October 19-C, 2022

Chemung County Barn 03 Oil Paint Rendered –09/23/2015, Elmira, New York
How to find your life and live it    

Three things are required: Emptiness, Silence, Stillness.

The right kind of emptiness is the emptiness between breaths. Inhale, exhale, pause for a count of five (synced to your heart beat/pulse rate if possible). Inhale, exhale, pause for a count of five… Do this for five rounds. At the end of the fifth round reflect on how empty you were between breaths, counting your heart beat. That’s the kind of emptiness we seek. No thoughts, no fear, no anxiety, no trying, no nothing. Be completely empty. If thoughts/feelings intrude, do not engage them but return to the emptiness by counting your heart beats. Develop the practice of emptiness and maintain that practice over the rest of your life.

Silence is silence, the quieter the better.

Stillness is stillness. Reduce the noise and complexity in your life increasingly over time. Say no to things that increase. noise and complexity. Focus on the things that are most meaningful to you. Honor those things, cherish those things. Do not set meaningful aside or postpone it to some future time because you ought to do something else that isn’t related to your meaningful relationships. You have to do a triage with meaning. Meaning can interfere with meaning and you have to make a sacrifice of meaning to serve meaning. “It is the way.” Tough up and do what needs to be done (Not what should be done, unless it needs to be done as well).

Within the emptiness, stillness and silence—which you will develop into a way of life along with your other responsibilities and duties (You will learn to walk two or more paths at the same time), you will find yourself naturally, spontaneously, listening to your heart, to your body (your stomach and your “bones”), and knowing what you know. Knowing what you know is essential knowing flowing from your original/essential nature and your innate virtues/character which form the ground of your being, and are your guide through life.

We do not find the way that is our way, or the life that is our life, by thinking about it, using reason and logic and analytics. We live our way into what is right for us by attending our feelings, and more to the point, by getting out of the way and responding to what is moving us, calling us, compelling us, eliciting action from us before we know what we are doing. We know what we know when we find ourselves doing what we need to be doing, and not before. It “just happens” of its own accord.

“Just happening” is how people in tune with the Way, with the Tao, experience their life. The Buddha was “one thus come.” Just as he was. When we live just as we are, we do spontaneously, naturally what is ours to do, so that the dancers dance, and the singers sing, and the poets poet, etc. all the way up and down the line.

And to get to the place of “just being who we are,” we have to get out of the way with our expectations and our opinions, and our desire to have everything spelled out like a itinerary on a trip to Italy, and allow our life to happen in its own time, by learning to wait like a cat waits for the bird, or like the beach waits for the wave.

So, my best advice for you is to change the subject in you head and give your hands, or your feet, or both, something to do that they love to do. Bring your body into the picture and allow. your. body to take over. your mind in a somatic kind of way, directing your living for an afternoon, or a morning, or a day if you can swing it, and just be with your body, and see where it takes you and what realizations you have by not trying to think your way into your future. Experiencing our body is an act of serving our balance and harmony. Doing what our body needs to do is the essential act in connecting to our essential nature and our innate virtues/character, and therein resides our future through all the situations and circumstances that will develop along the way


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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