Living ACIM

What do you do after you finish A Course in Miracles? How do you handle the seeming continuance of the world of illusion?

In my case, I read the text again because it is a gold mine of inspiration. I do the workbook again because I see myself learn and grow.

Here is the final lesson of the workbook.

EPILOGUE
1 This course is a beginning, not an end. Your Friend goes with you. You are not alone. No one who calls on Him can call in vain. Whatever troubles you. be certain that He has the answer, and will gladly give it to you, if you simply turn to Him and ask it of Him. He will not withhold all answers that you need for anything that seems to trouble you. He knows the way to solve all problems, and resolve all doubts. His certainty is yours. You need but ask it of Him, and it will be given you.
2 You are as certain of arriving home as is the pathway of the sun laid down before it rises, after it has set, and in the half-lit hours in between. Indeed, your pathway is more certain still. For it can not be possible to change the course of those whom God has called to Him. Therefore obey your will, and follow Him Whom you accepted as your voice, to speak of what you really want and really need. His is the Voice for God and also yours. And thus He speaks of freedom and of truth.
3 No more specific lessons are assigned, for there is no more need of them. Henceforth, hear but the Voice for God and for your Self when you retire from the world, to seek reality instead. He will direct your efforts, telling you exactly what to do, how to direct your mind, and when to come to Him in silence, asking for His sure direction and His certain Word. His is the Word that God has given you. His is the Word you chose to be your own.
4 And now I place you in His hands, to be His faithful followers, with Him as Guide through every difficulty and all pain that you may think is real. Nor will He give you pleasures that will pass away, for He gives only the eternal and the good. Let Him prepare you further. He has earned your trust by speaking daily to you of your Father and your brother and your Self. He will continue. Now you walk with Him, as certain as is He of where you go; as sure as He of how you should proceed; as confident as He is of the goal, and of your safe arrival in the end.
5 The end is certain, and the means as well. To this we say “Amen”; You will be told exactly what God wills for you each time there is a choice to make. And He will speak for God and for your Self, thus making sure that hell will claim you not, and that each choice you make brings Heaven nearer to your reach. And so we walk with Him from this time on, and turn to Him for guidance and for peace and sure direction. Joy attends our way. For we go homeward to an open door which God has held unclosed to welcome us.
6 We trust our ways to Him and say “Amen”; In peace we will continue in His way, and trust all things to Him. In confidence we wait His answers, as we ask His Will in everything we do. He loves God’s Son as we would love him. And He teaches us how to behold him through His eyes, and love him as He does. You do not walk alone. God’s angels hover near and all about. His Love surrounds you, and of this be sure; that I will never leave you comfortless.

Lesson 339

Father, this is Your day. It is a day in which I would do nothing by myself, but hear Your Voice in everything I do; requesting only what You offer me, accepting only Thoughts You share with me.

The italics is the prayer. the lesson is: \”I will receive whatever I request.\”

So what I really want to request is not of this world. My prayers do not relate to receiving in this world; but to full communication with my Father. And I do not judge what happens because I always use my ego to judge, not Spirit, my true Identity.

It is a wonderful notion to go about the world with nothing but my Father\’s loving Thoughts in my mind. And hearing only His voice. What a great gift.

Forgiveness

In A Course in Miracles, forgiveness means: it never happened. See, this world is a dream, an illusion. So nothing we think happened really did happen.

It means my true existence is in the peace of God. So there is no need to react to anything which my ego seems upset about.

Every day, someone steps on my toes, or I step on theirs. Daily I feel my ego flare up in anger and fear. But really, if I remember ACIM forgiveness, I am able to quickly let it go. It never happened. When I feel in my heart a true belief that I let it go, I feel totally free.

Why would I want to spend a life time, 80 or more years, gathering annoyances, beliefs that other people did me wrong?

Today was another beautiful Texas day. I went in a 10 mile trail race.

I ran really well, finishing in 1h51 min.

Here\’s a picture of my growing shrine to myself:

The Core of Happiness

Last night as I was riding my Nordic Track, I felt so happy to be one of the few people who get up off their butt and go do something. See, eating peanut butter out of the jar and laying on the bed are options. I certainly could rationalize laying about.

But there is this inner core, this something else, which wants a life of activity, health, fitness. As I exercise, I feel happy. Maybe its just the endorphins. Ok, I\’ll take them.

I ponder the feeling. I know that my efforts to stay in shape are a symptom of my choice for happiness. I used to get pissed off when people said happiness was a choice. Years later, and after being A Course in Miracles student for awhile, I find that I can choose happiness. I can choose the Voice for God. I can choose that inner something as what I identify with, and not my negative troubled ego self.

I don\’t think the God connection is hard wired. I think it is something you can make if you divert your attention to it.

One of my phrases for today is: \”Father my freedom is in You alone.\” This thought helps me surrender the illusion of the world and return to God as my reality.

Outcome Based Spirituality

Let me face it: I want something from God.

This realization became so clear last night. I was meditating on light and the thought struck me: can I be here without any requests, for no purpose? I immediately wanted to do this one thing, meditate, without a demand on the universe. And I can, right after I realize I need to stop demanding and just sit in the light.

It feels very good to drop the demands of God. God is the one thing I should want to relate to without asking for anything; cuz in His presence, I have everything.

Chapter 21.II

What a difference. Then (1/8/2011):

And now (1/8/2012):

I felt totally alive this morning. I know this because of the sensitivity; the feeling of one drop of sweat run down the side of your face or down your chest under your bra and around the side of your breast.

When I moved to Texas, I knew I would increase my cross training; so cross training is success, not failure to run. I had a wonderful hard weekend of running. Not surprising that cross training was the better choice for today. I had a 2 hour fast run yesterday afternoon.

See, that first picture is from 1/8/2011. I had spent 7+ hours on a frigid January night (until 2 am) running around a 5k loop until I completed a 50k. The second picture is from 1/8/2012, where I ran a half marathon in Texas and got 2nd place in my age group.

The difference is that the first picture was suffering and the second was joy. But I didn\’t know I was suffering and being hard on myself. I thought I was being amazingly tough and admirable. Really? For what? Well, I didn\’t know what joy is. It really wasn\’t all that fun to spend all night in frozen darkness. But, I spun the story so it sounded heroic.

I have faith in ACIM. ACIM is a different teaching than anything in the denominational realm of religion. So, learning new concepts seems to take time. And I often wonder if I really have accepted Christ vision or decided for God. But I must have made the decision and have faith in the decision, or I wouldn\’t persist in studying something on my own for so many years.

The faith must be fed by a real presence of The Voice for God and Self; or it wouldn\’t be sustainable. An ego would never sustain the study by itself.

The following is quoted from A Course in Miracles Text 21.II, with bold added by me.

2 This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.

3 It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you. This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gives to you to give yourself. For by this gift is given you the power to release your saviour, that he may give salvation unto you.

4 Begrudge not then this little offering. Withhold it, and you keep the world as now you see it. Give it away, and everything you see goes with it. Never was so much given for so little. In the holy instant is this exchange effected and maintained. Here is the world you do not want brought to the one you do. And here the one you do is given you because you want it. Yet for this, the power of your wanting must first be recognized. You must accept its strength, and not its weakness. You must perceive that what is strong enough to make a world can let it go, and can accept correction if it is willing to see that it was wrong.

5 The world you see is but the idle witness that you were right. This witness is insane. You trained it in its testimony, and as it gave it back to you, you listened and convinced yourself that what it saw was true. You did this to yourself. See only this, and you will also see how circular the reasoning on which your “seeing” rests. This was not given you. This was your gift to you and to your brother. Be willing, then, to have it taken from him and be replaced with truth. And as you look upon the change in him, it will be given you to see it in yourself.

6 Perhaps you do not see the need for you to give this little offering. Look closer, then, at what it is. And, very simply, see in it the whole exchange of separation for salvation. All that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things could happen to the Son of God without his will; and thus without the Will of his Creator, Whose Will cannot be separate from his own. This is the Son of God’s replacement for his will, a mad revolt against what must forever be. This is the statement that he has the power to make God powerless and so to take it for himself, and leave himself without what God has willed for him. This is the mad idea you have enshrined upon your altars, and which you worship. And anything that threatens this seems to attack your faith, for here is it invested. Think not that you are faithless, for your belief and trust in this is strong indeed.

7 The Holy Spirit can give you faith in holiness and vision to see it easily enough. But you have not left open and unoccupied the altar where the gifts belong. Where they should be, you have set up your idols to something else. This other “will,” which seems to tell you what must happen, you give reality. And what would show you otherwise, must therefore seem unreal. All that is asked of you is to make room for truth. You are not asked to make or do what lies beyond your understanding. All you are asked to do is let it in; only to stop your interference with what will happen of itself; simply to recognize again the presence of what you thought you gave away.

8 Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see. The holy instant is not an instant of creation, but of recognition. For recognition comes of vision and suspended judgement. Then only it is possible to look within and see what must be there, plainly in sight, and wholly independent of inference and judgement. Undoing is not your task, but it is up to you to welcome it or not. Faith and desire go hand in hand, for everyone believes in what he wants.

9 We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem real and possible. Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.

10 When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes inevitable. The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect, and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes. Earlier, we spoke of your desire to create your own Creator, and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire. The Son is the effect, whose Cause he would deny. And so he seems to be the cause, producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both.

11 It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see, as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake. Nothing created not by your Creator has any influence over you. And if you think what you have made can tell you what you see and feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are denying your Creator and believing that you made yourself. For if you think the world you made has power to make you what it wills, you are confusing Son and Father; effect and Source.

12 The Son’s creations are like his Father’s. Yet in creating them the Son does not delude himself that he is independent of his Source. His union with It is the Source of his creating. Apart from this he has no power to create, and what he makes is meaningless. It changes nothing in creation, depends entirely upon the madness of its maker, and cannot serve to justify the madness. Your brother thinks he made the world with you. Thus he denies creation. With you, he thinks the world he made, made him. Thus he denies he made it.

13 Yet the truth is you and your brother were both created by a loving Father, Who created you together and as one. See what “proves” otherwise, and you deny your whole reality. But grant that everything that seems to stand between you and your brother, keeping you from each other and separate from your Father, you made in secret, and the instant of release has come to you. All its effects are gone, because its source has been uncovered. It is its seeming independence of its source that keeps you prisoner. This is the same mistake as thinking you are independent of the Source by Which you were created, and have never left.

The Wonder of It All

Yesterday evening, I ran 8.2 miles around Brummerhop Park across the street from where I live. I didn\’t know how that would feel this morning, but all was ok. So I did a jog/walk of 18.12 miles at Meador Park. This evening, I lifted free weights and did another 10 minutes on the ex-bike, 30 minutes on the elliptical and 5 minutes on the Versa Climber.

While I was running today, I decided to sign up for a 12 hour run in St Louis over Labor day weekend. This will keep me from going to Silverton Colorado (a good thing), but still give me a race to look forward too. St Louis is very easy to get to also.

And that is why I pile up the hours of exercise. I look forward to 12 and 24 hour races. I still have a race in Oklahoma in October I\’m considering and another in Dallas in November. Plus the likely possibility of running a night race in Oklahoma over 4th of July.

While I was exercising tonight, I closed my eyes and thought about my spiritual phrases for the next 24 hours: \”There is a peace which Christ bestows on us,\” \”The gift of Christ is all I seek today.\”

Christ, that inner presence, not anything to do with the denominational Christian Christ.

As I think of sharing my life with the inner Christ, it seems like a joining a poignant as making love.

Fenton City Park, here I come:

Who am I?

And what am I doing here?

I am the woman I always wanted to be.

But the meaning of my life doesn\’t seem to be known to me.

I thought going to a monastery would be meaningful. Last night, I had a dream about it. I was in the monastery and was to be professed that evening. I had been asked to come back, pre-approved for profession. So I went because I wanted to be joined. But, I also wondered, \”Why do you want to join this place when you have looked at their blog for the past 2 years and thought it was stupid? Why do you want to spend every day on Catholicism? You don\’t believe in it.\”

As I sit here and type, I think, \”Whats wrong with running?\” Look at the girl in the picture who is running a decent but not fast half marathon. She is happy. Several e-friends have said they are jealous of the muscle cut arms. In the original picture I have here at home, I look even better.

My quest of transcendence might be a quest to merely be human.

Americans are taught to keep trying to be more. This teaching produces agitation and dis-satisfaction with ordinary loving situations.

I\’d love to go back to the Silverton 1000 and run for six days. But I\’m pretty sure that the current condition of my knee would bump me off the steep hills on the first day. Whats wrong with totally pleasant half marathons interspersed with 20 hours of training a week?

At work, several great things happened. On Thursday, after a long day of goal setting with the Basic Chemicals team, I was apologizing to the leader for not staying for happy hour; because such things are usually semi-mandatory team building. He said that it was totally optional and no one should ever apologize for not staying or feel bad for not staying. That is the first time that the guilt has been totally removed. He was a messenger of love.

Yesterday, the Environmental Control manager drove me all around the site and pointed out all the water, utilities and infrastructure items he is responsible for. Really, the Chem-park where I work is huge. Nearly a city with 3,000 people and the massive usage of materials as well as disposal needs. I felt very good about riding around and seeing all the sites. He was a messenger of love.

Then, after a very long meeting, I got a golf cart ride from a guy named Mohammed who is very strictly practicing Halal. He is my co-worker and about 20 years younger and really cute. He was asking me how I liked Houston and talking about how he missed the Philadelphia ghetto. It came down to a friendship discussion and how few real friends (maybe only one) we had. He understood when I said that with most people I carry on superficial relationships, not saying anything important but getting along fine. See, he may be on the opposite end of a religious continuum than me, but we feel the same. I left him feeling like he was a real friend simply because we could discuss the subject of friendship. He was a messenger of love.

Whats wrong with being satisfied with a friend in a chemical plant above monastic profession or ultra-marathoning?

Is this love?

Or this?

We should accept all love as equal, no matter where it is found. Nobody is more holy than anyone else.

Really Good Run

I had a really good run today: 20.2 miles around the loop from Meador Park to Pine Gully Park. I did it at ultra low impact slow pace. And that is what made it incredibly good: very little aches and pains.

I got to dream of doing another multi-day race or 24 hour race later this year. I haven\’t quite decided which one yet, but it looks like I am coming out of my transition difficulties.

Here is a picture from last week\’s race. I ordered it from PR Photo, but this is a screen shot:

The lessons I kept my mind on were: \”The stillness of the peace of God is mine.\” and \”Today belongs to Love. Let me not fear.\”  I can be hurt only by my own thoughts. Keeping them on spirit, I did not feel pain.

A Good Gift

As luck would have it, I went to an offsite meeting today; which was over at 11:30. I then had a mission to complete. I have an ultra running friend who ran 44 miles on her 44th birthday. She is an impressive and inspiring lady who did 44 miles despite some health issues. She inspired me as I sat in my meeting this morning reading her blog. The good gift was an afternoon AWOL so I could complete my birthday running plan.

My plan was not quite as difficult as my friend. I decided to commemorate my 53 year by running 53 laps around the park near my house:

A lap is about 0.27 miles or 3.3 minutes. It took me 2h53 min to complete the 53 laps. I have a lap counter I wear on my index finger.

I thought much about multi-day races I have done. I wished I could get to one again; but my body is not really able to do an all day event right now.

I also thought about something I heard on the radio this morning, \”…athletes have come to Houston this weekend hoping to become Olympic athletes…\”

This weekend\’s Houston marathon is the US Olympic qualifying marathon. The Olympics have always touched some sore spot inside me. So I teared up as I drove along thinking about the joy of winning.

As I ran, I repeated over and over a couple of lessons from the ACIM workbook: \”I am surrounded by the Love of God\”; and \”Creations gentleness is all I see.\” Tomorrow\’s lesson is, \”My heart is beating in the peace of God.\” As I stop to allow the reality of my heart beating in the peace of God, all the world stops too. Total peace emerges and heaven is known.