July 17-C, 2022

Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River 04/15/2008 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greenbriar District, Cosby, Tennessee
In talking with Bill Moyers,
Joseph Campbell said,
“The symbolic ideas and metaphorical images   
of mythology and religion 
are poetical in the sense 
that they do not refer to 
actual, physical, facts.
Rather all of the references 
of religious and mythological images 
are to planes of consciousness, 
or fields of experience,
that are potential in the human spirit, 
and these images are to evoke 
attitudes and experiences 
that are appropriate 
to a meditation on 
the mystery of the source of our own being.”

Good religion stands as a threshold,
a doorway,
connecting the facts of existence
with the mystery of existence,
assisting individuals in their work
of accommodating themselves 
to the fundamental and essental
mystery at the heart of life and being,
and living their life around that center,
informed by
and evoked by
"more than words can say."

The images and symbols of good religion
are never literal/actual events in the here/now.

When good religion gives way to bad religion,
the language of poetry
is replaced by the language of prose,
of facts,
and precision
where things are literally just what
they are said to be
and mystery is no more.

Then, the path of individuals
in that barren, empty,
hopeless wasteland of the soul,
is to find their way back
to the Land of Eden
and to the mysteries
of wonder and amazement,
and play.

How are you coming with 
this work
that is ours to do?

We have to do our own work
in "meditating on the mystery
of the source of our life and being."

We have to put ourselves in accord
with the mystery, on one hand,
and with the actual facts
of our existence on the other,
and walk two paths at the same time--
by living with an eye on the other path
while our feet are on this path.

We live on the boundary between 
the mystery of life
and the physical requirements/demands of life,
and tend our relationship
with life on both levels.

It is the place of Ego
to take the messages originating from the mystery
communing, so to speak, 
with our body-mind,
our unconscious mind,
and relate those messages to the conscious-mind
in ways that coordinate
our life "between the worlds,"
in our work to align ourselves
"with the Tao,"
that is to say, "with the mystery,"
for the good of ourselves
and of the world as a whole.

We live between conscious and unconscious
for our own good and the good of the whole.


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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