April 02, 2022


Beulah Land 34 Oil Paint Rendered — Piedmont Farmland, Rockingham County, North Carolina
The way of the child is innocent wonder
at the experience of being alive.

And spontaneous sincerity in response 
to that experience.

There is no sense of seeking advantage and gain.
Just being wrapped in the radiance of splendor
and mystery is gift enough. 

Why look for more when each moment is a blessing,
and a thunderstorm is a day's worth of amazement
in a fifteen minute display of lightening and thunder?

What becomes of the child?
How much can we recover with a walk in the woods?
Or sitting on some porch watching the rain?

What paths remain that may still be walked
in the spirit of the child?



The Hulk — From The Wasteland Collection
We must say
"Yes. Isn't that the way it is, though?"
to ruthless brutality
as we take whatever steps
need to be taken
in opposition to it--
in the work to triumph over it.

Fascism is the other side of 
Just as darkness 
is the other side of light.

It is the business 
of light
to keep on shinning. 
even so!

"Yes. Isn't that the way it is, though?"
says Sisyphus,
walking around the boulder,
doing the work that is his to do.

Some people might call it punishment.
Some people might call it a curse.
Some people might call it job security.
Some people might call it
the very thing I was born to do.

I call it,
"That which desperately needs to be done--
and needs us to do it!"



The Gateless Gate 2
Sunflowers have become The Gateless Gate
as we have become engaged in the transformation
from flower to symbol of hope
and relentless determination 
in the service of the Light.

"Turning the Light Around" is another term 
for "The Gateless Gate"
in the Taoist tradition.

It is the process whereby one thing becomes another
by the way our perspective shifts
in the work of transcendence and transformation.

We experience something similar 
in the presence of optical illusions,
where one thing becomes another
before our eyes.

The old Buddhist designation of reality as "Illusion,"
is a perfect example of one thing,
not only becoming,
but also being, quite another.

This is caught up in another reference to enlightenment
with the phrase,
"The way to the Way is also the Way,"
meaning that everything is a doorway,
a threshold,
a Gateless Gate,
instantly transporting us from here and now
to the wonders of the Farther Shore,
Sweet Beulah Land,
the Elysian Fields,
the Promised Land
and all the other designations 
available on the other side of
"the doors of perception."

All it takes is seeing in order to see.

We will never see a sunflower
the same way we have seen sunflowers
now that we have finally, at last,
seen a sunflower for what else it also is!

The Gateless Gate!



Dawn at the Totem Formation 09/28/2007 Oil Paint Rendered — Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona
My friend Bill Hamilton
came upon his friend Alan Stacell
throwing stretched canvases 
of his artwork into the bed of his pickup.

Bill asked him what he was doing.
Alan said he was taking the canvases
to the dump
in order to make room in his art shed
to store more.

Bill confessed to not understanding
throwing art way to make a place for more art.

Alan said, "I paint like a dog wags its tail!"

When we make making money from what we do
the point and purpose of what we do,
we lose sight of the importance of doing what we do
for the sake of doing it the way it needs to be done
for experience and joy of doing it--
and the satisfaction of having done it--

When we do what we do for the sole purpose of doing it,
and doing it well,
getting it right,
doing it the way it needs to be done,
here and now,
we are transformed by it,
become better at it,
and transcend the popular understanding
of motivation,
and reasons why we do anything--
pass through The Gateless Gate,
and live to be who we are,
doing what we do,
"like a dog wags its tail."


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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