March 18, 2022


Beulah Land 19 Oil Paint Rendered — The Patriarch, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson Wyoming
The Gateless Gate stands before us in each moment,
inviting us to step through
and flip our perspective
in order to see what we look at,
hear what the situation is calling for,
know what needs to be done
and do it with our original nature
and the virtues that arrived tucked
inside of us at birth.

This is the Sisyphean task of life
waiting for us in all the days of our life.
It is job security,
and we get plenty or practice
in sizing things up,
being right about what is happening
and what needs to be done in response,
doing it
and stepping into the next situation
that flows automatically from this one. 

The trick is mastering the Gateless Gate,
turning the light around,
and switching from a logical/rational/intellectual
approach to knowing what to do when and how, 
to an intuitive/instinctive/imaginative/metaphorical/mythological
approach to living in the moment aligned with the Tao
and living to balance Yin and Yang
through all of the days of our life.

With so much on the line,
you might expect that we would 
be better prepared to meet what faces us
and know how to use the tools 
at our disposal.


Obi-wan Kenobi and Yoda are not to be found,
and we are on our own
in finding our way to enlisting 
in the service of the Force
and meeting the day
as the day needs to be met
every day.

The way opens before us
as we start walking.
Watch for what catches your eye,
and look closer.
Think twice about dismissing,
what greets you along the way.

Help is always there
for those who know 
how to avail themselves of it.




Back Street 10/27/2009 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Jesus and I spent our entire life
looking for people with eyes to see
and ears to hear.

They are "few and far between,"
as the old saying goes.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

The ground rule of life is
No Agenda!
No Opinion!

How many of you responded instantly
with an internal,
or perhaps, external,

What I'm saying.

Practically no one grasps
the importance of 
No Agenda!
No Opinion!

Yet, that's the starting place.
If you have an immediate reaction
to No Opinion!,
you have an opinion,
actually gabillions of them,
and nothing I say is going to shift
you away from them.

And I have to keep walking,
keep talking,
looking for someone 
who can hear what I have to say.

I will add here, in an attempt
to establish some credibility
with those of you who are still here,
that all we are allowed are preferences.

Preferences lead us along the way.
Preferences guide our choices,
direct our action,
in a "One book opens another"
kind of way. 

Preferences are all we have to go on,
but we do not have the stake 
in our preferences
that we have in our agendas and opinions.

We have latitude with preferences.
We can say no to preferences.
We can negotiate with preferences.
They do not compel us 
to shoot ourselves in the foot
10,000 times before breakfast every day.

Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell
made their living
by telling anyone who would listen to them,
"The only thing that matters
is finding your life and living it!"

And that is all that keeps me going.
I am finding and living my life
telling you to find your life and live it.
If you have eyes to see
and ears to hear,
you are encouraging me in my task,
as I am encouraging you in yours.

May we walk without agendas and opinions
together along the way!


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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