At Home in Silence

I was extremely well cared for today. You might think it was United Airlines which ran a perfect schedule. I think it was Inner Peace.

I got up at 3 am CDT and drove to Grand Rapids MI. I boarded a plane for Chicago. I got off the plane in Chicago, walked from terminal B to C, bought a tall skinny vanilla with an extra shot, downed it. Then I walked to my gate for my next flight.

Picture a tall skinny lady in pretty new Levis 505, running shoes, light blue Oxford shirt with the sleeves part way rolled up, short hair; standing still, at parade rest, with arms crossed. I stood there watching the United pre-boarding/ stand-by list. I thought of my lesson for the day, shut my eyes, and listened for the Voice for God. People are all around, carts are beeping, announcements are being made; yet I can hear the Voice for God. I hear because I don\’t use my ears or any part of me which thinks it is in the world. I listen with the part of my mind which continuously and eternally rests in Inner Peace.

Sometime later, as I stood at the bag claim in Kansas City, I realized how well cared for I was. I said thank you to the Inner Peace. Day by day, my dream of terror is replaced by a dream of peace. Day by day, I deny my ego and allow Inner Peace to run my life.

I got some groceries on the way home from the airport, did laundry, unpacked, various chores and then did a 2 hour workout on the ex-machines plus free weights. I finally figured out comfortable and invigorating ways to use the foam tube to give my quads, IT band and hammies a massage.

My intention in working out has disappeared. I don\’t know why I am doing it as I have no goal at the moment.

The bath towel I got at Fallsburg Marathon hangs quietly in the bathroom. The sweatshirt I got at Fallsburg has been washed so it doesn\’t lint on everything, and it is hanging quietly in the closet. The medal I got at Fallsburg hangs quietly on the bulletin board. I ordered some more shoes today. But I am not training for anything.

I am just a woman who works out. I\’ll do it again tomorrow; somehow, no big deal, just because.

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A Pause for God

I ran a marathon on Saturday: Fallsburg. An ending.

I have known a lady for 25 years and tomorrow she moves away. An ending.

On July 27, 2010, the anniversary of becoming a Course in Miracles student, I felt intuitively that this coming year would be a year of peace. Which meant to me a year of quiet in my outer projection of the world (no major changes); and a year of identification with inner peace. Peace is quiet. Most humans cannot stand quiet. Humans are forever starting new projects and attempting new accomplishments; never realizing that these are distractions from God.

In my endings, I have to stop and say, \”there is only God.\”

But really, while my life appears quiet and empty to most, it is still another ripple on the Ocean of Peace. Say God again and rest again.

I contemplate the Ocean of Peace, which is God. I sit silently and gaze. You can turn off your thoughts if you want to enough.

Inner peace is more than not participating in worldly life, because we cannot totally avoid worldly life, because it is my projection to begin with. It is more a matter of realizing it is a project of my own thoughts, identifying and owning the thoughts (fear and hate), bringing them to Jesus for correction and learning to identify more with the Self than the world. The Self is the Son of God which we all are, which never left the quiet embrace of the Father.

I pause again and step into the quiet embrace.

My quads were quite beaten up by the trails of the marathon. It took Sunday and Monday to release the pain. By Tuesday I was running again. Today, I hope to run in a park on Lake Michigan. I\’ve also been doing ex-tube workouts in my hotel room. Tomorrow, I return home.

I am signed up for another 12 hour race in October; and I think I\’ll go in a 50k on 9/11. But now, I have to go to my job.

Fallsburg and Learning Christ Vision

A Reflection on a marathon based in my Course in Miracles studies.

Yesterday, running a marathon, I had in my mind, the lesson for the day(196), \”It can be but myself I crucify.\” For non-Course-students, this means I recognize the One Self, Son of God, as my savior within my brother and take all my attack thoughts to the light of that Christ, where they can be healed and I can go to heaven as one Self with my brother.

All day, I had chance encounters with others. Some might have been classified as annoying. Everytime I recognized my ego\’s annoyance, I denied it and returned my thoughts to the lesson for the day. My spiritual practice for the marathon was to keep returning to this thought and not allowing my mind to stay in the thought-attack-consciousness. The hot forest with various people in it was a great environment for spiritual practice. If you read the report from yesterday, you\’ll see that working spiritually is not all sweetness and floating in bliss.

So I take the day of practice and return to my hotel room. Evening comes on and I read today\’s lesson, \”It can be but my gratitude I earn.\” I also read the page of explanation which goes with the lesson. I realize that my attempt to move my thinking from attack to Christ was a small gift to my brother. Since my brother is myself, I gave to me. The One Self, Son of God, which we all are, is grateful; so it is my gratitude I receive. My gift, no matter how small is a genuine gift and received with gratitude by Self and also by God; because everything is given to God (Text 22.II). If I believe I gave and am grateful for my gift, I\’ll receive His gratitude. I value His gratitude.

You realize that instead of working on shifting my thoughts back to the thought for the day, I could have let my thoughts dwell on hating the other people.

Over and over, we think, \”but I can\’t stand these other people.\” The Course teaches that what I see as another person, another body, is really my own projection of my own ego thoughts, an illusion which hides the truth. The truth is that we are one Self, Son of God, and remain as God created that Self. The means to see another as not-a-body but as Christ is given through the Holy Spirit and called forgiveness, looking beyond, Christ vision. A miracle is a perception shift which allows us to see differently, to see Christ. We stop using the body\’s eyes and use Christ vision. The Holy Spirit teaches this to anyone who wants to learn.

This blog is my adventures in learning.

Fallsburg Marathon – Puzzling IT Out

On the surface of things, just the facts mam, I ran a marathon in 6h35 min.

I am exhausted. It was a trail marathon in moderate heat (75 to 82F with humidity). The trails were what I would call easy with only a few tough spots. But I never run trails, so it doesn\’t take long on a trail for my quads to jellify. On trails, I\’m always concerned about tripping or turning an ankle, so I don\’t go very fast.

The day started weird. After a distracted attempt at spiritual study, I made a list of housekeeping items that were bothering me about my hotel room. I\’ve never done that before, but staring at hair on the floor and in the bathtub sort of tilted me over the edge.

But, I got my number pinned on perfectly, I mean perfect: straight and not crackely. Those tyvek numbers can at times make snapping noises every foot step if you don\’t get them just right. I got mine perfect.

Perfect drive to the race. Perfect parking spot. Perfect finding of a great bathroom with no one in it. They start the national anthem. Everyone quiets down, some taking off their hats, some with their hands over their hearts, mostly looking up at a flag which is on a pole in about the center of the crowd. I stand and wait. I have almost no national pride and no desire to conform to the group.

There is a count down and I hear the lamest air horn ever. The first 12 minutes are through a groomed park on a paved bike path; and then the nightmare begins. It takes awhile but I finally realize that this is more a trail marathon than a road/gravel marathon. Whups!

I spend the first 45 minutes trying to outrun four old men who keep telling lewd jokes. they are not bad guys and I\’m sure among the general population they are quit normal. However, I prefer not to spend a marathon with my attention on my genitals or copulation. So, I do outrun the guys and find quiet by 3.5 miles.

The trail goes on and we reach a road. The road part is easy. I\’m running pretty good. The course is mainly filled with half-marathoners. Only the full marathoners have real race numbers. After the 7 mile mark, I start to see a few marathoners coming up the road towards me instead of away. I ask them if I am off course. they assure me that they are off course and doing part of the course backwards to make up the miles. I am worried; mainly because I know that the second loop on the marathon takes a different route and I never saw that turn. I know I follow the halfers for the full 13.1, but I\’m worried about what to do next.

At about 8 miles, we start up a long hill. Its on a road and I pass alot of people, but I notice I\’ll be going up that hill again for mile 20 thru 22.5. Gulp. After the hill, its back onto the trail. My quads are shot. I realize how unfun this trail might be at mile 24. I keep meeting lost people. I keep asking people if this is the course. It seem well marked; what is their problem? I come to a sign. I read it and go left. A guy who has been lost twice already and keeps catching back up to me actually argues about my choice of direction. I ignore him because he obviously doesn\’t know how to follow signs.

I finish the half in 3 hours. Gulp. I go by the car and get a power bar. If I\’m going to run another 3 hours, I need more than gels and drink. Now here is the important part of the whole tale: I went back out for the second loop!

This ability, this inner force which keeps going, this thing is IT. My quads are shot. I know I could much more easily trip or turn an ankle in that condition. Its not going to be easy. No one is even watching. If I got in the car and left it wouldn\’t matter to anyone. Yet, I go on. Other people quit. I go on. Marathoners/ultra-marathoners/runners-in-general go on. We have this inner force which manifests in our running. It drives us; not the other way around.

I\’m 51 years old. I decide I\’ll keep doing this insane task for no reason other than….crap I don\’t know!

After I cross the covered bridge a second time, they do thankfully have a person in the road to tell me where to turn. I\’m running pretty much by myself, so the help is appreciated. The mile 16 water station is dry. That worries me only a little because I did decide to carry my two 8 oz water bottles. I look at the 16 miles chalked on the path and think, \”Only ten more miles. I can do that.\” I feel quite the same ebullience as I pass miles 17, 18, 19, and 20. Then I leave trails and come out onto the road and the monster hill. No problem, I\’m much better at running uphill on a road than down little steep trails (in fact I can hardly get down some of the trails).

I get to an aid station at about 22.5 miles, where I leave the road again. I think I know whats coming but the trails seems much shorter and easier the second time around; except I\’m slower and more careful as my legs seem quite weak. Then the killer. That sign I mentioned where I went left and the man yelled at me? This time, I need to follow it to the right. Before, the left hand path took me to the road and I zipped into the finish. Now, the full marathon second loop has another mile of trails before going to the road. I notice that the trail was newly made within the last day or so. I\’m real careful. Now is not the time to fall down. I\’m almost home.

Finally, I get up on the road and run for half a mile to the finish. Very quiet finish. Hardly anyone is around. I get my medal and my towel and head for the car. I don\’t take the offer of hot dogs.

I mix up the protein shake I have in the car and down it. I turn on the ac and change my clothes. And away I go to my hotel; wondering why I did that.

My ego got nothing. My soul got everything. My soul got to push beyond the ego\’s realm of glory and reward, accolade and recognition; and into the realm of sheer existence. I got beyond anything I trained for or planned. I kept going despite the rubber in my legs. I did it. I finished.

About mile 25, negotiating that last bit of trail, I asked myself if I would trade this for a city road marathon and a speedy time. \”No\” is the answer. The challenge of this race and the experience of soul is far more valuable.

Fallsburg Marathon – Prelude

Packet picked up. #149 and a nice hoodie with full zipper. I know where the race is and how long it takes to get there from the hotel. There is a Panera Bread near the hotel, so we know where I will be eating for the next 2 days!

In Chicago at O\’Hare, there was a woman wearing a Philadelphia marathon shirt getting on my flight. She smiled at me (I had on a KC marathon shirt). On the back of her shirt, it said, \”CLASS OF 2009,\” and listed all the names (small print). I teared up! Just something about \”being here\” that is awesome. It has nothing to do with times. The environment of a marathon is sacred ground for those of us who love it. I say it. The marathon and the marathoners who love it are all one being, a unity of runners celebrating one eternal event: the marathon. We are marathoners.

In the monastery, the sisters renewed their monastic profession at certain times and certain liturgies. Racing is the runners liturgy. I am here to renew my marathon profession: I am dedicated to the marathon (and well any other running too).

It will be a hot one tomorrow, but it is in a forest!

The Marathoner\’s Sacred Journey…

…is to a place beyond the ordinary world, to an alternate reality without limitation. The marathon validates and vets the heart of the athlete. 26.2 miles in this world is a quantum leap in the mental world and a matter/anti-matter shift in the spiritual makeup of the mind. To get to the finish line is to solve the impossible equation with imaginary and irrational numbers; to enter a Fourier transform which resolves the noise into harmony.

Everyone wondered why all these workouts, miles, and low-fat meals mattered. But the person returned from the marathon changed. They paid the athlete\’s price and returned with the athlete\’s perception. Nothing was ever the same again.

Can a marathon heal the psyche? Can a marathon enlarge spiritual consciousness? All things are possible….

As you might guess, I am going in a marathon on Saturday: Fallasburg Park, Lowell, MI, 26.2 miles. It is not my first marathon. In fact it is my third this year. Yet every marathon shifts my consciousness and I return different.

I am tapering. I am letting go of the workouts a little, sleeping some more, laying in the glycogen. I\’m setting my intentions. I\’m freaking glad to go to Michigan and escape this nasty heat wave that Kansas City is having.