The Better Way

Studying A Course in Miracles (ACIM) this morning (12.III), I again ponder some parts of ACIM which offer a totally different paradigm than the one I was taught by society or religion. These other ways of looking at things offer me hope for better outlooks, and that is why I continue to study ACIM. These other ways of looking at things contradict the world\’s logic and take long discussions with Jesus in order for me to slowly get it, and live happier. I can only learn to live these other ways with help from my Guide, Jesus, and my Teacher, the Holy Spirit. Here are some bits and pieces of what Jesus says, out of context:

– If only the loving thoughts of God’s Son (all of us are God’s Son) are the world’s (not this world, but the one God gave us) reality then the real world must be in his mind.
– Everything you perceive as the outside world is merely your attempt to maintain your ego identification (instead of Christ/Holy Spirit identification)…
– You have projected outward what is antagonistic (self hate and guilt) ….your hatred is in your mind…you must get rid of it before you can perceive the world as it really is.
– The world you perceive is…governed by the desire to be unlike God…made out of what you do not want, projected from your mind because you are afraid of it.
– …you do have control over your mind…all the attack you perceive is in your own mind…
– Bring your (unloving) perceptions to the inner altar of God where Christ abideth, the altar of truth where Atonement has been placed…there you will see your vision changed (into Christ vision)…
– …you must relinquish your investment in the world as you project it, allowing the Holy Spirit to extend the real world to you from the altar of God.

My reflection: I see a world that is against me, filled with people being angry, attacking each other (all anger in the mind is an attack even if not behaviorally carried out), and no way to get ahead. The world I see is the projection of my own self hate and investment in the idea I need to be punished. I need to be punished because I think I left God and am separate from God and God hates me and would punish me (like the prodigal son). So I bring this self honesty to Jesus and let him shine his light on it, undoing my hard feelings. As I let go of my investment, the world I see improves.

I must take responsibility for my projections and stop thinking God would make the hatred I see. If God is love, God wouldn’t make this hateful world. It must have come from somewhere else. In ACIM, Jesus encourages us to take responsibility for our thoughts and feelings, bring them to him and move on to loving thoughts instead. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are in us and will teach us a better way. I want the better way.

I am stopping my investment in the money economy and starting to invest in “THE ECONOMY OF LOVE.” In the long run, love is the only important thing.

Ha, ha…as I am now following a training schedule and not doing what I want, my running has been removed from my ego and placed in the loving hands of my Teacher, Guide and Coach (Jesus). My running is now running on love and not self. How happy this is for me. I need to do the same with my eating.

Peace be with you always!

The Marathon of Silence

This morning, in the A Course in Miracles (ACIM) Text, I found this: “Learn to be quiet in the midst of turmoil, for quietness is the end of strife and this is the journey to peace” (12.II.5.5).

It reminded me of this burning desire I’ve had for most of my adult life. Early in my twenties, I would read John of the Cross and desire the “Living Flame of Love.” I would read other mystics, from the “Cloud of Unknowing” written by an anonymous 13th century monk, to modern contemplatives like Merton and Keating. I thirsted for what they said they found in contemplation. Running this path is what God has provided for me. I am not just a runner, I am a spiritual athlete. Running the path of contemplative silence is my essence, my core, the root and ground of my being.

In 1998, out of work for a few months, I heard about a man who sat in a room for a year. I don’t know what he found there, but from him I learned the practice of sitting in silence. The moment I heard of the contemplative silence, I wanted to go and find what I could find. And in that time, I did. I had four months to myself. I could practice spirituality as much as I wanted.

I went to a monastery hoping to continue the mystic contemplative journey; but I found community within the cloister. I found a co-dependent nightmare; attempting to please the 58 other sisters and a novice director who ruled over me.

Now, being unemployed, I am again very focused on the mystic contemplative journey. Difficult to explain, the chance to make the journey into silence is mine now. I am taking it. My most desired dream is of finding God in silent contemplation.

Every marathon or ultramarathon is a journey through some type of terrain, for some outrageously long distance, challenging to body and mind. It contains aid stations and companions making the same journey. It contains doubts and times for resolve to dig down and find the strength to finish. It contains sweat, blisters, heavy breathing and painful quads. Most often, the moment of truth comes near the end. For a marathoner, the last six miles are the moment of truth. For an ultramarathoner, the moment might be during the night, after the seventy-fifth mile.

My mystic contemplative journey is a marathon of silence. Unemployed, I spend many days in my hermitage. I spend the time in silence with my spiritual companion. The journey of silence is through a landscape of thoughts. The world is an illusion. Holding my companion’s hand, I travel in forests of thoughts, clouds of thoughts, and deserts of thoughts. Along the way, I stop at aid stations and pick up nutrition: sacred scripture of my delight.

The journey of silence has the goal of peace. The path goes beyond the thoughts to an undisturbed virgin land of love. In the land of love, my consciousness is love. The land of love is our true home. We are all going home. We get there by running. We all run free and happy as we fling off our ego thoughts. Our bodies become sleek. We carry only what will take us further on our journey, losing whatever holds us back. I offer the Holy Spirit whatever I do not want.

I run through a forest of thoughts. Most of the thoughts are of fear. Amid the many fearful, angry and useless ego thoughts, here or there, I find a sacred thought, one marked especially by my Guide, the Holy Spirit. The sacred thoughts are discerned in a quiet mind.

And so I run. I run through the forest of silence, up the mystic mountain through clouds of mental demons, and burst into the sunlight of the Spirit. There I am transfigured with the truth of God.

I want the journey. I desire to find the knowledge of God or Higher Self. I want to hear the sacred thoughts of love; instead of my ego’s hate. I want to stand on the mountain top in the clear air and bright sunlight and shout “YES!” to All That Is, Joy Itself.

My ACIM lesson today is: “Let every voice but God’s be still in me.” My lesson today brings me to the tree line. Today, here and now, having stilled the ego, I step into the sunlight: God’s One Thought of Love.

Peace be with you as we run together, our hearts overflowing with the unspeakable sweetness of love.

More About My Relationship With God

The purpose of the basic text for Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book, states that its purpose is to help the alcoholic develop a relationship with a Higher Power on simple and understandable terms. Sometimes, I’m not sure I’ve attained enough humility or self renunciation to have a relationship with God upon which I can absolutely rely. It must be my ego which does not know God and hence remains angry at God.

What does my soul/heart/Self say? If I am honest with myself, my conversation with God always rests in a silent, unfathomable, infinite peace with a knowable consciousness of joy. The ineffable darkness I find in meditation is the pure presence of God; which takes tremendous patience to appreciate. “I don’t know,” are the words which release me. Peace is both the beauty and the agony of God for me.

Today, I had a nice 70 minute run. I\’ve been nursing a newly developed (within the last 2 weeks) runner\’s knee. I think it is from a) running on a sprained ankle with totally fatigued quads for 4 hours in my race 2 weeks ago; then b) having a 30 mile temper tantrum a week later; plus c) continuing to do alot of hills; and then d) trying out the Nike Free shoes too much. The Free shoes do not provide the support I\’ve been used to. Add up all the factors and you see a sore knee.

So, I also wonder if the exer-bike I quit using 6 weeks ago had actually been doing some strengthening of the quads; which I needed unbeknownst to me. Anyway, besides ice, I have a couple of new quad strengthening exercises to try.

The Silence of God

What is my relationship with God like?

My relationship with God is described by a two sided nature. One side is inspiration for my worldly life. The other dimension is for relationship with The Mystery of silence, and love of The Mystery.

The silence of God does not provide answers to everyday problems, although the Holy Spirit does assist with these. The silence of God does not provide ecstasy because this would distract from the eternal silence, the true nature of God. Love need not shout. An embrace speaks without sound.

In my contemplation, I fathom the silence of God and find unfathomable silence. I sit with the silence, in the silence. The nothingness grates on my ego, slowly stripping it, diminishing it. I become nothing in this world, freer of ego; and more in the nothingness of silence, where the Holy Spirit can freely direct my worldly life.

The silence is a beast, a suffocating black hole where my ego rages uselessly for specialness.

This silence is The Mystery. The Mystery is completely open, vulnerable, revealed. The Mystery gives itself completely and welcomes me into its being.

The silence is a pool of cool peacefulness, a comfort zone for resting in total love. In the silence, sharing is mutual, unified, wholly an experience of existential love. Fully entered into the pool of love, I have no perception. Though my ego rages at the doorway, silence itself merely awaits my relaxation into the oneness of pure existence.

Stay tuned for more.

50 mile training

I am signed up for a 50 mile run on October 10. If I was to follow directions, here is an example of what a training schedule should look like. The x means tempo (I never do formal tempo runs). Where is says, PR, that is where I am signed up to run the Patriots Run, a 9 hour and 11 minute run. I may have to adjust the weekend before to account for this. I am going to try to follow this plan somewhat to ensure I don\’t over-do things.

This week, I ran 64 miles plus about 6 hours of walking.

This morning, I had a beautiful 13 mile run in cool temps and bright sunshine. I said to myself, if today was my last day on earth, I think this is where I\’d like to spend it and what I\’d like to be doing.

God\’s Song

I finally figured out why I make such a rough go of life. It is a communication issue. The use of words doesn’t work on a personal level because we are each from a different culture. The language of the heart, which is wordless, is the only thing that works.

I’ve been studying A Course in Miracles for almost two years. It has given me a language and a concept of Jesus which is generally uncommon. I cannot discuss it too much because Christians have a concept of Jesus, Atonement, forgiveness, miracles, communion, God, Heaven, reality, death, sin, salvation, etc. different from ACIM. And I live among Christians. I speak a language which they don’t speak. I feel frustrated.

I go to alcoholics anonymous. Due to the AA literature, I am able to communicate with the people in AA. We have a common language.

Non-runners come up to me and start to discuss running. They are looking at running from the outside and think they know something about it. They use the words, but have no idea of the reality or the depth of distance running which another runner knows. I feel frustrated and cut off when a non-runner tries to talk about this subject. I can talk about running with another runner.

The same communication problem is true of Harley riders (I’ve been one of those), cloistered nuns (I’ve been one of those), solitaries and hermits (I’ve dabbled in that).

I don’t have a husband, children or family (and never lived in a non-abusive one), so I have the communication issue when I listen to others talk about their families. I don’t watch TV or go to movies so I can’t discuss my favorite show. I don’t eat meat so I don’t appreciate bar-b-q. I’ve never been in the military or had cancer. So I can’t speak the language of war or chemo.

The tower of babble extends beyond physical languages to every single person.

But the language of the heart is universal, requires no words, or even a physical presence. Non-physical communication, using the non-physical modes of reality is continuous. I have come to acknowledge and utilize this communication on a conscious level because I took ACIM; but also because I spend time in silent reflection, meditation and thought inventories. To live life without this consciousness of the non-physical realm would, at this point, doom me. It is the only way I stay out of the deepest darkest depression.

The distance runner taps into this realm. The AA meeting taps into this realm. The solitary in meditation taps into this realm. The liturgy of the monastery (or doing the dishes) taps into this realm. The bikers riding in formation or sitting by the camp fire tap into this realm. I would dare say the computer programmers and hackers are very much tapped into this realm. This realm connects us in non-physical ways and teaches us that we are not alone.

The energy of connectedness which I tap into in the non-physical realm is what I call Christ. Others call It Self, Dharma, Tao, Buddha, Krishna, Atman, Osiris etc.

Realizing this common bond, allowing it to be real in your life is truly healing and provides salvation for all of us. Each instant of communication through the language of the heart is a holy instant. Undeniably it is an expression of the love of God and a manifestation of the Divine Presence.

I am able to stop being frustrated with human life and its endless conversations about the weather if I keep in mind that the real conversation is taking place in the heart. This conversation is eternal and continuous. It includes God. If I listen to this and not the worldly level words, I am outside my ego. This type of listening is listening to the Voice for God. God speaks the language of the heart. The language of the heart is God\’s song of love. Indeed, God’s song of love fills creation. Creation is made of God’s song, God’s singing. Hence, I am God’s song. I can listen to God’s song. One day, I will listen to nothing else.

Please, sing with me. It is a song of gratitude to our Creator for His Love.

Preferred Mindset

Here is a list of the primary synapses, connections, I want to hold in my mind:

  • God is Love, and nothing else.
  • Only Love is real.
  • If it is not love, it is not real.
  • I exist in the Mind of God and He is in me.
  • I am of inestimable worth to God.
  • So are you.
  • Because God loves His creation, which is a part of Him.
  • The Light, the Great Rays of God, is in you and I will to see only That.
  • I accept His joy, peace and love as my reality.
  • I deny my ego, anti-love thoughts, in favor of love.
  • When I do this I am free.
  • I put all my faith in God.

I Ponder: How hard it is to put the horse before the cart; that is, seek God first and let everything else follow. How necessary it is for me to see love in you if I want to authentically know it in my self. How many anti-love thoughts I have hoarded over the years and how many to give to Jesus for healing. How necessary to give up the anti-love in order to have love. The decision to have peace and joy seems easy, but I have to try again so frequently. Every time I see I\’ve had an anti-love thought instead of love, I give it to Jesus. I re-make the decision and go on with my day. I really would rather live in love than hate and fear. God offers me this if I give up my anti-love. I am starting to re-coil from my anti-love as from a hot stove. I don\’t want it. I want love. Wanting love opens the door to receiving it.

In love, I am free.

Freedom is putting the horse before the cart.

Freedom is turning my life over to the care of God.

I love freedom. I love peace. Life is so much easier.

It is lovely outside. Perfect for a ten mile run.

Trusting God

I woke up at 4:30 this morning and sat up in my little bed. I was thinking about how some people logically and effectively handle their lives without giving God much thought; but I am actually counting on God to help me. It is a temptation to feel stupid for believing God will help me when on the worldly level, it appears my life has had plenty of snags. It is a temptation to quit believing God has anything to do with it; there is no real evidence, just my thoughts.

I got up and did my Course in Miracles study, lifted weights and got started on my run. It was then that I was able to strongly affirm and say, \”YES! I am one of the people that trusts and relies on God.\” I believe God is in charge of my life and I am not in control. Other people do fine without God. I must have Him.

In fact, the purpose of my life seems to be learning to let go of everything and let God freely give me what He wants. My job is to be the presence of love, joy and peace in whatever circumstances I find myself. It is not up to me to judge the circumstances as good or bad, success or failure. These measurements are worldly measurements, not divine. I need to stick to my Source.

As I was running, I was joyously raising a celebratory fist and saying, \”Thank you God. I rely on you.\” It is a huge victory to claim God as the one I trust. I am willing to go anywhere He wants and fulfill the role He assigns.

This outlook on life is wonderful for me. It is related to my current condition. I live in a podunk town where I have no friends. I live here because of employment. Now, I have no employment. My daily life has become utterly nonsensical and detached from humanity. I talk to no one unless I drive down to the city where I do have friends. I have no career goals. I have no family. I spend my time on spirituality. Letting spirituality be real is what my life is about.

Now, about the running: On Saturday I ran 15 miles and on Sunday I ran 30. Sunday afternoon, it was obvious I had some wear and tear on the legs. Monday I had two walks of one hour each. This morning, I jogged 7 miles slow and probably will do something else this afternoon. My next race is not until 9/11, but it is a nine hour and eleven minute run. I need to maintain my fitness without injury for about 7 weeks. This week will be an easy week and I won\’t do any really long distance for awhile.

So much of my life has been sorted out through endless miles of long slow distance. I\’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I\’ve never been a speed demon, just one of the runners. Looking at the forest and not any one tree, running is a way I cope with life and receive joy and pray. In a sense, running is my home, my temple of the Holy Spirit.