Behold

Behold is a word I rediscovered in my current spiritual reading (\”Silence-a user\’s guide\” by Maggie Ross).

Look! Stand is awe! Wordless. In your meditation, don\’t try for enlightenment but for beholding that which is silent and vast and non-physical. Quiet the mind for the purpose of beholding.

Jesus said,\”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me\” (Revelations,3:30, English Standard Version).

Has there ever been a more metaphysical saying? That great presence which you seek is standing at the door of your consciousness. Quiet the self-conscious mind and behold with a deeper awareness, a clarity, a now consciousness which has no words.

Behold, the bird in the tree. Behold, the tree. Behold air. Behold the sun. Behold, water. Behold, cells in your body. Behold, food. Behold, consciousness. Behold, earth. Behold, love. Behold joy. Behold, thought. Behold, gifts. Behold, compassion. Behold, altruism. Behold, help is here. Behold, I go before you always. Behold, seek and you shall find. Behold, mercy. Behold, these things shall be added unto you. Behold well-being. Behold abundance. Behold, I am with you always.

Be still and know that I am God.

Behold. I saw but I have no words for it. I couldn\’t grasp it. But it was and is. Behold.

The place of beholding is called liminality, the threshold. Behold is to see beyond. This place can be found somehow. And then sit at the threshold and you will know everything. Behold is a verb. Behold is a command. Self forgetfulness is beholding. Beholding is not an experience, because you were transfixed in thoughtless awareness when it happened, but ever transfigured afterward. Transfigured meaning software and cell biology updated.

You live in a new word. Behold!

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Monday Reflection

Is it Monday? No problem. It is my Saturday.

Weird thing about working at Starbucks, I can hardly wait to go back to it. I don\’t think that ever happened with my career job.

The Easter Bunny was working at Starbucks yesterday:

I never wore bunny ears to my career job. That was for grocery store clerks and other poor low wage under achievers. Ha! I had alot of fun when people noticed that a bunny was taking their order. None of my other partners did bunny ears. I\’m glad I can be silly.

Yesterday afternoon, I took a trail run at Hodge park. These trails are very easy, very runnable. They twist and turn through the trees so you lose a sense of where you are. Meditation occurs because your brain is focused on rocks and roots; not anything of the world. There were no trails like this near my house in Texas. In Kansas City, I have access to several parks with trails, near my house. Super. Next weekend, I am going in a trail half marathon. Should be fun.

I didn\’t pay to much attention to the religious aspect of Easter. It has been a long time since I was involved in religion. I stopped supporting the Catholic Church when Pope Benedict was elected, because, in my opinion, he was the \”priest predator protector in chief.\” I think predator priests belong in jail, and non-celibate priests should go find another denomination which approves of sex and marriage for clergy. I also think that the Catholic Church has rules about celibacy for priests because it wants to own and control both the priests and The Eucharist. No one can own The Eucharist, and no one should own a priest. I decided that Jesus wouldn\’t support that church. I became spiritual not religious.

Last Friday, a couple pastors from a church came into Starbucks. They wanted to buy everybody\’s coffee for an hour, and hand out cards announcing their Easter services. The shift supervisor allowed it. From my point of view, this was a pain in the ass. When someone makes an order, a sticker is printed which goes on their cup, and then the bar knows what to put in that cup. But the church guy didn\’t give me his credit card and tell me to go to town. No, he wanted to pay at the end. So each order took 3 times as long to process because I had to take it to a certain point, save it so the sticker would print, copy it onto a different register, then void it on my register. And, I had to explain to people that a church wanted to buy their coffee and that they should go get a card from that guy over there. I wasn\’t that enthusiastic about making this speech, mainly because I\’m not a proselytizer for any church. I am in favor of nourishing the soul, which Starbucks coffee does.

Most people were happy for a free coffee. Some didn\’t want a church buying their coffee. I don\’t know if any lost souls got a free coffee and went to that church for the first time this weekend. \”He is risen,\” is the cry that went out from all the Christian churches. Anybody who really believes the religious story of Jesus probably already belongs to a church. My own story is that I decided long ago to \”shamelessly follow Jesus.\” That vow takes me to truth, inner truth, the truth of my being. And so, here I am, just me as Source made me.

Source made me good.period.

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.

One Good Thought

Maybe it is left over monastic training on contemplation, but I often wish I could focus on one thought and go deeper into God through it. Today, reading the Manual for Teachers, A Course in Miracles, I got this thought:

\”Holy are you, eternal, free and whole, at peace forever in the Heart of God.\”

I totally see how if I think that of everybody and everything, then the illusion of this world ends. And, the teacher of God is not asked to be perfect, merely willing to follow the Teacher.  This is salvation and it is appropriate for Easter.

Now, off to the park for a few miles.

Easter Hourney 3 – Grand Finale

My dear readers, well I know there is at least one of you, you deserve an ending to the Easter story of Spirit Flower, spiritual athlete.

Last night, in the dregs of what could have been the Easter Vigil, I sat in my solitude and thought:

The monastics while away their time in liturgy, claiming the highest purpose and vocation. I, in solitude, while away my time as nothing, purposeless and useless and worthless, I visit the likes of Mr. Rushdie, a baffling author to say the least. In the two styles, their high Mass versus my reading on the bed, a circle is formed. We become united and overlapped at the ends of the three dimensional bell curve, a geometric temporality wrapped around the cylinder of the existential time warp. Both of us face the bleakest of futures unless able to step out of the bell curve and into the blackness lightness of the time warp. In the black light, eternity stands accepting and embracing all existence willing to let go of form and function and merely be.

I woke up this morning with the alarm clock in a surprisingly positive state of mind. I have spent more than two years studying A Course in Miracles and its practice of forgiveness, which is inside out and backwards of the Christian idea of forgiveness. Especially the past 3 or 4 days, my bafflement for the practice has loomed large in my forward consciousness. I kept asking the Holy Spirit for help, “What is it? How do I do it?” My mind continued to give blank impressions of what I should do; until this morning.

This morning, I imagined an extremely ugly and obese person I had seen in Wal-Mart awhile ago. At the time, I had judged and silently thought deprecating thoughts about that person. This morning, as the image flashed into my mind, I envisioned that person instantly awakened to Heaven and Truth. Then I thought of the various persons in my life and easily imagined them also gifted with spiritual awakening. I was surprised at my total lack of judgment or hatred of anybody. Fear and loathing were totally replaced with the ability to see anyone as an enlightened awakened being, existences far superior to their earthly illusions.

And so, I accept that at least for today I have a handle on the ACIM practice of forgiveness. This is my Eastertide.

I went running for 10 miles. It was an enjoyable run cut short by the idea of entering marathon next Saturday. I patronized Wal-Mart in search of Brussels sprouts and veggie patch meat balls, my intended lunch. I did a little work for work and again visited Mr. Rushdie. The space in my life not occupied by running was comfortably left vacant with some meditation time.

I have nothing to do, except perhaps lift weights in a little bit. I have nothing to show for my life. I have a silent and secret practice of projecting enlightenment (instead of disgust). I guess I will continue on with my waiting and watching and projecting of something hopeful. Tomorrow will be something else and the day after that something else and then a marathon and then another marathon and then weight lifting and then more long boring running. I refuse to stop looking and delving into the inner black light; and continue to resist the siren call of worldly involvement.

Selah!

Easter Journey 2 – Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday was one of the dreadful sorts of days in the monastery. Everyone was trying to be solemn and meditate on Jesus’ suffering and death. Time was spent in chapel chanting lamentations. Behind the scenes, the kitchen was quietly busy as people prepared delicacies for the Easter feast. The monastics had their Easter Vigil at 4 in the morning on Sunday. In the secular church, the Easter Vigil is at 7 pm tonight. It won’t even be dark, but that won’t stop them from pretending it is dark and reverencing an Easter flame as special. Many people will be baptized.

It is weird to live with the idea that the Jesus story is not real and has no truth. I do have a relationship with Christ, just not one that goes along with what religion says.

My holy week has come. For me, it will go in the same way: no exterior holiness. No crosses got reverenced. No crucifixion stories got acted out. No holy water will be sprinkled on me. I ran for 3 ½ hours yesterday. I ran for 3 hours this morning. This evening, I will lift weights as I listen to one of the NCAA basketball games. Tomorrow, I run again, maybe more than 3 hours.

My holiness is in the idea of my existence. Nothing more or I have given it to my ego. Getting to a point where I am at peace without any religious status seems to be a process which I am not sure I am done with. Living as a solitary without any status in society, especially my lack of exterior holiness manifested as religion, is a nagging discomfort for me. My ego continually wants me to go play the game and get the holiness the others have as a result of their holy activities. Not-going-along seems to drive my ego crazy. Essentially, that is why I do it. I want to be free, the me that exists beyond the ego.

But the world is not real. To go-along is to turn away from the holiness within. Exterior holiness is an illusion. Interior holiness, as silent and benign as it is, is what is real.

I ran in a crowded park this morning. I nodded at the regulars I see every week. One lady said hi to me and I had forgotten her name; a symptom of not having been to the fellowship for awhile. The stairs got vacuumed. I had a green smoothie for lunch. I am now drinking green tea. This afternoon, I will visit Mr. Rushdie. This author writes wise nonsensical books. I’m sure I don’t understand them at all, but they do open my mind to other realities. And then my big moment, my return to being an athlete, I’ll lift weights and do core exercises.

Into thy hands I commend my spirit…

Easter Journey 1 – Holy Thursday

I have voluntarily eschewed the one glamorous thing I have done since leaving the convent: perform as Thurifer for The Triduum, the great three day liturgical event of Easter as celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church. The ritual and specialness of the Catholic Church has been lost to me. As I read in Magnificat this morning, what the priest’s pray for at today’s Chrism Mass, I wanted to barf. How could any of the Church’s teachings on the priesthood and Eucharist be true; and a man turn around and molest a child, or give up celibacy in any way.

The relevance of Jesus, as seen by Christians, and discussions of his divinity, seem to have lost any interest. The story of God being crucified seems insane. So, I am left with silence, running and Salman Rushdie. I am a worldly failure; but a victor at poverty of spirit. In my solitude, I continue to gaze at the inner light; seeing and hearing and thinking nothing, I return to Mr. Rushdie. I have a cup of green tea and several sticks of sugar free gum. In a little bit, I will lift weights and jog on the tread mill.

I won at poverty of spirit because I have nothing. It is not going to be possible for me to ever regain the semblance of self which disappeared when I left college, got a job, got an apartment and noticed the black hole where my self should have been. I tried drinking it away, but drink became hateful. I tried to career it away, but business doesn’t mean anything to me. I tried to sober-fellowship it away, but the people of the fellowship gradually became shallow and uninteresting. I tried to ride it away and screw it away in a flurry of motorcycles and old men; but there was no love there and anyway I discovered silence after man number three. The silence led to religion and I once again had hopes of filling the hole. Yet monastic life turned into a co-dependent nightmare as I tried to please 58 obsequious and rigidly self possessed nuns. They kicked me out. I was most possessed in my next role as a cashier. I eschewed that for a divinely given rebirth of my engineering career and the attached salary. Next, living in a small town, I tried to meditate and fast the black hole into enlightenment. Nothing happened.

So, I silently continued to run; and run a good deal more. Perhaps the black hole could disappear in an unreasonably large plethora of miles. I ran the miles but the black hole continued to exist. In another divinely transmitted transition of life, I returned to the city and took up engineering for my pre-monastic employer. Currently, some of my happiest moments are when my mind is sucked into process hazard analysis. And there continues to be the endless miles of running. I ran 80 miles in 20 hours; without a clue as to how I could do such a thing. Shining and glowing and enabling daily life is A Course in Miracles; to which I continue to attribute the possibility of life without suicide.

And now, Easter weekend 2010, unchurched and disillusioned, I accept the black hole as my truth. A cup of coffee, a few core exercises, a brief flirtation with Mr. Rushdie, a large quantity of laps around the park; and Monday will return. The black hole will still be there. I’ll not be able to mask it. The black hole is my truth. The black hole is my poverty of spirit. The black nothingness is who and what I really am; nothing more…

AND nothing less. Inside the black hole, the truth of my being, I am the infinity of everything.

Holy Saturday

To God (the ineffable) be the glory. May the Holy Name always be on your lips and in your mind and beating in your heart.

My hope is that I reduce myself to this: the name of Jesus alone. Asking for nothing, letting go of everything. I repeat the name and allow it to expand beyond what this world thinks of it and let it be a cosmos of love.

Shalom, shalom

Now…I must see if I can get the lawn mower to work!