Personal Multi-day 2011, day 1

I got up at 3 am and did my spiritual study of Brunton. Then started my running. First, in 3h25, I jogged 14.04 miles. Then a pit stop at my apartment. Then, another 3h46 of really slow jog and walk for 13.1 miles. Total of 27.11 miles in 7h11. All of this was on the hills of Riverside.
Training expands the physical capability. In my craw sticks a need to prove it is also viable spiritually.
I need to get beyond what is said by others, and find my own spirit.
The power behind getting out of bed and continuing the endeavor might be my main proof of spiritual involvement.
I just read last year’s July multi-day report. I am beyond where I was.
I am doing it my way. I am doing what I need to do.
It is now 4:20 pm and I am sure I’ll be able to walk tomorrow! I just walked in the 98F heat over to my mail box and back. So I know tomorrow will be ok, after more recovery and a warmup.
I am alone in my apartment so I can think about the Why? question.
I run a lot everyday. A high level of fitness enables racing; but it also enables a personal multi-day. Personal multi-days are the high point. They mean more to me than races. They are a unique melding of ego deflation, prayer, contemplation, mental inventory and rest.
In a way, the personal multi-day calls into question all of my spirituality. The private unofficial nature of a personal multi-day is a replica of my spiritual study and growth. My only official spiritual training could be considered retreats in the monastery where I spent several days with a true spiritual master. Outside of the monastery (the other 30 years of spiritual study) has been on my own. I have grown. My running has grown over the years too.
How humbling it is to complete a personal multi-day of 100 miles and not get a t-shirt. How humbling to have friends and colleagues react with scorn or misunderstanding. Feeling misunderstood is a constant source of growth for me. So in a way, the personal multi-day is an instigator of growth.
Completing a personal multi-day requires small decisions. Like today, my only goal was to make it out of bed when the alarm went off. No further goal was set; but I secretly knew, if I don’t get out of bed, it will be too hot to go outside and run. And then, for the second part of the run, the only goal was to go back outside and walk. No running required. After another 2.5 hours, I realized that I had to quit any sort of jogging and just walk, or there’d be no tomorrow. Knowing when to walk.period, is important.
My intention for each and every thing I do, each and every day, is the spiritual conversation, the task of knowing my soul. The personal multi-day is just a venue which I use. It’s not more important than the daily go-to-work spirituality; but it is different.

The Task – To Receive….

….the Gift. The Gift is Endurance. Endurance is my soul What other characteristic would be proper for a soul, which has existed since before Abraham was.

All it takes is getting out of bed at a properly early hour tomorrow. As a matter of fact, I\’m worried about that. Will I? Do I have the connection to the soul which will get me up?

How humiliating to realize I want to receive my soul\’s gift but may be unable to overcome my own sloth. And further, that I would justify my sloth; somehow saying that it was meant to be.

The only thing is to be silent. Still the thoughts. Wait. Drink the clear water as it flows from my heart. Love begotten; and in patience I run.

I sit in premonition. I ponder this prelude. I hope. I pray. I kneel. I bow my head. I realize I don\’t know God and don\’t have a clue and am powerless over the mish-mash of ego thoughts which are all I ever have.

Be Not Afraid…

….I go before you always.

Its a Christian hymn right? But to me, I think of the who-goes-before-me as my soul or inner self or Self.

This morning was beautifully cool with no thunder storms today. I had some extra time so I ran for 90 minutes and this song is what popped into my head. I am also thinking a great deal about my 5 day weekend. I have a personal multi-day planned. A big question is my character. Can I step up to the plate of self transcendence because I want to; even with out a formal race environment? Will the inner person get me out of bed?

It will be hot and sunny this weekend. Getting started early will matter. I have planned out what and how. Execution is whats left.

Execution powered from within is what many lack. Lack of execution apart from a group is the reason why St Benedict started monasteries. He said that most don\’t have the inner strength to do something on their own, but will do it in the safety of the group. And that is why monasteries follow rules: to ensure they execute their plan.

So Thursday morning, when the alarm goes off, that is my personal private starting line for self transcendence.

Be not afraid…..I will set you free (is how the refrain ends).

Dream of Endless Running

Running is freedom from ego bondage and the shaping of character. It enables being soul.

I don\’t take a day off running/exercise because it is a spiritual practice. It is training in non-decision; that is I already decided to pursue Spirit, so no more decisions are needed. It is being; that is, it is constant. It denies sloth and keeps the pattern of degenerative society at bay. It is a maintenance of solitude. It is a practice and prayer of eternity. My dream of endless running is eternal love.

It is Monday morning. I was up at 3:12. A line of ferocious thunder storms just passed over head. But, now, it is over and I can go out for a run. See you later.

Out of Pattern

Finally my own words to describe not only my life, but why I think its emotionally difficult. I live outside the pattern of normal society and so I feel friction all the time.

As far as being a woman: I don\’t use my body for sex. I work in a man\’s career with all men.

As far as religion: I\’ve struck out on my own.

As far as fitness: I\’m a freaking ultra-marathoner for gods sake.

As far as diet: not only vegetarian, but I have switched away from the traditional high carb diet.

As far as entertainment: I don\’t ever do it.

So really, no friends, no voting, no career ambitions, no family, no holidays, no alcohol or drugs, no TV, no lots of stuff.

I like me the way I am, but I feel friction for not-going-along. But I am rejoicing right now as I\’ve finally figured out what to call it. I\’m rejoicing because I understand the direction of my psyche. Being out of pattern is not something I can change. Its probably hardwired into my brain. I somply can\’t go be a normal person; that would cause worse emotions than the ones I feel for my differences.

What was said…

…while I ran and had to remember later.

This morning, I ran a one mile loop at a place called The Sanctuary. It is a tiny place of nature. I ran 21 miles; 1.5 hours in a gentle rain. Thunder boomed overhead, but it was not a serious storm and I decided to defy it and keep running. It is a magic thing, long distance running is. I maybe don\’t feel like I can run 5 hours at the start. I only think it. But, as the day wears on, it materializes one lap at a time. I just keep going.

Then, I was laying on the bed this afternoon, pondering my quest for my soul. The most wisdom I seem to have is: I don\’t know. There is no glory in it. When in doubt be silent and wait. At least I\’m not destroying myself by watching TV and eating cake. I wish….I ask….

At last, trying to resolve the inner issue, Nature repeats what it said this morning:
Lap after lap, I watched the turtle dig its way into the mud.
An egg fell from a nest in a tree.
The deer were nibbling grass, and then ran away.
The squirrel did not budge from the branch on which it was sitting.
An occasional flower and brilliant green trees and grass.
Lots of water in the water fall.
A pretty little blue bird.
The runner kept running.

From my position on my bed, I thought to myself, \”Doing nothing, being nothing, is a very difficult thing. Seeking my soul, I seem to achieve nothing.\”

And again, a soulful reply, \”only love could have wondered about the turtle, or been sad about the egg, or noticed how delicate the young deer was.\”

And so I know that all is within me and looks out from me. There is no other place for it to be. I am it and it is me. We are that consciousness and there is no other.



Of course I am totally aware of how frowned on austerity is. I\’ve been told how it is wrong to be hard on yourself. I\’ve been told how the austere life doesn\’t mean anything. I\’ve wondered myself if the desire is not an ego driven attempt to think I am more holy than everyone else.

But I am drawn to less. I can feel it deep in my guts. I don\’t want all the fanciness or excess or facade. I am making my stand. What I am getting at is the deep feeling in my guts: a need for the imperishable substance of my soul. Cookies and cake in the material world will not satisfy.

My weekly rolling mileage total is at 70.4 miles. Yesterday, I did something new: I ran around trees. That is, I found 5 trees in the parking lot next door which are fairly close together and in uneven grass. To run figure 8 loops around them is an exercise for the ankles and a little bit for muscles not directly on the front of my legs.

Here is a picture of me finishing my last race.

The Task – Decision….

…again resolved today: I will pursue the spiritual path to where ever it leads me. Being a spiritual athlete is true. I accept my path. Fitness is part of self transcendence and, hence, part of the spiritual path.

My waffling around of late has had more to do with work. Work is part of the path; but where is the line between spiritual work and ego work? Where do I make my stand? Where do I say, \”I am afraid of letting the bosses see I am not totally committed to this company,\” and must give time and energy to running and prayer. And so I face my fear: if I am not committed, will I get laid off?

And so I come to my soul with the fear, consciously. And so I let spirituality be the foundation and everything else is for spiritual growth. Material world losses can lead to spiritual growth as much as material world promotions. It all takes discernment: what is my soul saying to me? Surrender to my soul is what makes possible the idea that all is for spirituality.

And then I must return to my decision. I choose spirituality despite my ego\’s qualms and fears and attempts to seek security in the material world. No, I want spiritual connection more.

My weekly rolling mileage total is 63 miles. I went to see my LMT on Monday, so my legs feel great right now. New shoes also help. I am thinking about this weekend and the opportunity to run. I am thinking about my upcoming personal multi-day, which starts next Thursday for 5 days. My personal multi-days are also my personal self transcendence race. I am still working with The Zone diet and learning to plan meals which are exact ratios of protein/carb.

Check out the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence blog by Uptal:

The Task – of being and living

Yesterday I ran in a small half marathon road race. It was the first race this year that I have actually tried to race. I only decided to go in it on Thursday because my legs were feeling good and I wanted to do something different than my usual ultra training.

I ran very well: right at 2 hours. And second in my age group. I have a cool t-shirt and a nice medal. But really, I expended a ton of energy running at that speed. It cost me a pound or two. That disturbs me a bit as I don\’t really have it to lose.

This morning, I slept in, even though it meant doing any running in 90F heat with humidity. Then I had a leisurely coffee, breakfast and spiritual study.

During my sleeping in, I had my first dream I can remember that involved alcohol. That is, I was stuck in some place with some people I think were sisters. We decided to buy alot of alcohol and drink it because we were stuck in that place with nothing to do so it wouldn\’t matter if we got drunk. But, just before going out to buy anything, I said, \”Wait. I can\’t. I\’m an alcoholic.\” And this is true. But in the dream, alcohol was a symbol of alot of things of society which I refuse to do, but which is acceptable to others. I simply will-not-go-along-period.

 I\’ve just finished a new book by Meg Funk, something about depths. She is the Benedictine sister from Beechgrove Indiana who was responsible for getting me kicked out of my monastery. This book was in 3 parts: her live before Bolivia, her almost drowning in a river in Bolivia and her life after Bolivia where she tries to make sense of the spirituality from the drowning experience.

Suddenly this morning, I had a new take on my own monastic experience. I was born spiritually when I was 22 on a street in the city of Old Jerusalem. Then there was a long period of growth. Then there was my 4 year monastic experience; which I now see as losing my life. I mean ego deflation at depth and culminating in the ego\’s worst nightmare: loss of validation in all areas of my life.

As I came out of the monastery I had a choice: go be a normal secular person or continue on the spiritual path. I chose the later; but I did not know at the time what it\’s primary difficulty would be: continued denial of the ego. See, it is a solitary path without a physical teacher and no validation from any person or institution. It is totally an attempt to listen to my inner being and well, just be. Its been almost 8 years since I left the monastery and only now do I have a handle on the fact that My Soul alone rules in my life.

The vagueness of purpose totally bugs my ego; which is probably why I get confused at work and seek promotions. Also, being an athlete doesn\’t seem like a very important spiritual activity or life purpose. Even my own salvation, spiritual growth or purification seems a waste because there is no reward on the earthly plane.

The solitude in which I live is so easily criticized by my ego. A life of prayer and peace is not exciting or worthwhile for an ego. Given these complaints however, I don\’t take up a new activity. I merely sit in silence some more.

I face a blank wall, or a path into fog and darkness, or a corner I can\’t see around, or a door not opened.

Almost all my teaching says that to seek God alone is futile, egoistic or wrong. There is an occasional spiritual master who has a different story; but still, it is hazardous to live a self directed spiritual life. but yet here I am. I have searched many groups. I can fake belonging on a physical level but it is never genuine. God is here in my heart and I return again to the silence to commune.

I need to move forward. This involves continuing down the unknown purposeless path.

Today I did go out into the heat. I had no goal but to seek self transcendence in the act of walking out the door. I had a load of water and some protein bites. 4 hours and 42 minutes later, I had jog/walked 17.3 miles on the hills. I wore my desert hat and it totally helps to keep the sun off your neck. Even if I hadn\’t run a race yesterday, I don\’t think I could have gone faster today. the faster you go, the higher your core temperature. I would have had to have access to ice water, frequently, to go any faster. At the slow speed, there was a heat balance.