Saturday evening. I just finished a workout of more than an hour. I was thinking about how I might have stepped on someone's toes on the internet. As the big book of AA tells me, they retaliate. And we don't always know why.
But, on another track, I see situations like this where I am bothered as a distraction from the spiritual realm towards the world of illusion. Distractions cause me to stop looking towards spirit and start paying attention only to my emotional thoughts. Talking back is a concept from the Desert Fathers (and in particular Evagrius), early Christians who went to the desert to fight demons. I believe the demons were upsetting thoughts. The Desert Fathers used Biblical phrases to talk back to the demons.
I need to talk back to upsetting thoughts. I can use an ACIM lesson like "these thoughts don't mean anything." If I habitually talk back, I will more easily return to the realm of the spirit and happiness.
I have habitual upsetting thoughts. I am sometimes hopelessly distracted by them:
- How I was denied God because I was denied monastic profession.
- How I am stupid because I live like an athlete even though I am slow and old.
- How my life of solitude and spiritual study must be boring and stupid and I should get a life.
- My foot hurts.
This is not a complete list of distractions. these are just the ones frequently on my mind. In a way, these are attack thoughts. Another ACIM lesson that works is to say, "I can escape from the world I see by giving up my attack thoughts." I use my ACIM lessons to talk back to thoughts.
Today, 3.3 months after surgery, I jogged 6.3 miles. It was wonderful. It wasn't fast but it was long enough to become meditative. I got to be outside on a nice day in the Texas winter. Nothing better.