Sunday, February 27, 2011

Does God Hate Us?

Ok, provacative title on purpose.

There is no God.

Ok, now I'm being difficult.

But if there is a God, and that God is really beyond our level of thinking, he wouldn't like some better than others. So, why is it that so very few of us seem to be enlightened? Many that are enlightened seem to have worked many years in places like Buddhist monasteries and under strict rules. Others just pop into enlightenment with doing anything. Others get it from traumatic brain injury or drugs. Many who work just as hard, take the same drugs or have brain injuries, are not enlightened.

I've attempted many methods for enlightenment. Basically, except for brain injury or drugs, I've tried it. I've listened to many stories and for the most part, I think that "enlightenment" is really an endorphin release which feels so good we think it was God.

Now, I've been a student of A Course in Miracles for 3.5 years. I think the material is true, but it still doesn't lead to enlightenment. And, it is still outside material, not a direct communication between me and God. So does God hate me or what?

I don't know of course. There may not be a God. Or at least, what we hope is God does not exist.

I spent my run today repeating two sentences of my own composition:

Eternal silence is the life in me.
Still and quiet love has set me free.

Basically, I don't need to be more complicated than that. Any time I feel the slightest fear, annoyance or anger, it is because I stopped letting silence rule my mind. Anytime, I don't like another person, its because I stopped looking for silence in them.

If there is a God, that God must by definition be very silent. That is the only way to be pervasive and eternal.

I ran 22.2 miles on hilly roads today. I ran 73.85 miles this week.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ultra Monk Day of Running

Today was a very ultra monk day.

First, I slept in a bit late. Then, decided I would run on the levy as I didn't think there would be too much snow; and I had a brand new pair of trail shoes which were a size larger than usual and hadn't yet had the toes cut out (as happens to all my shoes). As I backed the car out, I realized road running would have been out of the question because of a foggy mist putting an invisible ice glazing on the asphalt.

So, it was about 25F, no wind and a foggy mist: perfect for having the levy to myself. The levy was divided down the middle ice/snow; so I could jog along pretty good at the dividing line. The trail shoes worked good. I didn't bring the garmin because I didn't want to judge myself, just jog along for as long as I felt like it. I did 3 laps in 3h46. Pretty sweet.

I call this an ultra monk day because I was thinking inward towards whatever wordlessness is the actual essence of life. I think that God is the silence deep in the heart of everything; and that is what I get to experience directly when I am alone like that. When I am around others, I am always making adjustments for them; so I don't get to be Who I really am, that inner silent truth.

I got to think about what I would be like with no people around. My thoughts would not need to be in words. The depth of silence is so beautiful to me. Stillness and quiet on the inside seems like the ultimate experience and the highest gift of life itself. Love must be quiet in its original form. Existence beyond this consciousness of silent love is not necessary. Alone, I get to experience this, even while jogging. But especially jogging as I do it because it is so slow and unimpressive. It doesn't lend itself to dreams of glory or conquest.

For spirituality, I've gone both directly to ____ but also gone to books. If I hadn't been taught anything, I'd not know what to call God or the Holy Spirit; I'd just have the consciousness unconsciously. I'd be alive as one, not as a separate being. This leads me to wonder again about letting go of any books. I already can't stand to be taught and stopped listening to tapes because I don't want the voice of the teacher in my thoughts.

After running: I got my hair cut.

Tomorrow's weather: +60F with thunder storms.....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Silence in My Mind

When in doubt, just be quiet.

Want to know God? Just be quiet.

Want some thoughts different from those you see in others? Seek silence and solitude. Divorce society's masses of busyness and cacophonies of chatter. I relish this aspect of silence and solitude. Even while I spend my time running or working out, it is with my own thoughts. I so cherish the emptying of my mind from the contamination of worldly noise. For example, I haven't watched TV in over 10 years so I don't have any new jingles or images corrupting my thinking. My thoughts are in real time: whats happening in my own experience, not any fabrication from society.

From ACIM text ch 11: The witnesses for God stand in His Light and behold what He created. Their silence is the sign that they have beheld God's Son, and in the Presence of Christ they need demonstrate nothing, for Christ speaks to them of Himself and of His Father. They are silent because Christ speaks to them, and it is His words they speak.

If I want to see God in you, I think I need to see the silence in you. It is there. Silence is the higher order being, not exactly seen or heard with the human body. I am much happier when I am seeing the silent you rather than seeing the physical you.

I live in a mostly uninspiring location. Looking out the window of my office, I see a power plant coal pile. Outside the window of my apartment is a parking lot. But going within, I see eternity.

Just sitting alone in silence is the ultimate experience of my life. Quiet is the highest I can go.

I keep track of my food and exercise on One of the features is a rolling mileage total for the past week. For February at least, my rolling total has been between 75 and 81 miles a week. That is a lot of running.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Of Desperation

My running is in essence futile; except insofar as it defeats my ego.

Yesterday, I ran around a 2.25 mile trail 11 times. Going up the one steep hill for the 4th time, I realized how stupid this is but that some spirit beyond myself must be driving the effort. This morning, reality hits my ego. Yesterday, it took me 6 hours to go as far as what takes me 5 hours of slow jog/walk on a road or 4 hours if I actually run. The value was in patience. I was tiring out my legs on that trail. It is disillusioning to keep going despite the tediousness of picking your way over rocks or climbing those nine flights of stairs. But the numbers suck. Don't look at me.

I have to choose between competitive running and contemplative running. Surface vs depth. My soul yearns for me and I desire it. I must let go of the delusions and fears and guilts of this world.

Some people live in majestic places with beautiful houses and inspiring views. Outside my apartment window is a parking lot and an office building and the sound of the freeway nearby. I fly coach. And I get to chose to experience depth or surface luxery. The root cause of spiritual desperation is the same for everyone; just some of us hide it better than others.

Nothing about my life is enlightening or majestic or inspiring. Mundane work a day survival is how I feel about it. I directly experience my spiritual desperation and attempt to connect with the Holy Spirit for healing.

ACIM text 11.V: "The real conflict you experience, then, is between the ego’s idle wishes and the Will of God..."

I must depart from the usual ways of doing things.

Today I ran 22.26 miles on a flat dirt path in 4h10. I enjoyed this. I could put my head down and just run, no thinking about tripping on rocks necessary.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Of Burpees

Google it if you don't know what a burpee is. I myself didn't know until about 2 months ago.

Some of the time, my cross training consists of 35 minutes in the torture chamber. The torture chamber is the bedroom of my one bedroom apartment, where I can configure it for a mini circuit of TRX, step platform, burpees and jogging on trampoline with weights on arms and legs.

I can hardly do 5 burpees in a row.

My cross training is small little chunks of time compared to the running, but I do think that use of other muscles and balancing type exercise makes better trail running possible and increases my endurance.

Spiritual burpees have to do with mind expanding truth which the ordinary consciousness simply cannot believe. A true thought is a spiritual burpee.

From Ch 11 of ACIM text:
  • Think like Him ever so slightly, and the little spark becomes a blazing light that fills your mind so that He becomes your only Guest. 
  • You who have God must be as God, for His function became yours with His gift. Invite this knowledge back into your mind, and let nothing that obscures it enter. The Guest Whom God sent you will teach you how to do this, if you but recognize the little spark and are willing to let it grow. 
  •  Turn toward the light, for the little spark in you is part of a Light so great that it can sweep you out of all darkness forever. 
Attempting to deepen my belief in truth is a spiritual burpee. Letting the spark blink into my consciousness is a spiritual burpee.

Do your burpees. Don't pretend like you don't need them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Litany Tweaked

I use my litany to keep my mind on track. It is good for when I cannot sleep or when I am upset. I've been reading in A Course in Miracles about the love that really does exist between God and us.

Father in Jesus' name remind me of
Your love for me and of my love for You.

If I am afraid I am deceived.
I am spirit. Know this need not be.
Fear is lack of love. Atonement heals.
Expanding love is my reality.
I am not alone. Jesus is here.
Jesus is the undoing of the dream.
The Holy Spirit is the choice for God.
I hear Him speak quietly in my mind.

In the holy instant I forgive.
Miracles come forth as love expressed.
Giving and receiving are the same.
Full appreciation is my gift.
The innocent see perfection truly.
Christ vision is where they put all their faith.
My mind holds only light and it shines out.
I see God's majesty in all others.

God is not symbolic. He is fact.
Peace is always firm. Love I believe.
Into His hands I commend my spirit.
And so my mind awakens to His peace.

Truth is my commitment. I am joy.
Love is my intention. God I see.
Love based thinking is my one desire.
Inner peace is what I really want.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Living in Nothingness

I am an endurance athlete. I am a great engineer. But my life is pointless.

Did the God project fail?

In silence and solitude, I find solace. This is because I can hear the Holy Spirit's non-judgment of me. This unconditionality and lack of performance standards sets me free. It is here in focused inner listening that I know I am loved and my self evaluations flee. So I am left in peace. Comparing myself to others is unimaginably depressing.

But did the God project fail?

At a young age, I decided I wanted to know God. I went first to religion. Religion led to a practice of contemplation and to the monastery. Along the way, I affirmed that I want to shamelessly follow Jesus and live a life of prayer. In a very real sense, I have that wish. On a moment to moment day by day basis, the God project is wildly successful; as long as I don't measure it against what anyone in the world has or does or is. This comparison is my downfall. The practice of thinking what I got isn't enough is a carefully orchestrated self sabotage; so subtle, so insideous I must be vigilant for its evil corroding poison.

In a real sense, I've received a ton, but it doesn't exist on the physical plane. The self sabotage is totally on the physical plane. My success is metaphysical. My truth is spiritual. Hence, the bridge to spirit from the depressive world is metaphysical. This metaphysical in-between consciousness is where I exist in solitude. There, I can think tremendous thoughts and expand my potentialities into the limitless eternal infinity of Pure Existence; God Himself.

Today, I did this while shuffling along a flat gravel levey for 5 hours. It is only in looking back at the experience and wondering what the hell good it was that I was inspired to stop comparing it to others. Suddenly, I became free.

This week at work: my first workshop with the other "High Performance Facilitators." All thru my career, I've been seen as having leadership potential. So I am going along with the gig one more time.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Today is the feast day for St Scholastica. If I was still a Benedictine, I wouldn't have to go to my monastic job, but instead have a religious holiday. After lengthy morning prayers and Eucharist, I would sneak out for a run; and show back up in time to help set elaborate tables for a noonday feast. I never really agreed that fat old nuns should ever feast, but they did do a lot of it.

Instead, I am at work. I got up at 3:25 and did my morning spiritual study. This morning I was very grateful to read a bit in A Course in Miracles text because it reminded me of something more, beyond just work troubles. And I was reminded of how I can look at the world and others without getting sucked into anger and resentment. I call this calibrating my brain. If I don't return regularly to base level spiritual thoughts, I'll soon be lost in anger and fear and self hate. I can't live like that.

After my spiritual workout, I did 110 minutes on my ex-machines. Checking out my rolling 7 day mileage total on, I've run 81+ miles in the past 7 days.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This blog entry is about a particular struggle I am having with myself. It seems it is time to let go of additional post-monastic-stress-disorder and further enter the secular world. Why?

a) It seems to be the Holy Spirit's gift to me.
b) My refusal to be like everyone else has evolved into an ego delusion.

In the monastery, I learned certain spiritual practices related to frugality, simplicity, silence, solitude, and maybe some others. When I first left the monastery, I practiced these things because I was genuinely interested in being a monk in the world. I shaped the ideas and expanded them to fit a loner in the world. Slowly, but especially the past few months, I've noticed a degeneration of my motives. I think I've become disdainful of some aspects of society just to pretend I'm better or higher in some way.

Like I would love to pursue the ermetical life. But I live and work around others. I have been a non-participant of society in a number of ways and for seeming good reason; but the practice causes friction with others. The friction can be dealt with by further withdrawal and a more concrete decision to give up career and lifestyle in order to be alone more for prayer. Or, the friction can be dealt with by letting go of my withdrawal and attempting again to join others.

What is the Holy Spirit doing which causes me to discern His Guidance? The situation is at work. I have been offered entry into two programs which would help me gain leadership skills as well as lead productivity groups as a facilitator. And there is a third learning opportunity on the horizon, although I don't yet know if I've been accepted. I look at this as formation, not only in corporate culture but in fulfilling the Holy Spirit's plan for me.

It means personal change for me.

My career has failed over and over because of me and my attitudes. Now, for the first time in my life,  post-monastic career or otherwise, I'm being offered help. All I have to do is fully go along with the program. I am scared. I "always" fail at stuff like this.

Leave me alone. I'm going running.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

I woke up this morning at 3:18, 12 minutes before the alarm on a Monday morning. And in my head was this old Beatles song, "Here comes the sun....Little darling, its been a long cold lonely winter....Little darling, the sun should soon be here..." Well, this week holds at least one more snow storm and one more bitterly cold morning, but I'll take the song. Its a great way to wake up.

And, the week of exercise continues. Yesterday, I ran 19 miles, bringing the weekend total (Friday night thru Sunday) to 52 miles and change. Last week was 77+ miles. I am not injured. I think the upcoming 12 hour endurance run will go well.

As I was running yesterday something new about the ego mind: it wants to get away with less. That is, as I am running, preparing for a victory, my ego wonders if it can have the victory and shortcut the work. I experienced how my brain kept going off track, sliding off the map, wanting to do less. It wasn't just physical fatigue, it was actual subterfuge that would leave me short on race day. I think the outstanding performers complete the work without lying to themselves and cutting it short.

I also noticed my deep belief that pain or trauma will somehow produce the experience of God. Almost every story of illumination I've ever heard contains pain and despair and finally breakthrough. I admitted once again that I hope ultra-running gives me this. Yes, that insidious belief that I can force God to enlighten me is still there, quietly undermining all the improvements in personality. In this world, my ego still rules.

I am left still pondering God. As I sit quietly after these runs, pondering the meaning of ultra-running, I hear only silence. I search inward, into the lighted unfathomed and bottomless depths. What if the best God has is silence, utter and infinite?

The ego also lies to me. My saving grace is in choosing what the Holy Spirit says instead. My only chance at happiness is in listening to the Holy Spirit's evaluation of me and going after the Holy Spirit's goals for me. These goals are not of this world, not tangible things.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ultra Mentality

To be an ultra running, you have to do a number on your traditional type thinking. Since I am in disagreement with most of society's tradition modes of thought and behavior, I am happy also to contradict standard logic by being an ultra-runner.

Before I go on, let me point out a miracle. Today, at the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race in Texas, the winner averaged 7.38 minutes per mile FOR 100 MILES! Un-effing-believable!!! A couple of others also finished with times under 8 minutes per mile.

So, I am preparing for a very easy ultra to take place on March 18-19 (starts at 7 pm). It is supposed to be a 12 hour event, but my plan is to run for 50 miles and stop (probably 10.5 hours). I went to this event last year and ran 80 miles in 20 hours. but I don't plan to destroy my body this year.

The type of ultra-running I do is in an entirely different league than those guys mentioned above. In my league, people finish that race in 25 or 30 hours. We worry about sleep deprivation. Our fueling strategy is totally different. The amount of blisters and other foot problems is deeply painful. I have not run more than 50k on a trail, so I don't think I could finish 100 miles.

But I can do the most possible with what I have to work with.

In fact, I've been putting in the time for ultra training: 65 to 70 miles a week plus some additional time cross training and weight lifting. My goal is to be able to run 50 miles without destroying my body.

Today I ran 5h41min on hills. Yesterday, I also worked out for 3h45 min and tomorrow, I'll go out and do another long run. So far this week, I have worked out over 17 hours, not counting the weight lifting or core time.

I did not start out today with any hopes of running more than an hour or two. I was running totally up and down hills because that was the only place I could find that had plowed streets, but not much traffic. But, after 2h31min, I realized my brain had quit protesting and suddenly was filled with hopeful ideas about running for hours and hours. The hills became less intimidating. I felt better than I did last week, even though I had a good rest last week due to my business trip.

This is the miracle of my ultra training. I keep seeing that I can easily do what my brain says I can't do; if I give it just a little push and ask for one more step.

I cannot really explain why I have the spirit to want to spend 5 or 6 hours every Saturday and Sunday running, but not going anywhere. It is very unglamorous.

I don't have a TV, so I am free from wasting my time watching football. I don't drink or eat junk so I am again free.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Performance Matters

Would I really worry about happiness or woundedness if I was desperately hungry or cold? Really, when I am fully occupied with work, or fitness, I don't care about my psychological deformities. If I was starving, I wouldn't care about fitness either.
Performance not psychology matters.

I was reminded yesterday that it has been 8 or so years since I have been to a touchy feely seminar. It made me very happy to know I am all about business and performance. Performance matters.

The idea of God is blase. If your spirituality is not improving your life and your relations with others, give it up. Washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom is more effective for spiritual performance than yet another seminar or a session on a table.

I am not desperately hungry or cold in this world, but spiritually, what am I?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow Day - I Feel So Good

I got up at my usual time. There is an unusually bad snow storm predicted for this area today. I have my work computer at home and will stay here.

First I jog on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Then, I move into my bedroom. There, I have a TRX hanging in the closet door, a step platform and a mini-trampoline. I work with the TRX for 15 minutes doing several suspended lunge exercises and some upper body strength work. Then, I strap weights on my ankles and wrists. I go to the step platform. Every time I step up, I raise my arms over head; forward back forward back and the side to side to side to side for 5 minutes. Then, 5 burpees. Then onto the mini-trampoline for 5 minutes. Than back to the step platform, then the burpees, then the min-trampoline again (20 minutes total). Then back to the treadmill for another 55 minutes. I've just had a two hour workout while the snow came down. There will be another workout this afternoon, after I work all day.

I feel so good while working out. I dream of my next race: 12 hours about 7 weeks from now. There really isn't a substitute for running when training for an ultra-marathon, but I have no choice with the weather.

People wonder why I do this. I feel so good. I'm 52 years old and dreaming of running 50 miles. All the other 50 somethings I know are thinking about their medications and their over-eating. I feel so good, so energized. I'm dreaming of what it is like to run all night, how it feels. Yes, the legs hurt after awhile. I am in better shape this year than I was last year when I ran 80 miles at the same race. I can hardly wait.

In the mean time, in the quiet of my one bedroom apartment, with snow falling outside, I work out. I do endurance: ex-bike, nordic track, tread mill, TRX, step platform, mini-trampoline, free weights and core. I do it all. I feel so good.