We achieve balance by being connected with all things, and caring about all things equally—with no agenda, will or opinion, but with direction-that-can-be-changed and preference-that-can-be-laid-aside. Thus balanced, we are able to go in any direction, and do anything, in order to assist what needs to be done.
We can make too much of balance, and erect it to the position of unquestioned status quo. In so doing, we lose the balancing influence of subversive vitality. Creation and birth are chaotic upheavals, and disruptions of balance and order, which maintain balance and order.
Symmetry, harmony, balance, order and stability are ways of talking about opposition, dichotomy, contraries, conflict and contradiction. The difference lies in perspective. Things are what we perceive them to be—what we say they are.
Joseph Campbell said, paraphrasing the Bhagavad Gita, “Get in there and do your thing, and don’t worry about the outcome!” That is as succinct a summation of the task before us as you will ever find. What is our thing? What is our original nature? Our innate virtues? Who are we apart from who we think we ought to be? What is ours to do? What is our life to live? How do we know? How can we be sure? Emptiness! Stillness! Silence! Are the way to Clarity.
There is no highest good. Sometimes, we are the water. Sometimes, we are the rock. There is a place for the softness of water and the hardness of rock. We are to be what is called for in the situation as it arises.
There is no highest good. It is a circle. A mess. Everything impacts and influences everything else. Different goods come to the fore in different circumstances. If you say, “Oh, love, love–compassion, compassion is the highest good!” Consider that Jesus raised the dead and left the dead to bury the dead. That he left the “foolish maidens” to go to town for more lamp oil and miss the bridegroom when he appeared. That he allowed the landowner to treat his workers unjustly because he was the landowner and could do as he pleased. Compassion and love doesn’t mean what we think they mean. God doesn’t pick sides or play favorites. Then, what good is God, right? Open that door and see where the path leads.
It all comes down to being alive in the time and place of our living. Alive is all there is to be.
Chaos is order from a different perspective. Order is chaos. All is one. Everything moves in oneness, and there is winning and losing, joy and sorrow, resentment and resistance, disillusionment and despair, hope and resiliency. Opposites. Contradiction. Extremes. Symmetry. Harmony. Balance. Dichotomy. One.
Oneness is duality, polarity. Yin, yang. Oneness is Twoness.
Those who are impartial cannot be partial to being impartial, and must be able to be partial as the occasion requires. We have our preferences, our chosen way of being in the world. Only the dead don’t care. And the dead can also care too much for their idea of what is important, and refuse to consider other options, even though they may need consideration. Preferences, not agendas, is the key. And being light on our feet and sitting loose in the saddle.
Desire-less-ness is not the highest good. If we don’t care what happens, one thing is as good as another. If one thing is as good as another, the illusion is as good as enlightenment. Which, of course, it is. But everyone has to draw their own lines.
Impartiality is not the highest value. Life requires investment, caring, living in the service of that which matters.
Live the contradictions! Eschew certitude! Embrace conundrum! Relish paradox! Honor ambiguity! Keep everything in solution! It is the way of life!
Order or upheaval, it all depends on your point of view. Harmony is only harmonious from a particular perspective. How foxes and rabbits relate is a beautiful way of maintaining the harmony of balance within the food chain. Rabbits can be excused for failing to see the beauty of it.
People are easily bored, and create their own excitement by fighting to the death over things that don’t matter.
See into the heart of things, and live like you want to!
Carl Jung said, “There is no ‘how’ of life, one just does it… Follow your nose! That is your way!” And the KISS slogan of Alcoholics Anonymous applies: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”
We are not after a steady-state of tranquility and contentment with the way things are. We are after dynamic, vital, engagement with the way things are—not passive acceptance and bland acquiescence! Passionate engagement! Active resistance! Viva Revolution!
There are those who resist resistance. “What we resist, persists,” they say. That is a dictum that applies to unconscious symptoms. We have to assist, accept, and embrace what comes from the unconscious, get to the bottom of it, reconcile ourselves to it, and consciously integrate it into our life. On another level, the status quo needs to be resisted, and the tendency to shoot ourselves in the foot—even as we work to understand what is behind our tendency to shoot ourselves in the foot!
Nobody is where they are. Everybody is on the way to somewhere else. Where would you like to be right now?
What is there to be upset about? How things are is how they have always been. Something is always coming. Something is always going. Nothing lasts. We assist this and resist that without knowing what is best, or how it is going to work out. We live toward our best guess of what needs to happen, and let that be that.
The more we try to make something like we want it to be, the less there is to like about the way things are.
Nothing is the origin of all that is—but it is a special kind of nothing, filled with possibilities.
There is no lasting advantage. We live toward the best we can imagine, doing what needs to be done in each situation as it arises, and let that be that.
We would always be better—or worse—off somewhere else, in some other situation. But, here we are, now, and something needs to happen. What will we assist? What will we resist? What will we do, here, now?
We do not know where the line lies until we cross it. No one can be so wise, so careful, as to know when the line is coming up before it is crossed. Wisdom is living with our eyes open, and stopping when we go too far.
Settle into your life. Assist its unfolding, and allow it to carry you where you need to be. Trust yourself to the next step, with everything hanging in the balance, and always on the line.
There is only life, living, and being alive. There is only seeing, and hearing, and understanding. When we see, and hear, and understand, we see, and hear, and understand what needs to be done in the moment of our living. When we do what needs to be done, the way it ought to be done, when it ought to be done in each moment of our life, that’s it. You’re done, take a nap. If that would be appropriate for the occasion.
Right seeing, right hearing, right understanding, right knowing, right doing, right being arise in the moment of our living, when we are open to the possibilities contained in each situation. Sometimes, right action is no action at all. Sometimes, nothing can be done but to wait for another situation to develop in which something can be done.
Doing is the source of being. When we do what needs to be done in each situation as it arises, we become who we are born to be, who we are called to become.
Grace and disgrace, fortune and misfortune are the functions of perspective, of selecting aspects of our experience, emphasizing this, and dismissing that, and failing to take that over there into account. What we see is the result of how we look. So, look for “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8). Look for what is joyful, and open yourself to the wonder of the experience of being alive.
There is no right way of seeing. Everything is unimportant, without value, from some perspective. The idea that only the constant and eternal matter is just an idea. Sex is great, though it does not last. So is ice cream.
When we stop looking at things as steps on the way to something else, and can be content with simply being where we are, doing what needs to be done just because it needs to be done—watering the flowers, for instance, or feeding the birds—the world is not threatened by us, nor we by the world.
Power, wealth, privilege and honor are not the highest values. There is no advantage to having all of the advantages.
We seek enlightenment, thinking it is going to do something for us.
We make it all up. When it seemed that sacrificing bulls and virgins worked, we sacrificed bulls and virgins. We have to trust something even if it is nothing—the great emptiness from which everything arises. So, we make up what is trustworthy, and trust ourselves to it. Of course, it works for a while. When it stops working, we have to make up something else.
We perceive the mystery, the magic—and having done our part, can relax into its presence and trust ourselves to the wonder of its unfolding.
May it be said of us that we danced beautifully with what life brought us.
May it be said of us that we did what needed to be done in the moment of our living—that we offered what we had to give to each situation as it arose.
It takes a revolution, or the threat of one, to move things along.
Throw yourself into doing what needs to be done as well as you can make those things out, and take the next step as well as you can make it out, and so on, all the way. Don’t worry about the rest of it.
Those who are into seeing constantly call into question what is seen. Makes them a pain in the collective neck. Often, they are dismissed, discounted, or ignored. Sometimes, they are crucified, or burned at the stake.
Everything is equidistant from perfect union with the Divine, bliss, oneness, transcendence, absorption in the Absolute—whatever it is that we think we are after. If you leave here and go there, or there, or there, you are no closer to “it” (however you think of it). “It” is right here. Right now. Seeing it or not seeing it has nothing to do with its proximity or its availability to be seen. See?
One thing leads to another. If we stick with what we think is important, it will lead us to what is important. We can begin anywhere, any time, with anything because everything is equidistant from what is important, and everything will lead us there if we live with our eyes open. Our eyes aren’t open if we cannot change our mind about the meaning–about the importance–of what we see.
Where do we get those open eyes? Now they are open, now they are not. Are. Not…
Sometimes things work out like we want, and sometimes they don’t. There is no strategy for having our way, or for knowing what should happen, or how things should be. We live, as we are able, toward the best we can imagine within the givens of our circumstances, and let that be that.
There is no strategy for having it made.
We are always confusing what is with what seems to be. We are always talking about what seems to be as though it is.
Things are what they are, and what they also are. Everything comes with everything else attached. Nothing can be taken at face value. All is one. But, as they say, not the same one.
“You can’t keep them down on the farm—or on the path—once they’ve seen Gay Paree!” The farm/path has so little to commend it. It is so plain, so commonplace, so mind-numbing, tedious and dreary. It’s more of the same old same old. Today is like yesterday and tomorrow. We get up and do what needs to be done. Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the life in that? Show me a sage who ever had a good time! Show me a saint who knew how to live! The sage is the most boring, lifeless human being in the history of human beings! May as well be a rock, or dead! The saint does not have a life, and is afraid to be alive. Emptiness is the sage’s companion. Fullness of life and joy of living are the friends of fools. So. We have to be a different kind of sage. A saint of an unusual hue. Bring on Zorba the Greek, or Tevya from Fiddler on the Roof! Or Chauncey Gardner. They can teach us a thing or two about sage-hood and saintliness—about farms and paths!
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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