May 21, 2022


Two Ducks Flying 11/30/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — The Bog Garden, Greensboro, North Carolina
Living with sincerity and integrity
out of our original nature
and the virtues that are ours from birth,
in touch with The Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being,
with a regular practice
centering on emptiness,
and silence,
concerned with doing what is needed,
when, where and how it is needed
in each situation as it arises,
no matter what,
for the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it
is the way to The Way,
and therefore is The Way,
and being aligned with The Way,
in sync with The Way,
in accord with The Way
is as much as anyone can be expected
to do with their life
in all times and places.

This is the foundation 
of all good religion,
without theology,
without doctrine,
without dogma
without loud music
and bad preaching.

And it is there for each of us
to take up on our own
without stepping outside our house,
unless we want to go for a walk in the woods
or along the shore of a body of water.



Bog Creek Falls 09/25/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Adirondack State Park, Tupper Lake, Maine
Carl Jung's idea of individuation
is identically equivalent
with the age-old idea of maturation.

There is not an individuated individual
who is not mature,
and there is not a mature individual
who is not individuated.

Jung said that the way to the self
is not direct.
We circumambulate our way there,
walking around and around who we are,
every so slowly narrowing the circumference
of the circle,
spiraling into the self at the end of our journey.

The same thing can be said about maturation.
Over the full scope of our lifetime,
we find our way to who we are
through trial and error,
pain and suffering,
grief, loss and sorrow.

We could save ourselves a lot of anguish
if we could just come to terms 
with what's what about us
and let all our dreams and happy fantasies go.

The Buddha could have saved us all 
the trouble of the trip
if he had only said,
"Grow up and get over it,"
instead of fabricating
the endless rounds
of steps to enlightenment.

The Zen-Taoists got straight
to the point,
and said, "Just turn the light around!
That's all there is to it!
Instead of looking out there,
over there, up there,
look inside yourself--
it is all right there,
who you are and who you aren't.
And that is all enlightenment
has to show you!"

That is all growing up reveals.

There is what I can do,
and what I cannot do.
What I do best,
and what I have no business doing.
The same is true for you,
and for all of us.

Yet, we spend our lives
trying to will what cannot be willed,
trying to do what is not ours to do.
Individuation and maturation 
are a long time coming
because we will not take "NO!" 
for an answer,
and keep striving to be what/who we are not.

The Hindu Bahgavad Gita cuts straight 
to the heart of the matter
with its, "Get in there and do your thing,
and don't worry about the outcome."

"The outcome," being the profit, gain, merit,
rewards and riches
we hope to realize by doing
what we hope will bring us joy at last,
never mind if it fits us or not.

We all know what fits us.
We all know what "our thing" is,
and what it isn't.

You don't want me singing at your next wedding.
Or changing the oil in your car,
or shoeing your horse...
The list is very, very, long.
And you have a list very much like mine.

But, if you want me to look out your window
for you,
or drink a morning cup of coffee for you,
or take a photograph in the woods behind your house,
I'll be happy to.
And you have a list like this one, as well.

If we stick with the things on our can do list,
and let the things on our cannot do list go,
we will be taking steps off the journey to ourselves,
and lightening our load at the same time.

It has taken me entirely too long
to realize this already.
And probably, you, as well.


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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