One Minute Monologues 59

September 21, 2020  —  October 26, 2020

  1. 09/21/2020  —  Portland Headlight 9/26/2005 — Portland, Maine

    You don’t want to be living your life
    with an agenda in hand
    and a schedule at the ready,
    with every day being another bout
    at implementation.

    This is not to be in accord with the Tao.

    People who think they know best–
    particularly with regard
    to how their life ought to be
    (and yours)
    are highly medicated
    just to get through each day.
    Or the people who live with them are.

    People who are structured to the limit
    (If only there were a limit!),
    and bound to the task
    of imposing their idea
    of how things ought to be
    on everything and everybody,
    are a threat to the possibilities
    for life worldwide,
    and a danger to themselves
    and others.

    Maintain a safe, healthy, distance
    between you and them,
    and by all means,
    do not marry one!
    And if you are one,
    take yourself out of circulation immediately!

    Trust the world to find its way without you,
    and trust yourself to find within
    what it takes to meet the disappointments
    of each day
    without issuing orders,
    writing pink slips,
    threatening law suits,
    or calling up plagues,
    and floods.

    When given an opportunity,
    life generally,
    and our lives in particular,
    are quite capable
    of finding the way
    winding through all situations
    and circumstances
    to equilibrium and harmony,
    balance and peaceful accord.

    They do not flourish under the burdens
    of schedules and expectations,
    time frames and stop watches.
    But do best with their own rhythms
    and purposes,
    timing and patterns.

    The stream finds the sea,
    in its own time,
    in its own way.

  2. 09/21/2020  — Waterrock Knob Sunset 11/08/2006 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina

    I am sure you have noticed by now
    that everything we want
    comes with something we don’t want attached.

    There is no escaping it,
    no denying it,
    which leaves us with accepting it,
    and letting it be
    because it is.

    There is nothing wrong anywhere in our life
    that growing up some more again
    won’t make better.

    Growing up some more again
    in this instance
    means being able to say a wholehearted “YES!”
    to what we want,
    AND to what we don’t want!

    “HELL YES!” To it all–
    just as it comes right out of the box.

    There is not a scalpel anywhere so sharp
    as to allow us to cut out the good
    and throw away the bad.
    The good and the bad come to us as one thing.
    We give up this to get that.
    What is good for the lion
    is bad for the antelope,
    and can be bad for the lion
    if the antelope is sick,
    or staked out by hunters hiding in the bush.

    YES! to it all!

    Fran Tarkenton, the NFL quarterback
    known for his scrambling ability,
    was talking about his career on an ESPN interview.
    “I loved it all so much,” he said.
    “The scrambling around and finding somebody open
    for long gains and touchdowns.
    And getting tackled for huge losses.
    The completions and the incompletions.
    The fumbles, and the mud, and the grime.
    The penalties, and the missed field goals, and points after touchdowns.
    The wins and the losses
    and every single aspect of the game.
    I miss it so.”

    That is saying YES! to it all!

    Love your life the way Fran Tarkenton loved football!
    All of it!
    Every bit of it!
    It is passing so fast!
    And when it is gone, it’s gone!

  3. 09/22/2020  —  The Hay Rake 12/16/2007 — Caswell County, North Carolina

    It is amazing how bad it can get
    just by moving away from the center
    and imposing our will for the good
    upon the situation–
    any situation–
    at whatever price,
    no matter what.

    When it is
    “Our way at all costs,
    and you can go to hell!”
    We all go to hell.

    There are always hidden costs
    we do not take into account
    when we say, “At all costs!”

    This is why greed and folly
    are always connected.
    Greed is folly!
    And when it is our way no matter what,
    that is merely greed dressed up
    in the finest motives,
    taking the moral high ground
    straight to hell
    and taking everyone with it.

    Beware of those who know best
    and must be pleased,
    particularly when they look back at you
    from the mirror.

    Seek the center.
    Live from there.
    Bear the pain
    of integrating the extremes.
    Balance and harmony
    serve the greatest good
    of all concerned
    with everything taken into account.

    Every parent worthy of the title
    understands this
    and incorporates it daily
    in their work
    to make things work.

  4. 09/22/2020  —  Lake Haigler 11/17/2016 49–Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    For things to be better
    we all have to grow up.

    Growing up is the solution
    to all of our problems today.
    Every day.

    Growing up is sacrificing our good
    for the good of the whole.

    More than that–
    Growing up is sacrificing our idea of the good
    for the good of the whole.

    Our idea of the good
    is the only thing standing in our way–
    standing in the way–
    keeping things from being better.

    For things to be better,
    we have to change our mind
    about what’s important.

    Let me know when you are going to do that.
    I want to watch you leave what’s important
    for what’s important.

    It happens all of the time–
    never willingly.

    Alcoholics give up what matters most
    for what matters most.
    Not of their own accord.
    Not because it is Tuesday morning
    and they feel like a change.

    People are always waking up
    and exchanging their idea of the good
    for the good.
    Not because they want to.
    Not because they are in the mood to do it.
    Not because they feel like doing it.
    Not because someone told them they should.
    But because they have no choice in the matter.
    It is forced on them
    by the weight of their circumstances.

    We have to get to the end of our rope
    before we can change our mind
    about what’s important.

    The chances of all of us
    getting to the end of our rope
    at the same time
    are too faint to be calculated.
    So faint as to be nonexistent.

    Things need to be better,
    and we don’t have what it takes
    to make them better.

    We need to grow up,
    and we don’t have what it takes
    to grow up.
    Except that we do.
    But we can’t access it
    until we have to.

    AA says, “Attraction, not promotion,”
    because it knows
    until the student is ready,
    the teacher is wasting their time.

    We are not in control
    of the things required
    for things to be more like they ought to be
    than they are
    around the table,
    across the board.

    The one thing we can do,
    is sit quietly
    until we realize that
    and allow realization
    to work its magic.

    Knowing it
    and realizing it
    are different things.

  5. 09/22/2020  —  Little River at the Sinks 11-04/2006 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tremont, Tennessee

    To eyes that see,
    ears that hear,
    and hearts that understand,
    our fate provides us with exactly what we need
    to fulfill our destiny.

    Joseph Campbell said, “Love your enemies
    and what you hate most about your life
    because they are instruments of your destiny.”

    We are pulled forth,
    against our will,
    and thrust into the trials and ordeals
    that are necessary to produce and refine
    the character and qualities
    most needed to fulfill our destiny.

    Campbell said,
    “It took the Cyclops to bring out the hero in Ulysses.”

    Lao Tzu asked, “Fame or integrity, which is more important?
    Money or happiness, which is more valuable?
    Success or failure, which is more destructive?”

    It is clear that it is not at all clear
    whether it is better to win or loose,
    to be right or to be wrong,
    to get what we want or to be saddled with
    what we cannot stand.

    This leads Lao Tzu to ask,
    “Can you deal with the most vital matters
    by letting events take their course?”
    And, “Can you remain unmoving
    until the right action arises by itself?”
    And, to say, “A good traveler has no fixed plans
    and is not intent upon arriving.
    A good artist lets his intuition lead him
    wherever it wants.
    A good scientist has freed herself
    from concepts, and keeps her mind open to what is.”

    Instead of railing against the way things are,
    we might simply have faith in the way things are,
    trusting that we are being led by
    That Which Knows along
    a curious and winding path
    straight to the heart of who we are,
    and into the service of what needs to be done—
    and, in so doing,
    fulfill our destiny
    and compete the work
    that is ours to do.

  6. 09/23/2020  —  Falls Pond 09/26/2007 — Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

    We are looking for the energy,
    the enthusiasm,
    the flow of life…

    For what resonates with us,
    attracts us,
    calls us,
    urges us,
    compels us into its service.

    How long has it been?

    We have been making up reasons to live
    for about as many years
    as we have been living.
    Finding things to live for.
    Thinking up things we might like to do.
    Trying all of the latest trends…
    Hoping something clicks.
    And lasts.

    every inclination
    that can’t be justified,


    Here is a suggestion that can’t be
    Get used to such things,
    and to living with the wind of the sprit
    that blows where it will
    forever in your hair!

    Take up sitting quietly,
    seeking the Source–
    not out of desperation,
    and with no pressure attached,
    but with interest,
    and expectation–
    wondering what might be
    on the other side of silence,
    and how you will know
    if anything is.

    Sit waiting,
    as often as you can
    work it into your week.

    Make a ritual of it.
    Set aside a specific time of the day.
    Sit in a particular place,
    for an allotted amount of time,
    with a good faith commitment
    to the process
    and to honoring what arises
    in the silence
    with a will for adventure,
    and filial devotion to the cause,
    and see what comes.

  7. 09/23/2020  —  Mt. Rundle at Dawn — Banff National Park, Alberta

    If we are going to take anything on faith,
    let it be the actuality of the Unknown Knower within!
    Take the Psyche we are unconscious of on faith!
    And work to develop a relationship with her–
    a relationship of mutual respect,
    and collaboration–
    throughout the remainder of the time
    left for living!

    Consider the Psyche to be of another dimension,
    and consider our conscious mind
    to be the connection,
    the contact point,
    between the world of normal, apparent, physical reality
    and the world of paranormal, invisible, spiritual reality
    (We call it “spiritual” because it is invisible
    and cannot be weighed, measured, counted
    or willfully engaged,
    and anything we say about the “spiritual dimension”
    is something someone made up,

     I’m making-up,
    imagining this as I go,
    but play along,
    and live as if it is so,
    and it will be evident that it is so
    in a short matter of time–
    which is exactly the same spiel
    those who invite you to take their theology/doctrine/dogma
    on faith
    use to bolster their claim
    to the reality of which they speak.

    Experiential confirmation/affirmation
    of things we take on faith
    is characteristic of the species!
    It is the grounding foundation of black magic,
    human/animal/vegetable  sacrifice
    and True Love.

    We live as if something is so.
    As if winning is better than losing,
    for instance,
    or being wealthy is better
    than being poor.

    We make up the importance
    of everything we think is important.
    We take it on faith
    that we are right about the value
    of what we call valuable,
    that we know what we are doing,
    that the good we call good is good…

    We take tomorrow on faith,
    and what remains of today.

    So what’s the problem with Psyche
    being a knowing source of guidance
    and direction,
    and value?

    And devoting ourselves
    to learning her language,
    attending her ways,
    and living in accord with her purposes
    and leanings?

  8. 09/24/2020  —  Sandy Stream Pond Autumn 09/2007 — Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine

    We spend our lives fighting life,
    thinking it is about one thing,
    when it is about another.
    “Climbing the ladder of success,”
    as the old one-liner goes,
    “only to discover
    the ladder is leaning
    against the wrong wall.”

    Chasing down
    “Fortune and glory, Kid,
    fortune and glory,”
    with our soul’s true joy
    languishing and dying
    for lack of attention and devotion.

    Munching on the Forbidden Fruit,
    with eyes for the bright lights and action
    of Gay Paree,
    we miss the white rabbit
    from another dimension
    inviting us to the adventure of being alive,
    and settle for shiny beads
    and silver mirrors
    while the hope of the gods for us
    flickers and fades away.

    We are never more than a shift in perspective
    away from seeing, hearing and understanding.


    We don’t ask the questions that beg to be asked,
    or hear the things that are crying out to be heard,
    or say the things that are trying to be heard.


    Are too busy dying to realize we have never lived.

    What’s it going to take?
    All of the prophets and seers,
    teachers and Bodhisattvas
    are stumped by that one.

    “When the student is ready,
    the teacher appears,”
    and in the meantime,
    the teachers gather,
    shaking their heads,
    saying, “What’s it going to take?”

    The Native Americans were savvy as hell,
    and idiot sportsmen looking for a thrill
    wiped out their buffalo/bison in ten years.

    Stupidity wins and loses at the same time,
    certain it knows what it is doing,
    wondering what went wrong,
    and who is at fault
    for things not being
    as they are supposed to be.

    Who put the ladder against the wrong wall?

  9. 09/24/2020  — Path Through Fall 10/28/2007 Watercolor Rendering — Bass Lake, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    are all over-hyped.

    Who knows what to want?
    Who wants what should be wanted?
    Who can be forced to want
    what they ought to want?

    So, you spend your life
    in the service of things
    that don’t matter,
    thinking they matter,
    working for
    and stature,
    dry as desert dust
    where you heart should be
    because you’ve never loved anything
    more than money
    for as long as you can remember,
    with no mulligans to bail you out
    and only regret for company.
    Who wants that?
    Who thought that was what they were getting?

    It’s always going to be different this time.
    How often is it really?

    How many people are right
    about what matters?
    Ambition in the service of the wrong things
    is worse than no ambition at all.

    A life without ambition
    is a life devoted to living
    aligned with the Tao–
    with the movement of the heavens
    and the rhythm of the tides,
    without contrivance
    and with complete sincerity,
    being in the moment for the good of the moment,
    with nothing to gain and nothing to lose,
    trusting ourselves
    to find ways of being good for ourselves
    and true to ourselves
    in the service of the good of the here and now
    of our living.

    We walk two paths at the same time:
    Paying the bills
    and living the life that is our life to live,
    that calls our name,
    that fills our heart,
    that is our soul’s true joy.

    If you are going to aspire to something,
    aspire to that!

  10. 09/25/2020  —  Sandy Stream Pond Reflections 09/24/2006 — Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine

    Sealing ourselves off from one thing,
    opens us up to another.

    We have to come to terms
    with our vulnerability,
    and settle for being
    as safe and as secure as we can be
    under the circumstances,
    with all things considered.

    Our life is a negotiated compromise
    with “the facts of life,”
    taking everything into account,
    and being okay with our outcomes,
    whatever they may be–
    understanding “outcome”
    as being just another event
    on the unending road of turns
    and how we respond to them
    our entire life long.

    Nothing lasts forever under the right perspective.

    We give up this to get that,
    and pay a price for being alive.
    How creative and flexible we can be,
    how accepting and open,
    how pliable and resilient,
    how generous and kind,
    how patient and yielding,
    how perceptive and aware,
    how long-suffering and considerate,
    how enduring and responsive…
    will strongly influence–
    if not determine–
    how lucky, blessed, and graced we are
    over the full course of our life.

    Being lucky, blessed and graced
    are a function of being trusting and confident
    in ourselves
    and our ability to respond appropriately
    to whatever is happening in each situation
    as it arises moment-to-moment,
    without having to have things be otherwise.

    If everything hangs on having everything just so,
    we will have a hell-of-a-time receiving things
    “thus come,”
    and seeing what may yet become of us-in-relationship-wth
    all things just as they are.

    Which is the very foundation of–
     and the door open to–
    the wonder and glory
    of the adventure of being alive.

    No adventure is what we expect it will be.
    Insisting and demanding that our adventure
    be what we want it to be
    rules out any possibility of adventure from the start.

    We belong to the road.
    The road rules.
    Our place is to laugh and dance along the way.
    How we respond to the gifts of the road
    makes all the difference.

  11. 09/25/2020  —  Pink Ladies — Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

    Maintaining our focus,
    remaining centered,
    in harmonious accord with the Tao
    is all there is to it.

    Only fear, desire and duty
    stand in our way.

    And the dust of the world.

    And the 10,000 things.

    It is amazing that we can even
    consider focus,
    and harmony.

    And it is not surprising at all
    that we have such difficulty
    finding our focus,
    our center,
    our balance
    and harmony.

    We only have two tools to work with:
    Our breath
    and the silence.

    Focusing on our breathing
    and seeking the silence
    provide us with an oasis
    in the wasteland.

    Making regular returns
    to our breath
    and the silence
    provide us with a sacred place
    amid the heaving waves
    and the clashing rocks–
    all we need for regaining our focus,
    finding the center,
    being balanced
    and in harmonious accord
    with the Tao
    and at peace with our life.

  12. 09/26/2020  — Sunset at Silver Lake Watercolor Rendering 10/28/2006 — Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina

    We have to believe in the things
    that keep us going.
    That is the true test of our faith.
    Can it–does it–will it–keep us going?

    We go in the service of what we believe in.
    People who have lost their faith
    go mostly to bars and opioids.

    The surest way to not lose our faith
    is for it to be grounded–
    not in theology or doctrine
    or somebody else’s beliefs–
    but in our own experience
    with numinous
    (So-called because it is unspeakable,
    beyond words)
    that has grabbed us,
    whammed us,
    overwhelmed us,
    claimed us
    and made us its own.

    We can’t think up something to believe in.
    We have to be stunned into stopping mid-stride
    by it.

    If we don’t have an experience of the Numen
    it’s because we have insulated ourselves
    against it
    by living loud, busy, regimented lives.

    We have to stop. Look. Listen. Pay attention.
    What’s the first thing we notice?
    Something to make us want to escape
    back into busyness most likely.

    We run from the Numen
    because it lives in a dimension
    accessible only by going where we do not want to go.
    Past things we do not want to face.
    We had rather go to bars and opioids.

    It takes the Numen to keep us going.
    If we prefer to shut down and quit
    that’s our business.
    But, we need to know we have a choice.

    We can sit in the silence,
    listening, looking
    for what is there with us
    beyond the terrors of the darkness.

    Trusting in what-we-do-not-know
    to call our name
    and transform our life.

  13. 09/27/2020  —  Bow Lake Num-ti-ja Lodge 09/21/2006 Watercolor Rendering — Banff National Park, Alberta

    Are you at peace with your circumstances?
    Are you at-one with yourself?

    Balance and harmony, Kid!
    Balance and harmony!

    We can gauge how well its working
    by our degree of balance and harmony,
    spirit, vitality and life.

    When the Clashing Rocks
    and Heaving Seas
    disturb our inner rhythm and flow,
    our outer life-in-the-world
    will be at hell’s gate.

    We think we have to get outer
    all calm and peaceful
    in order to bring our inner world
    into tranquil accord.

    That is to have things backwards
    in a cart-before-the-horse kind of way.
    First inner, then outer.

    It’s the old story of the Taoist Master and the Drought.
    The people of the drought-plagued district
    asked her to come and bring the rain.
    She arrived and shut herself into a hut in the village
    and three days later it rained.
    Asked how she did it,
    she replied,
    “When I arrived,
    I found things to be out of accord
    with the Tao
    and in complete disarray.
    So, I closed myself off from the village,
    and sought to make my peace with the situation,
    and to restore my own harmony with the Tao.
    And then, the rains came.”

  14. 09/27/2020  —  A View of the River Watercolor Rendering — Yellowstone Canyon/River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

    Jon Kabat-Zinn
    (And if you haven’t watched
    his YouTube Videos
    on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction–
    the shortest ones first–
    what exactly are you waiting for?)
    said that mindfulness and meditation
    are like riding a bicycle.

    When you are learning to ride a bicycle,
    you think about riding the bicycle.
    When you learn to ride a bicycle,
    you quit thinking about it.

    The same thing applies to playing third base,
    hitting a curve ball
    (or throwing one),
    cooking pizza or an apple pie,
    and hitting high C.
    We think about it until we get it,
    and then we stop thinking about it.

    Always thinking about it,
    always thinking about how we aren’t doing it,
    and when are we going to start doing it,
    and who is doing it better than we are,
    and why we aren’t good at anything…
    gets in the way of doing it.

    Practice until we get it,
    then stop thinking about it,
    and do it.

    It’s like learning to walk.

  15. 09/28/2020  — Sanctuary 10/24/2006 — Big Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Waterville, North Carolina, Watercolor Rendering

    What keeps you going?
    You live in the service of what?
    What is your shtick?
    Your thing?
    Your art?
    Your genius?
    Your gift?
    What are you here to do?
    To bring forth?
    Love with all your heart?
    Who are you here to be?
    No matter what?

    Do not stray from that!
    Do not wander away from the center!
    The core!
    The essence!
    The qualities that constitute
    your Original Nature!

    Be you wherever you are!
    Regardless of your circumstances!
    Bring your perspective forth!
    Dance your dance!
    Love your life!
    Love being alive!
    Let your love for life show!

    Why hold anything back?
    Let your little light shine!
    Let your little toes dance!
    Let your little heart love what it loves!
    While it can!

  16. 09/28/2020  —  Jasper Wetlands 09/29/2009 03 Watercolor Rendering — Jasper National Park, Alberta

    Friedrich Nietzsche said the goal of the maturation process
    is to become “a wheel rolling out of its own center.”

    I envision a gyroscope turning out of its own center
    as it moves in a direction suited to its purposes,
    stabilizing itself in tune with its own balance and harmony,
    and serving its own Original Nature
    with sincerity and compassion
    in all that it does.

    We are our own authority.
    We govern our own actions.
    We evaluate our own values.
    We live to ask the questions that beg to be asked
    in each situation as it arises.
    To say what cries out to be said.
    And to do what needs to be done
    here and now–
    without contriving
    or deferring,
    seeking to please
    or fearing repercussions,
    but living to express
    our own heart and soul,
    and being true to ourselves
    in all times and places.

    We stand on our own feet,
    live out of our own center,
    with loyalty and devotion
    to our own nature,
    and let the outcome be the outcome.

    To do this,
    we have to devote time and attention
    to cultivating our relationship
    with ourselves
    so that we know who we are
    out of our on-going experience
    with what is deepest, truest and best about us
    all our life long.

  17. 09/13/2020  —  Reelfoot Lake 11/04/2015 50 — Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, Tennessee

    All religious wars are fought
    between/among disciples
    of a particular idea of religion.

    They are fighting over their understanding
    of theology, doctrine, dogma, creeds and catechisms.
    Over words about their religion.

    They disagree about what words are true
    and what words are false.
    They disagree about what they believe to be so–
    to be factual, actual, real and, thus, true!
    because someone has said so.

    All of this changes like that (snaps fingers),
    when we shift from talking about belief
    and start talking about experience.

    Separate yourself from everything
    you have ever heard about God
    from all other sources including the Bible,
    and focus exclusively
    on what you have personally experienced of God
    in your own life.
    What do you know to be so
    because you know it is so,
    and not because you believe it to be so,
    or have heard it to be so?

    When we talk of our experience of God,
    we do not speak of the God of theology and doctrine,
    but of the Numen beyond all words and reason,
    beyond all logic and intellect.
    The experience of the Numen
    sits us down and shuts us up.
    Wonder and awe,
    amazement and fascination,
    do not lend themselves to words.

    Lao Tzu said all that can be said:
    “The Tao that can be said
    is not the eternal Tao!”

    There are neither wars
    nor disagreement
    among those who experience the Numen
    in art, music and nature,
    with childbirth and falling in love,
    or being smitten by the encounter
    with another human being,
    all being as natural as nature can be.

  18. 09/28/2020  —  First of Fall 01 09-28-2020 — 22 Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    I would like to sit down one-on-one with everybody,
    and hear what they had to say.
    I think that is all anybody needs.
    Someone to hear what they have to say.

    Everybody wants to tell people what they need to hear.
    Nobody wants to hear what people have to say.
    I would like to change that.
    I’ve been doing it all my life.

    I’ve also been saying what I have to say.
    I don’t hold anything back.
    I’m doing it here, now.
    I do as good a job listening
    and speaking
    as anyone I know.

    It’s what I do best.
    Along with seeing.
    Not that I don’t miss anything.
    Yesterday, I moved the butter out of the way
    looking for the butter.
    And last week, I left a crutch at the nursery
    (I was one crutching it–
    I use crutches to get about because of osteoarthritis
    in both knees,
    but my left knee is worse than my right one,
    so I can manage for short distances
    with a forearm crutch on my right arm,
    and got distracted with buying the plants
    my wife and I purchased,
    and left my crutch behind).
    I didn’t miss it for a couple of days
    (Don’t use it around the house),
    and had no idea where it was.
    So, today, it occurred to me to ask
    at the nursery if it were there.
    And happy the reunion was.
    All of which is to say I miss things all the time.
    Without thinking anything of it.
    I keep looking and seeing,
    and not seeing.
    Listening and hearing,
    and not hearing.
    It’s what I do best,
    and enjoy most.
    And I look forward to continuing
    to do it for long years
    into the far distant future.

    Holding the butter looking for the butter
    was great.
    I am very Zen-like some days.

  19. 09/29/2020  —  First of Fall 09/28/2020 02 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    So much goes on behind the scenes,
    it’s a travesty
    and a betrayal of trust,
    and we all should be ashamed,
    and aware–
    transparent to ourselves,
    if not to everyone else,
    and they to us.

    At least, we could be sincere
    about our lack of sincerity.

    But who can risk absolute sincerity?
    Who can be that vulnerable,
    that known?

    We hide things from ourselves!
    How sincere is that?
    We cannot bear the truth
    of our own truth!
    And other people know things about us
    we do not know ourselves!

    It is staggering–
    the duplicity,
    the deception–
    and essential!

    Because we need a double life
    to have a life at all!

    This is the other side of Yin/Yang–
    the two sides have a second side apiece!
    Hidden from themselves!

    Our Shadow has a shadow!
    This is getting fancy!
    And we have no choice
    but to bear our own complexity!

    Our complexity is a compromise
    enabling us to bear the strain
    of the tension of competing needs–
    financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, practical, creative…
    how many aspects of us are there
    that have to be taken into account
    in order to balance the harmony of the whole?

    However we look at it,
    there is more to us than meets the eye!
    Any eye!
    And what you see–
    what any of us see–
    is the result of sanity management
    undertaken to bear the pain
    of getting through the day.

    We have to kid ourselves
    in order to play the game
    of not kidding ourselves,
    because otherwise it would be intolerable,
    and too much of a stretch to keep it going.

    It is what we don’t know
    that upholds what we do know,
    and makes it possible
    to go on!

  20. 09/29/2020  —  Sunset at Water Rock Knob 08/05/2007 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina

    There is nothing like coming to terms
    with how things are–
    and also are
    (Which is how things actually are)–
    for enabling us to let things be
    without emotional reactivity
    that interferes with how things actually are,
    and creates complexity,
    and chaos
    on all levels simultaneously,
    wreaking havoc,
    and misery everlasting.

    Here’s the deal:
    We live on the boundary,
    the border line,
    the interface,
    the pivot point,
    the fulcrum
    between how things are
    and how things ought to be
    in each moment
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    And how we respond to what is happening
    in that moment
    makes all the difference.

    The key to being able
    to do right by the moment
    that is at hand
    in every moment that comes along
    is caring enough about the right things
    in the right way
    to do what needs to be done
    without interfering with what is happening
    or getting in the way of what needs to happen.

    The right kind of caring
    is the difference between being helpful
    and being intrusive,
    between being engaged for the good of the whole
    without being co-dependent
    and overly invested in the outcome.

    We have to live in each moment
    as those who care enough about what is happening
    to offer the best we have to give
    in the service of the good of the whole
    without being meddlesome,
    and personally in need of
    things happening in a particular way,
    to the extent that we try to will what cannot be willed
    and force things to happen that cannot be forced.

    We have to take things seriously enough
    to do what is needed/necessary,
    in the right spirit,
    with the right frame of mind,
    without taking things seriously at all.

    This is called “maintaining working distance”
    between ourselves and the situation.
    Close enough to care
    without having anything at stake.

    Caring enough to give what we have to offer
    with nothing to gain
    and nothing to lose.

    To live out of that place
    is to be always “at the still point
    of the turning world”
    (T.S. Eliot).

    The trick with that
    is understanding there is no static way of being
    in the daily interplay of life.

    The “still point” is not stationary!
    The still point that enables us to ride a bicycle
    is within a range of controlled wobbles!
    The same thing applies to the still point
    of living in balance and harmony with our life–
    and all of life!

    Caring enough without caring too much!
    Offering what is ours to give
    to each moment of our living
    without contriving to arrange
    a particular result/end/outcome!
    Letting things come and go
    according to the rhythm
    of their own timing,
    and honoring, thereby,
    the tides of life and living and being alive!

    This is the art of being human.

  21. 09/29/2020  —  Swift River 09/26/2007 Watercolor Rendering — Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

    We are never more than a slight shift in perspective
    away from having it made.
    We are never more than that far away from Nirvana,
    from illumination,
    from awakening,
    from enlightenment,
    from Christ-consciousness
    and Buddha-mind.

    It all comes down to being right
    about the way we see things.
    To being right about what is important.
    Seeing things with right seeing
    makes all the difference.

    How we see is a function
    of how we look.
    Of asking the questions that beg to be asked.
    Of hearing the things that cry out to be heard.
    Of saying the things that are dying to be said.
    Of knowing what we know,
    and what can be known,
    and what cannot be known.

    Instead of imposing our view of reality upon reality–
    instead of imposing our ideas about how things are
    upon how things are–
    we wait in the silence to see,
    to hear,
    to know,
    to understand.

    When we reflect on what is before us–
    upon what is happening
    and what that means for us
    and for the situation as it arises–
    to the point of new realizations,
    we are at the fulcrum,
    being levered by forces quite beyond us
    to seeing with new eyes,
    which makes all things new.

    And that is IT!

  22. 09/29/2020  —  Teton Barn — Mormon Row, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson, Wyoming

    Consistency, reliability, dependability…
    Can we maintain our connection with the center?
    Can we remain on the path?
    Can we retain our focus
    amid the Clashing Rocks
    on the Heaving Waves of the Wine Dark Sea?

    It is one thing to grasp the truth
    of what is needed
    in the silence of circumstances
    that are routine and predictable,

    Enter the unfathomable.
    Put the Gauls or the Visigoths at the gates!
    Remove the norms and standards.
    Introduce uncertainty.
    Destroy the systems and institutions
    that hold life together.
    Or, just take to bed with a migraine for two days.
    See how you do.

    An old Zen adage applies:
    “The ability of the archer to hit the bullseye,
    varies in inverse proportion
    to the size of the prize for doing so.”

    “AUM” is the first thing to go
    when the cat has diarrhea
    and the electricity goes off
    at 2 AM.

    Where is the center then?
    What happens to our focus then?
    Who has time for the balm of realization then?

    Then the time has come for action!
    What directs our movement in the field of action?
    What leads us there, then?
    What becomes of us there, then?
    Can we disappear there, then?
    And become one with the action?

    The dancer becomes the dance!
    The singer becomes the song!
    The musician becomes the music!
    The Force is always with us, but.
    Can we be one with the force?
    Can we become the Force?
    Can we become the Tao?
    Dancing with Yin and Yang in the Here and Now?
    Gracing the situation with exactly what is needed?
    Without stopping to think,
    “What would Jesus do?”?
    Can we become Grace in Action?

    That’s how illumined we are!
    How enlightened we are!
    How awakened we are!
    Can we disappear
    and be what is needed
    in the time and place of our living
    regardless of the circumstances?

    That is the test of our connection
    with the center and ground,
    The Source and the flow
    of our existence.

  23. 09/30/2020  —  First of Fall 04 09/29/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Britain felt worse during the endless days of World War II.
    And Rome during the forever-long collapse of the Caesars.
    The people who have felt worse–
    and faced worse–
    through the bitter winds of time
    from the beginning until now
    would not fit within the confines of this country
    or all countries on this planet.

    So stop your whining.
    Nothing is free.

    We walked into the voting booths in 2016–
    or didn’t vote at all–
    thinking it didn’t matter what we did.
    Has anybody ever been more wrong over the full sweep of time?

    Our assumptions,
    and the things we took for granted
    have us here, now.
    We did not know what we were doing.
    We did not care what we did.
    And we are looking for someone to fix it for us.
    To make it go away.

    “We did it to our ownselves.”
    And it will be a long time gone.

    So put your walking shoes on,
    and step into doing what needs to be done,
    one day at a time
    for as long as it takes
    to be at a better place,
    individually and collectively.

    Start by voting for Joe Biden.
    And by being right about what’s important.
    And being willing to go to hell for what is,
    because we will certainly go to hell for what isn’t.

    And knowing when your assumptions are invalid
    and your expectations are groundless,
    and when you are failing to tend your responsibilities
    to democracy and all the values worth living for–
    and being who we all need each other to be
    for as long as life shall last.

  24. 09/30/2020  —  The Cabin 10/05/2006 — Jesse Brown’s place, Blue Ridge Parkway, near West Jefferson, North Carolina

    Safety, security, stability are the three foundational necessities
    for life as we would like to live it.

    They are as much an internal orientation
    as they are an external reality.

    Someone who has been physically/sexually/emotionally abused,
    and place them in a safe/secure/stable environment,
    and it will take them forever to feel safe/secure/stable.

    Take someone who has been betrayed,
    and how long will it be
    before they can trust themselves to anyone?

    This is where establishing,
    and maintaining
    a vitally alive relationship with our inner self
    becomes essential.

    What keeps us going
    if not knowing who/what we can count on?
    Who/what is the most reliable source
    of helpful presence in our life
    than the two million year old person within
    who comes packed in the DNA
    of each of us
    to comfort and console,
    guide and direct,
    us on our way through
    the contexts and circumstances
    of our daily walk?

    Why don’t we devote ourselves
    to the care and tending of our relationship
    with the Other within?

    What do you think Marianne Moore meant
    when she said,
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude”?
    Who do we find waiting for us
    in our solitude but The One Who Is With Us Always?

    Our “Two Million Year Old Self” (Anthony Stevens,
    Carl Jung) is an aspect of our Unconscious Mind
    (So-called because we are not conscious of it),
    and is “The One Who Knows” within
    who we experience as “A Very Present Help In Time Of Trouble,”
    and is the origin of our “holy nudges,”
    and “sudden inspirations,”
    and “providential realizations,”
    and “propitious interventions” in the form of things that occur to us
    “out of the blue,”
    and change our course to “save the day”
    and more than that.

    Where would any of us be
    without our “invisible means of support”
    (Bill Moyers)?

    Each of us is born with all we need
    to find what we need
    to make our way through our life.
    Why do we ignore that,
    or despise it,
    in favor of “blind guides”
    and bad bets?

  25. 10/01/2020  —  Mushrooms 01 09/30/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Happiness is not a function of circumstance or occasion.
    Happiness is a function of perspective,
    of evaluation.
    Happiness is a way of seeing/being.

    Why not be happy?
    With things just as they are?
    Why not say YES! to life just as it is?
    Why not, as Joseph Campbell suggested,
    “participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world”?

    Campbell also said,
    “The warrior’s approach is to say ‘yes’ to life: ‘yea’ to it all.”

    “We are not there until we can say ‘yea’ to it all.”

    “As you proceed through life, following you own path,
    birds will shit on you. Don’t bother to brush it off.”
    (Pay it no mind.
    Live to do what you are doing!)

    “Getting a comedic view of your situation
    gives you spiritual distance.
    Having a sense of humor saves you.”

    “The very cave you are afraid to enter
    turns out to be the source
    of what you are looking for.
    The damned thing in the cave
    that was so dreaded
    has become the center.”

    The path requires “the love of your fate.
    Whatever your fate is,
    whatever the hell happens,
    you say, ‘This is just what I need!’
    It may look like a wreck,
    but go at it as though it were an opportunity,
    a challenge.
    If you bring love to that moment–
    not discouragement–
    you will find the strength is there.”

    “Nothing can happen to you that is not positive.”

    “When we are on our own path,
    what we need comes along just when we need it.”

    “Have a theory that if you on your own path,
    things are going to come to you.
    Since it is your own path,
    and no one has ever been on it before,
    there is no precedent,
    so everything that happens
    is a surprise and is timely…
    Nothing is routine,
    nothing is taken for granted.
    Everything is standing out on its own,
    because everything is a possibility,
    everything is a clue,
    everything is talking to you.”

    Happiness is a function of perspective,
    perception and evaluation.

    Happiness is a function
    of how we see what we look at,
    of what we tell ourselves
    about what we see.

    We are either on the adventure
    of being who we are,
    where we are,
    when we are,
    how we are,
    or not.

    “The future is up to us!”
    (Enola Holmes)

    “Anything can happen,
    if you let it!”
    (Mary Poppins)

    “Whose side are you on?”
    (Jim Dollar)

  26. 10/01/2020  —  Ace Basin Collage 01/29/2015 — Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Hollywood, South Carolina

    We create the future
    by the way we respond to our present.

    Each present moment–
    every here-and-now–
    is a fulcrum,
    a pivot point,
    shifting how things are
    into how things will be.

    If things are to be different.
    We have to think differently.
    We have to live differently.
    We have to see differently.
    We have to interpret/evaluate/understand differently.

    We have to be different.
    We have to become different.

    We tend to think we are perfect as we are,
    and it is our surroundings,
    our circumstances,
    that have to change.

    If we want things to change
    in relation to us,
    we have to change
    in relation to things.

    It starts with us.

    We are holding things in place
    by the way we respond to things.
    Until that changes,
    nothing changes
    (No matter how much it appears to change).

    If things change
    without our attitude changing,
    nothing is different,
    regardless of how much it changes.

    The changes that make a difference
    take place behind our eyes,
    between our ears.

  27. 10/01/2020  —  The Log in String Lake 09/23/2006

    The Way doesn’t get any clearer than this:

    Do your thing
    with nothing at stake in the outcome.

    In each situation as it arises.

    That is all there is to it.
    Or ever has been.

  28. 10/02/2020  —  Valley View 04/26/2006 — Yosemite National Park, Mariposa County, California

    We hide ourselves
    and hide from ourselves.

    We speak in code about ourselves
    and to ourselves.

    What is important
    in favor of what is trivial
    and essentially non-essential.

    We only have to look a our life
    to know it is so.

    Our life conceals and reveals us.
    Our choices disclose and obscure us.

    We don’t like ourselves
    and it shows.

    Nothing is more apparent
    than our refusal to be who we are.

    We have what remains
    of the time left for living
    to turn the light around,
    and redeem what needs redeeming
    by serving the destiny
    we abandoned shortly after birth.

    We start by sitting down,
    being quiet,
    and meeting what meets us
    in the silence
    with nowhere to hide–
    holding everything that comes up
    in our awareness,
    with compassion,
    without judgment or opinion,
    just seeing,
    just knowing,
    just looking,
    just listening,
    just being
    with what is being with us,
    waiting for the way
    to open before us,
    trusting ourselves
    to know when it does.

  29. 10/03/2020  —  Water Rock Knob 10/29/2014 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley, North Carolina

    The old adage gets to the heart of the matter:
    “It’s all grist for the mill.”
    What are we milling is the question.
    What are we working to get,

    What is it going to take
    for us to be
    at absolute peace
    with the life we are living?

    What are we milling?
    Putting together?

    What is guiding our boat
    on its path through the sea?

    How we discern a favorable wind
    from and ill wind?

    A good place to be
    from where we have no business being?

    What is our business?
    What are we about?
    What are we milling?

    Where are we going?
    How will we know when we arrive?
    Who are we trying to please?
    How do we know what is pleasing?
    Who says so?
    How did they become the voice of authority
    ruling over our life?
    What makes us think they know what is pleasing?
    Our life is based on what?

    What is guiding our boat
    on its path through the sea?

  30. 10/03/2020  —  Goldenrod 01 10/01/2020–22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    We could make a list–
    and probably should–
    of the people who know the truth
    when they see it,
    as a source of encouragement
    and motivation
    in our own work
    to see what we look at
    and know what’s what.

    George Carlin
    Claudia Conway
    Dolly Parton
    Linda Ronstadt
    Eddie Murray
    Richard Pryor
    Jon Stewart
    Stephen Colbert
    Al Franken

    Who stands out for you?
    Let them be your soulmates,
    your guides,
    your gurus,
    your spiritual family,
    the people you turn to
    in time of trouble.

    Nobody can do it for long alone.
    Not even the people on your list!
    Live to be on somebody’s list–
    and keep going!

  31. 10/03/2020  —  Two Barns 08/10/2019 Panorama — Kershaw County, South Carolina

    Our life forms itself around us,
    reflecting our choices and decisions
    exhibiting our preferences and inclinations,
    expressing our degree of creativity and courage…

    We are content seeking shape and form.
    Our life becomes us so.

    And we blame our circumstances.

    “If we had had more of this
    and less of that!”

    If this! If that!
    Easy to say.
    Maybe. Maybe Not.

    What we know is that
    we are the one constant
    through all of the times and places,
    chances and opportunities,
    contexts and circumstances
    of our life,
    and here we are now.

    We are the content,
    and this is the shape and form.

    If we would prefer a different shape,
    a better form,
    we only have the content to work with.

    How different can we be in the time left for living?

    If you are serious about finding out,
    sit before a mirror
    and see who looks back at you.
    Consider the content of you,
    and what is revealed/concealed
    by your appearance,
    body language–
    including posture
    and facial expression–
    tone of voice
    physical shape
    and overall demeanor.

    Take up the practice
    of changing your content
    and seeing what shifts
    your shape and form
    take in response
    to the shifts made in content.

    It will be a game
    you play with yourself
    for the rest of your life.

  32. 10/04/2020  —  Two Rocks 02 09/24/2004 –Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine

    Abraham’s retort to God,
    “Shall not the judge of the earth do right?”
    is one Job should have used.
    Instead, Job cowers before the “Might Makes Right” defense
    God uses to justify leaving Job unprotected against the wiles of Satan.

    And Baruch would have done well to use it
    against God’s, “I’ll give you your life as a prize of war,”
    excuse for refusing to be more of a
    “very present help in time of trouble.”

    The question is one we shun and ostracize
    in the forlorn hope that God will make it up to us
    if we are patient and faithful
    in trusting ourselves to the ultimate triumph of “God’s Plan”
    at work through inconceivable evil
    to save the day and all the long-suffering True Believers
    at the End of Time. 

    Habakkuk and Jesus stand out in having
    the courage of their own convictions,
    in declaring their loyalty and allegiance
    to doing what is right in each situation as it arises,
    no matter what–
    with the outcome playing no part
    in their ongoing and eternal devotion
    to doing what needs to be done
    their whole life long.

    In so doing,
    they point the way for us all.

    Why something happens
    or fails to happen
    is irrelevant to the situation at hand.
    Doing what is called for here and now
    is our only concern.

    “Here we are–now what?”
    is our response to the times
    all the time.
    How we answer that question,
    sets the tone
    and establishes the rhythm
    of our life,
    and shapes the future
    better than any assortment of beliefs
    and statements of faith
    ever could.

    Believe whatever you want,
    but do what needs to be done!
    Here and now and always and forever!

  33. 10/04/2020  —  Muscadine and Sourwood 10/03/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Living from our own center
    with nothing at stake in the outcome
    is like singing in the shower,
    or dancing in the rain.

    It is a spontaneous,
    response to our situation as it arises
    and opens before us,
    calling us to dance with life
    in becoming one with the moment
    and the opportunity it offers us
    to express ourselves
    by offering what is ours to give
    in response to the need of the moment
    and the time that is at hand.

    And this,
    without contrivance
    or agenda,
    or any thought of what is in it for us,
    or how we might seize the moment
    for our benefit,
    or profit,
    and “come out ahead”
    in any sense of the term.

    We’re dancing, man!
    “And there is only the dance!”
    (T.S. Eliot)

    The key to living well
    is to live as though we are dancing.
    When the music begins,
    our cares drop away.
    We don’t know who the President is,
    or what our worries are,
    or how we are going to manage
    with “the wolf at our door.”
    We dance.
    And dancing brings forth
    the joy of life.
    The joy of being here, now,
    alive in this moment
    and able to dance.

    The music is there in every moment,
    waiting for ears that hear,
    and toes that tap,
    and hearts that can dance with life!

  34. 10/05/2020  —  The Horse Barn 10/04/2020 01 Panorama — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    If you wait until you are drowning
    to learn how to swim,
    you make it harder on yourself
    than it needs to be.

    See how many places you can apply
    this pithy little insight
    throughout your life.

    It will change your life.

  35. 10/05/2020  —  Wildflower Grassland 01 10/04/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    What would it take for you to be at peace with your life
    just as it is?

    Which includes doing what it takes
    to make your life more like it needs to be
    than it is.

    What does your life need to be
    that it isn’t?

    Where is your life deficient?
    Where is your life excessive?
    Where is your life being neglected/ignored?
    Where is your life being restricted/confined?
    Where is your life being overrun/violated/disrupted?

    In what ways do you need help with your life?

    To what degree are you aware
    of your relationship with your life?

    In what ways does your life reflect/exhibit/express/incarnate/reveal
    who you are?

    In what ways does your life inhibit/conceal/deny/oppose/repress who you are?

    How would you describe your relationship with your life?

    In what ways do you tend and serve your life?
    In what ways do you expect your life to tend and serve you?

    In what ways do you cooperate/collaborate with your life?
    In what ways do you contend/clash with your life?

    What do you need from your life?
    What does your life need from you?

  36. 10/06/2020  —  The Live Oak at Springer’s Point 10/17/2013 — Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, North Carolina

    Attending what I am doing,
    is among the hardest things
    for me to do.

    Just knowing what I am doing now–
    not generally,
    “I’m driving.”
    “I’m walking.”
    But specifically.
    “My turn is coming up.”
    “Watch the kid on the skateboard!”

    Being here, now, is the hardest thing.
    Of course we are here, now.
    We know that.
    And we miss our turn,
    and send the kid on the skateboard
    to his heavenly reward.

    All because we know what we are doing
    without attending it,
    without being aware of it,
    without knowing what we know,

    We live disconnected
    from the time and place
    of our living,
    thinking about anything,
    but the here and now.

    So what?

    How we answer that question
    makes all the difference.

    Here and now is all there ever is.
    If we are not present and accounted for,
    fully here, fully now,
    when will we ever be alive?

    We do not come to life
    until something in our present moment
    commands our full attention
    and brings us to life.

    Puppies can do it.
    And kittens.
    And babies/grandbabies…
    We all can remember experiences,
    good and bad,
    that have grabbed us
    and hurled us in to the Now,
    but it takes something special.

    We can’t be here, now,
    for no reason.
    We are shanghaied by other things,
    drag us off into endless walk-a-bouts,
    meandering among the possibilities
    and the impossibilities,
    lost and unavailable
    to turns coming up
    and kids on skateboards.

    Any moment can be “transparent to transcendence”
    (Joseph Campbell),
    transporting us instantly
    into the rapture of awe and wonder–
    not because it is obvious,
    not because we are whammed by it unexpectedly,
    but because we simply sat,
    until we saw–until we see–it.

    We can be so present to any moment
    that every moment has the potential
    of being a portkey,
    transporting us from this dimension
    into the other dimension
    of numinous, ineffable, unspeakable truth.

    Bringing that dimension
    into this dimension,
    moving from this dimension
    into that dimension,
    is the gift of attentive presence,
    bringing us to life
    in the life we are living.

    Eyes that see
    are the same eyes that don’t see,
    waiting us to open ourselves
    to what is here and now
    but turning the light around
    and seeking within the switch
    that turns the light on
    and enables us to see what we are looking at
    for the very first time.

  37. 10/06/2020  —  Two Mushrooms 10/05/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    The old Taoists recommended
    that we “turn the light around,”
    and look inwardly
    for what we are seeking externally,
    which would be something worth living for.

    Some reason,
    some purpose,
    some meaning
    for it all.

    Life is its own meaning,
    but it takes realizing that
    and living as though it is so
    to turn the light around.

    Living as though our life is meaningful
    just as it is
    is the shift
    that opens us to the truth
    of the immense value
    of the here and now.

    This! Is “the still point of the turning world”!
    (T.S. Eliot)
    This! Is the moment of our Illumination!
    It only takes looking
    to see that it is so!

    Two mushrooms seen properly,
    are the bell of awakening.
    Any time can be the time of our realization.
    How we see what we look at
    is more important than what we look at.

    Turn the light around!

  38. 10/07/2020  —  Stump and Sourwood 10/05/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    When the light comes on,
    everything/nothing changes.
    Life goes on as it always does
    and nothing about life is as it was
    for the one for whom the light comes on.
    Now, that one has to live
    with a foot in two worlds,
    and walk two paths at the same time–
    living in this world
    in light of that world–
    with this and that world
    informing and influencing
    the way they live
    in that and this world.

    The two worlds interact/interface
    in the one for whom the light goes on.
    They cannot live in either world
    as though the other does not exist.
    The two worlds are not mutually exclusive.
    They both are conjoint with the other
    and create the “Mysterium Coniunctionis”
    (Carl Jung’s term meaning
    the “Mystery of the Conjunction”),
    which is the ground of all of our dualities,
    and which we live to integrate and express/exhibit
    by the way we manage the challenge
    of living in two worlds at the same time,
    walking two paths at the same time,
    and consciously realizing
    and living in the tension
    of the interplay between the worlds
    (Which might be better thought of
    as “dimensions” within the world of
    normal, apparent, physical reality)
    within all of the times and places
    of our existence.

    We are living within an optical illusion.
    Now it’s this way,
    now it’s that way.
    Which way is is?
    Both ways simultaneously!
    How do we manage our life
    living both ways at once?

    Laughing and dancing all the way!

    It is the Tevya dialogue in “Fiddler on the Roof”:
    “But, this cannot be so if that is so!”
    “You are right! That is also so!”
    Laughing and living in the tension of all opposites,
    of all dichotomies,
    being so at the same time!

    The two become one in us!
    And we become one with all things!

    Integrating what cannot be reconciled,
    and bearing the agona, the agony, of the tension
    playfully, laughingly,
    every step along the Way,
    by doing it the way it needs to be done,
    the way it is being called for,
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    Sometimes we do it like this,
    and sometimes we do it like that,
    and sometimes we do not do it at all!

    When to do what is our call to make,
    lovingly, laughingly, playfully,
    doing what is called for in each moment,
    the way only we can do it,
    “singing and dancing in the rain.”

  39. 10/07/2020  —  Afternoon Light 10/04/2020 — Black-eyed Susans, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Lake Haigler Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    We cannot live one dimensionally in in a multi-dimension world.

    This is the failure of Evangelical Christianity
    and of strict religiosity  world wide.

    “Walking the straight and narrow”
    is not about prudishly, puritanically, keeping the rules.
    It is about walking gingerly, consciously, carefully
    along the slippery slope,
    the dangerous path,
    the razor’s edge,
    between the Clashing Rocks,
    the Scylla and Charybdis,
    the dualities, dichotomies, duplexities
    of day-to-day,
    life in the world of normal, apparent, reality.

    There is no static way of being.
    Balance and harmony are about controlling the wobbles,
    like riding a bicycle.

    We have to live free in our soul,
    like the spirit that blows where it will–
    which is another way of saying,
    “Not knowing what it will do next”!

    Jesus lived that way,
    raising the dead in one minute,
    and leaving the dead to bury the dead in the next.
    Forgiven the woman guilty of adultery one day,
    and cursing  the innocent fig tree on another.

    Do not look for, expect, demand, insist upon consistency,
    absence of deviation
    from yourself
    or one another!

    Sometimes, we do it this way,
    and sometimes, we do it that way,
    as the occasion requires.
    We dance with the music of the times.
    We do what the situation calls for–
    without being burdened
    with having to “toe the line”
    and “mind our p’s and q’s”
    by doing what we are “spozed to do”
    in all times and places
    because we dare not “get out of line”
    or express our own individual gifts and genus
    in the way we go about our life.

    Grant yourself the freedom of getting out of character–
    because it is required by the circumstances,
    or just for the hell of it!
    Do things that are “not you”!
    Expand your range!
    Open yourself to the possibilities!
    Live beyond your limits!
    Outside your boundaries!
    Live to find out–to discover–
    what you are capable of!
    Experiment with new roles!
    Try out for different parts!
    Bring yourself to life
    in the time left for living!

    Why hold anything back?

  40. 10/07/2020  —  The Horse Barn 10/04/2020 02 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, Horse Barn Road Access

    We live our way to the truth of who we are
    coming to terms with the truth of how things are,
    of how the world is,
    of how life is,
    of the way things work
    one situation at a time,
    one day at a time,
    over the full course of our life.

    The Spiritual Journey,
    is the Hero’s Journey,
    is another term
    for Growing Up.
    Growing up is coming to terms with how things are
    and how we are
    and how best to deal with the contradictions/dichotomies
    at work within and without
    throughout our life.

    We want things to be different than they are.
    We want to be different than we are.
    And how well we bear the pain of the difference
    between how things are and how we want them to be
    on all levels of life and being
    is the essence of growing up,
    of waking up,
    of squaring up
    with how it is with us
    at various points in our life.

    Our identity changes over the time of our living.
    Living changes us.
    Living requires us to change.
    The people who refuse to change,
    who live static, rigid, lives
    are dead people.
    They may be 98.6 and ambulatory,
    but they have no life about them,
    they haven’t been alive for years past remembering.

    How we respond to our life
    through all the stages of our existence
    is the marker declaring our degree
    of vitality,
    interest in,
    and enthusiasm for
    our life and the experience of being alive.

    Our life is naturally designed to bring us forth,
    to show us who we are,
    by requiring things of us
    we do not know we are capable of.

    We have to be fluid and flexible enough
    to sit before what is being asked of us
    and explore/imagine/consider how we might
    best respond to it in the here and now of our living.

    This is to say that new epiphanies,
    and additional illumination
    are required–and available/possible–
    at every point along the way
    from birth to death.

    And so, it is said that the awakening
    of every enlightened being
    requires a return to the state of unenlightenment.

    We never out-grow the need to respond
    to the circumstances and situations
    of life here and now
    throughout the times and places of life in the world.

    The Spiritual Journey has no end.
    The “Circumambulation of the Self”
    (Carl Jung) is eternal and everlasting.
    We are always becoming who we are.
    And the longer we are conscious of the process,
    the more we are able to laugh and dance
    along the way.

  41. 10/08/2020  —  The Dairy Barn 02/18/2018 — Louisiana Central Hospital Grounds, Pineville, Louisiana

    We do not receive the help we need.
    And if it is offered,
    it isn’t what we have in mind.

    Given the choice,
    do you go for feeling better
    or getting better?

    When the treatment is worse than the disease–
    or worse than the symptoms–
    what do we do?

    Where do we go with the pain
    of damned if we do and damned if we don’t?
    With the agony of endless agony?
    In the meantime, what?

    When there is no balm in Gilead,
    where do we go for relief from our anguish?
    For alleviation from our pain?

    Where do we find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    about any of it?

    Therapy is found in the damnedest places.

    The dairy barn at the Louisiana Central Hospital
    brought people back to life
    by giving them cows to milk and feed,
    to pasture and tend.

    What does a cow have to do with our problems?
    Who would ever think,
    “A cow is just what I need”?
    How long would a physician last
    who prescribed a cow to care for
    to those seeking solace for the burdens they bear?

    Don’t disparage cows!
    Seek out their equivalent in your own time and place!
    You who have needs,
    lend yourself to the service
    of that which has need of you!
    You who languish for a lack of help,
    provide help to that which languishes
    for what you have to offer!
    Be good for someone,
    some thing!

    The world will shift on its axis,
    reorient itself in its orbit.
    All because you dared
    to love a cow!

  42. 10/08/2020  —  Steele Creek Cascades 03/29/2014 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Dairy Barn Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    The  most important commandment in the Old Testament
    didn’t make the top ten,
    though it lends itself to an interpretation
    that makes it #1 even there.

    Seeing “The Lord Thy God” in each of our neighbors
    would put “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”
    in the place of, as Jesus would say,
    loving our neighbors as we love ourselves,
    and as the most important commandment puts it,
    “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbor’s landmark.”

    Honor thy neighbor’s right to themselves
    and to all that belongs to them!
    Do not mind thy neighbor’s business!
    Do not violate thy neighbor’s boundaries!
    Do not invade thy neighbor’s sacred space!
    Do not denigrate thy neighbor in any way!
    Respect thy neighbor as thou desireth to be respected!

    Know where you stop and your neighbor starts
    and do not step over the line!

    How may ways did Jesus say that?
    He made it the central element in what he had to say.
    Everything comes down to seeing our neighbor
    as equal to us in every way.
    And to seeing everyone as our neighbor.
    And everyone is Every. Single. One.
    We are to be everyone’s neighbor,
    treating them all as though they are our neighbor.

    Why is this hard?
    Why is it not being done?

  43. 10/09/2020  —  Around Price Lake 10/17/2016 19 — Julian Price Memorial Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    Purity is the great enemy of truth.
    Purity is truth to the far extreme.
    Truth without contradiction.
    Truth without contraries.
    Truth without truth.
    A mockery of truth.
    An imposter of truth.
    A pretender of truth.
    A sound-alike.
    A wanna-be.
    A Lie.

    Watch the flow of the game
    over the next 10 to 20 years.
    Keep your eye on the ball.
    The truth is that
    “extremes beget extremes.”

    Those who remain steadfastly in the center
    become the enemy
    of the opposite poles.
    Yet, the center is the fulcrum,
    the pivot point,
    “the still point of the turning world”
    (T.S. Eliot).

    The center is our only hope.
    The cross of Christ
    bearing the pain
    of his own self-realization.

    “You shall know the truth,”
    he said,
    “and the truth shall set you free.”

    The truth of what?
    Free from what?
    Free for what?

    The truth of the moment.
    Of this moment.
    of this here-and-now.

    Free from/for what?
    Free from denial/mindlessness/unawareness/blindness/stupidity…
    Free for doing what needs to be done here and now,
    in this moment just as it is.

    Free for responding appropriately
    to the moment as it is being lived
    in seeing/hearing what is called for
    and providing it,
    doing it,
    regardless of what you might have said/done
    in the last moment,
    or any previous moment–
    or what you ever imagined that you would do
    in any moment.

    Freedom to be who you are,
    living out of your own center
    in response to the craziness–
    the madness–
    of a world gone to the extremes,

    “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity”
    (W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”).

    Freedom to be what is needed
    even there,
    especially there,
    in the heart of anarchy
    amid the Clashing Rocks
    and the Heaving Waves
    of the Wine-Dark Sea.

  44. 10/09/2020  —  Adventure Road 01 10/07/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Faith has nothing to do with belief.
    Faith is faithfulness.
    Keeping faith with oneself and one another.
    Being faithful to one’s center, core, foundation–
    in the company of those
    who are being faithful to themselves,
    to their center, core, foundation–
    and to one another.

    Faith as faithfulness is the center, core, foundation
    of ourselves
    and of the right kind of community.

    It has nothing to do with what we believe,
    and everything to do with what we know to be so
    because it forms the ground of our experience,
    and is the very essence of our being/doing.

    “Thanks be to God I am who/what I am!”
    (Paul of Tarsus)

    “What I do is me/for that I came!”
    (Gerard Manley Hopkins)

    Belief is a substitute for faith,
    a surrogate for the lived experience
    of ourselves in the world.

    “Know Thyself!”
    (The Delphic Oracle)

    “To Thine Own Self Be True!”
    (William Shakespeare)

    Our faith is in who we are
    and what is ours to do.
    Our faith is our life.
    Our life is our faith.

    The content of our faith
    is the body of work
    we create/produce
    as a testimony to who we are
    through the way we live our life
    and bring ourselves forth
    within the context and circumstances
    of the times and places of our living.

    The content of our faith
    is how we live our life.

  45. 10/09/2020  —  Muscadine and Moss 10/07/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Waiting for the mud to settle
    and the water to clear,
    it is important to exhibit
    the kind of stillness
    and confidence in the process
    that creates the atmosphere
    in which the mud can relax
    and trust itself to gravitational forces
    it cannot understand,
    but can allow to work its magic
    in assisting things seeking to find their place
    and give themselves to doing
    what they do best.

    The forces at work in our own life
    are not different from the gravitational force
    at work in the service of clarity.

    We belong to the things that stir us to life
    and call us forth
    to find what best suits our gifts
    and interests,
    and our deepest love–
    a love we know noting of
    until it claims us
    and graces us with its call to service
    in devotion and loyalty to its needs
    and interests.

    We find our way to what owns us
    bit by bit,
    allowing “one book to open another,”
    and always listening for what calls our name
    in each situation as it arises,
    allowing ourselves to be led–
    even when we don’t know we are being led–
    to sacred places
    “transparent to transcendence,”
    with nothing special about they
    that would set them apart,
    or suggest the wonders hidden
    from those who look without seeing
    what we behold.

    Swaddled in amazement,
    we feel ourselves carried
    from one wonder to another
    in a life that is merely following the flow
    from one day to the next,
    without a plan in mind,
    or an agenda directing the action.

    All we need do is listen and look,
    as we wait for the mud to settle
    and the water to clear.

  46. 10/10/2020  —  Muscadine and Sourwood 10/10/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Believe in what you are doing
    and do it!

    If you are going to believe in anything,
    let it be what you are doing!

    Why would we do anything we don’t believe in?
    Yet, how many of us are doing things we don’t believe in?
    Going through the motions.
    Paying the bills.
    So we can go through the motions.

    Time Out!!!
    It’s one thing to go through the motions
    to pay the bills–
    but we can’t pay the bills
    to go through the motions!
    We have to pay the bills
    to do what we believe in doing!

    Are we doing anything we believe in?
    Anywhere in our life?
    If no,
    that’s a problem.

    How can we live without believing
    in what we are doing?
    Without believing in the life we are living?

    We can’t just go through the motions!
    Our heart has to be in something
    we are doing,
    else our life is a sham,
    a lie,
    an empty balloon on a stick
    and we are dead people walking around
    blank-eyed and soulless.

    Sound like anybody you know?

    The cure is to get our life back
    by finding something we believe in
    and doing it
    while we pay the bills any way we can.

    Where do we start finding something
    we can believe in?
    What was the last thing you believed in?
    What happened to that?
    What are some things you think
    you might be able to believe in?
    If you were going to believe in something,
    what would it be?
    What would it take to be able to do it?
    If you can’t do it,
    start dreaming about doing it.
    Imagine doing it.
    Watch videos about doing it.
    Pretend to be able to do it.
    Start collecting items that are related to it.
    Read about it.
    Write about it.
    Build a fantasy life around it.
    Believe in your fantasies!
    If you can’t go to the moon,
    make a life around studying everything
    about going to the moon!

    Work something you believe in into your life!

    Without something to believe in,
    we are just marking time until we die.

    We may as well be in prison.

    Do not die before you are dead!

    Promise me you won’t!

  47. 10/10/2020  —  Fence Post 10/07/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Martha Graham’s dance, “Lamentation,” says what words cannot
    and in reflecting on her performance,
    she said about it and all of her performances,
    “The is always one person to whom you speak
    in the audience. One.”

    That took me straight to the one disciple of the Buddha
    who “heard” his Flower Sermon.
    Mahākāśyapa is in every audience,
    as male or female.

    Do not think,
    “No one hears”
    (Or cares).

  48. 10/10/2020  —  False Fox Glove 10/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    The work is ours to do alone.

    We grow up on our own.
    Against our will.
    Because it is called for.
    And is the best
    of all our available options.

    All that we have been told
    about how things are
    is not how things are.
    This is how things are:
    There is the way things are,
    and there is what we can do about it,
    and that’s that.
    And that is how things are.

    Part of what we can do about it
    is squaring ourselves up
    with the difference between
    how things are
    and how we wish they were,
    or how we want them to be.

    Coming to terms with how things are
    is being okay with things
    not being okay.
    And letting things be
    because they are.

    Within any context and all circumstances,
    there is what we can do
    and what we cannot do.
    Refusing to let what we cannot do
    keep us from fully exploring what we can do
    is the creative response
    to our situation,
    no matter what it is.

    Always the strategy is:
    Ask all of the questions that beg to be asked!
    Say all of the things that cry out to be said!
    Listen to everything!
    See what we look at!
    Feel what we are feeling!
    Know what we know!
    Bear the pain
    and keep on going!

  49. 10/11/2020  —  Hammock Creek — Pamlico Sound, Ocracoke Island, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks, North Carolina

    Wanting what we have no business having
    is the bane of our existence.

    and Duty
    burden us with concerns
    that are not our concern.

    Contriving to have something else,
    something better,
    something more
    keeps us from the joy
    of the day-to-day.

    We are our own worst enemy.

    Nothing can happen to us
    that we can’t make worse
    by the way we respond to it.

    If we are ever going to be happy,
    and at peace,
    it is going to start right here,
    right now.

    The only thing keeping that from happening
    is the way we think about things.

    Our judgments.
    Our opinions.
    Our evaluations.
    Our expectations.
    Our default dissatisfaction.
    Combine to prevent us
    from being able to delight
    in simple pleasures,
    and dismiss
    concerns that are not our concern.

    An old Taoist self-help manual says,
    “Noble people are calm,
    and not contrived,
    without cunning or ulterior motives.
    This means being empty and plain.”
    “Private interest is what corrupts the world.”
    “What is not one’s path is not taken,
    even if profitable.”

    2,000 years later,
    they still ring true.

  50. 10/11/2020  —  22-Acre Woods 10/08/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina

    Trump is forever whining about how
    unfairly he is being treated.

    I take that to mean he thinks he should be
    awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,
    and be accorded the honor and admiration
    he thinks he deserves.

    Whatever he thinks,
    he recognizes the importance of fairness
    and bemoans not being granted his share.
    It is a justice issue.
    Trump quickly recognizes injustice
    as a recipient.
    He has no awareness whatsoever of injustice
    as a dispenser.

    “I acknowledge no responsibility!”
    That’s Trump’s trump card.
    Trump trumps everything playing that one.

    I wish I had a trump card like that.
    It’s not fair.

    But I recognize the absurdity of thinking that
    wanting something has no necessary association
    with receiving the thing.
    That’s a blessing of wealth and privilege.
    More wealth and privilege than I’m interested in.

    An aside: Some people can’t get enough wealth and privilege,
    others need only enough to get their work done.
    The people who can’t get enough,
    have no work to do.
    Apparently, their idea is to avoid all work entirely,
    and go through life wallowing in wealth and privilege.
    As Jesus might say, “They have their reward.”

    All I want is enough wealth and privilege to do my work.
    Not enough wealth and privilege is a distraction,
    and too much wealth and privilege is also a distraction.
    The sweet spot, you might say,
    is enough to buy the tools our work requires
    but not so much that it gets in the way.

    And we have to know what our work is,
    what we live to do,
    and be about it.
    Joseph Campbell said the blessing of getting older
    is the ability to refine what is truly important
    down to the absolute essentials
    and the time to spend your life with those things.
    He was absolutely correct about that,
    and I relish each day as another opportunity
    to enjoy the presence of those things which matter most.

    May you be blessed in a similar way
    throughout what remains of the time to be lived
    on your life!

  51. 10/12/2020  —  Katahdin Panorama 10/09/2009 Watercolor Rendering — Sandy Stream Pond, Baxter State Park, Millinocket, Maine

    We cannot impose our will for our life upon our life.

    We certainly cannot impose our will for someone else’s life
    upon their life.

    These are the two fundamental/foundational principles of life
    that must be honored and respected,
    embraced and acquiesced to
    by all people great and small
    across all times and places
    in order for life to be lived
    the way life needs to be lived
    for the true good of all concerned,
    including ourselves.

    These two principles are the center and ground of democracy,
    and set it apart from all other ways of life together
    throughout the universe and all dimensions
    within which life might be lived.

    They are the end of caste systems
    and jihads,
    and injustice,
    and require us to live together
    in ways that are in accord
    with the Tao of all sentient beings,
    Tao being the name for The Spirit of the Times,
    in the sense of there being a time and a place
    for everything in its own time and its own place
    over all times and places,
    with the essential question being,
    “What is it time for in this place,
    here and now?”
    in every time and place.

    Balance and harmony,
    and sincerity
    become the central features
    of life together for all concerned–
    and we all live in ways
    that honor them
    and call them forth
    in our life and the lives of others.

    The Buddha and the Christ
    represent the end of all caste systems
    and the imposition of dharma/duty
    limiting people to prescribed places
    in the social order,
    and invite everyone to follow
    their own sense of the Spirit
    that is like the wind,
    blowing where it will,
    not knowing itself what it will do next
    over the full course of their life.

    The charge, “If you meet the Buddha/Christ
    on the road, kill him!”
    captures the essence of the matter.
    Each person is responsible for their own life
    and the development of their own potential
    for realizing,
    incarnating who they are
    and what they are to be about–
    and no one can escape that
    by doing what someone else tells them to do.

    We are the Buddha!
    We are the Christ!
    And our life is the matrix
    within which we work out the implications
    of knowing and being who we are
    and are capable of being/becoming–
    the first order/obligation being
    the creation and maintenance
    of an atmosphere/environment
    in which everyone realizes
    what is expected of/incumbent upon them
    and lives their life in accord
    with the Spirit of the Times
    in all times and places
    of their coming and going.

  52. 10/12/2020  —  Fence Post 10/07/2020 Oil Paint Rendering — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    We cannot impose our will for our life upon our life.

    We “take our orders” from a source other than ourselves.
    We align ourselves with “God’s will for our life.”
    We put ourselves “in accord with the Tao.”
    We seek to follow “the path that calls our name.”
    We say “we are not our own to do as we will.”
    Then we tell people they are going to hell
    if they don’t do it like we do it.
    Which way is it?

    We shun people,
    ostracize people,
    have nothing to do with people
    who don’t do it like we do.

    We “say” in a thousand ways daily,
    “I am the way, the truth and the life,
    and  no one comes to the Father but by me!”

    All of the self-help books ever written
    boldly proclaim:
    “If you want to be happy,
    you have to do it like I do!
    And herein is the recipe!”

    What outlandish arrogance!

    Everybody finds their own way.
    Everybody has to do their own work.

    Joseph Campbell declares that the way
    is a different way for every individual,
    which is the meaning of the word “individual.”

    Carl Jung says the same thing.


    “The knights entered the forest at the point that they had chosen, where there was no path. If there is a path, it is someone else’s’ path, and you are not on the adventure. Now, what are you to do about instruction? You can get clues from people who have followed paths, but then you have to carom off that and translate it into your own decision, and there is no book of rules.”


    “It is the individual’s task to differentiate themselves from all the others and stand on their own feet.”
    “The development of personality means fidelity to the law of one’s own being.”
    “Follow that will and that way which experience confirms to be your own.”
    “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

    Our burden is our glory:
    Finding and living the life that is ours to live–
    at the expense of the life we wish were ours to live.

    This is the working out of those age old themes,
    “From bondage to freedom.”
    “From death to life.”
    “Death and resurrection.”
    “Darkness and light.”
    “Asleep and awake.”

    The ultimate duality
    is created by those who declare
    “There are no dualities!”

    The ultimate illusion
    is created by those who declare,
    “Duality is an illusion!”

    “No one is as blind
    as those who declare:
    ‘I see!'”

    Seeing is borne out by the way
    in which we live our life.
    If seeing sees anything
    it sees all the ways in which
    it does not see at all,
    and does not boast of
    the great clarity of its vision.

    We find our own way.
    We do our own work.
    It is all up to us.
    All of our problems
    are simply doorways to realization,
    pathways to the Land of Promise,
    to the Farther Shore,
    which is always beneath our feet
    all the time.

    Like the man on his ox,
    searching for his ox.

    Like the woman holding her car keys
    looking for her car keys.

    Like the person moving the butter out of the way
    looking for the butter.

    We don’t have to go anywhere
    to find what we are looking for–
    we only have to realize
    that we are it.
    Just as we are.
    “The one thus come.”
    “The father and I are one.”

    Right here, right now.

  53. 10/12/2020  —  22-Acre Woods 02 Panorama 10-09-2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    We say what is ours to say,
    do what is ours to do,
    in the times and places of our living,
    and are gathered to our ancestors,
    and the world goes on
    as it always does.

    We speak truth to power
    and power has the leverage
    and the privilege
    and does what it always does.

    Nothing changes.
    “The more things change,
    the more they stay the same.”
    The things Jesus and the Buddha said
    in their time
    still need to be said in our time.

    Here is the truth that is as true
    as the truth has ever been:

    The work does not depend upon the results!
    We say what we have to say–
    what we MUST say.
    We do what we have to do–
    what we MUST do.
    And let that be that.
    What comes of it is not our concern.
    Our only concern is to be true to ourselves,
    to what is ours to say and to do,
    and let the outcome be the outcome.

    We gauge success by the degree to which
    our life incarnated/reflected/exhibited/expressed
    who we are
    and what is ours to say and to do.

    What comes of it is just what comes of it.

    Our task is to be true to ourselves
    and to our work–
    the work of expressing ourselves
    in the life we live.
    Beyond that,
    it is out of our hands.

    So, as Joseph Campbell said,
    “Get in there and do your thing,
    and don’t worry about the outcome!”

  54. 10/12/2020  —  One Mushroom 10-07-2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    For those of you interested in
    living out of your own center
    in the service of the work that is yours to do
    in the life that is yours to live,
    Joseph Campbell has this to say
    (From The Mythic Image, p. 178, hardback edition):

    “There are three points of accord that make it possible to speak of modern depth psychologies in the same context with yoga.

    First, there is the idea that the fate of the individual is a function of his psychological disposition: he brings about those calamities that appear to befall him.

    Next, there is the idea that the figures of mythology and religion are not revelations from aloft, but of the psyche, projections of its fantasies: the gods and demons are within us.

    And finally, there is the knowledge that an individual’s psychological disposition can be transformed through controlled attention to his dreams and to what appear to be the accidents of his fate.”

    Our life is a meditation.

    Asking the questions that beg to be asked
    and saying the things that cry out to be said
    enable the reflections
    that lead to new realizations
    and “create doors where we
    did not think there would be doors,”
    and opportunities for life
    in what we took for a barren wasteland.

  55. 10/12/2020  —  Lower Falls, Yellowstone River 06/17/2001  —  Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

    Always the first response,
    regardless of what happens:

    “Well, now. What can we do with this?”

    Everything about our life is given to us
    so that we might play with it
    and see what we can make of it–
    of what we can become thanks to it.

    Everything is a vehicle for our own becoming.

    Nothing is wasted.
    Nothing is worth nothing.
    Nothing is for nothing.
    Everything is going to impact us in some way.
    Is going to make some sort of difference in our life,
    in our way with life.

    Our place is to oversee the impact,
    to moderate the effect,
    for the good–
    using it to shape ourselves in ways
    that enable us to better be who we are,
    clarifying us,
    if only to ourselves,
    defining us,
    refining us,
    bringing us out,
    bringing us forth,
    showing us,
    and others,
    who we are.

    Our life sets us up for the things that come our way.
    We bring it on ourselves
    as a gift from ourselves to us
    to round us out,
    complete us,
    grow us up.

    It is all a gauntlet, of sorts,
    an initiation process,
    an induction into the way of things,
    a test of our mettle,
    of our spirit,
    to show us what we are made of,
    and build our confidence in ourselves
    and in our ability to deal appropriately
    and successfully
    with anything that comes our way.

    Our role is to take meet what meets us
    as though we welcome the challenge,
    and are looking forward ourselves
    to seeing what we will come up with next,
    how we will handle this,
    of all things,
    and what it has to teach us about ourselves.

    Practice the line until you can say it like you mean it:

    “Well, now. What can we do with this?”

  56. 10/13/2020  —  Sumac 10/09/2020 02 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Everything turns–for better or for worse–
    on our being right
    about what we call good.

    How good is the good we call good
    is always the question.

    Our idea of the good
    can be anything but good.

    It is up to us to know what’s what
    with the good we call good.

    How do we evaluate our values?

    What guides our boat
    on its path through the sea?

    Can it be trusted to know True North
    from Due South?

    How do we have our alignment checked?

    What’s a valid plumb line in the arena of the Good?

    Whose word do we take?

    What makes us think they know
    what they are talking about?

    What is the source of our certainty?

    How often is it calibrated?

    Against what standard of accuracy is it measured?

    Who does the measuring?

    How good is the good we call good?

    Who says so?

    If you are going to assume something,
    or take it for granted,
    don’t let it be the goodness
    of your idea of the good!

  57. 10/13/2020  —  Summer Fern

    We gather ourselves
    and step into the day.

    What do we mean by that?
    What do we intend?
    What’s the point?
    What are we going to do with this day?

    Each day is an addition
    to our body of work.
    What do we mean by that?
    What is the point of our body of work?
    Who are we showing ourselves to be
    in our collection of days?
    What theme are we developing?
    What is the nature of our life?
    Who are we becoming?
    Who have we become?

    I look at the various segments
    that make up my day
    as mirrors reflecting me to me.
    I see myself in the ways I respond
    to what meets me in a day,
    and evaluate my responses
    in light of my Ideal Me–
    the Me I wish I were–
    the Me I live to be.

    Each day is a practice run
    toward the Me I would like to be,
    one situation at a time.
    It goes better
    when I take my time,
    embrace the silence,
    remember my breathing
    and know what I know.

    When I step back,
    and allow Me to lead the way,
    surprising me with spontaneous
    responses to the developing situation–
    which is quite different from knee-jerk reactions–
    things develop a flow
    that I am proud to be a part of
    even as I marvel at how this remark
    or that action
    could come from me.

    Where did that come from?
    is always a joy to find myself asking,
    and I think I keep living
    just to see what I will do next!

    Coming to trust myself
    to know what to do
    has been the blessing
    and the grace
    of life through the years,
    and I face the future
    with the confidence gleaned
    from having faced the future
    into the fourth quarter
    of my seventy-fifth year.

  58. 10/13/2020  —  Last of Spring Watercolor Rendering– Above Tremont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

    Martin Palmer said that the Tao
    is simply getting things done in the right way–
    the right way of going about doing something.

    The only thing standing between us
    and doing things the right way
    is us.

    Before we do anything,
    we only have to stop and remember
    to do it the right way,
    the way it is to be done,
    the way it needs to be done.

    And do it that way.

    This is not hard.

    We only have to get ourselves out of the way.

    Why wouldn’t we do that?

  59. 10/14/2020  —  Sourwood 5-6 Panorama 10/09/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    You don’t have to want to do what needs to be done
    the way it needs to be done.

    You don’t have to feel like it.

    You don’t have to be in the mood for it.

    You don’t have to care about it.

    Your heart doesn’t have to be in it.

    You can explain/defend/justify/excuse
    not doing what needs to be done
    the way it needs to be done
    in 10,000 ways.

    You just have to do it.

    Everything depends upon it,
    flows from it.

    You create the future in every moment anyway.
    You may as well create the kind of future
    that will be the way the future needs to be–
    by doing what needs to be done,
    when it needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done
    here and now,
    for as long as you have to live.

    This is called “living in accord with the Tao.”

    And it is the only thing that matters.

  60. 10/14/2020  —  No Photo

    Here is the introduction to my WordPress site “The Church of What’s Happening Now,” because, why not?

    Flip Wilson had a comedy routine built around “The Reverend Leroy and The Church of What’s Happening Now.” The name of his church captures perfectly the essence, scope and calling of every church since the invention of churches–to exist beyond theology and doctrine, dogma and creed, catechisms and systems of belief as the servant people of what’s happening now.

    Jesus said “The Spirit is like the wind that blows where it will,” which implies that not even the Spirit of God knows what it is going to do next–and the people of that Spirit have no business codifying and systematizing commandments, rules and organizing principles governing the manner in which they are to go about their way of life and being in the world.

    Jesus responded spontaneously to each situation as it arose. The woman taken in adultery, the question from the lawyer about “Who is my neighbor,” the crowd asking for a sign… Jesus did not had out tracts or ask people to memorize the books of the Bible in order, or give them catechisms, or tomes of doctrine to study and re-study.

    Jesus said, “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” and called each person to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” He expected people to be open to the moment of their living, and to do there what was called for with the gifts of their original nature as their tools to work with in the day-to-day events of their life.

    Jesus, and the Buddha, and everyone who has known since the beginning of knowing have understood the essential nature of the importance of doing what needs to be done, the way it needs to be done, when it needs to be done–and doing it with sincerity and spontaneity–and letting that be that.

    Which is, of course, called “living in accord with the Tao.” And it is never more difficult, or more important, than that.

    The Church of What’s Happening Now is the only church there is, and the church all churches need to be. This page is a collection of supporting posts for becoming that kind of church in the daily happenings of our own life throughout the time left for living.

    I am glad you have found your way this far. You can trust yourself to find your way all the way the rest of the way. You are all you got. You are all you need. And the ideal community consists of individuals just like you who are finding their way alone together.

    Welcome to The Church of What’s Happening Now!

  61. 10/14/2020  —  Moonset at Clingman’s Dome — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee, North Carolina

    Wanting is of the devil.

    All of the plights known to human beings throughout time
    have wanting at their core.

    Wanting is the bane of human existence.

    We can want what we have no business having–
    and do.
    All the time.
    And this is what we get from it, for it
    (Looking around, palms up).

    We think wanting is our infallible guide
    to happiness everlasting.
    We think if we only could have what we want
    everything would be perfection and delight without end.
    We cast about,
    moaning and wailing,
    lose ourselves in addictions
    and other forms of idiocy,
    because we cannot have what we want,
    or do not know what we want,
    but this isn’t it,
    and we are stuck with doing what we want
    whether we want to or not.

    And all we have ever wanted is happiness
    at the end of Smooth And Easy Street.

    Here’s the truth for you:
    Happiness isn’t smooth
    and happiness isn’t easy
    and happiness isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

    The sure path to happiness
    is doing what needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done,
    when it needs to be done,
    whether we want to or not,
    whether we are in the mood for it or not,
    whether we feel like it or not,
    whether it is raining or not,
    whether anything comes of it or not,
    whether we gain anything by it,
    or get anything out of it,
    or not,
    for no other reason than
    because it needs to be done
    right here and right now
    and it needs us to do it.

    This is called “living in accord with the Tao.”

    The Tao is the right way of doing something.

    Everything we do,
    or fail to do,
    creates the future.
    We are creating some future in every moment.
    Moment-by-moment we create the future
    by the way we live in,
    respond to,
    the moment,
    right here,
    right now.

    That being the case,
    why not create the future that needs to be
    by doing what needs to be done
    right here,
    right now?
    all our life long
    by simply doing what needs to be done
    the way it needs to be done,
    when it needs to be done?

    That is all it ever takes.

    Spontaneous sincerity
    responds to the moment
    the way the moment needs
    to be responded to,
    for no reason beyond
    giving what is needed
    to the time and place of our living.

    Without seeking to gain from it
    in any way,
    the gain from it is immeasurable.

    World wide.

    You don’t have to believe it.
    Just do it.
    The cumulative effect of doing so
    will validate the value of doing so
    in undeniable,
    irrefutable ways over time.

    Everyone who knows anything
    knows it is so.

  62. 10/14/2020  —  Sourwood 10/09/2020 01 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    Our place,
    as conscious egos,
    is to live as guardians,
    and servants
    of the Source,
    the Origin,
    of our life and being.

    If I asked you to “Go to the Source,”
    where would you go?
    If I asked you to describe the location,
    what would you say?
    If I asked you to rank the strength of your connection
    with the Source,
    what would it be?

    When I contemplate the Source/Origin
    of my life and being,
    I can’t get closer than
    what I think of as a symbol
    of the Psyche/the Unconscious/the Soul-Self
    the Hindus call “the Atman.”

    That symbol, for me,
    is a subterranean ocean
    that would fill an infinite number of universes.
    It is “deep and wide.”
    It is dark there, but I can make out a shoreline
    disappearing off to my right,
    and ending at a rocky outcropping
    extending into the sea to my left.
    I can see and hear waves gently lapping on the shore
    near my feet
    as I stand looking out to what would be the horizon
    but for my vision being limited by the darkness
    about fifty feet from where I stand.
    The Source.

    I go there for sustenance and courage
    and instruction in the form
    of things stirring into my awareness,
    things to do,
    things to consider.
    The Source is the source of ideas and images,
    the source of imagination and visions,
    the source of all that is.

    Hindus think of the Atman
    as the essence/true self/the is-ness/am-ness
    of every living thing.

    “The face that was ours before we were born.”

    And Joseph Campbell says, “This power,
    which transcends all thought,
    is the very essence of your own being.
    It is Transcendent and it is Immanent,
    right here, right now, everywhere!”
    We incarnate “the Father”
    (We and “the Father” are one!)!
    We are the Avatar!

    And our role, our task, is to live
    “transparent to transcendence”
    (Joseph Campbell)–
    by living consciously in accord
    with our Original Nature
    without contrivance,
    and with sincerity and spontaneity!
    That’s divinity!
    That is who we are!

    And, to get there, to this point,
    we have to establish, maintain,
    develop, deepen
    our relationship with the Atman,
    the Self/Soul,
    the Source,
    the Origin
    of our life and being.

    Seek the Source.
    See where you go,
    and what happens there.

  63. 10/15/2020  —  Sumac 10/09/2020 01 Panorama — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    The Atman (A Hindu term meaning True Self,
    the essence,
    the is-ness of every living thing–
    and I prefer to think of it as everything–
    vital or inert)
    is the connective tissue of the Universe
    and beyond.
    The atmosphere/environment
    in which we live
    and move
    and have our being.

    It is our place to develop,
    our connection–
    our relationship–
    with the Atman
    through the way
    we live our life,
    seeking in every moment
    to be who we truly are
    within the context and circumstances
    of our existence.

    This is no problem for rocks and trees,
    lions and grey hounds,
    bald eagles and hummingbirds.
    Only people come with the option
    of not being who they are.

    Joseph Campbell talks about our situation
    in terms of the masks we wear.
    The Primary Mask is handed to us
    by the culture/society into which we are born.
    Our parents tell us who we are
    and how we are to behave.

    When the authorities of Jesus’ day
    called him “a glutton and a wine-bibber,”
    they were using a term that meant
    “beyond parental control.”
    Jesus wasn’t doing what he was supposed to do.
    He wasn’t being who his culture expected him to be.
    He was wearing his Antithetical Mask.

    That is Campbell’s term for who we are really.
    Our True Self,
    The Atman,
    shinning through.

    But we have more than one option.
    There is an Antisocial Mask.
    A Sociopathic Mask.
    A Psychopathic Mask…
    All representing different ways of being in the world.
    There is a different face for every occasion.

    The old Taoists had the ideal:
    “Show us the face that was yours
    before you were born!”
    “Show us your version of The Atman!”
    “Who you are ‘Thus Come’!”
    “Before your Ideas got a hold of you!”

    That is difficult because our Ideas are many,
    and in the way.
    We want to be anything but who we are.
    We have aspirations.

    And there is only one way with our name on it.
    It is our place to find that way and walk it,
    and in so doing,
    exhibit the radiance of God,
    of The Atman,
    living within us
    to all the world.

    How do you think that’s going?

  64. 10/15/2020  —  Golden Rod 04 10/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    What isn’t working for you?
    Where did you get off the track?
    What are you seeking?
    What would make things right?
    How are you kidding yourself?
    What would it take to stop?

    There has to be a reckoning.
    A coming to terms with how things are.
    An owning up.
    A turning.

    Carl Jung said,
    “There is in each of us,
    whom we do not know.”

    He was talking about the Atman,
    the Self,
    “the face that was ours before we were born.”
    The One Who Knows
    who we are
    and who we were born to be.

    Taking up the work
    of developing a collaborative partnership
    with the one whom we do not know
    would put us on course
    to realize the fullness
    of all that might yet be.

    We have all the help we need at hand.
    All it takes is asking,
    to turn things around.

  65. 10/16/2020  —  Mt. Rundle Sunrise 09/27/2009 — Banff National Park, Alberta

    The Buddhists have a saying:
    “All is One.”
    But they do not think it is all the same one.
    And it helps to be able to discern
    the differences between things.
    Salt is not sugar.
    Coffee is not corn meal.
    And we get along better in the world
    being able to recognize
    and appreciate
    the distinctions
    that create the tensions
    that allow life to exist.

    “Without contraries is no progression”
    (William Blake).
    We dance with contradiction
    all the way down.

    Speaking of dancing,
    there is no better symbol
    of two being one
    while remaining two
    than a couple dancing
    in perfect sync/rhythm/harmony.

    In the presence of that kind of oneness,
    we forget to breathe.

    The same applies to the pair,
    merged to the point of being inseparable,
    of complete opposites known as
    transcendence and immanence.

    Take anything.
    A shoelace.
    In the right kind of light,
    with the right kind of mood,
    and the right kind of perspective,
    which allows the right kind of perception
    (How we see produces/creates what we see),
    the shoelace–
    and every other thing–
    becomes “transparent to transcendence”
    (Joseph Campbell).

    Everything is a portkey,
    transporting us into the field of wonder,
    and we forget to breathe.

    The world is an optical illusion.
    Now we see it,
    now we don’t.
    Now we do.
    Now we don’t.

    Looking at anything reveals everything.
    Looking at everything conceals anything.
    Twoness is oneness.
    No, it’s twoness.
    Is it oneness or twoness?
    It is both.
    At the same time.

    “So what?” you say.
    So at any moment in our life,
    we are a simple shift in perspective
    away from seeing the wonder of being able to see–
    which transforms everything
    and opens us to the experience
    of the transcendence of immanence,
    of the immanence of transcendence,
    of the ineffable,
    of the Numen
    at the heart of existence,
    and the very essence of life,
    flowing in and through all things,
    transforming everything
    and making all things new,
    like being high on mescaline
    all the time.

    “If the doors of perception were cleansed,
    everything would appear to us as it is–
    (William Blake).

    We have no business saying anything
    until we see everything in this light,
    and then there are no words
    with which to say a thing.

  66. 10/16/2020  —  22-Acre Woods 10/15/2020 03 — Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    If we want to see,
    we have to see that we are not seeing.
    And then,
    we have to see what we are not seeing.

    We do that best
    by sitting quietly.

    Silence is the source of The Source,
    and the threshold to all seeing/knowing,

    It all begins with silence,
    and proceeds from there in silence
    to silence–
    because “The Tao that can be said
    is not the eternal Tao.”

    What more can be said than
    “Sit quietly”?

    Just sit.
    And wait to see.


  67. 10/17/2020  —  Thus Come 03 –From my Symbols of Transformation Collection

    The Buddha is recognized and revered
    as “The One Thus Come.”
    The Christ belongs in that category as well.

    As do all who are just who they are–
    with neither pretension nor aspiration,
    just so,
    just this,
    just thus.

    Which is to say, naturally exhibiting
    “the face that was theirs before they were born.”

    All natural things are Thus Come.

    Rocks and waves,
    wind and turkeys,
    gold nuggets and porcupines…

    The natural world is Thus Come.
    Only human beings have the capacity
    to be other than they are
    in striving to create a future to their liking.

    All humans Thus Come
    are content with the way things are,
    and have no need to transform things
    into their idea of how they ought to be.

    They do not walk around
    with an agenda in hand
    and a plan for everything in their life.

    In trying to arrange a particular future,
    we arrange ourselves in particular ways.
    Terrible Twos are so called
    because children at about that age
    react violently when the way things are
    is not the way they want them to be.

    No puppy, kitten, bear cub or penguin chick
    ever cried, kicked, screamed, bit their parents
    or rolled on the floor
    because things weren’t going their way.

    People in their eighties
    can still be in their Terrible Twos.
    They are Thus Come in a way
    different from the Buddha and the Christ,
    and are avoided by everyone in their vicinity
    for being the way they are.

    Being our natural self
    puts us in accord with the natural world,
    and we live out our lives
    smoothly choreographed with the movement
    of life around us.

    This is to be aligned with the Tao
    and at one with the times and places of our life.

    It is to say “Yea!” to life as it is,
    and to find ways of folding ourselves into
    our circumstances
    and make a way for ourselves within the confines
    of “what’s happening now,”
    in a “Okay, now what?” kind of way–
    while those in the Terrible Twos Stage
    are going,
    all their life long.

  68. 10/17/2020  —  Goldenrod 03 10/08/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Where is your zeal in the matter?
    Any matter?
    What matter holds the most zeal for you?
    What brings you to life?
    Calls you to life?
    Infuses you with life?
    Begin there.
    Go there.
    Do that.

    I’m better off walking around
    looking for photos,
    or sitting with my computer
    processing photos,
    or writing,
    or reading,
    or cooking,
    or playing at playing my djembe drum,
    than most any other where
    in my life.

    Those are the things that ground and center me
    and restore my balance and harmony.
    If I am away from them for longer than I like,
    I drift over into crotchety and snarly
    and people start saying,
    “Why don’t you go find something to photograph?”

    It’s important to know where our zeal lies,
    and feed it what it feasts on as often as possible.

  69. 10/17/2020  —  Adventure Road 03 10/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    You can lead a horse to water,
    and if on the way you stop for a while
    at the salt block,
    you can pretty well guarantee the horse will drink.

    What’s the equivalent to a salt block
    on the spiritual journey?
    What can we do to prepare ourselves
    for the serendipitous moment of illumination?
    How can we put ourselves in the way of enlightenment?
    How can we assist seeing,
    Satori hinges on what?

    It often takes nothing more “spiritual”
    than a dead end.

    Come to the end of your rope,
    and there is the light.

    Joseph Campbell liked to say,
    “Where you stumble and fall,
    there lies the gold.”

    And we’ve all heard the axiom,
    “It’s always darkest just before dawn.”

    All that we try that doesn’t work
    is cleaning the windows of perception.
    “Not this, not this, not this…
    is all important knowledge
    on the way to knowing “This is IT!”

    It is all preparation.
    Nothing is wasted on the path to realization.
    We hurry up awakening
    by doing everything with our eyes as open
    to what’s what as they can be.

    We can only see what we see,
    but we can be conscious of looking,
    and ask the questions that beg to be asked
    about everything in each situation as it arises–
    and say everything that needs to be said,
    trusting the “click” to happen
    in its own time.

  70. 10/17/2020  —  Sourwood 02 10/09/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Joseph Campbell,
    speaking about his college days
    on the tract team at Columbia,
    “I lost two races that were very important to me
    because I lost the still place.
    The race meant so much
    that I put myself out there
    to win the race
    instead of to run the race,
    and the whole thing got thrown off.”

    When we lose the still place,
    we lose the rhythm,
    the dance,
    the balance and harmony
    of ourselves in this moment in time,
    where we act out of the stillness,
    sincerely and spontaneously
    offering what is needed
    without thought of gain or loss,
    without thinking anything,
    just being in the moment,
    free to be who we were being called to be
    by the time and place of our living.

    We lose that by trying to force a win,
    by pushing our agenda,
    by living from a motive of profit
    and the desire to win.
    That is to be out of accord with the Tao,
    and it all goes south like that
    (Snaps fingers).

    We are here simply to run the race,
    to live from the still place,
    and offer what is called for
    in each situation as it arises.

    We are here to attend the moment.
    To see what’s what,
    and know what is happening
    and what is needed,
    and how we can help with that
    out of the gifts/genius/daemon/character/talents
    we have to offer–
    remembering Lao Tzu’s advice,
    “Do your work and step back,
    and let nature take its course.”

    That’s all it takes,
    but it takes it day in and day out.
    We are in it for the long haul.
    The Hero’s Journey never ends.

    Get your game face on
    and don’t take it off.

  71. 10/18/2020  —  The Atman 04 – From my Symbols of Transformation Collection

    The Atman is a Hindu term for our essential Self,
    for the essence of who we are,
    for the divine being at the heart of all living things.

    If we were talking,
    I would want to know about your life–
    about the life you are living,
    and about the life that is yours to live–
    about what you do for a living,
    and about what you live to do.

    That is the dynamic
    within which we work out who we are.

    Working out who we are consumes our life.
    By the time we figure out the basics–
    if we do–
    most of the time for living has been used up.

    No one tells us early on
    what the deal is.
    Because no one knows
    what the deal is.

    Pleasing God and getting to heaven
    gets all the attention,
    or did through my growing up years,
    not that I’m not still growing up,
    but I could have spent my time in better ways
    with better guidance
    about how to spend my time.

    When I was sixteen/seventeen,
    I wanted a typewriter for Christmas.
    Where did that come from?
    When I was eighteen/nineteen,
    I had an epiphany upon seeing
    a 35mm single reflex camera
    sitting on a table.
    What was that about?
    I could have used some pointers.

    Carl Jung’s autobiography is entitled,
    “Memories, Dreams and Reflections,”
    mine would be,
    “The Tao, The Atman and The Silence.”

    I lived blindfolded looking for the Piñata,
    with nothing to go on.
    It takes a while.
    But, the Tao, the Atman and the Silence,
    do not go away,
    do not give up,
    but hang around like gravity
    doing their thing,
    and here we all are.

    And if we were talking,
    I would ask you about your life,
    about what brings you to life,
    about where your fascination is found,
    about where your enthusiasm comes from
    and where your hunger leads you.

    And we could talk long into the night.

  72. 10/18/2020  —  Pelicans in Flight 11/02/2008 — Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

    No one gets anywhere
    without changing their mind
    about what is important.

    Changing our mind about what is important
    is the essence of the Hero’s Journey,
    the Spiritual Quest
    and Growing Up.

    And it isn’t enough to just change our mind.
    We have to be right about it.
    About what is important.

    That is the only thing worth knowing.
    And serving with our life.

    No one can tell us what is important–
    well, they can, but we can’t hear them
    until we discover for ourselves
    what they are talking about.
    Their words have to “click” with something within us,
    something that knows the truth
    of what they are saying,
    in a, “So, that’s it!” kind of way.

    We have to live ourselves into
    knowing what’s important
    when it is pointed out to us.
    And it all starts with the realization
    that “This isn’t it.”

  73. 10/18/2020  —  Sumac 03 10/09/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    It helps to believe in what we are doing–
    in something we are doing.

    Joseph Campbell believed that
    “devotion to one’s own inner work
    is the beam that keeps us on the path”
    (Phil Cousineau).

    We cannot live as tourists
    looking for something to like
    and finding things to not like.
    We have to be living out of our own core,
    and doing the things that serve
    that central thing that we are,
    while we also are making ends meet
    however we can.

    It helps if our job can be somewhat kin
    to our calling,
    to the things that “electrifies
    and enlivens our hearts and wakes us”
    (Joseph Campbell).

    And we have to always be mindful
    of walking on two paths at the same time,
    integrating consciously
    (and regularly)
    the opposites,
    balancing the responsibilities,
    dancing with the contradictions,
    and working things out.

    But the main thing is to have a main thing.
    Something we love with all our heart.
    Something we must do with our life,
    something that we build a life around,
    that we coalesce around,
    orbit around,
    that serves us as our anchor point,
    our center point,
    our still point
    in the turning world.

    Something that we would bear
    all manner of burdens to do
    in serving with all that is within us.

    We have to know what keeps us going,
    to know that we will go through anything
    to be able to do.

    If we have that,
    nothing can touch us.
    In light of that,
    we can say, “Yea!” to life just as it is,
    because having found the gold,
    nothing can take that from us,
    and we have nothing to fear from the clashing rocks
    or the heaving waves of the wine dark sea.

  74. 10/19/2020  —  Adventure Road 04 10/07/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Shamanism, you could look this up,
    is the world’s oldest religion
    starting up between 10,000 and 5,000 BCE.
    Hinduism and Taoism come in next
    from about 5,000 to 2,500 BCE.

    From at least 2,500 BCE
    Taoism is documented as saying
    “It all comes down to doing the right thing in the right way”
    (or words to that effect).

    We have known what it takes–
    all that it takes for 4,500 years!
    And this is the best we can do
    (Looking around, palms up, disgusted expression).

    It is only about doing the right thing in the right way
    in each situation as it arises!
    This is not beyond any of us!

    It’s like litter.
    It is a problem that is completely up to us
    and totally doable.

    About 500 BCE,
    Lao Tzu grew disenchanted
    and walked off into the woods
    to live out his days in the company
    of the birds and animals.

    It hasn’t gotten better in 2,520 years.
    I don’t know why.

  75. 10/19/2020  —  The Atman 03 — From my Symbols of Transformation collection

    Four statements say it all:
    Promote the General Welfare,
    Provide the Common Defense,
    Insure Domestic Tranquility,
    Preserve, protect and defend…
    against All Enemies Foreign and Domestic.

    These are not only in the Constitution,
    but are either stated or implied
    in all the oaths of office
    taken by people holding office
    as US Government officials.

    These four statements provide the foundational
    Constitutional authority
    for declaring every act of the US Government
    from its inception
    that violates any of the four
    to be unconstitutional
    and therefore illegal.

    Making the forthcoming appointment
    to the Supreme Court
    unconstitutional and illegal.

    Making canceling the Voting Rights Act
    unconstitutional and illegal.

    Making Citizens United
    unconstitutional and illegal.


    Making lobbyists
    unconstitutional and illegal.


    Making all of Trump’s executive orders
    and all of Congress’ actions
    that violate any of the four statements
    unconstitutional and illegal.


    Everything the US Government does
    has to meet the standards
    set forth by the four statements.

    Environmental protection
    is guaranteed by the four statements.

    Individual human rights
    are guaranteed by the four statements
    (And where abortion is concerned,
    life begins at birth with the first breath,
    and has been held to be so
    since the beginning of time,
    so we celebrate birth days
    and not conception days).

    Health care, etc
    are guaranteed by the four statements.


    These four statements provide
    all the grounds needed
    to oppose and invalidate
    all US Governmental acts
    that violate any of the four.

    The Atman has been recognized
    from the beginning of human history
    as the Essential Self,
    the True Nature,
    the Original Nature,
    Universally across all time and space
    of every living thing,
    and is violated,
    and destroyed
    when any of these four statements
    are so treated.

    Therefore, not only the Constitution,
    but also the very essence of life,
    are done grave damage
    by the flippant disregard
    of the sacred foundation
    constituting our life together
    as citizens of the United States of America.

    And we are called forth
    to resist,
    and repel
    all attacks upon us
    and our holy bond
    with all living things,
    now and forever.

  76. 10/19/2020  —  Peyto Lake In the Snow 09/20/2004 — Banff National Park, Alberta

    The future is fluid,
    capable of being shaped
    and molded.
    We create it in every moment
    by the way we respond to
    what is happening
    and to what is being called for.

    We bring the future on ourselves
    by the way we live,
    by the choices we make,
    in each situation as it arises.

    We influence,
    create the next situation,
    and all those following it,
    by the way we act in this situation.

    The present moment is a fulcrum,
    and we lever the future into place
    one moment at a time.

    In every moment we make choices
    that form the matrix
    for all the choices we will be able to make
    in all future moments.

    Here is the organizing idea for ordering
    your response to every choice you are offered
    in all of your moments yet to be:

    Ask of what is before you,
    “What is the life-quotient for me
    and/or others in the options before me?

    What is the level of vitality,
    joy and delight
    in each of them?

    What is their degree of radiance,

    Go with what has life for you/others.
    And if it comes down to a choice
    between you and others,
    be clear about the sacrifice
    you are being asked to make,
    and choose carefully.

    Sometimes it will be you that is sacrificed
    for the sake of others,
    and sometimes it will be others
    that are sacrificed
    for the sake of you.

    Do not hesitate to choose in your favor!
    Just be clear of the choice you are making.
    Sometimes you will “die” either way,
    just “die” in the service of life every time!

  77. 10/19/2020  —  Sourwood 03 10/09/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Allowing our life to take its own shape
    around our interests
    and our involvement with things that evoke
    our vitality, zeal and enthusiasm
    is a track different
    from going where the money is–
    and we have to make a decision
    at some point
    about what is going t0 be the central concern
    that directs our choices
    and rules our life.

    We can have a “cookie cutter life,”
    with the shape being determined
    by our social group,
    or by the group we would like to be our social group,
    and we do all the things
    members of our group do,
    going the same movies,
    eating at the same restaurants,
    watching the same TV shows,
    living the same life.

    And we can live “a life apart,”
    in the sense of not minding
    that we are on the outside
    of all social circles,
    letting our direction in life
    be determined by the things we like to do
    regardless of whether anyone else cares
    that they exist.

    What guides our boat on its path through the sea?
    What kind of boat are we riding in?
    Whose idea is it that this is the boat we ought to be riding in?
    What gives us our sense of direction?
    Our idea about what is good and what is not?
    Who are we living to please?
    What do we need to be happy with the life we are living?
    What kind of life do we need to be living
    in order to be pleased with how things are?

    The idea that “this boat won’t take us there,”
    gives us some sense of how our life needs to change
    to get us “there”
    if “there” is some place we would like to be.

    Or, if we like “this boat” so much
    that wherever it takes us is perfectly fine with us.

    Living the life that fits our idea of how life should be,
    and what needs to change to have a better fit–
    the life we are living,
    or idea of how life should be–
    gives us something to consider
    as we work to blend happiness with our life
    and how we are living it.

    What is important?
    How do we decide?
    How do we know when we are right
    and when we are wrong?

  78. 10/20/2020  —  Maple Leaves 09/27/2014 — Cooperstown, New York

    Lao Tzu may as well have been a contemporary
    of Genghis Khan,
    may as well have been his neighbor,
    or his brother.

    Mao tse Tung was well-versed in the Tao te Ching,
    and knew about the Buddha and Zen.

    What does the Tao have to say
    Genghis Khan and Mao tse Tung can hear?

    This is Yin/Yang come to life in our lives.

    The ascendance of the masculine
    over the feminine
    begin with the advance of the hunter/warrior
    who demanded immediate results now
    and came to the fore
    by stomping out the compassion
    and the patience of the planter/harvester
    in order to force their way upon the world.

    The warrior’s way of doing things
    was given philosophical/theological assist
    by Zarathustra in Persia
    and his separation of reality
    into Darkness and Light,
    Right and Wrong,
    Good and Evil–
    and giving impetus and permission
    to the warrior impulse to destroy
    what they did not like
    and call their actions good.

    The Tao is a different way of doing things.
    Jesus expressed his Taoist heart
    with his “seed in the earth,”
    “yeast in the dough,”
    “light on a hill,”
    and his model of dying
    instead of killing,
    and his call to “Do it like I’m doing it!”
    “No one comes to the Father but by me!”
    “By doing it like I am doing it!”

    But the world has a better/quicker/faster way:
    “Kill the Infidel!”
    (With “the Infidel” being everyone
    who doesn’t do it the way the world wants it done.

    When Lao Tzu,
    and the Buddha
    and Jesus
    come up against Genghis Khan and Mao tse Tung
    and the United States Calvary riding over the hill,
    it is going to be over like that (Snaps fingers).

    And here we are.
    “Right forever on the scaffold,
    Wrong forever on the throne.”
    What’s a body to do?
    What chance does the Tao have?

    This is the eternal duality/dichotomy/contradiction.

    The Buddha would say,
    “When you meet an elephant coming toward you
    along the path,
    get off the path!”

    Zen would say,
    “The law of the fishes states:
    The big fish eat the little fish
    and the little fish have to hide.”

    Jesus would say,
    “You have heard it said,
    ‘An eye for an eye!
    A tooth for a tooth!
    But I say unto you:
    Do not resist evil,
    and if someone were to strike
    you on your right cheek,
    turn to him the other also.
    And if anyone would sue you
    for your coat,
    give him your cloak as well.
    And whoever forces you to
    go a mile,
    go with him two miles.”

    The Dalai Lama left Tibet
    when the Chinese army invaded.
    And the Dalai Lama’s bodyguards
    carry automatic weapons.

    What we do about Genghis Khan
    and Mao tse Tung
    in their present manifestations
    is up to us
    with the tools of imagination,
    and surrender
    at our disposal–
    doing what is called for
    by the situation at hand
    in each situation as it arises.

    We live in a Yin/Yang world,
    and must bear the pain
    living on the interface,
    on the borderline,
    between irreconcilable polarities,
    carrying in our body
    the agony of this eternal cross,
    dying again and again
    to rise from the dead again and again,
    to die again,
    to rise from the dead again,
    to die again,
    to rise again…

    For as long as time shall last.

    Ours is the Sisyphean task
    of doing what needs to be doing
    in each situation as it arises,
    to do it again in the next situation
    all our life long.

    And what redeems this pattern
    of being stuck between Yin and Yang
    all our life long
    is the attitude we take in regard to the task,
    the spirit with which we go about our business
    of living out our life
    in a Yin/Yang world.

  79. 10/20/2020  —  Sourwood 06 10/09/2020 — 22-AcreWoods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Our perspective is all we have to work with.

    The journey we keep talking about–
    the Hero’s Journey,
    the Spiritual Journey–
    comes down to growing up,
    and growing up consists of
    changing our mind about what’s important
    again and again and again
    over the full course of our life.

    Changing how we see things
    makes all the difference
    in enabling us to deal with things
    and do what needs to be done about things.

    My most powerful personal experience
    in how changing the way we see things
    changes things
    came in Ferriday, Louisiana in 1973.

    Ferriday is in Concordia Parish,
    and Concordia Parish is surrounded by water,
    bounded by the Tensas River,
    the Red River,
    the Black River
    and the Mississippi River.

    1973 was the year of the 100-year flood.
    The Mississippi River was threatening
    to top the restraining levy,
    and causing the other rivers to back up
    and threaten the levies holding them in place.

    The Morganza Spillway is on the Mississippi River
    at the southeastern edge of the Parish,
    put in place to prevent the Missisippi
    from diverting course into the Achafalaya River Basin.

    The citizens in Concordia Parish were as one
    in beseeching the US Army Corps of Engineers
    to open the Morganza Spillway
    allowing water from the Mississippi to flow
    into the Achafalaya and reduce the pressure
    on the protective levies surrounding the Parish.

    The Corps of Engineers sent a spokesperson
    to address the issue at a public gathering.
    He said, “You are thinking of the river as a bathtub,
    and if you open the drain you will empty the tub.”
    Heads nodded as one throughout the crowd.
    “You have to see the river as a garden hose,
    and no matter how many holes you poke in the hose
    below a certain point,
    the hose above that point is going to remain
    full of water.”

    A gasp went up from the crowd.
    The anger left the room.
    And people began in that moment
    to come to terms with the truth of their situation.

    Coming to terms with the truth of our situation
    is all that is ever required of us
    in each situation as it arises.

    Changing how we see things
    to enable ourselves to see things as they are
    is the sine qua non of being able
    to respond to our circumstances
    in ways that are called for
    in each situation as it arises
    all our life long.

    We change the way we see
    by changing the metaphors we use
    to describe the circumstances we face.
    Changing our base metaphor
    changes everything.

  80. 10/20/2020  —  22-Acre Woods o9 10/20/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    We all are the same,
    and we all are different.

    Why can’t we take that on faith,
    and live as though it is so?

    We take the craziest things on faith.
    “There is no such thing as global warming!”
    Why take that on faith?

    “COVID-19 is a hoax!”
    Why take that on faith?

    “If you don’t believe in Jesus
    and toe the line,
    you’re going to hell!”
    Why take that on faith?

    Why don’t we take things on faith
    that believing them to be so
    makes an actual, tangible, difference for good
    in our life?
    In our own, personal, life?

    Why take things on faith
    that are going to make life difficult
    for other people?
    Why believe some people are inherently
    better than other people?
    More deserving?
    Less deserving?

    Why not believe that we are all different,
    and we are all the same?
    And grant everybody the benefit of the doubt
    for being different,
    and treat everybody like we would want
    to be treated
    for being the same?

  81. 10/21/2020  —  Around Bass Lake 07 10/13/2014 — Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina

    What comes packed in our DNA?
    How did it get there?

    I talk a lot about our Original Nature.
    What is constant in everyone’s DNA,
    and what is inherited from our parents,
    unique to us alone among all people on earth for ever?
    How did it get there?
    How often do new things get there?
    What is the process of transmission?

    How do innate releasing mechanisms
    get into our DNA?
    Can new ones ever come along?
    When in the history of our DNA
    did they first occur?
    How does “experience” become “inherited”?

    Does the idea of God
    predate the experience of God?
    Where do ideas come from?
    Can we experience anything
    that is not “expected” by our DNA?
    What can we not experience?
    Why not?

    We are born into a culture
    of assumptions and expectations.
    How could we ever know
    that a response to our environment
    is inherited via DNA
    or originates in the sea of cultural
    assumptions and expectations
    that immerses us at birth?

    It feels (to me) as though
    the Tao and the Atman
    are explanations/grounds of experience,
    but experience could just as easily
    be based on the cultural
    expectations and assumptions
    of Tao and Atman.

    Experience is created by expectation
    and explanation.
    That is the foundation of superstition,
    black magic,
    and religion.
    If we take anything on faith
    it is instant and everlasting
    that whatever we take on faith
    becomes an irrefutable fact
    like that (snaps fingers).

    We are susceptible to suggestion,
    and cannot separate
    culturally created expectation
    from personally experienced reality.

    How objective can even science be?
    Isn’t that the very ground of the
    “hypothesis not fact” presumption
    that serves as the basis of all scientific endeavor?
    We have to constantly check our own observations
    because we cannot trust ourselves to see what is there
    and not what we expect to be there?

    How do our expectations have us where we are?
    How can we free ourselves from our presumptions,
    and expectations
    in order to see reality
    separate from our presumptions,
    and expectations?

    How do we know we aren’t just making up
    everything we think we know to be so?

    Truth and illusion are separated by what?
    “The edge of the coin”?
    (Ortega y Gasset)

  82. 10/21/2020  —  Sourwood 07 10/08/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    There are eight tools
    for getting us through anything/everything,
    and for getting us in the center of the sweet spot
    of where we need to be
    in every time and place of our living.

    They are:

    1) Compassion –for ourselves,
    and for one another
    (that would be for all others)–
    and for our circumstances/situation in life.

    It begins with compassion
    and flows from compassion,
    and depends upon compassion.

    Compassion is unconditional
    and equally applicable to all things
    any time.

    It is the ground of our existence.
    If we do it without compassion,
    it won’t be worth doing.

    If you are going to practice anything,
    practice compassion–
    for everything
    throughout your day
    all day long.

    2) Awareness takes everything into account,
    contains everything,
    considers everything,
    with compassion (of course),
    and without judgment,
    or expectation.

    All things are just as they are,
    “Thus Come,”
    “right out of the box.”

    Awareness receives everything
    in a “This is the way things are,
    and this is what can be done about it,
    and that’s that”
    kind of way.

    Awareness is without emotional attachment
    or reactivity.

    Awareness is the operational attitude
    of emergency room personnel,
    or emergency medical technicians,
    triaging a situation
    and responding to it
    in ways appropriate to the occasion
    in each situation as it arises.

    Awareness is the primary
    and absolutely essential attitude
    for sizing things up
    and dealing with them
    as they need to be dealt with,
    one after another,
    all our life long.

    3) Acceptance greets everything
    with Rumi’s warm welcome
    expressed so well in his poem, “The Guest House”

    Everything is exactly what we need
    to grow up some more again.
    And growing up some more again
    is “what it’s all about.”

    Growing up some more again
    is the essence of the Hero’s Journey,
    and the Spiritual Journey,
    and every other journey there is or may ever be.

    We are never Grown Up.
    We are always growing up.
    showing ourselves who we are
    and what we are made of.

    There is more to us than meets the eye–
    any eye,
    especially our own eye!
    And our life is exquisitely designed
    to provide us with the experiences necessary
    to bring us forth,
    who we are
    in each time and place
    (here and now)
    of our living.

    So, greet the day,
    and make it welcome!

    4) Silence is the sine qua non for
    Original Nature,
    and living centered
    in the sweet spot of who we are
    and what is ours to do.

    Everything flows from Silence!
    Imagination and creativity
    are grounded in Silence!
    All that we as a species
    have ever produced
    came right out of Silence!

    Meeting what meets us in Silence
    is the necessary ordeal
    for meeting what meets us
    in the world
    of ordinary, apparent, reality.

    The Silence is practice
    for the Noise of the 10,000 things,
    for the Dust of the World.

    As we learn to appreciate,
    yearn for,
    relish Silence,
    we prepare ourselves for all that waits
    in the situations and circumstances
    of our daily life.

    Silence is the source of all that we need
    to find what we need
    to do what needs to be done
    and what needs us to do it
    in each situation as it arises forever.

    We cannot be anything worth being
    until we can be quiet.

    On a regular basis
    throughout the time left for living.

    5) Perspective is how we see
    what we look at.

    How we see determines what we see
    when we look at what we look at.

    How we see is conditioned/controlled
    by the 10,000 things.
    The way we see things
    is determined by where we have been
    and what has happened to us
    from birth to here and now.

    We all are at the mercy
    of the way we see things.
    Programming the way things are seen
    is the aim of all propaganda,
    and everything that has come to us
    about how to see what we look at
    is a form of cultural propaganda–
    stemming from the people we hang out with,
    socialize with,
    associate with,
    that form our culture-within-the-culture.

    When the way we see things changes,
    the people we spend time with is likely to change.
    And if we change the people we spend time with,
    we are likely to change the way we see things.

    All of which is a result of awareness,
    particularly as it relates to #6 below.

    6) Self-transparency is seeing ourselves seeing.
    Seeing ourselves thinking.

    We do not move,
    until we see ourselves moving–
    until we know what we would
    go to hell for–
    until we know where we stand
    and what we stand for,
    “Without hope,
    without witness,
    without reward”
    (Steven Moffat, Doctor Who).

    Self-transparency is not kidding ourselves,
    but knowing ourselves as we are,
    “just so,”
    “Thus Come.”
    With the kind of compassionate
    and acceptance described above.

    This kind of knowledge
    of our essential selves,
    lends itself to a budding knowledge
    of our Self–
    The Atman within–
    and positions us to live
    aligned with ourselves,
    with our Self,
    and in accord with the Tao.

    7) Sincerity (Non-contrivance) is the basic
    requirement of self-expression.
    We live to be who we are–
    for no reason other than being who we are.

    We do not live to get anything out of it
    beyond the experience of being fully alive
    by being who we are in the moment of our living
    in each situation as it arises.

    When we meet the moment
    and respond to it
    by offering/doing what is called for there
    as only we can,
    with the gifts/daemon/genius/virtue/character/grace
    that are peculiarly ours to offer,
    we have done all that anyone can do,
    and that is being as alive to the moment as possible.

    8) Spontaneity is acting without contrivance,
    without agenda,
    without motive,
    without plans,
    or schemes,
    or strategies,
    or intentions,
    or purposes,
    or ideas,
    but simply rising to every occasion
    by offering what is called for,
    and letting that be that.

    Live in the service of these eight tools for living,
    and you will be
    where everyone has been searching for
    from the beginning of the species,
    and, maybe, before.

  83. 10/21/2020  —  Sourwood Leaves 02 10/21/2020 — 22-Acre W00ds, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    There are the Who, What, When, Where, How questions
    to be answered.
    The Tao and the Atman team up
    for the them all,
    with The Atman being
    the essential Self/Soul/Essence/Being
    (the Who)
    within all living things,
    and the Tao being
    the Right way (How) to do What needs doing,
    and When to do it.
    And Where is always here and now.

    Throwing or lot in
    with the Tao and the Atman,
    leaves us with only having to
    develop our relationship
    with both
    in order to follow the flow
    of life from beginning to in.

    The only catch is
    that we have to play our part
    as it needs to be played
    and get out of the way
    in each situation as it arises.

    It means sincerely being devoted
    to serving the true good of the whole,
    with no contrivance
    and no interest in the outcome.
    We just do what is ours to do,
    with nothing to gain or lose,
    and it all works out just peachy
    for all concerned.

    We have everything we need
    to do what is called for
    in all conditions and circumstances
    of life.

    What could be wrong with this plan?

  84. 10/21/2020  —  22-Acre Woods 02 10/15/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Happiness is a natural by-product
    of doing the things that make
    our little heart sing
    and our little toes dance.

    Having our heart in what we are doing
    is all there is to it.

    How hard could that be?

    When is the last time your heart was in
    what you were doing?

    Why did you stop?

    What are the blocks,
    the stops,
    the barriers
    preventing us from living
    with our heart in what we are doing?

    Conduct an inquiry.
    Get to the bottom of it.
    Why are we not living
    with our heart in what we are doing?
    What would have to happen
    in order to be able to live that way?

    What does our heart want
    that we aren’t giving it?

    Why are we holding out
    on our own heart?

    Whose side are we on?

  85. 10/22/2020  —  Lows Lake Panorama 09/29/2014 — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, New York

    We have time on our hands.
    We are bored,
    looking for a good time to pass
    the time with,
    and this isn’t it.
    That is the human condition.

    Marianne Moore said,
    “The cure for loneliness is solitude.”
    The very idea is off-putting.
    The cure for loneliness is a party!

    But until we meet what meets us
    in the silence,
    we are a broken record
    (That’s a metaphor that has
    outlived its usefulness),
    “going nowhere fast.”

    We don’t want to hear it.
    Our fingers are in our ears.
    We are going “Nah, nah, nah…”

    Growing up is the province
    of realization and acquiescence.
    It is trumped by denial
    and anything that will take our mind
    off our problems.

    Anything that will keep us from meeting
    what meets us in the silence.

    And here we are.
    Waiting for some shift
    in our modus operandi.

    Nothing can change
    until something changes.
    But the silence is always there.

  86. 10/22/2020  —  22-Acre Woods 04 10/15/2020 — Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    Jesus had no impact upon
    the political realities of his day.
    Neither did the Buddha.

    Politics is the arena
    of “What’s in it for me
    and my people.”
    Of “How can I get the most
    while giving up the least?”

    Jesus and the Buddha were interested
    in creating and maintaining
    an environment in which
    individuals were enabled/allowed
    to incarnate
    their full potential for self-realization
    and self-expression,
    while assisting and encouraging–
    not limiting or restricting–
    their neighbors’ self-development.

    Their approaches were based
    upon good faith,
    and non-contrivance–
    upon people being true to themselves,
    aligned with their Original Nature,
    and living in accord with the Tao
    within the dynamic of opposites
    constantly at work in the world.

    A fluid state of being
    which requires negotiation and compromise
    on the part of all concerned–
    has no chance of being realized
    in a world where power and control
    are in command,
    where domination rules,
    and a shaky status-quo
    is the best that can be hoped for.

    Disciples of Jesus and the Buddha
    and the servants of Tao
    are left with walking two paths at the same time–
    realizing what’s what
    and working within the givens
    that govern their lives
    in living aligned with their Best Self
    (The Atman within),
    and enabling others to do the same
    to the fullest extent possible
    over the entire course of their lives.

  87. 10/22/2020  —  Wintergreen 01 10/21/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    The most important thing
    is to be right about what’s important,
    and do it
    when it needs to be done,
    the way it needs to be done,
    for as long as it needs to be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    with sincerity
    and spontaneity,
    without contrivance,
    or opinion,
    for as long as we live.

    No one could do better than that.

  88. 10/23/2020  —  Along NY Highway 30 06 09/29/2014 — Tupper Lake, New York

    The Tao is not good for the economy.
    The Tao is as counter-cultural as it gets.
    The same can be said for any spiritual practice.
    The aims and activities of spiritual practice
    are contrary to those of the culture–
    any culture–
    even the culture that is created
    by the spiritual practice!
    The more the spiritual practice
    promotes itself,
    the less self-aware,
    it becomes
    (Which makes AA unique in the field,
    with its “attraction not promotion” slogan),
    and self-transparency is the sine qua non
    of spirituality,
    and the essence of counter-culture-ism.

    Seeing what we are doing
    transforms what we are doing.
    The culture–any culture–is unconscious
    to the core
    (Commercial advertisement depends upon
    its “marks” being unconscious of the truth
    being concealed by the hype they are hearing,
    and religions that are self-promoting,
    don’t allow questions they can’t answer).

    Taoism stands apart here,
    with it’s,
    “The Tao that can be said
    is not the eternal Tao,”
    “The Path that can be discerned
    as a path
    is not a reliable path,”
    “Darkness within darkness,
    the gateway to understanding.”

    That kind of language is no way
    to make converts!

    A self-transparent spiritual practice
    sets up an immediate barrier
    to cultural absorption,
    and distances itself automatically,
    from the ends and means of the culture.

    The more a practice embraces and serves
    those ends and means,
    the less spiritual it is.

    The more we live out of our own heart,
    grounded upon the source of our Original Nature,
    and in tune with the drift of our soul,
    the more we will distance ourselves
    from the cultural practices
    and assumptions
    at work in life around us.

    There will be a natural separation,
    an “in the world but not of the world”
    ambiance will surround us,
    without any rules or guidelines
    or effort being extended
    to set us apart.

    The ends are not the same ends.
    The means are not the same means.
    The way is not the same way.

  89. 10/23/2020  —  Little River at the Sinks 11/04/2006 Watercolor Rendering — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Wealth, power and privilege seem to have it all,
    until we see how it interferes with
    seeing what needs to happen
    in each situation as it arises,
    and doing it with the gifts at our disposal.

    Buying it done won’t do it,
    when our destiny is calling us
    to step forward
    and rock the baby,
    or clean up after the dog.

    We spit on destiny
    on our way to call someone
    to do it for us,
    whatever the “it” is
    that is ours to do.

    Money is a way of skirting
    our responsibilities,
    enabling us to devote ourselves exclusively
    to making more money.

    Our destiny knows Karma’s first name,
    and has her phone number.

    And the distance between where we are
    and understanding
    what is ours to do
    and doing it
    is called The Hero’s Journey.
    It is also called Growing Up.

    We think with enough money
    we won’t have to bother with it.
    With growing up.
    And having money is better
    than being a hero.
    Buy them all a round or two.
    They will love you just as much.

    Lost in all of this
    is the life that is ours to live.
    The destiny that is ours to serve.
    The emptiness that is ours
    to try and outlive.

    The truth is that money is meaningless
    except as a means
    to buy the tools we need
    to do what is ours to do.

    We learn that lesson a bit late in the game
    to do much more than regret what we missed
    in our effort to make up for lost time
    before we die.

    If we learn it at all.

  90. 10/24/2020  —  Bog River Falls 09/29/2014 Watercolor Rendering — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, New York

    One of the primary, recurring, experiences
    of humanity is that of
    Betrayal – Death – Resurrection.
    We are born to be betrayed,
    to die,
    and to be born again.

    We are all one with Jesus,
    and repeat his experience
    throughout our life,
    learning, one would hope,
    as we go,
    so that Resurrection
    increasingly means New Life
    that takes the Old Life
    into account,
    knows what is coming,
    and is ready for it
    in the way of not taking it seriously,
    and building a life around it
    that is replete with good humor,
    and all of the values
    that are called forth
    to meet the reality
    of the human experience.

    Meeting the reality of the human experience
    in ways that deepen, broaden,
    lengthen, heighten, enhance
    that experience,
    and make it truly,
    unbelievably wonderful–
    “an awe inspiring mystery,”
    worthy of our fullest possible participation
    “in the sorrows of the world,”
    is the story of religion
    in the best and truest sense of the word.

    Religion (and it’s precursor, mythology)
    help–enable us–to meet the world
    on the world’s terms,
    providing us with the metaphors
    (“Betrayal, Death and Resurrection”)
    to make sense of it
    and initiate us into it,
    telling us,
    in the words of the Native Americans,
    sending their children off
    to seek their fortune,
    “When you live in the service
    of your vision,
    the birds of the air will shit on you–
    do not stop even to wipe it off!”
    And,”When you leave in the service
    of your vision,
    you will come to what appears
    to be a great chasm.
    It is not as great as it seems.”
    (Both stories related by Joseph Campbell)

    We all need help squaring ourselves up
    with the realities of our life.
    Good religion is metaphor/mythology
    that has not been concrete-ized,
    made literal/historical
    as Christianity has done
    with the Christ myth.

    We are all, each one of us is, the Christ
    finding our way to the self-realization
    of our calling.
    We are all The Anointed One
    come to wake each other up
    to the truth of our destiny:
    Being awake to the wonder
    of meeting life head-on!
    To the wonder of being alive!
    Being awake to the joy
    of perceiving the world as a portkey
    to wonder, awe, fascination
    and mystery beyond words!
    Dying figuratively in the process
    of realization and of life,
    so that by the time our dying
    becomes literal,
    we are ready to Jump the Chasm,
    knowing it is not as great as it seems.

  91. 10/24/2020  —  Trekker Loop 01 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Fort Mill, South Carolina, Adventure Road Access

    What does it for me are

    I just want to know what’s what
    and what needs to be done about it
    and what makes me think so
    and who says so
    and what makes them think so
    and what does being right about something mean
    and how long does it take before being right
    becomes wrong
    and how knowing leads to doing
    and how doing leads to knowing more
    and knowing more leads to doing differently,
    and how far have we come actually
    from living in the caves
    and in the jungles
    thinking fire was the coolest thing?

    We’re playing the game as though it matters,
    and what matters is playing the game
    as if it matters,
    because that keeps the game going,
    and that’s better than not playing the game,
    because that just leads to a quick death,
    or to being dead a long time before we die,
    and the game is fun when played knowing
    we are playing the game of playing the game
    as though it matters
    because it matters that we don’t die
    before our time
    because it is a game we play through time,
    and everybody who has ever lived,
    or ever will lived,
    has played/will play the game,
    because the game is all there is.

    Here we are.
    What are we doing here?
    Now what?
    We all ask the same questions.
    We all come up with the same answers.
    Joseph Campbell said, “It’s all the same mythology!”
    It’s all the same game!
    “Working on mysteries without any clues”
    (Bob Seger).

    Everybody thinks they have the formula,
    the angle,
    the recipe,
    the plan.
    They are all playing the game,
    being played by the game.
    Gaming the game is being gamed by the game.
    It’s a game.
    How can we play it,
    knowing we are playing it,
    and play it really well?

    “It’s not whether we win or lose,
    but how we play the game”
    (Grantland Rice).
    We are not going anywhere,
    we are not getting anything,
    we are playing at playing the game
    of seeing/hearing,

    Waking up and being here, now.
    Doing what needs to be done here, now.
    The way it needs to be done.
    In each situation as it arises.
    All our life long.

    That’s all there is to it.

    “Get in there and do your thing!
    and don’t worry about the outcome!”
    (Joseph Campbell’s summation
    of the Bhagavad Gita).

    Don’t even keep score.
    Just play your heart out.
    And when it’s done,
    let it go.

  92. 10/24/2020  —  Tickseed Sunflowers 10/08/2020 02 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina

    We’ve been on the wrong track for so long
    we will never get the light turned around
    as a culture.
    Only as individuals do we have a chance
    of making the switch.

    The switch I’m talking about
    is the one Joseph Campbell preached
    his entire life:
    Symbols and metaphors are not facts.

    Symbols and metaphors do not refer
    to things Out There,
    but to things In Here.

    The betrayal, death and resurrection
    of Jesus is symbolic/metaphorical
    of our own personal experiences
    with betrayal, death and resurrection.

    To say, “The cup of suffering
    is the cup of salvation.
    The bread of affliction
    is the bread of life,”
    is to invite us to explore in our own life
    places where suffering was the door to salvation,
    where affliction was the threshold to life.

    The question is always and forever,
    “Where have you experienced the truth
    of this symbol/metaphor
    in your own life?”

    That is the ground of true religion–
    religion without theology/dogma/doctrine/creeds/catechisms
    but with the ever-present experience
    of life’s impact on us
    and our path for dealing with it.

    The place of true religion
    is providing us with a perspective
    for finding our way
    to the life that is ours to live
    and living it with joy
    as full participants in “the sufferings of the world.”

    Symbols and metaphors point us to ourselves!
    We use symbols and metaphors as guides us,
    as Campbell might say,
    “To what electrifies
    and enlightens your own hearts,
    and wakes you up
    to the work that is yours to do,
    and the life that is yours to live!”

    Symbols and metaphors do this for us
    when we approach them as portkeys
    into the Mystery from which we come
    and into which we return,
    ask of them,
    “What can you show me about life
    and how to live it?”

    “Ah,” say the symbols and metaphors,
    “I’m so glad you asked!”
    And the light comes on.
    And lights our way through the darkness
    of “working on mysteries without any clues.”
    (Bob Seger).

    The symbols and metaphors are the clues!

  93. 10/24/2020  —  Sumac 05 10/21/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    It takes active participation with–
    intentional identification with–
    the center and ground
    of our original nature,
    our life and being,
    to live in accord with the Tao–
    doing things in the right way,
    at the right time,
    in aligning ourselves with rhythms
    and movement of nature’s energy
    moving through and directing our lives.

    Our bodies are natural extensions
    of the earth,
    as much as trees and streams,
    oceans and whales.

    We are one with the forces of nature,
    and live best when we nourish and nurture
    a faithful presence in the world of nature,
    being with nature in a regular and recurring way.

    And when there,
    we are to listen,
    be aware
    of how our bodies react
    to the allness of our experience.

    We have to consciously “be here now,”
    seeing what we look at,
    hearing what is being “said”
    around us, within us,
    noticing what is happening,
    and what we are “picking up on”
    beyond the range of sight and sound.

    Nature is pure intention
    toward life and being–
    toward realization,
    and expression.

    Nature’s sense of what is
    and what needs to be
    is as true as the turn of the tides
    and the orbits of the stars and planets.

    Our lives are a part of that choreography,
    of that orchestration,
    and go so much better
    when we consciously cooperate
    with that which calls our name
    and knows the time and place
    of our presenting the gifts we carry
    to the need that even now is in the making.

    It only takes listening to our intuition
    and paying attention to our instincts
    to know that it is so.

  94. 10/25/2020  —  Bog Stream Reflections 02 09/29/2014 — Adirondack Park, Tupper Lake, New York

    Jesus said, “Why don’t you judge for yourselves
    what is right?”
    It all comes down to that.

    The Tao is knowing/doing what is right–
    what needs to be done–
    the way it should be done
    in each situation as it arises,
    one situation after another,
    all our life long.

    Jesus was a Taoist.
    He was much more a Taoist
    than he was a Christian.

    It is only knowing and doing what is right
    time after time
    throughout our life.

    No theology,
    no dogma,
    no doctrine,
    no creeds,
    no catechisms–
    just knowing and doing what is right.

    Why don’t we judge for ourselves what is right?

    I’m serious here:
    Why DON’T we???

  95. 10/25/2020  —  Goldenrod 01 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    The culture is a system of denial
    based on entertainment,
    and addiction.

    Money is the most obvious addiction.
    Money isn’t For anything
    but taking our mind off our problems.
    What does thinking about money
    keep us from thinking about?

    None of the things we think about
    have any kind of life about them.
    They do not offer us life,

    They just help us feel better
    about the life we are living.
    The closest we get to life
    is when our team wins the current game,
    or we are sitting on a beach
    drinking beer,
    or partying with people we want to like us.

    We need experiences that will open us up
    to life
    and the wonder of just being alive–
    that will evoke in us
    amazement and fascination
    with the mystery of life and being,
    along with a never-fading memory
    of “This” being “IT!”

    Being stunned into silence
    with what James Joyce called
    “aesthetic arrest”
    is quite different from
    the thrill of victory,
    that we generally think of
    as “peak experiences.”

    We put ourselves on a path to being alive
    with encounters with
    and nature–
    and by finding symbols and metaphors
    which are meaningful to us
    and can provide us with the questions
    that fuel our inner search
    for the source of that meaning.

    Another exercise is that of
    “reclaiming our projections.”
    Whenever we are emotionally ensnared
    by another person–
    either in attraction or repulsion–
    we need to stop/look/listen
    to what just happened.
    What attracted us about the person?
    What repulsed us about the person?
    List all of the characteristics
    we can think of,
    and examine the lists.

    The attractive list contains
    characteristics we admire
    and need to work at bringing forth
    within us.
    We need to “become the other”
    in the sense of living in ways
    that we see the other living out.
    And reflect on the list in a recurring way,
    engaging in a “Meditation on Missing Virtues”
    each time.

    The repulsive list contains
    characteristics we find to be abhorrent,
    and lie concealed in us
    hidden from our conscious awareness
    (“We hate in others
    what we hide in ourselves”).
    So, we need to regularly engage in
    the practice of self-examination,
    becoming transparent to ourselves,
    in finding evidence of our own abhorrence
    in the ways we secretly feel about others,
    or the resentments we harbor,
    or the slights which slip out in word or deed.
    This becomes a “Meditation on Hidden Defects,”
    and opens us to the truth of who we also are,
    providing a different path to self-awareness
    and self-development.

    Seeking life and living it
    is on a different dimension
    from denial/diversion/distraction/escape/addiction,
    and “turns the light around”
    by shifting out attention from things “out there”
    to the things “in here,”
    thereby giving us an entirely new orientation
    and direction for our life.

  96. 10/25/2020  —  Hickory Tree 03 10-24-2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, an iPhone Photo

    There is no place to get to,
    nothing to achieve,
    no destination or end point
    of the process.

    Enlightenment is not a steady state of being.
    There are no steady states of being.
    Whether even death is or is not
    remains to be seen.

    Enlightenment is a process.
    Illumination is the realization
    that enlightenment is a process.
    Meister Eckhart said,
    “The ultimate and highest leave-taking
    is leaving God for God.”

    Even when we find God,
    we have to leave God
    for the God that transcends God!

    God is not a steady state of being!
    There is more to all of us
    than meets the eye!
    There is more to everything
    than meets the eye!
    “The Tao that can be realized
    is not the eternal Tao!”

    So, do not be trying
    to “get there!”
    Just strive to be here, now!
    There is never anywhere to be
    that is not here, now!
    So, just be here, now!

    See what needs to happen.
    Maybe nothing.
    So, do nothing.
    Just be here, now!

    Sooner or later,
    something will come along
    that needs to happen,
    so do it,
    being at one with the doing of it,
    continuing to be here, now,
    in the doing.

    Just be here, now
    like this forever!
    That is all there is to it!
    Waking up to here, now
    is the only accomplishment.

    Just be here, now
    all the way to the end of the line.
    (The line never ends!)

  97. 10/26/2020  —  Lake Crandall 13 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    There is no right way to do it
    as long as it brings you to life.
    There is a catch.
    Coming to life means dying
    to all that is not life.
    Death, then life.
    Adam and Eve would have had to die
    either way.

    Better to die in the service life,
    than to live forever in the Garden of Bliss,
    never having a life of your own.

    Adam and Even chose wisely.

    What would you go to hell for?

    Ah, but. Again.

    Life is a cruel task master!
    Planting where it does not cultivate,
    and reaping what it does not sow.
    Demanding what it has no right to at all.

    Ask an artist.
    Or a dancer.
    Or a musician.
    Or a sculptor.
    Or a poet.
    Or a writer.
    Ask them what their life cost them.

    Ask Jesus.
    Or the Buddha.

    And who among the lot wouldn’t say,
    “Of course, I would jump to do it all again!”?

    It’s about the price we are willing to pay
    to be who we are.
    To live the life that is ours to live.
    That is the question at the heart of
    “What would you go to hell for?”

    Those who hold back,
    who refuse to step forward
    to die in the service of their life,
    do not live at all.

    And here we are.
    What about us?
    What say we?

  98. 10/26/2020  —  Hickory Tree 02 10/24/2020 — 22-Acre Woods, Indian Land, South Carolina, 10/24/2020

    I find myself seeking
    and harmony.

    Every photograph I make
    is a composition of these four elements,
    an arrangement of what is most important to me,
    a reminder of what I cannot get enough of,
    a call to do what needs to be done.

    I see it as a reflection
    of where I come from,
    of what was missing from the start.

    I live–
    and hunch that we all do–
    to compensate for the deficits
    at work in our life.

    We live to be what we seek!
    To bring it forth in our life.
    To incarnate,
    what matters most to us.

    I serve–however well,
    however poorly–
    and harmony.

    My photos are a reminder
    of what I am to be about.

  99. 10/26/2020  —  Bodhi 03 — From my Symbols of Transformation Collection

    We can start anywhere,
    in that there is no beginning
    and no end.
    We start where we are,
    and allow one thing to lead to another,
    on the ongoing journey called
    “The circumambulation of the Self.”

    Also called “The Hero’s Journey,”
    and “The Spiritual Journey,”
    and “Growing Up.”

    Where I am at this moment, this now,
    is with Symbols and Metaphors.
    So, I will start there.
    James Joyce said, “Any object properly regarded
    can be the gateway to the gods!”
    Symbols and metaphors are everywhere we look,
    waiting for eyes that see beyond the fact
    of what they are looking at
    to all that is evoked in and revealed to
    those who look deeper.

    Joseph Campbell said,
    “Someone once said to me, ‘Just think of a thing
    as a Thou instead of an It,
    and then our experience changes.'”

    Campbell follows that with,
    “Look at things not as them being the things
    they are in themselves,
    but as manifestations of a mystery.
    The idea of a mystery is what it is all about.
    And that mystery of all things is your mystery.”

    Symbols and metaphors carry us into the mystery.
    Do not look at the world as a huge collection of
    assorted and miscellaneous facts,
    but as an incredible gallery of symbols and metaphors,
    through which we are transported
    into the eternal dimension of mystery and wonder.

    Sit with anything and see
    what it has to show you
    about everything.

    It takes time, of course,
    and requires attention.
    Transformation is like that.
    It doesn’t happen to people
    who are in a hurry
    and want to get to the point
    in order to go on with their life,
    as though life can happen
    in some way other
    than through symbols and metaphors.

  100. 10/26/2020  —  Lake Francis 02 10/22/2020 — Anne Springs Close Greenway, Adventure Road Access, Fort Mill, South Carolina

    Too many of us do not have time
    to be quiet,
    to sit quietly,
    waiting for something,
    they know not what.

    All of the important things
    occur to us in the silence.
    On the toilet.
    In the shower.
    The bathroom is the most
    meditative friendly room
    we are ever in.

    Take advantage of that.
    When you go in the bathroom,
    and shut the door,
    attend the silence!
    BE quiet!
    Present with the moment.
    At one with the moment.
    Listening to the things
    that occur to you.
    To the things that come to mind.

    Instead of thinking about them,
    just notice them,
    and tuck them into your awareness,
    and keep listening,
    silently going about your business,
    with your mind on your mind.

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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