Saturday, June 29, 2013

Here and Now - Process Safety

In a dramatic switch, my reading material has totally switched this weekend. Last weekend, I was finishing Thomas Merton's Seven Story Mountain; and reviewing my journey into a Benedictine convent. This weekend, I am reading a book about the BP Texas City 2005 explosion called "A Failure to Learn." Since I am a process safety engineer, this book is in direct line with my current work in a chemical plant.

Having left my past behind, in the sense that I can let it go, I move into the present and discover what the spirit is saying to me today. In so much as I agree with the argument that God can speak through anything, the Texas City book is tremendously thought provoking.

I daily make decisions about risk. In fact, that is almost my entire job.

So having a quiet mind to hear what the spirit is saying seems quite important. I need my intuitive sense.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Got Being?

If you know you have Being, then you don't need anything else.

It is the weekend. Dr Hot Dustin has worked some miracles on my left calf and ankle. Even fang is not bothering me. There will be a few miles tomorrow and Sunday, plus cross training. But not too much since I have a marathon in San Antonio on the 4th.

It is so freaking good to NOT be in massive pain all.the.time.

This evening, I am cross training plus TRX-ing. What a great way to do intervals.

I think about generating spiritual energy, and the sense of endlessness flows through me.

Drink plain water.

Eat bread.

Juggle the kettle bells.

Endure transcend love.

83 hours including 187 miles so far in June. The goal for the weekend is to get to 90 hours.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Meet Fang

This morning, doing my spiritual study, I also listened to part of my mind resent my boss. Not for anything he has done, but just general hate. I asked myself why? Especially since my main purpose on earth is not to win at work but to carry out my spiritual purpose. At this point, my Course in Miracles text said to me:

In this one still dimension of time,
I look on Christ.
God's guiltless Son is only light.

As an aside dear reader: Christ and Son are not defined in the same way as denominational Christianity.

I thought my 3 phrases during my morning exercise and during my drive to work.

Christ is an inner characteristic of everyone. Son is more like The Sonship to which we all belong. In my own estimation: in the beginning, God said "Let there be light," and stopped there. The rest of the creation story is the ego's mythology.

But what is really important is the sense of peace and the dis-arming of the ego that happens when you realize you are not here to succeed in a worldly life, but a spiritual one.

Meet Fang:

You can see fang inside my heel. But fang is quiet now. It is my achilles that needs more care and attention.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Not God

In relation to Liu Xiaobo's wife's comment, Meng Hu gleaned this bit of wisdom: To engage in the world is to give it tacit approbation. To be invisible is the true incompatibility. 

This morning, I read in A Course in Miracles chapter 13.III: "you have used the world to cover your love, and the deeper you go into the blackness of the ego’s foundation, the closer you come to the Love that is hidden there..."

Reading Merton as he works out the decision to join a monastery and become a priest, I clearly see what synapses in my brain were triggered and why I decided to do the same thing. I also see that I was acting on thoughts in my own mind, just as Merton; but based on what I've learned about neurophilosophy, that doesn't mean God was speaking.

I am going to go outside and sweat. I have a heel spur. I asked Dr to tape it. We will also do the other exercises to work around it.

I have been trying a 24 hour fast today. I still have a couple of hours. I seem to be able to do such a thing only as prayer or renunciation of the world. For health is not enough.

Not going in races makes me invisible and not eating makes me incompatible. My other compatibility activities are antagonistic to others, hence not invisible. I could become more invisible. At least my recognition award was not handed out in front of the team.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Merton - The Vision....

...or was it a temptation for the ego.

...or a travesty of spiritual justice.

I have mentioned I was reading Thomas Merton's Seven Story Mountain. I first read it 20 or so years ago. I vaguely remember Merton being a dramatic influence on my desire to enter a monastery and pursue contemplative life.

I am just now finished the chapter where he is baptized a Catholic at the age of 23. Reading his language, I realize now that it is highly mirroring what is written in the Catholic Catechism about what it is supposed to mean. It is however all belief. If you believe it, then it is true.

Those many years ago, I believed Merton and I wanted what he said. I went and did it.

If I was to mention to a Catholic that a God of love would never come up with that sort of specialness schema, they would just insist it is a mystery and not logical. So it is not a topic that can be discussed. Believe or not.

If I believe a thing doesn't make it true however. Even if I prefer the theology of A Course in Miracles, we can be sure it is a human perception who is judging.

I received an award at work this week. Pinnacle award for leadership. So, I guess I don't need a Seven Story Mountain. I just get up, get dressed, go to work. Nothing special.

I went to a new doctor to try one more time for professional help regarding my painful heel. Good news is that is probably not a heel spur but a pinched nerve. Treatment is underway. I am being good and resisting endless miles. I actually like not feeling constant pain.

Should anybody need to search for God?


Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Lamb that was Slain

Those of us people raised in some form of Christianity have heard: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. It comes from Revelations.


This morning, I intentionally slept late. After getting up and settling into my morning spiritual study, I realized I had been criticizing a person with my thoughts, not even really aware of it. And so I prayed. A Course in Miracles discusses our lack of discipline when it comes to our thoughts; we'll allow most thought attacks to go on and on. I realized that humans pretty much hate each other. I wish I wasn't like this.

In conjunction with my Merton study, I wondered again what a mystic is. I wrote down my thoughts:

  • To see things differently
  • By living apart from the main stream.
  • To never leave the spiritual foundation.
And then I wrote down some things I believe:
  • Either all things are evidence of God: "Who then made all this?"
  • Or none: the world I see is my illusion.
  • I can't believe God made evil.
  • I believe there is a "worthy" part of my being.
And then revelation hit me: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. The Lamb is Self, the inherent worthy part of every human and all things, the Son of God. And all the story of Jesus came clear as a crucifixion of Self and a resurrection of Self. Self never goes away and ego never ceases to attack and crucify Self.

So I added one more to my definition of a mystic:
  • To worship Self, the Lamb, transcend to Self, join the One God.
Now it is 9 am and incredibly hot outside. I plan to fill the hydropak and go walk laps in Brummerhop Park. I think it is possible for a human to walk around in this heat. Maybe about noon, I'll come in and do cross training. Or whatever. It doesn't matter. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.

Invest all your thoughts in The Lamb, and nothing else.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Revisiting My Past

I have started reading Thomas Merton's "Seven Story Mountain." I was hoping to find the impetus for my own spiritual journey, as the book seems to have played a part in my journey. I'm only up to where he is about 19 years old; and a seeming mess.

Now I am roughly 35 years older than the seeming mess I was at 19. Sitting here, I can say I have an amazing amount of discipline: going to work responsibly to earn a living, daily spiritual workouts, sober for 27 years.

I relate to Merton's inner struggle. Part of why I keep to myself is that I need to keep looking inward to find the pattern. What is it I am blind to?

Today, it took 5 hours in 102F heat index to bring my ego to the quitting point; an end of sorts as I said, "no I can't stand another hour and a half to make a marathon." It was sweaty and not a hint of a breeze. It was impossible to keep going from a heat perspective, but also from a pain perspective. I wish I could. I can't run far enough to really find myself.

Had I achieved "Vowed Religious" I'd always have a validated position for my ego to resurrect over and over. As it is, I have the failure of that endeavor and numerous other attempts to achieve something. I am left with: sober.

But wait, I just beat out 2 other colleagues for a job I've wanted for 3 years.

I have to be alone to struggle with my inner self; but also, I'll go to an AA meeting where I always get the humility needed to be a tolerable person.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Creative Fitness

For miles....for the spirit.

On the cusp of yet another 3100 Mile Self Transcendence Race (Sri Chinmoy).

It is hot in Houston. Earlier this week, I decided to take this afternoon off and sleep. This was because I needed to recover from the stress over work reorganization. That is, I was waiting for an interview and then a decision. Tuesday, we got both of those things done (I got the job).

Coming home, I drove by 3 places before deciding what looked like a nice enough place for my Prius to go. I got my tires rotated. I know, big deal. But, since it was 10 am, no waiting either.

Then, I was reading Thomas Merton "The Seven Story Mountain" when the nap occurred. I haven't read the book for 15 years or so. For some reason, Merton was instrumental in my trip to a monastery. I'm only a little way into the book. So far, I didn't find the dopamine trigger; but I am sure I will.

What if..... The Hassidic Jews in Jerusalem had not appeared to have something I wanted, triggered the survival instinct and powered a decades long search for God. Did God want this?

My heel was really good for 2 days. Today it is swollen again. Cross training seems ok, but we'll have to wait to tomorrow to see about miles. I'll need to start walking very early due to heat. I wish I could walk a marathon, but it seems unlikely.

Creativity.... I'm praying for a thought, something original and interesting. Is there such a thing?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Jesus said, lose your life to save it.

I think he was talking about the ego life in this world. The Course in Miracles discusses this at lenght throughout the text. Below is one example.

I keep trying to drop ego identification. My running self transcendence project is just that. My downward mobility is just that. I'm going to try this weekend and for awhile to practice outrageous renunciation. It means not going in actural marathon races but doing a self transcendence private marathon. Can I do it even if it is summer in Houston? It means getting up early just as I would for a race.

Relinquish, relinquish. Let it go. Give it up. Peace is there right after you relax and let go.

So, here I go again, hot sweaty miles with absolutely no purpose other than to forget my ambitions.

From A Course in Miracles text 4.III:
"Salvation is for the mind, and it is attained through peace. This is the only thing that can be saved and the only way to save it. Any response other than love arises from a confusion about the "what" and the "how" of salvation, and this is the only answer. Never lose sight of this, and never allow yourself to believe, even for an instant, that there is another answer. For you will surely place yourself among the poor, who do not understand that they dwell in abundance and that salvation is come.

To identify with the ego is to attack yourself and make yourself poor. That is why everyone who identifies with the ego feels deprived. What he experiences then is depression or anger, because what he did was to exchange Self-love for self-hate, making him afraid of himself. He does not realize this. Even if he is fully aware of anxiety he does not perceive its source as his own ego identification, and he always tries to handle it by making some sort of insane "arrangement" with the world. He always perceives this world as outside himself, for this is crucial to his adjustment. He does not realize that he makes this world, for there is no world outside of him.

If only the loving thoughts of God's Son are the world's reality, the real world must be in his mind. His insane thoughts, too, must be in his mind, but an internal conflict of this magnitude he cannot tolerate. A split mind is endangered, and the recognition that it encompasses completely opposed thoughts within itself is intolerable. Therefore the mind projects the split, not the reality. Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification, for everyone believes that identification is salvation. Yet consider what has happened, for thoughts do have consequences to the thinker. You have become at odds with the world as you perceive it, because you think it is antagonistic to you. This is a necessary consequence of what you have done. You have projected outward what is antagonistic to what is inward, and therefore you would have to perceive it this way. That is why you must realize that your hatred is in your mind and not outside it before you can get rid of it; and why you must get rid of it before you can perceive the world as it really is."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Downward Mobility

This topic of downward mobility comes up as I ponder next weekend. I want to go to San Antonio to walk a marathon; and yes, spend about $250 in the process. I'll get to support some friends. I'll get to struggle with my own stupid marathon adventure. I'll get to forget about work.

I need to forget about work. See, I have an interview for an internal job today. Everyone thinks I'm a shoe-in to get the job. That may be true, but they probably won't announce who gets the job very quick If anything, my employer is never quick. Waiting kills me. In this case, its not like I won't have a great job either way. But I feel inner pressure to know.

Downward mobility is what? Something in relation to Christ. The concept is important to me; but it is vague in my consciousness at the moment. I can't remember what is in my soul or how to honor it.

I could walk a marathon by myself in Seabrook. But in San Antonio, I get to do it with P and D and T and J and L and W and maybe others I know. M might be at the aid station cheering me. Why balk at this idea just cuz it costs money and time and gasoline and tires?

San Antonio is as good as it gets for me.

My workout this morning included 35 min on the treadmill. My foot feels pretty good. Maybe jogging/ walking a marathon on a concrete bike path wouldn't kill me.

Self transcendence is the cleansing experience of 6-7 hours in a hot Texas park.

Some people (Anton Krupika) get to climb mountains every day.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What it Amounts to

50 miles and 2 AA meetings. That is about it.

Recently, I purchased the complete set of Harry Potter and read them straight through. Last night, I started again. I find them symbolically fascinating. They compare well to 3 other sets of books I frequently read: The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, The Dune Chronicles. See, I compare the magic, the women, the saviors, the fathers, the social groupings, the role of good and evil. I lay it all down against my own spiritual studies and find I can learn more about how I feel about life.

Why is AA so important for someone with 27 years of sobriety? Well, just that: I am still sober. This morning I talked for an hour and a half with an old colleague. He had nice things to say about me. He wouldn't have been giving me his time if I wasn't sober as there would not have been a good impression.

Why are miles so important? Well, this weekend, all my miles were done in heat and humidity. I can do miles despite Houston summer. I thought alot about races I want to go in. I wish I could walk for 24 hours, but alas, I can't. But walking in the hot sun does bring me out of myself and into a transcendental state. Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but I like it. I really like walking around Brummerhop Park and sweating for 5 or 6 hours. Me and the lizards and the rabbits and the squirrels.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Consciousness Is

I didn't get up when the alarm went off today. I thought my foot would be hurting and that I'd not be doing miles (since I did 20 yesterday). But alas, the foot feels pretty good, so I'll head out shortly.

In the mean time, I lay in bed and wondered: what can I do to be more spiritual? See, I reached an impasse. The Course in Miracles says that Spirit does not know ego, but ego incessantly tries to achieve recognition.

I came down and started my study. I thought about the Marathon Monk, the ultra runners, the cloistered nuns, the Zazen practice, the traumatic brain injury. I conclude that these people achieve the belief in God because their ego let go.

If I stick with the ACIM definition that the ego is a belief system described as autonomy from God, then the people who achieve enlightenment through the above listed means have achieved the required letting go.

But my life is somehow not on one of those paths. My attempts to do those things have failed. I return to the reality that I am attempting to use consciousness to transcend consciousness. And that is when I realized: just let consciousness be.

That is the answer, don't attempt transcendence. Let it go.

My first inkling of God was on a hot day in Jerusalem where I watched Hassidic Jews in fur hats and coats praying at the Western Wall. I perceived that they had something I wanted. And so my ego swung into action and began its pursuit of God. In itself that is not a bad thing. Looking at it another way, I heard the call of God to return to Him.

In the moment, any given moment, I can return to God. But there is no associated achievement. And so I become confused. Americans are supposed to achieve. But God consciousness is not an achievement. It merely is.

So, I don't need to be a marathon monk, or a cloistered nun, or fast for 40 days, or live alone on a hill top, or get in a car wreck, or have cancer, or etc. I need to let go in any moment. This is in fact what I have been doing. I not only let go, but also take up Spirit as my mode of living.

My ego wishes for more, but that is all there is.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Marvelous Day

I looked at several Badwater articles thinking I could find some catchy idea. But nothing struck me.

That is probably because 11.5 of today's walk/jog were done this afternoon. Yup, sunny Houston day but not that humid. And I had about 50% trees, and some breeze.

I don't need to read about ultra-life. I live it. Even as decrepit as I sometimes feel, I keep going.

First, I did 8.75 miles in El Lago. Then I went home to wait for the plumber. The plumber turned out to be a nice young man named Jeremy. We talked over my situation and he looked at the Moen kitchen faucet. He clearly didn't want to mess with it. He suggested the easiest thing would be for me to buy a new faucet. He said Delta was a better brand. He said he could follow me over to Home Depot to get one. He said he wouldn't charge me for the trip. So off we went and were back in about 20 minutes with the new faucet. He had it installed really quick too.

Then, I wasn't quite ready for additional miles so I did other chores: car wash and groceries. Then about 1 pm I headed over to Brummerhop park for 3 hours.

There were miles.

This evening I did a chest/back strength workout. I am quivering.

Tomorrow I need to discipline myself. Do some miles but do cross training too.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Friday Off Weekend - Badwater 1

This evening as I walked on my treadmill, I read this from A Course in Miracles chapter 4.II: "The ego is the mind’s belief that it is completely on its own. The ego’s ceaseless attempts to gain the spirit’s acknowledgement and thus establish its own existence are useless. Spirit in its knowledge is unaware of the ego. It does not attack it; it merely cannot conceive of it at all. While the ego is equally unaware of spirit, it does perceive itself as being rejected by something greater than itself. This is why self-esteem in ego terms must be delusional. "

And I also had another card which said: The Christ in you is very still.

It immediately occurred to me that spending the weekend in quiet retreat would be perfect. I will walk many minutes, but not stress out.

I switched to a 9/80 schedule at work a month or so ago. I'm still getting used to the idea of having a 3 day weekend every other weekend.

Something odd happened today. I have a friend who is running Badwater Ultramarathon on July 16-17 (135 miles across Death Valley). She is also a race director ( ). She decided to get a permit to run a marathon along the Badwater race course so her friends could come support her. Well, I can't come in body, but I could come in spirit. So I asked if I could enter her race but I'd do mine in Seabrook. She said yes!

I'm actually quite excited about this opportunity. It is somehow meaningful to me to participate in her final training and then be on board for the actual day. So if I talk alot about my next race as Badwater, that's what is up. I'll never actually go to Badwater, but I can get there in spirit and this is as close as I'll ever get.

Throwing My Heart into It

From AA's Big Book we get: What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.

I think that's why I never drank again: spirituality is my daily reprieve.

During my morning workout, I was as usual thinking about my life. I think about how Americans think they are entitled to greatness and the pursuit of happiness. For most folks, that means buying a sports star t-shirt and eating or drinking alot while lolling on the couch in front of the TV; while the big doolie pickup sits in the driveway.

I'm not being negative about others. Merely expressing my American mental outlook. I don't have a doolie, but I do struggle with the satisfaction of my life and I think I struggle with unhappiness merely because I was programmed with inalienable rights. I struggle with the reality that I am a well off but basically run of the mill human being who will never be "great". I feel that some of my obstinate and arrogant spiritual quest has been let go of. I could blame other people or situations for my seeming failure. But it is really an ego failure not a metaphysical failure.

I've always felt a friction between my athletic life and my normal person life. As I rode the elliptical this morning, I decided "to hell with it." If I want to pursue fitness then god dammit I will. Eff the other people who tease me. And I can take the same attitude spiritually. I have to work for a living, not hang around a convent appearing holy. We are all holy.

My heel is not swollen today. Cool. That means: there will be miles.

I can throw my heart into these things and my judges be damned. There does not need to be a goal; just if I want to put effort into it then fine. I'm not a failure if I put my heart in it.

Do I have judges? Just the little comments people make about me, to my face even. I feel the friction.

I suppose this blog is an expression of impending change. Maybe next week I'll hear from management about where I'm to be assigned.

I am tending more and more to balk at race entry fees. It seems that my private athletic events will be more and more my norm.

The 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence race begins in 8 days. I can hardly wait. I love following it.

Sunday, June 2, 2013


I have to laugh. Friday, my evening walk was painful. I returned to the idea of not being able to do miles any more. Yesterday, I did well with a 6 mile walk. Then 2h20 of cross training went well. This morning, I still didn't know what I'd be like, so didn't get up very early. The day turned out cool for Texas, rainy and cloudy: perfect. Back to Brummerhop park. My foot felt good. I went longer and faster, up to 10 miles. Now I am doing the cross training. I surmise that I didn't hurt anything yesterday, and I can recover from my last marathon. It is not the end of the world.

My spirit is indomitable. I can't keep it down.

Jesus didn't fight evil. He spent far more effort fighting the establishment.

At the ripe old age of 22, I suddenly wanted to know God. Then there was God in religion, God in psychology, God in 12 Steps, God in New Age, God on a Harley, God in a monastery, God in fasting, God in raw food, God in solitude, God in ultra-running. I am left with a Course in Miracles: God in in my mind.

The indomitable spirit who does miles is also the spirit who wants to know God. This quest has never ended.

Because God just is. You don't need a quest. You do need to return your thinking to this God.

If I accept inner peace, offered by A Course in Miracles, there is nothing more for my ego: no drama, no sickness, no victory. God's magnificence, merely gets up in the morning and goes to work. No big deal.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Boring Equanimity

May 2013:

The floor got mopped today. The carpet got spot cleaned yesterday. I had a success at work yesterday. I'm starting the month at 132 pounds. I went to an AA meeting today. I worked out 4 hours. I got 10 hours sleep. My dog is out of the race.

But what is the best? My equanimity seems to be in good shape.

So far this year, I've done 10 x 26.2 mile runs. 7 were race marathons and 3 private ones. No wonder my foot hurts. Today, I had a very decent walk for 101 minutes in Brummerhop park; followed with 2h20 cross training. I wonder why I do this. It must be programmed into my synapses. But I need to heal up from the marathons.  I am not able to stop and do nothing.

I have nothing meaningful to say.