May 05, 2022


Hidden Falls 09/16/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Hanging Rock State Park, North Carolina
We need a base,
anchoring us,
providing stability,
balance and harmony
amid the upheavals
and uncertainty
of social and political unrest.

Where do you go in time of trouble?

The right kind of emptiness
(Like the emptiness between breaths),
stillness and silence 
do it for me.

I close myself off from the noise,
complexity and drama,
and return to the Source,
which I picture as an inlet
with a solid rock beach,
and as I look out at an infinite
expanse of water,
there is a rocky cliff
about twenty feet high
rising from the rock beach.

It is night, but dimly lit,
and small waves are lapping
at my feet.
I know the water is deep,
and I am completely safe there,
welcome, protected, at peace,
at home.

Simply by waiting,
I am grounded in confident assurance
that I can find what I need
to do what is needed
in each situation as it arises
by listening in the emptiness,
stillness and silence
for the knowing that guides action
beyond thinking and understanding.

I'm able to relax in that knowledge
and wait for the flow of circumstances
to call forth the action that is appropriate
to the occasion,
trusting myself to have what it takes
to do what is necessary when the time is right.

In the meantime,
I can enjoy the peace
of being grounded/anchored
beyond the purview of the clashing rocks
and heaving waves of the wind dark sea
in the other world of normal, apparent, reality.



The North Atlantic from Lakies Head 10/01/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia
"The Way" people are always talking about
is the way we go about being alive,
our way of life.
How we do that makes all the difference.

The best way to do that 
is with our eyes open.
With awareness.
Knowing what's what
and what needs to be done about it
in light of what.

In light of what do we live?
What directs us through our life?
What guides our boat
on its path through the sea?

What do we mean by the way
we live our life?
What do we intend?
What are we trying to do?

Who says that is worth doing?

How do we know we are not wasting our time?
Chasing wild geese?
Barking up the wrong tree?

How do we know 
that what we say is important
is important?

How do we evaluate our values?

How good is the good we call good?

Good for whom?
Good for what?
What is our idea of the highest good?

Getting to the bottom of us
is the only trip worth taking.

We get there by asking all of the questions
that beg to be asked,
and saying all of the things 
that cry out to be said,
and not taking anybody's word for anything.

We only know what we experience
after we have thoroughly examined the experience.
Fifty years of experience
isn't the same
as one year of experience 
repeated fifty times.



The Lone Pine 05/24/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Pinyon Pine, Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah
Knowing what to do/what needs to be done
is different from thinking/guessing/hoping/wishing/praying/...

When you know it's time for a nap,
it's time for a nap.

When you know it's lemon ice box pie
and not a doughnut,
you know it and nobody can talk you out of it.

Knowing what is called for in a situation
is knowing what is called for.

This kind of knowing flows
from experience/intuition/instinct/seeing/hearing/understanding/...
From being Here/Now
in the fullest sense of the term.

From being Here/Now,
awake to Here/Now,
aware of Here/Now,
fully present Here/Now...

Knowing what the moment calls for
in each situation as it arises
and doing what needs to be done there,
the when and how it needs to be done--
doing the right thing,
at the right time,
in the right place,
in the right way--
is to be aligned with the Tao
and at one with the flow of time and place.

This kind of knowing
comes from being present-without-purpose
(beyond being present),
with no interests to serve
(beyond seeing/doing what needs to be done)
with no agenda/plan/opinion/desire/fear/etc.
leading the way,
"just being there"
to do what needs to be done there,
waiting for the right action 
to come forth spontaneously
in response to "the great flow of circumstances,"
to surprise even ourselves
with its appropriateness 
and its precision.

This kind of knowing springs from
getting out of the way of The Way
and being at one with The Way.
The Way things need to be done Here/Now.

If you are going to practice anything,
practice that
in each situation as it arises,
until it becomes as natural as breathing,
moment by moment,
day by day.



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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