March 23, 2022


399 and Cubs 06/24/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Wars are always coming along.
I don't know why.
I'm not saying there aren't people
who don't need killing,
but most of those who do,
start wars,
when it ought to be the other way around.
Make sense of it if you can.

Making sense of things
that make no sense
is one of the many things
humans take on themselves,
when everybody would be better off
if they just made some coleslaw,
and invited their friends over to have some.

Coleslaw parties have fallen out of vogue,
it seems.
No one has them anymore.
It's easier to find a war 
than a Coleslaw party.
And that's something else that makes no sense.

If you start a list of all of the things
that make no sense, 
you will spend all of your time writing,
and never get around to making that coleslaw.

If you are ever so inclined,
and find yourself in need of a recipe,
here is one my Mom dictated to my sister Susan:
Grate cabbage
Add Mayonnaise 'til it looks right
Add chopped onion to taste
Add lemon juice or vinegar,
salt and pepper
Practice a bit 'til it comes out right
However it turns out,
it will be better than going to war.



Beulah Land 24 Oil Paint Rendered
Two realizations form the ground 
of the Gateless Gate 
and Turning The Light Around:

We are fine right now,
just as we are.

We will be fine no matter what,
just as we are.

"Just as we are" consists entirely
of our original nature
and the virtues that came with us
from the womb.

Our original nature replete
with its virtues
are all we need
to find what we need
to be who we are
in whatever landscape--
in whatever conditions and circumstances--
we find ourselves in
in every here and now that comes along.

We do not need more than we have
in our original natuer
and its virtues.

This is a foundational realization.
It is all of the enlightenment we need.

We are fine just as we are.
There is a catch.
We have to be just as we are
for it to take effect.

For us to be fine just as we are,
we have to be just as we are.
At one with,
in sync with,
aligned with,
in accord with,
our original nature and its virtues.

If we are ever going to be anything,
let it be that.

Aligned with our original nature
and its virtues,
we are in full accord with the Tao,
the Source of the source
of heaven and earth
and all there is and ever will be--
which is to say,
"The way things are
and the way things need to be."

The work of being aligned with
our original nature and its virtues
is the work of managing our contradictions,
in the service of balance and harmony,
conducted in the emptiness,
and silence,
waiting for the clarity that comes
when the mud settles 
and the water clears,
and the Way opens before us
inviting us to step into
the adventure of being alive.

Just as we are.



Athabaska Valley 09/26/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Jasper National Park, Alberta
Qi is understood by the old Taoists 
to be the vital life force enabling,
sustaining, maintaining
all sentient beings,
all living things.

When we use up our Qi 
it is all over,

Our place is to use our Qi 
in the service of the right things.

This is where the Tao 
comes into play.

To be in accord with the Tao,
we do the right things
in the right place
at the right time
in the right way.

Tomato plants and cats--
and all sentient beings
other than human beings--
are in accord with the Tao
and use their allotment of Qi

Humans interfere with Tao and Qi
by having ideas of how things ought to be
that are not how things ought to be.

How things ought to be
is all things doing the right things
in the right place
at the right time
in the right way.

Forget how we want things to be.
How do things need to be?
That is the question we must
know how to answer
if we are to make the best use of our Qi
and live in accord with the Tao
of life and being.

How do we know?
We know through the quality 
of our relationship
with the right kind of emptiness,
stillness and silence,
while maintaining the balance and harmony
among the contradictions/dichotomies/polarities
at work in our life,
in the service of our original nature
and its virtues.

The Way (Tao ) is a natural extension/expression
of our original nature and its virtues
being exhibited in the right place,
at the right time,
in the right way.

without agenda, opinion or motive
beyond seeing what needs to be done
and doing it
for nothing more than the intrinsic joy
of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it.

And we do it by not striving/trying/endeavoring
to do it. 

Which is wu-wei meaning achieving 
without trying to achieve--
as a by-product of Qi and Tao 
at work in our life. 

To live in right relationship with 
Qi, Tao and wu-wei
we have to turn the light around,
enter through the Gateless Gate,
shift our perspective,
flip our typical way of thinking and doing,
and open ourselves to the world
of what needs to be done here and now
in each situation as it arises
through all the days of our life.

It is as simple 
as it is out of the question.


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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