Today is my second day of complete rest from exercise and running. I am in a period of quiet before my 50 mile run on Sunday. I need to heal. The training was completed but not without its little stresses and strains. Now, I rest before stepping up.
My lessons for today are two: "Now let a new perception come to me." and "I seek a future different than the past."
Yesterday I finished my 5th reading of the text for A Course in Miracles. Today I started the Manual for Teachers. Below is an interesting description of the steps of spiritual development. I think these would follow any spiritual development in any religious tradition. They go along with what Jesus says in the Bible, "You must lose your life to save it," and "leave everything and follow me," etc.
For me, I seem to spiral along these steps. They seem to over lap. I revisit each idea at a deeper level. But I know I have not yet reached the final peace of Heaven.
Losing my interest in running achievement is a step in losing the valueless. I've had to do the same with religion, career, position in society, food, family, property, possessions, money (especially retirement plans and health care); every area of life which people value, I've had to question myself on its value in the spiritual world. And this is for the sake of learning to love the innocent Christ within, for the sake of knowing the Power within me but not of me.
After all these years of spiritual focus and daily attempts at contemplation, I am still coming to understand and trust the Power. I still need to learn of It as a Friend who is really there and reliable and in fact the only thing of value I have.
Manual for Teachers 4.I.A: Development of Trust
(excerpts, not the full explanation)
First, they must go through what might be called “a period of undoing.” This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognized. How can lack of value be perceived unless the perceiver is in a position where he must see things in a different light?
Next, the teacher of God must go through “a period of sorting out.” This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it.
The third stage through which the teacher of God must go can be called “a period of relinquishment.” If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely.
Now comes “a period of settling down.” This is a quiet time, in which the teacher of God rests a while in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. Now he begins to see the transfer value of what he has learned. Its potential is literally staggering, and the teacher of God is now at the point in his progress at which he sees in it his whole way out. “Give up what you do not want, and keep what you do.”
The next stage is indeed “a period of unsettling.” Now must the teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless, and that he did want the valuable. Yet his own sorting out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice, so central to his own thought system, had made it impossible for him to judge. He thought he learned willingness, but now he sees that he does not know what the willingness is for. And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance.
And finally, there is “a period of achievement.” It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before become solid gains, to be counted on in all “emergencies” as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquility is their result; the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here.