30 Day Process – Day 30

Yes, it is true, if you stop looking at the news, then the news stops being on your mind. For me, that means that now my mind is free for other thoughts. There will always be thought. Which thoughts do I want to think? I assess myself. 30 days is enough to detox. It is not enough to build something new. The dilemma is to keep building the new way without going back to the old way. I am on a cusp. I am in a clear and open space. What thoughts would come to me apart from societal conditioning? Is it possible to obtain thoughts that are outside of mass consciousness? Of course. So, go get them.

For the 30 day process, there were four practices, apart from news fasting. Two of them, focus wheel and segment intending, I didn’t use that much. I realize now why not. I viewed segment intending as a tool for dealing with difficult people and situations. I don’t have situations with difficult people. My life is somewhat only one long segment. I viewed focus wheel as a tool for working on a known objective. I don’t really have a material world goal. I have created exactly what I wanted. So I have only half heartedly used these tools. My desire is for God, so how do I use these tools?

As I am clear of news debris in my thoughts, it is time to go deeper. Keep exploring the depths of my soul, the divine presence and consciousness. Can I think, or receive, a thought which is not directly someone else’s? My studies of philosophy indicate to me that the subject is a shambles. Philosophy has been dominated by European white men, mostly competing with each other over trivialities. My new thought should be an expansion or evolution.

I went to the monastery to be a contemplative. It seemed like the main desire I obtained from living in a monastery for nearly 4 years was the desire to live an eremitic life. I had to achieve a point in life where I didn’t have to work. And now it is a thing of courage. Is being a hermit a genuinely worthwhile activity? I am currently listening to a philosophical lecture on the meaning of life from an MIT professor. My ideas clearly don’t fit his definition of worthwhile. Do I dare try it? Would I go crazy? Ha! I haven’t been any crazier than the time I spent in a monastery. That was the worst emotional experience ever.

What is the meaning of life when bad thing don’t happen? That is my story. Bad things don’t have to happen for one to find meaning in their life. I find meaning in epiphanies, which aren’t necessarily sourced from externals. In the hermitage, I can realize that I am beloved of God. I can also realize that so is everyone else, and grant them that reality. Non-trivial, don’t you think?

My life continues to include physical fitness. In fact, I am incredibly grateful to love 10 mile runs, being in my sixties. Or the small weight workouts I use to break up my academic days. You don’t know how grateful I am to have arrived at this point in my life without the 30 or more pounds that my peers are carrying around.

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Day 25 of my 30 day process, I am very healthy. It looks like I understand normal life for me as a semi-hermit. More about that in some other post.

The 30 day process was for the purpose of discovery of my Inner Being, my inner non-physical but vibrational reality. To make the discovery, one must eliminate as much distraction from the outside world as possible and pay attention to the inner. To me, this mainly meant turning off the news. The news is a bad feeling vibration. I’ve done well with that and feel much better. Also, owing to cooler mornings, I’ve had more time for silent reflection before going running. Great!

So, here is my womanhood story. Step 1, PTSD: I’ve been tapering from big miles as I planned to go in a marathon race this weekend, so I haven’t been as physically tired at night. It is easier to go to sleep if I am tired. For most of my life, I have suffered from PTSD; which means that I frequently have hallucinations in the early part of the night. Last night, it happened three times. One of the times, I seemed to actually say out loud, “Are you here to kill me?” I don’t remember doing that before and I believe that it is a good thing to become aware of. Step 2, The Enlightenment: I’m reading a history book on the Enlightenment, a period in European history from 1675 to 1775 or so. Much of the book contains the writings of philosophers of the time. Yesterday and today, I was looking at a chapter on women. The old white male philosophers had no qualms about writing the most outrageous things about women. These men really were not able to see women as intelligent human beings, equals. Just not capable. Some of what is written is incredible: what men actually think of women, and what is epigenetically encoded in men is really terrible. Men now-a-days keep their mouth shut but they still think as The Enlightenment men do. My PTSD has something to do with men. That is why Step 1 and 2 are related.

Step 3, my Inner Being. Listening to my Inner Being, I come up with answers which are the opposite of what modern life might say to me. I always get a good feeling thought if I listen to the inside and not the outside. The reason I didn’t quote anything from my history book about what the European philosophers have to say about women is because that is not where my inner being focuses. My Inner Being focuses on now. Now is my reality. My Inner Being would also not worry too much about focusing on PTSD, like don’t talk a lot about it or go beg a therapist for some drugs. Be easy about it. Everything always works out for me. Allow the vibration to shift. As I am conscious of what happened last night, I can allow the vibration to shift. I am willing to allow men to move on and shift vibrations too, See, my life is the vibration not the world.

I’ve been studying vibrational reality for about four years. It takes some contemplation and practice of the techniques to believe it. It is cool to me to get a greater understanding of what to do when something seemingly disturbing crops up, like a hallucination that frightens me. I’m grateful that I have resources that point up the emotional scale rather than down.

Day by Day – Day 21 of Fast

I got through 38 years of my career by surviving one day at a time. Very little of my career did I relish. Therefore, I always had outside things to help me. Like a daily inspirational email, or the anticipation of the next marathon race. One of the things that inspired me, helped me get out of bed, was the 3100 Mile Self Transcendence Race.

The race sounds ridiculous, but it would constitute my dream life. Jogging 61 miles a day (at least) over a 52 day period until you get to 3,100 miles. The course is a 0.5 mile city block in Queens, New York. The runners are on course about 18 hours a day. Sri Chinmoy Running provides all the aid needed to keep the runners going.

The spiritual side of the race is explained by Sri Chinmoy, now deceased. The self transcendence side of running attracted me once I heard about it because of this race. My dream retirement is to spend everyday running and self transcending. Oh wait…. that is exactly what I AM doing. I love it. 80 miles a week is about right.

Today is day 1 of 52 of Self Transcendence. Today is day 21 of 30 day process. News leaks this week were because of hurricane Ida, but no politics. I don’t know how bad the virus is or the economy or voting rights or global warming. I haven’t felt any news outlet urge me to give a shit about some unfortunate people on the other side of the globe. I feel much better. But fasting from news, abstaining from my outrage addiction, seems like it will have to transcend into a one day at a time practice. My addiction is not pulling on me as much as a few days ago. I feel better that for the next 52 days, I can update myself on the Self Transcendence Race instead of the news.

During this 30 day process, I’ve found myself interested in eating salad again. I’ve found that sugar is repulsive. I still love my coffee and green tea. I’ve started wearing yoga pants around the house. This way, I can get up and go lift weights for 15 minutes several times a day, because I already have on the right clothes. I’m not having to survive each day anymore. It is more like I thrive doing miles.

My entire life has been about the quest for the Divine Presence. Running is part of that.

The self-transcendence aspect is particularly important in ultrarunning. In our experience as runners, there comes a point in a race when one’s physical prowess has reached its limit. To continue on, the runner must rely on his or her own inner determination, to tap into the infinite spiritual power that is within us all, which Sri Chinmoy calls the soul, the representative of the ultimate Divine Being.

For those runners who are Sri Chinmoy’s students, the 3100-Mile Race represents an affirmation of his teachings on self-transcendence, an opportunity to manifest the hidden potential of the soul in a practical and dynamic way.” (Sri Chinmoy)

This year’s runners. 5 of them are veterans

Emptiness – Day 17 of 30 Day Process

I decided to do a 30 day spiritual process. I have been doing the spiritual practices, but the main difference between my normal life and this retreat is that I discontinued any news media. That, and some interesting daily reflections and realizations.

Let me first address the news fast. Most people fast by not eating. I am fasting by not scrolling through any news, or listening to the radio. No NY Times. No Atlantic. No Apple News. No Google News, etc. I’m not getting dopamine hits from outrage. Every time I pay attention to news, I feel some small outrage at what is wrong with some people or institutions. That outrage is a dopamine hit in my brain. Humans like dopamine hits, and so we continue the behavior. Point: dopamine hits are not bad in themselves. We need them. But dopamine from poison or dopamine from upliftment? I’ve been getting dopamine from other sources than the news. What I’ve been thinking about, however, is the future. I’m like an addict who has been in treatment for 17 days, dry for 17 days. Will I go back to my drug of choice when I get out of treatment? Honestly, I can’t imagine life without my drug of choice. My mental feeling is better without the poison that is today’s news, but I can’t imagine living without it.

Taking the situation to a deeper level: spending time on the news, or needlessly scrolling and looking for a hit, is artificially filling the emptiness of my inner life, destroying the emptiness. As I thought this, or had this realization this morning, the emptiness of my life came into focus. My life has always been pretty empty. In America, an empty life is a stigma. We are supposed to be filling our lives, but I have been steadily emptying mine. I want to have the emptiness, not destroy it. Not only is it who I am. but it is my non-physical reality. I need it.

I lived in a monastery for nearly four years. The nuns had very empty lives compared to the non-cloistered house holder. But since their lives were overlaid with a daily schedule, a Rule and a religious profession, they didn’t really have to face emptiness. I have no overlay, no template, no title or name. I simply have an empty life.

Now that I consciously have an empty life, I am able to fully embrace it. This is the art of being myself. I find spiritual fulfillment in: emptiness? The secret of my soul is emptiness. My energy vortex contains an energy called emptiness.

“Some children may be extraordinarily happy with a single basic toy if they have been able to develop their imagination and creativity, while others will be bored by a hundred sophisticated toys if they constantly need new objects to derive pleasure from” (Happiness – a philosopher’s guide, Frederic Lenoir, page 49).

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