Finisher

This morning, I struggled out of bed and pulled on some running clothes. What shirt? I pulled out my finisher T-shirt from the 2006 Kansas City marathon. It has \”Finisher\” emblazoned across the back. I put it on inside out to hide the word.

Then I went to do my spiritual work. My lesson for today is: \”I give my life to God to guide today.\” I meditated on what is supposed to be a beautiful thing: God is my Guide.

As I listened to my own thinking, I found poison ideas that I needed to give to Jesus:
a) If I turn my life over to God and I don\’t get what I want, I can blame God.
b) I believe bad things will happen.
c) I believe I have not been forgiven for my mistakes. I think I am doing everything wrong.

These thoughts were hidden in my unconscious but in meditation, I had access to them. I realized that trusting God should be a happy thing. But I had decided I didn\’t want His joy. So it is up to me to decide I do want His joy and ask Jesus for help to accept it, to have joy be my reality.

After asking Jesus for help with a new decision, I sort of unconsciously took off my shirt, turned it so the Finisher would be on the outside and went for a really fast 4 mile run. My nonchalant action of changing my shirt was evidence that I had decided to be successful in God today. I have accepted the word Finisher as the truth about what it is like to live totally reliant on God. I have decided to be a success at believing in God\’s gifts of love, mercy and joy; and accept them fully with gratitude for my Creator, the Author of my life.

My life is not mine. Why do I insist on judging it as bad? So human, so human.

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Day 13 – Something

I really really really want Something. I experienced that deep desire today and cried over it. I\’m sure it is God (that sounds so hokey); but the desire is more easily understood if I call it Home. Home = God. I am running Home. Self transcendence leads to Home; or why bother?

And then I sit aghast and in silence; surrounded by that loving Presence which I call Jesus or Christ or Holy Spirit or Self. And I do not think but allow myself to be drowned or dissolved or permeated such that just the One remains as pure existence, being without measure, incomparable light.

I choke at the Call. I sob at the Gift. Gratitude doesn\’t come within a quantum of expressing Our Union. Is the Union a thing I feel? No. It is a thing I know. Do not mistake it for bliss or ecstasy. It is the result of sweat, horseflies, endless miles of hills in a sunny swelter (Mark Z., this is why you love the heat). It is the result of silence and one pointed thinking of the one Fact: I am God\’s Child. I am God\’s Creation. God is my Authority and the Author of my life.

I know in silent contemplation. I know in the footfalls on a cinder path. I know in the meager bowl of lentils and rice which is my reward.

Tomorrow I will run again!

Selah!

The them of hate becoming the Them of Love

Here is a story about my morning meditation. First, I’ll go back to last night and say that I finished off the evening’s meditation with the thought, “the holiness and sacredness of it all.” All of what? I don’t know. Maybe some great sacred silence which permeates everything. Going back even further to yesterday afternoon, I had the thought of holiness as I ran in the park. I was near the frog pond and Grandmother Tree as I thought of a certain person who helped me in the past and my gratitude; and consequently I thought of the holiness of it all.

So this morning, I get up. I felt defeated and blank minded. I had none of God’s “Revelation.” I couldn’t remember what salvation is or why I would want it. I said in prayer, “I am willing to be at ground zero today.” I felt like I was in the rubble of a failed life: I don’t know how to consistently eat healthy; I am about to spend way too much time driving to another city and going in a senseless ultra-marathon in order to get a finisher medal; my life stretches out in senseless insanity. I noticed that I perceive the future with fear. It is easy to blame future disaster on the small “them” of society: the cheaters and thieves who are out to screw me. I wrote down my fears of the future. I admitted that I was secretly harboring the cause of these disasters NOW. No wonder I feel guilty and afraid. I am the one projecting harm for all because of my hate and pain.

Having gone through my act of admitting to God and giving my hate and pain to God, I returned to thinking, “I accept being a blank slate today.” I returned to thinking of all the people around me and how they hold Christ within, how they are creations of God, and how holy they are. It was just then that I felt like THEY (the face of Christ and the memory of God) entered my empty space. What happened to my consciousness was exactly what I always want to happen: I became empty of my self, giving up my hate and fear, and THEY came in. I said in prayer, “I am willing to be a living temple in a world of light.” I credit THEM with bringing me this reality. It is because I wanted THEM and made a space for THEM and was willing to see THEM in others that THEY came and made THEIR home with me.

The miracle of this morning meditation was that instead of sitting here hating the “them” of society, I had decided instead to accept the “THEM” of Christ and God. I credit THEM with being the cause. It is true that I did some work: give up my hate to THEM. Where the willingness to do this comes from must also be attributed to some part of me higher than my ego. This is a good spiritual path. I offer it to anyone. It can be found in any religion or philosophy. It is very simple: give up your hate and Love enters.

Love is the predominant mode of existence.

My Soul\’s Purpose

Today, I got up at 5, did prayer until 6:30, lifted weights and got to running by 7:05. It was a beautiful day, especially for January; only 25F, no winds, clear skies. I ran 20 miles in 3 hours and 34 minutes. Then, I buzzed to the post office and the ATM at the bank across the street. At the ATM, I looked at the Dollar Store, right there. Inside are these cheap chocholate chip cookies I like. I just ran 20 miles; don\’t I deserve a package of cookies?

I didn\’t do it. Something inside me kept me from getting the cookies, eating them and feeling bad. What kept me from doing it? Did I unconsciously have a higher value with higher ideals which became my driving force? Was the power of God active and channeled through this higher value? The needed power to avoid unhappiness was there today.

Lets say that anything happy is powered by God through this higher value which I will call Soul. Soul empowers me to keep from hurting myself. (I have done alot of work to achieve this clarity of empowerment.)

So… running long slow distance (LSD) defies the ordinary person\’s unclear, non-Soul reasoning. Ordinary people just don\’t think LSD is a reasonable thing to do, especially if you are old (like me?). Yet for me, the needed power is there to do something extremely radical which produces transcendence experiences. I assume the needed power is that of God and Soul. I assume the power of God and the desire of Soul are behind the LSD; not ego. I must believe I run for some reason other than ego gratification; as the ego\’s running glory is widely dispersed and short lived. Hmmm…I run for my Soul\’s sake.

What is my Soul\’s purpose in LSD? As I internally ask, the answer immediately pops out: perhaps to keep me out of the ordinary so I will continue to awaken to the extraordinary. I have had many opportunities and success at ordinary social engagement. My Soul was not thrilled. My Soul kept urging me into the non-ordinary, transcending to extraordinary. My Soul\’s purpose could be what kept me from the ordinary man\’s cookies today; or his religion, or eating habits, or career, or entertainments, or chemical usage, or typical relationships.

Suddenly I am grateful. I want to find the extraordinary because I want to be free; not an ordinary slave. I want to be alive; not slowly die of ordinary materialism and satiety. I want to know my Soul and hence God. That is my purpose for life. It goes hand in hand with my Soul and together we rise to Heaven.

Vacation Thursday – St Romuald

This morning I ran 19 miles. I didn\’t see God. I saw 9 deer. I saw 3 hunters. Saturday begins rifle season here in Kansas. I haven\’t talked to anybody today. I\’ve thought the name of Jesus alot; just stopping whatever I was doing and closing my eyes to say the name. I have no expectations. While I was out running, I asked Jesus for a real thought. I talked to Jesus about the pain of the collective human mind. I asked Jesus who he was to me; I mean aside from any book, if he is alive, who is he to me right now?

As a contemplative, I sit and wait. It is not that I am meditating all the time, but in solitude, I am processing all the time. This brought to mind St Romuald. If I have a rule of life, I believe it could be this one.

The \”Little Rule\” of St. Romuald

Sit in your cell as in paradise;
put the whole world behind you and forget it;
like a skilled angler on the lookout for a catch
keep a careful eye on your thoughts.
The path you follow is in the psalms — don\’t leave it.
If you\’ve come with a novice\’s enthusiasm and can\’t
accomplish what you want, take every chance you can find
to sing the psalms in your heart and to understand them
with your head; if your mind wanders as you read
don\’t give up but hurry back and try again.
Above all realize that you are in God\’s presence;
hold your heart there in wonder as if before your sovereign.
Empty yourself completely;
sit waiting, content with God\’s gift,
like a little chick tasting and eating nothing
but what its mother brings.

Reading Dune this evening, it occurred to me that I am living in a living being. I am part of a field of living energy and I am not separate. This fits with today’s ACIM workbook lesson: I am not alone in experiencing the effects of how I see. It also seems to open the door to knowing all minds are connected and all minds are Christ. Jesus is the living energy which I am a part of. Its possible for me to believe this right now. This sort of knowing comes to me if I sit and wait. I have to be paying attention. Surrounding this real thought were tons of ego thoughts. From the knowledge of oneness, it is an easy leap into Heaven.

Here is the view from Sr Priscilla\’s window (see Tuesday\’s entry). She also sits in her cell and watches her thoughts.

Defiance, My Outstanding Characteristic

Why do I write this blog? There is a little peer pressure as some people actually like what I write. Other people like that I do write because they are happy critiquing my spirituality. I don’t write because I’m trying to teach any one. I am not a teacher. I write because I am enamored with myself. I write because I like to read my own blog. From ACIM:

“…everyone is seeking escape from the prison he has made…”

Last night, I made it into position for evening study and meditation. I realized that I exerted my spiritual will over my slothful will. I had to overcome a tiny barrier to get away from the computer or my book, and sit at the table to study, meditate and listen to my Spirit Self. In the morning, spiritual practice is habitual, but in the evening it requires the force of my will. Ultimately, the force of my will is what initiated the prayer and meditation all those years ago.

Is it my will? Or is it My Will? I am distinguishing here between my small normal ego consciousness and my larger spiritual consciousness; and not saying My Will is God, but just a transcended level of consciousness. The fact that I seek to transcend at all is due to My Will, that higher consciousness which is beyond my ordinary human selfishness, fear, hatred, anger and guilt. My truth is My Will.

I often wonder why I ended up in partnership, essentially committed unequivocally, to My Will. I say partnership, but I almost mean slave or bond servant. My Will wants what is best for me more than I do; and exerts pressure on me to serve its demands. I am a tool to My Will. My life belongs and is owned by My Will. I see so many who are asleep. So many do not fight society’s conditioning and programming and seek to go beyond materialism and religion. In AA we say, there but for the grace of God go I. In every single truly sober alcoholic, there is this force of My Will that somehow leaked out of the drunkenness and forced that person into complete non-negotiable sobriety. In AA’s Big Book, it says defiance is the outstanding characteristic of alcoholics. But of course! Who could get permanently sober without defying not only the drug itself, all physical and mental cravings and the bulk of society who thinks it’s ok to have “just one.”

I view most of society’s programming and conditioning as addiction. However, somehow, My Will leaked into my drunkenness and I struggled to achieve consciousness, to wake up.

I started this reflection wanting to express gratitude for my defiance. Sitting here now, I realize: I am not my Creator; I am not My Will and have no choice in the fact of awakening; awakening will happen. I can only hinder My Will by periodically getting ego drunk through the temporary choice to defy My Will. So there you have it. I can resist My Will temporarily; but ultimately My Will is intent on awakening and I really belong to It.

Pointing the Finger at Myself

On a discussion board, there is a new member. He says he is a Buddhist monk and poet. Over the past few days, he has posted at least ten poems. At first, I was thrilled and interested. “Here is a true wise hermit,” I thought. But today, I became angry at the poet and the plethora of poems he posted today.

I’ve spent several hours questioning my reaction and asking Jesus to help me with my ego. You see, it is my ego that became angry and wanted to attack the poet. I finally figured as follows. All of his poems go something like: I live alone on this beautiful mountain, my spirit soars into the clouds and I have nothing to do with you dirty normal humans.

Ummm…does that not sound exactly like my own ego? Yes, that is frequently how I think and feel and blog. Yet God gifted me today with this knowledge: what ever I happen to think in my small ego mind, I must be sharing with others in a way helpful to them.

I attend 12 step meetings and I went to one today. At the meeting was a young man I hadn’t seen for awhile. At the end of these meetings, we normally stand in a circle, hold hands and say a prayer. Today, this young man walked around the room to me and asked if he could hold my hand. Then, after the prayer, he talked about how he had got rid of his TV, found some other things to do; and had woken up to the fact that he had been anesthetized in front of that TV for several hours a day. Even in that meeting, two other people appreciated me for what I had said about Step 11 today.

So I had the Buddhist poet one the one hand, and the grateful young man on the other. I looked at my ego and my own arrogance and disdain. I suddenly became grateful that I live in a normal house, with a washer and dryer and weeds to hoe. I go to work whether I want to or not. I have a boss who is desperate to make sure I don’t leave. I do a good job even though I have no commitment to that company. Yes, I am on a spiritual quest, for knowledge of The Beyond; but I have no glory to show for it. What I have is a bag of dead peony bushes and a hoed peony bed ready for spring; and a young man who wants to hold my hand. For once, I am grateful to be me: nothing special, just an average good person.

\”I wanna hold your ha ah an ah nd…I waaaana hold your handdddd\” (The Beatles)

Spiritual Tools and Gratitude

I wanted to express additional gratitude to God.

My life is focused on the spiritual. So few actually want \”seeking God\” to be the main theme of their life. How grateful I am. How happy I am. I have been given a wonderful spiritual tool kit…and the willingness to use it.

Some tools are obviously spiritual: contemplation, lectio divina and worship.

Other tools are adjunct, but in my opinion necessary: fasting, raw food diet, colon cleansing, spirulina and chlorella, juicing, filtered water, sobriety, exercise.

So many of us bemoan our pocket books or envy the other people. I am rich with health and spiritual connection, Christ consciousness. Yet most people would not want to use my tool kit. Most people would not trade their bar-b-q for my colonic irrigation. Most people would not want to trade an hour of TV for an hour of contemplative prayer.

I am happy and grateful for the wealth of willingness. I don\’t yet know how I unlocked my spirit initially, but all of my practice since then has only opened the door wider and wider. I say again, how grateful I am.