Chapter 21.II

What a difference. Then (1/8/2011):

And now (1/8/2012):

I felt totally alive this morning. I know this because of the sensitivity; the feeling of one drop of sweat run down the side of your face or down your chest under your bra and around the side of your breast.

When I moved to Texas, I knew I would increase my cross training; so cross training is success, not failure to run. I had a wonderful hard weekend of running. Not surprising that cross training was the better choice for today. I had a 2 hour fast run yesterday afternoon.

See, that first picture is from 1/8/2011. I had spent 7+ hours on a frigid January night (until 2 am) running around a 5k loop until I completed a 50k. The second picture is from 1/8/2012, where I ran a half marathon in Texas and got 2nd place in my age group.

The difference is that the first picture was suffering and the second was joy. But I didn\’t know I was suffering and being hard on myself. I thought I was being amazingly tough and admirable. Really? For what? Well, I didn\’t know what joy is. It really wasn\’t all that fun to spend all night in frozen darkness. But, I spun the story so it sounded heroic.

I have faith in ACIM. ACIM is a different teaching than anything in the denominational realm of religion. So, learning new concepts seems to take time. And I often wonder if I really have accepted Christ vision or decided for God. But I must have made the decision and have faith in the decision, or I wouldn\’t persist in studying something on my own for so many years.

The faith must be fed by a real presence of The Voice for God and Self; or it wouldn\’t be sustainable. An ego would never sustain the study by itself.

The following is quoted from A Course in Miracles Text 21.II, with bold added by me.

2 This is the only thing that you need do for vision, happiness, release from pain and the complete escape from sin, all to be given you. Say only this, but mean it with no reservations, for here the power of salvation lies:

I am responsible for what I see.
I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve.
And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked.

Deceive yourself no longer that you are helpless in the face of what is done to you. Acknowledge but that you have been mistaken, and all effects of your mistakes will disappear.

3 It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you. This is the little gift you offer to the Holy Spirit, and even this He gives to you to give yourself. For by this gift is given you the power to release your saviour, that he may give salvation unto you.

4 Begrudge not then this little offering. Withhold it, and you keep the world as now you see it. Give it away, and everything you see goes with it. Never was so much given for so little. In the holy instant is this exchange effected and maintained. Here is the world you do not want brought to the one you do. And here the one you do is given you because you want it. Yet for this, the power of your wanting must first be recognized. You must accept its strength, and not its weakness. You must perceive that what is strong enough to make a world can let it go, and can accept correction if it is willing to see that it was wrong.

5 The world you see is but the idle witness that you were right. This witness is insane. You trained it in its testimony, and as it gave it back to you, you listened and convinced yourself that what it saw was true. You did this to yourself. See only this, and you will also see how circular the reasoning on which your “seeing” rests. This was not given you. This was your gift to you and to your brother. Be willing, then, to have it taken from him and be replaced with truth. And as you look upon the change in him, it will be given you to see it in yourself.

6 Perhaps you do not see the need for you to give this little offering. Look closer, then, at what it is. And, very simply, see in it the whole exchange of separation for salvation. All that the ego is, is an idea that it is possible that things could happen to the Son of God without his will; and thus without the Will of his Creator, Whose Will cannot be separate from his own. This is the Son of God’s replacement for his will, a mad revolt against what must forever be. This is the statement that he has the power to make God powerless and so to take it for himself, and leave himself without what God has willed for him. This is the mad idea you have enshrined upon your altars, and which you worship. And anything that threatens this seems to attack your faith, for here is it invested. Think not that you are faithless, for your belief and trust in this is strong indeed.

7 The Holy Spirit can give you faith in holiness and vision to see it easily enough. But you have not left open and unoccupied the altar where the gifts belong. Where they should be, you have set up your idols to something else. This other “will,” which seems to tell you what must happen, you give reality. And what would show you otherwise, must therefore seem unreal. All that is asked of you is to make room for truth. You are not asked to make or do what lies beyond your understanding. All you are asked to do is let it in; only to stop your interference with what will happen of itself; simply to recognize again the presence of what you thought you gave away.

8 Be willing, for an instant, to leave your altars free of what you placed upon them, and what is really there you cannot fail to see. The holy instant is not an instant of creation, but of recognition. For recognition comes of vision and suspended judgement. Then only it is possible to look within and see what must be there, plainly in sight, and wholly independent of inference and judgement. Undoing is not your task, but it is up to you to welcome it or not. Faith and desire go hand in hand, for everyone believes in what he wants.

9 We have already said that wishful thinking is how the ego deals with what it wants, to make it so. There is no better demonstration of the power of wanting, and therefore of faith, to make its goals seem real and possible. Faith in the unreal leads to adjustments of reality to make it fit the goal of madness. The goal of sin induces the perception of a fearful world to justify its purpose. What you desire, you will see. And if its reality is false, you will uphold it by not realizing all the adjustments you have introduced to make it so.

10 When vision is denied, confusion of cause and effect becomes inevitable. The purpose now becomes to keep obscure the cause of the effect, and make effect appear to be a cause. This seeming independence of effect enables it to be regarded as standing by itself, and capable of serving as a cause of the events and feelings its maker thinks it causes. Earlier, we spoke of your desire to create your own Creator, and be father and not son to Him. This is the same desire. The Son is the effect, whose Cause he would deny. And so he seems to be the cause, producing real effects. Nothing can have effects without a cause, and to confuse the two is merely to fail to understand them both.

11 It is as needful that you recognize you made the world you see, as that you recognize that you did not create yourself. They are the same mistake. Nothing created not by your Creator has any influence over you. And if you think what you have made can tell you what you see and feel, and place your faith in its ability to do so, you are denying your Creator and believing that you made yourself. For if you think the world you made has power to make you what it wills, you are confusing Son and Father; effect and Source.

12 The Son’s creations are like his Father’s. Yet in creating them the Son does not delude himself that he is independent of his Source. His union with It is the Source of his creating. Apart from this he has no power to create, and what he makes is meaningless. It changes nothing in creation, depends entirely upon the madness of its maker, and cannot serve to justify the madness. Your brother thinks he made the world with you. Thus he denies creation. With you, he thinks the world he made, made him. Thus he denies he made it.

13 Yet the truth is you and your brother were both created by a loving Father, Who created you together and as one. See what “proves” otherwise, and you deny your whole reality. But grant that everything that seems to stand between you and your brother, keeping you from each other and separate from your Father, you made in secret, and the instant of release has come to you. All its effects are gone, because its source has been uncovered. It is its seeming independence of its source that keeps you prisoner. This is the same mistake as thinking you are independent of the Source by Which you were created, and have never left.

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Aslinger Post-lude

Yesterday, I finished Aslinger 50 miles, and drove home.

Last night, I asked the Lord, “What is the bottom line?” Trust is the word that immediately entered my mind, because I need to trust the Spirit of the Lord to take care of my work life.

Part 2 of the answer was like this. I am reading Varieties of Religious Experience by William James. I’ve read all these conversion experiences and the psychological explanations. Still, last night I said, “Lord, I wish I had the knowledge and love which was heartfelt enough to where I was always attracted to you.” These people with bliss experiences supposedly have such knowledge of safety that they never again feel fear. But then I realized that there is a media bias towards people who have the emotional experience of enlightenment and we are taught to want that. In spiritual terms, however, there is no “less than” associated with the person who has consciously decided to carry out the faith process. I have the gift of conscious conversion, to carry out the process of making the spiritual the center of my life as a decision and plan of action. I’m not doing it by myself. I do have spiritual help. But the Spirit honors my process. My plan or its actions are not important. The faith and the conscious turning to listen to the Spirit is what are important.

So, in a sense, that is a hugely beautiful thing: I walk hand in hand with the Spirit of the Lord because I want to.

So, yesterday, I ran 50 miles and drove home.

This morning, being un-injured though a bit fatigued, I find myself in exercise clothes, stretching, foam rollering, core exercises, free weights and some easy aerobics.

You have to ask: why? What is driving this activity? Shouldn’t I take a day off? I have depth within me. When I am working out, I am going in and finding my core, my essence. I must need to do this.

Spiritual Push Comes to Shove

No workouts this morning. I became wrapped up in an argument with Jesus and wanted to linger over my spiritual studies. Then, I thought that since I am going in a race tomorrow, I should rest up a bit so I have some speed for the race.

It was hard to get out of bed. I rarely remember dreams; but I remembered what I dreamed last night and am feeling guilty for it. I have a late afternoon meeting with three Germans (I work for a German company). I am afraid of them; and also, I wanted to get out of work on a Friday afternoon, but it ain’t goin’ to happen. Then, I smacked into the spiritual wall: my ego beliefs vs spiritual truth and my inability to really want spiritual truth.

If you read Jesus’ words in the New Testament, and take them seriously, you realize that you are in a trap. I am not going to do what they say, but I believe I should so I am guilty. Since I believe I am guilty, I am afraid. I judge others and fear my thoughts are not private. I fear others because I know what I think of them. I am damned all around because I don’t know how to stop my thoughts. The only thing I can do is accept spiritual help.

In this world, I tried to escape damnation by joining a monastery. Hoping to live by the Rule of Benedict and obedience to a Prioress, I hoped to escape my own guilt. I got kicked out of the monastery and was left to seek salvation under my own direction.

I found A Course in Miracles. This morning, reading the Text 21.VII, I ended up between a spiritual rock and an ego hard place. I accept that my thinking is insane and need spiritual help. But I know I am blocking the spiritual help; and Spirit respects my wishes. So what do I do? All I can do is admit my insanity and ask God to help me anyway.

No matter who you are, if you enter into spirituality, you find your ego and your character defects staring you in the face. So either forget the spirituality and live solely in the ego experience; or lay down before your Higher Power and surrender everything. I cannot quit spirituality. Something beyond my ego drives me to keep studying and keep talking to Jesus about my shortcomings. I keep using the spiritual sand paper on my stubborn unbelief and ego fears. I keep asking for help. I truly believe a Power Greater than myself will restore me to sanity.

Sanity in A Course in Miracles, salvation as it were, is to believe that this world including my guilty thoughts are a bad dream, they never really happened or hurt anyone, and allow Jesus to awaken me to union with God, who always loved me and keeps me safe in Him, and the same goes for everyone, we are all one Son of God. If this is truth, I can only accept it, put my faith in it and accept the spiritual help. This is no different or harder than accepting what is said in the New Testament. These two things are the same theology and provide the same salvation. (The church has misinterpreted what Jesus said.) Jesus is Jesus period. God is Love period. I have to admit my insanity and accept spiritual help or else. What is my choice to be?

ACIM on the Road

Dear Friends, I come to you today from Texas City. I flew in last night and leave again tonight. I had a wonderful surprise on the trip down: everything went smooth, but best of all is Southwest Airlines now has a business class so you can get a good seat. The fly by lane relieves the cattle car feeling I’ve always gotten from Southwest. I hearby endorse the airline. Besides, it has been many years since I heard one of their irreverent flight attendants. I’m certain that my world appears improved in these little ways because of the rearrangements to my thinking made possible by studying A Course in Miracles and letting the Holy Spirit teach me.

Supper was a box of lettuce from Walmart. This morning I put in 30 minutes on the elliptical. Yesterday morning, I was blessed with 22 miles of long slow distance running.

Text 21:III:

– For all who choose to look away from sin are given vision, and are led to holiness.
– As they desire to look upon their brothers in holiness, the power of their belief and faith sees far beyond the body, supporting vision, not obstructing it…they have renounced the means for sin by choosing to let all limitations be removed.
– Those who believe in sin must think the Holy Spirit asks for sacrifice, for this is how they think their purpose is accomplished.
– …if you seek to limit Him, you will hate Him because you are afraid.
– …He Who loves the world is seeing it for you, without one spot of sin upon it, and in the innocence that makes the sight of it as beautiful as Heaven.

I have had a little nagging fear since Friday: I am totally afraid of being laid off due to lack of work again. Consequently, I project my fear onto others, like my boss. Oh so subtle, I think, “What if he keeps work for himself or gives it to a co-worker so that I have nothing to do?” Well, actually, fear of not enough work translates into putting faith into work as security instead of relying of God to take care of me. Just because I have a job now doesn’t mean I don’t need to turn my life over to God the same as I did last summer when I had no work. Actually, this fear has been with me my entire work life and I have lived it out over and over again, because I keep projecting the same thing. My life is my fault. This time, I want to let God help me.

The solution to the fear however is spiritual. I need to look away from the world and keep my eyes on Jesus. When I look at the world, I am looking for the bad things which I myself have projected, fearing them and attempting to control outcomes. I can bring my fear into my conscious mind and talk to Jesus about it, asking for help. Then, I ask for Christ vision. Christ vision is given me immediately and is useful if I accept it. In Christ vision, I am not an ego looking hatefully at a world which is out to get me. I am allowing the Holy Spirit to look through me to the holiness and innocence beyond the world, Heaven and the Son of God. To see the Son of God, I turn my “seeing” and perceiving over to the Holy Spirit, set my projections and perceptions aside, and see my brother sinless. Of course, I cannot do this by myself and must have help. Jesus will teach me and help me.

Jesus, I want to be free of my fear and see things differently. I am terrified of running out of work and being laid off. I project that my boss will keep work for himself or give it to my co-worker, and I will get laid off. Please, You handle all these details for me and show me the way to forgiveness and vision. Please remove what I see and help me to forgive (look beyond to the holiness and Christ in everyone). Let me put my faith in You and not the world. Please help me.

Lent – Faith

Christianity is a matter of faith, not fact. The only way it is possible to be a Christian is to claim faith. Without a salvation experience (emotionally charged ah ha, or feeling of enlightenment), or deep childhood programming, or a cherished faith community, or fear of hell and damnation, it is not possible to be a Christian. To step off the bridge of reason, I either have to have faith or revelation or guilt.

Humans are programmable. My life experience, my thoughts, my feelings, my perception, all depend on my programming. So I’ve been involved with spiritual and emotional growth for a long time. Has my programming changed? If yes, who changed it? I am mainly an unhappy ego. Does my unhappy ego want to change or is there a non-ego component of my consciousness which wants to change?

I have sincerely offered my self for divine revelation. The results are profound, but gradual. My sense of revelation comes from a sense of presence; an indescribable and subtle impression that I am not alone and what I see is an illusion. My divine interventions, the result of prayer (asking), seem to be course shifts. Sometimes the course shift is small and seemingly a plan on my part, except for it started from a tiny intuitive thought. Sometimes the course shifts are dramatic and completely out of my control. If a course shift seems to be my choice, that is intuition sourced planning; the source of the intuition could be beyond my ego. If a course shift is not my choice, its source could be a higher consciousness or it could just be a fluke. To think that any of this is God is faith.

I spend my meditative time thinking about such things and then being quiet. My thinking could be just a useless internal discourse. My quiet time is probably more productive.

Personal Statistics: This morning I ran 21 miles. I ran on a road that went between two fields of corn stubble, which were covered with millions of starlings. If you drew a radius of about 70 feet around me, that circle would be the area the birds cleared out of as I ran up the road. It was weird to see. Was that circle the real size of my energy pattern?

I am registered for a marathon in 2 weeks. My condition is great. Today, the last two miles of my run today were on a marked road, so I ran the last 2 miles in 9:15 each. I want to go in the marathon and do my best. Success depends on not being stupid. But stupid is lurking very close to the surface of my consciousness. Stupid goes like this: The marathon is March 28; but I noticed yesterday that there is a 50K ultra-marathon (31 miles) on April 18. The ultra is on a cinder path, not a trail. So stupid says, “Hey, run the marathon as a training run and aim at the ultra as your real race.” Stupid would say, “Don’t taper for the marathon and don’t rest after.” Stupid is stupid because I would end up with some type of injury. I need to keep my eye on the ball. The marathon is the first race to aim at; then decide about any ultras.