I am a spiritual athlete. I have dedicated my time and allocated my resources to The Relationship, the one we have with God. I am not alone, though I only know about one truly dedicated spiritual practitioner here in my face to face world.
We are dedicated and committed to our service. Our service is directly concerned with returning The Human Being, The Son of God, to our source, Heaven. We might be labeled “monk-in-the-world” except most of us cannot be pointed at. We carry out spirituality privately and silently.
Vowed monastics and many religiously bound solitaries have what is called a “Rule of Life.” They make their rule under the guidance of an authority. The rule’s purpose is to ensure that their solitary or religious life does not veer off a path deemed by the authority to lead safely to heaven (with a small h because religious authorities do not know Heaven with a capital H). They live under the supervision of a superior to doubly ensure their way is restricted to the authorized path.
With a cackle of evil laughter, rules and religious restrictions are made by egos, who know it is only a matter of time until the rule is broken and the ego’s victim feels guilty. The ego waits with eager anticipation and constant urging thoughts for the person to give up and give in. As soon as the person thinks, “it will be ok this time,” the ego howls with glee and immediately takes up its whips. The victim so distraught by the ego’s punishing thoughts seeks solace in additional self harm.
For the silent, unknown and totally dedicated spiritual practitioners, the rule of life is a daily habit: daily awareness of love, daily practice of love, daily learning to accept love. These unknown deliverers do not need rules or authority figures. Their one Authority is their one Author: God. Their interest in God sprang alive somehow and became a service of love which is driven by the inner rather than the outer. God has become their one love and one life focus. Nothing else is dreamed of.
We desire God enough to pursue Him on our own; outside authorities have no jurisdiction in the realm of love. It is not discipline which rules our pursuit; but the fact that it is more natural and desirable for us to pursue God and serve Him than anything. We do it simply because it is the only thing we like doing. We are free of fame and fortune and authority and limitation. Nothing in this world matters to us.
We have behaviors which need to be more and more loving. When a behavior change comes from love, from the heart, from the innermost self, it has the full backing of the Holy Spirit and God Himself; Who loves us and supports our every attempt to live consciously in His love. In this we know the decision to change was made with the Holy Spirit and not ego: the old behavior has lost its power over us; not only do we not want it but may even be repelled by it.
My daily path:
I got up late, 7:30. I had dreamed of Clyde, the monastery where I was a nun. I had dreamed that what I was doing there was taking back my mother’s coral ring, which they had kept after kicking me out. More on this dream below.
After my spiritual study and meditation, I went to Wal-Mart. It was extremely empty there even though it was about 9:30; probably due to the cold. On my way to Wal-Mart, I scouted around several streets looking for a potential place to go running.
After coming home and putting away the groceries, I bundled myself up and drove to a nearby highway. It is a busy highway but the only place I found with plowed shoulders, still with snow so I could use my yak traks. [fwiw I needed a place that was either bare to run normally or snowy to run with the yaks; but also not where the cars were exactly, and not in deep snow.] I had two small bottles of hot water and packets of Gu in my fanny pack. I ran 2.8 miles down and 2.8 miles back three times. I spent over three hours on this endeavor. Ice formed inside my wind breaker. I got a bloody blister. My eyes feel wind-burned despite wearing sun glasses. Yet I was elated to finish this run. The last lap had required a mental push to get past my dread of facing that highway and cars one more time.
Returning home, showering, eating a salad, doing laundry and then relaxing a bit on the bed, my thoughts returned to the Clyde dream. I admitted to myself that Clyde holds a piece of my soul. More than any other place I have been, I pine for Clyde. But now, my life here in Kansas City for the past month has seemed to sweep Clyde into a fog, where I don’t think about it as much. I wondered if the dream was a symbol of me taking back my soul from Clyde. In a dream, Clyde would be a symbol of an idea, perhaps authority figures. So now I have tied this all together.
Conclusion: my spiritual life has been taken back from the world. It belongs to God and I have returned it to its proper Owner. As a result, I am a free lover. Very happy! The struggle was worth it.