Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Shoulds

It is 7 pm on Holy Thursday. I could have gone to the Mount for church; but didn’t.

I ran 5 hours this morning, ate and went to KC to get my car out of the dealer. After getting home, I didn’t nap. Running that long leaves me with a numb brain, especially if I am in the elements, which I was today. I really am tired of 20 mph winds. But, despite seeming dullness, I did just have a good realization about myself. These ideas flowed forth like water. I love it!


What does my life mean to me? Apart from all the books and opinions, what do I think? What does God mean to me? What does running mean to me?

My life I should know from lived experience. But I truly know almost nothing because it is all colored by other people’s opinions. My life is full of other people’s shoulds. Almost every person I’ve ever met has directly or indirectly tried to impose their beliefs and judgments on me. I left religion but continued to feel wrong and ashamed because of the shoulds. AA is full of shoulds. Society, other people, are nothing but shoulds. Because of the shoulds, I can’t let go of things that I think are wrong, or fully accept things that I think are right. The shoulds are my false conscience. How much I yearn at this moment to know my self.

Running I do know. There is no question to me that I know running from my experience. Running is/means: hope, persistence, discipline, joy, endurance, limited and infinite, unstoppable, painful, boring, foolishness, fool hardiness, idiotic, incomprehensible to non-runners, runners relate to eachother, planning, finding what I need within, lost in myself, pride, self indulgent, focused. That is all clear to me. I know exactly what running means. My running usually contradicts other people’s shoulds. In running, I thoroughly know myself.

My search for God has been going from one should to the next. You should read this book or pray this way or go do this or don’t do that. Is there anything about God that I know directly? This evening, I meditated on the question, “What does God mean to me?” God is silence, unknown, uncontrollable but somehow available. Those are my words.

I admit that I continue to study A Course in Miracles? Shouldn’t I quit if I want to know God directly? ACIM is outside the box of the world’s shoulds; and I do better emotionally when using it. The course tells me to listen for myself; and teaches me how to listen for myself. It tells me to open my mind and let go of the shoulds. I want what it offers and I am receiving. That’s the difference between it and the world, and why I continue to study. I'm receiving what I want, like running. Some day, however, the course will be over and I will be solely one in God.

This is what I think today. I am not going to hide it because I know some people think other things. I really need to stand up and be me; even if you think I am a failure or stupid or wrong. Those character defects are the shoulds core message, the prison cell. I am going to defy them. I am going to value myself no matter what. Defiant? Yes! I must be free. I must think on my own.

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