My Ego Reactions

The act of eating and drinking in richness (aka gluttony) is dissipative of human physical and spiritual dignity. Human dignity is sacred ground and should not thus be desecrated.

I have always been at the bottom of the pecking order. Yesterday at work, as one of the guys was pecking away, I felt this incredible hatred. I am completely tired of competition.

At the same time, or on the other hand, I have an ego that completely can\’t accept quietly doing a great job and ignoring anything else. Spiritually speaking, it is good for me to have continuous ego deflation. I should just laugh at my ego feelings. I really do harbor resentments from years ago. I noticed that as I was out running this morning and was thinking about something from 30+ years ago.

Do you see why I need to live in the now? As I notice my ego drifting into resentment, I ask for spiritual help. It works.

Here is what my next long race would look like if I was doing it during the day:

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Silverton Aftermath

I completed my 86 miles of Silverton in the evening of Sunday, 9/4. On Monday, Labor Day 9/5, I drove to Durango. I had a 5:50 am flight on Tuesday, hence decided to spend Monday night in Durango.

I got to Durango at about 11 am, too early to check into a motel. So I had a soy latte and then wandered through a running store. I came out dressed in a new running outfit and headed for a bike path along the Animas River.

I\’d say I look pretty snazzy!

Anyway, I did a little slow jogging and walking for about an hour. I could feel tiredness but no injuries from the 86 mile Silverton jaunt. On Tuesday, United Airlines did a great job of delivering my body to Kansas City on time. So in the afternoon, I completed my usual core workout and added another 45 minutes of cross training.

Today, Wednesday, I had one more day of vacation. So (finally) a fantastic 11 hours of sleep; and then a 7 mile jaunt on trails including a couple of miles on a new gravel road I found. And, poor me, I clicked submit to enter a 50 mile race on 10/8 ( Heartland Spirit of the Prairie).

So here is my point: I didn\’t injure anything at Silverton. I only created tiredness for a few days; but nothing that needs weeks of recovery. I did come away from Silverton transcended. That is, I realize I am at a greater fitness level than I thought. I see I have trained up to a new standard. There was an absence of foot isses I\’ve had in the past. I\’m in fantastic shape, not just compared to other 50 year olds, but compared to everybody. And I\’m smart enough to not go over the injury line.

Two years ago, I entered the Heartland 50 mile. Right then, I got a new job, so I DNS\’d. But I was probably only half as trained as I am now. Now, Silverton proved to me what\’s in me. All I need do is not be stupid and over train going into Heartland.

I am excited about Heartland. Stay tuned.

Here is a blurb for the race information:

“There are several ways not to walk in the prairie, and one of them is with your eye on a far goal, because you then begin to believe you’re not closing the distance any more than you would with a mirage.  My woodland sense of scale and time didn’t fit this country, and I started wondering whether I could reach the summit before dark.  On the prairie, distance and the miles of air turn movement to stasis and openness to a wall, a thing as difficult to penetrate as dense forest.  I was hiking in a chamber of absences where the near was the same as the far, and it seemed every time I raised a step the earth rotated under me so that my foot fell just where it had lifted from.  Limits and markers make travel possible for people: circumscribe our lines of sight and we can really get somewhere.  Before me lay the Kansas of popular conception from Coronado on – that place you have to get through, that purgatory of mileage.

Hiking in the woods allows a traveler to imagine comforting enclosures, one leading to the next, and the walker can possess those little encompassed spaces, but the prairie and plains permit no such possession.  Whatever else prairie is – grass, sky, wind – it is most of all a paradigm of infinity, a clearing full of many things except boundaries, and its power comes from its apparent limitlessness; there is no such thing as a small prairie any more than there is a little ocean, and the consequence of both is this challenge: try to take yourself seriously out here, you bipedal plodder, you complacent cartoon.”

Running the Heart Sutra

Walking on the tm tonight, I felt the need to retreat into nothing, yet work out in the nothingness. I believe I can go nowhere in my ultra-retreat. This is the heart sutra:

Body is nothing more than emptiness, emptiness is nothing more than body. The body is exactly empty, and emptiness is exactly body.

I have a new paradigm: the work out paradigm. Some people live in a paradigm were they run only for fitness or when they are training for a race, a goal, a purpose. People view aerobic activity as something only done within limits: those of injury, time, “balance” or “got tired of it.” But what if you lived in a paradigm where you could work out without injury for endlessly long periods of time. Is this heaven for you? It is for me. I finally see it. I have developed a method for continuous working out as long as fuel goes in. I like this. It is not a punishment or some method for “digging deep.” It’s just enjoyment of a state of being. It used to be “challenging myself.” Now it is the enjoyable norm.

So, in emptiness, there is no body, no feeling, no thought, no will, no consciousness.

In the solitude of working out in my living room or running endless laps in a tiny park, I get to the place of no consciousness; only being. In the state of pure being, Oneness is found and the innocence of Life is found.

In the old paradigm, you see a person running and running and think they are hurting. In the new one, it is painless, unlimited happiness. My 5 day ultra-retreat starts Wednesday after work.

Heartland Prairie – Course Views

Here is a shot of the \”seemingly endless\” Heartland Prairie ultra-marathon course. 135 days away.

Otherwise: I ran 5 miles this morning. I checked the radar before I went and it looked like all the rain was a hundred miles away. Wrong! There was a small downpour that got me soaking wet the last mile of the run. But you know…I wouldn\’t have missed this run. Not because it was special but just because \”it was.\”

My prayer and meditation this morning were dry. I was absolutely brain dead. I could not grasp the lesson: The peace of God is shining in me now. I\’m like that sometimes. The most beautiful and enlightening and hopeful words bounce off my brain and fall useless to the ground. Jesus says not to worry about it. Jesus says to sit quietly and listen. I do that and discover it is silent. Hence, the frustration of peace is silence. Its not birds or wind or beautiful images. Peace is silent.

Acceptance of Oblivion – 146 days to Heartland Priairie

Today, I ran at marathon pace for 10.8 miles in the morning. In the evening, I lifted weights and walked for an hour.

As I walked, I thought about letting go of the outcome. My life is not about making sure I finish a 50 mile race. My life is about spirit. In my humanity, I must always let go and let some Power greater than myself care for my well being and plan for my edification. I must not limit this Power to giving me what I want.

So I faced oblivion. I have no idea where I will be on October 10; and even if I toe the starting line, the finish line is not guaranteed. And, actually, getting to the finish is not the point. I don\’t know what I need to learn. I don\’t know what insights I will be givien from my Inner Self. So I don\’t judge and assume that the best path for me is to finish the Heartland Prairie 50 miler.

I begin to live in a world made of faith. I do my training with no idea what for. In fact, there is no earthly good reason or objectively spiritual reason for running a 50 mile race. I don\’t know what for; but I see I could so I am giving it a shot. My faith is not that I will finish the race but that I will be given and guided in whatever way is best for me. I will not know why. I just listen and do what I think should be the next right thing.

What I am doing is not of real importance. This morning I got up at 4:30. After prayer, I made a green smoothie and headed 30 miles south to a town that has a Dillon\’s with great organic produce. Then, I headed another 20 miles south east to a fellowship meeting. Then I ran in the park. Then I came home and ate, posted to running mania, read and napped. Then I lifted weights and walked for an hour. Then I showered and ate some more.

What was in my mind? Almost always, the ultra. In between were thoughts of my ACIM lesson. Thoughts of food. There should be more in my mind than eating and running. I expect higher orders of thought for myself. But honestly, I live at this low level; except for when I stop to ponder that Power.

Sheepishness

The ultra-sober wanna be stands in dismay: I want to run a 50 miler. I plan to run a 50 miler. I have told others; so my ego has no cover should things not work out. I\’ll tell you: I am aware that the odds against me are huge. Success depends mainly on me not being stupid; a difficult assignment at best.

I plan to share my idealism, peaks, valleys and disasters. I plan to keep up the walking, jogging, bike riding and situps. Tonight, I added 1.5 pounds to the bar bell.

At this moment, it is important to contemplate my ego\’s reaction to full disclosure: fear.

Ha! Laugh my axx off! Show that ego!

The ACIM concept of defenselessness is what I will employ. I will not attack or defend. I will only look for holiness. Holiness depends not on form, depends not on this world. Holiness simply is. Holiness simply exists. Holiness is the quiet existence of ultra-sobriety, slow jogging in the early morning darkness and taking each step as the gift of God which it is.

There you go…I went philosophical again!

Ultra-sobriety – 147 day countdown

It is 147 days until I run a 50 mile race. I have entered NOT a period of training. I have entered a period of transformation. My body could probably already complete the mileage. I just ran a 31 mile race in 5:24. By adding the walking and eating, my body would be ok. My body does what is requested of it in my thoughts. It is my mind that needs transformation.

You will see that I mix spirituality into my running. I do this because I mix spirituality into everything I do. Why? It is my goal to learn that I am only spirit, in this lifetime. In my spirituality, I am a reformed Tenzin Palmo. Tenzin Palmo is the highest ranking Buddhist nun. She spent 12 years alone in a Himalayan cave. She said in her book that the goal of her life is to achieve enlightenment as a woman. What? Well, the male roshis do not think it is possible for a woman to be enlightened. Of course that is ridiculous; but that is what they believe. Tenzin Palmo intends to prove them wrong. My life goal, to know I am a spirit, in this life, reflects Tenzin Palmo who is something of an inspiration for me.

In the realm of running, yet mixed with meditation and enlightenment, is the inspiration of Suprabha Beckjord. She has for 11 years completed the 3,100 mile Self Transcendence race. This she does by going about 54 miles a day until the distance is completed. Um…impossible!

147 days is not even 6 months. I want to develop a kind of sobriety, an athletic sobriety: ultra-sobriety. I don’t want my ego to be training or dieting. This ultra-sobriety needs to be carefully crafted, hand carved out of love and quiet discipline. The discipline is to sit quietly in a cocoon of holiness and innocence while the ego is transformed into spirit. Yes, I jog and walk and eat and sleep; but all the while consciously working the steps to remain ultra-sober. The steps of ultra-sobriety, the designing and building of the cocoon and the sitting within it, are an ontological tool used with the 50 mile race as the day of re-birth. Ultra- sobriety is my engineering project. October 10 is the day of its unveiling, the day of ripping open the cocoon, the crossing of the bridge, the turning of the page, the day of death and resurrection.

The 147 days are a preparation for the day of dying; by giving up my ego possessions and my ideas of what training and racing should be. I actually DO NOT know who I am. I know NOT how to eat or train or be a spirit. I know NOT how to be ultra-sober. Life, my ego concept of self as I know it, is unmanageable by me. Hence, ultra-sobriety is a gift I hope to receive each day.

God grant me the serenity to NOT try too hard today, to accept Your Love and listen quietly to Your Guidance, and to allow my insanity to be healed by You.

I have planned a few days next week to detox from my own thinking. I need to turn my will and my life over to God’s plan for me, God’s Teacher and The Teacher’s peace. Ultra-sobriety should be a time of peace, more peaceful than I’ve ever been. My insanity is unworthiness and unbelief. It is my own choice of unworthiness which denies ultra-sobriety and causes insane racing after goals. Marathon racing is plagued by demons. The headless horsemen are called AG (age group award) and PB (personal best) and BQ (Boston qualification); the messengers of ego desire. In a marathon I experience the insanity of fear, chasing the demons of ego satisfaction, in frenetic desperation to catch the ego gratification of AG and PB and BQ.

To live ultra-sober and run the race of self transcendence, to know I am spirit, is to enter a flow of existence and merely be. One jogs and walks and eats and feels pain and experiences the delusions; but the spirit is merely existing and maintaining peace; quietly slipping across the bridge.

This morning I snuck in a wonderful 77 minutes of jogging between thunderstorms. Starting today, I am not counting miles but minutes.

Outrageous 50th Year

“There are several ways not to walk in the prairie, and one of them is with your eye on a far goal, because you then begin to believe you’re not closing the distance any more than you would with a mirage. My woodland sense of scale and time didn’t fit this country, and I started wondering whether I could reach the summit before dark. On the prairie, distance and the miles of air turn movement to stasis and openness to a wall, a thing as difficult to penetrate as dense forest. I was hiking in a chamber of absences where the near was the same as the far, and it seemed every time I raised a step the earth rotated under me so that my foot fell just where it had lifted from. Limits and markers make travel possible for people: circumscribe our lines of sight and we can really get somewhere. Before me lay the Kansas of popular conception from Coronado on – that place you have to get through, that purgatory of mileage.

Hiking in the woods allows a traveler to imagine comforting enclosures, one leading to the next, and the walker can possess those little encompassed spaces, but the prairie and plains permit no such possession. Whatever else prairie is – grass, sky, wind – it is most of all a paradigm of infinity, a clearing full of many things except boundaries, and its power comes from its apparent limitlessness; there is no such thing as a small prairie any more than there is a little ocean, and the consequence of both is this challenge: try to take yourself seriously out here, you bipedal plodder, you complacent cartoon.”

This is a quote from the web page for the Heartland Prairie Ultra-marathon. This year\’s theme is \”Spirit of the Prairie.\” Spirit Flower will be there! Follow my training as I get ready to do 50 miles at UMP (ultra-marathon pace).