March 19, 2022


Beulah Land 20 Oil Paint Rendered — Marsh Road, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
We measure progress on the way to The Way, 
which is the way to finding our life
and living it, 
by the quality and amount of 
emptiness, stillness and silence 
we can tolerate in a day. 
And by the number of times 
we get up and do what needs to be done,
when it needs to be done,
where it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done.

That is the standard of a life well-lived.

Right emptiness,
right stillness,
right silence,
right action.

It has nothing to do with

It has everything to do with
the spirit,
that we exhibit
in living to serve our original nature
and the virtues that came with us 
from the womb,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

We live to be who we are
and to do what needs to be done
when and where it needs to be done,
the way it needs to be done
with the gifts that are ours to offer
the time and place of our living.

Anything else is beside the point.



Cedar Rock Falls 10-13-2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, North Carolina
The way to the Way, and the Way itself,
is not linear, straight, sequential, measurable,
timed, graded, regular, steady, dependable...

It is an aimless, rambling, wandering through the outback,
replete with starts and stops,
hitches and gallops,
missed turns and dead-ends--
and it is all a part of the way.

"The path that can be discerned as a path
is not a reliable path" (Martin Palmer).

It is all just what it is,
as a way "thus come."
Like the Buddha and all those who tread upon it.

We are always waking up,
never fully, completely, awakened.
We are being enlightened,
to the extent that we are gradually maturing.

When we see,
we see only what's what
and what is called for by it--
in response to it--
in each situation as it arises.

How well we do what is needed,
when it is needed,
where it is needed,
how it is needed,
moment by moment,
day by day,
is a testimony to how enlightened we are.

It has nothing to do with 
what we know,
in the sense of intellectual knowledge,
but what we know
in the sense of what needs to be done,
when, where and how.

That is the knowing that rocks.

All other kinds/types of knowing is Meh.

If you are going to know anything worth knowing,
know what to do 
when, where and how.
And do it!

That is the only way of knowing
how well you are doing on the way to the Way,
or on the Way itself. 



Black Balsam Dawn 08/28/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Blue Ridge Parkway, Brevard, North Carolina
Ogi Overman said, 
"None of the alcoholics I've ever known
wanted anything more than
smooth and easy."

And being drunk or high,
or drunk and high,
were the only things that came close.

Growing up is taking it as it comes.
One day at a time.
And doing what needs to be done with it.

This is the work of maturation,
how well we handle
getting up and doing what needs to be done
in every damn situation that arises,
for as long as there are situations.

Getting that down,
so that there isn't even a pause
or a hesitation
between seeing/hearing/knowing
what needs to be done
and doing it
is the Way seekers seek.

The Way is smoothly, easily,
going about the tasks
that need to be done,
day in and day out--
because they need to be done,
and not because of what we will get
when we do it.

We get to do it again
is what we get,
in the next situation that comes along,
and one situation always follows another!

Waking up is waking up to that.
Being enlightened is realizing that.
Becoming a sage is doing that.

It isn't what we know and can explain
that sets us apart on the path,
but knowing what needs to be done and doing it.
That is what we are about here,
seeking to know what needs to be done
and doing it.

But everyone thinks it is about
seeing the link--
making the connections--
that causes everything to fall into place,
and life becomes smooth and easy
like that (snaps fingers).

It's only about the smoothness
with which we easily get up
and do what needs to be done.

Making the mental shift
regarding the meaning of 
"smooth and easy,"
turns the light around
and steps through the Gateless Gate
into Beulah Land
in the midst of life here and now.

And that is enlightenment.
Smooth and easy.


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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