Spiritual Experience No 073115

I was seated in a type of room that looks like a small theater or a college lecture hall. Next to me was a cute young black man in a pink shirt. He needed a pen and asked to borrow mine. I gave it to him. Then later, when we went on break he saved my seat. This was a cute relationship. We were somehow connected that quick.

The room was known as jury room 2; as opposed to another similar room filled with similar people, but their room was jury room 1. I\’m pretty sure almost no one in either room wanted to be there. We were there on penalty of punishment if we failed to show up on the day of our summons. It is amazing how obedient most people are when threatened with jail. I even made a joke to a colleague about not wanting to die in jail. My colleagues had coached me to just be calm and remember I am not in control.

I suppose many of the people are like me. I got my summons about a month ago. And ever since, I\’ve been wondering how to drive to downtown Houston for an 8 o\’clock start. I\’ve been frightened as hell because I don\’t ever go to down town Houston. The fear also produced a great deal of anger that I\’m going to have to drive 40 miles to get to jury duty and quite likely not let out until after 5 pm when it would for sure take at least an hour and a half to get home.

Fear would arise over and over during quiet times and in the night, or like when running. I could feel the steam building and building. I could feel almost on the verge of panic. Then, some lesson from A Course in Miracles or a prayer from AA Big Book would come in to my mind. The anxiety bubble would pop and I\’d forget it for awhile.

I was on a jury once and disliked it intensely. I vowed never to do that again. The next time I was called, I did something to make sure no lawyer picked me; but the judge gave me such a dirty look. I don\’t think I would ever try that again.

So I\’m scared to death of being on a jury and driving in Houston; and pissed about how late I\’ll get home. My small ego is having a field day with creating anxiety and hatred. The morning of, I turn my will over to the care of whatever higher power there is, I write down my ACIM lesson and grab The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I\’ve read this book once and I know it will help me with my false anxiety.

I look at the Houston Transtar map and see an accident on the highway I was planning to take. I quickly re-plot a route that is much longer but turns out to be free of traffic. I make it to the parking garage about 6:45 and note other people sitting in their cars; as I do until after 7. Then I walk down to the basement and through a series of tunnels to the jury plaza. I hand my paper in at the window and am told to go sit in room 2.

So I go sit. I watch the power point presentation about security and how to pay for parking and how can I be exempt. I read the juror hand book. Other people come in and sit. Everybody is pretty quiet. I open The Power of Now. First I read about Tolle\’s spiritual experience. I realize that Tolle is the same as Sam Harris, a guy I know named Larry, and numerous other stories I\’ve read. He didn\’t do any spiritual work. He was distraught one day and suddenly the universe opened up to him and he knew God. I am a spiritual seeker, but the emotional mountain top hasn\’t happened to me. And these books by these people seek to teach people like me how to have this experience. However, despite the lack of a mountain top, I realized I firmly stand on spiritual intuition as the basis of my life. I get through each and every day by trusting and relying on God. Divine help is my strength. These lessons from A Course in Miracles and these prayers from AA save my emotional bacon daily.

I pondered that for a little bit. I read one of Tolle\’s techniques. I totally agree with the statements on silence. So I shut my eyes there in jury room 2 and quiet my mind. I realize that I\’m more interested in being of service to the universe than playing games to piss off a judge to get out of jury duty. How may I best serve you? Thy will not mine be done. I realize that I\’ve put my life in the hands of the universe. Whatever my spirit wants to do, I will do. I sit there in the surrendered state for a brief few moments. I had achieved inner peace.

Suddenly the bailiff comes in and stands in the front of the room. He has a funny sort of smile on his face. He says something like,\” I have an announcement which I know will disappoint all of you. We called many extra people to jury duty today because we thought we would be having an extraordinary trial, that is, it would last more than 6 weeks.\” He pauses. The room full of people takes a collective gasp, \”Oh fuck, we all think.\” \”But, \” says the bailiff, \”that case just got settled out of court. So all of you are going to be set free in just a few minutes.\” Now everyone cheers. We high five. We are jubilant. A miracles has occurred. I look across the hall into jury room 1. Those people are not clapping and celebrating. They are lining up to go to various courtrooms.  In deed, in a few moments they let jury room 2 go. I am in my car and headed home, traffic free, by 9 am. And I did make it to my 5 pm AA meeting, a thing I worried I\’d miss.

But I have to tell you, I felt the miracle of creating my own reality at the moment I heard what the bailiff said. My ego didn\’t do anything. It hearkened to the ACIM chapter called \”You need do nothing.\” It was like, when my ego finally let go of it\’s plans and I achieved inner peace, another reality could arise.

When I myself quit projecting bad dreams, the world itself stops being a bad dream.

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A Course in Miracles Text 19.I.1

\”…When a situation has been dedicated wholly to truth, peace is inevitable.\”

I read this early this morning and was immediately able to link it with my work. I can completely see myself as being dedicated to truth every day; and not dedicated to self.

Then, at 5 am, I got started running in Meador park. It was 82F to start and 92F 4 hours later when I got done with 17 miles. I am so grateful to have completed this run. Houston is so hot this year. You can only run before the sun hits you. I stayed in the shade after about 8 am.

How to Live

 Frequently, I have negative thoughts early in the morning. In a sense, my spiritual activities and then exercise takes care of them. This morning, I could hear my ego murmuring about a work question: should I take that new position or not?

It is not time to decide. The decision is in the future. But mixed in with the decision is various ego issues like: am I good enough, will I be happy, I am happy now but I can\’t stand no promotional opportunity, I need to get ahead of colleagues, etc.  And then, my knowledge that I am not in the Now. I am not connected to my higher self. And I have no idea how to get that to happen. Any techniques hasn\’t worked. I just haven\’t let go.

But the books say your ego doesn\’t know it anyway. So will I ever know it?

So you can now imagine me becoming more and more upset by this drama. Reading The Power of Now is only making me more upset.

So I got on the treadmill. What an awesome choice. The Gulf coast is so freaking hot and humid. Even before the sun comes up it is 83F. My outside running is consequently slow. But my living room is 71F with a fan blowing right on me. Running in the coolness was terrific!

On my treadmill, I have index cards with parts of the ACIM text written on them. This morning, text 15.V.5 \”…You can place any relationship [situation] under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain, if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His….\”

Plus lesson 9, \”I see nothing as it is now.\” 

This translates into, I don\’t see this situation as it is now.And also, be willing to let today, my present moment, any choice I make, serve no need but His. For me, the present moment is not enough, there also has to be a Higher Consciousness I am turning over to. Somehow, running on the treadmill and thinking about serving no need but His, surrender happened. I was able to \”get\” it.

That was early this morning. Now, I can remember it happened. I can almost recall how the understanding felt. But I can\’t really put all the little bits of thought together and explain it to you. 

Why did I call this post \”How to Live?\” Well, frequently, immediately after my spiritual exercise and during my physical exercise, I get a moment of clarity. In that moment, my ego is gone. Life does not seem so frightening. That is how to live.

Are Prayers Answered?

My point at this moment: reality looks like the energy of the prayer.

I guess that is a metaphysic-y answer.

ACIM lesson: today the peace of God envelops me; and I forget all things except His Love.

I did my morning meditation as usual today. All is quiet in my mind. I finish off packing for my overnight trip to run a marathon. I look at the Houston Transtar map to see what traffic is like. It is appalling. TexDOT has seen fit to completely close several freeways for construction. All of them seem to be in the north west area; where I need to go to go to Waco.

Consternation! I look at that map and at google maps and finally decide on a route.

I go to the AA meeting which is on the 11th step. I sit there and listen to people talk. I think about my own life long struggle to know God. I think about my current practice of reading Q\’s gospel out loud to myself every night and then practicing silent meditation. I think about my recent reading of the beginning of the Big Book and its instance that we are hopeless apart from divine help and this is for everything about our lives. As if prayer is all there is!

I whip out (from my back pocket) my piece of paper with the lesson for today. I think about getting out of Houston. I think about the peace of God as my reality. I felt peace as my reality. I remembered yesterday\’s realization that \”this IS my life.\” I came to understand that no matter what traffic was like, it is my higher power\’s life.

I get in the car and start driving. It turns out, I hardly met a spec of traffic. Unknowingly, I had picked mainly toll roads, and gone a little bit long around; but I went pretty much 80 mph all the way to Waco.

During the trip, I also looked at my piece of paper and imagined feeling the peace.

Arriving in Waco, I quickly saw the convention center where packet pickup is. There was a Marriott across the street that looked like a handy place to park. As I got out of the car, I had an idea. I went in to the Marriott and told them I was booked at another Marriott 8 miles away but that this Marriott was exactly where I wanted to be. Did they have a room? Could they cancel my other reservation without penalty and book me in there? They did, as well as give me the same rate.

OMG! I am ensconced in a hotel across the street from the start line.

I wanted to experience \”enveloped by the peace of God today.\” I didn\’t ask God for anything material. I wanted to experience the peace of God and this peaceful reality is what I perceived. It seems completely plausible that me and my higher power created a reality, or that peace was always there but I perceived it today, or what I perceived was my dream of peace.

Reality could be an illusion and it could be malleable. Or perception is in the mind of the perceiver, but what is perceived doesn\’t actually exist. Only peace exists, the rest of what I perceived is my dream.

No bull:

Thank You Sargent Miller

Yesterday was an exciting day. I got my picture taken with this police officer:

Thank you Sargent Miller. Because of this, I got $20 off my entry fee for the Baytown Jail Break half marathon. It was fun to hunt down a cop and get a picture. Further, Sargent Miller was helping some other people when I drove up to the police station and he showed lots of kindness.

I am in a happy place with my running. I am not signed up for any ultras, or injured from my 45 mile race last week; hence my speeds are creeping up. I feel good.

Today\’s Course in Miracles lesson: \”Eternal Holiness abides in me.\” To which I add: Stately Silent Love has set me free.This morning I was once again reading Emmett Fox. His recommendation was that everyone needs to do their own spiritual work; but practice of the presence of God is best. In His presence, I remember service. I am much happier under this attitude and outlook on life.

I thought of the Benedictine \”school of the Lord\’s service\” as I punched in the key code for the community gate this morning, going out for my run. I thought, \”How can anyone not realize that all of life is a school for the Lord\’s service. Maybe being in a convent is actually a hindrance.\” As I ran I thought about a meeting I have today with a long time friend, maybe the last time I see him. He is Catholic. thinking of him lead me to thinking about The Church and how I can\’t ethically support the hierarchy. Mixed in is musing about how most Catholics think that all is good based on the public image of Pope Francis. Ummm…..not…..so not.

But then again, I don\’t think most Christians follow Jesus. Since leaving the convent, I\’ve had access to much scriptural research of all varieties. So I can\’t possibly support any denominational church or religion.

All of these heady thoughts during a pre-dawn run on El Lago.

Practice the presence is the best I can do.

Christmas Eve 2014

On Monday my mission to attain antibiotics was successful. Now, Wednesday, wow, I feel soooooo much better. Even the coughing seems way better.

So I took myself off for a \”Runny Nose Run.\” Yuppers! Load a fanny pack with tissues, pick a beautiful trail well stocked with garbage cans and off I go. I picked the trail from the gazebo to Pine Gully and back. I ran it twice for 5.5 miles/ 6 tissues. Good thing to get my head and lungs shaken up and instilled with fresh air. Now, 3 hours later, the coughing still seems better.

Since I have been sick and staying away from people, I\’ve been reading my spiritual books. One by Emmet Fox and one by Maggie Ross. I am astounded how spiritual truths are true and can be found in legitimate spiritual writings. Maggie Ross\’s book in particular has helped me to a new understanding of what is variously called: deep mind, the master (Gilchrist), right hemisphere, Self, and many more. I call mine soul; regardless of various other definitions for that word.

I stand and say \”Thank You\” to this higher power and this intuitive mind which seems so active for me. That is, I have enough silence in my life and my prayers for intuitive thoughts are answered and heard.

My gift to anyone is my Course in Miracles workbook lesson for today:

LESSON 273
The stillness of the peace of God is mine.
1 Perhaps we are now ready for a day of undisturbed tranquility. If this is not yet feasible, we are content and even more than satisfied to learn how such a day can be achieved. If we give way to a disturbance, let us learn how to dismiss it and return to peace. We need but tell our minds, with certainty, “The stillness of the peace of God is mine,” and nothing can intrude upon the peace that God Himself has given to His Son.

2 Father, Your peace is mine. What need have I to fear that anything can rob me of what You would have me keep? I cannot lose Your gifts to me. And so the peace You gave Your Son is with me still, in quietness and in my own eternal love for You.

Good Karma

Or was it, your thoughts create your reality. Or was it ACIM looking beyond.

Anyway, this morning I had an elaborate e-mail prepared to send to my soon-to-be ex-boss. I wondered if I should send it. Am I off base in what I think? I asked a colleague; who agreed with my point of view. In the end, I clicked SAVE AS DRAFT.

Suddenly, the customer service rep from Hilton called and apologized for the problem Hilton has created me, and offered me a free night. Then, I found out I received a recognition award. Then, a guy offered to drive me to my car from inside the plant, since it was pouring rain.

Score!

This morning, in my morning spiritual study, I read a bit of Emmett Fox\’s Sermon on the Mount, and a bit of Maggie Ross\’s Silence A User\’s Guide. Both talked a bit about thoughts and reality. I work on my thoughts every day. My brain is clear so I was able to let go of my instinct to let go of an injustice my ex-boss has done.

So, was my score due to metaphysics? Or did my one kindness give good karma so I received other kindnesses? Or is karma really the same as metaphysics?

You get to decide how your universe works. As for me, I will believe in Spirit. I will believe in connectedness. I will continue my spiritual studies. My real point is that I have been having a happy day. This despite the pouring rain, the scratchy throat, the FedEx issue…. etc.

My ex-boss is a real person even if he is German. He deserves the gift of Christ Within, which I can give him if I want.

Anything else doesn\’t matter.

Lesson 254

\”Lesson 254: Let every voice but God’s be still in me.
1 Father, today I would but hear Your Voice. In deepest silence I would come to You, to hear Your Voice and to receive Your Word. I have no prayer but this: I come to You to ask You for the truth. And truth is but Your Will, which I would share with You today.

2 Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions. When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go. We do not want what they would bring with them. And so we do not choose to keep them. They are silent now. And in the stillness, hallowed by His Love, God speaks to us and tells us of our will, as we have chosen to remember Him.\”

It is Friday afternoon. I am drinking coffee. It is quiet here in my house. No \”entertainment.\” My head is not raging at me. I don\’t think I want to go anywhere. And for some reason, I\’ve not quite put the energy together to do any workout. Maybe after some more quiet time, I\’ll feel like walking.

I have been reviewing my journal for the past year. And also thinking about some successes for the coming year. There are some obvious themes which characterize my thinking. The themes should be obvious but until I looked back and saw it written every day, I didn\’t exactly know how frequently I thought that. A Course in Miracles would just say \”These thoughts do not mean anything.\”

My life doesn\’t have any big problems. So my spirituality is not about trauma. I\’m discovering a spirituality of quiet all on my own. Of course, I\’ve read books on silence etc. Now I\’ve got quiet in all of my own life (not just when meditating) and my ego doesn\’t have any big deals to yell at me about. I realize that creating another project to occupy me is exactly what my ego would want. But to sit here quietly and not start anything; that is the challenge.

When you study scripture\’s origin and the community from which Jesus probably came and scrutinize Paul\’s Christianity, you are left with nothing true about today\’s Christianity. You stop trying to prove anything by quoting scripture because you know it is wrong. Eventually, you observe the void, feel the null. No emotion is left.

It is 2014 and the internet is everything. So the monastic order in which I was formed has a face book page and tweets and videos. I look at the pictures frequently and know the people in them. I may not be there physically but the sisters are in my mind everyday. What does this mean? Is it good or bad? They are doing something new. The Roman Church is have a \”year of consecrated life.\” I have qualms about that. But because of it, the sisters started wearing traditional habits on Sundays. It is yet one more example of why I don\’t belong there. I go running on Sundays, not sit around in my habit.

I can completely write volumes about my universal non-special concept of God. I\’ve lost my vehemence to do so.
So back to silence. Listening to the quiet Voice for God and doing nothing.

For the Record

Whenever I have days off from work, I also have the idea that somewhere in the silence and miles, a spiritual break through will occur.

Something at least note worthy did happen this morning. A few weeks ago, I read Sam Harris\’ book \”Waking Up.\” It annoyed me when he has long explanations about \”…this self is nowhere to be found…\” or \”…the self does not survive scrutiny…the feeling of being a thinker of thoughts inside one\’s head…\” or \”…look closely for what you are calling \”I\”, and the feeling of being a separate self will disappear…\”

I finally realized my confusion this morning. What Mr Harris calls \”I\” is what A Course in Miracles calls ego. What Mr Harris finds beyond the \”I\” is what A Course in Miracle calls Self.

I need to stop beating myself up with other people\’s techniques and experiences. Because, yes in fact, I am able to look between the thoughts. The fact that there is no emotion or objective sense of enlightenment is what makes it real. The problem is that the stream of thoughts called ego doesn\’t approve and can\’t use the silence. My ego most emphatically wants an objective and be able to lay a claim, \”I did this,\” or \”I am that.\” A Course in Miracles explains all this. I now understand that Mr Harris is saying the same but in words from his experience.

I realize that my frustration is an ego function. The Self between the thoughts never cared about this. It was my ego who read other\’s experiences of enlightenment and judged itself less than for not having had such a wonderful experience. My ego says that God doesn\’t love me because I can\’t point to some fabulously engaging emotional experience called enlightenment. I have endless difficulties with this ego; but any moment of silence produces calm. Living from the calm is what ACIM teaches.

Is my intuition my Self speaking? Is there a Spirit which is not Self? Personally, I believe that if there is a Self, then there is a Creator. ACIM gives the Spirit as a communication medium. Obviously, many books are written on this subject. What matters to me is intuitive thoughts.

For any who thought I missed Thanksgiving Day 7, I\’ll just mention that I had a nice jog outside in the park. I went to an AA meeting. I had another nice workout indoors which included strength training. Today, I will do an indoor workout. My feet and legs feel good, but I also feel like keeping them that way. Cross training, development of durability, will be most important for the next 7 months; or indeed for the next 30 years.

For any who wondered about what I said regarding philosophy studies and writing essays. The \”teacher\” replied that he got tired of grading student essays and has stopped doing it. So it won\’t be learning to write essays that sharpens my thinking. Maybe that was never necessary since it was really the unproductive Silence that I need more.

Thanksgiving Day 4

Well, rest day. I slept in and then lolly gagged buying running shoes at an early black Friday sale. I also was musing about whether it would be possible to get a philosophy degree on-line. I found an interesting philosophy page which discussed the writing of essays. Reminds me that this blog is very bad in regards to organized thought. I had a nice spiritual study and then made it to the trail at 10:20.

My ACIM lesson was, \”I am in danger nowhere in the world.\” I wasn\’t really clicking with this lesson until I sat quietly. Then it came to me: I am always wrapped in Love\’s embrace.\” And this is what I took with me to the trail. Today, I remembered my garmin and everything. I decided to go to a small loop and be sure to measure it. Yes, it is 0.75 miles. So this loop will be my mental training loop for the 55 hour race over New Years.

Today, I was clearly not interested in long hours of miles. I was thinking alot about my pacing and timing for the 55 hour race. I decided that a good experiment would be for me to try at least one day, if not two days, of 40 laps on this 0.75 mile loop. I thought tomorrow and Thursday would be good. So I kept today short, just 2 hours.

Consequently, the groceries, the car wash, the AA meeting and the house cleaning got done. The AA meeting was about drinking and holidays. I kept quiet since I don\’t want to discuss my particular outlook on holiday activities. As a general rule, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is assumed that you must participate. If you have no family then you should join another gathering or volunteer at a soup kitchen. If you don\’t participate then you are not grateful. Christmas is worse. You must participate in the \”reason for the season\” or you are a scrooge and ungrateful to God.

My radical plan for Thanksgiving is to walk around a park 40 times.

Also, I started a new book on the philosophy of Dune. It is an easy read and interesting. Combined with Plotinus and my general yearning for depth of thought and spirituality, I again muse about the nature of life. Do I think at all? I see that my mind is often caught up in resentments. I can think about something else whenever I realize I need to. That is a practice of solitude.

I first heard of \”solitaries\” about 2 years before entering the monastery. After leaving the monastery, I continued to pursue solitude. I don\’t know what I will find here. I don\’t know if only gaining solitude on nights and weekends is enough. I stand outside the tribe. This is my contemplation.