May 03, 2022


Still Life With Sun And Pilings 10/31/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Silver Lake, Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore
We don't see anything just as it is.
Everything carries our projection of itself
"as it is to us"
for us to inspect,
and admire,
or detest,
in a "Just as I thought" kind of way.

We see what we expect to see,
and are rarely surprised,
merely affirmed.

And the few surprises
are easily folded into our expectations
by expanding our theory regarding them
to include the apparent exception,
that is now understood as a "predictable aberration,"
and all is comfortably familiar as before.

"There is nothing new under the Sun."
Just more of the same old same old.

And we never have to get outside
of our prejudices, biases, assumptions
and inferences
in order to actually see what we behold.

And when somebody,
say like Jesus,
comes along saying things
that cannot be dismissed, discounted, ignored,
we crucify him,
or burn him at the stake,
or lynch him 
and are done with him
like that.

It doesn't do to upset the apple cart,
rock the boat
and refuse to be who we say you are
and ought to be.

We rather like the world
we say we hate
and will not allow to change.



Lobster Shack 10/13/2009 Detail Oil Pint Rendered — Stonington Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine
"The path that can be discerned as a path
is not a reliable path."

This is Martin Palmer's interpretation
of the Lao Tzu's "The Tao that can be explained
is not the eternal Tao."

No maps.
No words.
No linear, sequential, step-by-step way
to the Way.

Teachers and masters are useless,
except for being able to say
"Teachers and masters are useless."

And, "Don't listen to me!
Listen to YOU!"

And, "In listening to YOU,
listen past all the noise
to the core/center/source
of you.

"Empty yourself of all that
interferes with knowing yourself,
hearing yourself,
listening to yourself,
which means emptying yourself
of everything--
even the desire to be empty.

"Be the emptiness between breaths!"

With that much instruction,
we have all it takes
to be on the way to the Way,
which is, itself, the Way.

"The Way to what?"
To seeing, hearing, understanding,
knowing, doing, being.

"Understanding" means understanding
there is nothing to understand,
nothing that can be explained,
defined, spelled-out, made clear...

We are living out of our experience
of what is here/now.
Not out of our heads.
The world is run out of heads.
Everybody lives out of their heads.
Thinking, thinking, thinking.
Wanting, wanting, wanting.
Striving, striving, striving...
This situation that we all are now in
is the result of that.

That is the Wasteland.
We are looking for the Gateless Gate
that is the exit from the Wasteland
to "the Land of Gentle Breezes/
Where the Peaceful Waters Flow" 
(Anne Murray, "Snowbird").

The Gateless Gate is the transition place,
the fulcrum, the pivot point,
between not-seeing and seeing,
not-knowing and knowing,
striving-but-not-doing and wu-wei.

Between the Wasteland and Home.

At Home, we live out of a spontaneous response
to our experience of here/now,
where there is very little thinking/planning/scheming/
in the service of advantage/gain/merit/payoff/wealth/
and only living/seeing/doing 
in balance and harmony
between "the great flow of circumstances"
and "The Way of being in accord with the Tao,"
which is seeing/knowing
our experience of here/now
and responding to it in ways
that are appropriate to the occasion,
in each situation as it arises.

Doing the right thing,
at the right time,
in the right way.
And letting that be that.
in tune with the moment.
Situation by situation.

This is the perspective
that is the Elder Wand
which transcends
and transforms the world
one situation at a time.

And is the alternative
to life as we know it.
Waiting for us to 
take up the search for the Holy Grail
from the Wasteland to Home
by the way we respond to here/now,
one after another.

The Mystery of Yin-Yang,
of Living/Being/Seeing/Doing
by not doing anything special at all.
Just ordinarily going about 
business as usual
in a very unusual way.


I interrupt this program to bring you a word from our sponsor… Not really. We don’t have a sponsor, but we do have a companion blog site that coincides nicely with this one, and if you aren’t tuned into it, you are missing out. You can find it at:

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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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