Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week. Holy Week starts to get heated up with the Mass of the Last Supper on Thursday; where Jesus in His tabernacle is ceremoniously removed from the church. Then on Good Friday, the Catholics have a communion service where the high lite is kissing the cross. The peak experience is the Easter Vigil. In a secular church, many people will be baptized.
Holy Week was always very hard in the monastery. The ritual is intense. The behavior of the nuns is intense. For a novice, the feeling of being left out of community was mentally destructive. I couldn't stand certain parts, but luckily, at the worst of times, I could go running and then hide from the community.
Religion is on my mind today. A week ago, I was invited to be thurifer for the Easter Vigil; the Triduum of 3 liturgical events. The thurifer is the person who serves the incense in the Roman Catholic Mass. Today, I bowed out of being thurifer. I did it because I didn’t even know today was Palm Sunday until I glanced through the new Magnificat (magazine of daily Mass readings). My thinking is outside religion and I don’t want to mix it in.
I am a runner, an employee and a solitary. I still grieve leaving the monastery. I guess I am doomed to always wish that had worked out. Is it really just being upset that I got kicked out? Is it the lack of official validation by a church authority? Do I still think I missed some spiritual boat which would have made my relationship with Jesus more special?
"True autonomy arises when we have broken free of all the old structures, all psychological dependencies, and all fear. Only then can that which is truly unique and fearless arise within us and begin to express itself." (Adyashanti)
Easter is for Christians who are believing of their religion. They believe that blessed palm fronds are different than all other palm fronds. It is a gross way to say it, but people who go to Easter services do believe that some sort of homage needs to be made to God. I should not get too involved with such people as I would have to play "when in Rome, do as the Romans," and be false to my own relationship with Jesus. My Jesus is everywhere, and equally present in every molecule, including every piece of shit.
Spirituality is my gig. Running is my gig. My ego is troubled; and I live with it's complaints about my rejection of it's desires. I seem to have been programmed to strive to be a worthwhile person. I was programmed by the likes of S. Covey that I should be leaving a legacy; that I need a legacy to be happy. I am leaving behind me a trail of nonsense and failure. My greatest accomplishments are nonsense: running and weight lifting, decades of meditation, reflection and spiritual study, non-standard diet, solitary un-involvement in social activities, many areas of ordinary life where I am not-participating. No I refuse to get fat and weak as the years go by. No I refuse to eat that junk you are eating. No I refuse to join your group. No I refuse to do what you are doing.
What is wrong with being just a runner? What is wrong with having a hidden dream of spiritual nonsense? Well, nothing except my ego is so damn uncomfortable with anonymity.
Last weekend, I ran 80 miles in 20 hours. By Tuesday, I was running again at almost normal pace with just a little pain in my right foot (the shoe did a number on the top of my right foot during the 80 mile run). I ran on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and today, Sunday. Today I ran 3 hours without any pain. Next weekend I have 3 days off and am planning a personal long distance event.