Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Unscientific Theories

Troubling facts we don’t want to face:
a) The Bible is not historically accurate. Jesus did not say and do what the Bible says. The New Testament and denominational Christian religions are based on human agendas.
b) That spiritual feeling can be explained in terms of brain physiology. God is not a definitive part of the perceived experience of oneness.
c) My perception and spiritual outlook are very much based in my early life experience and choices made as an adult. I do have emotional barriers that seem insurmountable.

I woke up this morning as a woman of prayer. I was doing spiritual reading. I became conscious of one of my limiting beliefs. I said, “God, here is a belief for you to correct: I totally believe I am a spiritual failure.” Then, I had these thoughts….

If I was living my life as just a negative ego, things would be getting worse and worse for me regarding health and emotional well being. But in fact, I become healthier physically and emotionally every day. If I am living my life in partnership with some transcended consciousness (Christ, Bodhisattva, Inner Self, Higher Power); then I am healing towards a life of greater and greater love, health and emotional well being. For example, if I am just a negative ego, I would still be a drunk. If I am connected to some power more powerful than my ego, then I am able to have sobriety; which in fact I have.

Then I thought: emotional well being is both an effect of love and a channel for the expansion of love. Love is my higher power; it helps me and flows through me. Several years ago, during a “spiritual” experience, I concluded: Love is the predominant mode of existence. I have read that God is love. I believe love is from God but not as a consciousness I would understand; more as a field of energy which can be tapped into or connected with. I call this type of energy “love.” As a function of God; however, it is very far from what religion says it is. It is not the same as the spiritual feeling of oneness commonly defined as enlightenment. In fact, love is a very constant and everyday aspect. When we live in love, which is a choice, we begin to live more and more in a world that I call the realm of the spirit. I think I define it as spiritual because it is non-negative ego. It could be that spiritual is only a state of being love alone; where we don’t use or honor the ego. In this state, we feel transcended simply due to the absence of something which makes us feel bad: negative ego.

God per se is still beyond the transcended state of love alone.

That is my story for today. I am surely wrong in my hypothesis so don’t take my thoughts as your belief system. Drink some fresh juice, get some exercise and some sleep, clean the house and sit in the sunshine!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lent - Monday after the 5th Sunday

I live in a poustinia, a desert. It is my place for being alone and reflecting. I shuffle the pieces of my remembered past and what ever came to me that day. I find patterns that are new. I hear thoughts I never heard before. I see love where it wasn't a moment ago. This is not to say that love shifts but that my ability to see it does.

Some mornings I wake up an atheist; but an atheist with a spiritual path. Some mornings I wake up the most devout of all religious. I shuffle out to the kitchen, sit down with my tea and do exactly the same spiritual path the atheist in me does. My thoughts and feelings waver and shift, but the spiritual path is always laid out for me, no matter my religion for that day.

Yet, I always wake up a runner. There is never a day when I am not a runner. The running never wavers. The most disturbed it ever gets is if some work matter or weather interferes with it. Running is as constant in my life as the spiritual path. For this reason, running cannot be excluded from my spiritual path. Running is integral to who I am. My religion changes, but running never does.

The silence of the runner under a star lit sky, through gently falling snow, around the edge of a pond filled with peepers and croakers, or dancing along the side of a noisy busy road, is no different than the silence of the cloister or the mountain cave.

Easter is within sight. I am taking two days off next week for reflection. The lacing of the shoes and the donning of the cap are my sacramentals. The blue heron and the Kansas meadow lark are my community. The water in my back pack is my communion wine; changed by the liturgy of the run into Life for the world.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lent - Saturday Before the 5th Sunday

About 10 days ago, I redeemed some points on a credit card and got a free bicycle. It came yesterday, much faster than I expected. Today, I put it together, though the brakes still rub a little on the wheel rim. It is a blue man's mountain bike. Very humble if you ask me. I won't be proud to ride any where and certainly it is not a flashy road bike which could be used for "training." But I hope to use it to go to work sometimes. I only live a mile or so from work, but any little gas savings seems good.

I was sitting, playing free cell on the computer, thinking how unproductive I seem to be, that is, no great spiritual insights, not enough chores completed. In the monastery, on Saturday nights during Lent, we had conferences, reflections on the Gospels. This brought me to thinking about the Gospels, and this brought me to thinking about the vast Holy Presence of Jesus-Alive-Right-Now. I realized that as I play cards, I can turn part of my brain to God and feel that inner Holiness, Divine Consciousness, that asks nothing and sustains all. I don't have to go to a monastery, but I do have to pay attention to that inner Voice.

Thank you Name-Beyond-All-Names for visiting my small self in such a way that I could hear you and expand into Your Son of God Self.

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 active.com 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.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Runner’s Hermitage

I am supposed to be tapering for a big marathon. Since the weather looks a bit messy for the race, I have been focusing more on just running and not worrying about time. So, I ran 3.5 miles this morning. It was clear at 4 am, 37F, damp from rain last night. I decided to go to my secret place, my hidden running room away from the world.

In the park by my house, there is a mile loop that goes down a dirt road and up a cement one. In the dark, I do it with my Petzl light. My world becomes very narrow as all I can see is a short path in front of me. In the dark, you can enter a strange timelessness. In the dark, you can lose your worldly bearings and normal boundaries of who and what you think you are. As you become as nothing human, you feel the force of Life as the predominant and essential component of your being.

In the hermitage, you can inventory your short comings; but there is a Who to heal them. In the hermitage, you don’t have to be what everyone expects you to be and return to the actuality of your truth. In the hermitage, you have no clothes or masks or fa├žade. Your holiness is supreme in and of itself; it needs no exterior objective symbolism. Your holiness explains itself to you in impressions and realizations. I have been trained to think this image is holy:



But what about this one:





In the light of day, outside the hermitage, the runner is "just a runner." In the hermitage, I am still "just a runner." Holiness just is. It is in the narrow dark mystery of the secret running room. It is the the lighted expansiveness of day. A runner is spirit. A runner is Life. Life is the essential characteristic of my being. My soul speaks Life to me.

All human beings are holy; it doesn't matter what they look like or do. All creation is holy because God is holy; and there could be nothing else.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lent - The Marathoner's Desert

Intuitive thoughts from my meditation today: The truth in me has sought and found and connected with TRUTH. I, at this instant, am able to experience myself as cosmic: one with the Consciousness and not ego imprisoned. The ego’s prison is the illusion that I am still seeking and will never find; that some little bauble from this world can satisfy me.

I approach the marathon. I don’t want to turn it into an exercise in littleness, which I surely will if I go out with a goal of running a 4:05 in order to qualify for Boston (BQ) or to win an age group award (AG). It strikes me that the heart of my marathon experience is rather fragile. I have a sense that my reward is delicate like a butterfly. The goal is obtained by unraveling imperceptible silk threads of divine life, not smashing the whole thing with a hammer. A BQ or an AG attained lead to disappointing littleness; nothing but a smashed dream of self glory. My marathon can be as cosmic as my spirit is, if I realize that the race itself is only a symbol of a spiritual metaphysical effort to disclose the divine truth of the human soul. The running spirit shows me who I really am. The goal is not the finish line at 26.2 miles, but the moment to moment conscious experience of the flow of divine life.

The cosmic marathon is the marathoner’s desert because it has no baubles, no grandiose thrills; and the delicate slender silk threads of divine life are so easily broken or lost.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lent - Desperate in the Desert

An unusual morning. As I awoke, I sensed the lights outside winking out. But somewhere, my brain knew that the tea had already been made. So I got up to see and sure enough, the tea pot was hot. In that short 25 foot trip to the kitchen, I thought, why do I get up at 3:10 to do spiritual study and meditation? Why not sleep? What do I think I am accomplishing?

A few minutes later, a hot cup of tea in my hand and a light emanating from my forehead (!), I sat down at my table. I could hear the power company outside, actually I think they had been working all night, so I assumed it would not be long before the power was back on. Actually, at 3:25, it did come back on. Then, I promptly spilled my tea and had to make another pot.

But I was pondering my question: Why do I bother wanting to know God? One thing I like about ACIM is it's approach of encouraging me to seek the Voice for God myself (ref WB 124), don't just listen to the text. So that is what I did this morning. My thoughts went like this. I thought about how desperately I want to see Christ's face. I want to see it in my brothers and everywhere. This face, for which you could use another name like Atman or Buddha or Tao or Self, represents love and safety; and "making it." Making it? My term, making it, is a two faced coin or a two edged sword. It can be positive: I honestly sought God in response to a call from God. The term can be ego based: I earned or cheated or stole the coveted state of enlightenment.

I saw clearly that what I believe is a choice. If I believe the ego's voice, then my spirituality is a search for a cheap thrill, and I should go back to bed. If I believe the Voice for God, then my desire for God and journey to God is with Help; and is a pure and holy result originating with Cause. To listen to the ego is to poison and kill what could be the most tremendous gift and extravagant source of wealth: my deep and incredible faith, sustained for years, and sure belief that the All Powerful is carrying me to Himself.

I get what I choose. If I choose God, I get connection and peace. I am immediately there.

Hence, I prostrate before my faith and my choice and Christ: I give myself completely and totally to the desire for God and unabashedly proclaim my undivided relentless pursuit of Love.

I am powerless over this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lent - Desire for Jesus

In 2003, August, I got kicked out of the monastery. The story of how this decision was made is not what I am up to at the moment. What I am up to at the moment is Jesus. The day before I left, I was in the office of my novice director (this is not the story of our failed relationship either). I remember telling her I was totally afraid that if I left there I would lose Jesus. In fact, I did lose the nice safe well defined Jesus that they worshipped and pretended to be espoused to (as if anyone could actually be a bride of Christ). But it is true, you cannot keep playing the game if you are not living in their tiny environment without any challenges to the theology.

What I am up to now is connecting with God apart from not only the monastic support environment but also that of the Roman Church or any other Christian denomination. I have dared to study various scholars and come to believe that we do not know what Jesus said and did and that this information is not contained in the Bible. However, I do have faith in a power greater than myself. I am learning to be comfortable with a God beyond all books. It may be conditioning or programming that I have not over come yet, but I still feel determined to have a personal relationship with Christ. I just think that He Himself is forcing me to be honest about it and not relate to the false Biblical delusion.

There is no tried and true method that produces a tangible proof of God. People are comfortable with religion because it provides a material world activity. The problem is that the activities are not based on historically true evidence; but the private control agenda of a handful of men. The material world activities actually prevent me from seeking the truth of God or learning to love the ineffable intangible Presence and Power. My desire is for God alone. My urge is for the pristine pure Love, which I faithfully believe is there. I will never have proof of what I find because it is encountered silently in contemplation. My only hope is that this Love is efficacious in calling everyone to truth beyond this world.

Personal statistics: I ran a short 3.5 miles this morning. Trying to taper for this Saturday’s marathon, I didn’t work out twice. The 40 mph winds must have taken out a power line. I lost power for about an hour. It is back on now, but there is a new pole laying on a truck in front of my house. I have been raw vegan for 34 days. I intend not to splurge until after the marathon. On Saturday I ran 16 miles at a pace of 9 minutes per mile. That kind of speed was surprising to me. I credit the way I am eating, especially the green smoothies.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

4th Sunday of Lent

Some thoughts from this week's journey in the Lenten desert, deeper into Christ:

- Digesting scripture takes energy. Drinking the pure water of silence promotes detox and rejuvenation.

- The thought battle is: it is ok this time (to food binge), tomorrow will be different.

- I must be a transcended consciousness (this doesn’t mean anything about you who read this). Open the door and accept this. No need to fight the untranscended world, just be at peace in it.

- Self discipline in mental control is necessary: choosing beneficial thoughts or consistently asking for help.

- Thinking of love and that I am being loved. I have to pause and feel this. The idea is tremendous. It fills every cell causing total harmonic vibrations, and redirects every synapse connecting only to peace.

- Where I work is my choice; it is my chosen storefront for spiritual exchange and trade. In accepting my choice, I realize that I also chose to be alive. If I quit resisting being-alive, I could find the gifts of God (joy, love, happiness and peace) everyday. Resisting is a choice that provides unhappiness. I could make a different decision. There is not necessarily any reason why I shouldn’t be happy every day. This new decision would require a new habitual mindset; and could only be produced by mental discipline and effort.

- Conflict: I desperately fear God doesn’t approve of me. But, then I think, “My value is inestimable simply because I am.”

- Conflict: Some much time spent wanting to be as good as others by getting what they have or wanting to be better by having something different. It is only my ego that competes. “Feeling less” is an ego feeling which is untrue.

- I am neither good or bad. I just am. I am joy and enjoyable. There is no such thing as enlightenment. Enlightenment cannot be real because it is not constant.

- I habitually see things from the battlefield. I can choose to see them differently. This is the miracle I ask for: Please help me to see things differently.

- Conflict: I am afraid I am “doing it” (seeking God) wrong and I won’t achieve it. But if I know peace, I know God. I just have to stop and experience it. Related conflicting beliefs: I don’t think I know God. This belief is an unconscious demon; but if you bring it to the light, is disappears. If you leave it in darkness, it darkens all moods and disconnects me from God. Another conflicting belief: I think I have to do something to know God; like fix me. No, really. Just stop. Knowing is automatic in a quiet mind. God is inherent in my being. All I have to do to connect is be quiet; accept peace and I am there. God is the truth of my being.

- There is something or some consciousness beyond myself to whom I can cry out for help; and I seem to make it through my crisis. I like to use the name Jesus, but this someone has never said what its name is.

- I have quiet confidence.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lent - Experimental Results

The fourth Wednesday of Lent. 29 of 30 days on the raw food commitment are completed and I'm looking at continuing the commitment. I ran twice today for a total of 8 miles. The second run was in a new pair of shoes. The Olathe marathon is in 10 days. After that, I have a hotel reservation for the night of 4/17 in Willard Missouri. I'm planning on going in a 50K (31 mile) race on 4/18.

I started my intuitive spirituality experiment 8 days ago: letting go of A Course in Miracles (or anything else) and just listening to God directly. Today I reached one possible result and I will probably go back to using some daily input. I think I do not need input when I am alone in my hermitage. But, I think I do much better controlling thoughts and emotions at work if I have a pre-programmed structure to quickly grasp when interactions with others occur. I realize now that my daily lesson or line of input was giving me something to grasp without thinking in order to keep my equilibrium even under duress.

The work environment is not natural. I have to accept certain stresses until it is truly the right time for me to move out into something else. Because the environment is not natural, I find I need an artificial structure to maintain my balance. I never knew that until today! Having God in my mind all day at work is the result of planning, not accident. It is the result of discipline and effort. Discipline and effort are the result of a desire to have God above all else. If I want IT, I will figure out how to get IT, period.

Why don't I quit my job? I firmly believe that if I quit because of disatisfaction, that would be an ego decision and unsuccessful. At this point, if I am "let go" I would assume it was because I was ready and my Higher Power had helped me get moving. I don't have any indications I am ready to move on.

This realization of the unnaturalness of modern existence extends to many areas of life: like it is impossible to have optimal health in a work environment and in a civilized environment. My life is directed towards alternatives at the fringes of behavior to achieve the most healthy I can; but it won't be optimal. It is hard to be totally and authentically ALIVE in most modern situations. I am not out of the envelope of society, but stretching the envelope to encompass healthier living. I am an active promoter of human evolution and the creation of new paradigms.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lent – Pure Being

Hi! It is Tuesday after the third Sunday of Lent.

I said I was going into the desert for Lent. If this is true, you should also know that a desert journey is a journey into unknown territory and you don’t know what will happen there.

Let’s face it. My spiritual journey has been focused for decades on the desire to know God. I have tried many ways and studied many things. But, finally, in my Lenten desert, I decided to drop the baggage. I’ve decided to know God directly. This decision flies in the face of all authorities. No authority thinks going it alone will work. They say I’ll just be an ego talking to itself, or a “sarabite” (ref Rule of Benedict) following my own rule, or a sinner, or I’ll just plain forget God and heaven all together.

Still, in the desert, you are forced to drop your support props. You can’t afford to carry them. I think that in my desert I encountered a cliff. In order to climb the cliff, I had to release all baggage. The biggest bag is the idea that finding God requires following someone else’s path. Now, I am walking on my own, no crutches. I am reduced to nothing; no theories, no scripture. At times I feel lost. I feel like collapsing into a little pile of crap and dying. Miraculously, it is the abject hopelessness, where I am on my knees, where I surrender. I just give up and say, “Ok God, I’m just going to sit here and wait for you to come or not. I don’t care.”

This morning, as I sat quietly, I remembered: I have the heart of an endurance athlete. It is this essence of heart to which I cling. The essence of heart is life. The essence of life is God. The endurance athlete doesn’t have to be a runner. Some paraplegics are endurance athletes. The essence of the endurance athlete is life.

I decided to go running in the early morning darkness. After about 15 minutes, being in a free form easy lope up a gradual incline along the bluffs, I realized that in losing everything except life alone, my desire for “God directly” is really a desire for pure being-ness. Running in the dark, easily striding, I remembered I am an enigma. Retuning to this state, I realize the state of pure being. I need nothing else.

Personal statistics: 28 days raw. 1 day of caffeine withdrawal. 12 days until the Olathe Marathon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lent - Visions

3rd Sunday - Everyone still off chocolate?

Today is day 26 of my 30 day raw food committment. I almost ate a bagel or something today. I went to the city, ran 10 miles and then sat in a 12 step meeting for an hour. I was famished. But I got in the car, drank water and high tailed it home. After I got here, I ate some honeyed almonds left over from making milk. And I quickly made flax crackers, and ate some of the batter.

I ran 58 miles this week. Now, I need to start to ease up in preparation for my marathon in 2 weeks. I did a chore today that involved a saw. Very unusual, but, no fingers lost.

Vision A-
How do I turn my thoughts to God right now? Just do it. I spend time with my mind looking at the light. Nothing apparently seems to happen. There is no proof of God or any benevolent Love streaming to embrace me. It is silent. But it is a place for me to go and it is a place of safety.

Vision B-
I ran in the city park this morning, before the fellowship meeting. For the first time, I SAW the telephone poles lining the path on a straight stretch. Seeing the poles like this reminded me of eternity. I could see for eons, the eons of the past and those to come. The poles were races, or events in my life, or perhaps events in many of my lives. But, I spend most of my time in between events: running! That is what running is: the time in between. In between is where I am mostly. Unless you look from the spiritual world, then my human lives seem like blips and my life in God is where I am mostly.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lent - Intuitive Spirituality

Day 4 of Intuitive Spirituality Experiment

If you are using some sort of book, scripture or other input to guide your meditations and spiritual reflection, then realize that your spirituality is based in a second hand source, not a direct intuitive transmission. I myself spent many years using "lectio divina" but that meant that my reflection was always based in what ever text I was using. Many people have a practice of using a mantra or a scriptural phrase/prayer that they continually repeat to themselves (i.e. Jesus Prayer). Thus, it is hoped that the prayer/mantra will be the predominant thought and not what ever their brain comes up with. Yet understand, this means that what is in your head is the mantra, not intuition.

I began an experiment where I dropped all written input and just listened intuitively. Here is what I discovered today:

To practice Intuitive Spirituality, you must be able to:
a) be aware of where your mind is going and be capable of bringing it back to silence.
b) be able to maintain mental silence as the predominant mode of mentality, because intuition is silent.

In order to meet these conditions and have Intuitive Spirituality be at all productive, you need to start with the standard methods for:
a) meditation
b) practice of the presence (mantra)
c) reducing anger, rage, shame, fear to the point where they don’t rule as the predominant mode of thinking.

Love is the predominant mode of existence (I got that from a dream). To have love, love must be all you have. Love is silent.

Lent - Faith

Christianity is a matter of faith, not fact. The only way it is possible to be a Christian is to claim faith. Without a salvation experience (emotionally charged ah ha, or feeling of enlightenment), or deep childhood programming, or a cherished faith community, or fear of hell and damnation, it is not possible to be a Christian. To step off the bridge of reason, I either have to have faith or revelation or guilt.

Humans are programmable. My life experience, my thoughts, my feelings, my perception, all depend on my programming. So I’ve been involved with spiritual and emotional growth for a long time. Has my programming changed? If yes, who changed it? I am mainly an unhappy ego. Does my unhappy ego want to change or is there a non-ego component of my consciousness which wants to change?

I have sincerely offered my self for divine revelation. The results are profound, but gradual. My sense of revelation comes from a sense of presence; an indescribable and subtle impression that I am not alone and what I see is an illusion. My divine interventions, the result of prayer (asking), seem to be course shifts. Sometimes the course shift is small and seemingly a plan on my part, except for it started from a tiny intuitive thought. Sometimes the course shifts are dramatic and completely out of my control. If a course shift seems to be my choice, that is intuition sourced planning; the source of the intuition could be beyond my ego. If a course shift is not my choice, its source could be a higher consciousness or it could just be a fluke. To think that any of this is God is faith.

I spend my meditative time thinking about such things and then being quiet. My thinking could be just a useless internal discourse. My quiet time is probably more productive.

Personal Statistics: This morning I ran 21 miles. I ran on a road that went between two fields of corn stubble, which were covered with millions of starlings. If you drew a radius of about 70 feet around me, that circle would be the area the birds cleared out of as I ran up the road. It was weird to see. Was that circle the real size of my energy pattern?

I am registered for a marathon in 2 weeks. My condition is great. Today, the last two miles of my run today were on a marked road, so I ran the last 2 miles in 9:15 each. I want to go in the marathon and do my best. Success depends on not being stupid. But stupid is lurking very close to the surface of my consciousness. Stupid goes like this: The marathon is March 28; but I noticed yesterday that there is a 50K ultra-marathon (31 miles) on April 18. The ultra is on a cinder path, not a trail. So stupid says, “Hey, run the marathon as a training run and aim at the ultra as your real race.” Stupid would say, “Don’t taper for the marathon and don’t rest after.” Stupid is stupid because I would end up with some type of injury. I need to keep my eye on the ball. The marathon is the first race to aim at; then decide about any ultras.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lenten Bliss

The third Friday of Lent. Lent was dreary in the monastery except for the noon meal on Wednesdays and Fridays. In our penance we had soup and warm homemade bread and real butter. We listened to music and didn't have to talk. Then, Friday nights were lectio nights. We didn't have a common meal. You could go to your room after Vespers and quietly read and pray.

Reflection:

We humans want out of here. We look around at this world, see what a problem it is and hope for salvation, transcendence, enlightenment or a quick death. Quite often, we hope a savior will come: a lucky break, a rich husband, a lucrative financial deal, a career as a doctor or lawyer. Many of us don’t get the lucrative deal and turn to religion for safety; Jesus or Buddha, it is after this life that paradise lies. Maybe we will find a guru who will impart bliss. I myself hoped my religious life would earn me three hots and a cot for life; thus releasing me from worldly worries and giving my life validation from a rock solid religious institution. Yes, nuns have respect!

All of these salvation theories are taught by society. They may vary in different cultures, but essentially, we hate it here and we want out. I was taught the savior approach to salvation and it included teaching me that I am a sinner. I was taught that salvation is given by the church or a guru, but apart from them I am hopeless and helpless. All theories I’ve studied include the proposition that this theory will work, all the others are wrong and you are bad if you don’t commit to this theory for life. I feel threatened. I feel guilty and weak if I move on to another theory.

Today I find myself in solitude. I find myself de-programming and undoing my human mythology. I believe it is possible for me to think along different lines than what are social norms for assessing this world. I have the opportunity to step into an entirely different mindset, belief system and reality.

I ran 7 miles this morning. In the morning darkness, without traffic, I run around a hilly eight block loop about a mile from my house. I ran around it 4 times this morning. Scenery matters little in the darkness. In the darkness I can assess myself as a being without definition. I can direct my thought. I can spend the time thinking about work, or the next race, or food, or what others think of me. Instead I choose to stop the words and explore my concept and essence.

I don’t have a savior. I don’t have a religion. I don’t know who God is. In the darkness, I am un-adulterated life. I am filled with life and that is all I am. I am detached from labels and roles and ideologies. It is a place and time where nothing matters. In the darkness of the early morning run, place and time dissolve into the nothingness. Life breathing. Life moving. Solely existence. Solely essence. Unadulterated bliss.

To be clear: however you detach is up to you. I'm just sharing my morning impressions on my own life.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lenten Desert - 3rd Thursday

Personal Statistics: Day 23 of raw vegan commitment. Day 2 of intuitive spirituality experiment. I ran this morning under a beautiful moon. Sit-ups on an exercise ball are much harder than sit-ups on the floor; maybe because your shoulders come up from below the level of your hips.

Desert Thoughts:

My God is thoughts: the gentle rustle of a leaf, a trickle of spring water, a slight breeze, a mist, a hint of dawn, a star, a breath, a heartbeat. Going deeper, my God is this thought: a tiny thought, not necessarily of something, but bringing a feeling of stately life. This magnificently graceful stately life is the thing I am a part of in truth.

In solitude, silent, blind and deaf, I prostrate, wait and listen. I am not depressed, merely ready, attentive; and then it comes: a sit-up in total awareness of each sinew, cell and molecule of oxygen. Each one is the opening of the inner door.

We think it arrogant to ask God for knowledge. I am comfortable as nothing. I am safe without expectations, rights or position. I want to be simple; a glass of pure water.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lent - Peace

How do I get from yesterday's doubts to today's peace?

From ACIM:

  • ...turn in peace to the remembrance of God, still shining in your quiet mind.
  • The stillness of your certainty of Him and of yourself is home to Both of you, Who dwell as one and not apart.
  • Peace is the state where love abides...
  • You dwell in peace as limitless as ite Creator, and everything is given those who would remember Him.
  • ...far beyond this senseless war (of illusions, this world) it (peace) shines, ready to be remembered when you side with peace.

Peace is now. I just have to stop and experience it and I have it.

Benedict said, "Seek peace and pursue it."

Jesus said, "My peace I give to you."

The psalmist said, "Be still and know..."

I am at peace just because I went there.

Running causes cool clean air to flow through me bringing a fresh stream of love into my being.

Personal statistics: I bought an exercise ball this morning in order to make my situps and crunches more difficult. One of my favorite things is having the plummer come. Today is one of those days.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Lent - Desert Secrets

In the desert, you cannot lie to yourself, or God. You can’t lie because there is no one to please or show off for; and the Great Silence relentlessly absorbs everything. In front of the Great Silence, you shrivel in your falsehoods and dig deep for something worthy and authentic to share with God.

I actually believe we all have the secrets I am about to reveal, but many of us are unable to really bring them into conscious focus and discuss them with our Higher Power, our Christ Self. Maybe my sharing will help someone to go inside and see what their secrets are, share them with God and grow closer to heaven.

I am reading Jesus Interrupted again, I break open some of my secrets and realize what I believe:

The only way for me to be “safe” from God (saved) is to believe in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for my sin. At a gut level, I feel guilty because “being saved” never entered my perception as a forceful emotional impact. It was more like “fake it ‘til you make it.” Some of the Gospel stories deeply caused fear and I tried really hard to make it. For instance, the story of the seeds strewn along the path. I was desperately afraid of being one of the seeds strewn in rocky ground, who sprang up quickly, but having no depth of soil, soon withered away in the hot sun. So I determined to be as dedicated as the people I observed around me because I wanted them to see I had deep roots in good soil. I wanted God to see this too. I felt like I was a seed in rocks, but by God, I would prove them wrong. I saw others salvation experiences and professed faith. I feared not being as good as them, so I tried really hard to be devoted.

Then, my denominational Christianity unraveled through logical thought and moral decisions (like, how can I support the church if it does this?). Other gospels stories made me feel guilty. For instance, “unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you do not have life within you.”

I grapple today with my feelings about leaving the church; but continuing to seek Christ and worry about what the Christians think of me. It seems like my denominational Christianity was a massive decades long people pleasing project. From there, I realize it was also a massive God pleasing project. I’m sure I want God to love me, so I tried to do what Jesus said. But I viewed the gospels as pointing out rules and requirements for God’s love; not simply God is love.

What about my Columbine experience? In Columbine High, Englewood Colorado, about 10 years ago, there was a girl Cassie who was shot. In her diary the night before, she had written that she so totally believed in Jesus she would die for him. I came out of the closet as a Christian when I heard that. Today, I say that I was totally impressed by Cassie’s faith and I wanted what she had. I wanted what many Christians say they have; that feeling of love and trust and safety in Jesus. But despite enormous effort on my part, I never had that belief. I was faking it.

Jesus, if you are listening, here is my secret. I’ve been faking my belief in you. I don’t believe. I admit it. I was trying to earn salvation by following the gospel; which to me had become a law.

Enter A Course in Miracles (ACIM). ACIM teaches that God is love and there is no sin. The Course gives a practice of overlooking (essentially loving your neighbor as yourself). That God is love and so I, created by God, must also be love and sin cannot exist is a big improvement in philosophy over my denominational Christianity. And it is impossible for me to pursue ACIM as a people pleasing tactic because no one I know would approve of it. It could be a God pleasing tactic though; for the same reason the gospel was a tool for earning salvation.

Now I can summarize my beliefs, my idols, my gods: I want what the other people seem to have (faith plus salvation experience) and I want to be approved of. I think approval is earned by finding out what the rules are and following them. Since I don’t have the salvation experience or the faith, I think there is something wrong with me, and God doesn’t love me.

I can stop there, or go back to ACIM, where it says I must be wrong. I’m willing to be wrong. Or else, there is no God. So, I choose: I must be wrong about God and myself. I’m willing to believe that there is something bigger than me that loves me and that I am love. Diverting into the Big Book of AA, I face the question: God either is or he isn’t. What is my choice to be? I do believe that somewhere I am connected to the fundamental idea of God, love. And that I do know its presence.

I am sure that this discussion will go further. Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lenten Desert

I said this Lent would be a trip into the desert. Reading “Jesus Interrupted” (Bart Ehrman) I find myself even more stripped of clinging to the dogmatic Jesus. That is, when I write, I usually use the term Christ or Christ consciousness because I find it more socially acceptable than to stick to an unknown abstraction. I do this because of a lingering fear of what my Christian friends might think of me. I truly am tired of being dumped because of religious differences. What if I stopped trying to be acceptable to Christians? I’ve known since reading “In Memory of Her” (Elizabeth Fiorenza, dean of Harvard Divinity School) that only about 20% of the Bible can be said to accurate or valid. Her book had a historical and research focus. Ehrman’s book focuses on things that can be clearly seen in the Bible without going anywhere. If I study A Course in Miracles, I have to admit to myself that I don't know how accurate the information is. Whether I read the Bible or ACIM or the Bhagvagita or any sutra or any philosophy, it is always devotional because they all break down if approached analytically.

Ehrman's book would be risky for a basic denominational Christian to read; yet its information is standard fare for seminarians. The seminarians learn this material but they never mention it from the pulpit. It causes me to return to my frequent self examination. I return to the question: If no one had told me anything, what would I believe? And: Is my desire for God a call from God or obedience to social conditioning? The answer to the question is faith; faith determined by experience. How do I determine God for myself since the world only offers shifting half truths?

God’s revelation to me is through all my life experiences. These experiences lead from one thing to another, but always away from the various dogmatic or religious approaches. Each experience strips away some piece of social programming and leaves me with nothing. In my opinion, the only place these experiences can lead is to the Great Silence, which is why I call my Lenten journey a desert. Exploring solitude and silence has been something I learned about in the monastery, but have continued ever since.

Silence, stillness and quiet are just that. In the Bible, and other places, it says God is light. Light is silent. It doesn’t say anything. Pure light cannot be seen without reflecting off something. So if you see light, whether in the world or in your mind, it is reflecting off something. What are you perceiving if you see or hear or in any fashion detect light? Can it be God if you perceive it? Anything that you say about silence is not factual but experiential.

So I return to my practice of silence. If I am hearing God, I cannot say. The desert is silent, period.

Personal statistics: I ran 4 miles today. My legs felt great even though I ran 26 miles yesterday. I tried out my new "Olathe Marathon" hat and it was like Sampson's hair as far as I am concerned. One year ago, I broke my arm. Since that day, I had to use my left arm to hold the coffee cup. Today, I officially transferred the cup back to my right arm.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Theophany


Here is an image I drew a couple of days ago. When the ego in the body is put aside, the soul steps out and "sees" God.
Personal statistics: I ran 26 miles this morning. I have been raw 18 days. I think I'll stay raw until my marathon on 3/28. I am considering a life time committment. Reading Matt Monarch's Raw Food World News Letter has helped me consider this. There are good reasons for not going backwards.

Friday, March 6, 2009

DSL

Hi Everyone,
I just got hi speed internet for my home. Dang it is fast. I am so happy I can't stand it!!!!!

I have had a slow connection for 2 years...what patience that took. But now, as you can see from the picture in my last blog, I can upload without any problems. Further more, the DSL service is cheaper than the nasty T-Mobile wireless. I'm not getting http errors half the time.

Happy, Happy, Happy!!!!!

I entered the Olathe Marathon on 3/28. They just sent me the coolest warm running hat.

Spirit Flower is beaming.

Lent - My Soul

During Lent, I have been making a scrap book. I have drawn a number of pictures for it. Here is a drawing of my soul.

Lenten Friday

From ACIM:

  • God rests in you in quiet, undefended and wholly undefending, for in this quiet state alone is strength and power.
  • It is your Father Whom you would defend against.

ACIM consistently says our one fear is of God. I can relate to the idea of God as a punishing God. My fear of other people seems to me to be a projection of my fear of God, a disassociation I made instead of admitting my fear directly and letting God have it. I have difficulty getting in touch with my fear of God directly. The fear of God underlies our Genesis story; and I'm sure it is so deeply rooted in my psyche that I haven't gone deep enough yet to find it. I will though.

On the other hand, I am able to rest in the inner light. This is my God environment. I gaze at a bright inner sun and am silent in its company. I don't ask it for anything or try to anticipate some ecstasy or catharsis. I'm just there as quietly as possible.

There is nothing more holy and sacred "out there" than what can be found in the inner reaches of my mind. In fact, any liturgical attempt is an illusion. This pains me to admit. I so totally want "The Church" with its liturgy to be my savior. But it doesn't work that way once you have attained Christ consciousness. Since I myself became the sacrament (and we all are because Christ lives in us), I've been unable to pretend that anything less is more divine. Life would be much easier if I could keep up the pretense and go along with church authorities; but the truth has set me free. Going back doesn't work. As you can see, I grieve. I also stand in the light. I once again attain silence and my Companion shines into my awareness. Love is all there is.

Everything in my life needs to be focused on Christ. There are so many little distractions. I am a Christian athlete. I train every day to improve my spiritual performance, endurance and strength.

Personal statistics: I ran 6.5 miles in the 4 o'clock hour this morning. Sometime this weekend, I'll get a long run done (20+ miles). The Olathe Marathon is in 3 weeks. I'm going to have a green smoothie for breakfast; juice for lunch. Yesterday, at 8 pm, the DSL came on at my house. But I was already in bed so I haven't tried it yet. Yesterday at noon, ATT turned on my phone service, first I've had for many years. At 3, after work, I bought a phone. The first call around 5 pm was from a marketer. My next move was to get on the computer and add my phone to the no-call list. I also turned off the ringer. No one has the number except calling computers.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Lent 9 - Value Holiness

“…value holiness above all else…”

I read this passage from ACIM this morning. It is a formative statement. It means that I will give up looking negatively at people and judging their behavior with my ego; instead I will look beyond the illusion and see only holiness, Christ. Christ is in all of us, but He resides beyond this material world. His kingdom is within, not of this world.

Part of my whole spiritual endeavor is to transcend the muck and murk of my own egotistical thinking. I want to live with a mind filled with light. I want to experience a consciousness of Christ in real time. This Christ consciousness seems to me to be the only happy way to live. The main thing is that I admit my faults to Him and give up myself to Him. I turn my thinking over to Him.

The Rule of Benedict says to prefer nothing to Christ and to treat others as Christ. I can do this if I quit using my body’s eyes to see illusions; and instead see only truth with the eyes of my heart. The eyes of my heart are Christ’s. Holiness is our essential truth.

Honestly, I pursue this path but cannot claim Christ awareness when I am in the middle of other people. The lapse in consciousness means that my spiritual muscles are very weak. I still have a vested interest in seeing other’s faults. Instead, I want to be more invested in wanting holiness; enough to insist that all I see is holiness. I’m certain this training and strengthening of Christ consciousness and Christ vision is possible. I’m doing it with the help and guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am doing it with the support of everyone else’s Christ consciousness; although most of us are unaware of our spiritual support of others.

When I say that I have stopped investing in this world, I hope I am transferring my investments and treasures to the Kingdom within, where Christ is.

Blogging about my dream of Christ gives me mixed emotion. On the one hand, I am sharing my passion and hope. On the other, I feel like I am preaching about something I haven’t really grasped myself. Like the emperor, I have no clothes, more or less. I am really nothing; just a girl with hopes of a better way of thinking.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lent 7 - A difficult emotional day

Solitude is my primary spiritual practice. I am crazy for choosing such an emotionally difficult path. In solitude, all my negative feelings make themselves heard. I am not doing anything to drown them out or run away.

It seems somewhat strange that I am on this path. People like me. When I make the effort, I am a good friend and a good group member. Before I went to the monastery, I never questioned this. I accepted my place as a well respected person. The first two years after leaving the monastery, I molded myself back into the parish community. They liked me and my contribution; but I slowly realized that it was false to me. I lost interest in the doings of the world. In the monastery, I had learned about solitude and I knew I wanted to go and find whatever I could. I am willing to fight desert demons as long as St Anthony, even; for What I am looking for is that desired.

My huge problem seems to be that I am very interested in the abstract content of God, spiritual relationship and emotion. I am no longer interested in the ritual forms or catechetical forms. The abstract makes perfect sense to a physicist, but not to a humanist. My humanist side diminishes as I walk the path of solitude because I see that “problems” are not real, but emotional fabrications. My ability to converse diminishes because the abstract is unknown territory for most people (want to discuss the Fourier Transform of Joy with me?). The humanist interest in forms is cozy and familiar and unending. Illusion is the territory of most human dramas. People move from problem to problem to problem thinking that is life, and not considering shutting off their illusion projector. I don’t do the human social dance. I am disconnected from society and doing everything in my power to widen the gap. No wonder I think I am despicable: I just don’t cooperate unless I have to. My actions go against every teaching I can think of.

There is a very good reason for the pursuit of solitude. When I figure out how to say it, I’ll explain. For now, it is ineffable, unspeakable, mysterious….ummm…That, the Who of All which won’t put Itself into words, being only describable as Word, Logos, Christ.

Personal statistics: I ran 6.5 miles after work. 2 days until high speed internet arrives at my home. I've been raw for 14 days. I ate seaweed and grated zuccini and a whole honey dew melon for supper. I did the laundry and vacuumed the floors. Snow is still on the ground.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lent 6 - Sacred Choice

From ACIM:
+ "...as you look on the effects of sin in any form, all you need do is simply ask yourself:
Is this what I would see? Do I want this?
This is your one decision; this the condition for what occurs. It is irrelevant to how it happens, but not to why. You have control of this. And if you choose to see a world without an enemy, in which you are not helpless, the means to see it will be given you.

+ Elusive happiness, or happiness in changing form that shifts with time and place, is an illusion that has no meaning. Happiness must be constant, because it is attained by giving up the wish for the inconstant. Joy cannot be perceived except through constant vision. And constant vision can be given only those who wish for constancy.

+ …are you willing to give up the world of sin for what the Holy Spirit sees…"

It is early Monday morning and I am at work. On Friday night, we had 5” of snow, so I did not do any running outside this weekend. I used the treadmill and exerbike on the back porch. Over time, I have made hundreds of index cards with quotes from ACIM on them. These are stacked up on the treadmill. As I jog there, I ponder one. Saturday and Sunday, I focused on one that pointed out the choice to either believe I am spirit or believe I am human; and which I believe is what I see in the world. I also spent time pondering the reality of God and what effect has spirituality actually had on my mentality. Like, how real is my relationship? This morning, the above quoted passages were on my plate. Again there is the choice: do I want this world or do I want what the Holy Spirit offers. All I have to do is give up everything but spirit and truth, wanting only spirit and nothing else. The truth is: God is. As we accept this truth, the world as we know it disappears.

Happiness as an inner constant reality is made of light and joy and peace. In my own thinking, happiness is found in “nothing.” It does seem somewhat scary to think of giving up all my worldly toys: money worries, what others think of me, food cravings, status cravings, running awards. But I also feel spiritual strength sort of like triumphal background accompanying music as I am guided by the Holy Spirit and take my tiny steps. My renunciation of the world and joining of Spirit, living more and more as spirit in the realm of spirit is a continuum. Daily I am led. Daily I make the choice to be spirit. The results of one day may seem imperceptible. The results of years are intangible. Yet I deeply know that my happiness has grown over the past few years and the amount of hatred has diminished.

I went to the monastery to become contemplative and live out my dream of having a great consciousness, like Merton or John of the Cross. When I look back at my monastic life, I see the stress of a continuous attempt to please others and be accepted in the hopes of being granted this one big moment of monastic profession, where I would be Jesus' spouse and I’d never have to worry again. Now, my life consists largely of nothingness. In this nothingness, the reality of my sacred journey is so overwhelming. It doesn’t show to the outside world, but I am doing the work of changing on behalf of everyone. No matter what you happen to be doing, I can see your sacred journey and hear the celestial triumphal music accompanying you. Seeing you as spirit is my gift to you.

Personal statistics: day 13 raw.