June 14, 2022


November Orchard 05 11/03/2013 Oil Paint Rendered — Springs Farm, Fort Mill, South Carolina
There are people who do their jobs
the way they need to be done.
There are people who live their lives
the way they need to be lived.

Start looking for them.
There are more of them than you might think.

And don't forget to add yourself
to your running tally
of how many you spot in a day.



Lotus Flower 01 06/04/2015 Oil Paint Rendered — Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, McBee, South Carolina
"Om mani padme hum" is a Buddhist chant
that can be translated, "The jewel is in the Lotus,"
with the implied second verse
always in the background
like an embarrassing uncle, 
"and the Lotus is in the slime."

That would be the slime
at the bottom of the pond.
suggested in the above image
by the lily pads well past prime.

The dichotomy is not to be missed,
on several levels.

There is the Buddhist denial of all dichotomy
in its insistence that all is one,
while being grounded in the very dichotomy
it despises.

"Life is suffering"
and suffering is the foundation
of the Buddhist rail against suffering
in the Four Noble Truths
and the Eight-Fold-Path.
Suffering doesn't exist as a duality to Nirvana, 
but where would we be without it?

The Jewel of Enlightenment 
and the Slime of Unknowing/Ignorance/Denial
are two partners in one dance
through time and space.

"The Jewel is in the Lotus"
is another way of saying,
"Life Eats Life,"
or "Yin/Yang,"
reminding us that what we seek
is grounded in who we are,
and we cannot escape ourselves
by being different from who we are.

We are one
because we are two.
Or more.

And because we are two, or more,
we seek a steady state
of the bliss of oneness.

The Jewel is in the Lotus
the way we are One Now,
by being conscious of who we are
and also are
and allowing that to be who we are.

Using the strengths of our "other sides"
to deepen/expand/enlarge us
and our capacity for compassion,
and grace
for all people
because we know "Thou Art That"
and therefore "Namaste,"
"I bow to you."
"All of me bows to all of you."

We are one,
and we all are one,
in our otherness.

Realizing it makes it so.
May it be so.



The Skeleton Trees of Hunting Island 06 05/10/2014 Oil Paint Rendered — Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina
"The shortest way through
is the long way 'round,"
states the folk wisdom of the ages.

We know what we know
because we have lived it
and cannot deny it
because we know it to be so.

Theology and doctrine are opinions.
Folk wisdom is knowledge lodged in the body--
in our heart,
in our stomach,
in our bones.
Where there is no debate,
and no difference of opinion.

Carl Jung talks about "circumambulation"
as being the way of maturity and grace,
and represented it as an infinitely distant spiral,
circling the Anchor Stone of our self's true nature/virtues,
gradually coming to the realization of who we are
and what is ours to do
over the full course of our life
as our experience with life
brings us forth
and shows us who we are
by the way we respond to the events and circumstances
of the day-to-day.

Each situation as it arises
elicits our response.
How we respond over time
reveals who we are.

The shortest path to that truth
is the long way 'round.


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: