It is better to have tried to climb the mountain. There is nothing to think about. No carrot and stick reward systems. The soul can be found; even with the rudimentary spiritual tools available to American suburbanites. These will be refined with consistent use. The main thing is to stay on the path. Don't go to an Ashram for life. Go to work. Listen. The soul will come.
It is not a quest for the most marathons, or 100 miles in one race or money. It is self transcendence, which could look like anything.
I am but dust, and to dust I will return. Mental asceticism is for now. I will just walk this weekend.
I sang this while running on Sunday (Peter Paul and Mary?):
How many seas must a white dove sail Before she sleeps in the sand? ... The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind The answer is blowing in the wind.
A curious thing happened this week. I had my annual review and all is great. As a technical professional, one doesn't expect advancement, but a happy career performing a function. So, I have that where I am. But, after the review, I went back to my office and received a phone call from a person I know in another division of the company. They asked if I would consider a new posting in that division.
I wondered what this meant as a result of my spiritual work. But I had mostly forgotten it on Friday. Today, I wonder if the white bird has landed or if she will sail again.
Often, early in the morning, as I finish my spiritual study and jump on my elliptical, I have a mind on fire with inspiration. I ride my elliptic with ear plus in and I allow my mind to ponder and soar over spiritual issues. But, then I rush to work and dive in to my day and don't often have time to capture the soaring.
But today I have a key word: nobility, as in noble spirit.
Not nobility as in a king or queen or lord who rules over people. But a vision of love, kindness, getting-along-with-others sort of agape-an existence in this world. I completely and totally believe that my inner work is drawing me into an agape-an existence where I can be a noble spirit.
My ego wants to be a high integrity, well liked person. My soul wants to live in the vision of love with others too. So finally, I can say that my ego and my soul want the same thing. Perhaps for different reasons, but the result of the collaboration is that I walk the world in peace. I am also able to retire at the end of the day to a solitude capable of re-energizing the spiritual foundation.
I don't reside in a monastery divorced from the world. I reside in a chemical plant and on the freeways and in the grocery store. I play well with others.
Is that not beautiful? I found a center, a balance where there is no friction between my worldly self and my spiritual self; in fact I become one. In fact, I see this collaboration in others too. Everyone is a noble spirit too.
In book 11, Brunton says: "What the mystic seeks is a direct experience of the soul....he has the moral courage to withdraw from religious tradition and to deviate from worldly custom...Mystics who seek quivering ecstasies alone take the risk of becoming victims of their own emotional workings...They reach the divine center with their imagination or with their feelings, but not with their mind nor with their will....It is better to look for a different and better sign such as lasting intellectual conviction or improvement of outward conduct..."
It is astounding how many mystical authors I have followed over the past nearly 30 years, how hard I have tried. I never had "baptism of the spirit" of the emotional extravaganza sort. And from all the reading, I thought that was what was supposed to happen.
I now am ready to give myself credit for emotional stability, and daily unending progression of mind into an increasing state of freedom from the worldly thought prison.
I can change my thinking. In quietness, I know there is a bigger picture; and a greater reality leaks into my own. I need to hear what Spirit is saying to me, not just read books. When will I get the courage to put the books down? Today?
Yesterday, I ran 21.6 miles; and followed that in the evening with various strength routines and another 68 min of cross training machines. It was easy to get started with the evening workout. The morning's 21 miles did not exhaust me at all. I found myself energized by this.
I also find that after 40 years of running races, for the first time, I qualified for membership in an organization called Marathon Maniacs. I've never tried to qualify; but it was on my mind Friday so I checked to see what the qualifications were. And, yes, I got the bronze and I am a member. I somehow need this membership as inspiration for my next diabolical endeavor: In July, I hope to run 5 marathon races in 5 days.
I am off to the park now for a few miles. I don't know how many. I won't be watching the Superbowl; but see, I do know it is today.
A quote from line one of book 11: "Mysticism is simply an attempt to provide a system for those whom ordinary religion has ceased to help. It says, in effect, here is a practical means and a demonstrable method whereby you may verify for yourself the essential basic truth that there is a soul in man."