Saturday, January 30, 2010

Urban Tree House of Solitude

I have been given the gift of an urban tree house (2nd floor apartment). Within the upper level is one spirit (me), silent within the sound of the nearby freeway. It doesn't spark the yearning like a cave in the Himalayas or a hut in the dense forest. That rent is near $1000 a month, that the first floor garage contains a new Prius, that the urban solitary goes to work as an engineer, seem wholly normal and not very hermit. Why would that person bother with the ethos of solitary?

Because the life is wholly ermetical. Because the tree house is a transition between the realm of pure spirit and the delusion of the world. The solitary retreats into pure spirit for extended periods of time and then carries the consciousness of spirit into the delusion. The world is an illusion, or as I say delusion. Not even my body is real. How do we approach the truth?

A Course in Miracles 1.III.2 says, "You are the work of God and His work is wholly lovable and wholly loving." Usually we look at ourselves and think there must be something wrong because we are not wholly loving. We usually think God made a flawed person. We never say that it is our perception that must be wrong because God cannot have made something unloving or unlovable. If I allow myself to ask the question about my flawed perception, I am on the way to seeing the world as a delusion and not real.

The miracle is a perception shift which corrects my perception error. When I accept the miracle and believe I am love, I am forgiven.

Miracle principle #36 is, "Miracles are examples of right thinking, aligning your perceptions with truth as God created it."

I am willing to let go of everything and live the truth that God made me wholly lovable and wholly loving and that whenever I think otherwise, I have contradicted God and wanted my delusion more than pure spirit. I think about it, ponder it, reflect on it, pray for more letting go.

The perfect axiom is that you too must have been made by God wholly lovable and wholly loving. Part of my practice is to see this in you. ACIM calls that forgiveness.

The forgiven are forgiving and this is what will end the delusion of the world.

I hope I have made some headway in explaining some terminology from ACIM: forgiveness and miracle. I hope I have made some headway in explaining the basic premise of ACIM that the world I see is my insane delusion; and that I have given an opening into consideration that the premise could possibly be true. God really is love and we would not expect love to make a world of fear and suffering. Therefore, it must be my perception that is wrong. The miracle is healing.

The delusion of my body weighs 129.2 this morning (new diet is working). Now, this illusion of a body is going out running. There is a light dusting of new snow. It is 20F. I "think" I will be cold for three or four hours while I do my long run so I better bundle up.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Book of My Heart - a love gospel

"I love you," is the most obvious thing God ever said to me. That it has taken 51 years to hear is incredible.

We all want something out of life. The most useful name for what we want is "love." But usually we don't realize that love is what we want and instead spend gobs of time seeking fame, fortune, success, victory. Inside this exterior seeking work is hidden our issues; needs for approval, self-esteem, self-worth, validation. Deeper inside the relatively superficial self layer is our fear. Oh, God, that fear is terrifying. Fear that I am really nothing; or worse than nothing: a worm, a piece of crap or that I am bad. That I might be truly bad terrifies me to see so I turn back to the world and work on my conquests hoping they'll hide my badness.

But if I make another choice and keep pondering the fear and what it could be hiding, I'll conclude (after months or decades) that it is not true. During my exploration of why I think I am a piece of crap, I am actually healing the infection and draining the pus by opening myself to whatever it is. As it reduces, I see something else. Slowly, I see goodness; mine and everyone else's.

At this point, I am free. I find myself off the hook, and I've let everyone else off the hook too. I no longer need any identifying labels: I am a marathoner; I am a Boston Qualifier; I am an Ironman; I am a parent; I am a millionaire. I no longer need conquests to define me or give me an acceptable sense of self.

The only victory I ever needed was the decision to turn inward away from the world and accept my pre-existant intrinsic good.

As I say this, I hear the gufaws of the audience. I stand alone in the spot light held up to ridicule. "Silly Spirit Flower," they say. "We are not afraid. We already know we are good people. It is you who are so deprived. Quit telling us that our conquests are meaningless illusions, children's play acting. Our victories mean alot."

Spirit Flower looks into the crowd and finds the one pair of eyes which admits it's pain. "Oh really?" she says. "Then why do you feel like a faker? If a marathon medal really meant anything, all my troubles would be over."

But I kept dropping the rocks of worldly validation until I finally spent enough time shining light on the fear. I melted its ice and became undaunted. I believed it less and less. Then, the inner good could be discerned, accepted, joined and loved.

All I ever wanted was to love myself; that inner good who is my true identity. My true identity is not window dressing. Sure I still run marathons, but my self love does not depend on how fast I was or even finishing. What ever I do, I do as that inner good. That inner good is my identity. Good is what I am, what I bring, what I give.

Life lived at the level of age group awards is futile.

Life lived as good is eternal.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Runner's Diet

What a great thing it is to go running. What a great thing it is to dream of the glory of finishing marathons. I have no life other than that of the runner. Yes, very deprived. It has mainly been that way for 30 years.I do not train for a marathon and then go back to less after the race is over. I like to think on any given weekend, I could run 26 miles. I do the weekly long run because I want to, not because of some training schedule. The marathon is not something to train for; but something to be. I don't just go in marathons. I am them.

My existence as a marathoner is the most difficult thing to explain to anyone; particularly non-runners.

I used to feel guilty for being a runner because I was in such better shape than everyone else; I thought I had somehow stolen health and fitness from the social system. I used to feel ashamed of being a runner because I really am not beneficial for society. I use up resources, expend energy with no tangible benefits to society or production of good, I consume Chinese manufactured shoes and gortex suits. I take up space on the planet, use it resources, contribute nothing and so on.

But now, I no longer feel the guilt or shame. I am just a runner and I have nothing to prove. Nothing to win. Nothing to achieve. The most exciting thing is the finely chiseled abdomen appearing in my mid section as I work diligently on core exercises and weight loss.

In January, in order to support my running, I launched into a weight loss program. I wanted to lose about 3 pounds in time for marathon season. I gave up my precious peanut butter and a couple of other dainties. My weekly weight fluctuation moderated. It used to peak as high as 137 pounds. Post peanut butter, the peaks were in the 134 pound area, but my average weight stabilized at 133 pounds. The weekly fluctuations continued and were maddening.

Last Friday, I met with the trainer at work. She looked at my diet and made some suggestions about shifting away from simple carbohydrates to complex ones; as well as calculating the calories differently. Already, it looks like my weight has lowered and is not ramping up like it has before. Below is a graph. The blue line is the daily weight; with the weekly low occurring on the day after my long run (usually 20 or so miles). The red line is a 7 day rolling average. The yellow line shows the day the transition happened.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I started reading "The Song of Prayer," a supplement to A Course in Miracles. Here are a few excerpts:

  • Prayer is the greatest gift with which God blessed His Son at his creation.
  • The love they share is what all prayer will be throughout eternity...
  • In true prayer you hear only the song.
  • The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need.
  • Prayer is a way offered by the Holy Spirit to reach God. It is not merely a question or an entreaty. It cannot succeed until you realize that it asks for nothing. How else could it serve its purpose? It is impossible to pray for idols and hope to reach God. True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. Ask, rather, to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there.
  • Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with Love. There is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. That nothingness becomes the altar of God. It disappears in Him.
  • Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness.
  • One who has realized the goodness of God prays without fear. And one who prays without fear cannot but reach Him.
  • Prayer has no beginning and no end. It is a part of life. But it does change in form, and grow with learning until it reaches its formless state, and fuses into total communication with God. In its asking form it need not, and often does not, make appeal to God, or even involve belief in Him.
  • And prayer is as continual as life. Everyone prays without ceasing.

Such beautiful phrases. They speak to why I am devoted to silent contemplation. I experience the peace of God and listen to the song, asking only for communion.

I also read "The God Virus" last night. The God virus is really about the infection of religion into our psyches and lives and encourages investigating the hidden programming of religion, the logic of it and deciding for yourself how you want to live. It is somewhat amazing to see the many control tactics of religion and how similiar they are between all religions including Christianity, eastern religions and Islamic sects.

I know I want to be just a spirit. To be this, I give up attachment to other labels. I reduce the number of labels my ego seeks pride in. I get up in the morning and walk with God. I stop projecting negativity onto others and seek to see only that others are spirit too.

In this process, I take my inventory. I see what I am thinking and see what I can let go of. Yes, I believe there is more to me than a selfish ego. The something more is accessed intuitively or through listening to thoughts that seem non-ego based.

I am in a time of quiet and contemplation. All books give instructions about how you should be. I tend to judge myself to see if I measure up. Since I last finished the text for ACIM, I've let the written words rest. Now, I choose to listen directly to the Spirit for messages about my own spirit-hood. It is time to rest from judgment and let myself be love. It is time to have no opinions about what happens in my daily life but work with Spirit on becoming solely spirit.

On the other hand, my trainer is helping me work on my diet. My daily investigation of what I eat and the proportion of protein to carbs to fat, plus the proportion of complex carbs to simple carbs, is a whole new world for me. My spread sheet has expanded. It is working however as my weekly low is about half a pound lower than last week. I am trying to lose 3 pounds in preparation for marathon season. Perhaps this is also religion.

I did my long run yesterday. I have already run 50 miles this week. Today will be a weight lifting session and a short run: about 10 miles, or maybe only 8. We'll see. Now, I need to switch computers and do some work work.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Another Saturday; another long run. The short story: 3:47, about 20 miles.

I started out about 8:20. Rain was on the radar but I thought I might be able to run about an hour before it rained and then endure the rain for awhile. I want my mind to stop balking at little issues like rain. Turns out it was rainy and extremely windy the first lap of 1:20. Then it quit raining. I got warm and dried out. How on earth did that front pass over me without me drowning? It must have just been the first part of the run.

I'm a wimp. After two hours, two girls passed me wearing long sleeve shirts. I had on a Gore-Tex suit with 3 long sleeve shirts; and wasn't sweating.

There is a man in black with a black felt hat walking a pit bull. When I come near, he stops and makes the dog sit at his side. Very nice, but he is sitting in the "good" part of the road, so I still look like a scairdy cat dancing around on muddy ruts.

Tall skinny guy, total running body, wearing a totally swell swag jacket from Fairbanks marathon. Shoot....liked it. I don't think my big trip to NCM will yield a cool jacket.

Snow and ice are gone so I could use the whole levy. It takes me 41 minutes to get all the way to the end. I did 2 and 3/4 laps. I wasn't sure I'd do a long run today; but was prepared with enough Gu and water just in case. I started out at Gu every 45 minutes, but at 2:11, I thought I was going to die. I took the hint and went to Gu every 30 minutes, and felt tons better. I used about twice as much water as I did a week ago too; much warmer. Started running faster after the Gu too. Why is it that some body parts can murmur at you for over 2 hours; but when you get to 2:45 and you ask them if they want to stop, they are quiet. And don't talk again til after the shower, then they want ice!

Coming back, I spent an hour working on my nutrition spread sheet; trying to get the diet adjusted to what the trainer says I should eat. Can't believe I'm following instructions!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Quiet Friday

I got up with the alarm at 3:35. On Fridays, I often set the alarm a little early to have more time for spiritual reflection.

Today, I felt the need to extend the contemplation so I didn't go running. I did my free weight/core workout in the living room. This work out can be very Zen, very Chi, if I do it slowly, and mindfully. The core exercises I do are subtle; but over the past 4 months, they have produced visible changes to my abdomen.

Dropping the rocks is what today is about. Letting go and letting God. Not being in control and not judging what He wants for me. I whup myself unmercifully with my thoughts. Today, I cannot. I must rest. In the quiet, I find strength. I find the Voice of Love. I allow the embrace of Love.

It is peace which sustains me. Nothing found outside of it works. I return and return and return. IT, the peace and the silence and the love, is my life, my hope, my joy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Miracle Principle 2

I got up with the alarm at 3:46 today. I could hear the coffee maker doing its job. I did my spiritual study. I am finishing "Clarification of Terms" (part of ACIM) and starting "Psychotherapy" (part of ACIM). I meditated. My mind has been very quiet yesterday and today. Inner peace could be this very silence. I have discovered that it is very difficult to let it be.

I went for an hour run. Nothing too remarkable except for the pure enjoyment. I am an adult athlete. I am starting, at the age of 51, to realize that this is the way I want my life to be. I've spent a good deal of my life abusing myself as a failure because I never got married or had some vital role in society. But I wanted to be a long distance runner when I was 13. My desire has always been endurance and longevity; not racing per se. Only now do I see it as the truth of my being; but also neither less than nor more than anyone else's path in life.

I have a little notebook where I have decided to write out one of the 50 miracle principles each day and then talk to Jesus about its meaning. Todays principle caused me to fall on my knees.

From A Course in Miracles, miracle principle number two: "Miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their Source, Which is far beyond evaluation."

Even while running or lifting weights, my concern is for the Christ consciousness. In my desire for endurance through the long distance is my desire to bring forth the sacredness of the spirit which I am (we are). Each run, each stupid 15 pound dumbell lift, gives birth to a sacred holy silent pulse of life and love and recognition of Source.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Plain Running Spirit

Before I went running today, I thought:

Being an athlete or a runner or a marathoner is part of my self concept. Being an athlete comes from my heart, is a core concept which describes a foundational way of living.

Being a marathoner is an external idea with a meaning attached to how others measure me. My BQ (Boston qualification) was not interesting because it was a BQ, that is an external measure. It was interesting in terms of amazement at myself for finishing under 4 hours at the age of 50. But it wasn't elation.

In terms of self concept, it is good for me to ask myself what I expect the marathon to do to myself concept that I want. What do I value about the experience or the label? Personally, I pay attention to who I expect to be impressed, because bragging always feels demeaning to me.

Then, I went running. Perfect day. Foggy, levy was bare dirt, temps around freezing, no wind. I shared my run with the company of wild turkeys, geese and a hawk or two, one runner with a dog wearing saddle bags, two walkers and another runner. Miraculously, someone had plowed the big drift. Wonder whose job that is?

As I got started, my mind wandered back to marathoning and the whys regarding why I run or why I run marathons. I know my first foray into running was at the age of 13 when I already wanted some sort of self transcendence in my life and already regarded long distance running as a method. I have had transcendent moments at the end of races. Most notably I had great moments of elation after a painful marathon I ran at the age of 37; and the trail 50k I did on a hot July day (8.5 hours).

I have had moments of elation in the middle of long training runs where some intuitive idea burst into my mind with such amplitude I raised my arms in triumph. I used to kill for ag(age group) awards. But last year, I went home without even collecting 3 of them; and when I moved, none of my plaques moved with me (they ended up in the garbage).

Still and all, I like marathons for their bench mark value. I like them because I do try to throw my heart over the bar when I'm in the last 6 or so miles. I keep myself in marathon shape all the time; don't see any reason to slack off.

During my run today, I decided on Gu every 45 minutes. At my first Gu gobble (in honor of the turkeys), I realized that with 6 packets and two small water bottles in my fanny pack, and a thermos of hot water stashed along the trail for refills, I could stay out there as long as I wanted. This thought gave me a feeling of smug satisfaction: I can run for as long as I want. And therein lies my heart and soul. I'm far more interested in just plain running than a marathon per se.

I ran nearly 22 miles in 3:51.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Leaf in the Snow

My running in the morning is usually an extension of the early morning spiritual time. It is usually possible to see the tiny signs that God is behind it all.

This morning, I happened to notice a leaf. It was a somewhat large leaf and well formed. It was stuck upright, plated by its stem in a snow bank. It was located where no person had been and where several inches of snow had melted between yesterday and today. The slight breeze ruffled it.

Was it the hand of God who had secretly and delightfully placed that leaf there; just so I could see it and be reminded of The Wonderful Lover? I get to choose what I want to believe. God is present everywhere but I get to choose to remember and see and thank Him.

Then I went to Mass. Thankfully, the Christmas decorations are gone, replaced with deep green, gold and white. It is somewhat awesome to believe that day after day, this exact same liturgy marches forward.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Holy Spirit's Annual Address

It is the momentous day of the year, time for me to tune in to the Holy Spirit's annual STATE OF THE SPIRIT FLOWER address.

{drum roll please} (flourishes and applause)

My Dearest Spirit Flower,

Your core is stronger and more chiseled than ever.
Your endurance is outstanding.
Your vision is superb.
As a Course student, you managed to unlearn a record number of little ego-lessons this year and knock several centuries off the journey home.
Your profession is soaring.

For this coming year, I am pleased to see you are allowing more of God's love and care into your life. You are listening to Me deeper and with more committment than ever. I am becoming your reality and we will continue to grow in oneness.

Peace be with you,
The Holy Spirit

Spirit Flower's response to the Holy Spirit comes from The Carpenters:

I'm on the top of the world lookin' down on creation

And the only explanation I can find

Is the love that I've found ever since you've been around

Your love's put me at the top of the world

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The State of My Enlightenment

This morning I said to Jesus, “It is so deeply engrained in my thinking that miracles happen by luck; like God chooses who gets grace spontaneously according to some secret and unfair system.” I was being honest. I truly have this grievance against God; but now, putting it out in the open, Jesus can help me.

From this admission, the story of my quest for enlightenment came into a new perspective (which is the definition of miracles according to A Course in Miracles). This quest has been going on for nearly 30 years, but I am going to look now only at the past seven years.

After leaving the monastery (2003), and beginning a wider spiritual exploration, I developed a deep resentment of “the enlightened.” Only now do I see that Clyde was included because I thought that by kicking me out, they had unfairly deprived me of my chance at enlightenment, that they had stolen it from me.

I went to the monastery to seek enlightenment thru contemplation, God, divine union or whatever you want to call it. Clyde billed itself as a contemplative religious order. I had read books by Merton, read The Cloud of Unknowing and read John of the Cross. By these books and many others, I developed a definition of enlightenment which meant “special to God;” and I wanted this condition more than anything. At that time, I didn’t know I had that definition, but I knew I wanted ecstatic release from this world into the God dimension.

I thought that the cloistered environment of prayer and silence would give what I wanted. When I got kicked out, I thought that my chance at enlightenment was gone. By that time, I knew no one in that monastery had achieved what I seemed to want; but I thought I could do it on my own, using their tools and environment. I didn’t admit to myself that they didn’t have what I wanted and instead resented them.

On leaving the monastery, I was determined to somehow find enlightenment on my own. I was waving a finger at God and the nuns saying, “I don’t care if you have kicked me out, I will achieve union without you.” Really? This thinking is somewhat insane but I didn’t really look at it, I just kept searching for a method which would work. My resentment towards God and the enlightened became deeper and deeper as my exploration continued. Enlightened people seemed to have encountered circumstances and situations which were impossible for me. I developed a list of impossibilities:

- Go to India, find an ashram with a genuine guru, study under him and have him impart enlightenment.
- Tibetan Buddhism was out because I am a woman. The llamas don’t think a woman can be enlightened.
- Can’t go through Roman Catholic ordination because I am a woman.
- Fasting on water for 30 days. Wait, I pass out after 3; so I’d have to find a place to do it under supervision. But I don’t have 30 days of vacation from my job.
- I really think Native American vision quests work only for those raised in that tradition; and probably only the male warriors.
- Some enlightened have brain injuries, near death experiences, cancer or some other dramatically desperate physical condition. Ummm…should I go get in a car accident?
- Some ultra-marathoners experience enlightenment during the 75th mile of a 100 mile race, in the middle of the night when they achieve delirium. I did try training and doing ultra-marathons.
- Spontaneous miraculous stories were the cruelest of all. My response to these was to make up some self punishing story about why God didn’t choose me to be special.

But, I was determined to achieve enlightenment so I did try what was available to me. For the first four years or so after the monastery this included: meditating for long hours every day; lectio divina (Google this); juice fasting for up to 19 days; eating a 100% raw diet; and increasing my running mileage in hopes of going in a 100 mile race.

I secretly harbored a hatred of the lucky enlightened ones; including the religious order who had stolen mine. I secretly hated the opposite of enlightenment; the unconscious masses who seemed content with their American middle class family life. I hated the rich and famous. I hated the authors of self help books. I hated the gifted athletes and ultra-marathoners. Well, I hated everyone. The hate was killing me. I was in extreme pain.

What happened? Well, all along, God kept sending helpful messengers, but it took awhile for me to work through various healing techniques to get ready for the perfect path for me. I kept listening, trying things out, writing in my journal, reflecting and talking to whatever spiritual entity was listening. One day I read something which pointed to A Course in Miracles which got my attention. So I went to my book shelf and took down the plastic wrapped book which had been purchased right after I left the monastery (hint hint). I began to study. The words of the Text were a healing balm and super charged nourishment for my starved soul. Through doing the Course, inner healing has been occurring and inner peace growing.

What I had really found in A Course in Miracles was an open door, a pathway completely unqualified upon which I could freely enter. There were no impossible circumstances or un attainable achievements. I had the book of instructions and the ability to listen to my inner spirit. Nothing else was required for me to walk a path guaranteed to lead to divine union. I didn’t need a church, a priest, a religious profession, vow or sacrament, a guru, a physical talent, a supernatural talent, good luck, God’s favor or (indeed) a miracle (as I knew it then).

So I have been studying the Course for 2 ½ years. I’ve read the Text 5 times and done the workbook twice. I know today that I have found something which no one can take from me. It is internalized. A Course in Miracles is healing for my one basic mistake: I wanted to be special to God. This mistake is the root cause of all my misery which the Course heals at the root level. I’ve started to understand and believe with unshakable conviction the basic concepts.

- The miracle has happened to me and I am a miracle-worker (as defined by the Course).
- I understand forgiveness (as defined by the Course) and I practice it from my heart as the underlying action for all situations happening in my life.
- I have abundance in the holy instant (as defined by the Course).
- I understand my ego as the tiny mad idea which tried to separate itself from God because God would not make it special.
- I have forgiven God (as the Course defines it). It says we must forgive God. This means we have to look beyond what this world teaches us about God. We need to look beyond the tiny mad idea who thinks God hates it because it is not special. We need to look beyond our fear of God. God is only love.

I don’t need enlightenment anymore. I have inner peace. I have freedom from the tiny mad idea, ego. I live in the holy instant. I am a miracle-worker. Enlightenment is not a goal but a way of life. I don't need to be special. Ahhhh! Freedom from the ego's quest for divine specialness has released me from its torture chamber. And, free from prison, I find myself automatically in the sun light of the spirit. And that is it, nothing more.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More on Path

I am a spiritual athlete. I have dedicated my time and allocated my resources to The Relationship, the one we have with God. I am not alone, though I only know about one truly dedicated spiritual practitioner here in my face to face world.

We are dedicated and committed to our service. Our service is directly concerned with returning The Human Being, The Son of God, to our source, Heaven. We might be labeled “monk-in-the-world” except most of us cannot be pointed at. We carry out spirituality privately and silently.

Vowed monastics and many religiously bound solitaries have what is called a “Rule of Life.” They make their rule under the guidance of an authority. The rule’s purpose is to ensure that their solitary or religious life does not veer off a path deemed by the authority to lead safely to heaven (with a small h because religious authorities do not know Heaven with a capital H). They live under the supervision of a superior to doubly ensure their way is restricted to the authorized path.

With a cackle of evil laughter, rules and religious restrictions are made by egos, who know it is only a matter of time until the rule is broken and the ego’s victim feels guilty. The ego waits with eager anticipation and constant urging thoughts for the person to give up and give in. As soon as the person thinks, “it will be ok this time,” the ego howls with glee and immediately takes up its whips. The victim so distraught by the ego’s punishing thoughts seeks solace in additional self harm.

For the silent, unknown and totally dedicated spiritual practitioners, the rule of life is a daily habit: daily awareness of love, daily practice of love, daily learning to accept love. These unknown deliverers do not need rules or authority figures. Their one Authority is their one Author: God. Their interest in God sprang alive somehow and became a service of love which is driven by the inner rather than the outer. God has become their one love and one life focus. Nothing else is dreamed of.

We desire God enough to pursue Him on our own; outside authorities have no jurisdiction in the realm of love. It is not discipline which rules our pursuit; but the fact that it is more natural and desirable for us to pursue God and serve Him than anything. We do it simply because it is the only thing we like doing. We are free of fame and fortune and authority and limitation. Nothing in this world matters to us.

We have behaviors which need to be more and more loving. When a behavior change comes from love, from the heart, from the innermost self, it has the full backing of the Holy Spirit and God Himself; Who loves us and supports our every attempt to live consciously in His love. In this we know the decision to change was made with the Holy Spirit and not ego: the old behavior has lost its power over us; not only do we not want it but may even be repelled by it.

My daily path:
I got up late, 7:30. I had dreamed of Clyde, the monastery where I was a nun. I had dreamed that what I was doing there was taking back my mother’s coral ring, which they had kept after kicking me out. More on this dream below.

After my spiritual study and meditation, I went to Wal-Mart. It was extremely empty there even though it was about 9:30; probably due to the cold. On my way to Wal-Mart, I scouted around several streets looking for a potential place to go running.

After coming home and putting away the groceries, I bundled myself up and drove to a nearby highway. It is a busy highway but the only place I found with plowed shoulders, still with snow so I could use my yak traks. [fwiw I needed a place that was either bare to run normally or snowy to run with the yaks; but also not where the cars were exactly, and not in deep snow.] I had two small bottles of hot water and packets of Gu in my fanny pack. I ran 2.8 miles down and 2.8 miles back three times. I spent over three hours on this endeavor. Ice formed inside my wind breaker. I got a bloody blister. My eyes feel wind-burned despite wearing sun glasses. Yet I was elated to finish this run. The last lap had required a mental push to get past my dread of facing that highway and cars one more time.

Returning home, showering, eating a salad, doing laundry and then relaxing a bit on the bed, my thoughts returned to the Clyde dream. I admitted to myself that Clyde holds a piece of my soul. More than any other place I have been, I pine for Clyde. But now, my life here in Kansas City for the past month has seemed to sweep Clyde into a fog, where I don’t think about it as much. I wondered if the dream was a symbol of me taking back my soul from Clyde. In a dream, Clyde would be a symbol of an idea, perhaps authority figures. So now I have tied this all together.

Conclusion: my spiritual life has been taken back from the world. It belongs to God and I have returned it to its proper Owner. As a result, I am a free lover. Very happy! The struggle was worth it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Life's Path

Vowed religious and many solitary hermits have a rule of life. I have a path.

My life’s path

It was to arise with the alarm clock
To have a hot coffee
To study A Course in Miracles
To practice my holy listening.
The path was building a relationship with US.

It was then to get some exercise
To shape the core with Zen crunches
To shower and make my lunch
And to jump in the Prius (Fore-runner) and attend my profession.
The path was to ponder the hand of God.

It was to sit in front of a computer for many hours,
To pound the keys or reading
To produce safety analyses for extremely hazardous chemicals.
The path was to immerse my mind in the nothingness.

The path was to guide a bored or restless mind
To drink coffee.
To resist the vending machine, taking flat bread instead.
To attend meetings and lead discussions.
The path was to serve and teach and learn.

The path was to double back on myself
To jump back in the Prius and head for home.
To exercise some more.
To work on a Miracles project.
To make juice and eat salad.
The path was in silence and solitude.

The path was not of greatness in this world
Not of high intelligence
Not of admirable inspiration
Not of speed or beauty
Not of greatly visible purpose for followers.
It was just a quiet solitary thing, to be merely lived.

The path did not have a rule
Not borrowed from a saint
Not validated by an authority
In fact quiet the opposite
It was a path away from outside favorable consideration.

The path has weekends and free days of pondering and solo running.
Pondering spiritual studies.
Pondering the long slow distance running.
Pondering merely sitting alone, mind unoccupied.
It was to have a life detached and empty, shared with Something.
The path was now real.

That Hideous Strength

Someone else called God "the Hideous Strength;" maybe C.S. Lewis, I forget. Hideous: not meaning disgusting but so big and awesome it is incomprehensible, beyond beautiful.

That name crossed my mind in my morning spiritual study, although I have not thought of it for years. I was connected to The Presence this morning when I wrote this in my journal: "have you ever considered what its like to live in conscious contact with that Strength AND aware that the Strength is Love; love which never hurt anyone and loves all. To get this awareness requires laying down the ego's arms and sitting quietly with no little ego thoughts, sitting quietly with the one thought of love."

To sit in silence with "the Thought God holds of me" (ACIM text 30) is peace.

Mass is that hideous strength and peace.

A Course in Miracles is always saying to forgive God. Forgiveness means overlooking illusions and seeing the truth of love beyond the illusion (this world). I finally got what Jesus meant this morning. I need to forget everything the Bible and this world says about God and look beyond this world to the Love which I know exists. Forgiveness is to look beyond but also to realize it never happened. What ever I remembered from this world was an illusion, my own projection of a bad dream. That is not God. So to know God, I have to let go of my illusion of God (ie forgive God). Since I was in awe and awareness of That Hideous Strength today, I understood that I had forgiven God.

I ran 60 minutes on the treadmill in silence and peace. I feel so much more relaxed, really un- stressed, when I leave the radio off. Treadmill running is easier on the body than road running. It burns calories and works the cardio; but otherwise it is my winter break from running.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Unknown Reasons

This post will not contain any words of inspiration. This post is a mundane collection of doings and thoughts.

Yesterday, I got up at the usual time, 3:51, and did my spiritual study. I am in chapter 30 of A Course in Miracles text. I was reading the part about the rules for decision making; which basically says to make all decisions with Jesus and if you are uncomforatble at all, its because you made a decision by yourself and judged whatever is happening based on your little ego.

So, a big snow storm was on the way but not here yet. I went out running on roads which were bare from the last storm and mostly empty of cars at 5 am. So I got in a nice run which was actual running not treadmill running (which is very different than actual running).

I had my work laptop and a pile of papers at home, with no intention of going to work, even though the roads were bare for the morning commute. But I was called to go to 6:30 am Mass yesterday. When I say call, I mean I had some inner urging to go. I don't know why I go. It is not for any reasons the church would come up with.

After Mass, I came home, set up my work laptop and got to work. It didn't start snowing until about noon. I quit work at 4:40 pm. Then I switched to my personal laptop and worked on my ACIM project. It is a project I devised. I listed the 50 miracle principles in an excel spreadsheet. Then, I am going thru the text (Word version) and pasting every miracle reference into the excel spreadsheet next to the miracle principle which seem to match that reference. I am learning about miracles as I do this. I will need to ponder everything once I get it all pasted together and probably move things around as well as come up with a clever formatting scheme. I will also add reflections which I might get from my own listening to the Voice for God.

I realized I am dedicated to the Course in Miracles. Since I have read the text almost 5 times and the work book twice, I am in position to say that no one can ever take the course from me. Also, no one can stop me from doing it. I am free. I don't need a church, a priest, a sacrament (I am the Sacrament), a building, a teacher (other than Jesus), no tithing, no ceremony, no promotions, no committees. I am free to study and practice and learn. I am free to have days according to Jesus. I am free.

Yesterday evening, I did a weight workout and some more treadmill time. By the time the snow stopped, we had 5 new inches on top of about 8 old inches. This much snow is very unusual. I got up again this morning at 3:51 for spiritual study. I jumped on the treadmill at 4:45. Out the window, I watched guys in pickup trucks pushing snow around. I watched the bobcat clear in front of my garage door. At 6, I came to work.

Weird stuff:
  • What are the metaphysical and spiritual implications of treadmill running?
  • I am the dreamer of the dream. What is my dream of snow for considering metaphysics?
  • I am doomed to daily dieting and calorie watching for life. Imagine how that shapes me as a person. Why do I want that (metaphysically I mean)?
  • In a few days, I will be 51. I can't imagine I've been alive that long. I am healthier than ever. Furthermoe, the zen core exercises I have been doing have been paying off. My abdomen is rock hard and ripped.

Last night, before going to sleep, I sat quietly and listened with spiritual ears. I didn't hear anything except a somewhat wordless gratitude within myself that I take time for that. I sensed the environment of love, the ocean of love, in which I live.

I do not know what anything means. Now, I am going to continue working on the information for the phenyladol process hazard analysis.

ACIM text 30.III:

"...Nothing that God knows not exists. And what He knows exists forever, changelessly. For thoughts endure as long as does the mind that thought of them. And in the Mind of God there is no ending, nor a time in which His Thoughts were absent or could suffer change. Thoughts are not born and cannot die. They share the attributes of their creator, nor have they a separate life apart from his. The thoughts you think are in your mind, as you are in the Mind Which thought of you. And so there are no separate parts in what exists within God's Mind. It is forever one, eternally united and at peace.

Thoughts seem to come and go. Yet all this means is that you are sometimes aware of them, and sometimes not. An unremembered thought is born again to you when it returns to your awareness. Yet it did not die when you forgot it. It was always there, but you were unaware of it. The Thought God holds of you is perfectly unchanged by your forgetting. It will always be exactly as it was before the time when you forgot, and will be just the same when you remember. And it is the same within the interval when you forgot.

The Thoughts of God are far beyond all change, and shine forever. They await not birth. They wait for welcome and remembering. The Thought God holds of you is like a star, unchangeable in an eternal sky. So high in Heaven is it set that those outside of Heaven know not it is there. Yet still and white and lovely will it shine through all eternity. There was no time it was not there; no instant when its light grew dimmer or less perfect ever was.

Who knows the Father knows this light, for He is the eternal sky that holds it safe, forever lifted up and anchored sure. Its perfect purity does not depend on whether it is seen on earth or not. The sky embraces it and softly holds it in its perfect place, which is as far from earth as earth from Heaven. It is not the distance nor the time that keeps this star invisible to earth. But those who seek for idols cannot know the star is there...."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The ACIM Path Laid Out

ACIM text 29.V:

"…The changelessness of Heaven is in you, so deep within that nothing in this world but passes by, unnoticed and unseen. The still infinity of endless peace surrounds you gently in its soft embrace, so strong and quiet, tranquil in the might of its Creator, nothing can intrude upon the sacred Son of God within."

If I sincerely want what A Course in Miracles (ACIM) offers, I realize I have adopted a spiritual path which is not authorized by any of the world’s religious authorities; and in fact would be anathema to them. I have accepted as truth a document which was published in the seventies by a religious unknown and someone who never became a perfect and famous guru herself. I find myself out on a limb, without a leg to stand on, needing to be silent because the thinking is so far outside the box.

My function is forgiveness, looking beyond the dream and seeing the face of Christ in my brother such that he becomes my savior. I do this silently because my brother is not in a place in his dream where a discussion of illusions is possible. My brother is not in a place in his dreams where a change in the definition of “Son of God” or “Jesus” is possible. Yet (ACIM text 29.V):

"Here is the role the Holy Spirit gives to you …He (your brother) is a part of you and you of him … Nothing is asked of you but to accept the changeless and eternal that abide in him, for your Identity is there. … And every thought of love you offer him but brings you nearer to your wakening to peace eternal and to endless joy."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

ACIM Astonishment

I am astonished because: I seem to understand something.

From the ACIM Text 29.II:

  • Your Guest has come. You asked Him, and He came. You did not hear Him enter, for you did not wholly welcome Him. And yet His gifts came with Him. He has laid them at your feet, and asks you now that you will look on them and take them for your own....
  • He Who entered in but waits for you to come where you invited Him to be. There is no other place where He can find His host, nor where His host can meet with Him. And nowhere else His gifts of peace and joy, and all the happiness His Presence brings, can be obtained. For they are where He is Who brought them with Him, that they might be yours. You cannot see your Guest, but you can see the gifts He brought. And when you look on them, you will believe His Presence must be there.

My astonishment is that I realized that if I see joy in someone else, I am seeing Him and His gift of joy smiling at me. This smiling is how He gives me His gifts, even with His hands stretched out offering me to share in the joy that seems to be someone else's. No! Joy doesn't belong to anyone. It is His and theirs and mine and ours. If a miracle is a perspective change, surely, this realization is a miracle for me. If I allow it, then I know Him. I have joined Him and you and everyone. We are not separate as soon as I decide to see Him in what appears to be your joy, but is really Universal Joy.

ACIM is continually pointing out that my brother is my savior. Here is a way for me to see that. If I see Him in anyone's joy, anyone can be my savior. I just remember, joy is a seeing of Him. Seeing Him in joy brings me a step closer to looking beyond the dream of this world and seeing the face of Christ (forgiveness). If I believe seeing joy is seeing Him, then I have seen Christ in my brother.

For realizing this, I do want to fall on my face and thank my brothers who are my saviors. My hate will diminish if I remember this. I will remember it if I want to see Christ, Him, more than I want to hate. You might think the choice is a no brainer, but I seem to be a hate addict and love to find reasons for hating others.

In the text 29.III, it went on to say this:

  • Within the dream of bodies and of death is yet one theme of truth; no more, perhaps, than just. a tiny spark, a space of light created in the dark, where God still shines. You cannot wake yourself. Yet you can let yourself be wakened. You can overlook your brother’s dreams. So perfectly can you forgive him his illusions he becomes your saviour from your dreams. And as you see him shining in the space of light where God abides within the darkness, you will see that God Himself is where his body is.

When I talked to Jesus this morning, I fervently knew I wanted to see God; its been my lifelong desire. So Jesus answered me today by pointing out how I can see God and see Him all the time and at the same time overlook (forgive) my hateful projections called this world.

This morning, it was very cold, so I decided to attend a fellowship meeting before going running. This gave a person at the meeting a chance to insult me by saying, "too cold for running?" Sitting here now, I realize I can take the remark however I want. I can find a messenger of God in it and hence I see the face of Christ in the person who said it. Another person said they thought I seemed happier today than the last time they saw me. I struggled to see joy in that remark. Then, out of the blue, a man called who I barely know. His new years plan was to call people off a certain phone list and try to get to know them better. I was a lucky winner being near the front of the list. Again I have a choice about what I want to think of this man and his phone call.

Now.....right now....I choose to see God Himself.

I did eventually get out running at 10 am. There was no wind so the zeroF temperature was not a problem. I crunched along a flat levy in a couple of inches of snow, wearing screwed shoes to keep from slipping.