Spiritual Progress

This blog has been a bit silent. That is because it is summer. No racing during the summer. The Self Transcendence Race is over. There is only sweaty slow miles eeked out of stubborn-ness.

I have had a 4 day weekend. It came on the heels of a long discussion with my boss labeled \”performance.\”  As an imperfect person, having a discussion with another imperfect person, it would be impossible for my ego not to fight about it. So I entered a long weekend in emotional turmoil. Mentally, my ego was attacking all of my colleagues for one reason or another. I grabbed my spiritual tools.

I am reading A Course in Miracles for about the 10th time. It\’s words are a healing soothing balm.What am I thinking that God would not have thought? What would God have thought which I am not thinking? Can I change my mind to think with God\’s.  Also on Friday, Ekart Tolle\’s \”Stillness Speaks\” arrived. Tolle teaches about separating your self from the ego yammering. Not new information, but I get sucked surely into the ego\’s reality time after time. It ruin\’s my life. Mixed in here are techniques to cleanse my energy.

A phrase from ACIM: Let the Holy One shine on you in peace. Let every voice but God\’s be still in me.

My mind is full of thoughts about running away from my life. I check LinkedIn. Where can I get a job? I know in my heart it wouldn\’t fix anything and I\’d surely take a huge pay cut. Also, keep in mind, my ego is freaking out over nothing. It is my nature.

I sat this morning during my spiritual time. I knew the ego\’s hatred was there. I wondered when my spirituality was going to solve this problem. I felt defeated.

I went running. The miles were hot. My ego was mentally attacking my boss and other colleagues. I kept noticing and then saying one of my ACIM phrases. At some point I degenerated into a mantra, \”Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.\”

Then very quietly. I thought, \”I am spiraling into depression.\” Then, \”My ego is having a melt down.\” Then, \”Yes, your ego is having a melt down, but you aren\’t.\” Quietly but suddenly, for the first time that I can remember, there was a separation between me and my ego. Suddenly, the meltdown had no power. I felt ok. My turmoil is only co-dependency.

Now you need to know, this was a small moment, entirely mental, with no outward activity. I was just doing my miles and living the inner mental reality. I give credence to that one thought which defeated the emotional break down. I had a reality other than the ego one. For once, I didn\’t get myself \”all worked up\” for no reason.

I don\’t know how my work life will go tomorrow or the next day. Technically, I am super. But getting along with others is a problem. My ego wishes there were no other people. How do I live with that? I can see it but not get it to stop. Don\’t dwell on it. Instead, speak one of the ACIM phrases. Just choose ACIM.

Post Marathon Mortem

I\’ve inspected the splits and assessed myself. I\’ve bought a picture from the course photographer. I did a workout yesterday. I got up this morning for work. Marathon weekend over.

I prayed alot this morning about my mental condition. I wish I wasn\’t such a negative person. I wish my head wasn\’t so full of resentments. Spiritual tools are all I have for that problem. I needed a miracle. My work resentments were so powerful all weekend. The miracles I wanted was to let them go. And so this morning, I gleaned power from my spiritual study and took some words to protect me.

After I got to work, I forgot mostly about the slip of paper in my pocket with the words. I also forgot about my resentments. I actually cannot, even now this evening, remember what the big deal was. This is somehow the Course in Miracles way of escaping the dream of fear by overlooking it.

I\’ve been thanking my higher self for that. My request now is for humility and gratitude. And gratitude I can take charge of and complete actions. I can get on my knees, but I don\’t know if I will find humility there. I sense I need ego deflation.

I have a cold. Other than congestion however, I don\’t feel that bad. Only problem is I don\’t feel that much like eating either. So, green stuff didn\’t get cooked. But I ate several mandarin oranges. Yum!

The Silence of My Soul

I wonder if the energy that goes into work is robbing me of inspiration. I mourn the holy leisure I had during my 4 year monastic life.

Are there any thoughts which are not spiritual?

Looking at facebook pictures of a sister getting ashes, I wonder, \”Does it help to play church all day and live in the play house?\”

My soul does produce thoughts I didn\’t have right before I prayed.

A Course in Miracles 27.III.4 : \”An empty space that is not seen as filled, an unused interval of time not seen as spent and fully occupied, become a silent invitation to the truth to enter, and to make itself at home… For what you leave vacant God will fill, and where He is there must the truth abide.\”

\”Reality is ultimately known without a form, unpictured and unseen.\”

And so, sitting quietly this morning, I had a brain storm. What if \”I\” am configured like a mag drive pump? Google mag drive pump if you don\’t know what that is.

 Essentially, the impeller part of the pump, in its casing, spins and moves liquids. That I think is like my ego mind or ordinary consciousness. The motor causing the impeller to spin is connected magnetically, but the impeller itself doesn\’t know this. Like my ego mind does not know how it comes into action. The motor is like the right side of my brain; totally in control of the left side and itself connected both to power and to communications. Power for the motor is connected to a Source, the power plant. So I see it as the Spiritual connection to Source. Communication is a connection to a control room which orders starting and stopping and speed. I see the control room as Higher Self. It also of course is connected to Source, but differently than the individual motor and pump.

Don\’t get too carried away with the analogy. Just imagine yourself connected in some way, in touch with Spirit and part of a whole. It feels good.

I don\’t need to go around playing Church all day and night. I just need to pay attention to my spiritual connections. I know it is impossible for any one to not be connected.

Lesson 140 – Self Respect

Bits of the ACIM text:

Let my interfering thoughts be laid aside.
Be still and listen to the truth.
My mind holds only what I think with God.

Now 2 days after my ultra run and I want to go running, but one toe is still painful. Rats!

Brunton says, \”Even if a man fails to win at business, he will grandly win his own self respect.\” That is the person who practices spiritual principles. That helps me because I just realized, I can\’t like myself just as I am. I mean, I don\’t have the ability. My ego is just too petty. Sadly I have no inner self respect. I continually measure myself against others. People pleasing is all I have. Despite years of personal inventory, I\’ve not so clearly realized this.

As soon as I got out of bed this morning, I had to work on my toe. The blister is not infected but it is still a raw hunk of flesh. Now I will shamble over to my elliptical and gently work out.

As I did my elliptical, I though about my small self who is my worldly consciousness; and that elusive Higher Self, not ordinary consciousness. I thought about a line in a book: he is like a person who has lost his legs. He never grows new ones. I thought about how some parents give their children an innate sense of self worth.

When it comes to self worth, I was never given it and won\’t grow it either.  In the world, I am successful, but never feel it as an innate sense, only if a dopamine reward went with it. No wonder I find relations with other people so frightening. I\’m so dependent on their reactions.

As I rode my elliptical, I was glad for this realization. It also led to another realization. Now that I know I have no self respect, I can peacefully go on with life. Psychotherapists try to coach their patients into building self esteem. I say, forget it. Just go on. Oh gee, I don\’t have legs. Well, just go on. I\’m screwed. Oh, ok, fine. Just go on.

On the other hand, it is evidence of a Higher Self, or I\’d not be able to say, Just go on.

12 Step Endurance Practice

Yesterday I went in an ultra marathon. I know my limitations. I try to prevent the big toe blisters which chronically occur. I tape my knee so the ACL does not get tweaked. I know that if the blisters get too bad, I\’ll quit.

But it is the mental game which is not only the point of a timed endurance event, but the most difficult part. I don\’t mind quitting when my big toes are destroyed. I do need to keep going if my only problem is fatigue. Leg fatigue always happens, but it is not the end of the game.

So, I wanted to avoid premature quitting. I needed a way to keep my mind healthy.

I tried something totally new. I made myself a little book. I wrote down sayings from a 12 Step book, one page for each step. I would study and ponder one step for 4 laps (approximately an hour). This way, my goal is to ponder the steps and not pay too much attention too how I feel. Remember, these steps are taken in the context of an ultra marathon, and my life\’s day to day struggles; not an alcoholic obsession.

Somehow, the endurance run became my spiritual adviser. It spoke to me of character defects I didn\’t really see. So the result is a new understanding of myself and an end to some of the habitual hatefulness.

6:15, I arrive at the park. It is dark still. I unload my chair, little table, cooler, bag of food, bag of extra gear. I pick up my number and chip.

6:45, we have a little meeting where the race director explains every thing. This race has about 50 people. I see a woman who I met at another race. I talk to her. At the Habanero run in August, I had suffered from severe dehydration and had to sit by the side of the trail for a long time until I could stand without getting dizzy. She had stopped her race to watch me. That was very nice. I asked her if she finished. Yes she did; but it took 11 hours to finish that 50k. Oh my. I don\’t think I could have done that regardless of dehydration.

7 am, off we go onto a one mile out and back course. It is a nice park and it turns out that I like seeing all the racers, so I don\’t mind out and back. But clearly, this type of race offers no challenge but the inner challenge.

I step up to the plate with Step 1: \”who cares to admit complete defeat?\”  Wow, how do I start a race with that? But really, such a thought smacks my ego right at the start. I get rid of any expectations of what \”I\” think \”I\” will do. Right from the start, I accept that my ego will be defeated. No grandiosity. No glory. No bragging rights.

\”…unless he has accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences…\” The toes are my devastating weakness. The eventual pain of toes and legs which will force me to quit are my devastating weakness. I am powerless. It is only a matter of when. My ego hates quitting.

\”… no amount of human will power…\” Well, this caused me to think about the normal approach to ultra marathons which is successful for most people. They decide that they will finish the race no matter what. And they do, come injury or whatever, they finish. I\’ve never done this. And now, my Step 1 has told me that no amount of human will power will do it. Other people can do it, but it doesn\’t work for me. In other words, I can\’t. I agree.

4 laps done in just under an hour. On to Step 2: \”Having reduced us to a state of absolute helplessness, you now declare that none but a higher power ….\” Really? Only a higher power will get me through this race. New thinking for me in the context of a ultra marathon.

\” …all you need is a truly open mind…\”  I looked at my mind. How closed is it? I could see some places where it was closed.

\”…I had only to cease fighting…\” I fight alot in many areas of my life, but regarding this race here and now, what am I fighting? Shoes, food, heat, race management, other people, the rough patches of pavement, porta-potties… This concept turned out useful a bit later when it was very hot and I decided to walk instead of fighting the heat. At the end of step 2, two hours into the race, I thought I might like to eat one of my sandwiches and some fruit, only to realize that those things had been forgotten at home. I\’d have to eat course food. Rats! I\’m not in control.

\”…road blocks of indifference, fancied self-sufficiency, prejudice and defiance…\” All  of these ideas have application in life and in a race. But my theme for the day seemed to be realizing that self reliance would not work for me.

\”…provided we place humility first…we received the gift of faith…\” Now I had to think about my pride and gain humility. My pride causes me to go too fast in the early part of a race because I want to be done at a certain time. Or I look at the other lady who is my age and I want to beat her. Or the fat person. Or the guy talking too much. Or…  God, my head is full of crap.

\”…we had substituted negative for positive thinking…this trait had been an ego feeding proposition…\” Now this really hit me. I suddenly saw my whole pattern of thinking, for the past 11 years since leaving the monastery, as negative and how that fed my ego. Amazing. I\’ve never seen this before. The race is my spiritual adviser.

\”…at no time had we asked what God\’s will was for us.\” Here, I had to realize my race goals and plans were mine, not God\’s. And then throw up the silent prayer of wonderment, \”What are Your goals for me?\” Remember I forgot my food? Well, now, the Race Director and his plans for the aid station became the higher power and God\’s will for me.

Completing 8 laps, I moved on to Step 3: \”…cut away the self will that has blocked the entry of God\” My self will…. hummmm. I had an inner niggle related to self will blocking God, or Higher Self if you please. That enlightenment which many others get always comes at a moment of defeating self will.

\” … instinct and logic always seek to bolster egotism, and so frustrate spiritual development\” Oh yes, another sudden revelation of how \”I\”, logic and instinct, was bolstering egotism. And it is egotism which is causing all my unhappiness and hatefulness in life.

\”…dependence on a higher power is really a way of gaining true independence of spirit.\” I really would like independence of spirit.

\”…some problems refuse to be solved by all the sheer personal determination and courage he can muster\” Well, here I am, My own courage is not going to finish this race.

\”It is when we try to conform our will with God\’s that we begin to use it rightly\” True, but do I do this? Not really.

Now, about 3 hours into the race. A guy from work shows up. I am truly surprised. He had called me one day last week and in the course of the conversation, I had mentioned I was going in this race. I only vaguely mentioned where it was. And I was joking about him coming. But he did come! And he was there for quite awhile. He walked some with me and he went off to practice his Frisbee.

I went on to Step 4, now with this guy from work as part of the mix: \”…total inability to form a true partnership with another human being…we have no once sought to be a worker among workers…of true brotherhood we had small comprehension…\” Here is this guy from work who has driven 40 miles to this race. I would never have done that. But he did. Why has he done it? I really don\’t know. I do know that being \”just one of the engineers\” is very hard for me. He takes my picture.

\”…discover a chink in the walls my ego has built…\”  I imagine myself as behind an ego wall and I can\’t really see any chinks. But as I mentally decide to inspect the wall closely, maybe a small chink can be found. The main thing is that I realize it is a wall. All the metaphysical teaching of A Course in Miracles and Paul Brunton and Eckhart Tolle and Plotinus speak of the separation caused by the ego. Step 5 of the 12 Steps is meant to take down the wall and put you on The Broad Highway.

\”…pride, leading to self-justification, always spurred by conscious or unconscious fears…\” Now, I suddenly realize how much of my thinking is self justification. I am continually silently telling stories to various people about why I have failed them. Now I see it is self-justification. Now I see it was pride and that behind pride is fear. If I can only become conscious of the fear.

\”…all the faulty foundation of my life will have to be torn out and built anew on bedrock…\” The race is doing this, step by step, mile by mile.

\”…why do I lack the ability to accept conditions I cannot change?\” I need to let go of my plans and go along with the conditions of this race. I wish I could accept conditions at work.

Now it is 4 hours into the race and I\’m at Step 5: \”humility…a clear recognition of who and what we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.\” Back to humility as a concept for an ultra marathoner.

\”we began to suspect how much trouble self delusion had been causing us.\” Self delusion is another metaphysical proposition: that the world we see is an ego world and not the Real World. I accept self delusion and feel a slight inner nudge; but can\’t attache any conscious realization.

\”…that mysterious barrier we could neither surmount nor understand…\” Yes, I again inspect the ego wall. I see that it is there. I see I have no plans to change it.

\”…the steps all deflate our egos…\”  I knew this. I also know for it now. I am beginning to suffer as the miles pile up. It is getting warmer.

\”…things which really bother and burn us…\”  Again I look inside. I haven\’t lately really tried to define the categories of situations which really bother and burn me. Certain things are my hot buttons. But I haven\’t tried to define the ego aspects and say consciously that this ego button bothers and burns me. And, now in the race, the idea is too slippery.

Now it is five hours and 20 miles into the race. My toes hurt and I am upset because they shouldn\’t. Something is very wrong. I run marathons without toe tape and don\’t have so much problems. Now, I have taped the toes and am in serious difficulty after only 20 miles. The tape is taking up space in the toe box. The tape job is not good. And, it is hot.

Step 6: \”…who doesn\’t like to feel superior…\”  I can again identify a habitual trait within me. I can feel superior to certain other people on the course; or worse, the fat people having bar-b-q and not exercising at all. But then I also know those people I scorn will also stay out there longer than me and go farther because they are willing to slow down and shuffle forward regardless. Or the bar-b-q people are being kind to one another and enjoying family.  I\’ll decide that the pain is enough and quit.

\”Self righteous anger can be enjoyable…\”  I again identify a habitual trait within me. I think about this more in terms of my work relationships. Its bad.

\”we take satisfaction from the fact that many people annoy us, for it brings a comfortable feeling of superiority.\” My thoughts go to conversations I typically have with others, especially related to those slow drivers.

\”abandon our limited objectives and move towards God\’s will for us…\” Now, I arrive at the race itself. I have limited objectives. Is it possible that God has a further limit? This part comes true when I get to 26 miles. I can pick up a medal for 26 miles. The next medal is 50 miles. If I go past 26 miles but not to 50, then I have nothing to show for it.

I had planned to walk and jog for 30 miles, then switch shoes and walk only. But my toes are bad. It is hot. ok, I need to change myself and accept where I am at. The steps are making this possible. At 24 miles, I change the shoes and decide to walk. I say to myself, \”I am used to going for 10 miles walks in these shoes. I will forget the previous 24 miles and now start a new 10 mile walk.\”

And on to Step 7: \”the attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of AAs 12 Steps\” No kidding. This was the 7th hour of the race. If, I made it through 4 laps, I\’d be at 28 miles, an ultra marathon. My legs were in pain but not the injury kind of pain. My toes were bad. It was hot. I\’m out long past a normal training run. I\’m approaching a marathon, when normally the race would be over. Yes, the race is kicking my butt; and my ego is insisting that this should not be. But it is. Accept it. I am under performing according to my ego.

\”without humility, they cannot live to much useful purpose or in adversity summon the faith that can meet any emergency\” Well, I see that self will cannot help me in THIS emergency; or any other I realize. Never has.

\”character building and spiritual values had to come first\” The race is causing me to build character; mainly as I face the weakness of my pride and ego. Mainly as I face my personal physical shortcomings. Short  fat toes get blisters no matter what. Shoes just don\’t fit them.

\”we never thought of making honesty, tolerance and true love of man and God the daily basis of living\” Yes, but how do you do that? I don\’t have the ability to not be egotistical. I mainly live by instincts: selfishly protect my self. But yet, there are many instances where I help someone else even though my ego has just told me not to. How do I become the person which is always helpful and not have to fight with self all the time?

\”For just so long as we were convinced that we could live exclusively by our own strength and intelligence, for just that long was a working faith in a higher power impossible\” I am beginning to realize my ability to focus on spirituality is failing. I\’m hot and tired and in pain and higher thinking isn\’t happening.

\”the process of gaining a new perspective was unbelievable painful\” This only told me that I am in pain at that moment. If I was gaining a new perspective, it was certainly through the pain.

During the 7th step, 26 miles came and went. I passed the point of getting another medal since I didn\’t think I\’d make it to 50 miles. Now, for the first time ever, I am doing miles for no gain. that is new. There won\’t be a material reward for what I am doing. I don\’t know the answer to why I do ultra marathons. The answer is somewhere out there in the miles and in the time.

I just passed my 50th lifetime marathon. One of the guys decides he will walk this lap with me. He says that the course is long. That his garmin just went past 27 miles even though we just past 26 miles. This is when I remember this is my 50th. I tell him and lift my hands in the air. We talk for this lap and it goes pretty fast. Then he quits.

7th Step Prayer: \”My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here to do your bidding\”

Step 8, 8th hour: \”…. develop the best possible relations with every human being we know…\” I don\’t try to do this. Now, at this moment of the race, I can\’t even figure this out. I\’m ok with these people here. I\’m not really able to want to fix my work life right at the moment. I am hot. My toes hurt.

\”… Very deep, sometimes quite forgotten, damaging emotional conflicts persist below the level of consciousness…\”  Slippery again. I know I came from a bad family. I know the emotional problems are there. I can\’t do more right at the moment.

\”…what happens when we wallow in depression, self-pity oozing from every pore…\” I do this. My only hope is that when I return to work next week, I will become conscious of when this is happening. Right now in the race, I can\’t realize that I feel sorry for myself. Everyone else here hurts too. I know I am going to quit but they will keep going, no matter how slow, someone will be doing it. If I was unconscious of self-pity, I might quit and hate myself but not know why. Today, I will quit eventually, but not out of unconscious self-pity.

9th hour, 32 miles complete, Step 9: \”…we should try to be absolutely sure that we are not delaying because we are afraid. For the readiness to take the full consequences of our past acts, and to take responsibility for the well-being of others at the same time, is the very spirit of step nine.\” This isn\’t helping me at all. I can\’t focus on it.

I changed my shoes after 32 miles. Now I am wearing shoes that have the toe box cut out. I decide to see how bad my toes hurt. I consider that if I quit, I won\’t finish the 12 Steps. My toes hurt even without anything touching them.

But here\’s what happened. Near the end of lap 33, I pull into the shade. Suddenly I think, \”If there is a traffic jam on I45, you might as well stay here at the race.\” Suddenly, my race is to be decided by Houston traffic. I can\’t help myself. The iphone comes out and Houston Transtar app is opened. No traffic. 100 feet later, I am asking for the 26 mile medal and handing in my chip. Game over.

Last night, I could barely hobble around the house. I stayed in bed about 10 hours. This morning I feel quite good. Definitely, 33 miles is not as bad as 50 miles. I\’m glad.

The major difference between this race and other similar events? While I did go a few more miles before quitting, and I didn\’t quit in hatefulness. I think that at other times, I have quit in seething hatefulness and self-justification. This time I quit with a peaceful mind and good attitude. So I quit at the proper time, but my ego was not involved. this is called serenity and I am grateful for it. Thank you 12 Steps.

Another part of the 12 Step program is the Serenity Prayer. This prayer did not occur to me yesterday but it does now as I reflect on the race. I got serenity yesterday. Serenity was the outcome.

\”God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.\”

Onward to life\’s next lesson.

Glimpses

It is hot in Texas. Usually, along the coast, we get some cloudiness which keeps the temperature down; but not now. The sky is an unrelenting blue.

I made it out of bed early and got to the trails at 6:30. Fast forward 1 1/2 hours.

I was jogging along in mantra mode, keeping my ego at bay. I was watching the stead drip of sweat off the front brim of my running hat. I was listening mostly to tractors and dump trucks. I saw a few white sea birds in the empty bayou. The shade of the forest was nice.

Mantra mode got me to where I needed to be mentally. I spent the first bit of time rationally going over the difference between ego and higher self. I kept up the mental changing of channels and looking at attachments and approval addictions. I went back to the mantra. The convent…. flick…. Pittsburgh … flick …. running…. flick …. Texas…..

Then I got the glimpse. Finally, the tractors and dump trucks were a distraction from the ever present peace of the forest. The turmoil was just a drop in the ocean which goes unnoticed by the ocean. This was the glimpse of the ever present peace, the ever present benign happiness which exists.

Though it was hot, I wished I had more drink so I could run laps in the forest longer. I only got 2.5 hours.  Then I headed home for a quick turn around and went to a fellowship meeting. I got my groceries and my gas. I\’ve made my peanut butter and lunch was a bowl of vegetables.

More jogging tomorrow. I\’ll bring more drink.

Memorial Marathon Retreat

I am getting ready for another marathon retreat weekend. So, I just started reading Anthony DeMello. The Way to Love. Wow! I\’ve read this before, but it was powerful today:

 \”… attempt to understand the true nature of worldly feelings…they were invented by your society and your culture to make you productive and to make you controllable…\” \”And take a look at the people around you. Is there a one of them who is not addicted to these worldly feelings? A single one who is not controlled by them, hungers for them, spends every waking minute of his/her life consciously or unconsciously seeking them?….For they live empty soulless lives.\”

Yes, part of the reason I stay out of the main stream of American life is to be an individual; not someone programmed by television. Lately, I\’ve been working intensively on my mental. I\’ve come to see how the ego part of my brain is so ruled by attention, approval and fear. And I don\’t want it to be so.

I can hear the ego\’s inner yelling whenever I seem to break its rules. I can feel it pushing towards activities which might produce approval, recognition and safety from the authorities at work.

Yet one more race, one more race report, one more series of atta-girls.

But taking another path towards good is possible. I helped someone this week solely because I wanted to be the person I really am behind the ego.

My races this weekend are very small. They are loops around a lake next to a busy airport. I will quietly do my time. I hope to lose myself with the others. I will have some nice conversation, but also spend a good deal of time on my own. I have picked a mantra to keep my mind on.

Brummerhop Saturday

You\’ve seen this before: Brummerhop Park. I jog an odd figure 8, getting 0.36 miles per lap. Today I jogged 30 laps. But before I did that, I ran 90 minutes at 11:30/mile in El Lago. So I got 7.85 miles at race pace and 10.6 miles at heat stress pace. Brummerhop park has good trees and there were some clouds; but still a sweat fest out there today. I drank 70 oz of liquids but still lost 3 pounds. Such is summer in Houston.
Overall, an awesome way to spend Saturday morning.
But I am a DNS today. I had signed up for a 25k trail race. But on Friday night the race director sent out an e-mail about 50% of the course being ankle deep in water; and massive mosquitoes. I thought about this. 150 runners doing one or more laps would really churn the place up. I had no desire to walk slowly in mud for even one lap. So, another race fee bites the dust.
I am doing really well with my running; but it is unfocused. Marathons #47 should get done next weekend. I do hold two sets of airplane tickets to go to 2 marathons. I\’m not really sure of my interest in just doing marathons for the sake of counting them.
My lust for Sri Chinmoy and self transcendence running seems to have worn off. In June, my marathon trips will also provide a visit to the convent I used to belong to. That is on my mind. 
I\’m not too old to be a runner. But a reason for why I do this needs renewal. I liked my laps in Brummerhop today; but I wasn\’t existentially engaged. Every morning, I sit with my spiritual books and become existentially engaged. Then I go to work and lose it. Then I come home and regain it. Running used to bring it. This morning\’s fast run brought ideas for a work project. That\’s nice; but part 2 of the run was mental nonsense. thoughts running all over the place. None of them interesting.
I\’m struggling with myself.
I need to meditate in silence. Let go. Be satisfied with just being. That is the problem; having taken the ego\’s toys, I am left with dissatisfaction. Just being doesn\’t give my ego anything.

A Day of Good

Are not these nuns dressed in ridiculous fashion? They think this habit adds to spirituality. the habit is a sign of renunciation of the world? The men are dressed as Benedictine monks have dressed for centuries. I think the women should not cover their heads. That is Pauline Christianity; not what Jesus said and did.

I was happy yesterday. I felt happy.

My day started at 4 in the morning by doing something for work. It was for a guy in Germany so I did it. Then I could see that the colleague who annoys me had sent an e-mail. I knew that I would be annoyed when I opened that e-mail so I left it for later. I got on my elliptical and prayed for myself, that I could help my colleague and not accept my ego anger. I needed spiritual help.

Truly, I forgot my resentment. Truly, when I got to work (at 6:30 am), I also had e-mails from Chinese colleague who also annoys. I treated the requests very well. I was not annoyed. I attribute this to honest spiritual work. I know I have no right to be annoyed by anyone.

On the way to work, I noticed that NPR was having their pledge drive. I was 100% certain I wanted to give this time. I did remember to do it when I got home from work.

One colleague is going to Germany next week. She was on her own and a bit frightened. I told her about calling credit card companies, contacting the company cell phone person to get international service turned on, to get the proper hotel bill, about getting cash in the airport, about the ICE train, about the taxi in Leverkusen, about the shopping around the hotel. No one had told her.

I did have a friendly talk with a colleague. She was happy for that.

I did do some of the more boring and tedious parts of my work. I felt good about that.

I got groceries after work. The Kroger hires mentally challenged adults to bag groceries. One time several months ago, I had been in the store in a bad mood and was rude to the guy who bagged my groceries. I felt bad about it later. He had bagged my groceries perfectly but I had been rude. Yesterday was the first time I had seen him since I was rude. I remembered to be very nice and tell him he did a good job. This guy always asks if he did ok; so I was happy and told him so.

In between all this goodness, my ego had time to bad mouth someone and act immature and complain. Occasionally, I get a day of ego peace. But mostly, my ego spews out negative thoughts about everyone. Only by conscious continuous effort do I have inner peace. I need to know I am worth it and keep up the activity.

I look forward to about 2 weekends with no races. I look forward to the nice trails of Seabrook and hours spent in slow walk/jog. It is the sweaty time of year. From now until October, only humid and warm weather. I think I like it though. Some part of my mind wants to be out in it.

Just run marathons. It is good for you.

Me vs My Life

I finally had a moment of realization this morning. Years of meditation and spiritual study may or may  not have helped; but in a moment of total ordinary consciousness, I got it.

\”Me\” as stated in the title of this blog, is my self centered ego consciousness. \”My Life\” is what I now understand to be my higher consciousness. And I heard it as well as entered it today.

Its like this. I was reading a portion of the book Alcoholics Anonymous this morning, pages 62 and 63. It talks about how self centeredness creates all our problems; and that we can\’t be less self centered on our own power. Self will is of no use. Only a higher power can help.  Then, I did a few minutes of silent meditation. Then I made my lunch and was getting ready to leave for work.

I was thinking about how I haven\’t had a life. All I\’ve ever done was work. I was having an imaginary conversation with my boss explaining how I don\’t have enough vacation and never get to have my life. Suddenly, however, I heard another mental voice say, \”This is my life.\” Suddenly, it seemed that my higher consciousness had wanted the life my ego wants to get away from. I experienced my higher consciousness. It was vast.

This had nothing to do with oneness or love. It just had to do with realizing my higher consciousness IS living the life it wants. I can surrender and stop fighting. In stopping fighting, I give up ego self centeredness. In giving up, I gain that vast consciousness which is the content with my life.

What if I saw my life from this higher perspective: alcoholic home, several childhood trips around the world, horses, mountain cabins, Israel, men, monasteries, chemical plants, marathons.

Realizing the difference between ego consciousness and higher consciousness is great. I hope it gives me more access to higher consciousness each day.

The gurus and authors have said this too. But it was always something achieved outside of real life. Something obtained in a monastery, ashram or retreat. Mine is in the middle of a chemical plant.

I am really \”My Life\” not \”me.\”