Thanksgiving Day 2

I slept late today since I didn\’t set an alarm. A little tougher to work in so many hours of workout if you sleep through a couple of hour of it. Then before going running, I decided to take care of a small administrative matter for work. Then, not knowing how long I wanted to run, I had to mix up drinks and fill bottles before being ready. So pretty late getting to the park.

But wow, what a fantastic day. Totally sunny breezy and not that hot. Well, 80F is not that hot for Texas. I got in 4 hours / 17.4 miles.

My Course in Miracles lesson was: \”This day belongs to God. It is my gift to Him.\” I had my mind tuned to this lesson during most of my run.

I had to stop because of time and running out of drinks and because the beans in the crock pot at home needed to be turned off. I make beans every Sunday in the crock pot. I love a bowl of fresh beans.

After a brief rest, I went to an AA meeting. This didn\’t turn out that well. A lady was there with her baby. And the activities around playing with the baby got too distracting for me to pay attention to the speakers. So I moved to the other side of the room. I suppose this upset the mother. So she packed up and left. I\’m sorry she did that just because I didn\’t want to watch her baby so I moved. Oh well.

Now of course, it is time for me to manage my mind. This is now a Course in Miracles moment. Do I listen to my brain yell at me about how guilty I am or do I give this to Jesus and look beyond to the heart of Christ. I glanced at tomorrow\’s Lesson: \”Today I will judge nothing that occurs.\” Perfect for right now.

The TED radio hour was on quiet. A guy on there didn\’t speak for 17 years. And he walked around the world. He did communicate with signs. Not speaking is not the same as silence.

My ego yells at me and at the world almost all the time; unless I\’m engaged deeply in my work, reading a good book, or actively managing my thoughts including silencing them. Tomorrow\’s lesson is perfect for talking back to my brain and stopping it\’s yelling.

At least half of my spiritual practice is related to dealing with the yelling mind.

This evening, I did another elliptical workout and a free weight workout.

Just a little over 5 hours today. What am I doing? Well, to complete any of my upcoming endurance events, it is enough to walk jog 20 or so miles and then walk for another 10 or 20 miles. So, having one long walk jog in the morning and following that with cross training in the afternoon fills the bill without undue pounding on the legs. I feel energized at the end of the day instead of exhausted.

My goal tomorrow is merely to get out of bed at the alarm. After that, something will happen and there will be time.

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Training Agenda

Most people have a training plan, what exercises and runs they\’ll do that week. I don\’t. Usually, I do what I feel like and have time for.

However, I do have a spiritual training agenda. Here is this week:
Love, which created me, is what I am.
Now will I seek and find the peace of God.
Father I will but to remember you.
Be in my mind, my Father, through the day.
I give my life to God to guide today.
(ACIM lessons 229-233)

And anything that happens to me is framed by what I am reading in the Text, which happens to be chapter 7.

Gifts

I had a good weekend. Saturday I jog/walked 22 miles. I was going a bit faster than ultra pace but also carrying lots of water for weight. This speed annoyed one of my tendons in my left heel. Sunday is ultra walking day. When I do a race longer that 50k, you can bet there will be lots of power walking. So today, I walked 20 miles. I felt really good and no problems at all from feet or legs. No compression today and no tape on my knee. I did really well and I felt good.

So, my best ultra pace, for going all day is just under 4 mph. Think about it. Get your mind around a hundred miles of walking.

A year ago, my doctor released me from my boot and scooter and I took my first few steps on my foot since surgery 6 weeks earlier. God that hurt. A half a mile took me 18 minutes and it hurt like hell. Today was essentially pain free.

Why do I do this? I don\’t know, but after I get out beyond 15 miles, it is hard to get me to stop. I usually stop when I run out of water. Today I stopped because I forgot to lower the crock pot temperature before I left the house and figured I shouldn\’t leave it more than 5 hours.

Gift: I was looking at the Desert RATS web page. They have been working on it. It looks like the longest day is not 43 miles. That is down from 52. I can envision completing 42 miles on day 4, in 20 hours including some climbing. I had assumed I\’d DNF 52 miles. But 43 is within my capability.

Gift: I had prayed according to A Course in Miracles to see a person differently. That person is now one of the site leaders who will work closely with me on my new project. I hadn\’t thought he was at all interested but it seems he really is very enthusiastic. So I do get to see him in a new context.

Gift: I got an e-mail from my brother this week. It is the first time in decades he has initiated contact. Usually it is me that e-mails him; and sometimes don\’t hear back for days.

I\’ve been considering my spiritual journey. It seems that as I get better mentally, the high points of emotion no longer occur in conjunction with spiritual insight. Like silence really is silence. Not silence plus ecstasy. I realize that for many years my spirituality has been aimed at \”better than.\” That is, as I left the monastery, I had to feel as good as or be better than the nuns. And this translated into an arrogant attitude towards the ordinary citizens who are far too busy with living to worry about God more than once a week.

A few days ago, I was reading an introduction to the work book for A Course in Miracles. It said that the first part was for undoing of thoughts and beliefs. The second part was for building a new spiritual belief system. I\’ve always had trouble with the second part. So I started it again. It has alot less words. I\’m going to give it a good chance.

See my life is changing. Last week was good evidence. I sold a tremendous idea to the manager of a large chemical park (800 employees plus 1000 contractors). Then I sold the idea to his top staff. It is a pinnacle for me in terms of self worth, getting out of self, feeling engaged. But also, expanding an idea by giving it away, being in a holy relationship. These are Course in Miracles concepts and it is cool to see them framed this way. My illusion is changing, healing, swinging into a happy dream. I am committed to staying at this site out of joy not money. That is hugely significant for me.

Lesson 226

Today\’s ACIM Lesson:
Lesson 226 \”My home awaits me. I will hasten there.

If I so choose, I can depart this world entirely. It is not death which makes this possible, but it is change of mind about the purpose of the world. If I believe it has a value as I see it now, so will it still remain for me. But if I see no value in the world as I behold it, nothing that I want to keep as mine or search for as a goal, it will depart from me. For I have not sought for illusions to replace the truth.

Father, my home awaits my glad return. Your Arms are open and I hear Your Voice. What need have I to linger in a place of vain desires and of shattered dreams, when Heaven can so easily be mine?\”

What I read in the ACIM text this morning:

\”Be vigilant only for God and for His Kingdom….

The third step, then, is a statement of what you want to believe, and entails a willingness to relinquish everything else. The Holy Spirit will enable you to take this step, if you follow Him. Your vigilance is the sign that you want Him to guide you. Vigilance does require effort, but only until you learn that effort itself is unnecessary. You have exerted great effort to preserve what you made because it was not true. Therefore, you must now turn your effort against it. Only this can cancel out the need for effort, and call upon the being which you both have and are. This recognition is wholly without effort since it is already true and needs no protection. It is in the perfect safety of God. Therefore, inclusion is total and creation is without limit.\”

I had a great 20 minutes on the elliptical and then a great 3.1 mile run outside. Then I went to work. In my inbox were 2 e-mails from 2 vice presidents thanking me for my \”impact\” at their meeting yesterday.

The part in the text above allowed me to go to work today with a mind set on service to my higher power, not on getting. Yesterday, at the meeting with 25 executives, I gave away an idea. It was an out-of-the-blue radical idea. But I had the courage to put send it to one of the VPs a few weeks ago and he got excited. Yesterday, I sprang it on the others and they got excited. This is exactly what ACIM means that ideas expand when given. And giving and receiving are the same.

Today as well, I had in mind that I wanted to help a colleague instead of fight with him. In wanting to collaborate, I was feeling inclusion not separation. In this way, the ego is defeated and the Spirit has been followed. The mindset of inclusion approaches the ACIM principle of \”forgiveness\” since one is now looking beyond this world into the reality of the oneness of creation.

This can only be a wonderful way to live. I am happy for having inner peace today.

My Bread is Buttered on the Texas Side

Gah! I\’ve lived in Texas 3 years. I think you can get in to Texas but you can\’t get out. And I suppose there is nothing wrong with that.

Today I ran 21 miles in Seabrook averaging 13.4 min/mile despite doing 4x1s. That is 4.5 miles per hour since I know a stop to talk was included in that time. Now all summer in Houston, in ungodly heat and humidity, I was barely able to crack 4 miles per hour, and couldn\’t really stay out 5 hours. Now, the first somewhat cool day with a stiff breeze, I\’m so much better. Heat training is worth it.

Yesterday, a pack of bicycles went down a road just as I was coming to the crossing. Someone said \”there\’s Laura.\” Another one said, \”Hi Laura!\” Who were these mystery people? Today, I saw my neighbors walking in the park. Another couple I see running in the park every week told me how much they admired me. Another guy asked me if I was an ultra runner. Apparently I look like the real thing.

On Friday, I had a chat with N. He wants me to come back to work for him. I probably will. See, my company is selling the part of the business in Texas. The exact group I currently work for is disappearing. So, I would move across the fence and go to work in the group I was in last year. And, forget moving back to Kansas with some other part of the company. N. is the side of my bread with butter on it.

Another thing. I had a creative moment which yielded a innovative idea. I sent the idea to the plant manager. I didn\’t hear anything from him. Then I saw him last week and asked him about it. He hadn\’t seen it in his in-box. 2 more days and I get an e-mail saying he loves it; and lets do some more brain storming. This plant manager is in the \”for sale\” part of the company.

I have done well with all of my work for the \”for sale\” part of the plant. My skills are valued. Not so much with the other part of the company.

All these bits of anecdotal evidence add up to: Texas has been good to me. It is the side of the bread where my butter is.

In the spiritual part of my life, the butter is on the Course in Miracles side. What I am saying is that there are spiritual truths which are found in many spiritual traditions; but the way they are explained and taught in the Text and Workbook for A Course in Miracles is the way I\’ve found success. Anyone who has had a massive revelatory, emotionally invasive spiritual experience still has to work on making meaning out of it for the rest of their life. Their big moment disappears into the daily distracted life. They still put their pants on one leg at a time. They pick up their bag of racks and continue down the road.

My revelatory experiences have not been massive as far as I can discern when I read someone else\’s story. But mine are in fact daily. Everyday, especially during my morning study of the ACIM text, I completely understand Oneness. And I can find Oneness during the day too. Like out running today, I was able to grant Inner Joyful Eternity to any person I thought of. I knew that Reality is Joy. No doubt or argument was present. That is truly a spiritual experience.

I hate shopping. If I could get everything from Amazon.com and never go in a store, I would. Well, I am giving a talk at a symposium next week. I need a suit. A suit can\’t be bought on-line. I\’ve been procrastinating because I hate shopping and I hate all the traffic near the mall. Yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and did the chore. I finished my run early, showered, drove to Dillard\’s, asked directions to the lady\’s suit department, stopped the first associate I could and explained what I wanted. In particular, I hate women\’s pants that are low cut. The damn things always feel like they are falling off and a shirt won\’t stay tucked in. I don\’t actually know how women are supposed to dress anyway.

Actually, when I finally decide to go an buy something, I also plan to accomplish the mission in one trip without any fooling around. I buy cars that way too.

Well, very quickly, the lady found a pair of pants that fit perfectly. I got the whole suit and 2 shirts for $700. I didn\’t care how much, only that it fit and I looked ok. I made sure the lady thought the shirt was ok. It helps alot that if you go in a store around here and say you are an engineer, they ask if you are an astronaut; so the clothes they show you are not a bunch of girly nonsense. Well, they asked me if I was an astronaut anyway; and I didn\’t say no.

I\’m a fake astronaut but a real engineer and ultra runner. Texas immigrant.Embodied Inner Joyful Eternity.

Consciousness Itself

Most people think that running is about training for a race or a time goal in a particular race. They think of how dreadful all that running is. My adventure into ultra-running came about as an extension of meditation; a way to discover consciousness beyond daily striving.

A hot humid day in Houston, after about 3 hours of jog walk produces mindlessness.

I love A Course in Miracles because it is a text book. As I read it and practice it\’s lessons, a Teacher enters my consciousness. I don\’t need to travel to India or even around the United States. I receive inner peace right here. I \”look beyond\” right now.

My only mistake, seemingly, is not having the great emotional experience that others write about in their books. This experience distinguishes them from all others and seems to once again produce separation. It is my inner job to let this go.

I once was in a monastery and a Benedictine novice for 4 years. Within 3 days of my monastic profession, invitations printed and sent, altar flower arrangements in the cooler, I was suddenly kicked out. At the moment of being told to leave, I spontaneously (out of the blue) visualized a white bird suddenly having a golden ankle chain cut and it flew free into a blue sky.

When I want freedom at any time today, I think, \”Eternal Silence lives It\’s life in me. Stately Quiet Love has set me free.\” I suppose I am able to fall down in adoration before Stately Quiet. It is here that I am free.

I had a dream during my final retreat in the monastery. I dreamed that I was dust mopping the long hallway near the Novitiate. I finished my cleaning work and then I was sitting outside on a rock, looking up at a starry sky, waiting. \”Love is the predominant form of existence,\” is the word that I heard in this dream.

All this is important now since the same thing is happening. My universe is changing. The waves of emotion tied to thoughts about appearances and perceptions attempt to take me away. I must sit in quiet calm right now.

I can see how my life is merely a love affair of joy and Joy.

Surrender and do better

One way to get through a day is to remember \”I am a worn and no man.\” (see the 7th degree of humility) Remembering this, I survived 4 years in a monastery where I was in fact below all other precious but annoying little nuns.

Rule of Benedict, Chapter 7: On Humility

The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
\”But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people\” (Ps. 21[22]:7).
\”After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion\” (Pa. 87:16).
And again,
\”It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments\” (Ps. 118[119]:71).

Another way to get through a day come through the 3rd step of AA: \”Father, I offer myself to you, to do with me and build with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to the will, thy love and thy way of life. May I at last abandon myself utterly to you.\”

Another way is a daily phrase from A Course in Miracles. From the Manual for Teachers: \”The name of Jesus stands for love beyond this world. Jesus is the Word of God. The Word of God is the Atonement.\” or also,
\”I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.\” (text 2.V)

\”Into thy hands I commend my spirit.\”

What I am saying is that if I abandon my ego, turn my will and my life over to God, I do better. Otherwise, I am a stressed out worrisome mess every day. If I practice downward mobility in a hierarchical sense, that is, stop trying to protect and defend but merely serve, I do better mentally and emotionally. I may or may not do better financially, but that is not the point.

Now I will go to the park and run laps.

Prayer of the Heart

From the ACIM Manual for Teachers 21: \”Strictly speaking, words play no part at all in healing. The motivating factor is prayer, or asking. What you ask for you receive. But this refers to the prayer of the heart, not to the words you use in praying. …The prayer for things of this world will bring experiences of this world. If the prayer of the heart asks for this, this will be given because this will be received. It is impossible that the prayer of the heart remain unanswered in the perception of the one who asks. If he asks for the impossible, if he wants what does not exist or seeks for illusions in his heart, all this becomes his own. The power of his decision offers it to him as he requests. Herein lie hell and Heaven. The sleeping Son of God has but this power left to him. It is enough. His words do not matter. Only the Word of God has any meaning, because it symbolizes that which has no human symbols at all. The Holy Spirit alone understands what this Word stands for. And this, too, is enough.\” (bolding mine)

Other books have been written about the prayer of the heart. I had quite forgotten this phrase. I had heard it first in the Forest of Peace, my first monastic home in Oklahoma.

The phrase cause me to sink in silence into my heart, some layer of consciousness deeper/ different than ordinary daily consciousness. What sort of experiences am I asking for in my heart? I feel the energy of certain images and I know what I was seeking positively or negatively. I can change the negative associations to feel positive too. I realized that the positive interpretations are truly my heart and my negative interpretations are my ego. The ego is so easily over-ridden in this activity.

Anyone who attains enough conscious awareness to over ride the ego\’s shabby sense of self and hateful outlook on everything can have a happy life. I can have a happy day.

And so I went running, on a very glorious day of coolness here on the Gulf Coast. I was nodding to the other runners and thinking about my spirituality. I thought about what sort of energy seems to come from my heart and drive my life. I thought this must be the prayer of my heart. Then I thought about the Great Rays mentioned in the Course in Miracles text. I\’ve always thought of them as coming from some point above in the heavens. But suddenly, I realized,the Great Rays come from within. And everybody is emitting the Great Rays. And knowing this a seeing it with eyes of the heart, I surely know what is meant by \”forgiveness\” in A Course in Miracles.

Jogging around Seabrook was delightful today. It caused me to wonder if I should not go to the company I work for and tell them I want to stay here; to go ahead and move my office across the fenceline to the new company.

i-Joining

ACIM Manual for Teachers 20: \”His Will is wholly without opposite.\” To which I add another phrase from the ACIM text (citation not available): \”Turn you to the stately calm within.\”

Say very well during exercise and drive to work:
His Will is wholly without opposite.
Turn you to the Stately Calm within.

I have had a big week. Despite the issue at work, where the company is splitting, I did get a new work computer and new work iphone. It is my first entry into Apple products. In some sense, I have joined the world. But I still don\’t want to join FB or watch TV. The IT tech was amazed I don\’t have itunes on my computer. I used \”selfie\” mode for the first time.

I also got my flu shot this week; and donated to National Public Radio.

It might be cooling off in Texas!

I am so optimistic about my running that I was surfing ultrasignup.com this morning. A year ago, I was one week out of surgery and still with 5 weeks of non-weight bearing. Today, I was running uphill on my treadmill at 5 mph. That is so awesome.

Consciousness and Insanity

From A Course in Miracles, Manual for Teachers 4: \”They are sure they are beloved and must be safe. Joy goes with gentleness as surely as grief attends attack. God’s teachers trust in Him. And they are sure His Teacher goes before them, making sure no harm can come to them. They hold His gifts and follow in His way, because God’s Voice directs them in all things. Joy is their song of thanks. And Christ looks down on them in thanks as well. His need of them is just as great as theirs of Him.\”

Expressed there is what most of us want: safety and being needed. Most of us also add ambition to the formula. Thus ensues competition and attack. Or maybe the men also compete for a woman.

I like the idea of joy being a song of gratitude, I can make that choice right now. Gratitude for the sense of Presence and willingness to turn to Spirit for mental and emotional comfort right now.

I slept late today. It is cooler in Texas now so getting up early for running is not so important. My first thoughts were on how easy it is to forget God. In my world at the moment is a tremendous amount of mental flak related to the split in my company and the uncertainty of where I\’ll be assigned. But none of that matters if I am employed by God and only here to serve Him.

But honestly, I am not that evolved. Fear producing hatred permeates my brain. My mind is aware of this. In awareness and consciousness, I can direct my thinking. Yes, it is a discipline and an effort to remain in observance. But just letting my thoughts spiral out of control is terrible. First awareness of my thoughts which separates me from them. In my choice, I also employ whatever is a higher consciousness (God, Spirit, Jesus) and ask Him to direct my thinking. And usually some peaceful thought comes along, some thought of trust and reliance on God. And then I am fine. 

This spiritual way of life is pie in the sky for many. Without it, I am hopelessly insane and probably would not be sober.