I\’ll keep it short and sweet. My quest is to find a different basis for the joy of living than the dopamine reward cycle.
I\’m certain that most people seek happiness in the ongoing pursuit of dopamine.
I\’m certain that true spiritual connection has nothing to do with dopamine.
So my quest is for truth.
The truth is within. It is not of this world. I want to identify with and have my being in truth, not the approval of the people in the world. If I seem depressed, it is just withdrawal symptoms as I seek freedom from addiction to dopamine.
My life has been so occupied with the move to Texas for about 2 months. All the hub-bub is over now. There was an army of people provided by my company which accomplished the task. I don\’t know why I am here at a deep level. I know that of the situation which existed at the time I decided, this was what I wanted. I like it here so far. I don\’t know if there is a deeper meaning for my spiritual or emotional growth. Now I am alone with my decision and my new life. Everything is quiet. The loneliness of the long distance runner and the solitude of the contemplative reign.
Little mentioned was my humiliating \”did not finish\” at a 50 mile race in October. The DNF caused me to totally realize I don\’t have the mind of an ultra runner. So there won\’t be any oohs or aahs over impossibly long races and physical hardship.
It seems like I would have already figured this out earlier, but I am not a religious woman. My monastic period is far in the past. As of this weekend, if I ever darken the doors of a Catholic church again, I won\’t know what to do. I don\’t qualify as a spiritual teacher. I am not a real monk or solitary. I haven\’t been enlightened. God has not spoken to me personally. I haven\’t figured out the origins of the human species, or even if we are in fact spiritual beings. I still stand for my inner yearning to know my Higher Self, to have vibrant conscious contact.
But I cannot leave A Course In Miracles behind. Despite its nonsensical origins, the material works for me in my daily life. I\’d even go so far as to say that quietly doing my daily practice is the only point of my life. If I ever satisfy my yearning for my Higher Self, I think it will be ACIM that paves the way.
If I truly set out for ego deflation at depth, then the purposeless emptiness of my life is successful.
Now I sit quietly in my nice duplex south of Houston. I am still a runner. I still run long distances. There will be another hurricane someday.
This week, my first full week as a Texas resident, I did pretty good with running: 51 miles. I moved into my new home on Thursday and got the exercise and strength equipment set up. On Saturday and Sunday, I was able to complete free weight and TRX workouts.
My daily spiritual workouts have continued unabated: early morning reading and meditation, evening lesson and meditation and reflection.
What I have been reflecting on are changes during the past 8 years since leaving the monastery. I mean inner changes. For several years, I had a drive to prove myself the spiritual equal of the sisters. So I was intense about my spiritual practices and I was intent on achieving enlightenment. I wanted enlightenment long before I went to the monastery. In fact, the whole cloister adventure was one of my attempts to be enlightened. But after leaving I was very intent on proving myself better than them at spiritual achievement.
Slowly however, over the past 4 years, maybe as a result of A Course in Miracles, I\’ve been having increased inner peace and less focus on enlightenment or any other spiritual credential. What I have to admit though is that true inner peace has no high emotional moments and inner peace is nothing to write home about. I\’m sort of at a rubber-meets-the-road with inner peace.
My journey is really an interior journey. Going further inward means more inner peace and less ego motivation. Do I really want to live without the kudos? Do I want the true joy of inner peace?
I\’m sure I can sense the presence of love all around me. I also generate the action of love in helping others as well as accepting their gifts to me. The journey home leads into eternal silence, wordless unimaginable to us average humans. Yet I find my self continuing to look there and continuing to want to go deeper.
Think of thoughts as particles of dirt swirling around in water. The water cannot be drank until the dirt settles. Inner peace comes with having a clear mind and it is the swirl of thoughts which prevents the peace. A person can sit very quietly in meditation and wait for the thoughts to settle down. This is like sitting by the side of a pond and waiting for the dirt to sink to the bottom. Another way is to move up stream to where the water is clear. Analogously, inner peace could also be achieved by moving to a quieter place in the world. Another way, a modern way, is to set up artificial pollution control devices which clear the immediate surroundings in order to provide clear water. In the thought analogy, I need a means to continuously filter and correct thoughts, or repel them, so that I have inner peace. The means that I use is inner reflection and intuition. I use the Course in Miracles to correct my thoughts.
I read the following in Paul Brunton this morning:
\”Who posses complete independence? Who has all the freedom he wants? Who is able to make his choices freely, unaffected by his circumstances, by social pressure, by events, or by heredity? The answer, of course, is no one. But to the extent that anyone learns to control his thoughts, to become master of himself, he begins to control his fate…..\”
I started off the day, wondering why I came to Texas. I had a list of questions related to why, which wondered if there was some purpose or deep meaning to this transfer.
Then I went for a totally awesome (if slow low impact speed) 20.2 mile run: 3 laps from Meador Park to Pine Gully Park, including the Red Bluff out and back on 2 of the laps. 3 gels, 60 oz of water.
I realized that it doesn\’t matter where I am. Saturday and Sunday are for endurance running. I am an athlete.
And otherwise: I continue my spiritual studies and meditations, go to work, try not to over eat, take care of normal stuff like bills etc.
I\’ve already begun meeting people who run in the same parks I ran in yesterday and today. I haven\’t yet decided on my favorite gas station for my post run Mentos gum, diet Coke and Ozarka water purchases. I\’m still pondering signing up for Cross Fit. I say all this because I see that people will filter into my life without me doing anything.
My game is spiritual growth. I do in fact change my attitudes and outlooks on life at I practice spirituality. Thats really all my life is: a series of daily spiritual exercises.
Here is part of my ACIM workbook lesson. It is so beautiful. To hear this beauty frequently is why I keep going back to ACIM.
\”Today we continue with the one idea which brings complete salvation; the one statement which makes all forms of temptation powerless; the one thought which renders the ego silent and entirely undone. You are as God created you. The sounds of this world are still, the sights of this world disappear, and all the thoughts that this world ever held are wiped away forever by this one idea….Nothing is required of you to reach this goal except to lay all idols and self-images aside; go past the list of attributes, both good and bad, you have ascribed to yourself; and wait in silent expectancy for the truth. God has Himself promised that it will be revealed to all who ask for it. You are asking now. You cannot fail because He cannot fail.\”
Here is where I went running today. In Seabrook, this gravel trail provides a nice 7 mile round trip; which is a convenient distance. Laps don\’t become too boring and you don\’t have to carry much water. First time I\’ve run in a place that had snake and alligator warning signs. I\’ll probably run here every weekend.
I ran past this place too:
I also got my car inspected and went to the post office to get the keys to my mail box. No line in either place. I am living in a temporary apartment. Hopefully the moving van will show up Tuesday. I went to work for the first time on Friday. I really needed to get my work computer. Anyone who works for my company knows how important it is to keep up to speed and how so much can only be accessed from a company computer (I\’m using my persona computer at the moment). My apartment has 2 TVs; which I haven\’t been watching. I can\’t bear the idea of a magnificent and majestic being spending its time watching drivel.
I spent this evening quietly. I was working on my Course in Miracles lesson. And drinking Ozarka water which tastes fabulous. The biggest spiritual challenge is to just sit and be quiet. I was \”praying\” for any person who came to mind by seeing the light and joy and peace abiding in them.
\”Thoughts create reality\” is something I heard decades ago for the first time. While Christian denominations don\’t teach this, many other philosophies do.
For the past 14 hours or so, I have been suffering a subtle worry, a nagging fear thought: what if someone breaks into my car during the night and steals my clothes? See, my valuable papers are here with me in the hotel, but I didn\’t unload my entire car. I kept hearing the nagging fear and I kept replacing it with my ACIM lesson for today: Let miracles replace all grievances. What I am studying in Brunton today has to do with Karma and how that works.
Grievances are the hateful fearful thoughts my ego mind continuously spews out. Miracles are expressions of love. You are a miracles. In letting miracles replace all grievances, I am seeing every person as the expression of love that they truly are. I am NOT allowing my ego to draw a veil of hate and fear in front of that truth. This practice holds for all people, known and unknown. Each one that I see as an expression of love walks with me to the real world where there are only expressions of love.
Allowing grievances unchecked in my mind produces bad luck, bad karma. Retribution is for the thoughts. Regardless of what actually happens, if my mind is full of unchecked fear, I am in hell already. As it is, I deny hell its place. I insist on heaven by insisting on miracle thinking.
So I had fear, miracles and karma on my plate; plus thoughts create reality. Was that fearful thought creating a car break-in and much anger or unhappiness or blame for me? Was the daily lesson correcting the thought?
I was resistant to walking down and looking at the car. But just now, I realized that my car was parked where I could see it from my window, if only I opened the curtain.
My car is untouched.
I said thank you to Whomever for the lesson. Its not that my material possessions are important but that I direct my thinking. Its not that I prevent my ego mind from spewing out hate and fear all day, but that I calmly answer it with a corrected thought. I get these corrected thoughts from my daily spiritual reading. Corrected thoughts are literally opening the curtain/veil of the ego\’s negative mentality and seeing the real world of miracles beyond.
I am in between lives. Physically, I am journeying from Kansas City to south Texas. In changing locations I am changing my physical world, including my body which is undergoing change as well.
My life is a dynamic life. I have lived 5 lifetimes so far: California where I was born; Kansas City pre-monastery; monastic life mainly cloistered; Atchison/Kansas City post-monastery; and now Texas.
Mental, emotional and spiritual change are required. A few last minute grievances attempt to attach themselves to me; but I am able to tell them \”No.\” My Course in Miracles lessons provide the framework for this. My lessons for the 3 day trip are distinctively focused on new ways of thinking.They are a distinctive shift from eliminating grievances to replacement with miracles.
It is difficult to shift. The ego mind resists. The ego mind says, \”What are God\’s laws and who would want those?\” or \”What is a miracle and who would want it?\” and \”You don\’t really believe you are making progress do you?\”
I sit in the car and watch other cars as I watch my thoughts. I answer with today\’s lesson. But mainly, I need do nothing. My future is being built of miracles as I continue to answer the ego with other thoughts.
I am a successful engineer. I am earning money for retirement. I am a long distance runner and fitness fanatic. But my main interest is my mental and spiritual fitness.
A few more hours on the road today. Dinner tonight with some e-friends; meeting ftf for the first time. And then, another day of driving to get to my new destination and new framework for spiritual growth. That\’s all anything is: a framework for spiritual growth. And, all frameworks are viewed by the viewers differently. But all frameworks are indeed chosen (at some level) by the viewer.
The point of ACIM Atonement is realizing that this world is a delusion, none of it really happened; hence you and everyone are innocent. Accepting Atonement for yourself means you believe this and hence live that way: seeing only the light of love and not shadows of darkness. Accepting Atonement and ACIM forgiveness are the same: overlooking the shadows and seeing only love.
God is love. Reality is love. Anything else does not exist.
My ACIM workbook lesson for today was about the topic of seeing the world forgiven: The light has come. I have forgiven the world.
Reading the lesson for the first time, it seemed like such pie-in-the-sky to believe I would see a world filled only with light starting today. But a series of thoughts brought me to the conclusion that I do believe I have accepted Atonement, even if I clearly saw for only a little bit. Having seen once, I can continue to re-produce the opening.
I was thinking about the plant manager whose plant I just left. I was thinking about the move to Texas. I was thinking about the myriad of negative thoughts I have all day long and how, since I seem unable to stop them, they would prevent me from ever forgiving the world (seeing it as light). But then, my ACIM teaching whispered to me:
- My negative thoughts are \”just\” temptation.
- And anyway, none of this \”really\” happened.
- I am not guilty.
These 3 thoughts, constitute my realization that I have accepted the Atonement for myself; and that I know it in my heart. These 3 thoughts, realized as beliefs, put a distance between me and my ego. I identify less with my ego. If I am not my ego, I can be innocent. Being innocent is the only way to be free. I must be free; that\’s the only way I\’ll be happy or go to Texas as a free person. I must go to Texas as a free person because I have more to learn. I can\’t learn if I continually hold my past against the present. The spiral of my learning must go higher.
As of this moment, I do have a bright future as a free innocent person.
Today was my last day at my job in Kansas City. I am not leaving my company, just transferring to another location, but it feels in many ways like I\’m going to a new job. the reactions of the people in Kansas City are that I am leaving, period.
Why is this a retreat? I have no plans to socialize for 3 days. I have a plan for spiritual work. It is not really new spiritual work, I do the same everyday; but since I am not at work, my attention is more focused. The retreat is made of the next 3 ACIM workbook lessons. They represent first a decompression (letting go), second a nurturing of new, and third an emergence.
- I will there be light (73)
- There is no will but God’s (74)
- The light has come (75)
And then on Monday, the movers come. I will arrive in Houston area on Wednesday. Three more days to work 3 more lessons.
The first step in spiritual progress for any given day or endeavor is to lay aside grievances: those ideas, opinions and thoughts which are thought attacks on other people,places, things and situations. The first lesson encourages intolerance of grievances and a turning to the inner light. The second step of spiritual progress is to turn to the light.
Tomorrow, besides laying aside my grievances, I\’ll go for a long run. Perfect.