Defiance, My Outstanding Characteristic

Why do I write this blog? There is a little peer pressure as some people actually like what I write. Other people like that I do write because they are happy critiquing my spirituality. I don’t write because I’m trying to teach any one. I am not a teacher. I write because I am enamored with myself. I write because I like to read my own blog. From ACIM:

“…everyone is seeking escape from the prison he has made…”

Last night, I made it into position for evening study and meditation. I realized that I exerted my spiritual will over my slothful will. I had to overcome a tiny barrier to get away from the computer or my book, and sit at the table to study, meditate and listen to my Spirit Self. In the morning, spiritual practice is habitual, but in the evening it requires the force of my will. Ultimately, the force of my will is what initiated the prayer and meditation all those years ago.

Is it my will? Or is it My Will? I am distinguishing here between my small normal ego consciousness and my larger spiritual consciousness; and not saying My Will is God, but just a transcended level of consciousness. The fact that I seek to transcend at all is due to My Will, that higher consciousness which is beyond my ordinary human selfishness, fear, hatred, anger and guilt. My truth is My Will.

I often wonder why I ended up in partnership, essentially committed unequivocally, to My Will. I say partnership, but I almost mean slave or bond servant. My Will wants what is best for me more than I do; and exerts pressure on me to serve its demands. I am a tool to My Will. My life belongs and is owned by My Will. I see so many who are asleep. So many do not fight society’s conditioning and programming and seek to go beyond materialism and religion. In AA we say, there but for the grace of God go I. In every single truly sober alcoholic, there is this force of My Will that somehow leaked out of the drunkenness and forced that person into complete non-negotiable sobriety. In AA’s Big Book, it says defiance is the outstanding characteristic of alcoholics. But of course! Who could get permanently sober without defying not only the drug itself, all physical and mental cravings and the bulk of society who thinks it’s ok to have “just one.”

I view most of society’s programming and conditioning as addiction. However, somehow, My Will leaked into my drunkenness and I struggled to achieve consciousness, to wake up.

I started this reflection wanting to express gratitude for my defiance. Sitting here now, I realize: I am not my Creator; I am not My Will and have no choice in the fact of awakening; awakening will happen. I can only hinder My Will by periodically getting ego drunk through the temporary choice to defy My Will. So there you have it. I can resist My Will temporarily; but ultimately My Will is intent on awakening and I really belong to It.

Pointing the Finger at Myself

On a discussion board, there is a new member. He says he is a Buddhist monk and poet. Over the past few days, he has posted at least ten poems. At first, I was thrilled and interested. “Here is a true wise hermit,” I thought. But today, I became angry at the poet and the plethora of poems he posted today.

I’ve spent several hours questioning my reaction and asking Jesus to help me with my ego. You see, it is my ego that became angry and wanted to attack the poet. I finally figured as follows. All of his poems go something like: I live alone on this beautiful mountain, my spirit soars into the clouds and I have nothing to do with you dirty normal humans.

Ummm…does that not sound exactly like my own ego? Yes, that is frequently how I think and feel and blog. Yet God gifted me today with this knowledge: what ever I happen to think in my small ego mind, I must be sharing with others in a way helpful to them.

I attend 12 step meetings and I went to one today. At the meeting was a young man I hadn’t seen for awhile. At the end of these meetings, we normally stand in a circle, hold hands and say a prayer. Today, this young man walked around the room to me and asked if he could hold my hand. Then, after the prayer, he talked about how he had got rid of his TV, found some other things to do; and had woken up to the fact that he had been anesthetized in front of that TV for several hours a day. Even in that meeting, two other people appreciated me for what I had said about Step 11 today.

So I had the Buddhist poet one the one hand, and the grateful young man on the other. I looked at my ego and my own arrogance and disdain. I suddenly became grateful that I live in a normal house, with a washer and dryer and weeds to hoe. I go to work whether I want to or not. I have a boss who is desperate to make sure I don’t leave. I do a good job even though I have no commitment to that company. Yes, I am on a spiritual quest, for knowledge of The Beyond; but I have no glory to show for it. What I have is a bag of dead peony bushes and a hoed peony bed ready for spring; and a young man who wants to hold my hand. For once, I am grateful to be me: nothing special, just an average good person.

\”I wanna hold your ha ah an ah nd…I waaaana hold your handdddd\” (The Beatles)

Pilgrim Pacer Race Report

Pilgrim Pacer ½ marathon race report.

At 2 am, I woke up with monthly type cramps. I decided not to fool with them and took some ibuprophen, then back to sleep. At 4, the alarm went off. I sat in bed listening to a 20 mph north wind. The wind made the decision on what to wear in the race. It was 33 degF with a tiny amount of flurries. I did my prayer and meditation. At 5:45, I drove south 20 miles to Leavenworth to buy my organic fruits and vegetables. Then I continued south another 30 miles to the race location.

At 7:20, I get parked, get a pit stop and get my number (#24). I catch a glimpse of my idol. I go sit in the car to wait another 30 minutes.

People get lined up at about 10 to 8. I love how there is no shortage of hearty souls ready to go in a race on this blustery day. We all have at least $100 (US) of high tech running clothes. At 7:55, I suck down a packet of Gu. We pause a moment while BJ the DJ sings the national anthem. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard BJ sing. I’ll probably get to hear him next week also.
BJ begins a 10 second count down. We all stare intently at our watches, ready to start our timers. Suddenly, we are off!

Mission Control: we have a problem. What is it Spirit Flower? Mission Control, the first mile and a half, which is also the last mile and a half, is all down hill. Spirit Flower, at mile 11.5, it will be time to throw your heart over the bar. Oh!

Before I even get to 1 mile, a few guys comes sprinting past me. I think of safety and wonder what their problem is. Then I realize their problem is that they are running a 10K (which started 5 min later than the half marathon). Oh!

I am running a race. I actually try to race races. I’m never there just for fun. I’m always after peak performance; whatever my peak for that day happens to be. My first mile is 9:30. The course is a paved bike path, out and back. After about 2 miles, everyone is comfortably spread out, and my hands start to warm up. Yes, I have on gloves, but they are not wind proof. I am in a good groove as far as pace goes, just a running machine moving relentlessly forward. We are going south. I realize that coming back will be into that brisk north wind most of the way. Gulp…more throwing my heart over the bar. That will be the ball game baby. Do it or not. The choice is yours. What do you want?

The miles tick off. I keep looking at my watch. I’m under a 10 min/mile pace. At mile 3, the 10K racers turn around. Now the course is very spacious. For awhile, I have another woman runner around me. She is older. She runs faster than me, then walks, then runs faster than me, then stops to stretch. Eventually, she has disappeared somewhere behind me. The leader of the race passes me on his way back (at about 46 minutes). He is way, way, way ahead of second place. Next in front of me are two young boys. I don’t know how old they are, 12 to14 range. They are young enough for people coming back to shout encouragement. I must not look like I need encouragement.

Keep going. I had sucked down a Gu at 3 miles. Got some sports drink at 5. Get to the half way turn around at 63 minutes. Not bad! Now, am I too tired to keep up this pace? I could moderate my speed and possibly have a better time in the event this pace uses up my gas tank. But I am a person who likes to fathom my depths. I like to empty the glass and see what is hidden in the nether region of mental vs physical. I keep up the pace.

I am still following the boys. At the turn around, I passed them. But they quickly decided this was unacceptable and passed me. At around the 8 mile mark I’m right on their tails. I mention to them that that are slacking up. After a dirty look, they leave me in their dust for good. I keep up the pace. I take Gu around 8 miles; but decide to save the last packet until 11 miles, so I have some fuel for the hill. I pass the occasional person. Some are walking. I suck my Gu at 11 miles.

Just a little further and I turn the corner and face the hill. I had passed 11 miles at 1:46 flat. Now, Spirit Flower, do what you gotta do. So I did. Up I went. I was actually sweating. Passing an occasional walker or slow jogger. I keep focused. It is bad form, but I am only looking at the pavement a few feet in front of me. I am not thinking just running and breathing. It is no longer cold. I appreciate the race for making me push myself and over come my mentality.
A little farther. A volunteer encourages me saying there will be hot chocolate. I shout back, “Yuck!” and keep going. A little farther and I can hear BJ the DJ. A little farther and I can see the finish line. BJ announces my name. I am really running and gasping. I finish in 2:06:42. Yeah!

I got a hug from my idol. It was an awkward hug because: we’ve never done that before, why were we doing it now, but it seemed like a natural thing that we were drawn to do.

So that is that. I dreamed of more running and racing as I drove the long drive home. I can hardly wait to go for a run tomorrow. Next half marathon is next Sunday!

The hot shower felt sooooo good. Now, what should I eat?

Running

A sliver of a moon.
A myriad of stars.
Fallen leaves.

It was dark.
It was silent.
The world was asleep.

I passed by their windows,
And front lawns and parked cars.
Sometimes their dog was disturbed.

Breathing.
Praying.
I was a silent divine spirit.

Feet gliding over the energy surface.
Effortless flowing of awareness.
Unified consciousness.

Mystical, ethereal.
Romantic, sensuous.
Elite.

Full Moon

This morning, I decided to run at 4:30. It was a full moon; windy but pretty warm. Other than the paper thrower, I saw no dogs or skunks or even the man with the 8 huge dogs. No matter where I\’ve ever lived, there is always a faithful paper thrower sharing my early morning solitude.

\”…He loves you, He will gladly teach you…He cannot let you forget your worth.\”

How many times have I heard, \”God loves you;\” and had no belief or connection to that reality. But for some reason this morning, the words \”He will gladly teach you\” struck home. I opened up to the possibility that I really am loved, valuable to God and The Holy Spirit does want to teach me: GLADLY. I have always thought I needed to surreptitiously steal either love or teaching; that no one would ever WANT to help me in any way. There is a Gospel story about a man who was kicked out of the wedding banquet because he didn\’t have the right garmet. I\’ve always believed God would some day notice that there was something wrong with me and kick me out.

But this morning, I allowed the thoughts to sink in and become believable: He gladly teaches me. He loves me. If I accept this truth, then I have accepted Atonement for myself. I\’ve accepted a loving Father who would never hold my errors against me, only teach me how to love.

I went on to read, \”The only thing of value in it (the ego world) is whatever part of it you look upon with love.\” My mind immediately flashed to the person at work I usually hate the most; except I was loving him. I saw that I looked beyond whatever mistakes he was making and saw the love in his heart. I thought of all the people at work and loved them all. What a great gift. What a great moment.

I am here at work. I\’m usually the only one here this early. One of my co-workers has come in early. When someone walks down the hall, I don\’t look up, but often give a sly glance out of the corner of my eye. My co-worker just caught me doing that and teased me about it! Kind of fun, huh? Another co-worker asked me to be in his Linkedln network. I sent him an e-mail teasing him because he said he trusted me. He replied, \”Very much.\”

The ACIM Workbook

A Course in Miracles has a work book: an untrained mind can accomplish nothing…The purpose of the workbook is to train your mind in a systematic way to a different perception of everyone and everything in the world.

  1. Nothing I see means anything.
  2. I have given everything I see all the meaning that it has for me.
  3. I do not understand anything I see.
  4. etc. for 365 lessons…

I\’m not going to walk you through it. I am going to say that I love learning to think in some way other than I was programmed to think by parents, schools, TV, religion, etc.

I have already done the workbook, but like the Steps of AA, it is worth doing more than once. I do have \”a different perception\” of some things. Like I try to explain to people about the spiritual reality and how you can actually live there instead of the ego reality; and no one believes me, or they think I am special and that is why I have experienced the spiritual reality. I try to explain to alcoholics how even one drink (such as a social drinker might have) breaks the energy of the God connection and drives you into unconsciousness of God. People still think that social drinking is harmless; and a desired past time.

Living \”a different perception\” feels, at first, very lonely. But, one learns universal love through the deconditioning process. Love is the predominant mode of existance; and it is what makes life LIFE.

I was born and raised in Berkeley, California. I was there, though only about 12, on Telegraph Avenue and People\’s Park when they had anti-war demonstrations and riots.

By 6th grade, I had travelled all around the world with my parents.

I became a long distance runner in junior high.

In high school, I was interested in Dune, and Don Juan, and BKS Iyengars Yoga. The only Asana I could actually do was called mountain; but I did attempt, as a silly teen-ager, to stand still in that posture for several minutes.

I studied engineering when extremely few girls did that. I was elected president of the mechanical engineer\’s student association; and awarded the university\’s outstanding senior recognition.

After my undergrad work, and before getting my Master\’s, I went to Israel, travelling there by myself, on a archaeological dig for a summer. I almost missed the plane because I was drunk. In Israel, there was another American college guy who liked beer as much as me; so…well, I had a drinking partner.

I got sober and have not had a drink since I was 26.

In my 30\’s, I owned 3 motorcycles (2 Harley\’s and a Gold Wing) before Harley\’s were popular. I was a full member in a bike club; wearing colors, going to Sturgis, taking solo trips across the country.

I learned Zen style meditation when I was 38.

I entered a contemplative monastery when I was 40 and got kicked out when I was 45.

Ten years ago I stopped eating meat; and I have not watched TV or been to a movie since then either.

Five years ago, I began a practice of periodic juice fasting. Fasting detoxes your body, emotions and mind; so your chemistry is actually different than most of the population.

Four years ago, I disentangled from The Church, and many other things, by moving to a small town and becoming a semi-hermit.

I don\’t participate in Christmas, or other mass social rituals.

Three years ago, I became a raw food vegan.

Two years ago, I began studying ACIM.

I work as an environmental engineer in a crummy alcohol plant which blows up every other year or so; and where I am the only woman in operations management.

Today, I went for a glorious run in a nearby park: rolling hills and the wonderful odor of damp oak.

Tomorrow, as usual, I will get up at 3 am for prayer and meditation. Then a little weight lifting. Then into work at 6. My commute is horrendous: 2 minutes, depending on the lights and the trains.

Saturday, I am going in a race.

I am an ascetic. All of the above mentioned marginalizing behaviors, which most people think of as asceticism, help me to let go of the world. Renunciation is not suffering or penance. It is liberation from society\’s conditioning and programming. In the liberated state, the soul soars up to God; and soars through a field of human light and love, learning of oneness and unity. As one soul learns, all souls together rejoice. The soaring is an icon to all of the reality of the spirit; and all together, no matter what their material configuration, know in their depths the truth of God\’s love.

Shalom

Reflecting on Ego

Yesterday, I complained about church. This type of expression is actually my ego attacking other sons of God, the Sonship.

Last night, after sleeping two hours, I woke up and was awake for an hour. I couldn\’t figure out why last night. I was playing in my head a song from church about the God beyond all names. It is a haunting melody with a refrain that goes, \”in our living and our dying we are bringing you to birth.\” Last night, this bothered me because I don\’t agree with the theology of the statement.

This morning, as I did my spiritual reading and prayer, I was challenged to look directly at my church experience and try to find my own hatred and underlying fears. I had chosen to hate the service instead of love the Sonship. I chose and decided on judgment instead of thinking only love. Hate was predominant in my mind instead of love; by my choice.

Ok, hate was concealing love; but really, under hate is fear. What was I afraid of? What if I had loved instead of hated? I stopped thinking and waited, listening for the Holy Spirit to answer: I consistently chose hate because I am afraid to give up the original source of my hate, my first hate, the first decision to hate because I was afraid of God. I was afraid of God because I felt guilty. I thought I had shattered Heaven and made God angry.

Somehow, there was a tiny mad idea in the Mind of God. I, the Unified Sonship (before separation), somehow wanted what the tiny mad idea offered (specialness, autonomy from God) and I tried to \”remember not to laugh.\” One day, I remembered not to laugh and joined the tiny mad idea. This shattered the unity and I became fragmented into all these little pieces of individual minds. God immediately re-unified, but somehow, my consciousness remained in a dream illusion world; afraid of God and hating. But God/Love would never not forgive. Love always loves; that truth is what I try to dissociate from.

I am ready now to look at my original decision to be afraid of God. I offer it to the Holy Spirit for healing. If I choose love, I cannot hate. Love is scary because I loose my specialness. In church, I am just one of thousands of communicants. Being one of many makes my ego feel like part of a cattle drive or a slave covered in the muck of a pig pen. My ego is not special and hates it. I am afraid of being seen as \”one-of-them.\” In order to feel special, I attack the situation with my judgment. This consciousness is my vendetta against God. It is what conceals love and it is my decision.

I have to give up my vendetta against God; but sense how desperately my ego, the tiny mad idea, does not want to give up. My willingness to surrender, give up, is my acceptance of the Atonement (Redemption) that Jesus offers. Jesus will awaken me to Love.

I am responsible.

Silence and Love

In the Rule of Benedict, it says, \”…there are times when good words are to be left unsaid out of esteem for silence…so important is silence…the disciple is to be silent and listen.\”

I have been quiet here for only a couple of days. I sometimes think that any words I say are my ego talking. I am not talking about arrogance or pride; but the tiny mad idea that wanted God to treat it special. Since God doesn\’t treat anyone special, the tiny mad idea left God and created this ego world. The tiny mad idea got the power to do this because one day, the Son of God (all of us before we separated from God) remembered not to laugh at it. Pay attention, remembering not to laugh is different than forgetting to laugh. The tiny mad idea is symbolized by the serpent in the garden of Eden. But the ending of the story is not that God kicked us out of heaven; but that having attained an ego consciousness, we left heaven seeking the specialness not of God. The tiny mad idea became afraid of God and hid itself in this ego world.

I really should be quiet. None of this opinion is worth a hill of beans.

From ACIM:

  • …accept only loving thoughts…
  • …raise love to clear-cut unequivocal predominance…
  • …fear\’s only purpose…to conceal love..

This morning, I got up at 4, did my prayer and meditation, got in the car at 5:30 to drive to the city, began a 3 hour run at 6:30, changed clothes in the car and tried to decide what to do. Instead of going to the fellowship, I went to Mass.

I have no idea why I ever go to the parish for Mass. I like the music, but the sermons seem to always be about money or politics. Today, after listening to a really long pre-Mass plea for money, I really considered leaving. I looked around for my God-mother; but low and behold, right behind me was someone else I knew. Now I was stuck. I suffered through a bunch of other time wasters like sending the kids out, sending the catechumins out, baptisms and a sermon on stewardship before I remembered that I had a card in my pocket with the above ACIM stuff written on it. I pulled it out and remembered to accept only loving thoughts.

I remembered that love was being concealed in my mind right before my eyes. \”Right before my eyes\” means literally, love was concealed in my mind, not out there. It is possible that the only reason I went to church was to see what my ego would say about it so that I could talk to Jesus and do something different with my mind. I was saved from continuing to be unconscious of my practice of concealing love from myself and everyone else.

After that, I shut my eyes and envisioned light. Light is all there really is. Light is love and light is Heaven and light is peace. Light is my responsibility.

Fear is the tiny mad idea. It works furiously to conceal love; and for the most part we let it, becoming unconscious of the whole process. We can instead remember to laugh. We can instead remember to deny power to the tiny mad idea, remember all power is of God, and remember this for everyone around us. \”Thus does the Holy Spirit replace fear with love…\” Laughing at the tiny mad idea is done consciously when I accept only loving thoughts.

Accepting only loving thoughts means I am no longer in a fight with God for specialness; and in silence, I slip back into Heaven.