Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lent - Desert Oasis of Reflection

Personal statistics: I am starting a new journal today. I buy five-subject college ruled spiral bound notebooks, one after another, year after year. When I start a new one, it feels like New Years, or like a new leaf is turned over or a new phase of life begun. On the first page, my title page, I always put “The Divine Presence is Everywhere;” from the Rule of Benedict.

Today is the anniversary of my personal ground zero. A year ago today, I spent laying in a hospital bed. I had my arm operated on the afternoon before, spent the night on morphine and during the day I was filled with codeine and antibiotics. I couldn’t really maintain consciousness. I had arrived at the hospital room at about 7 pm the night before. I was hungry at that time, but the hospital only had box lunches with turkey sandwiches, a meal I don’t eat. Then, during the night the morphine made me sick, so so much for hunger. Then around noon, I would have eaten. The hospital sent a “vegetarian” lunch: canned tomato soup, grilled cheese, green beans, canned peaches, milk and ice cream. Ummmm, I don’t eat any of that junk either, but I tried to nibble some. Then, I looked out the fourth floor window at a beautiful sunshine day. I realized how divorced my point of view is from the average of society. Even what society thinks is food is not what I think is food. In most areas of life, I am not on the same page as society, food is just an example.

More statistics: I have been studying ACIM for a year and 8 months. I have not been in therapy in that time (a record?). I have read the Text 3 ½ times and been through the workbook 1 ½ times. I’m 50 years old, 5’ 8” tall, 130 lbs, 23 ½ years sober, worked for one employer 4 ½ years, lived in one house 3 ½ years and my new bicycle is sitting in a box waiting for me to apply my mechanical aptitude to transform it from mere parts to a useful machine living up to its full potential.

I have several massive life long projects: the running project, the dieting project, the earning money so I can retire project, the worldly approval project, the hoping someone will love me project, the glorious accomplishment project where I gain life long satisfaction and the respect of my fellows. This is my worldly life. It is a black hole of futility sucking energy out of me. I have had many experiences but seemingly not accomplishing anything.

I have a spiritual life; a life lived in the spiritual realm. It has one project: the God project. The God project is for the glory of God, an appropriate subject for glory, and the only authentic experience of glory. I am determined to know Soul, Christ in me, The Anointed, Conscious Holiness; and I do because of my spiritual practice. Spiritual practice is necessary if only to ensure space for God in your life. Otherwise, the TV never lets God get a word in. The Word is the one thing really necessary.

The Insanity of the Long Distance Runner

I was supposed to go in the Olathe Marathon today, but it was cancelled due to weather. Marathoning is such a balancing act. You spend months planning for a race and doing the training; but you never really know if you will be side lined that day. You never really know how the race itself will come out.

Instead of marathoning today, I participated in the non-marathon of daily training, the insanity of milage. Yesterday, my boss gave me the afternoon off and I got in a 22 mile run before the snow could come. Today, I ran another 11 miles in freezing rain. If you asked me why I run this much, I quite frankly have no idea. It is such a conundrum for me: why? It is insane. I keep myself in marathon shape and enter races. I am not fast, so I come home from races with t-shirts, participants medals and age group awards which I get because there weren’t that many in my age group. Every time I enter a race, I wonder if it is just my ego entering the race and the spirituality in my mind really doesn’t care. My ego has dreams of glory. I have a hotel reservation for a race three weeks from now and tomorrow I will probably go to and enter that race: a 50k. For what?

Today on my run, I was accompanied by herds of robins. They were continuously running up the road in front of me. They didn’t seem to care about the cold or wet. It was quite a peaceful way to spent 2 hours. When I am participating in the loneliness of the long distance runner, I am not alone. When I am out in the freezing rain, participating in the insanity of the milage, I am not a part of the world society thinks is reasonable. If running has any non-ego validity, it is these peaceful moments, disconnected from the world, when my mind is still, that my Soul speaks in non-words. Each moment is a whisper of guidance on the next foot placement. This is all spirituality really is.

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