November 24, 2020

03

Flooded Path 11/04/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, the path becomes a drainage system for the woods, carrying runoff down the hill to the sea every time we get 2.5-3 inches of rain within 3 hours. It has worked this way from the beginning.
What is your predominant mood?

What is your overriding feeling?

What is the nature of your outlook?

Of your viewpoint?

Of your disposition?

How does your body carry anxiety, anger, hopelessness, depression, grief, mourning, fear, worry, concern...?

What is not working about your life?

Where are your needs and expectations being disappointed?

What is the nature of your betrayal?

Where do you turn when you have nowhere to turn?

When you know you are "on the beam,"
what is the nature of the beam?
What are you doing?

What happens to knock you off "the beam"?

What is the nature of your dissatisfaction?

How would you go about changing
what you tell yourself
about what has happened/is happening
in your life?

How does your "narrative" need to be changed?

Are you your own best friend?

If you were your own best friend,
what do you think you most need to hear?

On a low to high scale of 1 to 10,
how would you rate your response-ability
to disappointment?
to beauty?
to good news?
to bad news?
to wonder?
to excitement?
to opportunity?
to invitations?

Questions for self-reflection.


–0–

02

12-Mile Creek 01 11/07/2020 — Union County, North Carolina, an iPhone Photo using the Spectre long exposure app
Our way of living
creates waves upon the surface of life,
making it impossible
for us to see into the depths
in order to perceive
the truth of our essence,
and live out of our original nature
and our natural rhythms,
in meeting the requirements
of the here and now
as we move through each day.

In order to live out of the truth
of our center
within the time and place
of our living,
we have to make the concerted effort
to stop at regular intervals 
throughout the day
to remember our breathing
and shift into self-realization,
by sitting still and being quiet
to calm the waves,
allow the mud to settle,
and clear the water
to connect with the deep core
of our being
and the Source,
the Mystery,
at the heart of life.

Being thus centered and grounded,
we can step back into the moment
as those capable of seeing 
what is happening
and what needs to happen in response--
what is being called for
and how we can rise to the occasion
with the gifts we have to offer,
with sincerity and non-contrivance,
in each situation as it arises.

Transforming the world
one situation at a time.

–0–

01

Ghost Trees of Graveyard Beach 01 08/21/2015 — From my Skeleton Trees Collection–This is a blended image with the Ghost Tree from Botany Bay Heritage Wildlife Preserve and the beach scene from Huntington Beach State Park, both in South Carolina
A Community of Innocence 
is a group of 3 to 5 people
who come together
with no agenda,
and nothing at stake in each other,
beyond serving as a
sounding board
for one another
in helping everyone in the group
find their life,
and live it
with allegiance to 
their individual destiny,
through establishing 
their contact with,
and living from,
their own center
by way of self-transparency
and awareness,
mindfully exhibiting
sincerity,
non-contrivance,
balance,
harmony,
and spontaneity
in response
to what is happening,
and what needs to be done in response,
in each situation as it arises.

We do not live 
to answer the question,
"What do I want to get from my life?"
Or, 
"What am I getting from my life?"
But,
"What do I have to offer my life
and the situations that comprise my life,
out of the gifts I have to share,
for the good of the situations as a whole?"
And,
"How can I best live from my center
in serving my destiny
and my essence,
by being true to my original nature
and my natural rhythms,
situation-by-situation?"

Our Communities of Innocence
(And we can have as many
as we can fit into our life)
listen us into hearing what we have to say,
and offer a regular reminder
of the importance of finding 
a place for stillness
and silence
in each day
for self-reflection,
examination,
exploration
and realization
in order to know what we know
and what is being called for
in the here and now
of our living.

That is all we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done
in the times and places
of our living.

And no one can do 
more than that.

November 23, 2020

03

Sourwood 05 11/04/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
We are to live out of the center of who we are--
"Like a wheel turning out of its own center,"
(Friedrich Nietzsche).

In order to do that,
we have to spend time
nurturing
and nourishing 
our relationship
with our center.

Our center is the contact point with
our original nature,
our natural rhythms,
and the Source--
the Mystery at the Heart
of Life and Being.

It is no light thing
to return to the center!

And it is an absolute essential thing
to live from there!

At the center,
there is stillness and silence
and a perceptible, though faint,
sense of "AUM" in the air.
And we know we have what we need
to find what we need
to do what needs to be done
in each moment,
moment-by-moment,
situation-by-situation,
day-by-day,
throughout our life
and beyond.

Return regularly to the center,
and everything will fall into place
around that.

We have to understand, however,
that "falling into place"
doesn't mean "having our way."

We will have to adjust 
our expectations,
aspirations
and ambitions
to align them with the center's aims,
and our destiny's interests,
which is necessary to turn things around
and create the framework
for a life lived from the center,
transforming all things.

–0–

02

Crepe Myrtle 02 11/10/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
It takes returning regularly
to stillness and silence
in maintaining our connection
with the center
and the Source--
with the Mystery at the heart
of life and being.

When we lose that connection,
we are on our own,
without guardrails or guidance,
lost in the wasteland
of fear/desire/duty,
with nothing to stabilize
or orient us
beyond the next thing to want,
and all the things to hate,
despise,
loathe
and detest
to keep us going.

Groundless living
is drifting--
free-falling--
through our life,
hoping to find something
to make it worthwhile,
and settling for one addiction
after another
as an acceptable substitute
for being alive.

All the time ignoring
the life that is "right there,"
"right here,"
waiting to be recognized,
acknowledged,
embraced
and engaged.

Like the man holding the butter,
looking for the butter.
Like the woman with her glasses 
on her head asking,
"Has anybody seen my glasses?"
We walk past our life,
through our life,
seeking our life,
when all it takes is stopping,
seeing what we are looking at,
hearing what we are listening to,
knowing what we know
and doing what needs to be done
about it.

–0–

01

Reeds at Sunset 05/27/2012 — Abbot Lake, Peaks of Otter Lodge, Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virginia
"I believe, help, thou, my unbelief!"
Means, "I know who I need to be,
help me be who I am!"
Means, "I have the mental part down!
Help me incarnate that in my life!"
Means, "I know what needs to be done!
Help me do it!"

"In each situation as it arises!
All my life long!"

We live to put it into action.
We live to live the truth of who we are
in the midst of the 10,000 things.
In the whirling Dust of the World.
Amid the heaving waves of the wine-dark sea.

If you think that is easy,
back it out of the drive way
and take it round the block
a time or two.

It takes focus,
clarity,
concentration,
dedication,
stillness
and silence,
and practice, practice, practice
to live without contrivance,
with sincerity,
spontaneity,
compassion,
awareness,
balance,
harmony,
acceptance of--
and compliance with--
how things are
and what needs to be done about it
in each situation as it arises,
throughout our life.

But.
Once we get that down,
it is clear sailing 
all the way.

November 22, 2020

03

Walnut Creek Trail to Carolina Thread Trail Connector Trail 01 11/09/2020 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
What are the things keeping us
from being the person we are capable
of being,
doing the things we are capable
of getting done?

Really--what is holding us back?
Standing in our way?
If it weren't for what,
we would be doing what?

Sit quietly with those things 
in your lap.

Meditate on those things.
Contemplate those things.
See what stirs to life in so doing.
See what comes to light.
See where you are being led,
and don't fail to go
where you are being directed.

Your life needs you to live it
the way it needs to be lived.
To serve your destiny.
To be who you were born to be.
In each situation as it arises
all your life long.

Beginning right here right now.

–0–

02

Wood Duck 02 05/15/2014 — Bass Lake, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
We are here to serve our destiny--
to be who we are,
naturally,
spontaneously,
doing what is ours to do,
without contriving to have our way,
or to get what we want,
or to turn things to our
benefit,
profit,
gain
or advantage--
just to be who we are
and do what is ours to do
for no other reason than because
that is who we are
and that is what is ours to do.
Period.

In each situation as it arises,
all our life long.

Our destiny is the rough equivalent
of a caste system,
the only difference being
that no one can tell us what 
our destiny is
by virtue of the circumstances 
of our birth.

No one can tell us what our destiny is.
That is ours only to know
for ourselves.

Only I know what is "me."
And "not-me."
Only you know what is "you."
And "not-you."

Joseph Campbell said,
"We know when we are on the beam,
and when we are off of it."

We know what is ours to do
when we see it.
We know it is talking to us
when it calls our name.

Of course, most of us have other ideas.
We have our preferences
and our dreams for our life.
The trouble is that our life
probably has other ideas for us.

This gets us to the heart of,
"Not my will, but thine, be done!"
Our life's will for us 
can be like a crucifixion,
a self-sacrifice,
acquiescence,
surrender,
submission,
death,
dying
to our wants/wishes for ourselves
in swearing filial allegiance
and liege loyalty to our destiny
and our life's will for us.

This is the story of the Garden of Eden
and the Garden of Gethsemane.
Who is the final authority
determining how our life is to be lived?
Is it us?
Or our life, our destiny?

Our answer to that question
determines everything that follows.

–0–

01

Sun Beams 02 09/02/2014 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
If everyone would sit still
and be quiet
until The Shift happened
the world would be instantly transformed.

Shift happens.
It happens regularly throughout our life.
But we cannot schedule it.
It doesn't happen when it is convenient.
It doesn't happen at the same time
for anyone,
much less for everyone.
It can be assumed,
and even expected,
and looked forward to,
but it cannot be predicted,
and if it is controlled,
it is artificial,
and cannot be relied upon
to be as dependable
and trustworthy
as the real thing.

When The Shift happens,
our life "clicks" into place,
and things take shape around that.

We know what is important,
see what needs to happen,
hear what is being called for
in each situation as it happens,
and live in the service
of our destiny
in responding spontaneously
to the need of the moment
in each situation as it arises,
with sincerity and non-contrivance,
compassion and acceptance,
balance and harmony,
day-in and day-out,
all our life long.

This is the attitude,
and the approach to life,
that changes the world.

And it arises on it own
out of the stillness
of the silence.

November 21, 2020

03

Adams Mill Pond B&W 53 11/10/2014 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
We have to be right about what's important.
Everything rides on it.
But how can we be right about what's important?
By being wrong, wrong, wrong
with our eyes open.

Getting it right the first time
is an accident.
Getting it right twice in a row
just starting out
is stupid lucky.
Getting it right every time
is unheard of.

We have to get it right every time.
We get there the hard way.
By being aware of what we are doing.
Nobody can tell us how to be right.
We figure it out for ourselves.

Books are no help.
Recipes are useless.
Experience is the only teacher,
and we have to be the willing student.

The way to make really good soup,
let's say, chicken noodle, 
is by making a lot of really bad
chicken noodle soup.
And learning as we go.

We learn what's important the same way.
How do we know what's important?
By trying out all of the likely candidates
and seeing how it works.

We experiment our way through the options.
"That's not it!"
"That's not it!"
"That's not it!"
"Nope."
"Nope."
"Nope."
All the way down the line.
Learning how to see what we look at,
how to evaluate what we see,
how to know what's what.
Until, bingo, there it is!

And when we know "There it is!",
we know it.
And when we know it,
nothing can talk us out of it.
It is important because 
we know it is important.
Because we say so.

And we will go to hell for it,
if need be.
Because it matters most.

What will you go to hell for?
When you can answer that question,
you know you have something 
to hang on to.

Hang on to it,
and serve it with your life!

–0–

02

Lake Chicot 06 10/27/2015 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
We are riding a black horse
bareback on a dark night
in the pouring rain
down a steep trail.

Our place is to stay on the horse,
and not try to tell her what to do.

I recommend leaning forward,
with your cheek on her neck
and your hands extended down 
toward her shoulders
and your knees pressing into
her sides,
and letting her find the way.

Keep that image/metaphor
in mind
as you step into each day.

And bring it up into consciousness
when you encounter
turns of events you don't expect,
and news you can't handle.

We are riding a black horse
on a dark night
in the pouring rain
down a steep trail.

–0–

01

Huntington Beach Sunrise 10 08/25/2015 — Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Denial, self-deception, illusion, delusion,
diversion, distraction, deflection,
and all their spin-offs
and relatives,
have gotten us this far.
I'll bet they keep us going.

You can say what you want to
about the high values,
liberty, justice, compassion, peace...
all the things we say we are living for.
But we are living out of fear, desire, duty,
and their extensions,
guilt, anger, rage, hatred, greed, terror, dread...

If you want to motivate someone,
go for stirring things up
in the areas of guilt, anger, rage, etc. area.
Forget appealing to their "higher selves."

Donald Trump is a case in point.
He got 70 million people to vote for him
on that basis.
And the 73, or so, million who voted against him?
Most of them acted out of the same motivation,
only directed against him.
Everybody voted their fear and rage.

So don't give me
the humanity is all justice and love
at the heart ga ga.
Humanity is out for itself at the heart,
even though it has no idea of what that means.
It thinks what it means 
is having what it wants
and not having what it doesn't want,
and that is how it lives--
toward having its way
and avoiding all things not its way.

And it doesn't like the way that sounds,
so it tricks itself with words
that conceal its intentions and desires.
Telling ourselves what we want to hear
is what we do best.
Or is it shooting ourselves in the foot?
Perhaps, they are the same.

If you don't want to be that way,
you will be working against the grain,
swimming against the current,
like up Niagara Falls,
but, you could begin by looking in the mirror
until you see who is looking back.

Self-transparency is the foundation
of a super-human life,
the life of a Real Human Being.
Just looking until we see.
Just listening until we hear.
Just inquiring until we know.
And letting nature take its course.

Nature does what needs to be done
without looking back
in each situation as it arises,
not kidding itself.

Nature doesn't operate 
out of fear, desire, duty.
Nature is fearless,
desire-less,
duty free.

Think lemmings and the sea.

Nature does what is called for
without knowing why,
or caring about what the gain is.
And it doesn't take more than it needs.
Or ask for more than it has a right to.
And trusts it all to be just fine
some how.

The difference between us and nature
is that we have a bigger brain
and can foresee the future,
and think we can avoid aspects of it
and guarantee other aspects of it,
and are future-bound.

And we can remember the past
want to avoid certain aspects of it
and guarantee other aspects of it,
and are past-bound.

And that plays hell with the present.

But here we are.

Now what?

I'm just going to see what the next moment
calls for and strive to do it,
with all things considered,
insofar as that is possible,
and see where it goes,
and let that inform what I do
in the next moment,
for all the moments that remain
in my life.

And hope for the best.
Whatever that may be.

November 20, 2020

03

Tree Panoramas 04 10/25/2019 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina
Our life is designed
to bring out the best in us,
or not.

Joseph Campbell said,
"It took the Cyclops
to bring out the hero in Ulysses."
But, not in all those
the Cyclops met before Ulysses.

We do not have to stand up
and step forward to meet our life
with our best in hand.
We can run. 
Carl Jung said, however,
"We meet our destiny on the road
we take to avoid it."
Yet, ever there, 
we do not have to meet it
with our best in hand.

We can turn to denial,
despair,
dejection,
addiction...
and die long before
some coroner makes it official.

Our life doesn't always
bring out the best in us.
How we respond to the demands
of the moment
is our call to make,
moment-by-moment-by-moment.

Having what it takes,
and doing what needs to be done,
is as much a matter of perspective
and perception,
courage and willful determination,
as it is skill and ability.

Just making the effort
attracts help from 
the most unexpected places.
Just opening ourselves
to the gifts of our imagination,
creates shifts and openings
in our circumstances
we could never expect.

We craft miracles by
stepping forward,
wondering how we are going to
do this thing that is called for.

Again and again.

Ours is the Sisyphean task
of putting our shoulder to 
our life and rolling it up the hill
each day
and following it down the hill
each night,
to roll it up the hill again 
the next day,
day after day after day.

How did Sisyphus do it? 
I would have to make a game of it.
I would make a friend of the rock
that is my life.
I would love the rock
and my relationship with the rock.

Each day, I would roll it to almost
the top of the hill,
seeking the still point
between up and down.
It would have to be there somewhere.
The place of balance and harmony.
The place of rest.
Aha!

And I would take a break,
and count the seconds each day,
before the tipping point gave way,
and down she goes.
I would live to discover my personal best,
and strive to beat it each day.

And I would walk slowly down hill,
to start over again tomorrow.

I would give it my best each day,
with no end in sight,
and no way out.
It is called making meaning,
what humans do best.
Just me and my rock called Micky
(For Mick Jagger, the Rolling Stone).

–0–

02

Carolina Thread Trail 05 11/09/2020 — Twelve-Mile Creek Swinging Bridge, Lancaster County, SC/Union County, NC
We find the center by seeking
and exploring,
and exhibiting,
our Original Nature
and our Natural Rhythms.

"Is this Me or Not-Me
here and now?"

Is the question that 
carries us into the roles
our lives require us to play,
and the masks we wear day-to-day.

Joseph Campbell talked about
the Primary Mask being who 
our parents, our culture, our society
ask/expect us to wear,
and the Antithetical Mask being who
we are in our inmost self.

For 40.5 years in the ministry,
I was an introvert
pretending to be an extrovert.
I did it by being conscious of it.
By not pretending to myself.
I stepped into the role 
my life was asking me to play,
like I would if I were an actor
playing my part for the Big Screen.

Life is like a Big Screen.
We show up,
deliver our lines as they should be delivered,
act our part as it should be acted,
take our bows,
and return to our life off-screen,
where we can settle into "just being ourselves"
for a while.

The masks are essential.
We have to walk two paths at the same time.
Who we are 
is who-we-ought-to-be
and
who-we-can't-help-being.
Where the two paths clash considerably,
we have to work it out.

I could not have been a minister
in a right-wing evangelical church.
I knew where to draw my lines.
There are some parts we cannot play
and be true to ourselves.
Actors do not accept every part
they are asked to play. 

Fraser Snowden said,
"The only true philosophical question
is 'Where do we draw the line?'"
The answer to that question
is a door opening to the mystical
center of ourselves,
revealing who we are
in ways we might never have guessed
without being pushed to the point
of drawing a line.

All of our lines are mirrors 
reflecting us to us.
In drawing our lines,
we know who we are,
what is important,
and where we stand.

Where have you drawn lines
in the past?
Where are you drawing lines
in the present?
Where are you likely to draw lines
in the future?

There you are.

Other places/doors/mirrors revealing
us to us
are the things/people that/who attract us
and the things/people that/who repel us.
Anything, any person,
that/who evokes a visceral reaction in us
is telling us about us.

Who we vote for and why.

The things we intend to do 
and keep forgetting to do.

The things we intend not to do
and find ourselves doing.

The tunes we hum/sing without meaning to.

The themes which keep playing themselves out,
or coming to the surface again and again,
when our mind is "just wandering."

The dreams--particularly the Big Dreams,
and the recurring dreams--we have at night.

The day dreams--dreads and happy fantasies--
we have during the day.

The ways we spend our money.
The ways we spend our time.

Our viewpoint.
Our preferences.
Our fears.
Our desires.

All are clues to who we are,
to who we are afraid of being,
to who we do not want to be at all,
that need to be examined,
investigated,
explored,
contemplated,
mined
for the gold.

The paths to the center
are paths to meaning and purpose,
hope and fulfillment,
identity and confidence,
balance and harmony,
and wait for our cooperation
to lead us to ourselves.

–0–

01

Looking East 05 09/01/2014 — Water Rock Knob, Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
We start where we are,
with seeing all there is to see
here and now--
right here, right now.

Asking all of the questions 
that beg to be asked.

Saying all of the things 
that cry out to be said.

Without judgment, evaluation 
or even opinion--
and with compassion and acceptance--
in a "This, too! This, too!"
kind of way.

All of it is grist for the mill.
We are milling ourselves.
Who we are
and who we have within us to be.

We are seeking ourselves,
and looking for the life 
that is ours to live.

We find both
waiting for us
at the center.
It all comes together
at the center.

All paths lead to the center,
flow from the center,
circle around the center.

The paths are not straight.
There is nothing linear 
or sequential about us.
"The shortest way through
is the long way around"
(Conventional wisdom saying).

Carl Jung talked about "individuation"
(What we are about,
becoming who we are,
doing what is ours to do)
as "The circumambulation of the self."
It is a long,
downward spiral to the center 
of life and being.

At the center
is also The Source,
which is also The Mystery,
of Life and Being.

We are one with The Source
and The Mystery
of Life and Being.

And, here is the secret
of the center,
at the center,
we are connected
with everyone else
at their center.

The many are one at the center.
and say, "AUM...",
which is a lot like saying, "WOW...",
together,
through the ages.

November 19, 2020

03

Fall Canopy 02 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
We see things the way we see things.
And.
Everything hinges/turns/flows from/falls out around
how we see things.
Nothing is more important
than being right about the way we see things.
That being the case--
and who could see it any other way--
you would think we would take the pains required
to see things as they are.

In other words,
to see the things we look at
as scientists would see them
and not as religious fanatics would see them.

That would mean
stepping back from the way we see things
to see ourselves seeing things.
And make inquiries.

Why do we see things the way we see them
and not some other way instead?

Where does the way we see things come from?

How many other ways of seeing things
can we imagine?

How do we know the way we see things
is the right way to see things?

Who would be proud of us 
for the way we see things?
Who would be disappointed in us 
for the way we see things?
Who are we trying to please/displease
by the way we see things?

Where do we get our ideas 
about the way we ought to see things?

Who are the authorities we respect
when it comes to how to see things?

Other than taking their word for it,
how could we determine whether the way
we see things
is the right way to see them?

What standards/principles govern
the way we see things?

What experiments can we devise
to test the validity of the way we see things?

How can we determine if we know 
what we are doing,
seeing things the way we see things?

What are we afraid of
when it comes to examining 
the way we see things?

What are the questions we are afraid to ask
about the way we see things?
What are the questions we refuse to ask?

How do we know that we know
what we are talking about?

Who says that the way we see things
is the right way to see things?
Who says that the way we see things
is the wrong way to see things?
How do we know who is right?

What are we taking for granted
when it comes to the way we see things?

What are we assuming to be so?

What justifies us in seeing the way we do?
What calls us into question?

What does how we see things
say about what is most important to us?
How do we know that ought to be important?
Who says so?
Who says not-so?
What makes us think they know,
or don't know,
what they are talking about?

Etc. and so forth all the way
to the bottom of the matter.

–0–

02

Sunset at Water Rock Knob 08/05/2007 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
What feeds your soul?
What makes your little heart sing?
What brings you to life?
What nurtures you,
nourishes you,
restores you,
centers you,
grounds you,
balances you,
harmonizes you,
reconnects you to you?

Make it your practice 
to incorporate the things
that do these things
into your life
on a regular basis.

You are responsible for 
your own self-care.

We neglect ourselves
to our own demise.
It is like dying a slow death
by our own hand.

Whose side are you on?
Would anyone ever guess
that you are on your own side
by the way you treat you?

You are your only hope.
You are the guardian
of your own Inner Guide.
Follow the guidance 
of the One Who Knows Within!

And start doing the things
that bring you to life!

Regularly!
Dependably!
Relentlessly!

–0–

01

Moss Glen Falls 03 09/25/2015 — Stowe, Vermont
How confident are you
of living out of your own center?
How courageous are you
in living out of your own center?

When your center comes under attack,
how do you defend it?
When you come under attack,
how conscious are you
of retreating to your center?

Your center is your adamantine core.
Your immovable,
unassailable rock. 
Your unshakable foundation.

Do you have any idea
of what I am talking about?

Are you blown about,
unsure of yourself,
easily talked into and out of
anything?
With no north star to guide you,
and no gyroscope 
to hold you on course?
Second-guessing and self-doubting
leading the way?

If so, it is time to find your center.

Your center is an extension of the Source,
with your own particular blend
of tastes/interests/peculiarities/
proclivities/idiosyncrasies/gifts/
ways/characteristics/etc.
forming the "I am" that grounds you
and sets you apart from everyone else.

You are alike everyone else
in that we all stem from the Source,
and we are different from everyone else
in that we are a unique combination
of traits unlike anyone who has ever been
or will be.

And the idea that we should abandon who we are
and be identical to everyone else is anathema.

Our place is to BE who we are
in relationship with everyone else,
in the old, "Define yourself
while staying in touch" kind of way.
Tricky.
And it all hangs on our knowing
and living out of our center.

Our center is the home 
of our Original Nature
and our Natural Rhythms.

Joseph Campbell said,
"We know when we are on the beam
and when we are off of it."
"The beam" here is a metaphor
for our center.

We know when we are centered,
balanced and in harmony with ourselves,
and when we are not.

We have to know what we know.
Pay attention.
Be aware.
And consciously allow our action
to flow from our center
by observing ourselves in action,
and checking to see if the origin
of what we are doing--
how we are living--
is flowing unimpeded from our center,
or if it is being directed 
by some other source
(Like the desire to be pleasing,
or the fear of being abandoned),
and doing the work
of coming to terms
with our vulnerabilities
by being aware of them,
and of living out of our center
by being aware of it.

Awareness is the solution
of all of our problems today
and every day.

Perhaps this would be a good time 
for me to mention
the Jon Kabat-Zinn YouTube videos
(The shortest ones first)
on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.

It is difficult to live out of our center
without being aware of what we are doing.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the awareness guru.
Start with him.

November 18, 2020

05

Walnut Creek Trail 09 11/09/2020 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
My short list of the most important things:

See what you look at.
Look at everything.

Hear what you listen to.
Listen to everything.

Know what you know,
and what you don't know.

Sit quietly as often as possible
for as long as possible. 

Contemplate your original nature
and your natural rhythms.

Realize that you cannot change your life
without changing the way you live your life.

Without changing the way you think about your life.
Without changing the people you run with.
Without becoming transparent to yourself.

When you become transparent to yourself,
you become transparent to transcendence.

When you become transparent to transcendence,
you become as God,
with you and "the Father" being one.

How different are you willing for your life to be?

–0–

04

Lake Chicot 09 10/27/2015 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
It is our body of work that does it.
It is the cumulative impact
of our life on other lives
over the full course of our life
that makes our living worthwhile,
and stands as our contribution
to the whole--
that constitutes "doing our bit"
in support of the idea of humanity
in the cosmos.

It's like this:
We affect every moment for better or worse,
for good or ill,
by the way we respond to the moment.
We influence every situation
through the response we make
to the situation.

We are, then and there, for the sole purpose
of being who we are, then and there,
for the good of then and there.

You can blow that off if you want to.
That is your way of responding 
to here and now.

You can do that with every here and now
that proceeds from this here, this now.
Blow it off.
Maybe that is just who you are,
and you can't help it,
even by paying attention to it,
and wondering if there is a more helpful
way of being present
in the situations that constitute your life.

I'm saying that you owe it to yourself
and to the rest of us
to be consciously present
in each situation as it arises,
and to offer those situations
what is being called for there
to the best of your ability,
one situation at a time
all your life long.

Blow it off if you want to.
Never mind if you like.
I did what I could do for you,
you wanted nothing to do with it,
and that's that.

But, before you go, look at it this way:
An orchestra,
a choir,
a quartet,
a duo,
you standing alone at the microphone,
works best when everyone 
is on key, in tune, 
and harmoniously in accord with the music.

Stay with me here.

Every situation is a performance
before an audience,
with music
and a microphone,
with a rhythm and a flow,
calling us to dance in sync
with the movement of that time
and that place.

And when we do it,
it is beautiful.
And when we do not do it,
it is not.

Your place and mine
is to grace each situation 
with the full wonder of our presence,
day in and day out forever.

Blow it off if you must.
But, know what you are doing 
when you do.

How we live matters!
It is the only thing that matters!
And we get to practice our part,
to play our role,
to be who we are,
offering what we have to give,
in each situation as it arises.

We have no excuse for failing 
to be good at being us over time.
And everything depends on our
being good at being us,
moment-by-moment,
day-by-day.

Don't believe it if you want to,
but why wouldn't you believe it?
Why would you believe something
that lets you get by with being
a fly in the soup,
a gnat in the eye,
a scourge on the earth,
a blight, a curse, on the legacy 
of humanity eternally,
the bane of human existence
through all the ages?

Answer me that,
before you go.

–0–

03

Atlantic Moonrise 01 08/08/2007 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
Being right about who we are,
and living to place ourselves
in accord with who we are
is the essence of true-human-being-hood,
and the most meaningful thing we can do
in the time left for living--
for ourselves and all of humankind.

"What I do is me/for that I came,"
said Gerad Manley Hopkins.
"By the grace of God, I am what I am,"
said Paul the Apostle.
"I yam what I yam!"
said Popeye the Sailor Man.

There is no greater honor
or pleasure
than being who we are
in the way we live our life.

And it is the Secret Cause
(Stephen Dedalus/James Joyce)
that directs us to our death.
And what a beautiful, wonderful 
way to die that is.

We are going to die some way,
some how.
Why not die being who we are?
As a direct consequence of being who we are?
Deliberately,
willfully,
being who we are every step of the way?

What is a better way to go?

Mean to die by the way you live!
Let that be your gift to the world!
As surely as Jesus' death was
his gift to the world!

To live and to die being who we are
is the greatest meaning 
we can give to our existence!
Why throw it away drinking beer
looking at the ocean?

Drinking beer, looking at the ocean,
is only a pilgrimage to restore our soul
and deepen our commitment
to being who we are in a world
that doesn't notice or care who we are--
a "pause that refreshes"
and enables us to stand up,
and step back into our work
of being who we are,
doing what needs us to do it,
the way only we can,
all our life long.

–0–

02

Around Bass Lake 07 10/13/2014 — Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
The rhythms and themes,
tastes and interests,
proclivities and ways of making coffee,
or whatever we drink instead,
which direct and define our living,
are unique among people
who have ever lived,
or will ever live.

We are one of a kind,
individual
and distinctive,
set apart.

And then we get married.

It takes fifty years or so
to knock off the sharp corners
and smooth out the rough edges
and make each of us fit company
for the other of us.

Marriage is equivalent to the smashups
that went on for eons
after the Big Bang 
that eventually created
the laws of physics and biology
by destroying everything 
that didn't belong as it was 
where it was.

We all take our place over time.
Become domesticated
and can be trusted to know
our limits
and where we belong,
and where we have no business being.

And, it would help to know something
of the rhythms and themes, etc.
of the person we are marrying
before we marry.

Insuring compatibility
will not guarantee no collision
of galaxies, but,
it will reduce the likelihood,
and that alone would make it
worth the effort.

–0–

01

The Grove 07 01/29/2015 –Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina, The Big House now serves as office space for the Refuge
We all die by our own hand.
We all are the secret cause of our own death.
We all have rhythms and themes
and ways of being, and being-not,
that carry us through our life
to the very end.

We step toward our own dying
step-by-step,
moment-by-moment,
day-by-day.

In each of us, 
our fate and our destiny
meet up
and work themselves out,
to our oblivious,
unknowing,
out-of-touchness,
and our clueless turning
from one thing to another,
completely unaware 
of the rhythms and themes
that are dancing us,
directing us,
all our life long.

Noticing and knowing 
what we are doing
will enable us to smile
as death comes upon us,
and step toward it
as though we are meeting our lover,
greeting it with a warm embrace,
saying with passion
and meaning every word,
"It is so good to meet you at last,
and on such a good day to die!"

November 17, 2020

03

Fall Leaves 24 11/10/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
All religion is based 
on the premature interpretation 
of experience.

The discovery of recurring cycles
in the relationships
between the stars and planets--
with mathematical regularity--
did not,
does not,
mean anything beyond what it is.

However, the stargazers who put 
everything together 
made it mean what they 
said it meant
by interpreting it the way they did.

We should leave things we don't know
anything about uninterpreted 
until we know better what is going on.

This is the difference between
science and religion.
Science calls its interpretations
"hypotheses."
Religion calls its interpretations
"facts"
(Everything religion "takes on faith"
becomes a fact the instant
it is so taken).

Joseph Campbell said,
"The whole point of science
is that there are no facts,
only theories."

No religion, 
or spokesperson for religion,
would say that about religion.

–0–

02

The Seated Buddha — From my Symbols of Transformation Collection
The Hero's Journey is a meaningful life.

A meaningful life is the first thing to go.
Our eye is on the prize,
and the old Zen maxim always applies:
"The ability of the archer to hit the bullseye
varies in inverse proportion
to the size of the prize for doing so." 

A meaningful life is the bullseye.

But, we go for the money every time.

–0–

01

Tupper Lake Sunset 01 09/22/2015 — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, New York
Is it better to win or to lose?
To be tall or to be short?
To live with a plan or to live without a plan?
And ten thousand other questions like these.

Who is smart enough to know 
what is better in a general, 
vague,
absolute kind of way?

Better depends upon the situation at hand.
Better is clear in the here and now. 
In the far from now, 
there is no telling.

What is to our advantage
changes with time and place.
Every asset is simultaneously a liability,
and every liability is an asset,
depending upon a combination of factors
that are time and place dependent.

We are built to rise to meet
every occasion.
We are ideally suited 
for the life that is ours to live.
The life that is ours to live
is a perfect fit
for what we bring to the table.

When we start messing with things
with an eye on perfection,
we mess things up royally 
for ever one.

This is the moral of the Garden of Eden.
The moral of the Garden of Gethsemane
is "Thy will, not mine, be done,"
with the "Thy" being the Tao of time and place
situation and circumstance,
and consisting of what is being called for
here and now.

If you like something,
it is likely to change in time.
And, if you don't like something,
that, too, stands a good chance of changing.

Forget what you want and don't want,
like and don't like.
Step into your life without opinion
or expectation,
judgment or demands.

Trust yourself to the developing situation,
and be whom the situation can trust
to do what is right
at the right time
in the right place
in the right way.

Things have a way of turning out
as blessing and grace
just by doing what is right
one situation at a time,
as though something
knew what it was doing.

November 16, 2020

03

Lake Chicot 06 10-27-2015 — Lake Chicot State Park, Ville Platte, Louisiana
Why do we care about what we care about?
We will never explain our way to the bottom of it.
The question can be answered 
only with another question.
"Why do you care about what you care about?

We do not have access to the Carer within.
We like what we like.
We don't like what we don't like.
We love what we love.
We don't love what we don't love.
We care about what we care about.
We don't care about what we don't care about.

There is an entire cosmos within
which we do not control,
understand,
comprehend,
or even know about.

Why do we see the way we see?
Feel the way we feel?
Think the way we think?

Our viewpoints are not our own.
We do not reason our way there,
and cannot reason our way out of there. 

We are led about,
directed and guided through our life
by what, we do not know.

Who/What is piloting our boat
on its path through the sea?
And, if we have a destination in mind,
Who/What put it there?

No matter how we try to evade,
escape,
deny
the conclusion,
we cannot avoid
the inescapable reality
that our life 
has a life of its own.

The only reasonable,
logical
(since we like logic and reason so),
alternative here
is to open ourselves to
the truth of another boarder,
and devote ourselves 
to the task 
of sensing/feeling
the influence
of instinct and intuition,
and trusting ourselves 
to the realm of hunches,
nudges
and things that occur to us
"out of the blue"
(or in the wee hours of the night),
in determining what is being called for
within the circumstances at hand,
responding with liege loyalty
and filial devotion,
in doing what we are led to do,
and allow our outcomes to be our outcomes--
without judgment or opinion,
but with grace and compassion
pouring over, spilling out--
and see where it goes.


–0–

02

Crepe Myrtle 01 11/10/2020 Oil Paint Rendering — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Carl Jung referred to the feminine aspects of a man
as his Anima,
and to the masculine aspects of a woman
as her Animus.

When men are being the best woman they can be,
and women are being the best man they can be,
the word is balanced and in harmony,
and everything happens
exactly as it needs to happen
on all levels,
every day.

Things are as they are because
men think they are to be men,
and women think they are to be women.

And that isn't the only problem.

No one has any idea of what a Real Man is,
and no one has any idea of what a Real Woman is.

We all need to go back to the womb
and start over
with parents who understand,
in a world of parents who understand,
and see how things would be
if we had a proper upbringing.

Who is the best man you have ever known?
Who is the best woman you have ever known?
Live toward being the best
of both those people
in the way you live your life.

If you are a man or a woman,
live to bring forth the best man
and the best woman,
you have ever known.

That will shift things toward the good.
Then we can work to improve our ideas 
of "man" and "woman."

And that will get us within reach
of the ideal human being.

And that will be a world
worth living in!

–0–

01

Along NY Highwat 30 06 09/28/2014 — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, Tupper Lake, New York
I am the jewel in the lotus--
om mani padme hum--
so is the Buddha,
so are you.

And, so are we all 
the jewel in Indra's net,
each reflecting the other
by the light of realization/awareness/
illumination/enlightenment/awakening.

One is many,
many are one.

We are the same in our differentness,
with each of us being unique,
set apart,
individually identified
by our outlook,
our fingerprints,
the sonogram of our voice,
the coloration of our eyes,
the cones of our irises
our idea of a meaningful life,
and 10,000 other things--
and each of us being exactly alike
by being different in so many ways.

One is many.
Many are one.

And we get to each other 
through ourselves.
We cannot be intimate
if we will not be vulnerable.
We can be only as vulnerable
as we are conscious
of who,
and how,
and what we are.
The less self-transparent we are,
the more hidden we have to be,
all wars are fought by those
who refuse to know themselves.

If you want to know me,
know you.
There I am.
If you do not want to know you,
you will never know anyone.

You are the jewel in the lotus
only when you know it to be so--
and being humbled by it,
not impressed,
because you know it to be so
of everyone.

Everyone is the Buddha.
Everyone is the Christ.
And the Hero's Journey
is living a meaningful life.

If you understand this
and apply it,
you have it made.

Om mani padme hum.

November 15, 2020

03

Walnut Creek Trail 07 11/09/2020 — Lancaster County, South Carolina
Everything hinges upon,
flows from,
falls into place around
living meaningfully.

Living meaningfully
is living with your heart in
what you are doing.

What keeps that from happening?

There are no substitutes for it.
No stand-ins.
No reasonable facsimiles.

All of the distractions,
like money,
sex,
alcohol and pot,
can't erase the emptiness
or disappear the truth
that your heart isn't in
what you are doing.

The only fix 
is for you to sit down
with your heart,
and listen.

Then find ways of putting
yourself in accord with your heart.

Living meaningfully 
is the solution
to all of our problems today.
And tomorrow.
Forever.

–0–

02

Fall Leaves 34 11/10/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
You can be trusted to know
what is good for you and what is not,
where you belong and where you do not,
what is "you" and what is not,
what is reliable and what is not...
and to learn how to know what you know,
and trust yourself to know it
as you go along.

You are born with what it takes
to know what you need to know
to find what you need
to be who you are
and do what is yours to do
in doing what needs to be done
in each situation as it arises
situation-by-situation.

That is all there is to it.

But.

You cannot do it 
without sitting still
and being quiet
on a regular basis
all along the way.

–0–

01

Adams Mill Pond Reflection 02 11/09/2014 — Goodale State Park, Camden, South Carolina
Joseph Campbell said,
"Bliss is that deep sense
of being present, here and now,
and doing what you absolutely 
must do to be yourself 
in the time and place of your living,"
(Or words to that effect).

And if that is also the way
it should be done,
the way the situation is calling
for it to be done,
you are transparent to transcendence,
which is as close to God
as we are going to be in this life.

Here's the problem:
There are multiple layers
to every situation.
What is allowed on some levels
are anathema on other levels.
What can you get by with
is the question.

Can you get by with being true
to yourself here and now?
This is your role in the process.
Only you can determine 
what you can get by with,
and what has to give,
what has to go,
for you to be true to yourself
in each situation as it arises.

Your problem is finding places
where it is safe to be you,
and finding people around whom
it is safe to be you--
and, even then, you will be 
risking everything,
every now and then,
in being who you are
and doing what is called for
in the situation.

This is called dancing
across the slippery slope,
traversing the dangerous path,
along the razor's edge.
It is not for the faint of heart.
And it will require dying
again and again,
and being born again
again and again.
All the way to the end of the dance.

November 14, 2020

03

Walnut Creek Trail 06 11/09/2020 — Walnut Creek, Lancaster County, South Carolina
God is not a fact.
God is a metaphor
for the Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being.
God is more than can be known,
or said,
or thought,
or imagined.
To say more than that about God
is heresy,
suggesting that God can be explained,
described,
told of,
said.

Heinrich Zimmer said, "The most important things
cannot be said.
The second most important things
are the metaphors we use
to talk about the most important things,
and they are misunderstood.
The third most important things
are the things we talk about."

We can only experience the most important things,
and then sing songs
or write poems,
or paint pictures,
or dance
or devote our lives to living
in the wonder of the knowledge
that cannot be said.

Ways of opening ourselves to the experience
of the most important things
include meditation/contemplation
of the mystery of our own being
and the wonder of the cosmos.

Placing ourselves in regular,
reverent,
company
with art,
music
and nature.

Conversations with other people
about their experience
of the holy/ineffable/Numen
in their lives.

Considering the abundance
of religious symbols worldwide,
we might select a few to contemplate
each week,
exploring the difference between
what the symbols connote
and what they denote--
what they imply/mean/suggest/indicate
beyond themselves
and what their literal/primary/actual
meaning is.

Exploring the connotations of symbols
is the path to realization
and awakening.

The connotations of God
go far past the catechisms and doctrines,
and open us to new possibilities
of wonder and engagement
beyond the reach of reason and logic.

–0–

02

Sourwood 19 11/10/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
"They cast their nets in Galilee
Just off the hills of brown
Such happy simple fisherfolk
Before the Lord came down.
Contented peaceful fishermen
Before they ever knew
The peace of God That filled their hearts 
Brimful and broke them too.
Young John who trimmed the flapping sail,
Homeless, in Patmos died.
Peter, who hauled the teeming net,
Head-down was crucified.
The peace of God, it is no peace,
But strife closed in the sod,
Yet, children, pray for but one thing–
The marvelous peace of God."
            --William Alexander Percy

"The peace of God" is another term for
"The Secret Cause."
They are interchangeable
and equivalent.

There is no "peace of God"
apart from our alignment with,
and liege loyalty to,
the Secret Cause.

Just as there is no life without death.
Just as every birth is death in the making,
and every death is a threshold to new life,
Just so, our embrace of the Secret Cause
is a union with "the peace of God"
that is "strife closed in the sod,"
and a crucifixion waiting to happen.

"Yet, children, pray for but one thing!"
It is "for this we have come."

Both in terms of "What shall I say,
'Father, save me from this hour'? 
No! For this I have come!"

And: "What I do is me, for this I came!"
(Gerad Manley Hopkins)

We find what we seek
in our identification with the Secret Cause,
though it be like the moth's
identification with the flame.

The Secret Cause of our life 
is death and life and death and life...
The two are one.
It is oneness all the way down.
And up.

All of our dichotomies are false dichotomies.
Good/Bad,
Right/Wrong,
Left/Right,
Up/Down,
Black/White,
Simple/Complex...

Duality comes to an end
in the realization of oneness.
Both/And,
Either/Or--
which is it?
It is both/and
it is either/or.

Death is life,
life is death.

We die at every transition point
throughout our life,
and are born again
on the other side 
of every successful transition.
Only to die again 
at the next transition point.
And our life never runs out of 
transition points!

And the Secret Cause
is the cause of most of them!

In the service of the Secret Cause--
the Secret Cause of our life,
of the life that is our life to live,
of the purposes and meanings
that are life itself for us--
we confront the contradictions,
dichotomies,
and polarities
that bring us forth
by demanding our death
again and again.

The Hero's Journey is one long series
of deaths and resurrections.

"Yet, children, pray for but one thing:
the marvelous peace of God!"

It is Yin/Yang all the way down--
with Yin/Yang understood to be a metaphor
for the integration of opposites,
which remain oppositional
throughout their oneness,
as we bear the pain of that tension
our entire life,
by bringing them together in our life.

–0–

01

The Cascades Panorama 04/19/2011 — EB Jeffres Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Wilkes County, North Carolina
When we live aligned 
with the Secret Cause--
the Secret Cause of us,
of our life,
of the life that is to be our life--
we are at one with our destiny,
and centered in
and grounded upon
the why, what, when and how 
of our existence.

In that place, we are "immortal,
invincible,
God-only wise,"
and "though we die, yet shall we live."
And nothing can knock us off
"the still point,"
"the axis mundi"
"the center of the universe"
and "of the turning world."

We are anchored to the adamantine foundation
of our life--
of all of life--
of the entire cosmos
and whatever might lie beyond it.


We are one with everything,
and live with a confidence
that borders on recklessness,
and have to call upon the guardians
of humility and self-transparency
to rein ourselves in
and live within the situations
and circumstances of our life
as they unfold about us--
as those who have work to do
that is vital to the whole
and to the Cause.

Serving the Secret Cause
in the time and place of our living,
in the here and now of our existence,
opens us to the agony of Jesus
with his, "I have come 
to set the world on fire,
and how I wish it were already kindled!"
But, like him,
we have to submit to the times,
and trust ourselves to the secret workings
of the Secret Cause--
to the unfolding of the Tao
in its own time
and in its own way,
and remaining true to our role
of exhibiting in the moment
our gifts/daemon/virtues/character
in doing what is called for
situation-by-situation,
day-by-day
for as long as life shall last--
at one with the Mystery
at the Heart of Life and Being.

November 13, 2020

05

Peaks of Otter 10/29/2019 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, Virgina
Each of us has a destiny to fulfill,
a life to live,
a work to perform,
a calling to serve,
a self to express, exhibit, incarnate,
a divine spark to nourish
into a flame of glory and wonder
so that no one can tell where we stop
and God starts.

Sounds a bit much, I know.
But, there is Jesus saying, 
"Come, follow me."
And, "Greater things than I have done,
you will do."

He's saying, "Get out of your own way
and be who you are!
And allow the Mystery of Being
to come to life in you
in ways that are uniquely yours
to bring forth!"

Carl Jung said,
“In the final analysis, 
we count for something 
only because of the essential 
that we embody. 
If we do not serve that, 
life is wasted.” 

Our destiny is to be who we are
at the core of ourselves,
who we are capable of being,
who we are here to be,
to become.

Jung also said,
"There is in each of us
another, whom we do not know."
This Other is "the essential
that we embody."
Whom we live to know
and to serve with our life.

We do that consciously
by paying attention to 
the unconscious clues
that are always winking at us,
trying to catch our eye.

Our life is like that of a fairy tale,
or of Luke Skywalker,
and the clues are lying all about us.
Help is on every side,
and the audience is groaning
because we won't see what is right there.


So, we have to learn to stop, look and listen.
What are we missing?
What did we dream last night?
What makes our little heart sing?
What brings us to life in a way
that makes us forget what day it is,
and not know how long we have been doing
the thing we love to do?

What keeps coming back around?
What won't go away?
What do we keep pushing aside,
only to have it pop up again in a month
or a year?
What do we find ourselves thinking about?
What do we wish we could do?
What do we keep finding excuses
for not doing?

There is a secret cause dying for us 
to find it,
claim it,
live it as our own dream
dreaming we would adopt it
as our own life.

It is our destiny.
We have to work it into our life!
We have to find ways of being who we are!
We have to honor the dream that dreams of us!

We would be most remiss if we did not.

–0–

04

Carolina Thread Trail 04 11/09/2020 — 12-mile Creek Bridge, Lancaster County, SC/Union County, NC,
We can make anything better or worse
by the way we respond to it.

That being the case,
you would think we would study up on our
response ability and how to perfect it,
becoming experts in responding appropriately
to every occasion.

You couldn't be more wrong.
Why is that?
Why don't we make a concerted effort
to live the best possible life
under the circumstances?

Why don't we all swear to the One Who Knows
within each of us,
an oath of fealty, loyalty,
allegiance and devotion,
that we will, with their help,
make our best effort
to respond to the events of our life
in ways that have the best chance
of turning things to the good
of ourselves,
our circumstances,
and all those concerned,
by simply doing what is called for
moment-by-moment
all our life long?

Why don't we do that?
I'm serious.
Why don't we? 

–0–

03

Black Australian Swans 04 10/25/2019 — Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo
The single thing that will make
the most difference for the good
in our life 
is growing up.

The single thing that makes 
growing up impossible
is our infantile desire to have our way.

Get our way out of the way
and everything falls into place
exactly as it needs to
for our life to be exactly 
what it needs to be.

This is the truth at the heart
of all good religion.

What did native Americans
mean when they said
"It's a good day to die"?
Good for whom?
Good for what?
Good in terms of what?
Certainly not in terms
of having their way!
But what else is there?
How good can not having our way be?

You see how far from good religion
we are.

Religion for us is nothing but a ploy
to get our way
(That would be heaven when we die).
We give to get in our religion.
Which isn't giving at all,
but dealing,
gaming.
Whatever we do in our religion,
whatever we give,
isn't a gift,
it is an investment,
that we expect to pay off handsomely
in the world to come.

Having our way is the only way
in our world.
Growing up will have to wait.

Forever.

–0–

02

Walnut Creek Trail 08 11/09/2020 — Walnut Creek, Union County, North Carolina
There is within each of us
a self who knows
and a self who thinks it knows.
And it is our place to know
which is which,
and throw in with the self who knows.

This is a problem
because the self who thinks it knows,
is sure it knows.
Is convinced it knows.
Knows it knows.
But.
It does not know.
And does not know that it does not know.

It is our place to know
that one self does not know
as much as it thinks it knows.
And to make inquiries.

We are to ask the questions
that beg to be asked,
and say the things
that cry out to be said
to both selves,
and see which self
does the best job
answering and retorting.

Put the selves to the test!
"What makes you think
that what you think is so
is so?"
"What do you base your beliefs on?"
"By what authority do you say
what you just said?"
"How does what you just said
jive with what you said five minutes ago?"
With what you said yesterday?"
"What do you have at stake--
what do you have to gain or lose--
in things being the way you say they are?"
"Who would be most proud of you--
the most happy with you--
for saying what you just said?
For thinking what you think is so?"
"Who are you trying to please?"
... And on like that,
getting to what is behind
what each self "knows,"
or knows, is so.

Do not take what either self says
as truth
without exploring it exhaustively 
for its validity.
Make them say what is so 
about what they think is so.

Talk it out.
Make them come clean.
The truth will shine through
if you take the time 
to clear the window of perception
by getting to the source
of the perspective.

Your place is to investigate
what comes up from within
in knowing what each knower knows--
and does not know.
And deciding what to do about it.

–0–

01

Fall Leaves 03 11/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina
Fear, guilt and regret
lock us into an ever-deepening
and increasingly repetitive
cycle of fear, guilt and regret.

The more fearful, guilty and regretful
we are,
the more fearful, guilty and regretful
we will be.

It is up to us to turn the haunting Cronies
away!
"ENOUGH!
I SAY ENOUGH!!!"
Turning to stare them into silence
and send them away,
we step toward our own center
and become the redeemer/savior
of our own future
and the life we have yet to live.

We have to claim that future
and that life,
and secure them against the encroaching
erosion of fear, guilt and regret.
"BEGONE!
I SAY BEGONE!!!"
Has to be repeated with force
for as long as it takes to be free,
and settled into who we are,
what we have done and failed to do,
and what may happen to take everything away.

Our work is to be
"a wheel rolling/turning 
out of its own center"
(Friedrich Nietzsche),
grounded in our original nature,
focused on seeing/doing
what is called for
in each situation as it arises
with the gifts/daemon/virtues/
character/spirit/vitality/life
that are ours to offer
throughout the time left for living.

This is the salvific orientation
that stabilizes us
and anchors us to the core
of sincerity,
balance and harmony,
and enables us to live spontaneously,
without contrivance,
in responding to the needs of the moment,
moment-by-moment
forever.