It is 4 days since my foot surgery. I am off the hydrocodone and my brain is functioning normally right now. My body hates hydrocodone. It threw it up yesterday, thank you very much.

A set of wheels makes a huge difference in the life of a one legged person:

Crutches are very difficult, but this little scooter makes many things possible.

I have tremendous access to support staff.

So I am always pondering greater issues of the spirit, wondering if I do indeed have a higher self. I realize I am an ego consciousness; but an ego that wants to be more than an ego. This desire could in itself be egotistical; or it could be a symptom of a true higher call.

During surgery, I was \”gone\” for about 2 hours. My body, while still alive, was completely an object in other peoples realities. Like, no less than 3 anesthesiology staff were pissed at me because I am hard to intubate. The results of their work, in the form of gouges in the back of my mouth, still hurt.

I do not know this world if the body connection is taken away. But, when it was restored, I came back. Am I the brain in the body or a spirit which returns to this body while this body exists? Some of chose on faith to live from the spiritual foundation. I myself find the spiritual foundation inescapable.

It is fitting that I would arrive today at a chapter on Grace in Paul Brunton\’s book \”The Wisdom of the Overself.\” Here are some quotes:
\”What is Grace? It is a descent of the Overself into the underself\’s zone of awareness. It is a visitation of power…the voice of the Overself speaking suddenly out of the cosmic silence….a mystical energy…an active principle….Such is its dynamic potency that it can confer insight into ultimate reality as easily as it can lift a dying person to life again…Grace manifests itself in two ways: first a sense of dissatisfaction and insufficiency with the exterior life alone, second: a yearning for inner reality.\”
\”Psychoanalytical professors are apt to regard what they call the unconscious mind of man as a bottomless well swarming only with shapes of lust and lewdness. They have yet to learn that it holds also an infinite fund of goodness, truth and beauty such as would overwhelm them with its grandeur could they become but momentarily aware of it.\”

My decades long obsession with spiritual matters is fruitful. I used to think it was a failure since I had not achieved that enlightenment described in the books. It has taken a long time to believe that the subtler and frequent awarenesses are true and permanent. I refuse now to de-value the still small voice.

Just as the healing of my foot is going on in a silent cast, so the transformation of my ego is going on in the cocoon of this life.

The Hero

Now that I am home from my business trip, I have taken my study of Q back up. Q? Q is a source for the Gospels of Mathew and Luke separate from Mark. There is no historical document of Q. There is only passages in Mathew and Luke which are identical enough to say they copied them from somewhere, but they don\’t appear in Mark. There are some interesting silences in the Q material.

Any true Christian should do a several years study of the Bible from the critical point of view: Where did it come from? Don\’t just take it point blank or according to what the church authority says.

My point today is that I was reading how Q\’s Jesus story relates to the typical prophet\’s story found in the Old Testament, particularly Wisdom 2-5. The person who makes a decision to adhere to God ALWAYS undergoes persecution and death. Then the adherent often rises; but frequently the adherent\’s sayings live on in the survivors. This \”Wisdom Story\” is not an individual\’s story but a community story.

The Wisdom Story happens over and over and crosses cultural and time boundaries.

So from a neuro-philosophy point of view, I wonder: is the Wisdom Story just a part of human brain wiring? If so, do I have to believe it? Do I have to follow it?

What was really the truth of Jesus?

What I have to go on today is many written materials, and my own experiences of Spirit. Is the Spirit spiritual or is the Spirit my own Higher Self? What I do know is that my foundational belief is that there is a higher consciousness and that I can rely on it activities. Its relationship to me is a beneficial one. It doesn\’t have to be my Higher Self. It could be OUR Higher Self.

I have clearly decided for God. No I don\’t have any proof and am willing to admit this is entirely neuro.

More Brunton

Some part of last night was spent thinking about what 6 weeks on crutches would be like. And some part was spent worrying about the surgery date being changed due to a personal crisis the doctor is having. But now I think, The Universe is in charge. Let go. There is nothing I can do.

But you see, I must firmly believe that there is a Higher Self or Spirit who is helping me with my life. This idea works if everything is seen as a spiritual growth experience and everything is for the spiritual quest. Most of all surrendering to this Higher Self is the learning. Believing in this Higher Self and its care for its creations is my foundation.

\”…even in this widespread longing for personal continuance we can detect the beginnings of what will one day grow into the nobler longing to live in the true immortality. For it is an unconscious perception that human existence does possess something within it which is unaffected by events in time and is therefore genuinely eternal, something which stands apart from all the miserable mutations of the flesh and the \’I\’. It is indeed an unformulated intuition which, hiding among the perishable elements of personality, affirms that there is an imperishable principle which cannot be brought to an end with the end of the body.\”
\”The view of immortality as belonging to the higher individuality of the Overself rather than to the lower personality will then replace the former one, which is ultimately doomed to suffer the anguish of frustrated desire whereas the true view bathes a man in increasing peace the better it is understood.\”

Business Transcendence

Here I am in Pittsburgh again; on business. I have spent the week leading 2 groups of guys in Hazard and Operability Studies. At the same time, I am always pondering my own spiritual path. I have always continued my studies of A Course in Miracles; and now mixed with the philosophy of Paul Brunton. The 2 philosophies are worded differently but the spiritual principles are the same. Therefore, I am a believer in certain ideas, but not in any religion.

1. \”I don\’t detect the Overself because it is beyond my consciousness. Being universal, it can\’t be experienced familiarly. But this principle is a permanent element within me. The general principle of Thought can be indirectly supposed. I have thoughts but the general principle is Thought.\”
2. \”The world I perceive is a product of my thoughts, but my illusion of the world is not solely mine. Each mind is confined to its own sensational world but each sensational world is rooted in a common mental ground provided by the World-Mind, the Overself, the general principle of Thought. \”
3. \” If Jesus was a man of sorrows, it was not because of what they would do to his body, but because of what they thought in their minds.\”  \”When we identify the I-thought, which always arises first, with the body-thought, which always arises second, we turn the scale of values upside down and limit the larger factor with the lesser one. Through this initial error we not only strengthen our sorrows and increase grief, but also fill hearts with unnecessary fear. But when we become conscious that we are conscious and that this is the most direct thing of our experience, we have reached the momentous turning-point of understanding the difference between both thoughts. For the making of this miracle–and it is nothing less — clear to our own understanding itself puts us on the right path to achieving it.\”

My spiritual ideas are related to identifying with spirit instead of body. My path is of ego transcendence; joining the universal Self and letting go of the small self. this topic comes up no matter what I study. Brunton does a good job of explaining how the world is my thoughts but also a universal world with other people in the same thought field. But it is not a sound bite. I\’m not going to try and explain 25 years of spiritual study in one sentence.

I also think it is time for the ordinary spiritual people to hold to their truth. We are members of ordinary society, not monk or nuns or famous authors or teachers. We are the transcending identities within normal society. We know the truth and we live it to free others. But our teaching is quiet. Our teaching is our presence. Embrace.

I came to Pennsylvania on Saturday and ran a half marathon in Erie on Sunday.

If you read this blog, you have seen my foot x-ray.

Two weeks ago, I decided that I was tired of having my achilles impaled on a sharp point of bone and went to an orthopedist. Surgery is scheduled for….OMG… Friday!

I have pondered over and over, why do I run. Then, why does my heel hurt. Metaphysically, the heel surgery can be a point of transcendence just as much as the daily miles. 6 weeks on crutches will be worth it. It is a death and then a resurrection; not to the same body but to a different state.

A Priori

Haha, that is a fancy term used by scholars.

I am studying a long complicated book about Q, one of the sources of the New Testament Gospels. Mathew and Luke are derived from Mark and Q. Q and Mark are separate. I\’m up to page 94 of the analysis and maybe only  1/10th through the book.

I had to stop and ponder. About 8 years ago, when I last did serious scripture study, I had to decide that only about 20% of the Gospels have any source in Jesus; the rest being the agenda of the male priestly portion of humanity. This morning, I am again amazed about the volume of arguments from numerous scholars; and how impossible it is to discern what Jesus actually said and did or who he was.

More startling is that reading the analysis, I realized that mankind is based on some common suppositions (my synopsis):

  • Mankind believes in God.
  • Mankind believes it is bad/ sinful.
  • Mankind believes in a Messiah/ Savior.
In these beliefs there is a tremendous amount of dogma. There is a mostly frightening rendition of an angry God. The beliefs plus dogma seem hopeless. It can\’t be that joining the Roman Catholic Church is your only out. Or even saying \”Jesus is Lord\” is your only out.
My interest in spirituality is for today, this life; not after I die or some other life. My interest is in spirituality today, conscious contact now. Evolution requires that humanity transcend these beliefs.
I think I need to return to the hermitage and just listen.
It is yet another hot humid day in Houston. I guess I\’ll go walk around Brummerhop Park, practicing to keep my mind silent.

The Idea of the Monastery…..

….versus the monastery itself.

I want to know God. There was beautiful promises made about how the monastery was the place to carry out that quest. I\’ve been out of the monastery and carrying on that quest for 10 years, using many spiritual opportunities. These opportunities are not Catholic so might not have been available to me had I stayed at the monastery. My body mind and spirit are free to accept all opportunities offered me by Spirit since I am not locked in a box.

What follows is a distinctly negative view of what I saw during my recent visit to the monastery where I was in formation: death and ghosts of people. Yes there are positives to convent life, but that is not my current focus. And my comments are somewhat framed by the final profession of one of the sisters which occurred this weekend.

I am on the last day of a 6 day vacation. I slept late, dreading facing the Texas heat. As usual, my mind had wandered into my monastic problem. That is, all the various questions regarding why I went there and why I didn\’t stay and the God quest now. I got up and went to turn off the fan by my bed. It suddenly struck me. I wanted the idea of the monastery, but I see now, not the monastery itself.

The idea of the monastery was \”a school for the Lord\’s service;\” a place away from the world where undistracted prayer could be carried out. For me, it was a place to practice contemplation with people who I thought were as intensely interested in God consciousness as myself. Perhaps they all go to the monastery with that quest. Formation, the process of training nuns, is exactly that: formation. Formation is a process of changing people from who they are to what the other nuns think is acceptable.

I say now that the monastery cripples people. What I saw was people crippled by their life in a insulated box. Obesity in a world where there really isn\’t that much food. White skin which never sees the sun. A sister with a bony disfigured upper body, yet she is my age. Dull colors and decorations from the last century. The most color was from a small pile of M&Ms a sister sitting at the reception desk had obtained from the stock kept for guests. Oh my God, how terrible that half a days work for two young sisters was to sit at a reception desk where hardly anyone ever comes! A sister telling me about her programming of automated machines, not even guessing the sophistication of the machines used in my chemical plant. In the monastery, few have to worry about the day to day survival issues of obtaining food, going to work, dealing with money, maintaining a house or car, health care, making life decisions.

While I was doing my spiritual study, the thought struck me that the monastery was a practice similar to Chinese foot binding of women long ago. That is, the monastery is a binding of religion and place which causes people to grow in strange unnatural ways.

Then I flashed on the picture of Abbot Gregory putting the nun\’s wedding ring (to Jesus) on the finger of the newly professed nun. I thought with horror how that is so symbolic of male power in the Church. I couldn\’t stand it.

So, my quest for God consciousness goes in in the world. My learning result from my visit is that I cherish the idea of the monastery, but continue to thank God that I didn\’t make a profession. Yes, my ego will still worry over the experience of being asked to leave and the dogma that vowed religious are somehow special to Jesus. These are synapses which will always be in my brain; but my mind knows more. Everyone is either equal before God, or our God is a terribly cruel God.

I am reading a scholarly tome about the Q source of the gospels. It will show a quit different picture of Jesus. I have the ability to carry out monastic practices: silence, solitude, prayer, simplicity, poverty (meaning poor-in-society not poor financially), chastity, Lent, spiritual reading, vows of obedience, stability and conversatio made to God.

And I am about to go outside and enjoy an hour or so of walking in the Texas heat. Tomorrow it is back to work.

Trip Report – Flatlanders

On Friday morning, I started the trip and today I finished it. Now I have 2 more days to ponder its mystery. I visited the monastery I left 10 years ago. I went to an AA meeting in my old home group. I went in a running race. I read a book called \”The Empire of Illusion.\”

United Airlines, TSA, National Car Rental, Parking Spot, Panera (St Louis Bread), Marriott (Fairfield and Springhill), Honda, WalMart, Quick Trip, Jason\’s Deli, Barnes & Nobel, Coke, Pepsi, Silk, Starbucks, Wrigley\’s, Asics, Succeed, RockTape, and others; gave me a fantastic good time without any hitch at all.

Its really about the people. Like this morning. I arrived at my gate very early, in fact, the earlier flight was still at the gate. I went up to the gate agent and said I had a very stupid question, could I get on the earlier flight? She laughed and said I\’d have to work much harder than that to have a stupid question. She then went on for more than 5 minutes about stupid questions. This was a very friendly conversation. I was there for her.

The people at my old AA group mentioned several times about how I had affected them in the past and how they felt honored to be in my presence.

At the monastery, I got a tour of the new construction, visited the old sisters, ate in the refectory and talked a long time to the Prioress. I met the father of one of the sisters. He was a massively alive 80 something; eyes so bright so energetic. I cried a bit at the side of Sr Priscilla. I love her but she is 97 and barely moves. I held court with another group of elderly sisters. Some of the sisters I knew came over and hugged me; others ignored me. I noticed the silence. I know I have too much energy to stay at that place; and no desire to be so cloistered, bored, sedentary, Catholic.

Priscilla is in the middle.

My friend in Kansas City made me breakfast and we talked for 2 hours.

I then went to St Louis. I70 was construction free. I went in a timed race. The heat index was between 97 and 100F for 5 of the 6+ hours I was out there. I completed 26.6 miles before deciding my heel was in enough pain. I got to talk to several other runners.

Leaving the Parking Spot today, they only had one exit lane open, and none of the self check out lanes. So about 50 cars were lined up trying to get out. I was friendly to the cashier and she was able to tell my how hard it was.

I don\’t own any electronic products that begin with i. I plan to stay out of that community, just like Face Book and various other main stream activities.

I am satisfied with myself. I live in Texas. I am sober. I have the benefit of having gotten my world traveling out of the way when I lived with my parents. My only journey now is the one to God. Yes, I walk with Spirit.