I am finally here…

Prelude on Saturday: I signed up for Flatlanders many months ago. Coming home from Colorado in July with so much pain, I had no idea what I would do about this race. I didn\’t even buy my airplane tickets until August; and I cashed in all my points on everything so that no matter how bad I did, there\’d be no financial loss.

Don\’t try to make it mean anything.

Sunday morning, I got up with the alarm. My drinks are made. I did something new. When I travel, I am always concerned about reducing my load. So I took an old copy of A Course in Miracles paperback and sliced off the workbook. This is very small and light weight and I am reading the lessons as if they were the text. The lessons contain much teaching. I am programming my brain with A Course in Miracles in order to have a happy day. To have a happy day, I need to walk with Spirit not ego. Begin the free flow of spiritual ideas.

Lesson 4 in the work book. What thoughts are crossing my mind? These thoughts, good or bad, don\’t mean anything. I flash on the human quest for enlightenment. Is it not just another human wishing they were pain free and happy all the time? I thought about how \”Untethered Soul\” mentioned to let in the power at all times and feel good all the time. My heel hurts. This brings me apprehension, annoyance, failure.

L5: form does not matter. Can I enter today a transcendent state? I could say, \”I want to have a happy day.\” And, \”I will make no decisions by myself.\” I am afraid of my own self. L7: I see only the past. L8: My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts….my mind has been merely blank.  I seem to be thinking about how painful and miserable today will be and how it will end in failure.

L9: I see nothing as it is now.

So I drive the 2 miles over to the race, and set up my personal aid station. I say hi to some of my compatriots. This is important. We are in this together.

It rained for 2 or 3 hours in the morning. But it was warm, so I ran all day in a tank top. About 3 hours in, I realized that I felt pretty good and that if I kept the pace just a tiny bit faster, I could get a gold medal for 50 miles. So I worked at it.

I met Joyce and Norm (in their 70s) and their daughter. I met Lee. I said hi to many others. Andrew was doing an outstanding job of counting laps. My nutrition program seemed to be working.

I have no idea how my brain came up with \”Skip to My Lou My Darling.\” I couldn\’t remember any verse lyrics but that song played over and over. It is totally funny what your brain can come up with.

About 2 hours in, I had a revelation: the reason I quit ultra marathons before the end is because I think now one cares about me. In fact, a major reason behind much of how I feel about life is I think no one cares about me. But that is not true; especially in a race like this: we are all needed and no one can do it without the others. Wow!

6 hours in, I met Julie, a 53 year old woman who was trying to break the course record of 60 miles. So, if I wanted to be happy, I needed to go for the gold since there would be no age group win for me. I cheered for her and she cheered for me.

My self talk was incredibly good. I remember wanting to let go, not control. I could hear some inner voice say about my speed, \”How\’s this?\” as I sprinted along. I said, \”That\’s great. Lets keep going.\” Into the 6th hour, I pulled a crumpled up, soggy scrap of paper I had forgot was there out of my Nathan belt. It had stuff from A Course in Miracles: \”Abandon ego on behalf of Him. Seek peace alone and know the power of God. This holy instant is all the time there is. All separation vanishes when holiness is shared.\” I started meditating on this and Skip to My Lou vanished. I was better now a cruising pretty fast. I knew that abandoning ego meant letting go and letting whatever power was inside me be in charge. That is why my self talk was so good. God offers power to everyone, but I needed to accept it now, today, this holy instant.

Along in here, I had an an apple and a Starbucks bottled frappucino. And then I felt a ton better. I can\’t at all describe how good I felt, and practically sprinted for a lap before that wore off. But it bought me some needed cushion time. An hour or two later, after various other calories, I had another frappucino. And not too long later, I spent quality time in the bathroom; but I felt much better after getting some stuff out.

Sharing a race course was sharing holiness. I even had to ask a stranger to get the cap off my frappucino. She became part of the \”we\’re in this together team.\” I even included the people who bottled that drink and the executives who thought of it in the first place.

The last 2.5 hours were hard. My brain didn\’t track with what Andrew was telling me about my laps and I kept thinking I had one more done than he had said. So I arrived at 1h50min left and needed 7 laps. Crap. I put in a fast one fueled by another frappucino. Then I finally got to 2 laps with 51 min to go. I put in another good one and left myself 31 min for the last lap. As I passed one of the other runners who was standing by her chair, I said, \”one more fucking lap.\” She laughed and said she knew what I meant. As I continued to tell everyone about my fucking last lap, a beautiful clear rainbow lit up the sky.

haha, for once, I didn\’t quit before the miracle. I\’d been out there for nearly 12 hours and had put enough heart into the thing to far surpass what I thought I could do at the start.

Dis-establishment…

…..of the ego and the body as the basis of my reality.

My mind hold only light and it shines out.
My mind is part of God\’s and it is holy.

On the weekends, the people I see are random people, chance meetings. I always have pleasant feelings. Like early this morning, as I stood just inside the door of Home Depot mystified at where to go, an orange aproned associate actually asked me. I said I want aisle 42 but I see nothing like that. She pointed out what part of the store and laughed with me about how confusing the place was.

Then in Target, the cashier called me sir (which they all do and he wasn\’t the first just in that store); but then apologized. I told him not to worry. Then he said he just got yelled at because a complaint had been filed against him. Poor guy.

Well, I share these things because I saw the holiness of these random people. And, seeing it once, it can be seen in all. Sitting here, I can pick out someone who annoys me and then choose to see their holiness.

After my chore of shopping, I did an indoor exercise fest. I burned up more calories doing that than running. Since I use exercise machine where I don\’t need to see to keep my balance, I love to shut my eyes, plug my ears and lose my mind in ACIM lessons. I mourn the loss of the Sunday long run, but my legs are more tired from what I did today. Running is not the be all and end all.

Who am I?

And what am I doing here?

I am the woman I always wanted to be.

But the meaning of my life doesn\’t seem to be known to me.

I thought going to a monastery would be meaningful. Last night, I had a dream about it. I was in the monastery and was to be professed that evening. I had been asked to come back, pre-approved for profession. So I went because I wanted to be joined. But, I also wondered, \”Why do you want to join this place when you have looked at their blog for the past 2 years and thought it was stupid? Why do you want to spend every day on Catholicism? You don\’t believe in it.\”

As I sit here and type, I think, \”Whats wrong with running?\” Look at the girl in the picture who is running a decent but not fast half marathon. She is happy. Several e-friends have said they are jealous of the muscle cut arms. In the original picture I have here at home, I look even better.

My quest of transcendence might be a quest to merely be human.

Americans are taught to keep trying to be more. This teaching produces agitation and dis-satisfaction with ordinary loving situations.

I\’d love to go back to the Silverton 1000 and run for six days. But I\’m pretty sure that the current condition of my knee would bump me off the steep hills on the first day. Whats wrong with totally pleasant half marathons interspersed with 20 hours of training a week?

At work, several great things happened. On Thursday, after a long day of goal setting with the Basic Chemicals team, I was apologizing to the leader for not staying for happy hour; because such things are usually semi-mandatory team building. He said that it was totally optional and no one should ever apologize for not staying or feel bad for not staying. That is the first time that the guilt has been totally removed. He was a messenger of love.

Yesterday, the Environmental Control manager drove me all around the site and pointed out all the water, utilities and infrastructure items he is responsible for. Really, the Chem-park where I work is huge. Nearly a city with 3,000 people and the massive usage of materials as well as disposal needs. I felt very good about riding around and seeing all the sites. He was a messenger of love.

Then, after a very long meeting, I got a golf cart ride from a guy named Mohammed who is very strictly practicing Halal. He is my co-worker and about 20 years younger and really cute. He was asking me how I liked Houston and talking about how he missed the Philadelphia ghetto. It came down to a friendship discussion and how few real friends (maybe only one) we had. He understood when I said that with most people I carry on superficial relationships, not saying anything important but getting along fine. See, he may be on the opposite end of a religious continuum than me, but we feel the same. I left him feeling like he was a real friend simply because we could discuss the subject of friendship. He was a messenger of love.

Whats wrong with being satisfied with a friend in a chemical plant above monastic profession or ultra-marathoning?

Is this love?

Or this?

We should accept all love as equal, no matter where it is found. Nobody is more holy than anyone else.

Holiness Revisited

From ACIM text 14.IX and X:
>The Presence of Holiness lives in everything that lives, for Holiness created life, and leaves not what it created holy as itself.

>In this world you can become a spotless mirror, in which the holiness of your Creator shines forth from you to all around you. You can reflect Heaven here. Yet no reflections of the images of other gods must dim the mirror that would hold God’s reflection in it. Earth can reflect Heaven or hell; God or the ego. You need but leave the mirror clean and clear of all the images of hidden darkness you have drawn upon it. God will shine upon it of Himself.

>God is no image, and His creations, as part of Him, hold Him in them in truth. They do not merely reflect truth, for they are truth.

>The reflections you accept into the mirror of your mind in time but bring eternity nearer or farther. But eternity itself is beyond all time. Reach out of time and touch it, with the help of its reflection in you. And you will turn from time to holiness, as surely as the reflection of holiness calls everyone to lay all guilt aside.

(note about the mirror: people familiar with the Bible, will recall St Paul’s mirror images; but note here that the point is to let God shine brightly, almost the opposite of what Paul was saying)

My morning ACIM study again touched the topic of holiness. My lesson today overlaps because it mentions truth: I will be still and listen to the truth.

I admit to Jesus what is really in my mind at the worldly level. I recognize my hatred of various people from my past and how disrespectful of my current boss I secretly am. Well, nothing stays secret. It leaks out in pointed comments; of which I am ashamed and feel guilty and consequently afraid. As I admit my true feelings, I once again return to the self hate. I once again feel the ego’s utter hatred of God. I bring these thoughts to the light of the Holy Spirit instead of keeping them in my secret darkness.

Jesus, in ACIM, teaches that the hatred is of the ego and doesn’t really exist as the ego doesn’t exist. I always get to choose what voice I want to listen to: the ego’s hateful spewing or the quiet Voice of the Presence of holiness within. It strikes me that the listening to The Voice and the turning to holiness is a life or death matter. I must choose The Voice, accept the holiness and only see holiness in others as well. This choice and practice means life.

If I cry out, “Oh God, why have you forsaken me?” it is my desperate cry because I feel powerless over the pus-filled and putrid ego which normally fills my consciousness. If I whisper, “Into your hands I commend my spirit,” it is my utmost and heart-felt surrender to Love; compunction at its finest. I need help and help is here. It still means that I must give up every ego thing in order to reflect the peace of heaven. This is the way to God consciousness; THE one thing I want.

So, I worked out on the machines for 2 hours and then ran for 90 minutes. I think my ankle will be fine for the marathon in 2 weeks and I am starting to look forward to the trip.

Holy-ness Resentment

What do I do in solitude? Listen to my thoughts, work out, eat, read and sleep. I practice having only light in my mind. I remember God.

This morning, I read the following in the ACIM (A Course in Miracles) text (14.VIII): “The Atonement does not make holy. You were created holy. It merely brings unholiness to holiness; or what you made to what you are. Bringing illusion to truth, or the ego to God, is the Holy Spirit’s only function…. Bringing the ego to God is but to bring error to truth, where it stands corrected because it is the opposite of what it meets…. The holy meeting place of the un-separated Father and His Son lies in the Holy Spirit and in you. All interference in the communication that God Himself wills with His Son is quite impossible here. Unbroken and uninterrupted love flows constantly between the Father and the Son, as both would have it be. And so it is….Let your mind wander not through darkened corridors, away from light’s center. You and your brother may choose to lead yourselves astray, but you can be brought together only by the Guide appointed for you.”

Some pieces fell into place for me today.

All the time I think about my journey through the monastery. I know I wouldn’t have been happy there, but I continue to ponder its meaning. Why God did we go there and do that? What does it mean for my spiritual learning now?

First let me share that within 3 minutes of driving away from the monastery, just over the first hill, I had my first post-monastic realization: my ego desperately wanted to gain the title OSB (Order of St Benedict) in order to feel validated. I had my life riding on that one achievement. I had nearly four years of life with the sisters, being taught that professed monks were holier and closer to Jesus than the non-vowed non-ordained ordinary lay person. The result of my 3 year participation in a religious formation program was to totally believe that after monastic profession, I would be holy.

I have continued to chew on the holiness idea in the 7 years since leaving the monastery. Being kicked out of the monastery, I felt they didn’t have the right to deprive me of my shot at holiness. As you can see from the above ACIM quotation, holiness is part of the learning objectives of The Course. Last night, lying on my bed, I asked myself, “Can holiness cover my nakedness (ie hide me from God)? Can holiness make me better or validate me?” Then I was finally able to say to Jesus, “I don’t accept the equal holiness put forth in ACIM because holiness in this world is an ego concept,”

Last night, I walked on the tread mill and rode the ex-bike. I was doing nothing and being nothing and living in timelessness.

During my morning meditation, thoughts about holiness continued to surface. We use holiness against each other. We use holiness as a status symbol. We use holiness to differentiate people. We teach that holiness can be gained behaviorally and by completing certain institutional processes. We use holiness as a discipline enforcer to keep people in line. We don’t teach holiness as an inherent quality in everyone. We don’t freely give it. Holiness was meant to be freedom, not prison. Holiness and love and human dignity are synonymous, and the opposite of ego.

God is. Holiness is. Holiness is eternal, unchanging, and independent of all human and egotistical thought.

Now, it is 8 am and I begin my walking on the tread mill. Walking and listening to NPR, I am again entered into the nothingness and egolessness of the reclusive athlete. Suddenly, another realization hits me. Since the moment I drove away from the monastery, the hallmark of my life has been ego renunciation. All the jobs I’ve had have taught me to let go of the ego. The shifting of my spirituality away from religion and denominational Christianity has caused me to renounce the ego world. If Jesus said one thing that matters most to me, it was, “…lose your life to keep it…” The life I lose is the ego life in the ego world. Everything in this world, religion and position in society, is ego fabricated and ego feeding.

But one by one, I’ve been laying aside my ego toys and ego joys. Each bit of littleness and grandiosity and ego satisfaction is renounced on a daily basis.

The purpose has been my desire for God consciousness. The one thing I really want is to know God. I do it mainly by laying aside the things the ego has placed between me and Him.

After an hour on the machines, I went to the park and jogged 13.5 miles. I jogged at my go-forever-without-injury pace of a little over 11 minute miles. It was somewhat rainy so the park was pretty empty. I had on my new rain jacket and put my stamp of approval on it: Eddie Bauer. I lost myself in the slow jogging. I was happy. I was free. I was holy.

Heart of America Marathon 2009 – Prelude

Up at 3. Drinking coffee. Race time at 6.

After messing with Runningmania.com, I’m settling into morning spiritual work.

4 am – Holiness. Holy Spirit. Nothing else seems to exist. “I am resolved to let You (Holy Spirit) speak through me…” (ACIM WB 296). The silence of the early morning has made Holiness and Presence almost palpable. I am grateful to stop and give myself to God for whatever could happen today.

Not special. I am willing to give up specialness. “The One you called on is with you…to acknowledge Him is to deny all that you think you know” (ACIM text 16.II.6). I can give up what I think I know in favor of the Power of Holiness. I can expect to run my race in the Power of Holiness. What happens here in the material world is of no consequence. Only Holiness matters.

What a miracle that my mind is opened to the Power of Holiness and I will not be running a race on the plane of pain and ego. I will be running a race with Him in me, as a consciousness partnership and awareness. OMG, THIS is how I want to live my life: always letting Holiness be primary in my mind.

Monday, September 07, 2009: the first day of the New Year. God has given me Himself. God has answered all His promises. I wanted to live on the plane of Inspiration and I am. The World of the Spirit has been my goal for decades. Today, I stand inside That Place. Light is all around, shining brightly. I rejoice at Love. I rejoice at being one with all my brothers and sisters. It is true that every single person is here in the Love with me. It doesn’t matter if you know it. We are Here.

The problem of today, running a marathon, I hereby give to the Holy Spirit to solve for me. He has never failed to solve any problem I have ever given Him. I am totally grateful to give Him this problem, today\’s problem. My ego fears the Holy Spirit’s control. My true self loves being under His Love. I put my faith in the Power of Holiness. I even offer my ego’s fear to Him for healing. The ego’s fear is the indigenous human condition which needs healing so we can consciously rejoin Heaven. “This is the year for the application of the ideas that have been given you. For the ideas are mighty forces, to be used and not held idly by…This year, invest in truth, and let it work peace. Have faith in Him Who has faith in you” (text 16.II.9). By giving my day to God, I hereby invest in truth.

Tomorrow, I go to work at my new job; a new place to serve Him.

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!

Monday of Holy Week

For me, there is nothing more holy about this week than any other week. Spirituality will occupy the same premier place it always does. It is true I have some additional time for reflection this week; but I get that time every time I take days off work.

The word “holy” describes almost the entirety of my spirituality. But our society has largely abused the word holiness. Our society, ego devised and operated, makes an insidious switch of holiness and specialness. Egos want specialness not holiness. However, the ego uses the word holiness to describe that attractive feeling we get when we attain a holy status in the eyes of other egos. To attain holiness in the ego world, you have to do something, like go to church. In the spiritual world, I am holy by definition. The only thing I do is drop everything else.

Authentic holiness is a God created condition of benign peace. Holiness has a certain truth about it which requires nothing other than acceptance. Holiness is light, silent love, quiet peace, the realization of joyful oneness. All of creation, including humanity, is holy; when we subscribe to the truth of what God’s creation is. The only thing God created was holiness. Holiness is the only real thing. All of real creation is thoughts of love and ideas of love. Hence, this frightening world can only be an ego delusion, a bad dream. In the middle of the bad dream is the ego which wants to be special and in fact can be said to be addicted to specialness.

I have learned to seek for truth in contemplation. Under the egos bluster, I discern the benign peaceful condition of holiness. Holiness is my essence. To see only holiness around me is my first spiritual practice. It is necessary to deny the egos insistence that holiness cannot be true. The experience of living holiness, projecting holiness, consciously being holiness, seeing only holiness is what I really want. I love being holy.

Yesterday morning, first thing after my 2 co-workers arrived, they asked about my race last Saturday. I found myself unable to speak; share what a fast race I had completed. Since leaving work on Friday to Monday morning, my only words had been to the grocery store clerk. These two co-workers (friendly guys) were asking for something too superficial for me to produce at that point. They had made a place for me to be special and I refused to enter it.

I had a wonderful 5 mile run this morning. It was under a clear sky with a nearly full moon and chilly temperatures.

Lenten Friday

From ACIM:

  • God rests in you in quiet, undefended and wholly undefending, for in this quiet state alone is strength and power.
  • It is your Father Whom you would defend against.

ACIM consistently says our one fear is of God. I can relate to the idea of God as a punishing God. My fear of other people seems to me to be a projection of my fear of God, a disassociation I made instead of admitting my fear directly and letting God have it. I have difficulty getting in touch with my fear of God directly. The fear of God underlies our Genesis story; and I\’m sure it is so deeply rooted in my psyche that I haven\’t gone deep enough yet to find it. I will though.

On the other hand, I am able to rest in the inner light. This is my God environment. I gaze at a bright inner sun and am silent in its company. I don\’t ask it for anything or try to anticipate some ecstasy or catharsis. I\’m just there as quietly as possible.

There is nothing more holy and sacred \”out there\” than what can be found in the inner reaches of my mind. In fact, any liturgical attempt is an illusion. This pains me to admit. I so totally want \”The Church\” with its liturgy to be my savior. But it doesn\’t work that way once you have attained Christ consciousness. Since I myself became the sacrament (and we all are because Christ lives in us), I\’ve been unable to pretend that anything less is more divine. Life would be much easier if I could keep up the pretense and go along with church authorities; but the truth has set me free. Going back doesn\’t work. As you can see, I grieve. I also stand in the light. I once again attain silence and my Companion shines into my awareness. Love is all there is.

Everything in my life needs to be focused on Christ. There are so many little distractions. I am a Christian athlete. I train every day to improve my spiritual performance, endurance and strength.

Personal statistics: I ran 6.5 miles in the 4 o\’clock hour this morning. Sometime this weekend, I\’ll get a long run done (20+ miles). The Olathe Marathon is in 3 weeks. I\’m going to have a green smoothie for breakfast; juice for lunch. Yesterday, at 8 pm, the DSL came on at my house. But I was already in bed so I haven\’t tried it yet. Yesterday at noon, ATT turned on my phone service, first I\’ve had for many years. At 3, after work, I bought a phone. The first call around 5 pm was from a marketer. My next move was to get on the computer and add my phone to the no-call list. I also turned off the ringer. No one has the number except calling computers.

Lent 9 – Value Holiness

“…value holiness above all else…”

I read this passage from ACIM this morning. It is a formative statement. It means that I will give up looking negatively at people and judging their behavior with my ego; instead I will look beyond the illusion and see only holiness, Christ. Christ is in all of us, but He resides beyond this material world. His kingdom is within, not of this world.

Part of my whole spiritual endeavor is to transcend the muck and murk of my own egotistical thinking. I want to live with a mind filled with light. I want to experience a consciousness of Christ in real time. This Christ consciousness seems to me to be the only happy way to live. The main thing is that I admit my faults to Him and give up myself to Him. I turn my thinking over to Him.

The Rule of Benedict says to prefer nothing to Christ and to treat others as Christ. I can do this if I quit using my body’s eyes to see illusions; and instead see only truth with the eyes of my heart. The eyes of my heart are Christ’s. Holiness is our essential truth.

Honestly, I pursue this path but cannot claim Christ awareness when I am in the middle of other people. The lapse in consciousness means that my spiritual muscles are very weak. I still have a vested interest in seeing other’s faults. Instead, I want to be more invested in wanting holiness; enough to insist that all I see is holiness. I’m certain this training and strengthening of Christ consciousness and Christ vision is possible. I’m doing it with the help and guidance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am doing it with the support of everyone else’s Christ consciousness; although most of us are unaware of our spiritual support of others.

When I say that I have stopped investing in this world, I hope I am transferring my investments and treasures to the Kingdom within, where Christ is.

Blogging about my dream of Christ gives me mixed emotion. On the one hand, I am sharing my passion and hope. On the other, I feel like I am preaching about something I haven’t really grasped myself. Like the emperor, I have no clothes, more or less. I am really nothing; just a girl with hopes of a better way of thinking.