Endless Miles

Yesterday I went in a 25k race in this park.

Today I walked 24.5k in a different park.

Yesterday, being in an actual race, I was trying to keep my speed up and practice for the Calgary marathon. So in my mind, I kept running over the numbers and figuring if I could finish in less than 6 hours.

Today, I was thinking 55 hour race. I only walked, but kept running over the numbers of how many hours to get to 100 miles.

But, 100 miles can\’t be the goal. This goal definition has been wrasseled out of my mind finally. My mind has already determined that 100 miles is just a number; its meaning wrapped up in what other people think. So my mind has rejected it as a goal. Also, what other people think has been relegated to the dopamine reward cycle. So doing what others praise me for can\’t be the goal and also the praise itself is rejected by my mind. I can\’t describe the massive disgust I feel when I say, \”I ran 96 miles,\” and \”they\” reply, \”too bad you missed 100.\” This is why I can\’t make 100 the goal. I can only make doing what I can my goal.

So I decided to do what I have to do but not tell anyone. Right at that point, another runner in the park (whom I\’ve seen but not talked to before) came up to me and asked me what I was training for. So much for my secrecy plan.

My goal is the depth of my being. My goal is to throw my heart (slowly) over the bar. My goal is downward mobility. My goal is giving my all, drinking my dregs, ego deflation at depth.

I honestly don\’t think I came to this world to achieve stereotyped approval. I came here to finish my realization that this is a delusion; and seek only Ideal Form (see Platonism).

Sounds depressing right? Well, if the choice is \”Ideal Form\” , then a worldly goal will never work for me. It is more important to me to find my truth than your truth.

I did miles this week. I will do miles next week; and that is all there is to it.

Exciting Enlightenment

I have been a student of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) for several years. Also, for the past 6 months, I\’ve been slowly plowing my way through Plotinus\’ Enneads. I am not even half way through, up to the third Ennead.

Every few days, I find some gem of an idea buried in Plotinus. Often, these gems overlap with a principle of ACIM. My understanding of Plotinus, who was a Platonist (studied the Greek philosopher Plato), is framed in principles which overlap from ACIM. I\’m taking the principles themselves to be general truths and as such should be true for all humans and all religions and philosophies.

Not Christianity, but Christ Himself. (imo)

A key principle of ACIM is \”forgiveness\” which doesn\’t have the same meaning as most people think. It means looking beyond to the Christ Principle within, beyond this world. If this idea is translated into Platonism using Ideal Form, Reason Principle, Authentic Existence, and others; we get a unified explanation of ACIM. So truth is true and completely practice-able by ordinary humans. (er, or anyone who really wants to).

I can\’t offer a sound bite of two books, each of which is over 700 pages. I offer my excitement to know I am happily on a path of truth.

If you are a student of ACIM, you will recognize Christ Vision and forgiveness in the following key cut from Plotinus 3.8.7:

\”All the forms of Authentic Existence spring from vision and are a vision. Everything that springs from these Authentic Existences in their vision is an object of vision-manifest to sensation or to true knowledge or to surface-awareness. All act aims at this knowing; all impulse is towards knowledge, all that springs from vision exists to produce Ideal-Form, that is a fresh object of vision, so that universally, as images of their engendering principles, they all produce objects of vision, Ideal-forms. In the engendering of these sub-existences, imitations of the Authentic, it is made manifest that the creating powers operate not for the sake of creation and action but in order to produce an object of vision. This same vision is the ultimate purpose of all the acts of the mind and, even further downward, of all sensation, since sensation also is an effort towards knowledge; lower still, Nature, producing similarly its subsequent principle, brings into being the vision and Idea that we know in it. It is certain, also, that as the Firsts exist in vision all other things must be straining towards the same condition; the starting point is, universally, the goal.

When living things reproduce their Kind, it is that the Reason-Principles within stir them; the procreative act is the expression of a contemplation, a travail towards the creation of many forms, many objects of contemplation, so that the universe may be filled full with Reason-Principles and that contemplation may be, as nearly as possible, endless: to bring anything into being is to produce an Idea-Form and that again is to enrich the universe with contemplation: all the failures, alike in being and in doing, are but the swerving of visionaries from the object of vision: in the end the sorriest craftsman is still a maker of forms, ungracefully. So Love, too, is vision with the pursuit of Ideal-Form.\”

I am happy I continue to shamelessly follow Jesus. I am excited and enlightened. The Compassionate Spirit has worked within my heart and brought me a vision of The Real World.

Walking Alone

Why do I walk alone?

\”In the fourth century a.d. the deserts of Egypt, Palestine, Arabia and Persia were peopled by a race of men…. They sought a way to God that was uncharted and freely chosen, not inherited from others who had mapped it out beforehand. They sought a God whom they alone could find, not one who was \’given\’ in a set stereotyped form by somebody else.\” …Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert

Easter Multi-day 2014

This was a great weekend for doing miles here in Seabrook. So, that is what I did. An experiment of time and distance; except, I knew I wasn\’t in the mood for more than 5 hours on any given day. I wanted to sleep in also.

Friday I did 4.5 hours and 18.5 miles. Plus a 40 min strength workout.
Saturday I did 4h26min and 19.2 miles.
Sunday I did 4h01min and 17.1 miles. Plus I\’ll probably do some strength this evening while I listen to the TED radio hour.

My foot did really well. Yeah, that foot which had surgery in September 2013.

What amazed me is that I am not all torn up that I\’m not celebrating Easter. I was practicing my Course in Miracles lessons. I did feel connected to my higher power. But I cannot for the life of me remember what was so important about Easter. This shocks me. I spent so many years as a Roman Catholic and also in a Benedictine monastery.

The God I worship doesn\’t seem to need special liturgy. If God is love, then there is nothing more to be done.

Voluntary poverty is to dismiss ego possessions; live with no kudos, no approval, no dopamine rewards, no special liturgy. Just be nice and pay your taxes.

Voluntary simplicity is to possess nothing. No honor, no rewards, no legacy, no other people. Just walk in silence.

If all you have is silence, you have made a good start on walking with God. My adult life is characterized by the quest for inner silence and God consciousness. This yields nothing in this world. It is about as silly as doing miles every day on a boring path in Seabrook, Texas.

Tomorrow begins another work week. But I am going to be a little slacker on the miles this week. I\’m going in a real race next Saturday.

ACIM Resurrection Lesson

This morning, my Course in Miracles lesson was number 151: \”All things are echoes of the Voice for God.\”

And as the culmination of years of prayer and meditation, I had this astounding thought: All the others are my spiritual companions.

Now this thought is a healed thought. It is a thought the Voice for God could have thought with me. The Voice for God honors Christ (the Christ within all others). And I see the love beyond the hate. And so I experienced resurrection: life beyond this world.

And so I went to Brummerhop park and jog walked 50 laps. It is a small park so that is only 18.5 miles. It is a good place to meditate.

The first 13.1 miles were part of a virtual half marathon. Silly me, I signed up on-line for what I thought was a virtual triple race. I liked the idea of earning a medal for three half marathons in 3 days, my private Easter triple. But the RD e-mailed me and said I\’d need to enter 2 more times and send her another $70 to get \”credit\” for 3 races. At which point I became cheap and annoyed.

So, one medal is in the mail. I have been assigned a number. The result of today will be recorded. But I still plan to do miles tomorrow.

Because miles are what I do. I do spiritual study the first hour of the day; and then meditate on the day\’s lesson while I do miles. Tomorrow however, I think I\’ll go to the Seabrook trails. Then I\’ll get a view of Galveston Bay. I have come to rather like that. The park there will be full of Mexicans camping for Easter weekend. I find myself happy with that idea.

Now, I feel a bit like my biceps need some work. So, upstairs I go.

Here is the medal for my virtual race. I like it.

9/80 Weekend

This weekend, I put together 42 miles in about 10 hours. Today was walk day, as in mostly walk only some jog. Yesterday was 5×1 day, as in jog 5 walk 1.

And I bought a new car:

Totally happy with it. Its my second Prius, 4th Toyota. First sexy black car.

It has been a weekend of pondering inner peace. The car purchase was part of it; because it was almost a total non-event as far as life in this world is concerned. I went to the dealership. Jerked around with the sales man back and forth twice. Jerked around with a stack of paperwork. Move my stuff into the new car and go home. Inner peace would mean a not-special life. No dopamine. No highs. No lows. I\’ve been working on inner peace as a spiritual goal. My life does get quieter. But then I ask myself, do I really want this? Well, not ego does. Egos like turmoil and excitement.

Today is the start of Holy Week for the Christians, especially the Roman Catholics. It is a hellish week for monastics. \”The Demons\” go wild with annoyances. As for myself, I don\’t really see the point anymore. It has been several years since I finished my bible studies and decided most of it was the domain early Church Bishop\’s agenda; and that what Jesus said or did has been misinterpreted ever since.

Sitting in my AA meeting this week, I had a revelation. See, I felt guilty that I left my home town at the age of 26 to move halfway across the continent. Got sober and attempted to do step 9 by letter with a raging alcoholic. Didn\’t work. She kicked me out of her life and then died before I ever saw her again. Yesterday, I for the first time thought, \”What if all that was The Spirit\’s way of sparing me additional pain including a life as a drunk?\” What if I was doing the next right thing and how it turned out had nothing to do with me? Then, I should accept The Spirit\’s gift of a sober life and be happy.

Today I did my miles in Brummerhop park. 41 laps. I thought about self transcendence. My whole ultra career go started and stays on because I hope for self transcendence. Truly, walking laps in a 0.37 miles loop is unglamorous and the only thing to do is repeat the day\’s spiritual lesson. For hours. I could call it training for the 55 hour race I signed up for. But really, its original purpose was self transcendence. I attempt to think thoughts not from the worldly source. I attempt to quiet my mind and hear spiritually sourced thoughts.

And just keep walking.

And just keep walking.

From the Unreal to the Real…

… and so went the chant we said twice a day at the ashram. It was a Catholic Benedictine ashram and I was a volunteer for a year before entering the order.

flick….I was swimming laps in a chlorine soaked pool. I was in the 6 year old age group. Orinda Country Club. Dark green speedo.

flick….I was riding a horse. A paint quarter horse. I had trained him to show in trail class. We won a championship.

flick…. I was riding my 10-speed bicycle down a hill in the east bay hills. I was wearing one of the first Bell bicycle helmets available.

flick…I was running cross country for UC Davis.

flick… I had landed at KCI. Rented a car. Driving down I29, I got my first look at Kansas City. My new home.

flick…. I was sober.

flick… I was out of work so I meditated alot.

flick… Contemplative prayer.

flick…. Kicked out of the monastery.

flick…. running for self transcendence.

flick…. I live in Texas.

flick… What if I allowed my mind to fly free? I mean really free. I mean let go.

Everyone would think I was weird and they might not like me. Do I care any longer? How do I stop eating the King\’s dainties for good? I am no longer going to try to validate what I believe. I will just believe it.

A dream. My mind expanded. Possibilities emerged. Soaring is occurring. I want to keep flying. I am a living metaphysician, monk, runner.

Ultra Fever

It happens every time I am not in severe pain: miles.

Since regaining use of my left foot 5 months ago, doing miles has been problematic even though continuously improving. The place where the scar ends on the bottom on my heel can be incredibly painful. And other place on the bottom back of the heel hurt for no explicable reason. But these things are getting better.

So, there is a 55 hour race over New Year\’s in Houston. The race rents cubes in a tent so you can stay right there onsite. I wanted a cube so I signed up for the race as soon as I noticed it was open for registration.

I have tried several times to do 100 miles in one race. But always I\’ve been defeated: mentally. The closest I came was a Silverton in 2011 with 86 miles. If I had just sat down on that last day and ate, and not been afraid of falling on that mountain in the dark, I could\’ve…..  At Ultracentric, it only took 54 miles to tear up my little toes, then I was shivering like crazy and food running out my bowels…..  At Aslinger, I got 80 miles in 20 hours before quitting because I knew I couldn\’t make 100 miles in 24 hours.

But anyway, I keep trying.

This weekend was not only miles for marathon training but miles for ultra preparation. I promised myself 10 hours of walking at any speed. Friday night I walked 7.2 miles in 2 hours. Saturday, I jog walked 5x1s for 20 miles and then walked another mile, which only took 4h53. Today I walked and jogged for 3h14min for 11.55 miles. All told 39.75 miles. Damn good.

As I was walking today, I knew there was no stopping me regardless of how bad this might be for me. Or how silly the idea of 100 miles in 55 hours is. I just must try again. I know the crew-less person has almost no chance of finishing 100 miles. I have almost no chance. But I still must try. I know people who are decades older with leg issues who slog their way along to get their 100. I am going to try again.

Between now and New Years (8 months) is a hot Houston summer. I\’ve always been able to walk even in heat and I have a couple of small loops which are mostly trees. The 3100 mile Self Transcendence race begins in June. That always inspires me to do my laps. I\’ll just keep trying to add hours. I might go to San Antonio and walk a couple of marathons in a couple of days. But I will keep walking.

Modification and Dissolution

I was reading Plotinus Ennead 3.6.8 this morning. It mentioned a little bit about modification and dissolution. I\’m not here to explain these technical terms of philosophy. I am here to say this caused me to ponder: how the environments around me seek to modify me or dissolve me into their milieu.

As children, we don\’t really choose our environments and how they effect us. We do what our parents put us into. For myself, even as a young woman, I didn\’t give hard thought to the effect of environments. Mainly I wanted to fit in and be cool and be as popular as possible (for a geek). I accepted the food and entertainment and sexuality of society.

I have a work environment. For the most part, I get along fine with it. It only bugs me when I\’m supposed to eat with these people. My home environment is solitude, even though it is in the middle of town. Since leaving the monastery, now nearly 11 years ago, I haven\’t wanted to be assimilated or modified by society. I am in fact in disagreement with society and refuse to fall into it. So I abstain from much of American culture.

Like Daniel in the Old Testament, I refuse to eat the King\’s dainties. Dainties are more than food dainties like bacon and potato chips. Dainties for the mind are the corruptions found in entertainment. I just read that 1 in 7 American boys has been diagnosed with ADHD. In teenage years, 20% take some type of drug; for acting like boys pretty much. Wonder why?

There is an environment in my mind. I guard what I allow into my worldly perception. I don\’t want what is on the TV to clutter my mental environment. I desire to keep my mind pristine for spiritual study. Likewise, my physical body is made of only certain foods.

Part of all this inner discussion came about in the middle of my morning spiritual study; and today\’s run. I was trying to decide if I should go to an AA activity which began at 2 pm. But I felt strongly like the activity would be too covered over with aspects of American culture which I don\’t like to participate in. And I realized that, No, I won\’t be assimilated!

My Course in Miracles lesson for today is \”In quiet I receive God\’s Word today.\” And in another book, I read something about sinking quietly into awareness itself, not just thinking about awareness.

Then I went running. Today, I decided to go to the park and do 5x1s for however long I wanted.  2 o\’clock came and went and I was still running. So much for that decision about any social activity. I ended up with 21 miles. That is a post surgery high for mileage as well as time, 4h53min. The big deal however is that I didn\’t hate my shoes when I got done.

I run very near Galveston Bay; so there are many sea birds in the bayous. Today I saw a pretty blue-grey one I hadn\’t seen before. Didn\’t see the alligator that was there last week. It is cool, especially for the Gulf coast, only 70F. There were more ships today than usual. I wonder if that has to do with the delay in ship traffic caused by the oil spill last weekend.