Wow! I was getting off the freeway on my way home from work. My mind flashed on an image of Mass this morning. I suddenly felt the intimacy of Christ in the depths of my being. It was strong enough to say almost physical, or that the reverberations from the spiritual plane buffeted the mental and physical enough for me to notice it.

This vague sense of intimacy would definitely create a hunger for Mass within my mind. Then it expanded to the guy at the bank, the apartment manager lady, and Georgie (my co-worker\’s little daughter).

Intimacy with Christ could be seen everywhere; not with the body\’s eyes but with the intuition. Now if only I could keep the Christ vision permanently.


Christ Consciousness – My Brother\’s Holiness

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) text, chapter 24.VI:

– And where is God Himself but in that part of Him He set forever in your brother’s holiness, that you might see the truth about yourself…
– Your brother’s holiness is sacrament and benediction unto you.
– The Christ in you can see your brother truly.
– Choose then his body or his holiness as what you want to see.

Throughout the ages and in various religious, life and mental contexts, there are people who have discovered Christ consciousness and practiced Christ vision. I say Christ, whereas someone else might say Buddha or Atman or Tao or Self. The word is not important the content is important.

I fervently want to be one of the ones who allows Christ to be my predominant mode of consciousness. It means giving up my selfish thoughts, opinions and attitudes. It means being honest about my self centered fear. Above all, it means seeing my brother as Christ, no matter what his body is doing. There is no chance of me finding the Christ in me if I point my finger at my brother and name his faults. No chance.

It means letting go of my ego consciousness and letting God consciousness be in front. I realize thinking with God is a totally different way of thinking and being than I am right now. I am willing to keep up the spiritual study, personal inventory and meditation in order to achieve Christ consciousness. Jesus waits for me to let go.

It is in the silence of my apartment and my soul where I go to think such lofty thoughts and fervently pray for such a life. It is in the depths of silence where Christ whispers to me and helps me. Christ wants me to succeed at ego deflation more than I could ever know. It is in the surrender of ego that all the powers of Heaven enter my life. What greater thing? Why would I miss the experience of total oneness with God? Only if I valued brotherly hate more than brotherly love. Believe me, if I hate my brother’s driving, I hate him and that is my choice. I fervently work on going the other way: allowing Christ in me to behold holiness in my brother and nothing else.

The New Jesus Paradigm

From A Course in Miracles:
\”My mind gives the world meaning.\” \”What keeps the world in chains but my beliefs?\”

I am a Roman Catholic, formerly spent 4 years in a monastery, attended Catholic seminary, and am deeply conditioned by standard Catholic beliefs. The standard Christian teaching on atonement is the one I was originally taught: Jesus died for my sins. ACIM changes the meaning of this word, atonement, and how we are saved. Today, I put the ACIM concept of Atonement in my own words (which may or may not be accurate).

Most people blithely say Atonement according to ACIM means undoing; and it does. But here is more: Atonement is not a sacrificial offering of Jesus to God; but a joining with the living Christ (NOW) and sacrificing the ego belief system. The ego belief system is symbolized by the crucifixion story; a story of God needing an offering of His murdered Son before He will see us as sinless. The ego belief system summed up: anything that is not love or peace is ego. Sacrifice, meaning give up, means give up anything not love or peace. Because God is love, all I need to do is give up (sacrifice) my ego belief system in order to enter Heaven. Killing anyone or paying for anything has nothing to do with it.

I subscribe to ACIM because a) I get to keep the personal relationship to Jesus, the living Christ, that I have always had, and b) ACIM makes more sense to me if God is love instead of anger and punishment. I am willing to go through the process and the work of changing my beliefs in order to give the world a meaning of love and peace.

Christ: the Athlete Within

In the past, I have tried to explore my inner drive which shows up as a runner/athlete. I am not training for anything right now, but I am still a runner/athlete. What does that mean? I’m just interested in fitness? Or is there something else? I decided to take “being a runner” out of the material and physical world and explore its power in depth. The thing which runs and lifts weights and rides the bike is an inner drive, a force. Indeed, it is this force that gets out of bed in the morning. This force never slept because it is not really a physical being but spirit.

Today, I feel this force could only be joy and peace, seeking love. The force’s real goal is God; not a personal best in a race or success in career or tons of money and fame. It cares nothing about these worldly things. It is easy to confuse goals and think the force wants success because when success occurs, my ego jumps in a produces happy emotions. This ego reaction has nothing to do with the force or truth. Worldly things are useless except as they are learning tools and experiences to lead me to God.

I am not training for a marathon, but I want to keep the inner force alive and empowering me towards God. I stop and consider God a moment: the holy presence everywhere. I ponder the reality of this silent subtle presence which I find whenever I stop to consider it. No matter what I think I see out there, there is only God.

Who is the root and ground of my being? Who is the force that keeps pushing me to God? My life is my essence, my core, my root, my heart; which is not in my body. This life, the force, is not mine alone. I am merely part of it and a partaker in it. The force of my life is Christ, The Son of God, whose life lives in me. Christ is the athlete and the driving force. Essentially, there is no me, only Him.

The life of Christ is not some stuffy religious concept of morality you find in a church. It is vitality and aliveness and vibrant energy. It is deepest satisfaction. I think of deeper joys than winning an award or getting a bunch of money. Christ is both cause and effect. He is my desire beyond orgasm and the fulfillment of that desire. He is never ending. He is my life eternal. He is my safety beyond locked doors and strong men. He is my body beyond health or cancer and over eating and old age.

I know Christ because I have stopped my outward searching and looked within. I know Christ because I recognize Him in all life.

Christ is the One who spoke through the man Jesus; and who speaks in me today. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who lives in me never dies.” “I am the way the truth and the life.” “I am the bread of life. Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you have not life in you.” “I am the Son of God.” This was not Jesus talking but the Christ in him.

Christ is the runner in me; not a winner of races but a phenomenal life force. To deny His life is to pretend I myself am glorious for running fast or long, impressing my friends and having better health than everyone else. To live His life is to honor the power as His, live it and humbly give up my life to it. What would I choose to give up (sacrifice): my personal glory or His infinite GLORY? He lives in me whether I know it or not. The choice is mine. Because I want to know Christ, I choose to sacrifice my ego glory. Would I live without Him? Or would I allow Him to live in me? Truth is only Him. I would not live as a sham, an imposter, an ego who has usurped Christ; an ego seeking for itself and destroying all around me.

I allow Christ, honor Christ and consciously let Him live. Do I look different? No. Do I eat and sleep and do the dishes? Yes. The only difference is I know it is Christ, not me who lives here.

I am the Dreamer

I feel awesomely good today. I think it is because at some level, I accept responsibility for being the dreamer of the dream (re: A Course in Miracles, ACIM, 27.VII). My dream is of a world which is filled with hate. It is not scary to accept this at a deep level because I have Help with a solution to the problem. It is not hard to accept that I made the hateful dream because I hate God if I have a solution which assures me I am not guilty and God loves me. If I believe that God made this hateful world, then there is no possible way I could love a God who would do that. If I believe I dreamed this hateful world, but God is here to heal me, then I can love God. My hateful mind needs healing and the healing is provided. The dream is a dream, not real, so I don’t need to be afraid that I have done something horrible for which God will punish me. I just dreamed it. This is the miracle.

My dream consists of a world where the air will hurt me but I must breathe it. The water will hurt me but I must drink it. The food will hurt me but I must eat it. The other people will hurt me but I must interact with them (swine flu is a perfect example of this). Do you see? I have dreamed a world full of hate. But the hate is mine. I had the hate then I projected it into a hateful dream. The hate came from the belief I am separate from God. If I give up the idea that God made this hateful place, then I can accept His help. I trust that God loves me. Loving God becomes my choice. I want to love God, therefore I give up the idea that God made this hateful place, in favor of the idea that I dreamed it; and that I can be completely free of the hate if I accept God’s healing of my mind.

When A Course in Miracles speaks of a miracle, it means a mind has been healed. That mind accepts its dream and goes on to accept happy dreams provided by the Holy Spirit. That mind is enabled to see holiness in everything which used to be seen as hateful. Instead of seeing other people as my enemy, I see them as holy, light-filled, and my sacred companions. Seeing like this is called Christ Vision. Christ Vision is given by the Holy Spirit. Seeing like this is called forgiveness. To forgive is not to pardon, but to look beyond the dream to the holiness present in everything. The real world is beyond my hateful dream world and I can see it as well as live there if I accept divine help.

I feel awesomely good today because I have had a moment of clarity regarding this radical teaching of ACIM. Having a new perception of the world enables me to walk more freely in the world and actually participate more because I am not afraid or hateful. I merely practice the Christ Vision.

Who the f**k am I?

Dear God, I can read the answer about who I am in a book; but I want to know your opinion directly. It is the whole reason I’m contemplative. I don’t want to be an unconscious person. I want to know, or life is a complete waste. Why run? Why be alive? These are the same questions. I keep doing both. I pause and listen with the ears of my heart:

As a child, I was merely trying to survive. In college, I had hopes for a meaningful career. In my 20’s, I hoped God would give me something. God and career joined forces. This modus operandi continued into AA, where I began to hope for a “spiritual experience,” and find a husband. Then I had an era of studying the New Age, where I hoped for enlightened ecstasy. I still wanted God to give me something.

Then, I got a motorcycle and a boyfriend. Pride won and lost. I was cool on the Harley, but I hated the attention because I knew it was fake. People admired my chrome and leather. Once in a while, someone would mention “God on a Harley” or “The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance.” But I had found neither God nor Zen on the Harley; no spiritual experience. The boyfriend(s) didn’t provide the spiritual experience or even financial security. In fact, the boys were taking up a good deal of time. I eventually realized that the motorcycle and the boys were draining energy from the spiritual quest.

I got rid of both the cycle and the boyfriend. I discovered meditation. Meditation led back to religion as many meditaters are religious in some way. Then, I wanted to go to a monastery, where I hoped to find what the mystics had found. So, off I went. Four years later, finding myself unsuited to their communal life, the monastics booted me back to the secular world.

I made a new life in the secular world. I continued with religion for about two years, until I found I disagreed with its premises. To this day: I meditate, I run, I read, I talk to Jesus, I try this or that technique, I fast, I search the internet, I play free cell, I stay in solitude. This series constitutes a futile search.

I look inside, searching my inner being. I find that part of me continues the futile search, in frustration. Another part of me is happy to rest in peace. If I run, I can get a day-in-day-out peace with my body. If I meditate and study spiritual writings, I can get a day-in-day-out peace with my mind. But what about my spirit?

At the level of my humanity (body and mind), my life has accomplished nothing and means nothing. It is entertainment. If there is a higher level, a spiritual or divine level of existence, it does not produce at the human level. It must be relegated to the un-graspable, intangible, nebulous. It can enter a human awareness as intuition or peace; not as satisfaction or profit, but as fleeting phenomena. If peace and healing are the same, then it can be said that the spiritual heals. If peace and love are the same, then it can be said that the spiritual is love.

Love does produce human by-products. Love is a phenomenon. In my humanity, if I am at peace, then I am also love. Hence, the highest order of human existence is peaceful love or loving peace. In the state of loving peace, nothing about this world, my body or my mind matters. The world, my body and my mind, therefore, must not exist, or have meaning or purpose. True reality can only be loving peace, and not anything which doesn’t matter.

Being alive at the level of loving peace is satisfying. I call this satisfaction Christ. Loving Peace is Christ. I will give up myself to Christ. I will live in Christ, as Christ. Who the f**k am I? Christ. There is no other answer.

Personal statistics: I ran 17 miles this morning after the early morning storm. Since returning, we have had wave after wave of strong thunderstorms. In the ACIM workbook, I am on lesson 157 and in the text, I am at 28.I. I will need to mow the lawn during the week, as I didn\’t get to it today.

The them of hate becoming the Them of Love

Here is a story about my morning meditation. First, I’ll go back to last night and say that I finished off the evening’s meditation with the thought, “the holiness and sacredness of it all.” All of what? I don’t know. Maybe some great sacred silence which permeates everything. Going back even further to yesterday afternoon, I had the thought of holiness as I ran in the park. I was near the frog pond and Grandmother Tree as I thought of a certain person who helped me in the past and my gratitude; and consequently I thought of the holiness of it all.

So this morning, I get up. I felt defeated and blank minded. I had none of God’s “Revelation.” I couldn’t remember what salvation is or why I would want it. I said in prayer, “I am willing to be at ground zero today.” I felt like I was in the rubble of a failed life: I don’t know how to consistently eat healthy; I am about to spend way too much time driving to another city and going in a senseless ultra-marathon in order to get a finisher medal; my life stretches out in senseless insanity. I noticed that I perceive the future with fear. It is easy to blame future disaster on the small “them” of society: the cheaters and thieves who are out to screw me. I wrote down my fears of the future. I admitted that I was secretly harboring the cause of these disasters NOW. No wonder I feel guilty and afraid. I am the one projecting harm for all because of my hate and pain.

Having gone through my act of admitting to God and giving my hate and pain to God, I returned to thinking, “I accept being a blank slate today.” I returned to thinking of all the people around me and how they hold Christ within, how they are creations of God, and how holy they are. It was just then that I felt like THEY (the face of Christ and the memory of God) entered my empty space. What happened to my consciousness was exactly what I always want to happen: I became empty of my self, giving up my hate and fear, and THEY came in. I said in prayer, “I am willing to be a living temple in a world of light.” I credit THEM with bringing me this reality. It is because I wanted THEM and made a space for THEM and was willing to see THEM in others that THEY came and made THEIR home with me.

The miracle of this morning meditation was that instead of sitting here hating the “them” of society, I had decided instead to accept the “THEM” of Christ and God. I credit THEM with being the cause. It is true that I did some work: give up my hate to THEM. Where the willingness to do this comes from must also be attributed to some part of me higher than my ego. This is a good spiritual path. I offer it to anyone. It can be found in any religion or philosophy. It is very simple: give up your hate and Love enters.

Love is the predominant mode of existence.

Lent – Desperate in the Desert

An unusual morning. As I awoke, I sensed the lights outside winking out. But somewhere, my brain knew that the tea had already been made. So I got up to see and sure enough, the tea pot was hot. In that short 25 foot trip to the kitchen, I thought, why do I get up at 3:10 to do spiritual study and meditation? Why not sleep? What do I think I am accomplishing?

A few minutes later, a hot cup of tea in my hand and a light emanating from my forehead (!), I sat down at my table. I could hear the power company outside, actually I think they had been working all night, so I assumed it would not be long before the power was back on. Actually, at 3:25, it did come back on. Then, I promptly spilled my tea and had to make another pot.

But I was pondering my question: Why do I bother wanting to know God? One thing I like about ACIM is it\’s approach of encouraging me to seek the Voice for God myself (ref WB 124), don\’t just listen to the text. So that is what I did this morning. My thoughts went like this. I thought about how desperately I want to see Christ\’s face. I want to see it in my brothers and everywhere. This face, for which you could use another name like Atman or Buddha or Tao or Self, represents love and safety; and \”making it.\” Making it? My term, making it, is a two faced coin or a two edged sword. It can be positive: I honestly sought God in response to a call from God. The term can be ego based: I earned or cheated or stole the coveted state of enlightenment.

I saw clearly that what I believe is a choice. If I believe the ego\’s voice, then my spirituality is a search for a cheap thrill, and I should go back to bed. If I believe the Voice for God, then my desire for God and journey to God is with Help; and is a pure and holy result originating with Cause. To listen to the ego is to poison and kill what could be the most tremendous gift and extravagant source of wealth: my deep and incredible faith, sustained for years, and sure belief that the All Powerful is carrying me to Himself.

I get what I choose. If I choose God, I get connection and peace. I am immediately there.

Hence, I prostrate before my faith and my choice and Christ: I give myself completely and totally to the desire for God and unabashedly proclaim my undivided relentless pursuit of Love.

I am powerless over this.

Lenten Desert

I said this Lent would be a trip into the desert. Reading “Jesus Interrupted” (Bart Ehrman) I find myself even more stripped of clinging to the dogmatic Jesus. That is, when I write, I usually use the term Christ or Christ consciousness because I find it more socially acceptable than to stick to an unknown abstraction. I do this because of a lingering fear of what my Christian friends might think of me. I truly am tired of being dumped because of religious differences. What if I stopped trying to be acceptable to Christians? I’ve known since reading “In Memory of Her” (Elizabeth Fiorenza, dean of Harvard Divinity School) that only about 20% of the Bible can be said to accurate or valid. Her book had a historical and research focus. Ehrman’s book focuses on things that can be clearly seen in the Bible without going anywhere. If I study A Course in Miracles, I have to admit to myself that I don\’t know how accurate the information is. Whether I read the Bible or ACIM or the Bhagvagita or any sutra or any philosophy, it is always devotional because they all break down if approached analytically.

Ehrman\’s book would be risky for a basic denominational Christian to read; yet its information is standard fare for seminarians. The seminarians learn this material but they never mention it from the pulpit. It causes me to return to my frequent self examination. I return to the question: If no one had told me anything, what would I believe? And: Is my desire for God a call from God or obedience to social conditioning? The answer to the question is faith; faith determined by experience. How do I determine God for myself since the world only offers shifting half truths?

God’s revelation to me is through all my life experiences. These experiences lead from one thing to another, but always away from the various dogmatic or religious approaches. Each experience strips away some piece of social programming and leaves me with nothing. In my opinion, the only place these experiences can lead is to the Great Silence, which is why I call my Lenten journey a desert. Exploring solitude and silence has been something I learned about in the monastery, but have continued ever since.

Silence, stillness and quiet are just that. In the Bible, and other places, it says God is light. Light is silent. It doesn’t say anything. Pure light cannot be seen without reflecting off something. So if you see light, whether in the world or in your mind, it is reflecting off something. What are you perceiving if you see or hear or in any fashion detect light? Can it be God if you perceive it? Anything that you say about silence is not factual but experiential.

So I return to my practice of silence. If I am hearing God, I cannot say. The desert is silent, period.

Personal statistics: I ran 4 miles today. My legs felt great even though I ran 26 miles yesterday. I tried out my new \”Olathe Marathon\” hat and it was like Sampson\’s hair as far as I am concerned. One year ago, I broke my arm. Since that day, I had to use my left arm to hold the coffee cup. Today, I officially transferred the cup back to my right arm.