On Love

 This morning, I was reading an essay by a philosopher, Bertrand Russell, in his book of essays \”Why I am not a Christian.\” The particular essay is entitled The Good Life.  \”Love is a word which covers a variety of feelings…Love is an emotion…on one side pure contemplation; on the other, pure benevolence.\” 

Suddenly it struck me, as my mind flashed on Jesus\’ saying \”God is love.\”

God is an emotion. My mind expanded into the universe. 

Abraham always says, \”There is great love here for you.\” Abraham is non-physical energy communicating through one woman. But Abraham is also teaching people about how to connect with higher consciousness. When Abraham says that there is great love for us in non-physical consciousness, what do I take that to mean? Abraham has helped me to deliberately and consciously choose how I want to feel at any given moment. Love is a feeling. God is love. There is great love here for me. Non-physical is here. I am a sentient being. What does love feel like? Love is a variety of feelings. Love is non-physical here in the material world too.

Love is a confusing word. Did my parents love me? Coming from a troubled home, I didn\’t have that experience. I don\’t have a husband or children, so I don\’t know what that type of love means. I love dogs.

In 12 Step groups, people often have difficulty with the idea of God. They really don\’t want anything to do with it, and this thinking is the biggest defeat of Alcoholics Anonymous. In step 3 we are to turn our will and our life over to the care of a power greater than ourselves. Elsewhere, the textbook of AA calls that power \”God as we understood Him.\” Religion fouls people up because they are seeking a personality, an entity, or a voice to turn their will and their life over to. In my thinking this morning, I thought, \”Holy shit! God is an emotion. In this word, there are big implications.\” We get out of obsessing for alcohol or drugs by getting out of ourselves, usually by a benevolent act, like helping another. 

Love is a word. God is love. Love is an emotion or a variety of feelings ranging from pure contemplation to pure benevolence. I am a sentient being. Sentient means I am aware of feelings. I can feel. Love is a feeling. My consciousness is mainly made of the translation of feelings. Thoughts come after feelings. That is, I feel and then I have a thought about how that feeling came to exist. Love is a feeling. God is love. Love exists as a feeling. Love is never a thing or an entity. God is never a thing or an entity. 

I can deliberately think and feel my way into love. Contemplate nature or help someone. Feel the feelings.

Geek out on this for crying out loud. It is amazing to have the door open to love and God and the greatness of everything.

God Consciousness

My studies of neuro-science and addiction have wandered far, including much pondering of hallucinogens. The god consciousness people describe during LSD trips seems like something I want but am deprived of.

Lately, I\’ve been reading a book by a neuroscience professor, recovered addict, called \”Never Enough\” (Judith Grisel). She describes her acid trip like this: \”… an ever-present, infinite, and wonder-full energy in, and around, and through, every speck of creation.\”

Well now. Actually, I know this. I have to admit that I know this ever-present energy without LSD. I know it whenever I want to know it. I just have to remember it. I am quite able to feel it as I feel the energy of joy and realize consciously that the universe is really a joy filled thing.

On another page, \”Never Enough\” describes the light of the LSD experience as: \”…they (hallucinogens) shone a light on what is always available but somehow usually obscured.\” My daily short attempts to meditate have in fact given me knowledge of this \”always available.\” The thing is that this ever-present energy of joy is not some tremendous out of body experience. It is a subtle knowing sort of thing. The author says that hallucinogens disrupt the default patterns of synapses. The thing is, that any person can also disrupt the habitual thinking patterns without drugs if they want. Just use the spiritual tools.

The beauty of quiet mornings, when I can sit quietly and ponder spiritual matters is that I share these times with a God Consciousness. And I admit that my entire life has been a seeking of this God Consciousness. The seeds of God Consciousness were planted very early and have been growing ever since. Now, in my sixties, I look at a huge tree, impossible to ignore. The growing of this tree is the purpose of my life.

And so, I still do laundry, go to the grocery store and work at a job in the service industry. Also, I will go running in a forest and thank the trees. I will also consciously thank all the people.

Waiting for the Snow

My intention for the day is to go for a walk in a snow storm. I will get what I want. In another hour or two, it will be snowing and I will get all bundled up and go outside. There is something about a long walk in the snow which is necessary for my life.

In addition, I\’ve spent the morning reading about God. Also, this is Thanksgiving weekend. I went for dinner to the monastery and had a nice meal. Since moving to KC, I\’ve spent a good deal of time reading my diaries from when I lived in the monastery. I am trying to understand what happened. How did my emotional condition get so distraught?

This morning, reading about God, meditating, waiting for a snow storm, I wonder if there is no answer to the question. It just was. I just am. Which brings me to what I really wanted to say at this moment.

My life just now is only an existence. I am just being. People who are just being do need to buy food at the grocery store, and go to work to earn a little money; but there isn\’t so much of a long term agenda. In my career, I had an agenda. It drove me crazy with its desire to get from others. So now I have stepped away.

My entire life it seems has really been about wanting to know God. Clearly I know when that search began and all the things I\’ve tried to know God. Today I will know God in a snow storm. It seems that I need to decide each day to just be, which also means to allow. I allow God to love me and I receive the love, however that looks. Today, it is a snow storm. I\’m excited about that.

I had to come to the place where I am in order to just be. Or explore just being in more detail. I wanted to just be in the monastery; but really, I wasn\’t doing that. It is easier for me to just be here outside the walls. I have realized that I don\’t need to fix myself any more. It is better to focus on allowing universal love, a feeling of satisfaction, ease and flow. Focus on letting my cork bob.

I am trying to learn the difference between appreciation and gratitude. Think about it. Why should this matter?

The Bread of Life

The thing I want out of life, this life and all the others, is God. Like a salmon returning to spawn time after time, I came back here for another journey. 

Here is a new thought: maybe I hated my mother\’s womb because I knew that this life\’s journey was starting at spiritual rock bottom. I wasn\’t born into spiritual privilege; like having enlightened or philosophical parents. I wasn\’t born already half way up the mountain. I was born into alcoholism, co-dependence; the deepest pain and despair imaginable existed my family.

I looked at the DNA of pain and anger and hate. I felt the net of this pain full DNA settle in. I fought off the poisons of thalidomide and alcohol. Then I looked up. I saw that somehow I could climb out of this pit. Somehow I could find sunlight. I realized the energy it would take. Begrudgingly I said, \”Okay God. I\’ll do it.\”
When I left the convent, I was determined to be spouse to the Lord anyway. When I left The Church, I was determined to have communion anyway. Jesus said, \”I am the bread of life.\” He is teaching us something new. It is not to have communion but to be communion. DNA and bread of life are the same thing. Allow Life to eat you. Be consumed by Life. 
Feed every scrap of pain into the fire of your heart burning within. Let the fire of your heart burn you up. This is life. This is communion. This is to be The Way, The Truth and The Life. This is to follow Jesus and be his disciple. This is the imitation of Christ.

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.

Because It Is the Truth

The Inner Shift, A Course in Miracles Text 21.VIII

I first read the Course in Miracles Text in 2007. I\’m now on my 9th reading. I\’ve done the workbook more than once. Frequently, I suddenly understand something I didn\’t \”get\” on previous readings. The Text is like a gold mine, with nuggets of golden inspiration available for the digging every time.

This morning I \”got\” one.

Yesterday, I had a happy day at work. I was happy because no one got on my nerves. I thanked Higher Power for that. This morning, reading the ACIM text, it occurred to me: I  want to be happy to feel better, not because it is the Truth.

Ahhhhh! That is what the Text is saying. Desire happiness, joy, Relationship with Higher Power, because it is the truth; not to feel better. Cuz, if you desire it for Truth, no matter what happens you are happy with HP\’s Will for you. You\’re not in it for your small self.

Yesterday I worked out per my usual twice a day. No I didn\’t rest from my 10 day vacation. I just reverted to my usual work day routine. Exercise is a way of life. Daily workouts are a way of life. I just do them.

Now, I need to get over to the elliptical and do one now.

Lesson 254

\”Lesson 254: Let every voice but God’s be still in me.
1 Father, today I would but hear Your Voice. In deepest silence I would come to You, to hear Your Voice and to receive Your Word. I have no prayer but this: I come to You to ask You for the truth. And truth is but Your Will, which I would share with You today.

2 Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions. When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go. We do not want what they would bring with them. And so we do not choose to keep them. They are silent now. And in the stillness, hallowed by His Love, God speaks to us and tells us of our will, as we have chosen to remember Him.\”

It is Friday afternoon. I am drinking coffee. It is quiet here in my house. No \”entertainment.\” My head is not raging at me. I don\’t think I want to go anywhere. And for some reason, I\’ve not quite put the energy together to do any workout. Maybe after some more quiet time, I\’ll feel like walking.

I have been reviewing my journal for the past year. And also thinking about some successes for the coming year. There are some obvious themes which characterize my thinking. The themes should be obvious but until I looked back and saw it written every day, I didn\’t exactly know how frequently I thought that. A Course in Miracles would just say \”These thoughts do not mean anything.\”

My life doesn\’t have any big problems. So my spirituality is not about trauma. I\’m discovering a spirituality of quiet all on my own. Of course, I\’ve read books on silence etc. Now I\’ve got quiet in all of my own life (not just when meditating) and my ego doesn\’t have any big deals to yell at me about. I realize that creating another project to occupy me is exactly what my ego would want. But to sit here quietly and not start anything; that is the challenge.

When you study scripture\’s origin and the community from which Jesus probably came and scrutinize Paul\’s Christianity, you are left with nothing true about today\’s Christianity. You stop trying to prove anything by quoting scripture because you know it is wrong. Eventually, you observe the void, feel the null. No emotion is left.

It is 2014 and the internet is everything. So the monastic order in which I was formed has a face book page and tweets and videos. I look at the pictures frequently and know the people in them. I may not be there physically but the sisters are in my mind everyday. What does this mean? Is it good or bad? They are doing something new. The Roman Church is have a \”year of consecrated life.\” I have qualms about that. But because of it, the sisters started wearing traditional habits on Sundays. It is yet one more example of why I don\’t belong there. I go running on Sundays, not sit around in my habit.

I can completely write volumes about my universal non-special concept of God. I\’ve lost my vehemence to do so.
So back to silence. Listening to the quiet Voice for God and doing nothing.

My Own Life

That is, live my own life. Take ownership of it. Stop feeling bad because I am not doing it someone else\’s way.

Maybe it is the age of 55+ years that allows me to finally say that and be mostly able to live up to it. Mostly…. Sometimes fear of those \”others\” still gets in my face.

But in my spiritual/ meditative work this morning, that is the intuitive response to my silent seeking. Live your own life.

I get up every morning at 3:30 am (and have for many years). First, I sit at my kitchen table, with coffee, and read spiritual material and also make silence in my mind for silent reaching out and silent listening. Then, I work out for about an hour. Then, I shower, grab my stuff and get to work by 6:30.

I am a vegetarian of the convicted variety. It means I\’m not doing it for health but because I strongly believe eating meat is consciencously wrong. I also restrict my diet as much as possible in other ways since I also believe that participating in the Great American Obesity Machine is wrong. I don\’t like eating at table with others.

I abstain from participation in society and entertainment and consuming (as much as possible) too. No religion, TV, voting, sex, family, holidays, football, face book, and etc. There are aspects of work culture which mirror society and I don\’t participate in those either.

I tried for many years to achieve \”enlightenment.\” But it seems to me now, that as long as I sought enlightenment per someone else\’s definition, I missed the enlightenment in my own heart. If I truly appreciate what I have been given for my own spiritual growth, then it is much more beneficial for me and I am given more. Along those lines, reading a book on the evolution of world religions or a Greek philosopher from the early Christian era or someone\’s research on early Christianity helps me to remove or discount beliefs which I have been given by society. I at least know where these beliefs about God came from; not God in any case but men who had their own agendas. (Yes, I meant men.)

I take ownership of A Course in Miracles as I have been a student 6 years. It has brought much mental peace and joy. I take ownership of my non-participation in the general mass habits; renunciation as it were. I take ownership of my solitary life. I take ownership of being an elderly athlete. This stance is to dis-obey survival synapses and the fear they generate and stand alone against the tribe.

I\’m not going to feel less than or guilty because I am what I am. This could be a new era in mental health and appreciation of life for me. If I can successfully throw off peer pressure and just love me for what I am. It is finally possible. Of course people say this to each other all the time; but most people do not dare go outside society\’s rules and be a unique individual. I have been trying this process for awhile, well probably at leat 5 years. I see happiness in it which I never had before.

Lectio Night – Fridays in Lent

When I was in the monastery, I learned about \”lectio divina\”; holy reading. It is also holy reading which winds itself down to holy listening.

Also in the monastery, during Lent, Friday evenings were special lectio nights. These night were extra quiet. After Vespers, we could have a quiet meal or not; but then most of us were in our monastic cells practicing lectio divina. Hence the name Lectio Night.

So here I sit, an ex-monastic, but real time engineer and person in the world. I\’ve been going through an experience which I can\’t figure out. Why God have we messed with this situation? I have decided to have a lectio night right now.

I said yes to the nebulous universe. I put myself out there. I took the risk. I am willing.

The older I get, the more I wonder, \”What\’s it all about Alfie?\” And I know I\’m not alone in that question. I know I can have a life of service helping others. I know I can have a life of prayer. I know I can have a life dedicated to God and striving to be of maximum service to God. Every minute of every day is a spiritual experience. But I frequently have no sense of What For?

Why did I suddenly apply for that job? Why did I get the interview? Why did I look extra nice this morning as I went to the interview? This serves as temptation for conflicting thoughts about my current job. It provides an opening for my ego to start a critical harangue about me. If I don\’t get an offer, then what was this experience for? If I do get an offer, do I want to accept it?

I knew about the job through a fluke of the modern age: LinkedIn sent me an e-mail. I applied because of a small nagging thought that I should. Then I was surprised that I got the call. Then I dreaded going to the interview. Then I decided to try for the brass ring. If I got the job, it would be a brass ring. I have to try. then I thought of the one hour interview as my hour of power. One hour in my life to shine. I did shine.

Coming home to solitude, I wonder. I see the ongoing issues in my life that require my attention. I know that I can\’t run away from the hassles of life.

More than 10 years ago, the day after I was asked to leave the monastery, I was driving to the city to figure out what to do with myself. I was crying and pounding on the steering wheel saying, \”Why me God? Why do I have to be the one that leaves? Why do those other stupid people get to stay?\” The answer I heard inside was, \”Because you can.\”

What will I hear from my inner self about why I interviewed for a job? I hope something. If it is nothing then I have to face that too. Solitude is about facing what ever it is. Conscious contact is about the truth of the silence and stillness. Nothing can fix the gaping emptiness. Cry out! Nothing answers. Sit in awe.

Augustine\’s Two Cities

I was reading Glittering Vices this morning in the chapter on \”vain glory.\” This quote appeared from St Augustine: \”Accordingly two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from [human beings]; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own glory; the other says to its God, \’Thou art my glory, and the lifter up of mine head\’ .\”

This quotation explain why I have divorced myself from society. I wouldn\’t say I\’m totally intent of glorifying God, but that I am intent on relinquishing self for the purpose of knowing God or following Spirit. American society mainly reminds me of the first city. I would not say I dwell in the second city either but that I\’d pick a consciousness of love and credit to God as modus operandi. For me it is a continuum I move along, ever going towards the God idea and away from the self idea.

I had a drunk dream last night. Only it wasn\’t me that drank. The context of the dream was an AA group. One of the longer term members had a terrible event and she drank. Then another younger term member drank because the first one drank. I thought that was stupid; but anyway, the dream continued on in that we got both people to meetings. We also got the group together and no one else drank.

Sobriety in AA is about overcoming a spiritual malady. May I always realize that reliance on God is the foundation of my sobriety.

I think about running and racing as I sit here with one foot in a boot, recovering from surgery. How will I shape my fitness in the future. I can\’t with a straight face say that ultra running is a good idea. I\’m not sure I can say that marathoning is a good idea. What is a good idea? I don\’t know. The idea of relinquishing ego and transcending self once again raises to the surface. How do I live the reality. Which reality? I did enjoy an early morning jog in El Lago. Lets hope for that.