To Be or Not-to-be

It is all fine and good to preach about denying the ego; so much harder to do. The Holy Spirit is the key.

“He (Holy Spirit) understands how your relationship (the one with your brother) is raised above the battleground, in it no more. This is your part; to realize that murder in any form (especially thoughts) is not your will. The overlooking of the battleground is now your purpose.” (Text 23.IV)

Overlooking equals looking beyond, not seeing others as physical but granting them the presence of spirit within, which I want known about me also. The battlefield is the illusion of the world, where we fight it out against each other every day.

My achilles is not 100%. Do I have any business going in any marathon? That is not really the point. Contemplation of God is the point.

The holy instant is another key. The quiet sphere above the battlefield. To not-be is to exist above the battlefield. Here, in the sphere of quiet, only an awareness of God\’s love exists in the mind.

I first entered meditation when I was attracted to the single room. I read about a guy who stayed in a room for a year and meditated. I wanted to do that. My foray into monastic life was because I thought I could be silent. Ever since that first idea, I have sought silence and solitude, but keep getting involved in activities. Being quiet is the hardest thing anyone can ever do.

What I am getting at is this: I have 5 days off. I am not entered in any races (although I could be) and have no plans. I once again stand before my inner truth and see what I choose: inner peace or outer gratification.

\”Be lifted up, and from a higher place look down upon it. From there will your perspective be quite different. Here in the midst of it, it does seem real. Here you have chosen to be part of it. Here murder is your choice. Yet from above, the choice is miracles instead of murder. And the perspective coming from this choice shows you the battle is not real, and easily escaped. Bodies may battle, but the clash of forms is meaningless. And it is over when you realize it never was begun. How can a battle be perceived as nothingness when you engage in it? How can the truth of miracles be recognized if murder is your choice?\” (23.IV)

Content vs Form

Yesterday\’s running wore me out. I slept 10 hours. then, I did my usual spiritual study of the Course in Miracles Text (23.II):

\”…lack of faith in love, in any form, attests to chaos as reality…Attack in any form has placed your foot upon the twisted stairway that leads from Heaven. Yet any instant it is possible to have all this undone…Ask, then, your Friend to join with you, and give you certainty of where you go.\”

This followed on a little explanation of form vs content. Form is the world of the ego. It is the world where most people live, never getting beyond the weather or money or family matters or TV or alcohol or indulgent eating or football or church or smoking and thinking thats OK or tossing garbage out the car window or etc; what I could call primative thinking, unconsciousness.
I don\’t drink because even one drink messes with the awareness of God. Primative thinkers don\’t even know they have a connection with God. Content, not form, is important.

The world of content is beyond the world of form. The ego is not present there. The world of content consists of mind and spirit. Living in the world of content disarms the ego because there is nothing but love in mind and spirit. The only consciousness is faith in love. To get out of the ego\’s world and into the spirit world, I ask my Friend, Jesus.

My mind this morning was on my years long attempt to live off the social norm grid. I exist in the world but in a shady non-average manner. I am processing myself into Heaven.

Then I began a 2 hour ex-machine workout. I was listening to NPR\’s This American Life, which was several stories about people who live their lives outside the norm. I felt good with this workout, happy to do all of the x-bike intervals at a higher speed. I mixed sit-ups and some weights into the intervals. I felt so good, that I decided after 2 hours to go out on the trails.

It was hot by then, but the trail is mostly in trees. I felt stronger and more capable today, even taking a fourth lap. I got to watch a \”skilled\” trail runner hippity hop down the rock pile. Someday, my quads will be able to do that. I added a little piece onto the end of each lap which consists of 4 flights of stairs (either up or down depending on which lap I\’m on). At the end, I noticed another set of stairs to add in the next time. I\’m also going to add in a trek up the dam and back. But I need courage for that.

I came home to a green smoothie. There is no better way to live than this: 4 or more hours of exercise each day of every weekend. I know people who are winding down their summer marathon training in preparation for an October marathon. One of them was so happy to have only one more 20 mile LSD. Crap, I\’d do 20 miles every weekend even if no race was on the schedule. Yesterday, I only ran 18 miles but part was on trails. So it would have been more than 20 had I stayed in the park. You gotta love it.

Starting next Thursday, I\’m going to do another personal endurance multi-day. It will be a combination of ex-machines, flat track and trails. I just ordered a set of exercise step blocks. This is to cover leg strength training as another option. They also double as a low bench, which I need because of some of the exercises my trainer gave me.

ACIM Student – I am as God created me.

I am a student of A Course in Miracles (ACIM). As such, I frame my life in the Course Text. This morning, I read only one paragraph during my spiritual study (23.II):

\”And here a final principle of chaos comes to the “rescue.” It holds there is a substitute for love. This is the magic that will cure all of your pain; the missing factor in your madness that makes it “sane.” This is the reason why you must attack. Here is what makes your vengeance justified. Behold, unveiled, the ego’s secret gift, torn from your brother’s body, hidden there in malice and in hatred for the one to whom the gift belongs. He would deprive you of the secret ingredient that would give meaning to your life. The substitute for love, born of your enmity to your brother, must be salvation. It has no substitute, and there is only one. And all your relationships have but the purpose of seizing it and making it your own.\”

I couldn\’t read past this paragraph, I simply meditated on it. My ego leapt out of hiding and explained to me how much it hates my brother for his fame, fortune, power, position and prestige. My ego would kill to obtain some worldly thing which it thinks is salvation. What a fake world we have. We look at money as salvation. We look at the Church as salvation. We look at career as salvation. We look at hot cars as salvation. We look at sex as salvation. We look at family and children as salvation. We look at retirement and death as salvation. We really want some way to get out of the hell we live in.

I struggled with my ego. If we want something that someone else has, that thing is a symbol for salvation for us, our ticket out of here. My mind filled with the ego\’s hatred and I started asking for help from Jesus. Clearly, I should bring the hate to the light; not suppress it.

Then, about 7, I went running. My hateful attitude continued as I ran. I wondered if I should kill myself because life is meaningless and hate filled and I don\’t want to live like this. I was running in Parkville, along a flat dirt bike path by the river. My legs were tired even before I started. It was a tad cool with a breeze. I nodded hi to the regulars. I realized how futile running races is. After qualifying for Boston in a marathon last year, I reached the pinnacle of performance. The people who complete the 3,100 miles Self Transcendence race, accomplish nothing in the outer world. All the gifts they receive are on the metaphysical and spiritual plane. The ego is only satisfied for a little while and then goes searching for greater glory. I refuse to do that. I need to go inward. My running is not for the ego but for transcendence.

After about 90 minutes of running, I suddenly noticed that peace and the joyful consciousness of God was all around. I noticed the peace of God. The light of God had been around me the whole time; but it took me 90 minutes of fighting my hateful ego to get clear enough for peace to be noticeable.

After 10.8 miles in the park (10 min/mile pace), I jumped in the car, drove a half mile and jumped back out at the nature sanctuary (I didn’t plan to go back to the park, so drove to the sanctuary). I put on my new trail shoes and started in on 2 hours of trail running. I’ve always been a little ashamed of my slowness on trails, but today I realized that at 17 min/mile, I still do rocks piles faster than most people can walk on the flat.

The trail shoes helped me feel more sure footed. Luckily I already knew which parts of the toe box needed to be fixed with a knife, or I’d be losing a toe nail (shame on Mizuno designers for putting trim on the toe box). Without a doubt, trails are much more difficult than road running, but such a good variation. They make my legs work in all directions.

After all that running, I came home to clean up and eat and then lay on the bed. I was in a meditative state, wondering about that hateful ego. A principle of ACIM came through loud and clear, “It is not real. The world is an illusion.” And suddenly I knew: I have never been hateful at all of anyone. This world is an illusion. It never happened. I am not a body, I am free. I am as God created me. I exist in the arms of Love as an idea of love. I never left the embrace of God.

I love these rocks:

Shut up and Listen

A Course in Miracles Text 23.I: \”The memory of God comes to a quiet mind.\”

My lesson today: \”The peace of God is shining in me now.\”

Today I will make no decisions by myself. So I wake up this morning and phone service/DSL is not working. I start to hear my ego plan its attack on AT&T regarding how they have made a bad connection. I switch my thinking to my lesson. I pause. To decide anything about AT&T is to make a decision for myself. The memory of God comes to a quiet mind.

I realize how deeply I don\’t want to spend the day with thoughts of attack against people or institutions (as I do everyday and so do you). The peace of God is shining in me now.

A bit more from the Text: \”…truth stands radiant, apart from conflict, untouched and quiet in the peace of God.\”

I pause. I don\’t want to just mindlessly repeat today\’s lesson but to let it mean something, to believe it. The world is an illusion. I don\’t need to react to the world, because it does not exist. The world is an illusion, a projection of what I think. I\’m going to ask the Holy Spirit for help and listen to His thoughts and decisions not mine. The memory of God comes to a quiet mind. All I need do is shut up and listen. The peace of God is shining in me now.

Now I am at work. AT&T has been contacted. I am listening to 2 colleagues having a \”discussion\” next door. I will make no decisions by myself. The peace of God is shining in me now.

Yesterday a colleague from another plant mentioned how he was thinking of becoming vegetarian. He knew I was because we had had dinner the night before and he noticed I did ok at the restaurant. I ask him, \”Does it bother you to eat animals?\” He says, \”no.\” \”So, don\’t become a vegetarian, just eat less meat if the health effects concern you.\” The peace of God is shining in me now.

People are shocked that I am bothered that people eat animals. I will make no decisions by myself. The peace of God is shining in me now. I\’ll let that be.

The mornings are finally cooler, in the 60s. I\’ve been feeling great while running; faster. So, its time to make sure I am not stupid and overdo one day. I have some new shoes, a couple of brands, just to mix things up. The achilles is much better than its been for months. I\’m looking forward to trails this weekend and a personal multi-day beginning next Thursday.

I love this picture:

The Key to the Miracle

It is called A Course in Miracles. So ummm…when do I get the miracle? My life has not exactly become a wondrous as whats-her-face that wrote all those books.

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Today\’s lesson is a review (204): The Name of God is my inheritance.

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So, think about it.

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I\’d rather count on the name of God than a 401K, or a man. Stop everything right now and think: God. Does that mean a thing to me?

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I\’ve been through everything that people do to be happy: world travel, riding Harley\’s, sex, rock and roll, contemplation in a real monastery, career, skiing, horses, winning awards, drugs and alcohol, you-name-it-I\’ve-done-it.

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But I wouldn\’t trade a true understanding of the Name of God for any of it. Think. If I know the name of God is my inheritance, would I bother judging anyone? Would I bother trying to control or manipulate my way into a secure place in life? That is the miracle. The key is: seeing and knowing you are not a body but an idea of love in the Heart of Love. If you are able to truly understand that you could only be love in the Heart of Love (translation of \”the Name of God is my inheritance\”), you would see everything differently. Just stop thinking you are a body surrounded by other bodies which you don\’t like. We are all one idea of love in the Heart of Love. Knowing this and living like it is the miracle. Letting everyone off your judgment hook because you know you are love is the miracle.

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The Name of God is my inheritance, and now is when I inherit It. It is always there and always mine.

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Today, I may have solved a conundrum: I want to run on trails. But for a variety of reasons, I\’ve not done it until today. Today, I found about two miles of hilly, rocky, rooty, big stepper trails, right near where I live. Trails work so many more muscles than flat running or road running. I needed to add them to my repertoire. So here are a couple of pics:

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Rocks:

Roots:

The Joy of Solitude

To be in solitude is not a hatred of others or an attack on society. Many chose to be solitary for just these reasons. However, if we are dilligent with our transcendental practices, a miracle occurs. Solitude becomes a practice of dispelling illusions, letting the thought disturbances settle, so the Divine Light, present in everyone, is clearly seen. In solitude, judgement is dismantled, disarmed and dispersed; because I become aware of the judge as ego, not love. I become aware of the judge as a keeper of dark thoughts and decide to shine the light on them. Light dispells dark, period.

Most of us want a great escape from life. What most of us don\’t know is that it is our own thoughts which torture us. In solitude, alone with the thoughts, I offer them to the Presence of Love, Christ, Self; where they are transformed into peace. At some point in this process, I find I have more loving thoughts towards others than judging thoughts. This is the miracle. This is joy. This is the end of the illusion world and the beginning of the real world.

God is love. Would love create a torture chamber for His Son? No. So what I see must not be what God made. So I must change. In solitude, I change my thinking to a conscious of love. That is the miracle. Peace is pure joy.

Confessions of a Solitary

It has been about 9 months since I chose solitude intentionally. Before that, I lived in a small town and thought my solitude was a function of where I lived. But, when I moved into the city a year ago, I moved near to social groups where I was held in esteem and could have taken up my old positions. But I realized I no longer wanted to play my part; and so I quit.

Now, I am not involved in any of the stuff that most people claim makes life meaningful. I truly think life is meaningless; a meaningless bad dream. The activites that others think are so meaningful seem like self importance to me. Even love appears like an elaborate control scheme.

What I am doing here is killing time. I earn money for food and kill time. Running and weight lifting are killing time.

The most meaningful part of my life is when I shut down my brain, shut my eyes, and just be.

At Home in Silence

I was extremely well cared for today. You might think it was United Airlines which ran a perfect schedule. I think it was Inner Peace.

I got up at 3 am CDT and drove to Grand Rapids MI. I boarded a plane for Chicago. I got off the plane in Chicago, walked from terminal B to C, bought a tall skinny vanilla with an extra shot, downed it. Then I walked to my gate for my next flight.

Picture a tall skinny lady in pretty new Levis 505, running shoes, light blue Oxford shirt with the sleeves part way rolled up, short hair; standing still, at parade rest, with arms crossed. I stood there watching the United pre-boarding/ stand-by list. I thought of my lesson for the day, shut my eyes, and listened for the Voice for God. People are all around, carts are beeping, announcements are being made; yet I can hear the Voice for God. I hear because I don\’t use my ears or any part of me which thinks it is in the world. I listen with the part of my mind which continuously and eternally rests in Inner Peace.

Sometime later, as I stood at the bag claim in Kansas City, I realized how well cared for I was. I said thank you to the Inner Peace. Day by day, my dream of terror is replaced by a dream of peace. Day by day, I deny my ego and allow Inner Peace to run my life.

I got some groceries on the way home from the airport, did laundry, unpacked, various chores and then did a 2 hour workout on the ex-machines plus free weights. I finally figured out comfortable and invigorating ways to use the foam tube to give my quads, IT band and hammies a massage.

My intention in working out has disappeared. I don\’t know why I am doing it as I have no goal at the moment.

The bath towel I got at Fallsburg Marathon hangs quietly in the bathroom. The sweatshirt I got at Fallsburg has been washed so it doesn\’t lint on everything, and it is hanging quietly in the closet. The medal I got at Fallsburg hangs quietly on the bulletin board. I ordered some more shoes today. But I am not training for anything.

I am just a woman who works out. I\’ll do it again tomorrow; somehow, no big deal, just because.

A Pause for God

I ran a marathon on Saturday: Fallsburg. An ending.

I have known a lady for 25 years and tomorrow she moves away. An ending.

On July 27, 2010, the anniversary of becoming a Course in Miracles student, I felt intuitively that this coming year would be a year of peace. Which meant to me a year of quiet in my outer projection of the world (no major changes); and a year of identification with inner peace. Peace is quiet. Most humans cannot stand quiet. Humans are forever starting new projects and attempting new accomplishments; never realizing that these are distractions from God.

In my endings, I have to stop and say, \”there is only God.\”

But really, while my life appears quiet and empty to most, it is still another ripple on the Ocean of Peace. Say God again and rest again.

I contemplate the Ocean of Peace, which is God. I sit silently and gaze. You can turn off your thoughts if you want to enough.

Inner peace is more than not participating in worldly life, because we cannot totally avoid worldly life, because it is my projection to begin with. It is more a matter of realizing it is a project of my own thoughts, identifying and owning the thoughts (fear and hate), bringing them to Jesus for correction and learning to identify more with the Self than the world. The Self is the Son of God which we all are, which never left the quiet embrace of the Father.

I pause again and step into the quiet embrace.

My quads were quite beaten up by the trails of the marathon. It took Sunday and Monday to release the pain. By Tuesday I was running again. Today, I hope to run in a park on Lake Michigan. I\’ve also been doing ex-tube workouts in my hotel room. Tomorrow, I return home.

I am signed up for another 12 hour race in October; and I think I\’ll go in a 50k on 9/11. But now, I have to go to my job.

Fallsburg and Learning Christ Vision

A Reflection on a marathon based in my Course in Miracles studies.

Yesterday, running a marathon, I had in my mind, the lesson for the day(196), \”It can be but myself I crucify.\” For non-Course-students, this means I recognize the One Self, Son of God, as my savior within my brother and take all my attack thoughts to the light of that Christ, where they can be healed and I can go to heaven as one Self with my brother.

All day, I had chance encounters with others. Some might have been classified as annoying. Everytime I recognized my ego\’s annoyance, I denied it and returned my thoughts to the lesson for the day. My spiritual practice for the marathon was to keep returning to this thought and not allowing my mind to stay in the thought-attack-consciousness. The hot forest with various people in it was a great environment for spiritual practice. If you read the report from yesterday, you\’ll see that working spiritually is not all sweetness and floating in bliss.

So I take the day of practice and return to my hotel room. Evening comes on and I read today\’s lesson, \”It can be but my gratitude I earn.\” I also read the page of explanation which goes with the lesson. I realize that my attempt to move my thinking from attack to Christ was a small gift to my brother. Since my brother is myself, I gave to me. The One Self, Son of God, which we all are, is grateful; so it is my gratitude I receive. My gift, no matter how small is a genuine gift and received with gratitude by Self and also by God; because everything is given to God (Text 22.II). If I believe I gave and am grateful for my gift, I\’ll receive His gratitude. I value His gratitude.

You realize that instead of working on shifting my thoughts back to the thought for the day, I could have let my thoughts dwell on hating the other people.

Over and over, we think, \”but I can\’t stand these other people.\” The Course teaches that what I see as another person, another body, is really my own projection of my own ego thoughts, an illusion which hides the truth. The truth is that we are one Self, Son of God, and remain as God created that Self. The means to see another as not-a-body but as Christ is given through the Holy Spirit and called forgiveness, looking beyond, Christ vision. A miracle is a perception shift which allows us to see differently, to see Christ. We stop using the body\’s eyes and use Christ vision. The Holy Spirit teaches this to anyone who wants to learn.

This blog is my adventures in learning.