April 16, 2022


Clear Lake 07/25/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Coushatta, Louisiana
Knowing where we belong,
and what we belong to,
and where we have no business being--
and being right about it--
are important boundary markers
for our life journey.

Finding our life and living it
is also finding our place and staying with it.

Knowing what's what 
and what's called for
in each situation as it arises,
is knowing what our virtues are
and where they will be well-received,
and where they will be entirely unwelcome.
Is knowing who our people are,
and who they are not.

It is said that alcoholics
can spot one another in any crowd.
How do we know things like that?
How do we not-know it?
How can we fail to know what we know?

Instinct and intuition have to be nurtured,
honored, respected, trusted, utilized and relied on
all along the way.

We know more than we know we know.
We have to do a better job
of paying attention.



Beulah Land 48 Oil Paint Rendered
The key to balance and harmony
is living in accord
with our original nature,
serving and sharing the virtues/gifts/genius/daemon
that are ours from birth
in doing what needs to be done,
when, where, and how it needs to be done,
in each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

This is also called "doing what we love,"
and "following our bliss,"
even when we aren't in the mood
and there is nothing in it for us
beyond the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it.

This "flips the switch,"
"turns the light around,"
transforms our perspective
and is equivalent to
passing through the Gateless Gate
of the Tao/Zen tradition
(Zen is what happened
when Buddhism met Taoism,
and is far more Taoist than Buddhist)--
by changing our motivation/guidance/direction
from knowing and finding and serving
what we want,
to being and doing who we are.

And that changes everything.

This is religion without theology,
and truth without doctrine--
and we have to go no further
in validating its validity
than the right kind of emptiness
(The right kind being empty of everything,
all fear/desire/anxiety/duty,
like the space between breaths
when all you are aware of is breathing),
stillness and silence.

It is the foundation of enlightenment
(Which is merely knowing what's what
and what needs to be done about it,
in response to it,
moment by moment)
and the boat to the Farther Shore,
and the key to being here, now.

And I'm glad to be able to point the way
to the Way,
which is also the Way.
It only takes seeing
to see that it is so.



Dunes 10/29/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
It comes down to seeing what's what
and doing what needs to be done about it
with our original nature
and the virtues that came packed in our DNA.

Seeing what's what is the tricky part.

We only know what we think we know,
which is a sprawling collection
of assumptions, presumptions, inferences, projections,
conjectures, surmises, fancies, suspicions,
theories, suppositions, extrapolations
and hearsay--
with only the vaguest kind of connection
with What Is To Be Known.

S. I. Hayakawa popularized Alfred Korzybski's
work in General Semantics,
and brought into focus the questions
that beg to be asked
about everything we think we know--
and never caught the attention
of the Adam's and Eve's among us,
within us,
on their way to certainty, conviction
and self-assurance
regarding the absolute correctness and value
of our personal opinions.

And here we are,
Fascists and Woke
relentlessly attacking one another's point of view
without ruthlessly (Or even absent-mindedly)
examining our own.

What makes us think the way we think
is the way to think?
How did we come to think the way we think?
Who do we think knows more than we do
about what we think?
How do we know they know what they are talking about?
How much of what we know hangs on the 
conviction and personality of who told us what we know?

Seeing what's what is the tricky part.


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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