The Way of the Sage

As I\’ve mentioned before, I am reading Plotinus\’ Enneads. In 2.9.9, he mentions \”…the way of the Sage…\” \”…the Sage intent upon the sublimest, upon the realm above…\” There are seven Enneads and this reference to Sage appears less than one quarter of the way in the book. But that is all that is said in this location and seems the first reference to the way of the Sage in the Enneads so far.

In my life I have chased: divine union, enlightenment, God, He, and etc. You name it as it seems to go by various names.

Is the Sage wise? Does the Sage win the much sought after spiritual boon?

Maybe the Buddhist, one who chops wood and carries water, is the highest being.

Who is Heidegger\’s Dasein? How do I become aware of That? Unfallen? (A Heidegger term now, not a Biblical term).

I work for a living. Every weekend is a chance to be alone more fully. I get 3 days every other weekend. It is during these times that I turn my attention inward. Seeking. Listening. Even running or lifting weights.

For this I call myself a monk. A monos. One alone.

To be alone in thought is not a dopamine reward experience. So I never feel holy or enlightened. It is at best a battle with thought demons in the modern desert (a quiet suburb).

Whats going on in my mind, where my inner eyes gaze, defines whether I am a monk, or merely anti-social. A barrage of ego criticisms battering me. Waves of silence washing me. Both at once as I merely sit.

It is not a self improvement program. If you got nothing, you probably figured it out.

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Surprising Progress

Wow. I\’ve spent so long seeking enlightenment. But now I feel like that is a non-issue.

Here is an example: Since 2006, I\’ve followed the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race (  http://3100.srichinmoyraces.org/ ). I\’ve tried to seek self transcendence by doing miles and miles. Today, when I was reading the blog, I realized I\’d rather be engaged with my life. that is, I\’d rather be actually doing my job at work than endlessly running around a block.

So that is weird for me. I guess that reading Merton helped me to let go of the past. Or I realize that all is spiritual and there is no need to suffer. Just allow it.

Not that I am stopping running or stopping my Course in Miracles study; but that I appreciate the path laid before me.

I\’m just a marathoner. I\’m a professed engineer.

This morning, I had a 3 mile run around El Lago in the early morning darkness. It was hot a sweaty and I loved it. What more could a person want?

I have a closet full of brand new Asics Nimbus running shoes. What more could a person want?

I\’m holding airplane tickets to go to 2 running races. What more could a person want?

I don\’t need to fast, run a hundred miles, sit cross legged for days, follow a guru. Just have Being.

That is what I have Being; my most valued possession.

Consciousness Is

I didn\’t get up when the alarm went off today. I thought my foot would be hurting and that I\’d not be doing miles (since I did 20 yesterday). But alas, the foot feels pretty good, so I\’ll head out shortly.

In the mean time, I lay in bed and wondered: what can I do to be more spiritual? See, I reached an impasse. The Course in Miracles says that Spirit does not know ego, but ego incessantly tries to achieve recognition.

I came down and started my study. I thought about the Marathon Monk, the ultra runners, the cloistered nuns, the Zazen practice, the traumatic brain injury. I conclude that these people achieve the belief in God because their ego let go.

If I stick with the ACIM definition that the ego is a belief system described as autonomy from God, then the people who achieve enlightenment through the above listed means have achieved the required letting go.

But my life is somehow not on one of those paths. My attempts to do those things have failed. I return to the reality that I am attempting to use consciousness to transcend consciousness. And that is when I realized: just let consciousness be.

That is the answer, don\’t attempt transcendence. Let it go.

My first inkling of God was on a hot day in Jerusalem where I watched Hassidic Jews in fur hats and coats praying at the Western Wall. I perceived that they had something I wanted. And so my ego swung into action and began its pursuit of God. In itself that is not a bad thing. Looking at it another way, I heard the call of God to return to Him.

In the moment, any given moment, I can return to God. But there is no associated achievement. And so I become confused. Americans are supposed to achieve. But God consciousness is not an achievement. It merely is.

So, I don\’t need to be a marathon monk, or a cloistered nun, or fast for 40 days, or live alone on a hill top, or get in a car wreck, or have cancer, or etc. I need to let go in any moment. This is in fact what I have been doing. I not only let go, but also take up Spirit as my mode of living.

My ego wishes for more, but that is all there is.

Easter 2013 Multi-Day

On Thursday, I got in 3 hours of workout plus strength.
On Friday, I got the private marathon done plus strength.
On Saturday, I did the half marathon plus elliptical plus strength.

Now it is Sunday. I\’m headed to the park for a long walk, plus additional cross training this evening.

Pretty decent 4 days of workout; a multi-day. Just for me. Part of the anti-dopamine project. Downward Mobility in the material world. Drinking the dregs of my personal energy.

But down in my guts, the one thing I always wanted was the spiritual connection. From the start, I observed strange religious behavior and I believed that those people knew God, or Jesus. I tried everything to achieve the reality.

I never made it.

Now that I am studying neuro philosophy/science (brain books), I can\’t claim that beliefs are based on anything other than warped survival instinct.

But study of A Course in Miracles does help me deal with my fear and have happy days. So do endorphins. But I don\’t know more than that.

I hope some day I have the spiritual connection. It is the hope and dream of a lifetime; which is slowly and depressingly eroding.

I think I\’ll go buy something.

The Nature of Things

1. Almost all stories and teachings that I have read about how to connect with God require an altered state of consciousness. That is: meditation, adoration, drugs, brain injury, fasting, long distance running, isolation and silence.

2. Sometimes God comes as a spontaneous gift of revelation. Nothing can be done to make this happen.

So, the normal waking awareness is not enough for divine Union. At least, that\’s what we all believe. I personally think that divine union experienced as a result of one of the items in #1 above are yielding a false god; more likely just brain chemistry in action. God is really dopamine.

3. My main fear is of other people.

I live in a totally man made environment. There is very little about nature in my daily life. All of my daily challenges come from encounters with others. Most people don\’t like to identify this fact so clearly or admit that fear of others is the main driving force.

I\’ve spent my adult life chasing God. I\’ve claimed that the use of spiritual practices has made me a person of great inner calm. At this point in my life, I have rejected the dopamine God.

I am alive and very emotionally stable; but I have no actual purpose for being alive. Unless you say that faith in the eventual spontaneous coming of Revelation is what I am living for, then I don\’t have a purpose.

If I see my purposelessness as a horrible thing, very sad, then no wonder I try desperately to find a purpose in serving God. It seems ridiculous that a human race would exist with consciousness but utterly no higher reason for being alive. So, yes we are driven to find the higher. We can\’t stand being nothing. (Especially Americans).

Should I go participate in public service so that I can feel good about my existence? haha, no I\’ll just go consume some more.

Mystic Musings

One of the things that has bugged since leaving the monastery is whether I can be a mystic if I have a job and live in the world. See, I went to a monastery because I believed that you had to in order to achieve the necessary environment and teaching which would make a mystic.

The people who write books about enlightenment and mysticism are usually people who are able to achieve a life outside the work-a-day world.

Sort of like, if you were called to be a mystic then you\’d have succeeded at monastic living and have a teacher. If you have a job, you weren\’t called and God won\’t come to you. This worry about God is a false teaching and can\’t be true.

Living in a world of people who have not placed any priority on spirituality does lead one to think that only monks could be successful.

I am not able to talk face to face with anyone about mysticism. This means that instead, I am talking about work or running. So people think that these are whats important to me. But not so. Being a private mystic makes it less \”real\” because there is no ego validation.

Monastic or not, I feel my first priority in life is spiritual growth, connection with that mentality beyond my worldly consciousness (mysticism). And I am so dedicated regardless of whether my job hinders the relationship or not.

My life is my dream. I can change the God rules in my dream. In my dream, God just is with is. No need to a drastic mental or physical circumstance. Only thinking I can\’t hurts me.It is highly likely that all I\’ve learned about God from society and religion isn\’t helpful. I have a second hand God.

The real God would just be……

Truly, the relationship is there whenever I remember it is there; any brief moment of remembrance and boom, there it is.

I have to put some active conscious priority on my desire for God.

I Ran Marathons

I have signed up for a marathon this Saturday. I was investigating the outfit who puts on \”I Ran Marathons.\” It turns out the originator is a lady I met at Ultracentric who walked for at least 48 hours with one arm in a sling. Very inspiring. She did always smile at me. I\’ll be rubbing shoulders with some hardcore marathon addicts this weekend.

In a sense, dreaming of endless marathons is dreaming BIG.

My spiritual quest goes on. Sometimes I take a break from A Course in Miracles and read the notebooks of Paul Brunton. I\’m reading number 8 now. I think I have about 20 or more. He claims to be an independent mystic, with a background in the east and in Quakers.  He seemed logical enough, but ….. this morning I read where his major spiritual experience took place in delirium from a tropical disease.

Back to square one.

Most of the enlightenment experiences I read of are related to drama, physical or emotional. Like, God doesn\’t come til we are desperate enough. I somewhat reject the idea that God only comes to the desperate. If God is love, then there must be another way.

We rarely read of the spiritual experience which comes from a long term intentional sanctification. Mine is the long term variety. My quest is a daily effort of letting go of ego and listening to the Voice for God. The dopamine or the hormones are not doing the job.

This path requires attempting to believe there is a higher consciousness and entrusting more each day to that consciousness. At the end of the day, I\’ve had a happy day. That is all I have.

July Vacation Part 2

Last night I got home from 4 days in Colorado. It was nice; but I am freaking glad to be home. I can take much better care of myself here; especially in the making of green smoothies. And I have 5 more days to ponder the meaning of life.

But as a student of A Course in Miracles, I have to accept that the dream level of life is meaningless and I give it up. What I want most is to remember Him. Going around in this dream and trying to satisfy my desire for Him will never succeed. But I can imagine accepting the Holy Spirit\’s purpose and mine; giving up my ego\’s. ACIM practice of forgiveness does bring satisfaction. It is joining rather than separating; and so I remember Him.

I realized, while jogging along a bike path after my Copper Mountain half marathon, that the enlightened people are the ones who go to work and take care of business. We fall for the gurus because they seem to have something more special than we do. If we give up specialness, we realize that paying the bills and getting the car fixed is no different than these supposedly monumental achievements and emotional experiences we see others have. And this is true because paying the bills is divorced from the dopamine reward cycle. Living life apart from dopamine rewards defeats the ego and helps me to live in truth.

Now, it is time for me to go upstairs and stand on a foam pad, practicing my balance.

The Crucible

My private gym is the place of intense fire. There is a treadmill, Nordic Track and Versa Climber in the first picture. There is an elliptical and ex-bike in the second. Also shown is a step platform. Not shown is the mini-trampoline, the TRX or the free weights.

This morning, I had another miracle run: 16.9 miles of sweat in Texas. Now, several hours later, I can tell my left heel is not in serious trouble. I wore my new Badwater hat. I\’m not ever going to race Badwater; but I can adopt the courage of someone who is. So the hat inspires me. While I was running this morning, I saw a fat girl out walking. The word Courage was on the back of her shirt. I teared up. I embody courage in my own way. Here are the simple things a long distance runner has: Badwater hat, Nathan hydro-pak, Garmin and shoes:

After my run, I enjoyed the feeling of a sore body. I can\’t explain why I like this but I do. I spent every day off work achieving it.

2 weeks to Ultra Monk\’s Colorado ultra training camp. Soon, I\’ll decide about Merrill\’s Mile. tomorrow the 3,100 Self Transcendence Race begins. I want to do endurance for my own reasons. Not Scott Jurek\’s or any other person\’s.

My spiritual thoughts continued to center on total willingness to be one with God. Enlightenment is expressed by a Course in Miracles as: God\’s Will (enlightenment) is an experience of total willingness. It is blocked by wishes for other experience. Now some people totally surrender in moments of despair or near death. Most others, like me, live lives of growing joy in the knowledge that we are light.

Ordinary Person\’s Spirituality

I was born an ordinary person. I have no outstanding talents; I mean stuff way way beyond the norm. But I am above average in a number of ways and I\’ve managed to keep from deteriorating under the effects of dissipative American culture.

At the ripe young age of 22, I suddenly became interested in God. I am not highly gifted in spiritual attunement; but I am very persevering.

I\’ve learned that all my personal efforts to attain God consciousness may have prepared me somewhat, but that God or Spirit or soul/Self are really doing the work. My efforts are mainly ego efforts; combined with ego deflation. I cherish ego deflation as it gives me a new clarity for spiritual progress. My Vancouver marathon was ego deflation. My next marathon, Hawk marathon, will also be such.

The fact that I have to go to work and get along with others is ego deflating. Seeking stillness is ego surrender. Prayer is joining soul/Self in divinity. It is Grace to which I offer my ego for correction that I may live as spirit. This is my simple spiritual life. Over and over. Day after day. Nothing more but also nothing less.

There are some great prayers for surrendering the ego and thus passing into God consciousness.

From ACIM: This holy instant would I give to You. Be Thou in charge for I would follow You; certain that Your direction gives me peace.

From AA:

  • God, I offer myself to you to do with me and build with me as Thou will. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will. … May I at last abandon myself utterly to You.
  • How may I best serve you. Thy will not mine be done.

Jesus said, \”Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.\”

I also recently read of a meditation method which involves meditating on a blue cross, then a golden triangle, then a silver star. I noticed that in turning to these shapes in time of mental turmoil, I am immediately at peace. Turning to prayer in times of turmoil is an act of ego renunciation, surrender to Grace.

I am an ordinary person. While I am not really making much progress towards enlightenment in this life, I refuse to give up and am certain that the future brings God consciousness.

Vancouver marathon before and after: