June 12, 2022


Leaving Peggy’s Cove 10-03-2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Nova Scotia
We can deal with anything
living out of our original nature
and the virtues that are ours from birth
in conjunction with the right kind of 
and silence.

and silence
are the matrix
within which we develop
our relationship
with our nature and our virtues,
and out of which 
we rise up to meet the world--
in each situation as it arises.

Sizing up the situation
and doing what needs to be done there,
when, where and how it needs to be done,
and are carried by the flow
moving through one situation after another
into the adventures of our life.

This is life within the Tao,
"Darkness within darkness,
the gateway to mystery."

And to life and being.

Enter through the gateless gate,
and walk upon the pathless path.

It is the way.



Steele Creek Cascades 01 03/29/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina
Our fealty,
liege loyalty
and filial devotion
belong to our life.

We are sworn servants
to our life
our entire life long.

It is our dharma duty
to bring our life to life
in the time and place of our living,
in each situation as it arises.

We have no concern other than that,
no business other than that,
no reason for being other than that.

And no one tells us that ever
anywhere along the way.

They all hawk substitute lives to us,
asking us what we want to be
when we grow up--as if that is an option!

Telling us enjoy ourselves
and "pass a good time!"
as though that has anything to do with it.

Implying in 10,000 ways that living well
comes down to making a lot of money
and investing it all in trivial pursuits.

We find ourselves born,
and spend the rest of our lives
trying to find something to take our mind off
"the sufferings and sorrows of being alive."

When, all the time, it's "right there,"
waiting for us to wake up to its presence
and partner-up with its wonder
for the adventure or, well, a lifetime,
discovering and being who we are.

We squander it all for bowl of porridge,
we sell it for a pair of sandals,
we trade it for a ticket to the super bowl.
And die not knowing what we have done--
and failed to do.

Bah! on us!
Fie, Fie! on us!

We have all it takes
except the one thing it takes--
the courage to ask the questions that beg to be asked,
to say the things that cry out to be said,
to do the things that need to be done,
when, where and how they need to be done,
no matter what,
all our life long.

Our original nature is ready for action.
Our innate virtues are primed
for the times that are at hand.
While we go for a pedicure,
or order another beer at the bar,
and look for some action,
any kind of action,
except the kind that is being called for,
while the light begins to flicker,
and fade.



Smoky Mountain Fall 10/20/17 32-33 Oil Paint Rendered — Sparks Lane, Cades Cove, Townsend, Tennessee
All living things are born knowing their business,
and live in its service
all their life long,
except for human beings.

We have no idea of what our business is,
and go for anything that is attractive
and easy,
or just easy.

and depression
are our motivating forces.
Nothing else comes close.

Depression is there
because lethargy/fear/desire
are so thoroughly incapable
of producing a life worth living
that we spend our time languishing
in terminal discontent
for lack of anything better to do.

Oh, for the drive of an earthworm!
Or even a cloud!
The persistence and fortitude of a giant sequoia 
is beyond our ability to comprehend.
We cannot imagine being around that long
with nothing more than that to do.
We would take our own life 
in the seedling stage.

We think prospects are essential,
which is ridiculous,
given the prospects we aspire to
and serve with our life:
Entertainment ("Bread and circuses").

These are all we can come up with
for reasons to live,
and that has held up over time--
over long stretches of time,
from the beginning to here/now.

Why is that the best we can do?

There is an alternative.


Expanded, this becomes,


Expanded further, it becomes,

Arising in and flowing from
the right kind of emptiness,
and silence,
which connect us 
with our original nature
and our innate virtues
which call us to live in their service
in each situation as it arises
by responding to what is called for
in the here/now,
no matter what,
moment by moment,
time after time,
all our life long.

Like giant sequoias
in a shorter amount of time.


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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