It Feels Great

I ran my 10 mile run along the levy. It is pretty warm, 33F, but snowing. Very delightful weather.

I got back to my car and turned on NPR. Unexpectedly out came Bob Dillon, \”How Does It Feel.\” I suddenly felt triumphant and completely free. I even raised my fist in the air. I like being a complete unknown. Hearing this song, everything was well with me. The \”people drinkn\’, thinkn\’ they got it made\” don\’t know anything about this joyous heaven I have found. The precious gifts we exchange are nothing but cheap baubles and we don\’t even know it until we stop and wake up. I am awake! I am happy with my spiritual place; with the spirituality of raw veganism and with running and with being the person that I am. I am happy to be the loner. My spirit was leaping for joy.

Here is the last half of the song, the part I heard:

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They\’re all drinkin\’, thinkin\’ that they got it made
Exchanging all precious gifts
But you\’d better take your diamond ring, you\’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can\’t refuse
When you ain\’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You\’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.

How does it feel
How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Vacation Saturday – Wreckless Exposition of Self

I was not ambitious this morning and did not make it out of bed until 7. It is a little snowy, so I am somewhat glad I bagged the performance driving to KC.

I am sitting here realizing that this is a day for going within and listening to Jesus, who speaks in non-words.

Looking at the internet, I realize that nothing will entertain me out there. In fact, yesterday someone criticized me on a bulletin board and my spiritual practice was to refrain from proving her wrong, using her own words. I could go to a Mass here in Atchison, but I don’t think that will entertain me either. Only the God within can satisfy me. Not reading books about the God within, but experiencing Him first hand. Truly a St Romuald day of sitting in my cell, watching my thoughts and singing the Psalms.

How I perceive what others think about my contemplation is an insane delusion fabricated out of the past and torturing me in the present. How often have I punished myself because someone made a comment about how I must be lonely or how wonderful their group experience was. How often I have been frustrated because I couldn’t explain that there is another world which is spiritual, non-physical and all love; but no one seems able to really go there with me. This failure to express convincingly is my pain. Metaphysics just don’t appeal to most people. Sometimes I feel like a flawed psychological development because I connect in a metaphysical reality; but physical realities seem meaningless.

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) supports the metaphysical reality as real and God Love; and the ego world is meaningless. I have not progressed in my learning enough to be comfortable with this and be able to consistently use Christ vision to look beyond the physical illusion to the Christ in all others. It would be worth it as my lifetime project to accept Christ’s presence within me in this total way and look only at Christ in others. So, that is why I do what I do and follow the instructions of ACIM so relentlessly. I have searched several religions and find the ACIM teaching to hold the greatest potential for success in overcoming illusion and being the Christ consciousness, nothing else.

As I write this, I fear publishing it. I know some people think ACIM is diabolical and that Catholicism is best, or Buddhism is best, or some other way is best. I am consciously facing my fear right now and giving it to the light of the Holy Spirit for healing. My pain can be healed and this is good for everyone. I face my painful and frightening delusions. I recognize my insanity: my perceptions of others cannot be the God Love reality. However, looking inward, under the fear, is the subtle quiet of love. This inner finding is the silent light of Christ, forever within my consciousness. I avail my self of this gentle peace whenever I dismiss my ego and come quietly to the light. I can bring my pain and fear here, and it is healed.

I lose my ego conditioned life to find my true Christ life. I shamelessly follow Jesus. I believe Jesus can restore me to sanity and I humbly offer myself to Him.

Believe it or not, I am going for a run in this light precipitation. I feel the levy north of town calling me. The levy runs through barren fields this time of year, and often, that run will be accompanied by a north wind to the face. Yet, I find the barren harshness to be refreshing and cleansing. It soothes my soul. Yes, this is what I am like. I stand without my Donald Duck mask. I laugh at my ego. Running and contemplation set me free.

Vacation Thursday – St Romuald

This morning I ran 19 miles. I didn\’t see God. I saw 9 deer. I saw 3 hunters. Saturday begins rifle season here in Kansas. I haven\’t talked to anybody today. I\’ve thought the name of Jesus alot; just stopping whatever I was doing and closing my eyes to say the name. I have no expectations. While I was out running, I asked Jesus for a real thought. I talked to Jesus about the pain of the collective human mind. I asked Jesus who he was to me; I mean aside from any book, if he is alive, who is he to me right now?

As a contemplative, I sit and wait. It is not that I am meditating all the time, but in solitude, I am processing all the time. This brought to mind St Romuald. If I have a rule of life, I believe it could be this one.

The \”Little Rule\” of St. Romuald

Sit in your cell as in paradise;
put the whole world behind you and forget it;
like a skilled angler on the lookout for a catch
keep a careful eye on your thoughts.
The path you follow is in the psalms — don\’t leave it.
If you\’ve come with a novice\’s enthusiasm and can\’t
accomplish what you want, take every chance you can find
to sing the psalms in your heart and to understand them
with your head; if your mind wanders as you read
don\’t give up but hurry back and try again.
Above all realize that you are in God\’s presence;
hold your heart there in wonder as if before your sovereign.
Empty yourself completely;
sit waiting, content with God\’s gift,
like a little chick tasting and eating nothing
but what its mother brings.

Reading Dune this evening, it occurred to me that I am living in a living being. I am part of a field of living energy and I am not separate. This fits with today’s ACIM workbook lesson: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of how I see. It also seems to open the door to knowing all minds are connected and all minds are Christ. Jesus is the living energy which I am a part of. Its possible for me to believe this right now. This sort of knowing comes to me if I sit and wait. I have to be paying attention. Surrounding this real thought were tons of ego thoughts. From the knowledge of oneness, it is an easy leap into Heaven.

Here is the view from Sr Priscilla\’s window (see Tuesday\’s entry). She also sits in her cell and watches her thoughts.

Vacation Wednesday – Two Hands

I have been reading a book called “The Doctrine of Awakening” by Julius Evola. I was reading it instead of meditating on the ACIM Text, because its theories seemed compatible to ACIM and perhaps helpful in understanding. This morning, I read a chapter on mental discipline. As I read it, I was dreaming of writing an essay on how an alcoholic could stay away from the first drink and how any craving for chocolate or potato chips could be overcome.

Somehow, this mental thought train was brought to a halt. I thought, I need to question my motives. I said, “Jesus, I need to question my motives. You offer awakening through ACIM. I admit my normal consciousness disgusts me. I hate myself so I want to awaken. Jesus, can awakening be found on such a premise? It is my ego that hates and my ego that seeks enlightenment.”

I laid aside the Evola book and glanced at the ACIM Text: “You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realize its full extent.”

And also: “…without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more… Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God, and it is of this that you are really afraid… For still deeper than the ego’s foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.”

Do I read Doctrine of Awakening as an unconscious distraction because I am afraid of Redemption, remembering the love of God? Finding the burning love of God is not in the Doctrine. It is in ACIM. I had a revelation at this point. On the one hand, I seek to escape self disgust. On the other, I seek the elevated disposition I see in the enlightened ones. Both of these hands are ego and neither will work to achieve a genuine state of being. The Doctrine of Awakening seeks a state of being “not an I.” ACIM seeks the memory of God, which includes “not an I.” But the state of “not an I” is different. The Doctrine has self discipline and an individually existent inner power which achieves the state of “not an I.” The Doctrine is not spiritually associated. The inner power is intangible (not of this world) but it is individually associated. Not everyone has it. ACIM includes mental discipline. ACIM seeks the memory of God through the leading of the Holy Spirit, a universally available Helper. The ACIM state of “not an I” means that the separation is healed, the Son of God is unified. We, as one Son of God, have leapt into Heaven and are awake in the Love of God. ACIM is equally for everyone, but maybe not everyone chooses it at the same time.

I have to make a decision, a stand. Is my intention to remember God or not? If so, the Doctrine of Awakening is a waste of time for me. I want to follow a spiritual path to remember God. I want to uncover my “intense and burning love for God and His for me.” This is a fundamental decision. It excludes me from many paths that work for others, but are not what I want. I may see another person who appears to be enlightened, but I decide not to follow them because I have decided on finding the memory of God through a particular path. My primary interest is the love of God, not enlightenment per say.

I have at this point uncovered one of my ego’s secrets. I, as an ego, pursue enlightenment for my ego. Jesus, may I pursue the altruistic motive: unification and healing of the Son of God. If I stop my ego’s motives and follow the Holy Spirit for altruistic motives, I become “not an I” but universal Self. There is no I other than ego. Either I am unified as Self (one with God), or I am an ego separate from God.

Jesus, I haven’t yet remembered or found my love for God, but I admit I am an ego. Please help me. I do obey ego thoughts which will lead me away from God. I do not have any thoughts which lead to God, except as I hear the Voice of God calling and I decide to read a spiritual text. Jesus, please help me.

Vacation Tuesday

Yesterday, I went to visit the monastery I used to live at. It is a beautiful ornate brick design that appears every bit as stately and solumn as you might imagine. In the fall, it is surrounded by outrageous fall colors. The chapel is of \”high church\” design, filled with statues of Benedictine women and its walls are covered with Gospel mosaics.

The joy of my visit was my time with 92 year old Sister Priscilla. When I first lived with the sisters, I lived in a forest in Oklahoma. They had a Catholic Ashram. Sister Priscilla was there with four other sisters. Together we practiced contemplative sitting for 2 1/2 hours a day, prayed the Liturgy of the Hours, gathered for communion; and cooked and cleaned cabins for a few guests.

I loved Sr Priscilla. She is tiny, not much above my waist. She is a fire ball. A year ago, she left the forest and went to live in the sister\’s house for assisted living. Priscilla has her own room and sneaks around doing things against the rules. I love this about her. Anyway, I visited in her room for an hour and she walked me all around the large house, then we went outside to the Altar Bread Department. I felt so incredibly special to be in her presence for a couple of hours.

One time, about two weeks after I got kicked out of the order, I went down to Oklahoma to Sr Priscilla\’s 65th anniversary of monastic life. I was secretly invited. I went walking into the kitchen where she was standing and totally surprised her. Yesterday, I walked down to the door into the assisted living house, and I could see her through the window, standing in the dining room. She looked up totally surprised. She said she thought she was seeing a vision.

Sr Priscilla said she thought about me alot, but after yesterday, I am not just a memory, I am an actual person who could show up any day. I am a haunting ghost unless I follow through on the friendship. Gulp! I\’ll need to visit the monastery more often.

Vacation Monday

I got up at 5 and spent an hour and a half on spiritual study and inventory. I was glad to list out all my negative thoughts and put these in the light of my higher power. I listed at least 50 thoughts which are creating fear and terror in my reality. Then, I lifted weights and went running.

Out running, I saw a woman who lets the dog out and then drives around the park while the dog runs alongside. This is probably fun for the dog; getting to really stretch its legs. The woman in the car smokes and talks on the phone. In my opinion, her human spirit is deprived. As I thought about depravity, I flashed my thoughts on my own human spirit. My spirit is also deprived; however, just that tiny remembrance that I even have this magnificent human spirit was an eye-blink of awakening. So quickly my thoughts moved to some material world topic and I had to draw them back. These little eye-blinks are so precious; so worth the mental effort to remember.

Truthfully, I don’t have any burning bushes in my spiritual world. I have tiny eye-blinks of awareness and still small voices, so quiet they are not even a whisper. Yet, this quiet is what I have dedicated my life to.

Chapter 13.III

I am on vacation this week. I have a couple of appointments, including visiting my former convent. Otherwise, I will run, nap, meditate, read Dune the Machine Crusade, and go to KC to fellowship meetings. I will also spend gobs of time listening to my ego\’s cravings, and realizing they are self sabotage and giving them to Jesus. Self sabotaging thoughts are insane. This reminds me of Step 2 of AA, \”Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.\” The art of living sober is beyond just not drinking. It is about being sober in every possible way: eating, fitness, prayer and meditation, service to others, emotional balance, etc.

In the area of spiritual study, I find my self drop dead awestruck with ACIM Text 13.III. Below is the full passage. I may spend the week meditating just on this. Step 10 of AA is, \”Continued to take personal inventory…\” In the passage below are several good ideas for inventory taking. I have bolded my favorite parts (the colors are mine too).

III. The Fear of Redemption

1 You may wonder why it is so crucial that you look upon your hatred and realize its full extent. You may also think that it would be easy enough for the Holy Spirit to show it to you, and to dispel it without the need for you to raise it to awareness yourself. Yet there is one more obstacle you have interposed between yourself and the Atonement. We have said that no one will countenance fear if he recognizes it. Yet in your disordered state of mind you are not afraid of fear. You do not like it, but it is not your desire to attack that really frightens you. You are not seriously disturbed by your hostility. You keep it hidden because you are more afraid of what it covers. You could look even upon the ego’s darkest cornerstone without fear if you did not believe that, without the ego, you would find within yourself something you fear even more. You are not really afraid of crucifixion. Your real terror is of redemption.

2 Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God, and it is of this that you are really afraid. For this memory would instantly restore you to your proper place, and it is this place that you have sought to leave. Your fear of attack is nothing compared to your fear of love. You would be willing to look even upon your savage wish to kill God’s Son, if you did not believe that it saves you from love. For this wish caused the separation, and you have protected it because you do not want the separation healed. You realize that, by removing the dark cloud that obscures it, your love for your Father would impel you to answer His call and leap into Heaven. You believe that attack is salvation because it would prevent you from this. For still deeper than the ego’s foundation, and much stronger than it will ever be, is your intense and burning love of God, and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.

3 In honesty, is it not harder for you to say “I love” than “I hate”? You associate love with weakness and hatred with strength, and your own real power seems to you as your real weakness. For you could not control your joyous response to the call of love if you heard it, and the whole world you thought you made would vanish. The Holy Spirit, then, seems to be attacking your fortress, for you would shut out God, and He does not will to be excluded.

4 You have built your whole insane belief system because you think you would be helpless in God’s Presence, and you would save yourself from His Love because you think it would crush you into nothingness. You are afraid it would sweep you away from yourself and make you little, because you believe that magnitude lies in defiance, and that attack is grandeur. You think you have made a world God would destroy; and by loving Him, which you do, you would throw this world away, which you would. Therefore, 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. And it is this that frightens you.

5 You can accept insanity because you made it, but you cannot accept love because you did not. You would rather be a slave of the crucifixion than a Son of God in redemption. Your individual death seems more valuable than your living oneness, for what is given you is not so dear as what you made. You are more afraid of God than of the ego, and love cannot enter where it is not welcome. But hatred can, for it enters of its own volition and cares not for yours.

6 You must look upon your illusions and not keep them hidden, because they do not rest on their own foundation. In concealment they appear to do so, and thus they seem to be self-sustained. This is the fundamental illusion on which the others rest. For beneath them, and concealed as long as they are hidden, is the loving mind that thought it made them in anger. And the pain in this mind is so apparent, when it is uncovered, that its need of healing cannot be denied. Not all the tricks and games you offer it can heal it, for here is the real crucifixion of God’s Son.

7 And yet he is not crucified. Here is both his pain and his healing, for the Holy Spirit’s vision is merciful and His remedy is quick. Do not hide suffering from His sight, but bring it gladly to Him. Lay before His eternal sanity all your hurt, and let Him heal you. Do not leave any spot of pain hidden from His Light, and search your mind carefully for any thoughts you may fear to uncover. For He will heal every little thought you have kept to hurt you and cleanse it of its littleness, restoring it to the magnitude of God.

8 Beneath all the grandiosity you hold so dear is your real call for help. For you call for love to your Father as your Father calls you to Himself. In that place which you have hidden, you will only to unite with the Father, in loving remembrance of Him. You will find this place of truth as you see it in your brothers, for though they may deceive themselves, like you they long for the grandeur that is in them. And perceiving it you will welcome it, and it will be yours. For grandeur is the right of God’s Son, and no illusions can satisfy him or save him from what he is. Only his love is real, and he will be content only with his reality.

9 Save him from his illusions that you may accept the magnitude of your Father in peace and joy. But exempt no one from your love, or you will be hiding a dark place in your mind where the Holy Spirit is not welcome. And thus you will exempt yourself from His healing power, for by not offering total love you will not be healed completely. Healing must be as complete as fear, for love cannot enter where there is one spot of fear to mar its welcome.

10 You who prefer separation to sanity cannot obtain it in your right mind. You were at peace until you asked for special favor. And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give. And the peace of God’s Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him.

11 In peace he needed nothing and asked for nothing. In war he demanded everything and found nothing. For how could the gentleness of love respond to his demands, except by departing in peace and returning to the Father? If the Son did not wish to remain in peace, he could not remain at all. For a darkened mind cannot live in the light, and it must seek a place of darkness where it can believe it is where it is not. God did not allow this to happen. Yet you demanded that it happen, and therefore believed that it was so.

12 To “single out” is to “make alone,” and thus make lonely. God did not do this to you. Could He set you apart, knowing that your peace lies in His Oneness? He denied you only your request for pain, for suffering is not of His creation. Having given you creation, He could not take it from you. He could but answer your insane request with a sane answer that would abide with you in your insanity. And this He did. No one who hears His answer but will give up insanity. For His answer is the reference point beyond illusions, from which you can look back on them and see them as insane. But seek this place and you will find it, for Love is in you and will lead you there.

The Ego\’s Foundation

From ACIM:

\”…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.\”

\”For still deeper that the ego\’s foundation, and much stronger that it will ever be, is your intense and burning love for God and His for you. This is what you really want to hide.\”

As I type that second part, it occurs to me that getting a new job and moving would disrupt my ego; perhaps for just long enough to find a new way.

Confusion arises from my ego\’s fears: I do not yet know what I really am (a spirit) because I still have ego identification; perceptions, preconceived notions and prejudices. I felt these limitations today. I drove past the place where I am interviewing on Monday; and I drove past some new duplexes located where I thought I might want to live. I felt my opinions rising. It was impressive how I bumped into my own mental walls. If I get the job, I may just take it in order to break down my ego and experience its dark foundations (besides the money).

I want to find the Love and live in the Holy Spirit\’s thought system. I see I have more growing to do. I still grovel in the dirt of my ego. My littleness is impressive. I want to go deeper, beyond this meaningless ego world. Do I allow myself to feel my \”intense and burning love for God and His for me\” ? Not as deep as I want. It is not in doing but in silence that I go deeper.

Patience. Listening. Prayer: Jesus, please help me.

The Work

From ACIM:

“You may wonder why it is so crucial to look upon your hatred and realize its full extent.”

“Under the ego’s dark foundation is the memory of God and it is of this that you are really afraid.”

Yes, absolutely I spend a good deal of time looking within. I admit the fear that is there. I try to explore the fear as a doorway to the beyond. The self that I really am is inside, beyond the ego and the material world ego consciousness. The magnificence of the human is deeper that my petty life of money and work. I want to examine my fear in order to remember God. I mean really remember.

Sitting in the silence, I stare the demons down.

Running in the winter darkness, I have defied my ego. I have defied society. I become simply an energy phenomenon flowing through eternity, where God is.

I take a drink of distilled water. Transcendence is my vocation.

Yes, I think too much; according to some. Yes, I try too hard; according to some. I know I am perceived as foolish or ignorant or suffering. No one ever got to be world class by sitting on the couch watching TV and eating cookies. No one ever got to be a marathoner without doing the training. Marathoning is very unappealing to many. The work of ego deflation is also very unappealing. Jesus says in the ACIM text, we must make ourselves ready. We look at our fears and hatred and give it to him. If it is me that is blocking me from the sunlight of the spirit, then I need to follow Jesus’ instructions and take the steps needed to transcend the ego thought system.

There is another reality beyond this meaningless and frightening world. To find it and live in it requires changing all my beliefs. The heart of the process is detachment. This process is freedom. Yet it scares people. They rationalize that all that work is not necessary. Baby steps are necessary. After 25 years of baby steps, my reality may seem strange, marginalized. It is. I am outside the box of normal life.

Now, I have work to do. I will probably be in the hot seat for a little while today. I will probably have to stand outside in the cold for a little while. I am on vacation next week. But all that is meaningless. It is the ego level of consciousness, which is meaningless. In the middle of it, I am spirit.