Our Original Nature

The basic framework/outline/substance of this piece occurred to me in the shower. Our place is to watch for what occurs to us, take note of it, and act on it–if we deem it to be appropriate for the here and now of our living, which I do, so here it is.

Our Original Nature is the Spirit who is like the wind that blows where it will.

We are capable of anything, at any time, in response to the situation as it arises,
to the occasion as it presents itself to us.

We can dance to any tune the band plays.

But, there is a problem.

We do not know our Original Nature.

We have lived as Brothers, Sisters,
to our Original Nature all our life long
and do not know the first thing
about the one who is closer to us than life itself.

That’s because we come from a long line of ancestors
who did not know what their Original Nature was–
who did not know they had an Original Nature–
how could they begin to teach us how to know it?

So here comes a short list of instructions
for knowing our Original Nature,
and living as its adoring twin
for the rest of our days.

The first step is to enter the silence.

The silence is everywhere,
and we can enter it anywhere,
any time.

Taking a shower (One of my favorite places),
mowing the grass (I hate that one)
(But I do enjoy) watering the grass,
a crowded elevator,
at a concert…
The place does not matter.

The silence is not a function of place,
but of perspective.

The silence is only a perspective shift away at all times.

We enter the silence
by shifting into the silence.
Any time.

Shift into the silence.
And immediately open yourself
to the following five things:

  1. Be alert to what occurs to you in the silence.

    This is the most important thing.
    Such occurrences are the source of our life and being.
    We think we know what we are doing,
    where we are going,
    what will make us happy, etc.

    The Knower lives within,
    and waits for us to be quiet and listen.
    Once we are quiet and listening,
    the Knower speaks to us through the things that occur to us,
    “Out of nowhere.”
    “Out of the blue.”
    “Of its own accord.”
    “Of its own volition.”
    “On its own.”

    The things that “just occur” to us
    are the secret source of life and being.
    They are the hints, directions, that lead us
    into wherever it is that we are going.

    We go nowhere,
    we make no progress,
    without careful attention
    to the things that occur to us.

    As we get this down,
    and become proficient
    at noticing the things that occur to us,
    it will happen anywhere.
    Any time.
    All the time.

    It will no longer have to wait
    for us to enter the silence.
    It will bear down upon us
    from two miles away,
    every day,
    fifteen times an hour.

    The Knower has been waiting forever for this,
    and has things for us to do
    that will need several lifetimes to complete,
    so we have to get started HERE! NOW!

    Starting here, now,
    we have to be alert to what occurs to us
    at every point throughout this process.

  2. Bear the pain!
    Bearing the pain is the essential,
    single most important ingredient
    in a life well-lived.

    What pain is that, you ask?
    The pain of your experience,
    actual and imagined.
    The pain that meets you
    in your life.
    The pain you carry with you
    from your past,
    the pain you confront in your present,
    the pain you fear in your future.

    Carl Jung said,
    “Neurosis is always a substitute
    for legitimate suffering.”

    When we will not bear our pain consciously,
    we suffer it unconsciously
    in the form of symptoms,
    and various ways of acting out.

    Refusing to bear our pain
    prevents us from seeing what is to be seen,
    hearing what is to be heard,
    sensing what is to be sensed,
    feeling what is to be felt,
    knowing what is to be known
    and doing what needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    Fearing/fleeing the pain
    locks us into addiction and denial,
    fantasy and self-deception.
    And rules out any possibility
    of integrity (The oneness of inner with outer)
    and self-transparency.

    We must befriend our pain.
    Acknowledge it.
    Welcome it.
    Embrace it.
    Hold it in our compassion.
    Treat it gently,
    with tender mercy.
    And receive it into our care,
    so that it understands
    that its home is always with us.

    We cannot go forward
    without the companionship of our pain.
    For we will meet more along the way,
    and will need to be able to offer it
    a place in our awareness
    well-adapted to its nature,
    enabling us to use its gifts
    in finding our way forward.

    What could those gifts possibly be, you ask?
    Our pain makes us one with the human family,
    for one.
    It creates an affinity for fellow sufferers, for two.
    It enables our sensitivity for the plight of others, for three.
    It generates compassion and empathy for ourselves
    and one another, for four.
    It slows us down
    and reminds us to
    Stop. Look. Listen. See. Hear.
    instead of rushing headlong into decisions
    and actions that generate more pain for us, for five.

    If you are sufficiently motivated,
    I am sure you can extend the list
    out of your own experience
    and imagination,
    once you begin to bear the pain
    of realization.

    Bearing the pain
    will enable you to go forward
    with this exercise,
    and engage all of the experiences
    you will be asked to expose yourself to
    here and now,
    and throughout what remains of your life.

    Bearing the pain will be the greatest asset
    you can develop
    for the task
    of living the life that is yours to live
    from this point forward.

  3. Ask the questions that beg to be asked.
    Say the things that cry out to be said.

    The questions invite the statements.
    The statements ignite the questions.
    You will never quit talking.

    Questions lead the way to grappling with meaning,
    with the essence and nature of life,
    of you,
    of what’s what in every here and now.

    What are your questions?
    What questions keep coming back around?

    What do you have to say
    that you have never said?
    That no one you know will hear?
    What do you have to say that is anathema?
    That is blasphemous?
    Not allowed?

    What needs to be said right now?
    What needs to be asked right now?

    Start saying what needs to be said,
    and asking what needs to be asked.
    And do not stop until you run out of time.

  4. Look in the mirror.
    What you have done to this point,
    in this exercise,
    with your questions and statements,
    is to create a mirror
    reflecting your conflicts,

    We all are a rolling sea
    of all we have been and can be–
    as a species,
    and as individuals within the species.
    We all carry within us
    everything that has ever been true
    of any of us,
    of all of us
    throughout time.

    We are Legion!
    And, yet, our questions and statements,
    while being representative of the entire human species,
    are also specific to us individually.

    As individuals,
    we represent the species,
    and we stand apart from the species.
    To borrow from Carl Jung,
    each of us represents the Collective
    and the Personal.

    Our questions and statements connect us
    with the whole human family,
    and express the unique,
    we represent/make to the on-going,
    development/evolution/conscious awareness
    of the species-as-a-whole.

    We are One and we are Many.
    At this point, we don’t have to bother
    with where the line lies between One and Many,
    we only have to be cognizant of being both One and Many.
    What is true for one of us
    is true for all of us.
    What is true for all of us
    is true for each one of us.

    We all draw water from the same well.

    We share the same Original Nature.
    We all have different fingerprints,
    and we all have fingerprints.

    We all have different configurations
    of all of the elements that make us human.
    We all have different contributions to make
    to the human impact upon all of life
    and the existence of all things.

    Our Original Nature is unique to us
    and shared by all human beings,
    and all living things.
    We are One and we are Many.

    Our place is to realize our “us-ness”
    our “I-ness,” our “me-ness,”
    and to live in ways that honor,
    bring forth
    (in the way we live our life),
    both our “us-ness” and our “I-ness.”

    We do that by becoming conscious—
    of all of the things that are true about us
    as reflected in our questions and statements.

    These questions and statements
    are who we are
    on both the Collective and Personal levels.
    They are our questions and statements.
    They were/are generated by us.
    They arise from our experience,
    our history,
    our circumstances,
    our responses to all of these things,
    and to the impact
    they have had on us
    over the course of our life,
    shaping and forming us
    into who we have become.

    As we ponder,
    mull over,
    wonder about,
    sit with,
    meditate on,
    reflect on,
    live with
    and embrace
    our questions and statements,
    we will be looking in a mirror
    reflecting us to us.

    We will be seeing ourselves as we are.
    We will be seeing what is important to us—
    what matters most to us—
    how we think,
    who we are,
    and also are,
    at our foundational level.

    At our foundational level,
    we discover our Original Nature.
    This is who we live to serve,
    and be
    in the way we live our life.
    It is our place
    to be true to who we are—
    to consciously,
    allow our life
    to flow from who we are
    into each situation,
    into each here and now of our life.
    To live in each moment with intentional integrity,
    by not interfering with our
    natural response to the things
    that come our way in a day,
    and being,
    who our life
    has shaped us to be–
    in light of the good of the Whole
    of which we are a part.

    This Whole constitutes the Collective,
    which is more than our ancestral heritage.
    It is the entire natural world
    which worked in such a way
    as to produce us,
    along with everything else
    over long epochs of time,
    until, whoops, look,
    here we are!

    We are here out of a process
    that produced everything there is.
    The “way” that worked to produce us
    and the entire natural world
    is not to be dismissed,
    or taken for granted.

    We cannot live well
    without living in accord with The Way
    that brought us forth–
    and living aligned with our own Original Nature
    that is the foundation of who we are.

    Our conscious affiliation with The Way
    and with our own Original Nature
    is the source of our knowing
    when to do what and how
    in each situation as it arises
    without having to think about it.

  5. “There is a time for every matter under heaven,”
    says Ecclesiastes.
    It is all a matter of timing,
    but, when is it time to do what (and how)?
    What is this situation asking of us?
    How and when do we offer it?

    These questions form the ground of our approach
    to each situation.
    With them in mind,
    as we are enveloped by each situation,
    we Stop. Listen. Look. See. Hear.
    And wait for the What? When? How?
    to arise spontaneously,
    “On their own,”
    when the time is right.

    This is like knowing when-to-do-what-how
    when playing tennis or basketball.
    The game takes over,
    and each situation calls forth
    the right response from us
    at the right time,
    Without our thinking about
    how we know what to do when.

    Just so, following The Way,
    living in accord with the Tao,
    in each situation as it arises,
    is a matter of aligning ourselves
    with our Original Nature,
    and with The Way at work in the world,
    by stepping back
    and allowing “the game” to take over,
    calling forth the necessary response from us
    as it is needed

    In this way, we do the things
    that need to be done
    in response to the moment at hand,
    in each situation as it arises,
    All our life long.

    That is all there is to it.
    Nothing more than that
    can ever be asked of any of us.

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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