The Power of MY Thought

I have ignored this concept usually. One of the teachings of A Course in Miracles is to accept the power as supported by the Holy Spirit\’s thought system, put in the effort to direct my thinking and believe in its power, stop believing in the ego\’s dissonance.

25 years ago, I heard that thoughts create reality. I didn\’t grasp or live in that belief. In other words, I denied the power.

I wake up every morning with a head full of crappy thoughts about myself and the world. But I quickly sit down and do a little studying of a Course in Miracles. This always enable me to direct my thinking towards love, joy, peace, Help; essential okay-ness.

Essential okay-ness is necessary for me. Without it I\’d need to kill myself, take drugs, eat myself to death or something.

Chapter 7.VI excerpts:

\”Your ability to direct your thinking as you choose is part of its power. If you do not believe you can do this you have denied the power of your thought, and thus rendered it powerless in your belief….Produced by fear, the ego reproduces fear. This is its allegiance, and this allegiance makes it treacherous to love because you are love. Love is your power, which the ego must deny. It must also deny everything this power gives you because it gives you everything….The ego therefore opposes all appreciation, all recognition, all sane perception and all knowledge.\”
Part of my doldrums are related to my left heel pain. Actually this pain is getting better and piece by piece the issues are being solved. But since I am not pain free, I get down about it. Actually, I get down because I am not Scott Jurek or any number of other amazing ultra-runners. I get down as I\’ve only been working out 16 hours a week instead of 20. I get down for only running 50 miles a week instead of 80. I get down because I weight 134 instead of 130, or 129. I worry about my Colorado running vacation because I might not be able to do 8 hours of walk jog every day.
So, you see a pattern here?  Where have I set my bars? Insane? So, it is A Course in Miracles that turns the doldrums around every morning. THE Answer is a spiritual remedy. My ego allies with the doldrums and supports going down. Spirit supports the essential okay-ness. I feel much better in okay-ness. I need to feel better. 
Self transcendence is choosing Spirit instead of ego; and then getting out of bed.
And then go running. Yeah!

The Foundation

What do I stand on? Why do I say this today?

I just returned from an exciting and fun race in Canada. This morning, I again am able to sit quietly and do my spiritual study. In chapter 6 of the ACIM text, it says that the Holy Spirit is the answer to the ego\’s doubts about what it is. The Holy Spirit always answers (tells me) something like this: I am a priceless child of God. He created me as part of Him. His decision cannot be undone.

The text is saying that the ego\’s whole idea is to undo the Idea of God, and not be part of Him. The Holy Spirit\’s job is to provide the answer. I get to choose which I want to listen to, hear and learn.

My foundation is to accept the Holy Spirit\’s answer and always say it again to my ego. When my ego brings up doubts, fears, angers, hatreds, I answer with the Holy Spirit\’s answer. In this way, I am not projecting anything other than inner peace because a child of God knows they are safe and nothing else is real.

Chapter 5 – Intense Holy Spirit Learning

A Course in Miracles Text chapter 5 is really deep into the Holy Spirit. I deeply feel Him inside. I remember. Or I stop and listen; experiencing the reality.

All this as I ride the elliptical or walk on the tread mill.

\”Healing is the vocation of the mind.
In the mind, God put the Call to joy.\”

I\’m still in the hunt for completing a 24 hour run. Maybe this one near Atlanta on September 1:

Surreal eh?

Problem Solved

Does God solve problems? Probably not.

But, I can see things differently and in that is my world changed. I can ask for help in seeing things differently. The Holy Spirit is who saves me with Christ vision.

A Course in Miracles states the non-existence of guilt. And this is because God, being Love, could not have created anything other than love. Created love cannot be guilty any more than God can be guilty.

Anyway, I broke the rules of non-thinking obedience at work yesterday. I woke up in the night feverish with guilt, shame and \”I-am-not-good-enough-to-work-at-this-great-place.\” I mean really, I was attacked by negative emotion from all sides. I tried to project it out onto the company and its gate keepers. hate loomed.

Yet this morning, as I studied the ACIM text, I was reminded to let the Holy Spirit solve my problems for me. Ummm…yeah…I asked the Holy Spirit to help me with \”this problem.\” I did my morning workout engraving in my thoughts, \”I will accept forgiveness for myself.\” Forgiveness is overlooking, or looking beyond this world to the one of peace and light which is the real world of love. The function of the miracles worker is to accept salvation for themselves because in that they stop projecting their guilt onto others and all are seen as innocent, creations of love.

Today at work, nothing was said.

One of the first things that happened was I had an unexpected cup of coffee with 3 colleagues I don\’t normally see. But I got validation from them about my feelings related to stupid and inefficient work requirements. Then the first class I had was relatively interesting. Then the morning slipped quietly away. I got some work done and then the afternoon class slipped quietly away. Then I drove home on traffic-less streets in record time.

I kept saying thank you to Whomever. \”This problem\” has been solved and not by me.

My lessons tomorrow are so relaxing and freeing for me (remember, some of the following words are re-defined by ACIM): \”Salvation is my only function here.\” and \”God\’s Will for me is perfect happiness.\”

I am perfectly happy to surrender to the function of salvation as it means seeing things differently. and I am totally willing to have God\’s will of happiness for me; which I will have if I accept it.

Silence or Sloth?

Today I broke my record for Sunday sleeping in: 9 am. When I first got up, I was feeling a bit like the day was screwed because if it was too warm, there\’d be no long run.

So I sat down to do my usual morning spiritual reading and reflection. I have to ask myself: where is my mind at? See, I haven\’t been feeling driven by anything and I haven\’t been feeling strong negative emotions like I used to. I seem to no longer need to prove I am \”better than\” those who have the world\’s approval. I am more comfortable hanging out there on my own as a religion-less spiritual person.

The result of daily spiritual work should be inner peace. I am finally able to see that inner peace is quiet and with silence in the emotions. The ego loses its control and it is quieter inside. If the ego does speak up and attempt to take control back, I don\’t believe it as much.

I can ask myself about the possibilities and the changes in motivation. If I had inner peace and was spirit motivated, how would that feel? Would it be a more subtle emotional life? Or an emotional life not in the ego\’s world; hence not feeding the ego\’s addictions?

Somewhere in this musing, I had a vision of myself running down a long path, sweating. That was my urge for long slow distance. So, I decided to go running since today was not supposed to be warmer than 90F (haha, you know its been a long summer if 90F seems cool). I packed up my cooler and decided to drive about 23 miles east to where there is a long flat dirt bike path (I had scouted the area yesterday). I started my run at 10:45. This is amazing as just a couple of weeks ago, it would have already been 95F by that time. Today it was only 77F, and I don\’t think it ever got above 85F.

Driving to the trail, I had this revelation. Spirit motivated can be nothing more than in the moment.

I didn\’t find the northern most trail head yesterday. But today, armed with a map, I found the farthest north end and parked there. I can\’t really explain; but there was a little inner battle in deciding to find the north trail head. Then, running back towards the car after 17 miles of running, the trail head I found yesterday had a train parked in front of it. Had I parked there, my car would have been stuck. Since I had overcome my inner resistance, and decided to find the other place, my car was not stuck behind a train. After climbing over the train, and cleaning my hands with a Wet-One, it occurred to me that intuition had worked to push me to NOT park in the place I knew but find the right new place and park there. It seems small, but following these little urges is what being spirit driven is about. I said an inner thank-you.

I had a truly wonderful 18 mile/4 hour low-impact jog. It sure put the icing on the cake for Silverton.

Silverton? Yes, its this coming weekend:
I\’m signed up for a 72 hour race. Well, I don\’t plan on being on course more than 12 hours a day, but still….

There is this growing pile of stuff in my living room as I start packing:

Stand Your Ground…

….on silence and on joy.

Miracle principal 4: \”All miracles mean life, and God is the Giver of life. His Voice will direct you very specifically. You will be told all you need to know.\”

ACIM text 7.IX.1: \”The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy.\”

Have the courage of your convictions.

I believe in silence because that is where I hear the Holy Spirit best. Above all else I want my primary life relationship to be with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is where my guidance and comfort comes from. The Holy Spirit is my connection to God. Above all else, I can\’t go through life without my connection to God.

If you feel joyful, know that you are living the Kingdom, that Heaven has manifested in your heart. Stand by the joy. Don\’t let your ego or anyone else\’s trounce on joy. Gandhi said, \”Be the change….\” Ultra Monk says, \”be the joy…\” The change we need is joy. The world needs people who choose joy.

If I don\’t seem to have joy, know that my ego has trounced on it. But I use spiritual means to return to joy. Joy is my natural state. Joy is my God given life. Joy is what I am in the real world; beyond the dream, beyond the ego illusion we call this world. If I am the joy, I have left the world; but yet I am still available to my brothers in this world to join with me in Heaven.

I have spent most of my life in the doldrums. But now that I have felt joy, I intend to stand my ground there.

Joy is a choice followed up with spiritual action. It doesn\’t matter which spiritual action as long as it is the one given you by the Holy Spirit. Hence, silence. Go to silence and wait there. Listen to the silence for the answers. Stand on silence. Silence gives you the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit. The Voice for God gives you the path to joy. Insist on joy. Follow the path.

I lifted weights this morning; left me quivering. I went early to work. Walking through the parking lot, I felt gratitude. I said thank you. Walking up the stairs, I felt the presence of the Son of God. I said thank you.

Joy is a thing more awesome than words. I am a 50 something mature woman athlete. I firmly state: I get to be a successful athlete because of my spiritual workouts. Yes, I also do worldly workouts; but it starts with spirit. Without strengthening the presence of spirit, I have no mojo for athletics. Mojo is merely a reflection of spiritual joy; which is a far greater commodity. Spiritual joy means everything. Experiencing spiritual joy in this world is the only thing that matters.

If I feel joy, then feel gratitude to the Son of God, then I am sharing my joy and gratitude with everyone. Shared joy and gratitude is Heaven.

This evening I hope to try something new. My new set of micro-spikes should be delivered today (FedEx indicates they are in KC). I will have them after work. I will then go to an easy trail and do a snow run for an hour or two, return home and finish off the workout until I get to 3 hours. Then tomorrow, I need mental fortitude to do another 5 hours of workout. The purpose of this is to reel in that 50 miles of health and happiness, not destruction.

The Holy Spirit\’s Annual Address

It is the momentous day of the year, time for me to tune in to the Holy Spirit\’s annual STATE OF THE SPIRIT FLOWER address.

{drum roll please} (flourishes and applause)

My Dearest Spirit Flower,

Your core is stronger and more chiseled than ever.
Your endurance is outstanding.
Your vision is superb.
As a Course student, you managed to unlearn a record number of little ego-lessons this year and knock several centuries off the journey home.
Your profession is soaring.

For this coming year, I am pleased to see you are allowing more of God\’s love and care into your life. You are listening to Me deeper and with more committment than ever. I am becoming your reality and we will continue to grow in oneness.

Peace be with you,
The Holy Spirit

Spirit Flower\’s response to the Holy Spirit comes from The Carpenters:

I\’m on the top of the world lookin\’ down on creation

And the only explanation I can find

Is the love that I\’ve found ever since you\’ve been around

Your love\’s put me at the top of the world

The Evolution of My Enlightenment

Part of why I sit alone and listen to my thoughts is sort through them, pray about them and discern which ones are authentic to my “real relationship” (with God) and which are ego posturing (reflect as it were, examine my life). Ego posturing includes those thoughts which could be perceived as coming from others; but in truth, these are my projected thoughts (I own them). In solitude, I allow my mountain of hatred to show itself. I patiently write down all its grievances against “them” and then find a spiritual remedy.

On the one hand, my ego hammers me un-mercilessly and endlessly with hatred for “them.” On the other hand, the Holy Spirit has given me one “real relationship” with God and is teaching me to live that reality.

This morning, two things happened. A) I realized how full of hatred my lifelong quest for enlightenment has been and how I need to think about what I really do want in the now; which is of myself and not what someone else said. B) I read something in the ACIM text which was beautiful. Yet I knew I was not capable of that thought pattern. But the reading was a tool to unleash a long list of hatreds and grievances which I could give to the Holy Spirit for healing.

“Think but how holy you must be from whom the Voice for God calls lovingly unto your brother, that you may awake in him the Voice that answers to your call! And think how holy he must be when in him sleeps your own salvation, with his freedom joined! However much you wish he be condemned, God is in him. And never will you know He is in you as well while you attack His chosen home, and battle with His host” (26.IX.1).

The brief story of my enlightenment goes like this:

1. Early in my 20s I was reading John of the Cross and his description of the infusion of love and the flight of the soul. I was also reading Thomas Merton and his descriptions of contemplation and what he got out of it. I wanted that personal ecstatic feeling.

2. As I got sober in my mid-20s in AA, I encountered descriptions of the spiritual experience and conscious contact with God. Again, there was the ecstatic release from reality and the ensuing divine wisdom and peace (so I thought). I definitely wanted the escape from reality. I was an emotional basket case.

3. Towards my late 20s, I got involved with some new age spiritual material and followed for a year a man who talked about finding your higher self. I kept going to workshops, doing the meditations and hoping to connect with this higher self. I hoped that I would finally feel loved. I became angry that I never got that feeling and upon discovering my next phase, I quit the meditation.

4. My next phase involved sex and motorcycles. The high point was a hope of love mixed with orgasm. I found a good looking lover and we rode our motorcycles to Madison County Iowa. We commenced to play “The Bridges of Madison County” (a romantic book I had read). The romance was euphoric for a weekend, but we had not the makings of a relationship. In this phase were two other guys I dated for long periods; but I never found that man who would sweep me off my feet, bring me to a castle and I would live safely, in luxury, and in love forever.

5. Then my enlightenment quest got serious because I discovered Zen meditation or Zazen. I began to practice diligently, again hoping for a moment of enlightenment. Zen “sitting” led me to a Christian form of contemplative prayer called Centering Prayer. I found myself back in the same boat as step 1 (above) hoping for the flight of the soul into “contemplation.”

6. Contemplation led to me seeking out a contemplative religious order and attempting to join. I thought that the only way to achieve what I wanted was to live in a monastery and follow a path. I thought that the others ahead of me on the path had found what I was seeking. It turns out not, but I did try to join with every fiber of my being. I practiced “lectio divina,” adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, daily Eucharist, and the Divine Office five times a day. The ecstatic flight of my soul never happened. I became enmeshed in emotional dependency as my daily life began to revolve around the approval of my superiors. I thought mystical union might happen after I made monastic profession, so I practiced people pleasing as much as possible in order to be approved for the mystical marriage. God had other plans for me and I found myself back in the world.

7. As I took up secular life, I felt less than the nuns and was determined to make a spiritual success of myself without the convent and without a guru. I spent hours a day in contemplative sitting. I fasted. I studied spiritual texts from all corners of the globe and prayed with them. I ran ultra long distances because I had read of the spiritual experiences of ultra-marathoners. I wanted to hear an intuitive voice from within who could solve my problems and be the end of the quest.

8. After a few years, I discovered A Course in Miracles and this became my primary spiritual text. I no longer want enlightenment as an ecstatic escape. I no longer want enlightenment in order to be as good as famous authors or vowed religious. I no longer want enlightenment because I am jealous. I no longer want enlightenment so I know God loves me. Enlightenment is not my focus. I want to sort through my hate and have the Holy Spirit heal it; in other words, be free of ego. I want to honestly perceive Christ in my brother; in other words, be free of ego.

God has given me a gift. I want to remember Him and accept His gift in this life. In the mean time, I seem to need to wade through a mountain of negativity. I return several times a day to the contemplative silence and listen to the Voice. IT helps me return to the present where peace is and all my grievances are seen for delusions which can be denied. Realizing my grievances are ego lies, I am able to see glimmers of holiness in my brothers. I can grasp this holy reality for at least awhile. Without going to the silence, I would forget it entirely.

I can’t explain to you why I don’t just instantly accept the Holy Spirit’s healing and never return to my ego hate. I face this insanity in myself and bring it out to the Holy Spirit. Evolved or not, this is where I am at.

The Choice for Freedom

The thing I love about A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is that it saves me from my own thinking; the root of my problem. If I look around and see a bunch of sinners, including myself, and go to a regular church with this information, I would be counseled to accept the world, confess my sins and forgive the sins of others. In this, Jesus is my Savior who hides my sins from God so I can go to heaven when I die.

In ACIM, I am taught that the sin I see is the sin I chose to see, want to see. I am given tools for looking beyond my illusion to see the Love of God, Christ, residing in everyone. As I overlook what I made for me to see, I am free and so are they, my brothers. Jesus is my friend and brother who helps me change my thinking.

This morning I read in the ACIM text, 20.IV:
– Nothing can hurt you unless you give it the power to do so.
– Power is of God, given by Him and reawakened by the Holy Spirit…
– He (Holy Spirit) gives no power to sin, and therefore it has none; nor its results as the world sees them—sickness, and death and misery and pain.
– Salvation is a lesson in giving as the Holy Spirit interprets it. It is the reawakening of the laws of God in minds that have established other laws, and given them power to enforce what God created not (this world of sin I see).
– Your savior (your brother) gives you only love, but what you would receive of him is up to you. It lies in him to overlook all your mistakes and therein lies his own salvation. And so it is with yours.
– Sin has no place in Heaven…and therein lies your need to see your brother sinless. In him is Heaven. See sin in him and Heaven is lost to you.

My ACIM workbook lesson for the day is: I will receive whatever I request.

Why is this all so important to me today? I looked out at my world and made this assessment. I have to go to a dinner on Wednesday evening for work. The way I see it is I’ll have to drive to an inconvenient part of town, park in a strange garage and then pretend to be nice for a few hours, getting home way past my bed time. Then, I have to go to Texas for work; flying down on my Sunday afternoon and coming back on Monday and having to hassle with airplanes and an unfamiliar city. Then, worst of all, I have to fly halfway around the world to attend a work seminar for 10 days; spending 12 hours a day with guys from work with whom I can only have superficial conversations, disrupt my eating routines and running routines and risk illness from being cooped in an airplane for two long long flights, trying to get home on the day before Thanksgiving, the busiest travel day of the year.

So, this morning as I prayed, I realized how hateful I am. As I read ACIM text, I realized that the hate was my choice. I was projecting hate and sin onto Mr. Vice President who was causing all the inconvenience in my life. I was making him, my brother, into a sinner because I wanted to. It was all my choice. Whereas, if I overlooked, looked beyond, the man and saw only the Christ residing within, I would be much happier. In fact, my hate instantly faded and was replaced with gratitude. Gratitude for the man and his situation, gratitude for Jesus and the Holy Spirit for teaching me to think differently.

Reading on in the text:
– Those who choose freedom will experience only its results. Their power is of God, and they will give it (power) only to what God has given to share with them. Nothing but this can touch them, for they see only this, sharing their power according to the Will of God. And thus their freedom is established and maintained. It is upheld through all temptation to imprison and to be imprisoned.

It is my ego who dwells in hatred and projects it on the world. This morning, in taking my own inventory and bringing it into the Holy Spirit’s thought system, I was set free. I am not in ego prison right now. I am free to see what I can do contribute to life instead of hate it.

So, I went for a run. Lightening was all around but no rain on me. I went the hilly route and enjoyed the fresh warm wet air. As I ran, I reflected: I have requested a new outlook on life and I was given it immediately. I am so grateful.

I’ve entered a very small low keyed race this weekend in Blue Springs MO. Good thing I did because my Texas trip precludes the Springfield marathon the following weekend. So this Sunday, I will be blessed with the company of maybe 50 other runners on a quiet flat bike path, with someone handling our snacks and water, as we mosey our way through 31 miles (50k). We pass one point three times, so I can leave a bag there with my own goodies, drinks and extra clothing. We’ll get t-shirts but no medals or age group awards. Afterwards, I’ll pack up my stuff and drive in silence back to my apartment; where I will eat and lay on the bed. Quiet. No big deal.

Ultra-retreat Day 8

I got up at 3 am to do my morning meditation and then do the running starting at 5:30.

Thoughts from morning meditation:
– I can believe I am cared for, or be bitter.
– I can walk in love and gratitude, or fear. I can believe the Holy Spirit is my guide, or not. If I chose to follow the Holy Spirit, I can walk in love and gratitude. Otherwise, I’ve chosen to follow the ego and live in fear and hatred and anger.
– Dear Jesus, please purify my thinking.
– God placed “something” in my mind.
– I’ve decided to hear only one Voice, the Voice for God.
– I have to believe I hear the Voice and am guided by it, or else I am dead meat for the ego. If I believe I hear the Voice and am guided by It, wouldn’t I be grateful, happy and in love?
– My ego thinks these ideas about the Voice are stupid, Pollyann-ish, and naive. It is hard to choose the Voice because the world says it can’t be, you are wrong.

However, while I was out running, I was remarkably able to distinguish between the Voice and the ego’s attack thoughts. I was remarkably able to realize that God would not think like that and the change the thinking to the day’s lesson, or ask the Voice what it would be saying. I was remarkably capable of staying awake and keeping my thoughts from going unconscious and dwelling in hatred, fear or resentment.

While running, I wondered about my “crazy” plan to do a private self transcendence race. I realized I need to be patient. The running is changing me, but I don’t know how yet. I realized I fear it is sinful or somehow defying God to run like this everyday. Like, who do I think I am running with impunity. But, these fears eased as I chose to listen to the Voice and to walk in love.

I came home and right away mowed the lawn. Then, yipee, I got a shower. Yesterday, I had patched the tub and had to let it dry 24 hours; so my body was a little yucky.

After the shower, I was somewhat procrastinating getting busy with my job search. Then I thought, “Be excited about your own future and the good God has for you.” If I believed that wonderful things were sitting and waiting for me to do my part, wouldn’t I rush to do my part? Yes, so the problem is ambivalence: do I really believe I will be guided and helped? Then, I got busy and ended up spending nearly three hours working on one application without even realizing how long it took.

During my hour of silent meditation I thought: During meditation, if you listen only to the Voice, but you seemingly hear nothing, that is authentic. The Voice for God speaks quietly in my heart.

I have been eating a lot today. I may in a few moments go out on the back porch and walk on the treadmill. It is hot out there, but cooler than outside and I have a fan.