March 28, 2022


Panamint Mountains Reflection 04/06/2006 — Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, California
We do not out-live traumatic experiences.
Flashbacks come without warning,
and a fifty-year-old experience,
or collection of experiences,
is right here, right now.

And so, the process of waiting it out.
Sometimes the practice of emptying myself
of all reactions to the events
eases things after a while.

And sometimes something startling,
like the phone ringing,
or laughter from another room,
brings me back to "the other" here and now,
and the old one flashes away
the same way it came.

Point is we have to make room for everything.
Everything is still with us,
whether we know it or not,
like it or not,
are aware of it or not--
and our place is to let that be
because it is,
and what can we do about it anyway?

It's all a part of bearing the pain
of being alive
in a "This, too, this, too..." kind of way.

Bearing the pain,
making room for the pain,
allowing the pain,
and walking with a limp through 
the remainder of our days,
is accommodating ourselves
to the way things are,
and refocusing
on doing what needs to be done,
when and where and how it needs to be done,
day by day.

I think it was Schopenhauer who said,
"Life is something that never should have been."
Because it makes no sense
and flies in the face of all things moral and ethical,
kind and compassionate
(Like "Life eats life," for instance,
or, "It's people like you 
who make people like me
hate people like you!"}.

And our place is to transcend the "irregularities,"
and say "Yes!" to our life just as it is,
in the strength of our original nature
and the virtues, aptitudes, interests,
preferences, insights and intuitions
that are tucked away with our original nature
in our DNA no matter what may have happened to us
that should never happen to anyone--
"Anyway, nevertheless, even so!"

We remind ourselves of these things,
breathe deeply, slowly.
And carry on, carry on.
Living to redeem what can be redeemed, 
mourn what must be mourned,
grieve what is to be grieved,
and bearing the pain of being alive
in solidarity with all the people
who share the planet with us,
knowing that we are one with them,
and we are not alone.

There is life yet to be lived!
Live on!
Live on!



Beulah Land 29, Oil Paint Rendered
Nothing can happen to us
that we can't make better or worse
by the way we respond to it.

The power of perspective is the super power
of super powers,
transforming the world
and what it means to us
simply by the way we choose to look at it.

Something happens
and we say/do something in response.
The space between the happening
and the saying/doing
is the fulcrum,
the pivot point,
between present and future.

It is "the still point
of the turning world"
(T.S. Eliot).

And we stand there,
levering the present 
into some future
using the power of perspective
to decipher, interpret, exegete, 
elucidate, explain, translate
and mobilize a rejoinder
in the space of no time at all.

This is the force of hermeneutics 
at work in the world.
And, it is the magic of the Gateless Gate
and of Turning The Light Around.

It is the imaginative shift
that puts us in accord with the Tao
and aligns us with the possibilities
inherent in this moment right now
to see what's what
and what needs to be done about it
in adjusting karma 
for the good of the whole.

What we say about what's what
makes all the difference.
Saying shapes doing
and leads the way in creating
the life we live from this point on.
What we say depends on how we see.

How we see depends upon how we look,
and what we look for--
and how unbiased and nonpartisan we are
in appraising the occurrences
concurrent with each situation as it arises.

How free are we to see what we look at?

What do we bring to the moment
that interferes with our ability
to be present with what is present with us there?

How clouded is our mind?
How disturbed are the waters of our mind?
How often do we apprehend "the world"
and what is happening there
with a mind that is rested and calm,
still and quiet,
clear and receptive
like a clean mirror that "sees" everything
that comes before it?

How clearly do we see what we look at?

How do the noise,
drama and turmoil
of our Umwelten
interfere with our ability
to see accurately what is happening
and what needs to be done about it?

How do we "cleanse the doorways of perception"
(Aldous Huxley)
in order to transcend the moment
and see it for what it is?
And do there what is called for?


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: Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: