The Nature of Spiritual Reality IV

  1. There is a time and place for everything. It’s all a part of the path. So don’t rule out Gay Paree. Jesus was called a glutton and a winebibber. Don’t be afraid to eat and drink. No one is taking names. Who are you trying to please? Whose side are you on? It is your life to live all the way. Who do you think knows better than you how to do it, or what needs to be done? Live to know what you know, and trust yourself to know what you need to know to find what you need to do what needs to be done!

  2. The requisite attitude is one of attentiveness, awareness, openness—to the possibilities, to the circumstances, to the situation as it arises, to what is happening, and needs to happen, and can happen. From right seeing comes right doing and right being. And, of course, from right being and right doing comes right seeing. It’s a circle, you know. It’s all one, with one thing leading to and flowing from another. World without end. Yin/Yang forever. Amen.

  3. Right being comes from the center, and is not a steady-state (death is the only steady-state, and that is questionable), but a momentary alignment with the heart of being, from which right action (and right seeing is an aspect of right action—it’s a circle, you know) springs, flows.

  4. Right being, right doing, are not steady-states. Life is not a steady-state of being, but a fluid, moving, interchange between the dynamic core, center, heart of being, and the moment-to-moment experience of life, which is the experience of the requirements and possibilities of existence in this moment right now.

  5. How much life is exhibited in our living? How alive can we be in the time left for living? How in sync with the dynamic heart of being can we be within the context and circumstances of our life? The answer changes as each situation presents us with different options and possibilities. We can be more alive in some moments than others. Being alive is not a steady-state of being.

  6. How do we know what to do, what needs to be done, when to do it and how? How do we make sense of our life? Of life? How do we know what is truly valuable? In light of what—toward what—away from what—do we live? How do we evaluate the validity of what we hold to be valid? We answer these questions, again and again, over the course of our life, over the course of the life of the species, in conversation with one another, out of our experience with life. The answers change with the time and place of our living.

  7. We have to recognize and honor the stages of development at work in each age of our life. We have to live in ways appropriate to the time and place of our living. Young adulthood is different from middle adulthood, is different from old adulthood. We have no business living at 60 as we did at 20 or 45. We have to do what needs to be done in each stage of life, and move on to the next stage, letting go what’s going and letting come what’s coming. This is the natural order of things.

  8. It is not enough to do “what happens naturally.” It was “natural” to own slaves and treat women and homosexuals as inferior. What is “natural” is not always so good. What the fox does to the rabbit is natural, but not good for the rabbit. What is good on one level, from one perspective, is not good on another level, from a different perspective. Whose good is served by the good we call good? Whose bad?

  9. Good is not a steady-state of being. Being is dynamic. Vibrant. Alive. There is no steady-state of being.

  10. We can hope to be guided by a sense of the ought-to-be-ness of things which leads us in responding to the circumstances of our life, if we approach our circumstances with eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that understand.

  11. It is the arrogance of those who think they know in the service of their ideas of how things ought to be that obscures the good, and violates the sacred nature of what truly ought to be.

  12. Those Who Know Best And Must Be Pleased screw it up for everyone. Those who have all the answers are asking the wrong questions.

  13. Whom can we trust to know and do what truly ought to be done? We bring it forth out of the communal search for the good in conversation, reflection, realization, and experimentation over time.

  14. There is no harmonious accord in the natural world. Planets collide. Stars explode. Volcanoes erupt. Earthquake, fire, flood, famine, you know. Dinosaurs become extinct. People wage war… Uncontrolled chaos is more apt a description for what passes for “the way things are” than “harmonious accord.” It’s a mess out there. We bring what peace there is to life through the quality of our engagement with life—by the way we live, and the way we live with one another.

  15. The sage lives the contradictions, and does not try to reduce things to a harmonious whole. There is no static, steady-state, of being.

  16. We give up this to get that. One thing rules out another. Trade-offs and compromises characterize the work of life. The way things are live in tension with the way things also are. We live on the boundary between Yin and Yang. Sometimes this, sometimes that.

  17. Negotiation and compromise, kid. Negotiation and compromise.

  18. Some things must be forced, like a nail into wood. Some things cannot be forced, like the ripening of a peach. It is important to know what we are dealing with.

  19. The oneness, the wholeness, is not harmonious but contradictory, oppositional, dynamic, discordant and interdependent. Yin/Yang at the core.

  20. You cannot “follow your bliss” without caring about your bliss—without being attached to your bliss. Detachment is not a steady-state. Attachment to the right things, detachment at the right time.

  21. Pace and timing, Kid, pace and timing. And luck. Don’t forget to be lucky. And remember that luck is dependent upon the way we see what is happening. Good luck is always aligned with our wants, wishes and desires. Bad luck is always contrary to what we would like to have. Change your mind about what is important, and you luck will always be good. And when something does not go your way, think of it as the luckiest day of your life—and live as though it is, and it definitely will be. That is how to always be the luckiest person alive.

  22. How often do you do what makes your little heart sing and your little toes dance? How long has it been?

  23. What excites you? What stirs you? Calls your name? How often do you do those things?

  24. Look closer at whatever catches your eye.

  25. Notice every time you dismiss or discount something that calls your name.

  26. The way is the way of being in relationship with the way things are, not the way of achieving things or having what we want.

  27. Joseph Campbell said that primal societies always understood that the invisible world is the foundation of the visible world. Grounded in the visible world, we have no support, and are left to our own devices. Grounded in the invisible world, we are at one with our life, and able to offer what we have, in doing what is called for in every situation as it arises.

  28. There is no static way of being, no steady-state. Everything is on the way to something else, somewhere, else. We cannot make things what we want them to be for long.

  29. All paths walked with awareness lead to the center, where all are one (“But not the same one”).

  30. There is nothing to do but wake up, nothing to be but awake, nothing to have but awareness.

  31. In any situation, what we need for living appropriately in the situation and offering what is called for by the situation is available to us. Help is available if we open ourselves to it, and avail ourselves of it. It may not be what we want, or have in mind, but it will do quite nicely.

  32. Our task is to know what is important and to do it. That is the Great Work. Everything else will fall into place around it. Or, as Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all that you need will be yours as well” (or, words to that effect).

  33. Speaking of God, we are responsible for knowing the Sacred, the Numinous, the Ineffable through the way we engage the experience of being alive. Art, music, nature, beauty, creativity, curiosity, and exploration have always been avenues to wonder, amazement, awe, and encounters with More Than Words Can Say. We are seeking the experience of the moved with the mover, the seeker with the sought, the dancer with the dance.

  34. When your emotions are aroused, positively or negatively, delay your response. Take a long walk. Think things through—wait to be settled, centered, clear.  The old Taoist practice of “waiting for the mud to settle and the water to clear,” is always an appropriate response to attraction and repulsion.

  35. Do not allow the world to create your response to the world. Live in the world out of your attachment to, and awareness of, the core of what matters most. Respond to the world out of that attachment.

  36. Of all the possibilities for response to the situation, which is on the beam for you? What does it mean for you to live on the beam in this situation? The beam runs through all situations, though we may be distracted and lose the way in any situation.
  37. “The Beam” is also known as “The Tao.” “The Flow.” “The Path.” “The Way.” Our place is to align ourselves with the referent of all these terms, and live aligned with it, in sync with it, through each situation as it arises. This starts with being aware of the referent, of the experience of the referent, so that we know when we are on “The Beam” and when we are off it, and learn through trial and error what to do to get back on it and maintain our relationship with it in an “On again, off again” way all our life long.

  38. Doing what we think is important with awareness is the only way to get to what is important. Knowing what is working, and what isn’t working leads us to the center. If we want to find the path, we only have to be sensitive to the difference between what works and what doesn’t work.

  39. “It works.” “It isn’t working.” That’s all we need to know. We find what works by knowing what doesn’t work. We find the way by knowing what is not the way.

  40. If we don’t know whether something will work, we only have to give it a spin. Everything becomes clear with time, even to those seeped in denial. Start walking with awareness and the path will open before you—and if the path you think is the path turns out to not be the path, sit with emptiness, stillness and silence until something arises that beckons you, and start walking. If that turns out to not be the path, sit with emptiness, stillness and silence until something beckons you and start walking… And so on, for the rest of the time left for living.

  41. We can wake ourselves up by taking up the practice of emptiness, stillness, silence, awareness, seeing, hearing, knowing, doing what needs to be done when, where and how it needs to be done, no matter what, in each situation as it arises, for the joy of doing it and the satisfaction of having done it–or, if we live long enough, our life will wake us us up if we don’t opt for dying in denial. It’s always easier to be dead than alive. And the light comes on of its own accord, even if we take up the practice of emptiness, etc. We live waiting for the time to be right for waking up. Waiting to see, hear and understand. And, in the meantime, doing what needs to be done, anyway, nevertheless, even so.

  42. There are two worlds, the visible world and the invisible world. Within this world, there is that world. Within that world, there is this one. We live in this one on the basis of that one. We pull that one into this one. We find what we need to live in this one on the strength of our association with that one. This is called Walking Two Paths At The Same Time.

  43. All of the epic hero stories are about us, our gift, and our life. We struggle to bring forth our gift (our art, our genius, our daemon, our shtick ), within the context and circumstances of our life the way Ulysses struggled with the Cyclops. The context and circumstances of our life are the Cyclops standing before us in each situation as it arises. Trials and ordeals, Kid. Trials and ordeals.

  44. Five synonymous terms for “Gift” are “Art,” “Genius,” “Work,” “Life,” and “Destiny.” Our Gift is our  Art is our Genius is our Work is our Life is our Destiny. The world around us has no conception of Art, Gift, Genius, Work, Life, Destiny. In the world, Wealth, Prosperity, Profit, and Money are the things it understands. We are not here to convert the world, to wake the world up. We are here to be awake ourselve4s, to be alive, and to do our work. If the world wakes up, fine. If not, fine.  

  45. Live as much of the Life that is yours to live as can be lived—share as much of the Art, the Gift and the Genius that are yours to share as can be shared—within the context and circumstances of life as it is, and let that be that.

  46. It comes down to this: Wake up! Grow up! Square yourself up to the difference between the way life is and the way you wish it were! Get up and do what needs to be done! The way it needs to be done! Because it needs to be done! In every moment, each situation as it arises, whether you want to or not, whether you feel like it or not, whether you in the mood for it or not. And let that be that.

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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