It was a beautiful day.
If you are A Course in Miracles student (or contemplative of any other sort), then you have heard that this world is an illusion. You have heard that there is no satisfaction in this world because it is a projection of your negative ego thoughts (fear, hate, anger, guilt). You have heard that nothing here is worthy of God's Son, which we all are.
This marathon dealt my ego a crushing blow; and I was left with the realization of undifferentiated Thought.
Like this: I was running slow so my time was nothing to brag about. I spent most of the race pissed off because 3 of the aid stations had no cups and I scrounged a cup from a garbage can but detected a slight after taste from whatever was previously in that cup and thought I might be poisoned. My achilles was unhappy. No one was at the finish line that I knew. I didn't give a shit about the medal photo and had to be cajoled into it by one of the photographers. Finally, I had a 2k walk back to my hotel but couldn't use the same route I came by so I felt lost and alone.
I found myself wandering under a highway overpass next to a large hockey stadium when suddenly the desolation hit me. In the forest of tall buildings, my smallness overwhelmed me. I broke down into actual tears and despairing sobs. Despite my monumental effort, my ego had nothing to show for it. My inner self knew this before I ever got on an airplane to go to Vancouver. My inner self calmly watches my ego try time after time to gain glory from the world and it never works.
And then, I pull myself back in and sit with this calm inner being. I receive heaven from this calm inner relationship. I am a worthy candidate for the spiritual journey. I stick by inner growth very conscientiously and consistently. But I also engage the worldly illusion and experience the ego's dissapointments time after time. It is my job to step back and not be too wrapped up in glory seeking. At the same time, I see I have received gifts from these disappointments: they break down the ego and allow me to glimpse my inner truth. Had my ego won the day in Vancouver, I wouldn't be introspecting. I'd be running around bragging and then planning future victories.
Instead, I am feeling the depth of my soul. As I was walking under the stadium and bawling my head off, I could also feel the certain hands of undifferentiated Thought. It felt like steady, consistent, pervasive eternal strength.
It is this ego/self back and forth which troubles me with decisions. Because I know disappointment, I don't think I should bother with Boston next year. I view Boston as a hot stove. If I want to risk being burned, I'll go. But Escatologically speaking, I might have to go because it is not my decision. In contrast, I am signed up for a trail marathon in 2 weeks. It will be a huge challenge to finish that. There will only be 8 people in the race and no shiny medal at the finish. But, the rewards of pure contemplation are available in what will be a nearly 8 hour effort.