Blue Springs 50/50 – Prelude

Pre-race Saturday. Weight is 131.9. After 4 days off, the achilles feels good. Today I will run.

This morning, I read this from the Manual for Teachers (14):

“The father of illusions is the belief that they have a purpose; that they serve a need or gratify a want. Perceived as purposeless, they are no longer seen… The world will end when its thought system has been completely reversed… What, then, is the function of the teacher of God in this concluding lesson? He need merely learn how to approach it; to be willing to go in its direction. He need merely trust that, if God’s Voice tells him it is a lesson he can learn, he can learn it… And now sit down in true humility, and realize that all God would have you do you can do.”

Everything in my life is a lesson from A Course in Miracles, a work in spiritual growth, a learning in love and a remembrance of God.

Hence:
Everything is an exercise in reversing the world’s thought system.
Everything is two sided: denying the ego and remembering I am as God created me.

And so I attempt to go in a running race realizing it is purposeless except insofar as it reduces ego and builds awareness of love. I decide to allow a 50 mile race to be useless, meaningless, and purposeless; except for its learning goal.

I run 27 miles or 6+ hours in training; but I admit that I wouldn’t take the time to go 50 miles by myself. I need the race environment to hold me steady. No matter how low keyed and easy this race is, it is still a race and will serve the purpose. It will provide a venue where I will try to finish. I want to go beyond where I normally would.

My spiritual thought for tomorrow is: “The peace of God envelopes me today. And I forget all things except His love.”

This 50 mile race is a race; but it is also antithetical to racing. Hence it participates in reversing the world’s thought system. People go in races for achievement, moments of glory, awards, recognition, qualification, bragging rights. For me, as I find myself at the back of the pack and alone in the early morning darkness within 30 seconds of the start of the race, I can’t at all worry about beating anyone, winning an age group or achieving a time. All I can do is try to keep going. My goal is the emotional experience that happens after 30 miles. God will be my Companion, Crew and Pacer.

And at the end of the race, the 75 year old comical race director, wearing his Uncle Sam top hat, will give me a piece of plaster board cut into the shape of a turtle. It will have a paper label saying how far I went. I’ll put it around my neck, get in the car and go home.

Meaning is decided…

…because I am a mind, and this world is an illusion of the mind.

The concept of a wasted life has been my ethos for a few years. This concept is the heart of quitting the manufacture of meaning and accepting the truth of the meaninglessness of the world. Proof of meaninglessness is revealed when we realize everyone has their own meanings. Therefore it cannot be truth because we would all agree on truth.

If you quit \”getting a life\” and dismantle any life you seem to have, and de-construct all the beliefs that went with it, THEN you are left only with life itself. Pure and innocent, you exist in peace. Peace is all you see because you have stopped believing in anything else, so you don\’t see it.

In this condition of non-possession, some voice says, \”I am,\” but the voice needn\’t be your individual voice or a separate God Voice. Having let go of all else, being simply life and nothing more or less, the voice of \”I am\” is not separate from me.Whether I said \”I am\” or I heard \”I am\” is an undifferentiated event. As I realize the lack of separation, I know I am with God, in God, God\’s thought, God\’s love, God\’s Son.

And, as solely life, I can accept the punch line of A Course in Miracles: \”God\’s Son is guiltless and sin does not exist.\”

And this leaves the human with nothing in this world and a lack of perception of what was previously thought to be real. And a world which is only love appears, know as true, chosen and wanted. And peace abides as long as I grasp not anything but only listen to \”I am\” ringing with purity and innocence throughout the mind of God\’s Son.
From the Manual for Teachers.

Yet it is surely the mind that judges what the eyes behold. It is the mind that interprets the eyes’ messages and gives them “meaning.” And this meaning does not exist in the world outside at all. What is seen as “reality” is simply what the mind prefers. Its hierarchy of values is projected outward, and it sends the body’s eyes to find it.

It is in the sorting out and categorizing activities of the mind that errors in perception enter. And it is here correction must be made. The mind classifies what the body’s eyes bring to it according to its preconceived values, judging where each sense datum fits best. What basis could be faultier than this?… His mind has categorized them all as real, and so they are all real to him. When he realizes they are all illusions they will disappear.

The body’s eyes will continue to see differences. But the mind that has let itself be healed will no longer acknowledge them.

The Story of Spiritual Development

Today is my second day of complete rest from exercise and running. I am in a period of quiet before my 50 mile run on Sunday. I need to heal. The training was completed but not without its little stresses and strains. Now, I rest before stepping up.

My lessons for today are two: \”Now let a new perception come to me.\” and \”I seek a future different than the past.\”

Yesterday I finished my 5th reading of the text for A Course in Miracles. Today I started the Manual for Teachers. Below is an interesting description of the steps of spiritual development. I think these would follow any spiritual development in any religious tradition. They go along with what Jesus says in the Bible, \”You must lose your life to save it,\” and \”leave everything and follow me,\” etc.

For me, I seem to spiral along these steps. They seem to over lap. I revisit each idea at a deeper level. But I know I have not yet reached the final peace of Heaven.

Losing my interest in running achievement is a step in losing the valueless. I\’ve had to do the same with religion, career, position in society, food, family, property, possessions, money (especially retirement plans and health care); every area of life which people value, I\’ve had to question myself on its value in the spiritual world. And this is for the sake of learning to love the innocent Christ within, for the sake of knowing the Power within me but not of me.

After all these years of spiritual focus and daily attempts at contemplation, I am still coming to understand and trust the Power. I still need to learn of It as a Friend who is really there and reliable and in fact the only thing of value I have.

Manual for Teachers 4.I.A: Development of Trust

(excerpts, not the full explanation)

First, they must go through what might be called “a period of undoing.” This need not be painful, but it usually is so experienced. It seems as if things are being taken away, and it is rarely understood initially that their lack of value is merely being recognized. How can lack of value be perceived unless the perceiver is in a position where he must see things in a different light?

Next, the teacher of God must go through “a period of sorting out.” This is always somewhat difficult because, having learned that the changes in his life are always helpful, he must now decide all things on the basis of whether they increase the helpfulness or hamper it.

The third stage through which the teacher of God must go can be called “a period of relinquishment.” If this is interpreted as giving up the desirable, it will engender enormous conflict. Few teachers of God escape this distress entirely.

Now comes “a period of settling down.” This is a quiet time, in which the teacher of God rests a while in reasonable peace. Now he consolidates his learning. Now he begins to see the transfer value of what he has learned. Its potential is literally staggering, and the teacher of God is now at the point in his progress at which he sees in it his whole way out. “Give up what you do not want, and keep what you do.”

The next stage is indeed “a period of unsettling.” Now must the teacher of God understand that he did not really know what was valuable and what was valueless. All that he really learned so far was that he did not want the valueless, and that he did want the valuable. Yet his own sorting out was meaningless in teaching him the difference. The idea of sacrifice, so central to his own thought system, had made it impossible for him to judge. He thought he learned willingness, but now he sees that he does not know what the willingness is for. And now he must attain a state that may remain impossible to reach for a long, long time. He must learn to lay all judgment aside, and ask only what he really wants in every circumstance.

And finally, there is “a period of achievement.” It is here that learning is consolidated. Now what was seen as merely shadows before become solid gains, to be counted on in all “emergencies” as well as tranquil times. Indeed, the tranquility is their result; the outcome of honest learning, consistency of thought and full transfer. This is the stage of real peace, for here is Heaven’s state fully reflected. From here, the way to Heaven is open and easy. In fact, it is here.

Self Concepts and the Way Out

It’s worth it to me to lay out the steps of how a worldly self concept is developed and how to get out of it (ACIM text 31.V – VII). Here is my idea of the punch line: The Holy Spirit can give me the means to see only love in my brother (ACIM forgiveness). Doing this, I am released from a world of pain and suffering along with my brother. We both live in a world of love, as God created it and us. To accept the means and Aid given by the Holy Spirit, I must be willing to release my worldly self concept.

In my 51 years of thinking I am in this world, I have been through a number of self concepts: child of an alcoholic, honors engineering student, struggle for a career, recovering alcoholic, motorcyclist, nun, long distance runner (marathoner, ultra-marathoner). Now, having been somewhat of a recluse for almost a year, I am letting go of my past concepts and being more of a nobody. I continue to study and learn from the Holy Spirit, going out each day to learn forgiveness, practice love and bring my hate to the Holy Spirit that it may be healed.

The world tells me to “get a life;” and then criticizes whatever life I got. I see that every self concept I could choose ends up in this painful state. The thing I have decided now is a type of transformation: seeing things differently. Most importantly: seeing the love behind everything and realizing all else does not exist. God is love, therefore only love exists.

Everything that follows is excerpts from the ACIM text (underlines mine).

The building of a concept of the self is what the learning of the world is for. This is its purpose; that you come without a self, and make one as you go along. And by the time you reach “maturity” you have perfected it, to meet the world on equal terms, at one with its demands… A concept of the self is made by you. It bears no likeness to yourself at all. It is an idol, made to take the place of your reality as Son of God.

The lesson teaches this: “I am the thing you made of me, and as you look on me, you stand condemned because of what I am.”; On this conception of the self the world smiles with approval, for it guarantees the pathways of the world are safely kept, and those who walk on them will not escape…Here is the central lesson that ensures your brother is condemned eternally. For what you are has now become his sin. For this is no forgiveness possible. No longer does it matter what he does, for your accusing finger points to him, unwavering and deadly in its aim. It points to you as well, but this is kept still deeper in the mists below the face of innocence

Concepts are learned. They are not natural. Apart from learning they do not exist. They are not given, so they must be made. Not one of them is true, and many come from feverish imaginations, hot with hatred and distortions born of fear. What is a concept but a thought to which its maker gives a meaning of his own? Concepts maintain the world. But they can not be used to demonstrate the world is real.

Now must the Holy Spirit find a way to help you see this concept of the self must be undone, if any peace of mind is to be given you.

The concept of the self has always been the great preoccupation of the world. And everyone believes that he must find the answer to the riddle of himself. Salvation can be seen as nothing more than the escape from concepts. It does not concern itself with content of the mind, but with the simple statement that it thinks. And what can think has choice, and can be shown that different thoughts have different consequence.

Seek not your Self in symbols (idols).

The world can teach no images of you unless you want to learn them. There will come a time when images have all gone by, and you will see you know not what you are. It is to this unsealed and open mind that truth returns, unhindered and unbound. Where concepts of the self have been laid by is truth revealed exactly as it is. When every concept has been raised to doubt and question, and been recognized as made on no assumptions that would stand the light, then is the truth left free to enter in its sanctuary, clean and free of guilt.

You see the flesh or recognize the spirit.

By focusing upon the good in him, the body grows decreasingly persistent in your sight, and will at length be seen as little more than just a shadow circling round the good. And this will be your concept of yourself, when you have reached the world beyond the sight your eyes alone can offer you to see. For you will not interpret what you see without the Aid That God has given you. And in His sight there is another world. (VII)

Don\’t Choose the World

Today I am in Kansas City instead of Oklahoma City. I plan to go for a two hour walk instead of a 24 hour run. My lesson for the day: “I love you Father and I love Your Son.” What better way to spend a day but in prayer, achieving nothing in this world but walking with Christ.

(Quoted parts from ACIM text 31.IV)

“The roads this world can offer seem to be quite large in number, but the time must come when everyone begins to see how like they are to one another. Men have died on seeing this, because they saw no way except the pathways offered by the world. And learning they led nowhere, lost their hope. And yet this was the time they could have learned their greatest lesson. All must reach this point, and go beyond it.”

Sin. Guilt. Pain. Death. And in exactly this order does the world accuse us and condemn us.
Metaphysical choices, not material world choices.
Spiritual help, not material world help.
Forgive yourself your madness: thinking the answer to pain and death are in this world.
Journey within. Seek Christ. Choose your brother is your Self; beyond the physical world illusion you made.

Coose the non-existance of sin as your reality. You cannot be a sinner because you exist in God and always have. The world of sin is an illusion made by the tiny mad idea that wanted to be special to God, but God would not grant specialness because He is Love, so the tiny mad idea made a bad dream of anger and fear of God. Your true reality is: you are a Thought of love in the Mind of Love.

“He has not left His Thoughts (us)! But you forgot His Presence and remembered not His Love. No pathway in the world can lead to Him, nor any worldly goal be one with His…. In unity with Him do they (his Thoughts, us) abide, and in their oneness both are kept complete. There is no road that leads away from Him.”

There is no hope of happiness in the world. The hope of happiness lies in Christ, who is beyond the physical, but seen by anyone who chooses to let the Holy Spirit see for him. Seeing Christ, you need not accomplish one more thing in this world: no more trinkets and baubles, cookies and cake, war, drugs or sex, entertainment, struggle to win of any sort.

I win! I am nothing and nobody in this world. I exist in God and so do you. You win too! Christ is our reality.

Walking with Christ

This morning I was reading the chapter called Walking With Christ in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) text (31.II).

\”…you have come with but one purpose; that you learn you love your brother with a brother\’s love…\”

To agree with something a guy named Robert said, I say (based on the quote) that A Course in Miracles is a course in love. It is a different way of looking at love than is found in the ego\’s world of illusion. This love has no pain, fear, disappointment, compromise, hate, sacrifice, etc. Most of us do not know what this love is, but we do experience it in small un-noticed ways.

One of the main points of ACIM is that what I think I see is an illusion, part of an ego dream which was thought up by the ego and now exists for me as a dream world of fear and pain. My brother is not exactly the body I see, but the Christ beyond the body; and the Christ in him is the Christ in me. We are one in this Christ Self. So, knowing the oneness, I don\’t need to be afraid.

But obviously, I still have fearful and hateful thoughts about these people around me. And everytime I approach this topic of loving my borther, I become filled with hate. This feeling of hate, I define for myself, as an attempt of my ego to keep me from realizing I am one with my brother and that what I see is an illusion. If I look beyond, I will see Christ and fall down at his feet in gratitude, love and salvation. At that point, the world is over and I live in a reality of love.

When I find myself in the quiet early morning, attempting to be spiritual, but really thinking about someone at work and how much I hate them, I ask Christ for help and attempt to have a holy instant. And you know what? No matter how real those hateful feelings are, this is what happens:

\”Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want, and that were never true.\” (31.II still)

Then, I need to get on with my day; but I find that I forget all about the hate. Later, as I encounter whoever I was hating, I don\’t remember it at all. I find that I treat that other person with respect and try to be helpful. No matter what seems to be going on in my head, I find I behave well.

Thoughts, however, are real and they are shared in our one mind. Am I guilty because I had the thoughts? No, because this world and my body is still a part of the illusion. The hate serves to keep the bad dream going. The hate is not known in heaven or the part of my one mind that exists still in God. The thing is, I want the dream to be over, so I keep going through this process of bringing all my difficult thoughts to the holy instant and coming away without them.

It is difficult, but crucial, to learn that what my ego thinks is not true, ever, period. Learning this lesson and getting beyond my ego is the most loving thing I can do. Doing it is a miracle.

Self Consciousness

This week: 18.75 hours of aerobic type exercise (of which 11.75 hours were running). 4 strength workouts. Yesterday, my long run was 21.6 miles of 9x1s on the flat. Today was 3h45 on trails.

Overall, my attitude is good. I continue to have no racing goals (although I keep toying with going in a quiet race on 10/31). The New Balance were comfortable for a long run yesterday, so I guess I\’ll stop using the Mizuno Wave Creation 11s. (crap).

I keep asking myself, why do I do this? And I don\’t really have a rational answer. Saying I want to isn\’t really an answer. But since I don\’t really know why I am alive at all, why should I know why I run? But I am sure that the future will bring the answer.

My long runs continue to be hours of answering my negative ego with a spiritual message. I do this continuously, not allowing my head to be wrapped up in worldly issues while I workout. This is a blessing as it carries over into my daily life. It is mind training for extended periods which I couldn\’t do for that long just sitting on a cushion.

On Saturdays and Sundays, after my morning run, shower and eating, I meditate. I sit still and keep my mind still. I am hoping for a thought which comes from the inside. I think I sense the Consciousness of Self. Self is silent. When I remember to attend to Self, I never want to stop.

The First Answer to All Prayer…

….is silence.

Silence is the best, most loving and most respectful answer that God could give to His beloved creations.

Most of us fear silence and make crap out of it. Just think of how your doubts and false stories rise to the surface when you are \”confronted\” with silence. Silence is not loneliness, abandonment or contempt. Silence is not of this world. Silence is not a game or a co-dependent dance. Silence has no attachments. Silence can not be dis-illusioning.

Silence is an embrace. Silence is connection, communication and the deepest heart to heart intimacy. Silence has no barriers and is always naked. Silence does not lie and hides nothing.

I sit quietly in silence. I sit quietly with silence. My prayer is silent.

Silence is love. God is love. I am love.