Friday the 13th

No matter how crazily your brain seems to be yelling at you; silence it for an instant and the Love of God will flood in, healing all mistaken notions.

I\’m ready to eat when I get to Germany:

Here is the beginning of the pile of stuff that needed to be packed:

This morning, I got up at 4:45, having granted myself a day off. I weigh 130. I did my spiritual study but was somewhat distracted with a) putting things in the pile for Germany and b) my thoughts about myself which separate me from others. I have been studying chapter 22.I of the Course in Miracles text all week. It is on holy relationships. I have been unable to move on because my ego keeps really hammering me about how different from others I am. I keep asking Jesus about this gap between what the Course says and what I believe about myself. Yet, Jesus keeps encouraging me to look beyond the material level surface to the sameness of Christ, which lies within everyone. This practice of continual awareness of my thoughts and then drawing them back to seeing sameness (Christ vision) has been a chore. This morning, as I entered into mental silence, I suddenly had a holy instant (ACIM text 15.I.9):

“Begin to practice the Holy Spirit’s use of time as a teaching aid to happiness and peace. Take this very instant, now, and think of it as all there is of time. Nothing can reach you here out of the past, and it is here that you are completely absolved, completely free and wholly without condemnation. From this holy instant wherein holiness was born again you will go forth in time without fear, and with no sense of change with time.”

In my holy instant, I realized that all was peace.

Then, I went to 6:30 Mass. I didn’t talk to anyone. After that, I went running. I saw some people I knew. As I passed them at the same time I passed my car, they pointed out that I had left a packet of Gu on the trunk of my car, “Did you know you left this here?” I hollered back, being a little ways down the road, “That is supposed to be there.” You know how my ego heard their question? “Hey stupid, did you know you forgot this?” And my ego would have answered, “Quit being such a know-it-all busy body you dip shit.” I admit that the voice in my head sounds this hateful all the time. So now you know why it is so imperative to me that I pay attention to all my thoughts and keep them from unconsciously living in hate.

After eight miles, I decided I’d had enough. I went to the store and then home. At home, I started laundry, worked on my suitcase packing project and installed the software for my new $20 camera. It worked! I got the shirts ironed and folded. Then, I thought I would go to an AA meeting at noon.

Just before I got in the car, I checked the Blackberry. There was an e-mail from human resources granting me a credit for home improvements I had made on the house in Atchison. So, when I took my job, there was a relocation package. The house didn’t sell so I accepted the offer from the relocation agent; which dinged me for about $6,000 worth of repairs. But, I was quite happy because, getting rid of the house was a super thing period. So, now this morning, the company will add in several thousand more dollars. I just can’t believe this.

I had a nice meeting, someone even thanking me for what I said. After the meeting, I did not run out so a couple of guys stopped me to chat. One of them even sort of acted real nice as if he knew I might have been upset with some previous behavior of his.

Yesterday at work, I made my first presentation of a work product to management. They all commented at how well organized, detailed and of higher quality it was than what they had been doing in the past. “I really like the way you think.”

I am going to Germany tomorrow. I finally achieved peace with the trip as I decided that I would do as I always do: set up my mini-monastery in my hotel room. I have arranged my spiritual study materials and coffee supplies. I packed a jar of peanut butter. No matter the cost, I will pay for the fitness facility at the hotel. I have packed running supplies. On the weekend, I’ve planned a personal endurance event. It probably won’t be much different than what I would do at home: run around a park for 4 hours; or perhaps along the Rhine River (if there is a sidewalk). The unknowns are: where will I go pee! I’ve packed my Nathan Hydropak, so water will not be an issue. I should be able to get pictures and write a blog as I’m taking my laptop.

I’m flying first class.

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Core Contemplation

The trainer gave me these core exercises. I worked on them for six weeks and noticed a slow reshaping of my abdomen. I mentioned to her that they didn’t seem to be stressful; that is, I don’t strain to do them. She said that was right. Therein lies the contemplation. Doing the exercises slowly and mindfully, concentrating on working only certain muscles, the stomach develops the desired definition and strength.

The exercises are a combination of subtle moves (move only this, a little and slowly), and stillness (keep that flat, still). Awareness, concentration, discipline and ambivalence are required skills. The ego gets nothing from these exercises. You cannot do these exercises without doing them slowly.

LSD, Long Slow Distance, is another point of contemplation. I ran 7+ laps around a park this morning; 20 miles at a little over 10 minutes per mile. I was going nowhere slowly. I thought about my spiritual lesson for today and my mantra became the one line which stuck: His (God’s) answer is the only one I want. This sentence went around and around my head and I barely thought beyond it. The girl running slowly through the park, just doing time, at last questioned, “Why am I out here?” I had no reason to be doing LSD. I had no reason to do 20 miles of LSD; especially after a strenuous race yesterday. LSD does not shape the abdomen like my core exercises. I don’t look great. I still have flabby thighs. Just exactly why? Shoot, I’ve been a distance runner for 35 years. It is the one thing that has been in my life the longest.

The answer may never be decided; but it may be contemplated. Running, above all else, is what made me uncomfortable in religious life. Running makes me uncomfortable around the sedentary who don\’t understand it. I\’m a runner. I run. I\’m an athlete. I eat only this and I lift weights and I run. This is my main interest in life. It still freaks me out that some many people dis me for it.

A guy in the gym asked me why anyone would give their life to God. Why not? Contemplation is about integrating the spiritual into everything. Yes, I weave silence and endorphins into my God quest. I have been cursed with an unquenchable thirst for the Almighty. I see that many people have not and they look askance at me. Like running, I am often dis-ed for my contemplative life. I guess I just have to accept this.

The Zen of the Half Mary

What is this crazy race? It is not a marathon. It is not a 10k. It was seemingly devised for people who cannot run marathons, but want to go farther than 10k. Is it serious? Who could brag about a mere 13.1 miles? The Half Mary can be the great deceiver. It is about to nail my ego.

I was up at 4:30 am. I drank coffee with extra instant coffee added; and a couple of pieces of bread. This noxious mixture is designed to encourage a bowel movement. Pretty soon, I am astounded at the quantity of stuff I am storing in my bowel. I do my spiritual work, pack my stuff and do a core workout (because the trainer gave me some new moves yesterday and I want to practice them). At 6:20, I start driving to the race.

It is to be a warm day: winds from the south at 10 mph, temps starting near 59F and to climb at least to 70 by the end of the race. I am at the start by 7 and get my number and t-shirt. There is an excellent bathroom with no one in it. I camp out there for a little while. The race is to start a 8. I hang out for awhile near the start. I say hi to Muffie who ran 50 miles two weeks ago when I ran 50k. It turns out it was her first 50 miler and she hadn’t really planned on it but switched races after she saw how easy the trail was.

The cannon goes off. The people doing the 10k are fast! I run the first 3 miles in 25+ minutes (too fast). As we pass the split, I slow down. And get to 4 miles in 35 minutes (more like it). I’m following a lady in a pink shirt. It turns out I followed her for a really long time. She made a good bunny because I had to work to keep up with her. I am running faster than the talk test; so I am pushing it. The turn-around is at 6.25 miles and I get there in 55 minutes (wow!).

Turning around, the wind is in our faces. I’m working to keep up with pink shirt and my legs feel like cement. I realize that my marathoner mind had thought that a half marathon would be a piece of cake. Now, I’m having to concentrate. I am having to be aware, no falling asleep. I get quiet inside and have a Zen moment: stop the mind and just run. I am actually racing. I am out for the coveted 50 year old female crown. Pink shirt bunny is possibly in my group.

At just before the 10 mile mark, pink shirt loses it. Shoot! The bunny died. I give her a hard time as I go past. Now I am the bunny and it pisses me off. When the trail turns a little, I look back. Dang it, she is not going to get me. I see no more mile markers for a looong time. I come to a hill and find myself cussing: this is a f**king long race. We know I am stressing out and pushing my limits when the cuss words start to flow freely. (Ego nailed! Good job!)

What’s that ahead? Another pink shirt (I’m so f**king glad I don’t own any pink shirts). This pink shirt is another age group possibility. We get to the 12 mile mark at 1:50. Let’s see, how fast can I run 1.1 miles? (Not very fast really, my ego is nailed) Now there are two pink shirters ahead of me. They start this walk and then sprint nonsense. I pass them on the walk. They pass me on the run. F**k them. Not too long and they give up. Ha… 3 pink shirts DOWN!!! (Truly not a Zen moment)

BJ the DJ, dressed in a cowboy outfit, takes my picture just before I make the turn into the chute.

I do my best and cross the finish line right at 2:02!!!

(Way better than I thought I could do).

Then, after a water and 25 minutes, I become what every race director dreads. I go out to the finish line, “Hey, Raul, can you print some more results?” He says yes and hands the clip board to the race director. She says she can’t stand there and I am handed the clip board. Shortly, Raul hands the race director another sheet of results. I stop her before she goes back inside and make her tell me how I did: first female 50-59 ag. Great! What do I get? I get to pick something off the first table.

Now things get really ugly (my ego is quickly un-nailed). Raul comes and gets the clip board. I go inside and start harassing the race director who is standing at the first table (I really want the bright orange reflective pull over), “Hey, I need to go, can I pick my prize?” RD, “No, you have to wait a few minutes until we announce names. We will do women first.” SF, “But, are you going to do the young women first? Don’t you think the OLD women should get to go first?” (The orange top gets put on a back chair…hehe).

Finally, pretty quick, the orange top makes it into my hands and I make a bee-line for the car.

Spiritual Push Comes to Shove

No workouts this morning. I became wrapped up in an argument with Jesus and wanted to linger over my spiritual studies. Then, I thought that since I am going in a race tomorrow, I should rest up a bit so I have some speed for the race.

It was hard to get out of bed. I rarely remember dreams; but I remembered what I dreamed last night and am feeling guilty for it. I have a late afternoon meeting with three Germans (I work for a German company). I am afraid of them; and also, I wanted to get out of work on a Friday afternoon, but it ain’t goin’ to happen. Then, I smacked into the spiritual wall: my ego beliefs vs spiritual truth and my inability to really want spiritual truth.

If you read Jesus’ words in the New Testament, and take them seriously, you realize that you are in a trap. I am not going to do what they say, but I believe I should so I am guilty. Since I believe I am guilty, I am afraid. I judge others and fear my thoughts are not private. I fear others because I know what I think of them. I am damned all around because I don’t know how to stop my thoughts. The only thing I can do is accept spiritual help.

In this world, I tried to escape damnation by joining a monastery. Hoping to live by the Rule of Benedict and obedience to a Prioress, I hoped to escape my own guilt. I got kicked out of the monastery and was left to seek salvation under my own direction.

I found A Course in Miracles. This morning, reading the Text 21.VII, I ended up between a spiritual rock and an ego hard place. I accept that my thinking is insane and need spiritual help. But I know I am blocking the spiritual help; and Spirit respects my wishes. So what do I do? All I can do is admit my insanity and ask God to help me anyway.

No matter who you are, if you enter into spirituality, you find your ego and your character defects staring you in the face. So either forget the spirituality and live solely in the ego experience; or lay down before your Higher Power and surrender everything. I cannot quit spirituality. Something beyond my ego drives me to keep studying and keep talking to Jesus about my shortcomings. I keep using the spiritual sand paper on my stubborn unbelief and ego fears. I keep asking for help. I truly believe a Power Greater than myself will restore me to sanity.

Sanity in A Course in Miracles, salvation as it were, is to believe that this world including my guilty thoughts are a bad dream, they never really happened or hurt anyone, and allow Jesus to awaken me to union with God, who always loved me and keeps me safe in Him, and the same goes for everyone, we are all one Son of God. If this is truth, I can only accept it, put my faith in it and accept the spiritual help. This is no different or harder than accepting what is said in the New Testament. These two things are the same theology and provide the same salvation. (The church has misinterpreted what Jesus said.) Jesus is Jesus period. God is Love period. I have to admit my insanity and accept spiritual help or else. What is my choice to be?

Thoughts:

I got up this morning and felt my mind was completely dead. Inspired words were falling on my sleeping self. How do I wake up and have any enthusiasm for Jesus? I spoke with Jesus about this. And then I found myself waking up and entheusiastic. If I went to a denominational church and asked why I don\’t remember God, they would baptize me, tell me I was saved by Jesus, give me a bunch of rules and tell me that I\’ll go to heaven after I die. I don\’t want to wait until death to know God. If God is love, He would never be unavailable to His creatures. A Course in Miracles gives me a way to remember God. I accept.

Going to Germany is considered a perk here at work. To me, it is inconvenient. I don’t really care about going to Germany because the inner world is more spiritually interesting than sightseeing in the ego world. What I will be looking for is opportunities to participate in miracles.

Chapter 21.V of A Course in Miracles keeps pointing out: there is something more to your mind and consciousness than ego. Something has driven me to spirituality which is not ego. Ego would prefer I buy a TV, a couch, get the cable hooked up and park myself in front of the screen with a bag of chips, the more salt the better. Quotes from 21.V:

  • You must have set aside a place in which the Holy Spirit can abide, and where He is. He must have been there since the need for Him arose, and was fulfilled in the same instant. Such would your reason tell you, if you listened. Yet such is clearly not the ego\’s reasoning. Your reason\’s alien nature to the ego is proof you will not find the answer there. Yet if it must be so, it must exist. And if it exists for you, and has your freedom as the purpose given it, you must be free to find it.
  • Thus, there must be a part of you that knows His Will and shares it. It is not meaningful to ask if what must be is so. But it is meaningful to ask why you are unaware of what is so, for this must have an answer if the plan of God for your salvation is complete.
  • The part of mind where reason lies was dedicated, by your will in union with your Father\’s, to the undoing of insanity. Here was the Holy Spirit\’s purpose accepted and accomplished, both at once.
  • Faith and belief have shifted, and you have asked the question the ego will never ask. Does not your reason tell you now the question must have come from something that you do not know, but must belong to you? Faith and belief, upheld by reason, cannot fail to lead to changed perception. And in this change is room made way for vision.
I am sure that I am connecting to the part of mind my ego knows not. But, it is a different sort of consciousness; maybe the closest word I can use is intuitive. It not a perceiving judging sort of affair.
.

Why do people think they can race a marathon to the finish when the marathon distance is outside the scope of the training? Then to compound the problem, they skimp on the high octane fuel. The wall must be transcended by training beyond the wall. I yearn to finish the race which ends the ego\’s world. My spiritual training is enduring and ego rununciation is in the scope. High octane fuel for the mind and spirit are in the practice.

Choosing to Listen to the Voice for God

A Course in Miracles Text 21.IV and V:

– The Holy Spirit’s purpose was accepted by the part of your mind the ego knows not of…it was not the ego which joined the Holy Spirit’s purpose, and so there must be something else.
– The quiet way is open…The still small Voice for God is not drowned out by all the ego’s raucous screams and senseless ravings to those who want to hear it.
– Perception is a choice, not a fact…on the voice you choose to hear…depends entirely your whole belief in what you are.
– Listen to what the ego says…and it is sure that you will see yourself as tiny, vulnerable and afraid. You will experience depression, a sense of worthlessness, and feelings of impermanence and unreality…And you will think the world you made directs your destiny. For this will be your faith.
– There is another vision and another Voice in which your freedom lies, awaiting but your choice.

My lesson this morning, number 354, contains gems:
– I have not self except the Christ in me.
– We stand together, Christ and I, in peace and certainty of purpose.

I was awake in the night feeling angry towards an institution. I recognized my lack of peace. Upon arising, I realized how much I was hearing the ego\’s raucous screams and fears. The best I can do is bring these to Jesus. I need the Holy Spirit\’s help. I ask to decide in favor of the Voice for God. As I was out running, I watched my thoughts flit from one resentment to another, one negative fantasy to another. All of these were way in the past or totally unreal. I again asked the Holy Spirit for help. I don\’t claim that I am getting better. I claim to be turning to God every time I remember.

I want to chose the Christ in me as my consicousness. I want to chose the Voice for God as what I listen to. I want to be the other part of my mind which the ego knows nothing of. I make these choices as often as I become aware that I have once again drank of the ego\’s insane potions.

I signed up for a half marathon this Saturday. I\’ve had two great 57 minute runs the past two days. I am planning a personal ultra-endurance event for 11/21 and 22, while I am in Koln, Germany. So I spent this morning\’s run planning which running clothes I will take to Germany.

ACIM on the Road

Dear Friends, I come to you today from Texas City. I flew in last night and leave again tonight. I had a wonderful surprise on the trip down: everything went smooth, but best of all is Southwest Airlines now has a business class so you can get a good seat. The fly by lane relieves the cattle car feeling I’ve always gotten from Southwest. I hearby endorse the airline. Besides, it has been many years since I heard one of their irreverent flight attendants. I’m certain that my world appears improved in these little ways because of the rearrangements to my thinking made possible by studying A Course in Miracles and letting the Holy Spirit teach me.

Supper was a box of lettuce from Walmart. This morning I put in 30 minutes on the elliptical. Yesterday morning, I was blessed with 22 miles of long slow distance running.

Text 21:III:

– For all who choose to look away from sin are given vision, and are led to holiness.
– As they desire to look upon their brothers in holiness, the power of their belief and faith sees far beyond the body, supporting vision, not obstructing it…they have renounced the means for sin by choosing to let all limitations be removed.
– Those who believe in sin must think the Holy Spirit asks for sacrifice, for this is how they think their purpose is accomplished.
– …if you seek to limit Him, you will hate Him because you are afraid.
– …He Who loves the world is seeing it for you, without one spot of sin upon it, and in the innocence that makes the sight of it as beautiful as Heaven.

I have had a little nagging fear since Friday: I am totally afraid of being laid off due to lack of work again. Consequently, I project my fear onto others, like my boss. Oh so subtle, I think, “What if he keeps work for himself or gives it to a co-worker so that I have nothing to do?” Well, actually, fear of not enough work translates into putting faith into work as security instead of relying of God to take care of me. Just because I have a job now doesn’t mean I don’t need to turn my life over to God the same as I did last summer when I had no work. Actually, this fear has been with me my entire work life and I have lived it out over and over again, because I keep projecting the same thing. My life is my fault. This time, I want to let God help me.

The solution to the fear however is spiritual. I need to look away from the world and keep my eyes on Jesus. When I look at the world, I am looking for the bad things which I myself have projected, fearing them and attempting to control outcomes. I can bring my fear into my conscious mind and talk to Jesus about it, asking for help. Then, I ask for Christ vision. Christ vision is given me immediately and is useful if I accept it. In Christ vision, I am not an ego looking hatefully at a world which is out to get me. I am allowing the Holy Spirit to look through me to the holiness and innocence beyond the world, Heaven and the Son of God. To see the Son of God, I turn my “seeing” and perceiving over to the Holy Spirit, set my projections and perceptions aside, and see my brother sinless. Of course, I cannot do this by myself and must have help. Jesus will teach me and help me.

Jesus, I want to be free of my fear and see things differently. I am terrified of running out of work and being laid off. I project that my boss will keep work for himself or give it to my co-worker, and I will get laid off. Please, You handle all these details for me and show me the way to forgiveness and vision. Please remove what I see and help me to forgive (look beyond to the holiness and Christ in everyone). Let me put my faith in You and not the world. Please help me.