Saturday, May 30, 2009
I had a great 16.2 mile run this morning. I've decided to go ahead and "race" the Maryville Marathon. All systems are go, so I will taper a little and Gu-up on race day. I could go under 4:20 ( not a PB or BQ), but I would be extremely happy with that.
Now, the rest of the story...
I got up this morning at 2:45, and actually leapt out of bed instead of shutting off the alarm and thinking, "the heck with those people, let them get along without me," and going back to sleep. I did an hour of prayer. I was again pondering the 50 miracle principles from ACIM. For the first time, I actually want to be a miracle worker. I’ve been studying ACIM for nearly two years but the consciousness of wanting to be a miracle worker didn’t really come forth as a commitment I want until today.
After the prayer, I got all my $h!t together and jumped in the car just before 4. Got to the city park just before 5. Ran 2 hours 42 minutes, marveling how well I was despite trying hard to wear out my body the past 2 weeks. After my 50k in April, I had experienced a tender achilles and had to baby it a lot, but today, I realized it was ok with me running as I want to. I made it to the 8 am fellowship meeting. Got groceries. Drove the 50 miles home. Stopped at the lawn mower place to get my mower. Came home and decided to mow the lawn before I sat down (or who knows when I would want to do it).
As I mowed the lawn I marveled at a couple of things. Despite a strenuous run, neither my knee nor my achilles hurt. More importantly, I was wearing a pair of shoes that had not had a hole cut in the left toe box (because of the third left toe nail I nailed last weekend), but the toe was ok with it. Whereas, yesterday when I tried unmodified shoes, it was still a little touchy.
Now, to be honest, I don't accredit food or medication or shoes or even genetics with my ability to be uninjured at this point. I'm sure it is that my worldly plans are aligned with my spirituality, and my thoughts and beliefs are not working against me (i.e. the metaphysics are working). I am responsible for my reality and I've persistently worked at limiting beliefs. I happen to believe that I must have worked enough on myself that I'm not causing injuries.
I relaxed a little bit, nap and read. Then went for a walk 90 minute in the stupid 90F sun. My afternoon walks in the hot sun are tremendously important for heat acclimatization. My next two races will be hot hot hot. During my walk I thought more about injuries. I thought about the word pain. I decided that outer pain, that in my body, comes from inner pain, that in my mind. So, I looked inside and tried to find pain in my mind. I find that at this point in time, there is much more fear than pain: what if....
My fear is more spiritual: what if God....
God never would ______, but I find my self standing in the shoes of most humans: learned but intangible fear of God. So, I can give the fear up. Or I can allow it to fester and eventually get outer pain or some sort.
Tomorrow will be a long jog/walk at Ultra marathon pace.
From A Step Beyond: A Definitive Guide to Ultrarunning by Don Allison:
Why? … We ask it and search desperately for an answer, in each training run and especially halfway into a race. We are left largely clueless, because the answer is not in our proximate rationality. It is far beyond that, and deeper. The fact that we may get a T-shirt or a worthless trinket for finishing a race only confuses and demeans the effort – it’s as if these nominal awards are designed to trick the rationality that the race is for something, regardless of how trivial and in a total mismatch between what we put in and what we received.
But we don’t run for baubles. We run long distances because in the deep dark recesses of our minds there still resides….(Spirit Flower has her own thoughts).
Only those …whose mentality gave them pleasure in the chase as such, without immediate reward but with the vision of a possible payoff far ahead, would give chase, or “race” as it were. Only those with the mentality to endure would push the evolution of their physiology to match the required effort. That mentality allows us to endure, if not honor, voluntary privations.
Psychology matches physiology…We developed mind power – the ability to project far ahead to the prey that is out of sight and sound, to the finish line of a marathon or ultramarathon.
To be an ultrarunner is not to be weird. It’s to push through the tough crust of customs, to the core of what makes us human.
The fact that ultramarathons are so difficult is exactly the draw. The possibility that an individual will not be able to complete the event – or will have to reach down the very depths of their physical, emotional and spiritual reserves to do so – is just the element of challenge and competition that many athlete are seeking…
Ultrarunning is too important to be taken seriously.
Ultrarunning is a wonderful tool for learning about our selves – not only our physical abilities, but our motivations and inner psyches as well. End quote.
Friday, May 29, 2009
This morning, I started again on the ACIM (A Course in Miracles) text at 1.I, where is listed out the 50 principles of miracles. At first, #2 caused me to pause, “Miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their Source, which is far beyond evaluation.” I stopped to allow the reality of Source be preeminent in my mind. Then I stopped again at #4, “His voice will direct you very specifically. You will be told all you need to know;” where I allowed myself to not only believe that this is true, but experience a deep sense of trust in Source. This morning, I only made it as far as #22 where it says, “You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.” Somehow at that point, my thinking shifted. I started to think that I might be sitting on spiritual and metaphysical wealth beyond my wildest worldly imagination. The idea of having just enough money to retire pales in comparison to the spiritual wealth I already have (which everybody has with out knowing it). As I write this, I realize I am much closer to understanding that what I have in the spiritual realm is so far above the ego's paltry little trinkets, that I'm willing, eager in fact, to drop all ego stuff in favor of spiritual stuff.
When I first encountered ACIM, I realized it would take me at least 5 years of study before I would have much grasp of what it means and internalized alot of it. For nearly 2 years I’ve been investing in ACIM and the Holy Spirit’s thought system. I must be giving and receiving in the metaphysical and spiritual worlds to the extent that my wealth in that world is humongous. I need worry about nothing in the ego material world of fear and pain because I am sitting on massive wealth in the world beyond this one. My wealth is love, joy and peace; plus never dimming spiritual sight.
Of course, I’ve nothing to prove this; and metaphysical wealth and talent don’t at all mean that materialistically bad things won’t happen to me. It just means that I know my truth is not here where materialism matters. Only God matters.
Every morning, no matter what, the first hour of my day is spent in spiritual study. Running actually comes second. The world thinks that prime time is the evening where people sit on couches and watch TV and allow their brains to be corrupted by nonsense. My prime time is at 3:15 in the morning when I sit and turn my mind over to The Holy Spirit’s thinking. Running is an extension of spirituality. I am an ultra-marathoner because I was first a spiritual marathoner.
Spirit Flower…spiritual athlete!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
So this morning, as I was doing my lesson, “I feel the Love of God within me now,” I knew I didn’t and I could only turn to Jesus for help. I wondered what barrier I have erected to keep the Love of God out of my awareness. I thought, “I so deeply don’t believe God loves me…so I have separated from God… and now I hate God and am afraid of Him.” This darkness can only be given to Jesus. How happy he is to take my errors in thinking and heal them.
Towards the end of my hour, I remembered my goal: to achieve the remembrance of God in THIS lifetime, now. Yet…how? Only by accepting Jesus’ help. Some ideas from the ACIM text, 1.I, filtered into my meditation (and I think they were intended to be Jesus’ help). I thought, in conjunction with my goal, “I am willing and insist on being spirit, allowing spirit to be my primary reality and spirit is my altar of truth.”
Then I went to lift weights. My desire to be spirit got mixed in with some thoughts about dieting; and I thought, “How do I keep promises to myself?” I saw the promise to be spirit and the promise to not over eat as one and the same.
I kept lifting weights and suddenly thought, “Spirit is the Love of God.” Ah hah! That is today’s lesson: I feel the love of God within me now. Feeling spirit, I feel the Love of God. They are the same. I know how to feel sprit. I think it is the Life Force within me. The Life Force is apparent and it is not ego. I can discern the difference. The Life Force is an energy and power, but it doesn’t really have words; whereas my ego is continuously shrieking and yammering and causing me to be hateful and afraid.
I went for a 6 mile run. No big deal. To be spirit is why I run, especially in the early morning. My running is so unspectacular. If you could see me plodding along, dreaming of finisher medals and age group awards, you would immediately think of how pathetic I am. But if my running is not about races but about experiencing the Life Force, then it makes sense. It is Life Force for which I live. To allow Life is to shamelessly follow Jesus, to live a life of constant prayer and to be Love, the predominant mode of existence. In constant prayer, I am the medium of miracles. As the medium, Jesus can work through me.
Personal statistics: yes, I am starting the ACIM text for the fifth time. The first time I read it, less than two years ago, it took me about two months to complete 669 pages. The fourth time I read it, it took about ten months. It would be a privilege if I can take even longer this time. But sometimes I get eager and run through the text gobbling its words like candy.
Spirit Flower. Spiritual athlete. Spirit of the Prairie.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Otherwise: I ran 5 miles this morning. I checked the radar before I went and it looked like all the rain was a hundred miles away. Wrong! There was a small downpour that got me soaking wet the last mile of the run. But you know...I wouldn't have missed this run. Not because it was special but just because "it was."
My prayer and meditation this morning were dry. I was absolutely brain dead. I could not grasp the lesson: The peace of God is shining in me now. I'm like that sometimes. The most beautiful and enlightening and hopeful words bounce off my brain and fall useless to the ground. Jesus says not to worry about it. Jesus says to sit quietly and listen. I do that and discover it is silent. Hence, the frustration of peace is silence. Its not birds or wind or beautiful images. Peace is silent.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Today, I got the message: re-birth, re-newal and resurrection. If you have read of my saga so far, you've already read of the renewal symbolism of the frog, the deer and the snake. Today, I saw the babies as if to reinforce the message. Today was added the baby turtle. Turtles have been a totem of mine for a few years. [Symbolism of the turtle: an innocent energy, longevity, the wisest of souls, the turtle takes its wisdom one day at a time - not reacting, simply accepting and moving on in its natural methods.]
Jeez, I ran 111 miles in five days! I am well aware of ultra-runners who go 100 miles in a day. I'm not trying to say I am great compared to them. I am just flabbergasted at what I did; because it is so far beyond what I have ever done before.
In retrospect, I would say I experienced an inner death on Friday when I went to my old convent. Something died inside me and I do know what it was. But, I kept up the multi. It is not explainable to most why a personal multi would be done anyway, except in the context of "training." But as you can see, mine turned into a vision quest. The results, as I go to work tomorrow, will be subtle. But, I do feel as if I passed into a new phase of my development. It won't look very different on the outside, but inside I can feel a new perspective. The turtle promises that the new perspective will last.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
I felt it a good idea to keep from pushing myself too far, beyond prudence, with the running. My mind was filled with what if injury scenarios and that any one of them could sideline me for the Maryville Marathon. I had already pushed the envelope by going about 83 miles in 3 1/2 days. So I decided to walk today. I walked 210 minutes and lifted weights.
This afternoon found me once again asking myself Why?
1. Why run a multi-day?
2. Why run at all?
3. Why be alive?
Question 3 is my ancient question and it echoes Heidegger’s metaphysical question: Why is there anything at all instead of nothing?
If today is an intermission, is my multi-day a symphony with several movements? If today is a Selah, is my multi-day a psalm, a song or a love poem?
Let me review:
Wednesday afternoon I had written a prelude with these main points: the multi-day is about prayer, not training; about contemplation, a place to merely be. It turns out, merely being is a hard mentality for an ego to tolerate. Wednesday evening I walked 2 hours.
Thursday, I went 28 miles and I said: running a multi-day is done for its own sake, to be only spirit.
Friday, I went 22 miles and visited my old monastery. That day, I practiced the Name of God as I ran. I said the multi-day should be allowed to be meaningless. A multi-day is an optional thing, and so is my life. The monastery trip was difficult. I saw things I didn’t want to see. I realized that as much as I want to be a monk, I am totally grateful God saw fit to ensure I didn’t stay there. It seems a place of stagnation and death.
Saturday, I went 26 miles. Mulling over my convent visit and working on that day’s ACIM lesson, the realization “God is my inheritance” solidified and became a reliable belief for me. I was moved by the messengers from nature: the frog (transformation, the path of change, natural healing), the deer (their heart rhythms pulse in soft waves of kindness) and the frustration of the deer thwarted by the government fence; and the snake (throwing off the past and continuing to live). I thought about ultra-sobriety as continuous conscious contact. I reached that sweaty place of stillness and silence in the hot sun where wordless “knowing” was my reality.
Now Sunday, my intermission from running, I walked 210 minutes. I do everything for spirituality. In the multi-day I seek contemplation, silence and prayer. Hidden is the desire for God to yield “something” which an ego could grasp. But in contemplation, I realize that God yields peace. I contemplate peace. Peace is not just lack of war, it truly is nothing. Real peace, total nothingness, is appalling to an ego. The truth of nothingness is why I keep questioning the running activity. The avoidance of nothingness is the reason why people “train” for races instead of just run (including me). The ego cannot accept that it is nothing. I look inside and see nothing. My multi-day, being not-racing, is nothing.
And then, the big one finally clicks: the way to find joy in nothing is to realize you are free. My multi-day is done in complete freedom. I run free for days. Think about freedom, not just the silly American type of freedom where we go around doing what we want; but freedom of the spirit escaped from the ego’s limitations and rules and silly worries. The free spirit is nothing of this world, and it soars beyond ego. This freedom is what endless running brings me, because the running means nothing.
Now I am happy, joyous and free.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I woke up without aches or pains from running. On Wednesday evening I had walked 8 miles. Thursday, I had gone 28 miles and on Friday 22. Now, it is Saturday and I have no time constraints. After an hour of spiritual study, I lifted weights and got my provisions ready for the run. I got started at 7. It was about 60F. I started running and started my name of God practice. I noticed that I would breathe in God and out Self. I recognized that it has taken me more than a day to accept the ACIM teaching that the Name of God is Self because they have the same Name. A father gives his son his name; so God has given His Son His Name. The Self is the Christ and has That Name. We are Christ. But, I have been slow to use it, saying love or peace instead. Finally today, whatever barrier my ego had erected was gone. As I used the word Self, felt drawn in. All things were one and the physical bodies became illusions, the meaningless veils our egos made. I was not a self. I was part of Self and Self was everything with God as everything.
In the park, I saw someone tipped over the trash and I was able to see it was an illusion. I was able to resist judging and resist the attraction of guilt. I remembered that I saw what I wanted to see. I thought more about the monastery and was able to not judge; able to accept responsibility for my projection, my attraction to guilt and give it up to Self. Then joining God/Self as part of Mind, not a body.
During the third lap, I noticed the third toe on the left was hurting. I had looked at it before starting and decided not to do anything for it because it was already a goner and didn’t seem to be in pain. However, now, it was starting to whine. My first thought was, oh, its not that bad. Then I thought, ultra-marathoners pay attention and do something immediately. So I decided to be wise, run the 4 blocks home and put the Compeed on it. This helped a lot; saving not only this run but the rest of the multi-day.
I spent alot of the run listening to my inner procurement department state its case for going to the city this afternoon and satisfying it's desires at the sporting goods store.
The run (at ultra-marathon pace walk/jog) lasted over 5 hours and 23 miles. It finished in 83F heat. So far the multi-day is up to 79 miles. Over the course of today’s run I ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich cut in 3 pieces, 4 Gu packets, one electrolyte S-cap, and 3 Succeed drink packets with 90 oz of water. Next to the dumped over trash was a discarded Crown Royal bag (which explains the trash situation I guess) and I salvaged it. I haven't drank any alcohol for over 23 years and never drank Crown Royal. The words "Crown Royal" and the purple and gold sack remind me more of Jesus than anything. It reminded me of ultra-sobriety and my current definition of continuous conscious contact. Then, I thought of a way to make a neat spiritual ultra-sobriety gift using that Crown Royal bag. (The first person from the Parkhill group who contacts me gets the gift. Hint: push the comment button located below.)
There were many small planes flying about as there is a fly-in at the Amelia Earhart airport. At one point, I was watching two ultra-lights and a helicopter flying together, and thinking that I shouldn’t spend too much time looking up, when I noticed movement at my feet. Startled, I looked down to see a huge bullfrog hop across the road in front of me. What is the symbol or meaning of the bull frog? (see below) I saw a bewildered deer which wanted to escape south but kept crashing into the government fence. I also saw a big black snake lying on the road as I tip toed around it. I saw the black birds chase a hawk. I saw into myself and there was nothing there.
During the 11th lap, I finally “got there.” I came to the top of a ridge, hot sun, no wind, silence, stillness, reduced to a shuffle; I knew it was a moment for which I had begun this multi-day. It took three days to get me to the indescribable place of “knowing.” And….I’m not done yet!
My walking this afternoon will probably first involve pushing a lawn mower, then perhaps a relaxing speed on the TM while I listen to the radio (a little walking will actually help my recovery). But first, a nap. The procurement department is closed. The responsible adult department will probably get it's way and force me to mow the lawn (the laundry is already in the dryer!). But, the take care of yourself department got first dibs. I made a green smoothie, then a salad; and the nap is next.
ps: Frog Symbolism: Sensitivity, regeneration, renewal. In many cultures, frogs are a strong symbol of luck and wealth. Frog medicine teaches the power of transforming oneself, a natural path of change that occurs over a lifetime. Frog is also a symbol of femininity and fertility, and natural healing. Frog people tend to be pleasant, positive, and well in-tune with the energies around them. ...The snake is the symbol of life throwing off the past and continuing to live. The deer (particularly the doe, females) has the capacity for infinite generosity. Their heart rhythms pulse in soft waves of kindness. For the two-legged beside whom Red Tail Hawk flies, a sharp mind will be evident, and these souls will possess the ability to perceive the subtlest of nuances that might escape other less "observant" individuals. (obviouly, I could have pasted in any number of things for these animals)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I did it. How? I had this violent thought: going for a walk will starve my ego and tear away its face. Ummm...well, I don't know what to say about that but it motivated me. This multi was supposed to be about self-transcendence after all.
I think walking off an 18 mile morning with 8 more miles was a very good idea.
Just before getting up for the walk, I had a tremendous intuitive thought related to ACIM: My involvement with miracles is larger than I can imagine. For a few precious moments, I felt like I actually was a miracle worker and something was happening "out there" because of it. Talk about the veil being very thin! Believing the Course is real and that my work in it is real is difficult because the ego absolutely does not know anything about Jesus or the Holy Spirit or the Real World. So to notice a little thinning of the ego's defenses, enough to believe the Real World is true and that my mind is really not in my body is tremendous. Just a few brief seconds, easily missed; but I saw it. IT is true.
Tomorrow will be an easy day. I'll get up super early and do 3 hours in the park. Then it is off to the monastery to see Sr Priscilla. I don't know what time I'll be able to politely escape from all those sweet little old ladies! So the afternoon walking may be shorter.
Today I continued my personal multi-day with 18 miles at ultra-marathon pace (walk up/jog down), 9 laps in 3:45; plus the weight lifting. Then I showered, vacuumed all the floors and now I am having a smoothie.
While jogging, I ate one peanut butter w/honey sandwich on wheat, 2 Gu and about 40 oz of Succeed mixed 1.5 times directions with 2 packets of Emergen-C added. The Emergen-C really boosts the vitamin C and potassium plus a few other goodie vitamins.
The marathoner in me scoffs at spending nearly 4 hours running 18 miles. The ultra-marathoner thinks I'm doing great. Actually, I've always wanted to be able to spend long long periods of time just keeping moving. Now, I am, for the first time ever, free in that world.
I was up at 4 am for one and a half hours of spiritual study. I realized I have at least 3 gifts today: First, I woke up with no aches or pains. Second, the multi-day is for its own sake. It is not in conjunction with some training goal. It is established as an event with its own unique experiences. Third, I am running the multi-day as spirit, with awarenes of Christ within. My inner running is running into the inner silence. The outer running is running through the veils of illusion which appear to be a real world. The time spent in prayer during the multi-day is as important as the time spent doing laps. I'm spending gobs of spiritual energy along with the gobs of physical energy.
At the end of today's run, it was about 70F. I was feeling hot and tired and reality hit home: I have decided to do something hard, or at least challenging to me in body, mind and spirit. The thought of not going back to hike this afternoon crossed my mind: Why not just lay on the bed and read? I don't have an answer to that. I could you know. So if I do what I want to do (continue the laps), it will be amazing.
To patiently stick with the multi-day is to practice ultra-sobriety. The sober person lives one day at at time and they keep coming back.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Well, today after work vacation starts. “Spirit Flower,” they ask, “Where are you going on your vacation?” “Running,” she says. I know my legs will hurt.
Outside of “training for an ultra,” why do a personal, 5 day multi-day?
1. I’ll probably never go to a real multi-day.
2. It is my Suprabha Beckjord imitation.
3. I want to have an experience.
4. A new pair of Sahara shorts will be delivered to my house tomorrow.
5. I can.
Thoughts on Training by Satyajit Saha
“Self-transcendence is the essence; the quintessential core of what multiday running is about. During a multiday transcendence event all the trivial nagging minute forces of human frustration and sorrow that dog mundane, habitual living melt away and dissolve in the one-pointed focus and mission of covering at least one more mile before taking pause, or giving in. The struggle of running becomes the sole mission, the all-consuming purpose of the runners’ consciousness. The runners’ consciousness becomes clear, uncluttered and untrammeled in its singleness of purpose. Just run one more lap. One more lap. One more lap. Nothing else matters. The body aches, the nervous system is taxed to its limit. But the mind is clear. The heart is clear. There is nothing to prove to anyone. No place else to be. No bonds, no cares, no worries. Just run, or walk, and be free. The rest of the world takes care of itself. Just run one more lap.
It seems to me that the other runners feel this and commune with this Spirit which percolates through the struggles of each. It is unspoken, but the runners know”
First of all, running a personal multi-day is not the same as running a race. There is no claim on finishing. No experience of camaraderie with others. There is no guide book detailing the satisfactions. It does not prove anything. It is done in silence. I will be a solitary person rounding a hilly 2 mile loop, walking and jogging, and going home to re-stock every few hours.
This a time of extreme joy; yet discerned in subtleties. It is not for training; but more for prayer. There is not really a goal, only a mentality: just a little more time, one more lap. It is an environment of infinite existence. It is a place and space to merely be.
Only someone who has considered this as a real possibility would “get” the idea of why I do this. The nuns don’t understand why I am not happy to stay there and do liturgy with them. The people at work don’t understand why I don’t do something sensible like shopping or a trip to the boat. Some people think I am doing something impressive or extra-ordinary.
What do I think I am doing? Ultimate contemplation, the darkness of unreflected light.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
My own reflection this morning: If God is love, and I've stopped to ponder my meaning of the word love, then any cruelty or disease cannot be of God. Since I am a creature of God, I must be love too. Love could only beget love. Therefore if I perceive cruelty or disease, it must be an error of perception and thinking on my part. It must be a delusion and I am insane. I take it back to myself. I take responsibility for my insanity, my delusion; and with utter trust and reliance on Love as the only truth, I deny reality to my delusion. I stand defenseless because I've decided that love is the only thing that could exist. To say it again: If God is love, cruelty and disease could not exist. They could not be true, but merely my delusion.
Get this: even though I perceive cruelty and disease all around me, I've decided to deny it reality and instead believe God is love and only love could really exist. And then, I walk out into the world; knowing I am blind to love, trusting it is there. Woah...isn't that like stepping off a cliff? No...there is no cliff. (I've been thinking about this for awhile and it has taken me some time to conclude God is love and to trust Love, not my eyes.)
I accept my insanity and ask the God of Love for help. I stop blaming God for evil. If I blame God for evil, how could He help me? I ponder the reality of a God of Love. I do not corrupt love with suppositions for how evil could exist. I accept that only love exists and anything else must be my insanity. A God of Love could and would restore me to sanity. I so rarely come to believe I must be insane and ask for help. An insane person cannot heal themselves. Therefore to reach the realization of insanity means I must have been healed and received the help I needed. I must now believe in love and only that. My willingness to take back my delusion and rely on Love is a messenger thought. I listen to the messenger and accept what it says: I must believe God is love. I am safe.
How can an insane person exist as a creation of God; except to say, "I chose this instead of love. I've forgotten exactly why, but now I want love."
Personal statistics: Today is the second day in a row I rode my bicycle to work early in the morning and will ride it home and back at lunch. It sounds pretty small but not driving the 10 miles a day for two trips to work creates for me a different reality. I live in a twilight zone, a parallel reality, the realm of the spirit. To get here, I worked spiritually, but I also stopped participating in the mainstream and made other choices. Like: I don't watch TV. I don't eat meat, preservatives or processed food. I am athletic. I'm not involved in family or church. I don't dress up in status clothing, make-up or hair-do. I don't invest like everyone else. I do study philosophies which are not approved of. I get up at 3 in the morning. I don't smoke or drink. Other stuff....and now...I ride a bicycle. This morning, riding to work at 5:45, I noticed about four other people out walking. My twilight reality includes people walking but not anyone in cars. Interesting!
143 days to Heartland, Spirit of the Prairie. Personal multi-days begin on Thursday. I get to see Sr Priscilla and Friday and take her to lunch in the "big house."
In my solitary twilight zone, I stopped listening to the mainstream and cleared out my thinking for something else: God.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
"Father, You are the One Who gave the plan for my salvation to me. You have set the way I am to go, the role to take, and every step in my appointed path. I cannot lose the way. I can but choose to wander off a while, and then return. Your loving Voice will always call me back, and guide my feet aright. … Yet I merely follow in the way to You, as You direct me and would have me go."
I will memorize it sometime soon. I like how it speaks of “path” and one step at a time and that I cannot lose the way. This would be an appropriate prayer for a 50 mile race.
Today I traveled for about 5 hours at “ultra-marathon pace” (that is jogging down and walking up). It was hilly. It started out cool but ended in the 60s. 12 laps at 2 miles a lap. I put rocks on a fence post to keep track. I ate 1,280 worth of calories in Succeed drink, Gu and a peanut butter/honey sandwich on wheat. I ran the last 4 miles a little faster because I had no serious aches.
After the first hour, I had two realizations. First, walk up the hills with determination and put some effort into it. Training to walk at high speed is just as important as running for an ultra-marathoner. Don’t just go to sleep because you are walking. Second, don’t allow your thinking to dwell on the future; come back to today. I was worrying about what I would wear on October 10. I was wondering if I should go in the Heart of America marathon on September 7. I was trying to decide if I should change my shoes at the halfway point of the Psycho Psummer 50k in July, because I know they’ll be totally mud soaked. I thought about how slow I’ll be at the Maryville marathon on June 13. I even though about how much to run for my personal multi-days starting this Thursday.
But all of this is nonsense. I returned to the now, and let God control each and every foot step and breath. All of this is the future; it is not the now. I need to impose mental discipline as much as anything; so I took up my mantra. I breathed in the word God and breathed out the word Love. After about the second hour, I realized there is no need for me to have any other thoughts than God/Love. It made me remember the book written by an anonymous 13th century monk, “The Cloud of Unknowing.” Many people read this book and take it as their guide to contemplation. However, this monk was steeped in the belief that sin exists so he suggested God/sin as the two words. How horrid to keep sin ever before your eyes. There is no sin. Let it go.
Silence was all around me and the only reality is “God is.” Aware of the silence, I became the Christ in me; who lives and breathes only the Presence of His Father.
Now, at home, I have showered, the laundry is washing, I’ve had my green smoothie and I’m about to start on green tea and beans with rice.
I have to contemplate: why?
I am determined to remember God in this lifetime. Therefore, everything I do is framed in Christ vision. Everything is contemplation of the non-physical reality. Everything is “lectio” and “conversatio” (monastic terms). Everything is living ultra-sobriety: the humility of oblivion and the acceptance of love. In the park’s silence, I heard the sound of the wind. God was speaking His non-words in the wind. The yellow breast of the meadow lark caught my eye. God was speaking in the color of reflected light. A solitary bird called out. God was speaking in the language of creation; the celebration of Life. Life was pure. Life was the possession-less existence. Life is the solitary walking and jogging and walking and jogging. Life is the reality of nothing matters. Life is breathing in God and breathing out Love. I am like the solitary bird: Life as such and nothing else.
Personal multi-days start Thursday.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
As I walked, I thought about letting go of the outcome. My life is not about making sure I finish a 50 mile race. My life is about spirit. In my humanity, I must always let go and let some Power greater than myself care for my well being and plan for my edification. I must not limit this Power to giving me what I want.
So I faced oblivion. I have no idea where I will be on October 10; and even if I toe the starting line, the finish line is not guaranteed. And, actually, getting to the finish is not the point. I don't know what I need to learn. I don't know what insights I will be givien from my Inner Self. So I don't judge and assume that the best path for me is to finish the Heartland Prairie 50 miler.
I begin to live in a world made of faith. I do my training with no idea what for. In fact, there is no earthly good reason or objectively spiritual reason for running a 50 mile race. I don't know what for; but I see I could so I am giving it a shot. My faith is not that I will finish the race but that I will be given and guided in whatever way is best for me. I will not know why. I just listen and do what I think should be the next right thing.
What I am doing is not of real importance. This morning I got up at 4:30. After prayer, I made a green smoothie and headed 30 miles south to a town that has a Dillon's with great organic produce. Then, I headed another 20 miles south east to a fellowship meeting. Then I ran in the park. Then I came home and ate, posted to running mania, read and napped. Then I lifted weights and walked for an hour. Then I showered and ate some more.
What was in my mind? Almost always, the ultra. In between were thoughts of my ACIM lesson. Thoughts of food. There should be more in my mind than eating and running. I expect higher orders of thought for myself. But honestly, I live at this low level; except for when I stop to ponder that Power.
Friday, May 15, 2009
I plan to share my idealism, peaks, valleys and disasters. I plan to keep up the walking, jogging, bike riding and situps. Tonight, I added 1.5 pounds to the bar bell.
At this moment, it is important to contemplate my ego's reaction to full disclosure: fear.
Ha! Laugh my axx off! Show that ego!
The ACIM concept of defenselessness is what I will employ. I will not attack or defend. I will only look for holiness. Holiness depends not on form, depends not on this world. Holiness simply is. Holiness simply exists. Holiness is the quiet existence of ultra-sobriety, slow jogging in the early morning darkness and taking each step as the gift of God which it is.
There you go...I went philosophical again!
You will see that I mix spirituality into my running. I do this because I mix spirituality into everything I do. Why? It is my goal to learn that I am only spirit, in this lifetime. In my spirituality, I am a reformed Tenzin Palmo. Tenzin Palmo is the highest ranking Buddhist nun. She spent 12 years alone in a Himalayan cave. She said in her book that the goal of her life is to achieve enlightenment as a woman. What? Well, the male roshis do not think it is possible for a woman to be enlightened. Of course that is ridiculous; but that is what they believe. Tenzin Palmo intends to prove them wrong. My life goal, to know I am a spirit, in this life, reflects Tenzin Palmo who is something of an inspiration for me.
In the realm of running, yet mixed with meditation and enlightenment, is the inspiration of Suprabha Beckjord. She has for 11 years completed the 3,100 mile Self Transcendence race. This she does by going about 54 miles a day until the distance is completed. Um…impossible!
147 days is not even 6 months. I want to develop a kind of sobriety, an athletic sobriety: ultra-sobriety. I don’t want my ego to be training or dieting. This ultra-sobriety needs to be carefully crafted, hand carved out of love and quiet discipline. The discipline is to sit quietly in a cocoon of holiness and innocence while the ego is transformed into spirit. Yes, I jog and walk and eat and sleep; but all the while consciously working the steps to remain ultra-sober. The steps of ultra-sobriety, the designing and building of the cocoon and the sitting within it, are an ontological tool used with the 50 mile race as the day of re-birth. Ultra- sobriety is my engineering project. October 10 is the day of its unveiling, the day of ripping open the cocoon, the crossing of the bridge, the turning of the page, the day of death and resurrection.
The 147 days are a preparation for the day of dying; by giving up my ego possessions and my ideas of what training and racing should be. I actually DO NOT know who I am. I know NOT how to eat or train or be a spirit. I know NOT how to be ultra-sober. Life, my ego concept of self as I know it, is unmanageable by me. Hence, ultra-sobriety is a gift I hope to receive each day.
God grant me the serenity to NOT try too hard today, to accept Your Love and listen quietly to Your Guidance, and to allow my insanity to be healed by You.
I have planned a few days next week to detox from my own thinking. I need to turn my will and my life over to God’s plan for me, God’s Teacher and The Teacher’s peace. Ultra-sobriety should be a time of peace, more peaceful than I’ve ever been. My insanity is unworthiness and unbelief. It is my own choice of unworthiness which denies ultra-sobriety and causes insane racing after goals. Marathon racing is plagued by demons. The headless horsemen are called AG (age group award) and PB (personal best) and BQ (Boston qualification); the messengers of ego desire. In a marathon I experience the insanity of fear, chasing the demons of ego satisfaction, in frenetic desperation to catch the ego gratification of AG and PB and BQ.
To live ultra-sober and run the race of self transcendence, to know I am spirit, is to enter a flow of existence and merely be. One jogs and walks and eats and feels pain and experiences the delusions; but the spirit is merely existing and maintaining peace; quietly slipping across the bridge.
This morning I snuck in a wonderful 77 minutes of jogging between thunderstorms. Starting today, I am not counting miles but minutes.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It is not that you are you and I am me; but that we are as God is. Nothing else is. To authentically think only this, know that only God is, is the miracle and the Atonement. To learn and participate in forgiveness is my part.
Ok...thats it; except it takes a bible sized text book to explain this in detail. The words Atonement, Miracle and Forgiveness have very different meanings in the course because they are based in the one truth that "God is;" hence, sin could not be. It takes a text book to teach the meaning of these words. It takes a work book to learn how to live them.
The running was great today. I ran in the early morning. I did a porch workout this evening. I got to experience my inner drive, the thing that pushes me both spiritually and physically. I finally got to use my bicycle today as there was a small window this afternoon without a thunderstorm. Check my brief "about me" statement. I am not at this time a raw vegan but a peanut butter addict and beans with rice fanatic.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I swear, I suddenly started singing this song, a well loved Beatles song:
When i find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.
And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
Jesus was right on target with this song. Looking at the lyrics, not only did it cause me to stop and let it be; but it hints at Course principles. Amazing! Relying on Jesus instead of the ego. that is how to live!
Let it be eeeeee!
I have signed up to run a really long running race, 50 miles. I don’t go there just to win a medal or feel glorious about myself. Between now and the starting line on October 10 at 6 am, there is an infinity of time to work out, eat, sleep and work.
“…let us wait an instant and be still…”
Why do we run? Why do we run 50 mile races? Why do we train a couple hours a day during the week and 3 to 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday? For a finishers medal?
“Be still and listen.”
Running is the form. What goes on mentally, emotionally and spiritually is the content. To run purely on a physical level does seem quite shallow and egotistically boring. To experience running metaphysically has ongoing interest.
“Be very still an instant.”
Running brings myriads of pain, dreams, experiences, disciplines, thoughts, feelings, peaks, valleys, time, expense, planning, wastefulness, futility, hopes, disappointments, relationships, misunderstanding, patience, wisdom, peace and love. Happiness too!
“…come to listen silently…”
To the heartbeat, the foot fall, the birds, the wind, the rain, the trees, the insects, the cars, the swish, the swoosh, the pervading silence behind it all.
Between 6 am on October 10 and 6 pm on October 10 lies a great unknown which will ultimately be a memory; nothing more. Everything fades from form to content. We must go deeper than the exterior and surface reality in order to gain any value from human activity. Otherwise, our activities are just one long parade of hassles with pain and suffering and attendant hate. Our activities are escapes from the deep pain we all feel.
God can heal the pain…if…we come to His Presence and listen silently.
Personal statistics: Today I began chapter 31 in the ACIM text. It is the last chapter. I am finishing my fourth reading of the text in less than 2 years. I ordered a new copy for my next reading because I have sufficiently colored in the one I was using.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Hiking in the woods allows a traveler to imagine comforting enclosures, one leading to the next, and the walker can possess those little encompassed spaces, but the prairie and plains permit no such possession. Whatever else prairie is – grass, sky, wind – it is most of all a paradigm of infinity, a clearing full of many things except boundaries, and its power comes from its apparent limitlessness; there is no such thing as a small prairie any more than there is a little ocean, and the consequence of both is this challenge: try to take yourself seriously out here, you bipedal plodder, you complacent cartoon.”
This is a quote from the web page for the Heartland Prairie Ultra-marathon. This year's theme is "Spirit of the Prairie." Spirit Flower will be there! Follow my training as I get ready to do 50 miles at UMP (ultra-marathon pace).
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A little over ten years ago, as I was driving my truck and listening to Christian radio, I heard myself think: I want shamelessly follow Jesus. I thought, “I want to live a life of prayer.” At that time, I thought you had to live in a monastery, so off I went. Then, back I came; by the design of God. I was told, “Just let the world be your monastery;” and so I did and have. I live a life of prayer “out here.”
Living a life of prayer takes study and discipline. No one hangs out their shingle and tries to make money at it. Most professional pray-ers work in various storefronts. It is there amongst whomever God sends them that they complete their work. This morning as I was running, I consciously held in my mind the Word of Love. A I hold this thought, all minds partake of the thought. Holding the Word consciously makes it present and perceptible in the illusion of our reality. The general human thought field is shifted by a little and the scenario of our world illusion is shifted by a little. When I go running, I pray. When I go to work, I pray. Going to sleep, I pray.
Unknown people in all corners of the universe are quietly holding the Word of Love consciously in their minds. All people hold the Word of Love, even if unconscious or unknowingly. The Word of Love is every where. I’ve been taught to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem. The practice of prayer is my answer to that teaching. Making money, seeking an easy life, spending time on entertainment are things which don’t matter. Answering the Call of God matters. God is my ontology, my essence and my ethos. I’m passionate about God. Together, we stand in silence speaking the One Word. I exist thrilled and enthralled, captured by the One Word, with all of me given to it presence.
2 Steady our feet, our Father. Let our doubts be quiet and our holy minds be still, and speak to us. We have no words to give to You. We would but listen to Your Word, and make it ours. Lead our practicing as does a father lead a little child along a way he does not understand. Yet does he follow, sure that he is safe because his father leads the way for him.
3 So do we bring our practicing to You. And if we stumble, You will raise us up. If we forget the way, we count upon Your sure remembering. We wander off, but You will not forget to call us back. Quicken our footsteps now, that we may walk more certainly and quickly unto You. And we accept the Word You offer us to unify our practicing, as we review the thoughts that You have given us.
A Course in Miracles is a guidebook to the path of light. The path of light leads to Self, the Self which knows Love. The Self is a word for the Son of God, the Christ. Our minds are each a part of His, and we each are a hologram containing a complete picture of Him (our bodies are illusions). In Self, all are one and all is joined in God. The path of light merely slips beyond illusions into the one Heart. We are monos (monks), one hearted with God.
God is only Love. Love is the rain gently falling in my mind and spirit, beyond the body. Love is all of life rejoicing for the gentle rain, the heavenly gift of living water, the presence of Christ everywhere. I do not need to work for this water. It is free. I merely open my mind and heart and remember its sound; remember IT. Love never ceases. Love can be relied on, trusted. Remembering Love is a habit, something I can develop if I want. I always get to choose what I want: Love or hate.
The gentle God, Love as a quiet rain, awaits my remembering and attentiveness. He asks for nothing and has nothing to give that matters in this world. He gave the path of light, beyond this world. His world, His Love is within.
I am a thought of love in the Mind of Love, and that is all. I can remember this. I can rejoice in the rain and live a life constantly in the presence of its gentle quietness. I can be the rain. I can choose a reality which is only gentle rain, only love resting in Love.
And now for a gentle slow run in the gentle rain. The sound is of birds, the spatter of drops on nylon, the foot falls on a cinder trail.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The living room carpet has a new scrap of carpet lying near the door. It is there so when I come in with the bike, I don’t get the carpet dirty while I shut the door, and then carry the bike to its parking place. The bike parking area is the spare bedroom. My living room contains a weight bench and a desk, that’s it. By the door is a coat rack and set of cubby holes; handling numerous running shoes, jackets, vests, hats, gloves, headlights, packs, etc. This setup and the new bike activity caused me to think more of myself as a kid.
In college I rode my bike everywhere. I studied and ran, but had no "responsibilities." I have a few more responsibilities now, but not much. Its just that I've refused to become a stuffy adult with all the respect and importance and appearance. I have no adult reason for being here.
Last year, I worked it out that my life is optional. This is true in worldly terms because I don’t really “have a life.” At the heart of my life I am seeking God; but otherwise I am doing time. In spiritual terms, my life is required for self transcendence as well as human transcendence. But I have degenerated from being an adult and am losing more and more of the trappings; like the minimalist bike instead of the protective car.
I am daring to live naked. My finances are no longer a protective layer. Sometimes I go without food just to feel the nakedness caused by missing food comforters. I have no approved of religion; and the philosophy I do practice is antagonistic to most people. So I have not the protection of religion. I don’t get flu shots. I don’t drink or take mind altering substances. It is silent in my house. I have not the protection of TV keeping me from my own mind. I don’t run with an ipod for that same reason; I seek no protection from my thoughts. I don’t wear status clothes, so no one thinks I am special and don’t have the protection afforded the special. I don’t wear makeup to gain a mask over what I really look like. I go running and live alone; exposing myself to the dangers of evil men. I don’t have a pet or a partner to keep me from my solitary thoughts. I admit I am nothing, nobody and completely vulnerable; open to anything.
All this nakedness is for one purpose. I need to work on my thinking in order to wake up to God consciousness. Here is an example: yesterday, doing some spiritual reading, I thought about how much I hate Jesus; and I told Jesus that. The Jesus I hate is the one Christianity made up. But how many people would admit they hate that picture? Devout religious dare not. Atheists think they don’t have to. But really, think about it. There are tons of reasons to hate that Jesus! Isn’t it better to admit it? In solitude and nakedness, I ponder such things.
There is "something" I call Jesus who has nothing to do with Christianity. This "person" I don't mind.
I’ve said I’m not training for any races in order to de-stress. The only thing the guys at work want to talk about (besides themselves) is racing. They know nothing about running other than racing. Bringing home a trophy is what they want to see. I lie and tell them I’m not doing any racing. So, I’m not training, but I am entered in a marathon and will also probably enter a 15 mile trail run. This morning on my 5 mile run, my achilles felt good but I still babied it, not yet trusting it. But, whenever I am feeling good, I feel the envelope starting to push, almost as if I am powerless over it. I dream of doing these races and I just move forward with plans, taking the next step. I am pathetic in a way!
This push to expand running is the same push I feel to expand consciousness of God.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
"My mind gives the world meaning." "What keeps the world in chains but my beliefs?"
I am a Roman Catholic, formerly spent 4 years in a monastery, attended Catholic seminary, and am deeply conditioned by standard Catholic beliefs. The standard Christian teaching on atonement is the one I was originally taught: Jesus died for my sins. ACIM changes the meaning of this word, atonement, and how we are saved. Today, I put the ACIM concept of Atonement in my own words (which may or may not be accurate).
Most people blithely say Atonement according to ACIM means undoing; and it does. But here is more: Atonement is not a sacrificial offering of Jesus to God; but a joining with the living Christ (NOW) and sacrificing the ego belief system. The ego belief system is symbolized by the crucifixion story; a story of God needing an offering of His murdered Son before He will see us as sinless. The ego belief system summed up: anything that is not love or peace is ego. Sacrifice, meaning give up, means give up anything not love or peace. Because God is love, all I need to do is give up (sacrifice) my ego belief system in order to enter Heaven. Killing anyone or paying for anything has nothing to do with it.
I subscribe to ACIM because a) I get to keep the personal relationship to Jesus, the living Christ, that I have always had, and b) ACIM makes more sense to me if God is love instead of anger and punishment. I am willing to go through the process and the work of changing my beliefs in order to give the world a meaning of love and peace.
Today, I feel this force could only be joy and peace, seeking love. The force’s real goal is God; not a personal best in a race or success in career or tons of money and fame. It cares nothing about these worldly things. It is easy to confuse goals and think the force wants success because when success occurs, my ego jumps in a produces happy emotions. This ego reaction has nothing to do with the force or truth. Worldly things are useless except as they are learning tools and experiences to lead me to God.
I am not training for a marathon, but I want to keep the inner force alive and empowering me towards God. I stop and consider God a moment: the holy presence everywhere. I ponder the reality of this silent subtle presence which I find whenever I stop to consider it. No matter what I think I see out there, there is only God.
Who is the root and ground of my being? Who is the force that keeps pushing me to God? My life is my essence, my core, my root, my heart; which is not in my body. This life, the force, is not mine alone. I am merely part of it and a partaker in it. The force of my life is Christ, The Son of God, whose life lives in me. Christ is the athlete and the driving force. Essentially, there is no me, only Him.
The life of Christ is not some stuffy religious concept of morality you find in a church. It is vitality and aliveness and vibrant energy. It is deepest satisfaction. I think of deeper joys than winning an award or getting a bunch of money. Christ is both cause and effect. He is my desire beyond orgasm and the fulfillment of that desire. He is never ending. He is my life eternal. He is my safety beyond locked doors and strong men. He is my body beyond health or cancer and over eating and old age.
I know Christ because I have stopped my outward searching and looked within. I know Christ because I recognize Him in all life.
Christ is the One who spoke through the man Jesus; and who speaks in me today. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who lives in me never dies.” “I am the way the truth and the life.” “I am the bread of life. Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have not life in you.” “I am the Son of God.” This was not Jesus talking but the Christ in him.
Christ is the runner in me; not a winner of races but a phenomenal life force. To deny His life is to pretend I myself am glorious for running fast or long, impressing my friends and having better health than everyone else. To live His life is to honor the power as His, live it and humbly give up my life to it. What would I choose to give up (sacrifice): my personal glory or His infinite GLORY? He lives in me whether I know it or not. The choice is mine. Because I want to know Christ, I choose to sacrifice my ego glory. Would I live without Him? Or would I allow Him to live in me? Truth is only Him. I would not live as a sham, an imposter, an ego who has usurped Christ; an ego seeking for itself and destroying all around me.
I allow Christ, honor Christ and consciously let Him live. Do I look different? No. Do I eat and sleep and do the dishes? Yes. The only difference is I know it is Christ, not me who lives here.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Then, I read this in the Text: “The still infinity of endless peace surrounds you gently in its soft embrace, so strong and quiet, tranquil in the might of its Creator, nothing can intrude upon the sacred Son of God within.” (29.V.2.4)
Suddenly I was able to reach peace. To be one with God, I need to be in peace and I am able to choose peace. I can be at peace whenever I remember to be at peace. It is not hard for me. I have learned to do it. To have any of God’s promises, I must accept the peace. There is no other way. I was able to let the anger go and just be still. My anger and hate of Jesus and God are the very things I gave to Jesus. I realized that if I use my meditation to seek “something” within, I’ll fail and end up angry at God. If I use my meditation to sink into peace and quiet, than that is what I get. Peace is what God is. Peace is what the fearless state is. Nothing in this busy world is really totally peaceful. There is always at least a stirring or rustling of something. Anything other than utter silence is of this world.
I have the ability to choose peace. I have the ability to be in peace. Trying for anything else takes me out of God’s presence. Anything other than peace attempts to attack the Son of God within; causing my awareness of Him to disappear.
Personal statistics: Last week I did 3 days of juice fast; but quit because I found myself ravenous. Today is day 4 of a renewed effort. This time I hardly feel like I am fasting at all. Except my body feels much better to be on juice alone for a few days. I am still recovering from my ultra-marathon. I’m doing walking and slow jogging. As usual, I am lifting weights. While I was out in the park this morning, I felt relaxed and ok with everything. I was so involved with “training for a marathon” last winter, that I might have lost sight of the simple joy of running. I am back into that now. It was a relief to think: I am free, I can run or jog or walk or whatever because I have no goals. I bought a bicycle yesterday. The bicycle I got for free was too small and very uncomfortable to ride for any period of time and so cheap the gears didn’t shift properly. Since it is hilly here, operational gearing is needed.