Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Daniel Day 23 - Breakthru

Why God?

Do you ask this question?

Earlier today I quoted:
  • God is the light in which I see.
  • My ego has endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes.

So....I am on a Daniel Fast. My workplace is having big labor issues (I just learned this morning that they are huge). I fantasize about being highly spiritual and above labor/management conflicts. The economy could scare me; fearing a lack of money. I fantasize that I will lose my job or my savings and be poor...but not have to keep working at this difficult place.

God, how do these pieces fit together?

Daniel served in a corrupt foreign oligarchy; but he did not defile himself. He loved and served God, even in such a violent place. Daniel was a peaceful vegan in a world of violent meat eaters. Daniel was given knowledge of the Book of Truth.

I am finding I have knowledge of the Book of Truth. Knowledge of the Book of Truth is a revelation in Mind connectivity: I see the pattern. It is about developing my inner strength and living according to Truth, no matter what the outer world looks like. It hit home just a few minutes ago: Disaster is what my ego does; but I have sought God to be my light, my source. I live hand to mouth just like "Peace Pilgrim." I'm totally reliant on God, not on a savings account. No one on earth is really reliant on anything but SOURCE. I won't lose my job. I'll have to stay here and help this company work through its difficulties by being a peaceful vegan in a meat eater world. My ego worries about economies and makes endless prescriptions for self defense. Allowing God to be my light, I know I just have to do what is put in front of me today; BUT WITH MY WHOLE HEART. God is the light in which I see: just fulfill my purpose of teaching peace. Where is the best place to teach peace but in the middle of a conflict? Who is not in the middle of a conflict?

The person on a spiritual fast is sometimes asked for more; to meet greater challenges. My ego would like to somehow escape responsibility and difficulty and pretend to live on higher spiritual ground. After all, don't spiritual people evolve into teaching masters and not soil themselves with stressful capitalism? Living in the light of God, I know I have to meet and learn to read The Book of Truth; at my utmost in each challenge. I am helping a bunch of selfish meat eaters save their company because I am Daniel and this is where God wants me to work.

At the start of this fast, I listed my intentions. Being granted the Book of Truth was one of them. The Book of Truth is not written in words; but intuition and knowing. Everyday, I can, if mindful, read a little more of the Book.

Daniel Day 23

  • God is the light in which I see.
  • Be determined to remember.
  • The ego has endless prescriptions for avoiding catastrophic outcomes.
It has been on my mind a lot the past few days how busy people are. Few people have time for friendships because they are so busy. If you talk to them, they list off all these obligations that seem mandatory. Some people say "I'm real busy" as a matter of ego bolstering, or (heaven forbid) defense. What do you say when you see their big wall of obligations; knowing it is form not content but it effectively keeps you out? I walk away sad because I can’t reach my friend. Busyness is a type of attack. We don't mention the effect of our own choices and the fact that the content of our lives is something that we choose.

Voluntary simplicity has a lot to do with making time for nothing and learning to be at peace with nothing. My semi-eremitical life is centered on free time. I really don’t know any people in my face-to-face world who are intent on allowing free time. I spend a good deal of the time meditating. My meditation has become peaceful, just sitting with the light and contemplating its presence. I am free from the enlightenment rat race and happy to just be able to sit. In my nothingness, I am viewed or judged as selfish, or as not benefitting society. I just bear the guilt and see others as children of God in the light with me.

People are victims of busyness; probably ignorant of how to break the addiction. Fear abounds if you dare to just drop something. Leaving empty space is impossible for most. Those of us who make that attempt feel guilty for our freedom. People ask me what is going on for me and I have nothing to say. Anything that goes on is spiritual; and can’t be condensed to a sound bite. My outer life is just a store front for my inner life. My exterior life tells me what content I have picked for that day. I am determined to remember God.

In my fear of catastrophic outcomes, I sit tight and open my mind to the idea that God is my source and not this ego world. God is the light in which I see; and I am determined to remember.

The form of my life: I get up at 3 in the morning. I spend until 4:30 in spiritual study and meditation. I ride the exercise bike and lift weights until 5:30. I change clothes, gather my water, and drive the 1.5 miles to work; arriving before 6. I work until 11:30 and then go home for lunch. I work until 3. Then I come home to an evening of solitude: exercise, shower, spiritual study, meditation and make juice for the morning. I go to bed about 8:30. The content of this activity is prayer. I am determined to remember God.

Last evening and again this morning, I had the grace to see the light in my meditation. I had the grace to just watch it and not demand enlightenment of it.

Learn to be satisfied drinking pure water and you will feel simplicity in your gut; full satisfaction.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Daniel Day 22

  • Health is nothing more than united purpose. If the body is brought under the purpose of the mind, it becomes whole because the mind's purpose is one...apart from the mind, the body has no purpose at all.
  • The power of wholeness is extension. Do not arrest your thought in this world, and you will open your mind to creation in God.
Maybe more later. I am at peace.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Daniel Day 21 - Vows

  • ...the ego's temple thus becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit, where devotion to Him replaces devotion to the ego. In this sense the body does become a temple to God; His Voice abides in it by directing the use to which it is put.
The past week or so, I have had the distinct feeling that my life is not my own. My war against The Church suddenly ended, leaving me wondering what it was all about. I wondered if my anger was a strange sickness suddenly healed, or a demon suddenly cast out. Further, I spent my day Saturday at a nearby monastery (actually, I live just down the street). I have never really liked that place, but yesterday, I was listening happily to talks by the sisters and appreciating the new people I met.

I spent nearly four years of my life in formation with a Benedictine community (different than this one near my house). However, the day before I was to make my vow, I found my life suddenly upended as I was asked to leave. It was strange, but I am sure it was an intervention of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit's purposes. But suddenly, all that Benedictine teaching was meaningless as I put my life back together out here in the world. I knew I was a monk; having no interest in family life and wanting to spend all my time on contemplative prayer. But, I had no connection to being a Benedictine in my solitary life.

One thing, however, that always fascinated me was Benedict's 12 steps of humility. There is also Guigo's ladder for monks, with 12 rungs. I always saw ways to connect these to the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Just as Benedict saw the entire universe in a single ray of light and a Buddhist might see it in an apple; I see it in 12 steps. 12 steps to where? Conscious contact with a Power Greater Than Myself.

In the monastery, as you approach making your vows, they give you a special piece of paper and you hand write out the vows. I wrote out my intention to remain faithful to the Benedictine vows of obedience, stability and conversatio. As I wrote these out, I felt God standing over my shoulder and I knew He was taking them seriously from that moment. Early in the morning before I was told to leave the monastery, I had an intuition that such a thing could happen. I told God that I would be faithful to the vows whether I carried them out in the monastery or out of it.

I have kept them in a strange way. Obedience is to the Spirit's leading, to shamelessly follow Jesus, even when it seemed away from what I had been taught by authorities. Stability to contemplation, ongoing consistency in silent meditation and the humble worship that implies. Conversatio (conversion of morals) is the ongoing practice of taking my ego thought inventory and offering it to the healing light of Jesus.

On Saturday, as I listened to talks by the sisters, it began to dawn on me that maybe they could help me figure out why God made me a Benedictine. I'm not ever going to be a nun; but for some reason, I went completely through a Benedictine formation program. The Spirit does not waste things. So why this?

I don't know; maybe though I have a way to learn.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Daniel Day 19

  • You who are beloved of God are wholly blessed.
  • You do not understand this because you who are GOD'S OWN TREASURE do not regard yourself as valuable.
I have to stop, pause and consider the fact: I am beloved of God. The idea is not instinctive to me. The truth is the opposite of everything I thought about myself for many years. I find I am capable of being open to the idea. I am willing to lay down everything else and accept this idea. I am also willing to extend the idea to others; everyone is beloved of God and wholly blessed. What a simple way to live.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Daniel Day 18

  • You cannot make yourself unworthy because YOU ARE THE TREASURE OF GOD, and what He values is valuable...because its value lies in God's sharing Himself with it and establishing its value forever.
  • Let us glorify Him Whom the world denies.
Yesterday, I made it until lunch time on water only. Then last night, as I was having a bite to eat, I realized that I was having the same old thought, "I didn't eat this morning so I can over-eat now." I recognized the thought. I also realized that had I been playing free cell on the computer at the time I was eating, I would have been powerless over that thought and gone on to obey it: over-eating (even Daniel foods) and then experiencing guilt and feeling shame. If you are trying to quit anything (drinking, drugs, sex, coffee, TV, smoking, etc.), this thinking is how you live your life.

Here is what I have been doing, how I have been living: I cheat the present by basing it on past or future gluttony or presumed goodness. It becomes time for contemplation: living according to this thought is not living according to Holy Spirit's thinking. The thought goes very deep into every area of my life. Praying for healing of this thought, for everyone, brings freedom from bondage for us all. Goodness is only in the now. Captivity is to say, "I can be bad now (over-eat) because I am going to be good later." Being good later almost never happens. Even if you are good later, you paid a price in shame no matter what.

Fasting is renouncing the world: worldly programming that it is ok to cheat the present (want some shame-producing-thing of the world) because you can make it up later. Fasting is finding the pearl of great price: Fasting removes the soil from the knowledge of God's presence within (my true heart) and helps me to want that more than any unhappiness. Fasting brings about the return of the prodigal: Fasting lifts our head from the pig food and causes us to want to come home to our Father; and we discover how much he loves us, giving us pure food.

God wants us to be free and stand in His light. All I have to do is step out of the shadow now, not later. "YOU ARE THE TREASURE OF GOD." Let this thought sink in. You will see that the way you treat yourself and others completely changes; especially since "they" (you know, those people you can't stand) are also the treasure of God.

My life is about content, not form. The rules of fasting which I follow are a form. Forms don't matter. Within the form, I find content. Content does matter. It is the only thing that matters. My thoughts bring me to heaven or keep me out. Forms come in many forms: illness, aging, athletics, career, busyness, debt, addiction, religion, etc. They all have content. Spirituality is living in the content not the form. Contemplation is discovering the content.

Fasting is not difficult if you do it right: no suffering involved.

Here is an interesting link: http://worldpeacediet.org/images/WorldPeaceDiet07.pdf

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Daniel Day 17 - Water?

From ACIM:
  • Let the Love of God shine upon you by your acceptance of me (Jesus).
  • When you unite with me (Jesus) you are uniting without the ego...Our union is therefore the way to renounce the ego in you.
  • Would you know the Will of God for you? Ask it of me (Jesus) and you will find it...
  • Ours is simply the journey back to God who is our home. Whenever fear intrudes...it is because the ego has attempted to join...sensing defeat and angered by it, the ego regards itself as rejected and becomes retaliative.
  • Never accord the ego the power to interfere with the journey...reach beyond all attempts of the ego to hold you back...Reach therefore for my (Jesus') hand because you want to transcend the ego.
Three ideas on my mind today: how union with God is very quiet; realizing the deeper depth of surrender to Jesus I desire; how the thought of drinking only water for the morning at work scares me, but it is an ego fear and mirrors our money fears.

Since beginning the Daniel Fast, I reduced my caffeine intake to green tea in the morning. Also, I have been eating only raw food without preservatives, organic as much as possible, no sugar or leaven. These things have helped my emotions (ego) to quiet down. At first, the idea of giving up coffee made me fear being dull. Now, the state of peace in which I currently am, is quiet, wordless, emotionless, dull. My ego really hates residing in peace. When I am in peace, I know I have joined with Jesus because peace is what Jesus gives. It is hard for me to understand that the lack of strong emotion is peace and union with God. I have spent so many years searching for divine ecstasy; when Jesus' peace is simple and quiet.

My ego has spent years accusing Jesus of not loving me because I can't really sense Jesus emotionally. I realize how much of the ego's desires I have yet to release and how much I want Jesus to guide my life. All my fear and hatred and dissatisfaction and doubt stem from the ego, not the Voice of God. I want Jesus to guide my thinking. When Jesus is guiding my thinking, good decisions and peace are the natural course of things. Uniting myself with Jesus means we operate as one; with no discernable difference. This means my ego cannot detect Jesus. The ego is transcended, yet angry because it received no special satisfaction from God. People are continuously defeated by backward thinking which says that true alliance with Christ means a special relationship with God.

I am on a Daniel Fast, which means water and vegetables. For this morning, I wanted to drink only water because it would help me to remember to pray. The idea scares me; but I think it is my ego that is scared. As I drink only water and pray, ego is transcended. My focus is beyond the ego. That is the secret of ACIM "forgiveness;" look beyond what the ego is seeing and saying. Beyond the ego, present in every person, is Christ, the divine presence, God. Boy, do I want to know that.

This morning, we had thunderstorms. I sat at my table, listening. Some rain started quite suddenly and then it stopped extremely suddenly, leaving silence instead. Peace is very silent. The talent to tolerate silence can be cultivated through the spiritual practice of renunciation and simplicity.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Daniel Day 16 - Musings

Wow, already 16 days.

My mind has been very quiet for a couple of days, no burning issues to discuss.

Daniel (I mean Daniel from the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament) watched kings come and go; working in their governments, fasting and praying, serving his God no matter what. Daniel had visions and supernatural challenges, but seemed to just stick with his humility, prayer, vegetables and water despite all that. In a sense, Daniel seemed to live simply, despite job pressures. He didn't want fine clothes or the king’s dainties. Many years went by between events and Daniel lived a long time; but the daily grind was about prayer, vegetables and water. The future was revealed to Daniel but he carried it secretly; all the while praying, fasting and going to work.

Our world is in turmoil; but serving our God will keep us safe. Money comes and goes. Most of us harbor fear in proportion to our money; instead of entering into the divine without defenses. I am actually quite vulnerable. I only pretend my defenses keep me safe. I need to look beyond the walls to see the Light of Truth.

Daniel was a captive of a foreign government. He didn’t believe in their religion and didn’t partake of their society. He did what was asked of him but did not give up his God. This morning, it dawns on me: I could do what Daniel did. I do not agree with our society and I don’t partake of it; but I can do what is asked of me. “Suiting up and showing up” is one of my talents.

Fasting is difficult; because we habitually seek palliatives instead of facing our fears, entering, walking through their dark clouds, and finding God on the other side of them.

I deeply wish for more Jesus consciousness and awareness. O Man dressed in white linen, shine in my heart. In the mean time, I’ll pray, fast and go to work.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Daniel Day 14 - Jesus the Light

Here is what Jesus said in Chapter 8 of ACIM:

"I am come as a light into a world that does deny itself everything. It does this simply by dissociating itself from everything. It is therefore an illusion of isolation, maintained by fear of the same loneliness that is its illusion. I said that I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. That is why I am the light of the world. If I am with you in the loneliness of the world, the loneliness is gone. You cannot maintain the illusion of loneliness if you are not alone. My purpose, then, is still to overcome the world. I do not attack it, but my light must dispel it because of what it is. Light does not attack darkness, but it does shine it away. If my light goes with you everywhere, you shine it away with me. The light becomes ours, and you cannot abide in darkness any more than darkness can abide wherever you go. The remembrance of me is the remembrance of yourself, and of Him Who sent me to you.

You were in darkness until God’s Will was done completely by any part of the Sonship. When this was done, it was perfectly accomplished by all. How else could it be perfectly accomplished? My mission was simply to unite the will of the Sonship with the Will of the Father by being aware of the Father’s Will myself. This is the awareness I came to give you, and your problem in accepting it is the problem of this world. Dispelling it is salvation, and in this sense I am the salvation of the world. The world must therefore despise and reject me, because the world is the belief that love is impossible. If you will accept the fact that I am with you, you are denying the world and accepting God. My will is His, and your decision to hear me is the decision to hear His Voice and abide in His Will. As God sent me to you so will I send you to others. And I will go to them with you, so we can teach them peace and union.

Do you not think the world needs peace as much as you do? Do you not want to give it to the world as much as you want to receive it? For unless you do, you will not receive it. If you want to have it of me, you must give it. Healing does not come from anyone else. You must accept guidance from within. The guidance must be what you want, or it will be meaningless to you. That is why healing is a collaborative venture. I can tell you what to do, but you must collaborate by believing that I know what you should do. Only then will your mind choose to follow me. Without this choice you could not be healed because you would have decided against healing, and this rejection of my decision for you makes healing impossible.

Healing reflects our joint will. This is obvious when you consider what healing is for. Healing is the way in which the separation is overcome. Separation is overcome by union. It cannot be overcome by separating. The decision to unite must be unequivocal, or the mind itself is divided and not whole. Your mind is the means by which you determine your own condition, because mind is the mechanism of decision. It is the power by which you separate or join, and experience pain or joy accordingly. My decision cannot overcome yours, because yours is as powerful as mine. If it were not so the Sons of God would be unequal. All things are possible through our joint decision, but mine alone cannot help you. Your will is as free as mine, and God Himself would not go against it. I cannot will what God does not will. I can offer my strength to make yours invincible, but I cannot oppose your decision without competing with it and thereby violating God’s Will for you."

I know that is alot! However, I read these words slowly and pray with them for more than a day. They taste so good to me. I feel so safe in Jesus with them. They help me turn my will and my life and all my opinions over to Jesus. My disease is hard-heartedness; but I know Jesus can shine it away.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Daniel Day 13 - Communion

Daniel chapter 6, verse 10:
"...he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God..."

Daniel did this knowing he would be cast into the lions den for worshipping his God. This passage quickens my heart because I feel my God connection when I let the words sink in. Getting on the knees is symbolic of dismissing the ego and turning to God; the one and only Source. The inner God connection satisfies my hunger and thirst. It is the only thing. As I think of it and connect with it, the word communion comes to mind. It is in the prayer which connects me to all that is which gives me communion. I am excited to live out a form of communion in the church this afternoon.

Daniel Day 13

  • Power and glory belong to God alone.
  • To achieve the goal of the curriculum, then, you cannot listen to the ego...
  • ...if you are willing to look at what the ego would make of you...you can know that the ego doesn't know anything...this is your responsibility...once you have really looked, you will accept Atonement for yourself...
  • Through His (God's) power and glory all your wrong decisions are undone completely releasing you and your brother from every imprisoning thought any part of the Sonship holds...The imprisonment they seem to produce is no more true that they are.
  • Giving of yourself is the function He gave you. Fulfilling it perfectly will let you remember what you have of Him...
  • Glory is God's gift to you, because that is what He is. See this glory everywhere to remember what you are.

Last night I had an epiphany, an awakening. The action that came out of it may seem antithetical to the ACIM students and other enlightened beings who read what follows; just remember form is not important, content is what matters.

I have been praying and fasting for 14 days. Jesus is an intense part of the content. I sit silently and listen as part of my prayer. I realized last night that I wanted to do some praying in a worship type environment. But I disagree with all Christian denominations; Jesus, humanity and sin are not what they say. Then, I had this thought, "Laura, you disagree with everyone, so you might as well go to your old church." In that moment, my judgment of that church and its hierarchy no longer mattered. What mattered was disregarding my ego for the purpose of realizing its imprisoning thoughts are not true; and instead seeing God's glory everywhere is true. I had put Christ above all else.

I walked away from Catholicism three years ago because I hated the hierarchy, its agenda and its elevation of itself and the priesthood above lay people. I didn't want to appear to support it. But now, my hate is gone, my judgment is over, because I just see people in thought prison. As I look at any one of them and see that God is in them as in me and we are not really separate (Holy Encounter), we both get to be free. By hating the church, I am myself believing it is real, when we know this ego world is an illusion. By going to the church, I am realizing it is a illusion and has no power over me; but it is a place where I can fulfill my God given function: giving of myself. Staying away from church puts me in an ego prison. Going to church sets me free, not because the form of worship is enlightening, but the content of my action disregards my ego and reinforces that the ego world is not real and has no power over me. (Now this reasoning would confuse the Catholics terribly!) Only God has power over me.

All power and glory belong to God alone; so I don't have to worry about whether I agree with anyone.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Daniel Day 11 - Spiritual Experience

I said earlier, “The Holy Spirit leads you steadily along the path of freedom, teaching you how to disregard or look beyond everything that would hold you back.” It is always my ego that holds me back, keeping me imprisoned as long as I listen to it. I’d like to give you this, “The ego cannot teach you anything as long as your will is free, because you will not listen to it.” I had an experience of ego freedom today. The experience is very precious to me. It tells me that I am becoming free from ego bondage and have the ability to listen to Something Else.

If you study fasting, you will read of the health benefits. Since I have a cold and a sore foot, and I am off work to recover for a day, I thought maybe I would drink only water for a couple of days and take advantage of the health benefits. I am already under a Daniel Fast, why not slip deeper into fasting? I got home from work at noon and drank only water all afternoon, pondering the question and trying to listen for guidance. At 5 pm, I realized that if I water fasted for a day of so, I’d be very much in danger of gorging myself after I started to eat. Even if I ate only Daniel foods, I’d rationalize over eating and then feel guilty. Such activity would totally ruin the gains in new behavior I’ve been given during the past 11 days. So, I ate according to the Daniel pattern, which is quite frugal but I have not been hungry.

The ego knows that I am in a trap. The lure of water fasting is its increased holiness, at least according to “all the books.” If I fall for the lure (water fasting) then I am on the hook for gorging myself and feeling guilty. But, God promises plenty of wisdom to those who even step a little away from dainty foods and do a Daniel Fast. When I started the Daniel Fast, I was given grace to do it. To go further and water fast would be to grab for more than God wanted and I committed to. The ego wants to grab something from God.

As I listened to the voice of reason (warning of the gorging) I was able to tear myself away from the ego and return to the Holy Spirit. The authorities and my fasting peers look at the water fast as a thing better and should be striven after (conditioning). My turning away from this teaching is why I say this was an experience of freedom. I was able to look beyond the thing holding me back (conditioning) and disregard the thing holding me back. If I get to the end of 40 days of a Daniel Fast without cheating, I know I will be free of an old ego pattern. I will have a new pattern whose content is joy not guilt.

I’m impressed. I followed my own guidance, not what all the books say. My ego points to the books as a tool to get me to do what “they” say. When I decide against the ego and do what is right for me and called forth from me by God, I am in joy. Following the ego always gives me guilt.

In ACIM, fasting is not mentioned. This doesn’t mean don’t do it. It means that what ever you do with your body, focus on content not form. The Holy Spirit is using my fasting to teach me about the ego. “Only one Teacher (the Holy Sprit) knows what your reality is. If learning to remove the obstacles to that knowledge is the purpose of the curriculum, you must learn it of Him.” He will teach me using every part of my life.

Daniel Day 11

  • The Holy Spirit leads you steadily along the path of freedom, teaching you how to disregard or look beyond everything that would hold you back.
  • ...the Holy Spirit teaches you the difference between pain and joy.
  • ...He teaches you the difference between prison and freedom.
  • His direction is freedom and His goal is God.
  • Ask for light and learn that you are light.

That said, it is time for a quiet pause...I don't know anything. Maybe later I will.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daniel Day 10 - still

Fasting has not eliminated challenges. In fact, they may have increased. Fasting was not an escape into fluff and irresponsibility. My attitude has been surprisingly good. Perhaps, fasting is enabling me to do the work God has put in front of me. Life's purpose 3 was: Do the work. So, God has work for me. I never wanted it. I have always wanted to escape from life. I suppose if this fast has brought awakening to new life, I'll have to give up my ego's death wish...imagine that.

What surprises me somewhat, I have been reading many books on fasting and prayer written by evangelical Christians. Why? Hardly anyone else writes books on fasting and prayer. Since I wear the burlap mantle of the cross and profess to shamelessly follow Jesus, it seems appropriate to read whoever combines Christ and fasting. I will never be a purist when it comes to theology, though maybe tend in a certain direction. The Born Again Christians are just as sure of their enlightenment as the Buddhists. So, I learn from both. The Evangelicals are as sure of the presence of Christ in their worship and their faithfulness to Jesus' commandments as the Roman Catholics in their Eucharist. So, I learn from both.

Be still and know...

Daniel Day 10

From ACIM this morning:
  • ...you are the Will of God. His Will is not an idle wish...
  • What is joyful to you is painful to the ego.
  • Obey the Holy Spirit, and you will be giving up the ego...
  • ...the relinquishment of your false decision-making prerogative...was accomplished for you by the Will of God...
  • The only way out of the error (separation from Heaven) is to decide that you do not have to decide anything. Everything has been given you by God's decision.
  • Sharing His Will with me (Jesus) is not optional...The whole separation (separation from Heaven) lies in this error.

A number of things seem to have "gone wrong" in my ego world. But we must remember that these things are of the ego world and have nothing to do with Heaven; or the fact that I really exist in heaven. Only the ego portion of my mind believes it exists in the ego world (that is the portion you are talking to now).

No matter what happens, I have decided to follow my Guide, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I have decided to dedicate my life only to Heaven, which is joy, rather than get wrapped up in what seems to be going wrong. Actually, this is a very big miracle perception shift. It means I am not as attached to the ego and am transferring my allegiance to Jesus and the Holy Spirit's thought system.

In the first chapter of Daniel (Old Testament), it says, "Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king's food or drinking his wine..." This quote is the essence of my Daniel Fast. The passage is symbolic. The king is my ego. The king's food is the ego's thought system. I am determined not to partake of the ego's thought system. A result of my fasting is that I now believe that I am in joy/Heaven all the time and anything else is an ego illusion. I get to choose, but I am also more believing in my choice for Jesus than I was before the fast. Things-going-wrong are always related to the ego. Who I really am, the Will of God, is never going wrong. I can accept the Holy Spirit's teaching and believe only joy/Heaven is true; the rest is ego delusion and not real. The ego delusion is a bad dream. Heaven is real.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Daniel Day 9

  • By accepting Atonement for yourself, you are deciding against the belief that you can be alone, thus dispelling the idea of separation and affirming your true identification with the whole Kingdom as literally part of you.
  • Be confident that you have never lost your Identity and the extensions which maintain It in wholeness and peace.
In my meditation this morning, I realized how my ego finds something wrong with every single person, place or thing. Then, having identified something wrong with that thing, my ego consents to participating in a socially acceptable relationship. This sort of realization is the sort of thing I take straight to Jesus and the Holy Spirit for healing. Wow! This total negativity is the consciousness in which I live. Thus, any happiness I ever feel is fleeting because my ego always goes ahead and finds problems; ruining any happiness.

Obviously, I need another consciousness. Obviously, I need joy instead of happiness. This change in perception would be a miracle. Changing this perception is what ACIM teaches. The Teacher of ACIM is the Holy Spirit.

Surrender....rely totally on God. I didn't do or get anything myself. It all came from God. Nothing of this world matters.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Daniel Day 8 - Purpose

It is said that fasting is a method for defining your life's purpose, or discerning God's purpose for your life. Indeed, as I have been reading books on prayer and fasting, this topic has been at least somewhat on my mind.

I get little helpful hints. Like in reading book 6 of the Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert, Duncan Idaho ponders over and over "the pieces that cannot be moved." Also, as my foot is sore and I've had to take something of an injury time out from running, I've wondered if I am a runner; or what is the content (not form) of the running activity. Also, listening to Mattie Stepanek interview, he had a very short philosophy of life which he could easily say. The burlap scapular I wear next to my skin is a symbol of my desire to indelibly imprint the sign of Jesus somehow someway on every portion of my being; but especially to know the divinity at my most intimate level. These ponderings coalesced into the following:
  • Shamelessly follow Jesus: refers to my dedication to spiritual growth under the guidance of Christ. This has been my motto for over 10 years.
  • Take care of business: refers to my physical being and my ascetic approach to living.
  • Go to work: refers to employment and daily participation with others.
  • Be an athlete: refers to the inner essence of my being (my driving spirit) which gets out of bed and trains.

Therefore, the pieces that cannot be moved are my life's purpose. It is framed somewhat intangibly.

God, Jesus is my strongest and most primal urge!

Daniel Day 8

From ACIM:

  • The whole purpose of this course is to teach you that the ego is unbelievable.
  • The Holy Spirit will teach you to perceive beyond your belief.

I am committed to the Holy Spirit's thought system.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Daniel Day 7 - Heart Song

I am fasting and praying; wanting to know God better. I was up at 4:30 for my spiritual study and prayer; realizing how little I know of love or incapable I am of seeing everyone as God's gift. I'm not running today because of my sore foot, so I planned to ride the exercise bike on my back porch. I timed this so I would be riding at 6:30 when "Humankind" came on NPR. This is usually an inspirational show.

Today, I was quite treated by an interview with the late Mattie Stepanek and his mother. Mattie and his mother both had muscular dystrophy. Mattie wrote a best selling book of poems when he was four. His philosophy was so simple but mature. Below is one of his poems. His mother had a philosophy about how everything is a choice. She doesn't want to get out of bed and deal with difficulties everyday. But she does. I am a person who is depressed frequently, but I've decided to be alive and get out of bed and go do whatever is in front of me. I felt God disclosing Himself to me through these two incredible people. Mattie's poem, below, really touches my deepest yearning for God and explains exactly how to fulfill the yearning.

I do sit in silence frequently and do receive this gift every now and then. I don't feel as hopeless today about myself. I feel like I am making progress in inner peace.

Enjoy the poem and Happy fasting today!


I have a song, deep in my heart,
And only I can hear it.
If I close my eyes and sit very still
It is so easy to listen to my song.
When my eyes are open
and I am so busy and moving and busy,
If I take time and listen very hard,
I can still hear my Heartsong.
It makes me feel happy.
Happier than ever.
Happier than everywhere
And everything and everyone
In the whole wide world
Happy like thinking about Going to Heaven when I die.
My Heartsong sounds like this:
I love you! I love you!
How happy you can be!
How happy you can make
The whole world be!
And sometimes it's other
Tunes and words, too,
But it always sings the
Same special feeling to me.
It makes me think of
Jamie, and Katie and Stevie,
And other wonderful things.
This is my special song.
But do you know what?
All people have a special song
Inside their hearts!
Everyone in the show wide world
Has a special Heartsong.
If you believe in magical, musical hearts,
And if you believe you can be happy,
Then you, too, will hear your song.

March 1996 © Matthew Joseph Thaddeus Stepanek

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Daniel Day 6 - Nazaritic Baptist

I am a John the Baptist Baptist. That is, I am a Nazarite. I want to be bare bones and intense with my vow: Shamelessly follow Jesus. No church has ever been as serious as I want to be, so I range around in the wilderness.

I wear the yoke of Christ in my heart and symbolically on my body. It is not the sissy brown scapular, but a home made burlap garmet with a cross crudely marked, front and back. I think my ego made this, but the Holy Spirit quickly took it up as a way to teach me what my ego is saying to keep me from God.

Since I found A Course in Miracles, most Christians would think me apostate. But I know I love Jesus, the living one. I seek healing of the Christ Consciousness which we all share. It would be for this that Jesus' gift touched me: For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they (too) may be sanctified by (the) truth (John Ch 17). I have been to seminary and studied the Bible thoroughly. I agree with some scholars that perhaps only 20% is accurate; and that has traditionally been misinterpreted, especially by male church hierarchies who have their own agendas. I seek to integrate the Bible and ACIM. I know for sure the esoteric meanings are present and available in the Bible, known given a sustained practice of deep listening. Combined with ACIM, we have the instructions for being in Heaven, being one, realizing the inorganic wholeness of the Sonship.

Being apostate keeps me humble. Knowing Truth is without perception.

PS - one of the joys of this blog is that every now and then, I hear from someone. I love this. I don't usually post commonts because this blog is not really a discussion. But the ccomments are open because I like to read them.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Daniel Day 5 (3) Revealing X

Here is the commitment statement I made on day 1 of my Daniel Fast:

In the Spirit of Daniel:
1. I seek knowledge and understanding of all kinds; including understanding of visions (Daniel 1)
2. I seek to see the man dressed in linen, and to understand the Book of Truth (Daniel 10)
3. I seek to re-dedicate my life to the Kingdom; by focusing on this and nothing else.
4. I seek wisdom in the most basic element of my life: sustenance. I am completely unhappy that, even though I run 50 to 70 miles a week, I still gain weight. I need a spiritual break through to learn what to eat, how much and when. I am so completely unhappy instead of enjoying myself as a child of God.
5. I seek a spiritual basis of my life. Just trying to abstain without the power of God is meaningless, and it seems not to work.
6. I seek gratitude for all Jesus has done to help me.
7. I resolve to abstain from royal (party or junk) foods for 40 days. At a minimum this includes:

  • Cheezits and cookies from the snack machine.
  • Processed soy products such as Chicken Patties and Steak Starters.
  • Butter, and half and half.
  • Asigo bagels
  • Potato Soup (preservatives, milk)
  • Peanut butter (sugar, comfort food)
  • Salt
  • Coffee (but not green tea) in order to eliminate creamer (and its chemicals)
  • Eating only unleavened bread = whole grain stone ground pita bread.
  • Salad dressing with preservatives.
  • Free Cell – eating while playing cards on the computer.
  • I haven’t mentioned a number of other items because I already don’t eat meat or drink alcohol.

8. Things allowed are: Gu during long runs, Master Cleanser (would have maple syrup), homemade salad dressing (would have honey but no preservatives), spirulina, chlorella, and other vitamins.
9. What I really want to do is not cheat myself or God for 40 days.
10. I want to lose about 5 pounds, but the goal is God supported discipline in eating. That is, I don’t rationalize cheating because I am honoring God.

I can do a Daniel Fast for 40 days and keep the commitment. Juice fasts don’t last that long because I lose too much weight; so I never commit to anything.

Right now, I need to keep a commitment. I can stop myself from cheating by saying, “no I am on a Daniel Fast.” This thought invokes the power of God to direct my life.

Daniel 1
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
Daniel 10
a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. [a] The understanding of the message came to him in a vision.
2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, "Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you." And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.
12 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come."
15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless. 16 Then one who looked like a man [
b] touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, "I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless. 17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe."
18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19 "Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed," he said. "Peace! Be strong now; be strong." When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, "Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength."
20 So he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; 21 but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth.

Daniel Day 5 (2)

My grandiose fasting fantasy: only water and silence this weekend (Y).

I asked the Holy Spirit if I should eat fruit (or not) with the briefest of thought prayers. Here is what I thought next:

OK, I just discovered an ego trick; actually, this is a revelation. This fantasy is, for me right now, an ego conflict. I never win if I fight my ego. I committed to X on day one of this fast (abstinance from certain foods and eating only certain foods, as Daniel in the Old Testament); but now, it seems like my ego has whispered Y (the fantasy of water and silence). My ego may also have said that if I could go all weekend with water and silence, I’ll be very holy and achieve something mysterious which I’ll call “more.” God’s call was for X. If I try Y (the desire for more), I’ll lose. I won’t be happy. If I entertain Y fantasies, then I’ll feel guilty for achieving X (because X isn't good enough for my ego). Trying to do more than X is my will. Wanting Y would separate me from God and His strength.

I actually do not want happiness; I want joy. Happiness sounds good and it is what my ego promises if I do Y. God already promised what I want through X. I’m sure that if I do X, I’ll get what I was seeking and that will bring joy. I’ve just proven that ego happiness is fleeting and forever just beyond my reach; but leading to guilty despair. Joy is deep and satisfying and reachable because it has the power of God behind it.

Relating this to ACIM, the ego’s whisper about Y is the same as the tiny mad idea. X is Heaven. I don’t need to suffer to have X. Listening to the ego and grasping the fantasy of Y produces the separation from God.

Fasting and silence are wonderful; and I will have the majority of time in silence this weekend. But, I should not skip my 12 step meeting in the name of egotistical holiness.

Daniel Day 5

This morning, I read these awesome paragraphs from chapter 7.VI of ACIM:

"10 You can be perceived with meaning only by the Holy Spirit because your being is the knowledge of God. Any belief you accept apart from this will obscure God’s Voice in you, and will therefore obscure God to you. Unless you perceive His creation truly you cannot know the Creator, since God and His creation are not separate. The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your sanity and your limitless power. This limitless power is God’s gift to you, because it is what you are. If you dissociate your mind from it you are perceiving the most powerful force in the universe as if it were weak, because you do not believe you are part of it.
11 Perceived without your part in it, God’s creation is seen as weak, and those who see themselves as weakened do attack. The attack must be blind, however, because there is nothing to attack. Therefore they make up images, perceive them as unworthy and attack them for their unworthiness. That is all the world of the ego is. Nothing. It has no meaning. It does not exist. Do not try to understand it because, if you do, you are believing that it can be understood and is therefore capable of being appreciated and loved. That would justify its existence, which cannot be justified. You cannot make the meaningless meaningful. "

This tells me more about what I don't know because I cling to my ego; than what I do know because I cling to the Holy Spirit. Then, an internet friend sent me a few words of Jesus from the Book of John, last discourses:

"For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they (too) may be sanctified by (the) truth."

He tries to live these words. He knew I was fasting and thought they might apply to my fast. Indeed, they rang a bell as far as understanding what a fast does for others. I am a John the Baptist type of baptist: ascetic with no time for indulging myself. I am sooooo not a church going denominational Baptist. I am one who loves the desert and renounces society.

I don't know where my fast is going, but I hope for silence this weekend. It is supposed to rain alot and my foot hurts; so it is a good time to fast and contemplate. I have an intention statement. I hope to listen deeply to The Voice for God.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Daniel Day 4

Chapter 7.VI "From Vigilance to Peace" in ACIM is so powerful.
  • Your ability to direct your thinking as you choose is part of its (your mind's) power.
  • ...its power is not of its own making.
  • ...attack must be relinquished entirely...The mind that accepts attack cannot love.
  • Love is your power, which the ego must deny.
  • Appreciation brings love. The ego opposes all appreciation, recognition, sane perception and knowledge.
Part of my time of fasting is for silence. I remember this in the evening hours when I can just sit in silence; denying my ego its incessant grabbing for more. My ego thinks I am spiritual in order to achieve Illumination, write a book and get rich. My inner being is fine with just sitting in God's presence with no perceptible indulgences.

Last evening, I relaxed into sleep thinking, "God, I offer myself to you to do with me and build with me as you will...may I at last abandon myself utterly to you." (AA's 3rd step prayer)

I have felt completely safe from eating the things not on my original list. I must have made a total commitment to the spirit of Daniel; determined not to defile myself with the royal food. I have been free of conflict on this issue and any little inkling of "maybe eat this" is answered with "oh no, I am on a Daniel fast." A total decision and commitment is hard to shake when the support of God is accepted.

I feel so safe in my commitment that it occurred to me that I finally have an idea of how I make and keep commitments; and that the commitment to a Daniel fast could be expanded to a total commitment to the Holy Spirit's thought system (instead of the ego thought system). Fear, doubt, conflict and attack are the ego's delusional thought system. To keep my commitment to the Holy Spirit's thought system: when I think I want to attack another in my thoughts, judge them, entertain doubts of God's existence, enter conflict about God or fear what will happen to me, I say, "oh no, I am under the Holy Spirit's thought system." It’s not that my ego won't offer me its corruption, but that I can deny it. I have the power which comes from God. I am free. Today I understand what to do.

I am totally committed to the Holy Spirit's thought system therefore I abstain from the ego's delusional attack, conflict, doubt and fear because they are not true. Only God is true.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Daniel Day 3

From ACIM Text:
  • See only Mind everywhere, becuase only this is everywhere and in everything...perceive only this, [then] you perceive only what is true.
  • ...as we see them (others) truly, they will be healed.
  • ...by our gratitude to them we make them aware of the light in them.
  • This is true communion with the Holy Spirit, Who sees the altar of God in everyone, and by bringing it to your appreciation, He calls upon you to love God and His creation.
  • You can appreciate and love the Sonship only as one.
The idea that the world and humanity need to be saved is so prevalent. Is that programming or a true call from Love? I think it is our understanding that we are in pain and we want a solution. So, I reject the ego notion that I save the world to be grandiose. I accept the Holy Spirit's call to Love and try to see beyond the body and appreciate the light in each person.

When I am fasting, I am not worshipping idols of food and palliatives. I feel better about myself. I can then be much more generous with others in my practice of appreciation.

Today, I started with green tea again. I realize that I believe that I can't stay awake or think without caffeine. I am so totally afraid of the non-caffenated condition that I am sure my quitting caffeine would somehow threaten my ego. My ego doesn't want me to experience the light on the other side of addiction. I am thinking that either Friday or Saturday, I'll risk a crash.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fasting Day 2

I am still fascinated by the friendly intimacy of living in a small town. Yesterday, I ordered a book from Amazon.com and I had it shipped overnight. When I got home from work today at 3:15, it wasn’t on my porch. Now, I was thinking about how I would complain to Amazon because I paid for the shipping but didn’t get the book. Then, while I was out running, several streets away from my house, the UPS guy came up behind me in his truck. He had the door open. As he drove past me, he told me he had left something on my porch. That was so cute. Only in a small town is Buster Brown that personal.

Today, I drank only green tea; no coffee. Of course green tea has caffeine, but much less than coffee. Prior to beginning the Daniel Fast, I could not conceive of a day without coffee. Yet today, in the spirit of Daniel, under the power of a spiritual intention, I was able to go one day without coffee. It validates the theory of AA’s Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Drinking coffee is insane. It is an addiction indigenous to our society. We are conditioned to think this drug is ok and to rely on it. Caffeine addiction is similar to worshipping idols. It defiles the body and corrupts the mind. I’ve known this; but been unable to stop on my own will power. But under the Daniel Fast, I made a change to a habit and I am coming to believe that kicking the habit is possible for me. Every time I thought of getting a cup of coffee at work, I thought, “I am doing a Daniel Fast,” and I knew that one little decision to disregard the power God had invested in me would be a win for the ego. I would once again be in its prison. When the Book of Daniel says, “Daniel was determined not to be defiled,” that is my statement, “Laura is determined to get out of ego jail.” God has helped me to do something I could not do on my own will power. In my sane condition, I am determined to stick with God. This determination is the same as the ACIM tenet that the miracle worker accepts Atonement for themselves.

God’s help was silent and imperceptible. I got the help, but there was no burning bush. It would be easy to say, “Well how do you know it was God?” I know because of the spiritual circumstances and decisions and intentions surrounding the miracle. I am doing and believing what I could not do or believe on my own power. I am powerless without God’s help.

Fasting has traditionally been known as a spiritual practice of self-denial. Less known is the fact that it is not for penance, or for sacrificial bargaining with God; but for intimacy with God and for the benefit of others. We deny the small self in order to emphasize the needs of others or to focus on spirituality. These ideas (denial of self, focus on God and benefit of others) fit extremely well with A Course in Miracles (ACIM). Denial of the self in order to focus on God is the same as making a decision to deny the ego voice and listen only to the Voice for God. The ACIM Text encourages wanting the Kingdom and giving up everything else. Fasting may help a person to do this. The ACIM practice of forgiveness is the same as fasting for the benefit of others. Traditionally, when someone fasted, they also prayed. ACIM prayer is the practice of forgiveness. So it doesn’t mention fasting at all in the Text, except if fasting is suffering. In fact, the body is an illusion. But it is also a communication device. Fasting may help me communicate with others if it is for positive reasons. Fasting because I think I am a sinner makes no sense in the ACIM system because there is no sin and God is not angry. Fasting is an extremely peaceful practice; the non-activity of fasting allows the mind to heal, the body is detoxed and healed, and anger subsides. Fasting practices at least two of three lessons of the Holy Spirit: teach peace to have it, and be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. Fasting decreases the belief that the body is real because it breaks the ego’s laws.

Monday, September 8, 2008


  • To be in the Kingdom is merely to focus your full attention on it.
I am fasting. Not a water fast or a juice fast. It is a 40 day fast. It does involve food. I will spare you the details. I didn't think them up.

Fasting is primarily a spiritual experience for those who want use this time to draw closer to God. Fasting is a way to focus. Fasting is a way to trust and rely and surrender. I have made a time commitment: for 40 days I will listen only to the Voice which inspired me. The decision to listen will produce behavior. The behavior is an effect caused by the mental content of the decision making. Fasting is not a physical demonstration but a mental one. Mental work is supported by Spirit. Fasting allows the Holy Spirit to better use my body as a communication device.
  • Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven...but seek only this...because you can find nothing else...There is nothing else.
Last night, there was a dog barking barking barking. I lay in my bed thinking, "I wish someone would shoot that dog." Then, I heard a very loud bang. Then, utter silence. Then, I went to sleep.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Lost My Leg

Last night, even after I posted my blogs and shut off the computer, I thought, "I am arrogant to the core and hatefully so."

This morning, when I sat down at my table, I thought, "Peace." Even as I sat in an AA meeting this morning, I thought, "I don't feel hateful right now."

So, I accept a reprieve from hatred. My emotional condition seems to me rather like a missing leg. The condition won't ever change, but I don't have to let it be the only thing in my life. Yes, it impacts everything, but it is not everything. I don't feel so bad. Now, I can laugh when my ego accuses me of being a spiritual failure because I still feel hate. Hate belongs to the ego. I can laugh. It just means I'm missing a leg. This perception shift in my view of my hatred must be a miracle.

I've lived with alcoholism all my life, but never desired to drink after that last one (23 years ago). Actually, I quit drinking on hatred. Yes, the morning after my last drink, I thought, "If you keep drinking, you will end up like your mother;" and I hated her. I quit on the spot and it was several months before I broke down emotionally, went to a shrink, and was advised to go to AA because I was an alcoholic. I am either a hateful drunk or hatefully sober. My hate is my handicap. But, sober, I can work with it. Sober and spiritual, my hate is not a weapon (except perhaps against myself).

AA is not about not drinking. It is about having a spiritual experience. I discovered religion before I discovered spirituality in AA. Having learned of the 12 Step techniques, I have expanded. I am actually quite happy with today's consideration of what hate is to me. It loses its power if I realize it is no different than missing legs and I can work around it.

  • The Holy Spirit teaches one lesson...all power is yours.
  • God has lit your mind Himself, and keeps your mind lit by His light because His light is what your mind is.
What is meant by this power is the power of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is of God. I am of God. Hatred has no power over me.

I ran 74 miles this week.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I do not know who I am either; except for I am a runner. The people around me who think they know me are only seeing habitual behavior. My hair cut doesn't prove anything. My clothes don't prove anything. The ring on my finger means something to me; but for others, I hope it says "don't hit on me." I sit in AA meetings and say I am an alcoholic; but this really doesn't mesh with any standard description for what an alcoholic is. I don't identify with being a woman. I don't identify with my career. I don't identify with the university where I received my education. I am not loyal to any sports team. I am not registered to vote.

I am a runner. That is it. Unless you are a runner; you don't know what that means. Non-runners always want to know what I'm training for or how fast I went in some race. They know nothing of the act of running itself. I've gone years running over 50 miles a week and not racing. Non-runners think I am crazy to be out there in the cold for no apparent reason. Why? I am a runner.


My life does not have a purpose.

"Spirit Flower," you say, "How can you say that? Jesus tells you what your purpose is in ACIM. AA tells you what your primary purpose is. When you were in the church, it told you what your purpose is."

But, these purposes come from the outside. I have not yet touched the place inside which will make it clear.

I sit quietly and pray, "God....(long deep breaths)....I offer myself to you....(long deep breaths)....may I at last utterly abandon myself to You...." I spend hours at this. I don't sit properly like a Buddhist or Hindu; my chakra's are not straight. The important point is that I seek inner silence.

I allow my life to be seemingly purposeless. Having a purpose in societal programming. Leaving a legacy is arrogance; yet we are programmed to leave a legacy. I allow myself to feel useless and not pursue usefulness. When I go to work in the morning, it is just to earn money. It is not a ministry and I am not trying to save the planet.

I am not that different than many people; except for I don't cover over this impoverished state of affairs. I don't watch TV and ignore it. I don't go to dinner and pretend like everything is ok. I don't get drunk, take drugs or have sex. I don't go shopping and forget my poverty by covering my body with scraps of attractive clothing. I don't have a religious profession or monastic family so I can cover my poverty with service to the church. I don't get called in to save anyone's life and prove my worth. I sit alone in my house and face the fact: my life doesn't mean anything. I am poor. I have nothing to show for myself. I'll die and no one will care.

I intentionally sought this poverty. I did this to myself. I consciously rejected everything that other people thought was good.

What freedom and joy I find in this poverty.

Friday, September 5, 2008


This morning I woke up with the alarm at 3:06. I sat in bed briefly. I had slept under a blanket. I got up and made it to my table for morning study and meditation. I didn't read much. Soon I found myself just focusing on a tiny pin prick of light in a crystal hanging in the dark window. I realized that nothing was on my mind. I had been awake for almost an hour and still my mind had not grasped or invented anything to focus on. I realized how close I was to the abstract. If I maintained the abstract situation, I was outside my ego's control and very close to God. I imagine when I retire that I will spend much time sitting and staring at the tiny pin prick of light. It is a doorway to a much greater beyond.

At 4:25, I went running. It was cool and dark and misty. Up here, down there, up here, down there, up here, down there....around and around....who cares where....a dog barks....a car goes by....up here, down there.....7 miles.

I got to work at 6 (short commute of 1.5 minutes) and logged on. I erased the e-mail from my ex-teacher who has decided to promote joy for 30 days. How negative of me to not pretend to honor joy. I wrote a letter to a Buddhist nun in India who lives on $2,000/year. LOL I make $70,000, give half to the government, save some for retirement, and buy running shoes. Today I will work on a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan. It is a 40 page set of words to meet government regulations but will not change one thing about storm water at our plant.

Are you an ACIM student? Doing workbook lessons? Don't buy a timer and set it so you remember your hourly lesson. Sincerely make the effort to want to touch base with your friend Jesus every hour. If you really knew Jesus, would you need a timer to remind you of him? The timer will make you into a pavlov's dog: you'll have behavior but no substance.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Working the Text

  • Be vigilant for God and His Kingdom.
  • The third step (above) is a statement of what I want to believe, and entails a willingness to relinquish everything else.
  • The Holy Spirit will enable you to take this step.
  • Your vigilance against this sickness (the ego's harsh voice) is the way to heal it.
Many people who read A Course in Miracles, do not really understand it. Some give up. Some turn to published commentaries. I just go slow and contemplate deeply. When I don't understand, I talk to Jesus and wait patiently. The understanding comes. I don't read other people's opinions because then that would be a filter or overlay between me and what Jesus is trying to say to me. ACIM is about a divine relationship and allowing the Holy Spirit to shape and change me.

Many people who attempt ACIM work the workbook. Me too. But, right now, I am working the text. I have never heard anyone say they were working the text; doing homework exercises from the text. There are many places in the text where something needs to be learned. Just reading it and moving on won't teach that thing to you. In chapter six, there are three steps. How many people pause long enough to study these steps and take them?

The first step is: To have, give all to all. Quite frankly, when I read this, I only had a materialistic understanding of this and giving away my stuff isn't exactly what I plan to do. Even giving away my time isn't going to happen. But the text says we won't understand what is meant by this step. We need only turn toward it. So, I prayed and meditated and wrote down my fears. I asked for help from Jesus.

I had two people situations yesterday that left my ego complaining about theses people. How dare she assume that about me; or how dare she send me these chain e-mails. In the evening, as I sat down with ACIM, to read a little and meditate, the thought struck me: I don't have to be negative. I was suddenly in the spiritual sunlight and free from my ego's jail of opinions about what others do. Having accepted this sudden perception shift (miracle), I realized that as I didn't think anything negative (ego thought attack) about these other people, they were free too. I had given them freedom by giving up my negative thinking.

To have freedom, I gave freedom. "To have, give all to all." This experience is how the Holy Spirit taught me the meaning of the first step.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


  • To the Holy Spirit, there is no order of difficulty in miracles. This is familiar enough to you by now, but it has not yet become believable. Therefore, you do not understand it and cannot use it. We have too much to accomplish on behalf of the Kingdom to let this crucial concept slip away. It is a real foundation stone of the thought system I teach and want you to teach. You cannot perform miracles without believing it, because it is a belief in perfect equality. Only one equal gift can be offered to the equal Sons of God, and that is full appreciation. Nothing more and nothing less. Without a range order of difficulty is meaningless, and there must be no range in what you offer to your brother.
I have been sober in AA a very long time. In AA, there are no "teachers" and no professional class. But, a new person should ask someone who knows how to work the steps for guidance and support. This is called sponsorship. New people who get sponsors and follow instructions have a much better chance of achieving sobriety. Sobriety is not just not drinking; but a spiritual way of life, a spiritual way of being, which is entirely different than "just not drinking."

I have not been a very good sponsor and usually decline the request because I am an honest straight shooter. I'll tell you the truth very directly without any fluff to gentle the impact. Of course, people don't like this. I am aware of this and disclose it to anyone asking me to be their sponsor. Most people want coddling, and they go ask someone else to be their sponsor.

Now...a fascinating story.

I am currently working as an environmental engineer. I am a vegan. I run marathons. I live a celebate life. I study A Course in Miracles. I live in a small town. I have no children and have never been married. I am an ex-nun who, after getting kicked out of the monastery, eventually left the church. Five years ago, I got kicked out of the monastery. I had 18 years of sobriety and a box of clothes. My score card read zero. I couldn't get a job in my pre-monastery profession (engineering) but I did get a job as a cashier at Panera bread. My experience of leaving monastic life left me with no self esteem, so I was very happy that anyone would hire me.

In the past five years, my career circumstances have changed; but I love remembering the year I worked as a humble cashier. Now...enter Susan (not her real name). Susan is very different than me; but as we say in AA, "We are people who would normally not mix." I had seen Susan around AA the past five years, but not recently. But, in a meeting over a month ago, she told a story of how she had just got out of prison. She had been there as a result of drug involvement and is now a felon. She is a single mom. A few days ago, I noticed she was working at Panera. This past Saturday, I was scouting around Panera to say hi to her; and she was just going on break so I got to talk to her.

I told her about how I knew the work was hard; but it was a place to laugh and to get your feet on the ground. She said she was looking for a sponsor and wondered where I lived (unfortunately, about 45 miles away). I told her that most people don't like me as a sponsor because I usually kick their ass. But I gave her my phone number and urged her to call. She actually is tough enough to stand an ass kicking.

She called me today. I was thrilled. I told Jesus I would like to work with her so I can grow myself.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Marathon Report

OMG....I hit the wall..4:42.

At 18 miles, I was on track, but I knew I wasn't going to make it. By 22 miles, I was involved with a peculiar jogging shuffle which I knew would get me to the finish. I didn't even perk up on the down hills. I wondered if I was losing consciousness in the heat. I wondered if I should quit at mile 24.5 where my hotel was.

Then, I had a good stream of thought. It has been many years since I hit the wall. I accepted that today was today; and let go of my expectations of matching last year's time. Today was today of this year and not last year. What for? Why finish? Just to do it. Not to impress anyone. I went through that particularly intense intimate mental place and just kept going. It was self transcendence but not because I was fast; because I defeated my ego.

I still got 2nd in my age group!

The drive home was 3 hours. After 2 1/2, I stopped for gas and coffee before heading out into the country. The cup of coffee was 49 cents. I hauled out my change and could not figure out how to put coins together into the form of 50 cents. The girl had to help me. Wow, my brain is fried along with my legs!

Good experience! I'll have to savor it some more. But first, eating!