All we have to work with
are perspective and perception.
How we see things 
makes all the difference.

The old Taoists,
three hundred years before the common era,
were talking about "turning the light around."

During the Han period,
206 BCE to 200 CE,
Buddhism reached China,
and Zen was formed
when Buddhism met Taoism.

Zen's gift to turning the light around
was the koan,
the conundrum,
which were collected in two works,
The Blue Cliff Record in about 1125 CE,
and The Gateless Gate around 1250 CE.

The foundational approach to enlightenment
(Which is nothing more than seeing what's what
in each situation as it arises,
hearing what is called for here and now,
moment to moment,
and doing what needs to be done
with the gift of our original nature
and the virtues [The things we are good at]
that come with us from the womb,
to balance and harmonize
one way of looking at the world [Yang]
with the other way of looking at the world [Yin)])
was thus created in the work
of consciously shifting our perspective
in order to transform our perception
and respond appropriately in rising to the occasion
here/now through one situation after another
all our life long.

Which is all Jesus ever did.
And all that can be done by anyone ever.

Life is an optical illusion.
What we see is determined by how we look,
by what we declare to be important,
by how we say things are,
and what we think needs to be done about it,
and what we do in response to it.

Right seeing is right doing is right living
is doing what Jesus would do
by doing what needs to be done,
here and now,
moment by moment,
situation by situation,
all our life long.

Perspective is all we have to work with.

The Gateless Gate stands before us in every moment,
calling us to flip our perspective
by seeing what we are looking at
and watching as it is transformed
by eyes that see
into what's what
and what needs to be done about it
here and now.

When we look at a "real" optical illusion,
and it shifts before our eyes,
the shift is taking place within us.
The optical illusion is just what it is.
It is not changing.
What changes is how we see it.
We change.

We are all that needs to be changed
about our life.
When we change in ways appropriate 
to the occasion,
we rise to the occasion,
and do what needs to be done there
using only our original nature
and the virtues that are ours from birth
(The face that is our before we are born).

We are the key to our own enlightenment.
Our enlightenment is the key 
to the quality of our life.
The keys open us to the way of Tao,
carrying us through the Gateless Gate,
transforming our perception 
and enabling right seeing and right doing
in the field of action
all our life long.

Which can also be thought of as salvation.
Salvation is enlightenment.
Enlightenment is salvation.
Enabling us to do here and now
what needs to be done here and now.
"Once we were lost 
but now we are found,
were blind but now we see."



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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