Thursday, January 31, 2013

Life vs Living

Life and Living are two different concepts. I thought about this while on my treadmill this morning.

Life or Life Itself is an abstract concept. We can imagine a pure energy which seems to create living things and even animate us with consciousness. Many of us humans never think about this except to think that Life is God. Maybe it is; but not in the Biblical sense or religious sense.

But living is the daily process of getting out of bed, looking after our survival needs and, hopefully, finding some joy along the way. Many of us humans hate living.

My point is that I can return my thinking to life itself, assume a quiet mental stance, and then living doesn't seem so bad.

In my opinion, the only reason we have religion, philosophy, psychology, history, etc. is to find a way out of the horrible process of living, or at least explain its difficulties.

If it is an illusion created by me, then I can change it.

Returning to life itself means letting go of my thoughts about living, or at least lowering their priority and believability.

It is the last day of January. I've had a fantastic fitness month. I completed 90 min this morning, with more to come later. But here is my graph so far:

So fantastic. It is not really for health. It is something beyond that. But I am not sure what.

Lesson 220-224 in A Course in Miracles:
Peace to my mind. Let all my thoughts be still.
God is with me. I live and move in Him.
God is my life. I have no life but His.
God is my Father, and He loves His Son.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mystic Musings

One of the things that has bugged since leaving the monastery is whether I can be a mystic if I have a job and live in the world. See, I went to a monastery because I believed that you had to in order to achieve the necessary environment and teaching which would make a mystic.

The people who write books about enlightenment and mysticism are usually people who are able to achieve a life outside the work-a-day world.

Sort of like, if you were called to be a mystic then you'd have succeeded at monastic living and have a teacher. If you have a job, you weren't called and God won't come to you. This worry about God is a false teaching and can't be true.

Living in a world of people who have not placed any priority on spirituality does lead one to think that only monks could be successful.

I am not able to talk face to face with anyone about mysticism. This means that instead, I am talking about work or running. So people think that these are whats important to me. But not so. Being a private mystic makes it less "real" because there is no ego validation.

Monastic or not, I feel my first priority in life is spiritual growth, connection with that mentality beyond my worldly consciousness (mysticism). And I am so dedicated regardless of whether my job hinders the relationship or not.

My life is my dream. I can change the God rules in my dream. In my dream, God just is with is. No need to a drastic mental or physical circumstance. Only thinking I can't hurts me.It is highly likely that all I've learned about God from society and religion isn't helpful. I have a second hand God.

The real God would just be......

Truly, the relationship is there whenever I remember it is there; any brief moment of remembrance and boom, there it is.

I have to put some active conscious priority on my desire for God.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Yesterday, I was talking to a lady who runs 60 to 70 marathons a year. There was a man in the race who has run 250 and another lady who has run 350.

I've been a runner for 40 years. It has never crossed my mind to focus on that many marathons; or even keep track of how many I have run beyond the past year or two.

I was realizing the human propensity for raising the bar on ourselves. Nothing is ever enough for us. Bucking this trend is part of my spiritual program. My life is not based on achieving higher numbers. So after my marathon, I return to metaphysics. What was I creating in that day with those people. The man who ran 250 marathons is also a preacher. He managed to give our little group of runners a 2 minute sermon about Samuel which was interesting and not mention Jesus Christ at all.

Today I run/walked 18 miles. This run was on top of yesterday's 26 mile race. I could feel the tiredness after about the first hour. I didn't plan to go more than 13 miles, but I wasn't able to stop myself. Give me some water and a couple of Clif Shots and not much pain and there is no telling how long I'll go.

After 17 miles, I realized: there is no chain, no end.

This evening I went to an AA meeting. It was a birthday meeting so 2 people told their stories. Other people have such dramatic stories. I don't really like listening to them. But just sitting in the meeting gave me the humility to be grateful for sobriety.

I am no longer jealous of people who had gurus, who had magnificent spiritual teachers, who channelled wisdom,  or  had supernatural help. I've come to believe in my inner Teacher. My moment of clarity came yesterday. I was thinking about a Course in Miracles. If I project this dream of a world, then I also projected the course into my life. In a sense, I created it and my Teacher speaks through it.

The dream of my life does keep getting better. I don't really know why I had to move to Texas. But I feel this place embracing me. Even as I meet the same people at races, I know I'm becoming Texan. I don't think I ever was a mid-westerner, or felt like Missouri wanted me. I know that I am a 60s style Californian. But I see that it goes ok with Texans.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

IranHouston, January 2013 marathon

Yup! Did it. 26.3 miles in 5h53min (includes pit stops). I enjoyed myself and met some new people. I was not interested in doing faster than ultra pace. I just wanted another 26 mile run and to see how well the race director did. All was good.

I think since I ran a private 26 miles 2 weeks ago, today's 26 miles seemed easy and over quickly.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lesson 189

Part of it says: "Simply do this: Be still, and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy, and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything. Forget this world, forget this course, and come with wholly empty hands unto your God."

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Ran Marathons

I have signed up for a marathon this Saturday. I was investigating the outfit who puts on "I Ran Marathons." It turns out the originator is a lady I met at Ultracentric who walked for at least 48 hours with one arm in a sling. Very inspiring. She did always smile at me. I'll be rubbing shoulders with some hardcore marathon addicts this weekend.

In a sense, dreaming of endless marathons is dreaming BIG.

My spiritual quest goes on. Sometimes I take a break from A Course in Miracles and read the notebooks of Paul Brunton. I'm reading number 8 now. I think I have about 20 or more. He claims to be an independent mystic, with a background in the east and in Quakers.  He seemed logical enough, but ..... this morning I read where his major spiritual experience took place in delirium from a tropical disease.

Back to square one.

Most of the enlightenment experiences I read of are related to drama, physical or emotional. Like, God doesn't come til we are desperate enough. I somewhat reject the idea that God only comes to the desperate. If God is love, then there must be another way.

We rarely read of the spiritual experience which comes from a long term intentional sanctification. Mine is the long term variety. My quest is a daily effort of letting go of ego and listening to the Voice for God. The dopamine or the hormones are not doing the job.

This path requires attempting to believe there is a higher consciousness and entrusting more each day to that consciousness. At the end of the day, I've had a happy day. That is all I have.

Monday, January 21, 2013

July Dream

Here is where I hope to spend my July Vacation:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The 1,000th Post

How could this blog have been going that long?

It is Sunday. I slept poorly and so slept in. I woke up thinking about alcohol. In particular how I can't believe people drink the poison at all. But they cherish it and never grow out of their immature lust for inebriation. Last Thursday, I watched colleagues think something great had happened that they had the chance to pick a six pack of Heineken off a gift table. Or to pretend how mature they were picking a bottle of wine.

Drinking is stupid.

So is eating meat.

And so is almost everything we do as persons.

I switched to my lesson: "I call upon the name of God which is my own. The name of God is my inheritance."

I wish to touch the divine source now, not as I die.

I went running, its now 16 miles, a shower and a salad later. During my run, I remembered a decisive moment in my life. It was a few days after being kicked out of the monastery and I was staying with a friend until I could get an apartment. Her husband was having a few health issues which would be typical for many 50 somethings in the US.

I remember making a secret vow to myself: I will NOT be like them.

I know that I do not want to be normal society.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pre-Lent Message

Don't lurk at the foot of the cross.

I completely believe that all of us should move on to: the sunlight of the spirit, or heaven or whatever you want to call the resurrection world.

If you practice Lent, practice the idea of being alone with God and having loving conversation.

If you lurk at the foot of the cross, you'll never realize you are not guilty. If you want the sunlight of the Spirit, step into it right now. It is yours. No suffering needed. Accept it.

After all, you get what you project. If it is light, then that is what you get.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

54th Birthday - Reverse Goofy Finisher

Today, I ran a private half marathon in the pouring rain, to finish my 54th birthday weekend.

I made myself a commemorative plaque to hang on my wall. Quite frankly, I sort of like the idea of making my own event and commemorating it. For one thing, its much cheaper. And for another, I can do it when and where I want.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Private Marathon - 54th Birthday

Its my birthday!

I suppose I'm a normal athlete. We like to do outrageous things on our birthdays. I told you already about my 5.4 cross training workout. I did that last night.

The rest of the weekend was supposed to involve a Reverse Goofy. That is, if I was in Disney World this weekend, I could run a half marathon today and a full marathon tomorrow; and that is a Goofy. Disney World is really about the last place I'd ever choose to go. But, the idea of doing a private Goofy did surface in my mind since I have good friends doing authentic Goofys.

Today, the marathon portion of my Reverse Goofy was completed. I did really well with run/walk ultra race pace. (13.3 min per mile average including pit stops). Total time including pit stops: 6h02.

Saying I will run a private marathon and actually doing it, are two different things. And just because I know I can keep going for 50k doesn't mean I'll get 42k done today. Largely because my brain often gives up. So I never know. The mental game is crucial.

I ran today with A Course in Miracles lesson: "There is no death. The Son of God is free."

I just kept saying it over and over. I kept my brain right there. Only after 5 hours did I say a prayer: Higher Self, I really want to have a happier dream this year. Since becoming a Course student, I can for sure say that I have been dreaming a happier and happier dream. And when I turn my thoughts over to whatever this Self is, I have a happy day. And this is what I want out of live: non-misery.

Spirituality have been my quest since going to Jerusalem when I was 22. The quest deepened to "Shamelessly follow Jesus" as a result of the Columbine shootings in 1999. The quest deepened again after I got kicked out of the monastery. The first 6 or 7 years after leaving the convent, I tried every possible way to achieve enlightenment. But then, my road swerved and the dogma of enlightenment left me. Now I have been A Course in Miracles student for about 5.5 years. It is not about enlightenment but salvation. Not the denominational Christianity type salvation but true mental freedom salvation.

I talk about spirituality because it is a "piece that cannot be moved" in my life. I have the quest and it is not stopping. Being an athlete is another non-negotiable. Yes, I'm not as fast as 2 years ago, and I do have aches and pains. But the energy of endurance continues to flow.

Tomorrow, I'll finish the Reverse Goofy. Easy peasy. All downhill.

Friday, January 11, 2013

54th Birthday Eve

This morning, I finished the text of A Course in Miracles for the eighth time.

And then, I walk jogged on the treadmill while I pondered spiritual phrases. I offered my thoughts to whatever higher self I have. I had to spend 2 hours trying to show a troublesome colleague how to do something and I was afraid I was going to be angry at him. So, my early morning pondering included prayer.

The meeting went extremely well. I believe that when I gave my fears to the higher self in the early morning, that a new reality was created. My day became a happy dream.

I ditched work early as I usually do on Friday.

Coming home, the last book of the Wheel of Time series had arrived. So I have a birthday book. I did slink upstairs to lay on the bed, eat oatmeal cookies and start the book.

But about 4, I came down again to begin my 5.4 Cross Training Workout. 5.4 in honor of my 54 years. The workout involved 5 cross training stations (bike, elliptic, step platform/KB circuit, Versa Climber and Nordic Track). In between 20 minutes at each of these, I did 10 reps of TRX upper body combo, plus 40 swiss ball sit-ups.

Tomorrow, I hope to do a private marathon and on Sunday a private half marathon. This is my private Reverse Goofy.

I did tonights workout in silence, even with ear plugs in. I said spiritual phrases. I wondered about my workout needs, the why of it.  Is it just so I can eat cookies? Is it just so I can have a wall covered with medals?

No, I think there is a deeper urge or need. It is a way of life. But I have yearned for infinite endurance almost my whole life. maybe even as a small child on swim team I dreamed of mega numbers of laps. By 13 years of age, I had discovered long distance running. And never quit.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pre-54 Reflections

This morning, I pondered A Course in Miracles chapter 31.

Text 31.VI:
You see the flesh or recognize the spirit. There is no compromise between the two. If one is real the other must be false, for what is real denies its opposite. There is no choice in vision but this one. What you decide in this determines all you see and think is real and hold as true. On this one choice does all your world depend, for here have you established what you are, as flesh or spirit in your own belief. If you choose flesh, you never will escape the body as your own reality, for you have chosen that you want it so. But choose the spirit, and all Heaven bends to touch your eyes and bless your holy sight, that you may see the world of flesh no more except to heal and comfort and to bless.

And then, while riding my stationary bike, I pondered Miracle principle 33:
Miracles honor you because you are lovable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.

A Course in Miracles often asks that I be silent and listen. I'll hear the Voice for God. This freedom is what I like about the Course. It is mainly giving tools for freedom. Chapter 31 is the last chapter. It means that by my birthday on Saturday, I'll have read the text 8 times.

All I know is I do have far fewer inner turmoil periods and much more inner peace.

On the eve of my birthday, I am doing a 5.4 cross training event. That is, I'll go to each of 5 cross training stations in my house for 20 min plus Turkish Get-ups with Windmill will be the 0.4. In between each station, I'll do a set on the TRX for a total of 54 reps. Cross training stations are: bike, elliptical, step platform/kettle balls, Versa Climber and Nordic Track.

Then on Saturday and Sunday, I'll do my usual miles. If I feel good on Saturday and the weather is ok, I'll try for 26. Then I could do 13 on Sunday and call it a reverse Goofy.

Some people lay around eating and drinking on their birthdays. I'm exactly the opposite.

Lately, I've been getting in more than 2 hours of workout per day (split before work and after work). I get excited about this. I feel a big race growing inside me. Maybe the Prairie Spirit 50 mile race in March will be it. My left heel will always have problems, but it is not bothering me too much right at the moment.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Listening To The Call

Long ago, I went to university, a school of engineering, and I became and engineer. Then, years later, I desired to shamelessly follow Jesus and live a life of prayer. I entered a Benedictine monastery, a school for the Lord's service. The monastery gave me tools of contemplation and prayer. These tools have stuck with me just as much as engineering. I didn't stay at the Benedictine school to teach. I finished my novitiate and moved on to be a journeyman of sorts.

After a strange and sudden ejection from the monastery, I re-entered secular life. I spent a couple of years as a Roman Catholic. During this time, I realized that the Church was not an institution I could support with my personal moral fibers. I also came to believe that denominational Christianity was doing very little in helping people realize their true Christ nature. No one was "doing the things he did."

I continued to investigate various ideas: meditation, raw foods, fasting, Essenes, hermits; and eventually A Course in Miracles. Somehow, this Course has became my area of spiritual specialization post graduating from the school for the Lord's service.

I have spent a great deal of time being upset that 4 years of monastic life divorced me from society. I simply can't join with the normal societal flow of eating and drinking and watching TV and gabbing away about nothing. But it is also true that I can only hear one voice at a time. If I want to hear The Voice for God, then I must stop listening to the voice of the world.

This does not at all mean I hate the other people. I just can't participate in their world. I can look with the Christ Vision given by the Voice for God; and accept its peace at any time. This practice is what I am doing out here. When I look with Christ vision, I am projecting peace; and this is all The Spirit asks of me.

Inspired by Chapter 31.I of the ACIM text:
Hear not the call for pain within yourself.
But listen rather to the deeper call
of love which asks in quiet for peace and love.
And all the world will give you peace and joy.

2012 has turned to 2013.
I am about to turn from 53 to 54.
I run another mile. I drive another mile.
I work another day. Another dollar is deposited into my account.

In spiritual dollars, I am rich. That is enough for me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Small Beginnings

New Years Day - I slept late, til 8 am. Not because I stayed up late but because I was tired.

I spent my New Years evening watching U-Tube videos of people doing Turkish Getups with Kettlebells. This is my new fitness fanaticism. I can barely do a Turkish Getup with no kettlebell let alone 5 lbs. But I am going to work on it every day up until March 22 when I fly off to a race in Missouri.

Today I had a two part workout which left me feeling fabulous. First a high intensity cross training session for 75 min. Then 2 hours doing laps around Brummerhop Park. While in Brummerhop park, I mentally ripped the 2012 page out of my world. Now, today is just today. Start over. Keep going.

Here are small beginnings:

In 12 months, I hope it looks similar to this:

I've been in Texas a year. It was a year of transition. It is possible that it was the best year of my life.