The Experience of God

Theophany! Take it and love it.

You know what a symphony is right? Or an epiphany? Well, lets say that a theophany is a symphony of God. I think I have these alot. They are quite subtle.

Last evening, I was beginning one of my ACIM workbook lessons which said: God is with me. I live and move in Him. Of course, that line is in the bible too. Nothing new. In reading the paragraph that goes with this, I believed. I felt my belief. It was an experience of God. \”…the food by which I am sustained…\”

I had just been to Super Target to buy groceries. It seemed lots of stuff was for sale, even in foods. Some shelves were bare, although the store was quite empty when I was there around the 6 pm hour. As I reflected on the lesson and the visit to Target, I believed that everything was solid love. That if God is love and knowing God is knowing an experience of love, Target seemed like an experience of love. And of course it was easy to expand the feeling of love to everything in my life both past and present.

As I lay in bed last evening, I had a new thought. I thought I could almost hear the celestial music. Now, that was a theophany as wonderful as Target.

Tomorrow\’s lesson: God is my life. I have no life but His.

Really. Let go.


The Yoke of God

There are people who decide to put their lives in service of religion, whether secular or monastic. As a result of taking up these responsibilities, they receive the approval of the religious community and the belief that God is also happy with them. As they carry out their religious role and responsibility, they also have engaged certain chemical functions in the brain called the dopamine reward cycle.

So the result of religion is a steady drip of dopamine which provides a sense of well being. Like any addict, the person will defend their religious practices to the death; maybe not even knowing that they are defending an addiction, not anything that really has to do with God.

Wait a second! What did I just say? \”…not anything that has to do with God?\”

Yep, either God is every where and equally FOR everyone no matter what, or God is a selfish angry bastard which I want nothing to do with. All religions think they are special to god. The bible describes the angry version of god. I studied the bible in various venues from Roman Catholic Seminary to atheist publications to scholars in Ivy League universities. I no longer believe it is 100% true or sacred. While beautiful and containing wisdom, there are plenty of other documents which are beautiful too.

It is very difficult to leave a belief system because you lose the dopamine reward it was providing. To do without the approval and the dopamine is very frightening and depressing. But, to think different thoughts than the main stream of people, you have to step out of the stream. It is difficult to dare to be different. It is difficult to brave the disapproval of the group.

If there is one monastic practice I\’ve kept strongly, it is renunciation of the world. But I live here, so I renounce by taking myself out of the mainstream. There are numerous ways to not-go-along with the group. When you add them up, it produces a different out look on life. To have different thoughts, you have to get away from the main stream thoughts.period.

I don\’t want my life to be one dopamine reward cycle after another. I don\’t want my God to be a function of dopamine. In not-going-along, I lose my dopamine rewards. So happiness and life satisfaction has to come some other way. God has to have some other basis for being.

I do study some spiritual material, but it is not an evangelical matter. I can\’t even explain it here. The text has to be studied and digested. It\’s thesis is not at all what is taught to most people.

Operation Jack 2011

Today I ran a half marathon. I paid $50 to enter a race that had no clock and not even an official course. But the RD said that from 25 people (or so) $1,500 had been raised for autism research.

For some reason, I think that is pretty phenomenal. I\’m happy about it.

Oh, I wore some wonderful new CWX tights. I cruised at easy pace for 13.25 miles (Garmin) in 2h27.xx min.

I am astounded that to drive just across town, in Houston, in 40+ miles and $3.00 in tolls.

I am full of energy and excited for ongoing physical fitness. Yes, I have a living room full of aerobic equipment and I otherwise run alot. I feel great. I feel happy. On 1/8, I\’m to go in a full marathon in a park that is supposed to have alligators. On 1/12, I turn 53. I just started a new job (same company), moved to Texas and bought a super NEW home.

I love my spiritual studies. If nothing else, they give me emotional stability.

Seasons Die

Don\’t know why this song popped into my head. I haven\’t been listening to the radio today. But it seems like a good song for me.

Goodbye my friend, it\’s hard to die,
when all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now that the spring is in the air.
Pretty girls are everywhere.
When you see them I\’ll be there.
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed
were just seasons out of time.

by Terry Jacks, source:

I have said goodbye to: both parents, UC Davis and the Aggie Running Club, California, Kansas City (twice), Clyde convent, Catholicism, Christianity, enlightenment, raw food, a horse and 2 cats, 3 homes and 5 apartments, 6 cars, at least 4 pairs of running shoes a year, friends too many to count but about 3 which stand out as special. Whatever female body I\’ve had for 52 years is changing into some other female body.

But all of these things are illusions. It is the content under the form that matters: pain hurt anger love joy happiness. And under these emotions which really don\’t matter either, there is a constant benign spiritual presence, a graciousness. This abstract presence could be what matters. I visit it as often as I can.

In 2011, I moved to Texas, got promoted at work and bought another home. I am sort of without identity here in Texas. Outside of work and the builder and the next door neighbor, I don\’t know anybody. Nobody knows me, not even the people at work. I have a theology and philosophy of life which I practice. I have many friends in my internet running community. I brought them to Texas. I also brought graciousness.

So far in 2011, I\’ve worked out 973 hours (includes running and other aerobics) and ran 3,162 miles; and I still have another week with several days off. In 2011, I ran 3 ultra-marathons, 2 marathons, 4 half-marathons (with one more tomorrow).

Goodbye 2011.

In 2012, I run a marathon the first week, turn 53 the second week; and get in better shape than I am now for the rest of the year. I\’m relying on the Vita-Mix blender for many green smoothies and the Versa Climber for a whole new meaning to aerobics.

My main success is spiritual identification. It is apparent to me that I have a consciousness higher than the ego consciousness and that I am becoming identified with that other level of being. Completion of this transformation is my ultimate success. Graciousness calls me.

Deck the Runner\’s Halls

Deck the body with pants compression
Fa la la la la, la la la
Tis the season for running obsession
Fa la la la la, la la la
Now we are so fast and furious
Fa la la la la, la la la
Troll the wind and rain that swirls.
Fa la la la la, la la la la
See the course laid out before us
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Throw your heart into the racing
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Follow me until the finish line
Fa la la la la, la la la la
While I spit and rocket snot
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Fast away the real runners pass me
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Hail the AG podium awaits me
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Sing we now to next years racing
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Heedless of PF we win the medals
Fa la la la la, la la la la
I\’m going in a race tomorrow. It looks to be cold and wet so the HOT new tights might be under rain pants. Oh well! Today, it is cloudy but not raining right at the moment; so out I go.

Unbelievable Incredible

Did you know that people actually think Christmas is real? That something must be done? That the holiday has any relationship to God or Jesus?

I don\’t do Christmas. I haven\’t for several years now. Do you have any idea how counter-cultural and radical it is to stop participating? Talk about bucking the system!

I do enjoy days off work. I\’ll take any excuse for that.

Today, I had an enlightening thought. If you seek to be nothing, and let go of all illusions, then you will achieve it. Blankness as a spiritual path is way off track for what we a taught to seek by most pop gurus.

Today, I ran around a park 19 times. The high-light was waving at the FedEx truck as it left my street. I ordered a fancy pair of running tights to wear in a race on Monday. A girl wants to look hot from time to time when she goes out. I\’m going to the famous Memorial Park in Houston; and I\’ll be a decked out for the occasion.

Now I think I\’ll go use my living room furniture: Versa Climber, Nordic Track, treadmill, stationary bike and elliptical.

Lesson 169 – Grace

\”By Grace I live. By Grace I am released.\”

\”….Oneness is simply the idea God is. And in His Being, He encompasses all things. No mind holds anything but Him. We say “God is,” and then we cease to speak, for in that knowledge words are meaningless…Grace is acceptance of the Love of God within a world of seeming hate and fear\”

and, Lesson 168: \”Your Grace is given me. I claim it now.\”

These are my prayers for the next 24 hours. One thing I truly like about my new duplex is the exercise equipment I have here. In private, I can shut my eyes while working out and think only of my prayers.

ACIM Christmas

In A Course in Miracles (ACIM), all reactions of people are either love or a call for love. Love is very rare because we are 99.9% of the time wrapped in anger, fear, doubt, etc. Little annoyances are anger as surely as huge blowups. There is no metaphysical difference. The response of the ACIM students is to practice \”Christ Vision.\” Christ is not Jesus-as-we-know-him-in-Christianity, or the Bible. Christ is the truth of your being which is devine, the Son of God, a thought of God, and idea of God. As such, Christ is totally different than the ordinary consciousness which we use to exist in this world. It is beyond. Christ vision looks beyond the apparent body to the Christ in that other person. Seeing Chirst, all is quiet and utterly at peace; no matter what seems to be going on in the illusion we think is the world.

So, my epiphany last night and today was to give my annoyance with Christmas to God. And coincedently, I read the below quoted material in the ACIM text this morning. It gives me a peaceful framework with which to attend the Son of God in others for the next few days.

Christmas, with all its annoyances people talk about, it a radical call for love. To give love, it is only necessary to look with the eyes of Christ and see beyond this world of illusion to the truth of God.

The body is hardened fear.

There is one life and that I share with God.

I am entrusted with the gifts of God. That is, I have been taught Christ Vision. So I just have to use it.

Today, I am totally at peace. I ran 3 miles in the pouring rain. Then I finished off the workout with 20 min on the elliptical. I passed 2 accidents on the way to work. I have a green smoothie for breakfast. I am going to lunch with my female professional colleagues.

The ACIM text is the most beautiful prose I can imagine. Having studied it for 4.5 years and read it 6 times, I can say it is a deep treasure trove which can be mined for life. Everyday I receive a gift of God\’s presence.

From ACIM Text 15.X:

\”…This is the season when you would celebrate my birth into the world. Yet you know not how to do it. Let the Holy Spirit teach you, and let me celebrate your birth through Him. The only gift I can accept of you is the gift I gave to you. Release me as I choose your own release. The time of Christ we celebrate together, for it has no meaning if we are apart.

The holy instant is truly the time of Christ. For in this liberating instant no guilt is laid upon the Son of God, and his unlimited power is thus restored to him. What other gift can you offer me, when only this I choose to offer you? And to see me is to see me in everyone, and offer everyone the gift you offer me. I am as incapable of receiving sacrifice as God is, and every sacrifice you ask of yourself you ask of me. Learn now that sacrifice of any kind is nothing but a limitation imposed on giving. And by this limitation you have limited acceptance of the gift I offer you.

We who are one cannot give separately. When you are willing to accept our relationship as real, guilt will hold no attraction for you. For in our union you will accept all of our brothers. The gift of union is the only gift that I was born to give. Give it to me, that you may have it. The time of Christ is the time appointed for the gift of freedom, offered to everyone. And by your acceptance of it, you offer it to everyone.

It is in your power to make this season holy, for it is in your power to make the time of Christ be now. It is possible to do this all at once because there is but one shift in perception that is necessary, for you made but one mistake. It seems like many, but it is all the same. For though the ego takes many forms, it is always the same idea. What is not love is always fear, and nothing else.\”

15.IX: \”…The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognizing that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there. Love must be total to give Him welcome, for the Presence of holiness creates the holiness that surrounds it. No fear can touch the Host Who cradles God in the time of Christ, for the Host is as holy as the Perfect Innocence which He protects, and Whose power protects Him.

This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice there love must be…\”

Monk In the World

OK, I acknowledge that I have wanted to know God for 35 years of so. Yes, my ego wants to know God to prove it is better than everyone else. Yes, I hope my spirituality can provide an escape from the world of fear. BUT, underneath the negative pressure there is still the honest desire of pure innocence in me which seeks its creator.

Yes I have a career and a household; and I work-out a lot. But my motivation, my foundation, is \”seeking God.\” The divine presence is the foundation. The spiritual content of daily life, working and running, is what\’s of interest.

I am a monk-in-the-world and I can\’t escape this ontology. I am a monk because my attention is always on the spiritual content. This focus makes my life a prayer; and so I am a monk.