Mile 160

The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee started May 1. I had 4 months to complete the 622 mile course. As of today, I\’ve completed 160 miles. That\’s great for me especially considering I went back to my part time job on the fifth. Here is a map of the course with my approximate location.

I\’ve enjoyed my time at work this past week. I like being back among the other baristas.

I\’ve continued to be astounded by the teaching of Abraham Now during this time of pandemic.

Lately, I\’ve re-watched the documentaries a woman made of her Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail. She was an electrical engineer who couldn\’t stand her cubicle so cashed out her retirement and went on these adventures. I can relate to the gut reason I left my career: to get out of the office. My adventures are not the same as hiking the AT, but they are my life\’s adventures. I\’ve hiked my life daily. My adventures are more cerebral.

Speaking of cerebral, I mentioned before that I was reading a difficult book. So difficult I had to read the first few chapters 3 times to figure out the point of the book. I finally got it figured out and could go on to why I picked up that book anyway: it had some things to say about Jesus which I desperately wanted to know. The book is not at all about any virus since it was written in 1973. It is about the change in consciousness which Jesus brought us. A total change in perspective of God than we had before. But most of us, almost all of us, especially religious institutions,  haven\’t taken Jesus up on his teaching. And so the violence escalates in the communities. The solution to our virus problem is complete and utter non-violence, total discontinuation of pushing against anything or anyone.

But at any time and at any moment, we can stop pushing, stop resistance, start appreciation, start mercy. Join the Kingdom of God instead.

Behold

Behold is a word I rediscovered in my current spiritual reading (\”Silence-a user\’s guide\” by Maggie Ross).

Look! Stand is awe! Wordless. In your meditation, don\’t try for enlightenment but for beholding that which is silent and vast and non-physical. Quiet the mind for the purpose of beholding.

Jesus said,\”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me\” (Revelations,3:30, English Standard Version).

Has there ever been a more metaphysical saying? That great presence which you seek is standing at the door of your consciousness. Quiet the self-conscious mind and behold with a deeper awareness, a clarity, a now consciousness which has no words.

Behold, the bird in the tree. Behold, the tree. Behold air. Behold the sun. Behold, water. Behold, cells in your body. Behold, food. Behold, consciousness. Behold, earth. Behold, love. Behold joy. Behold, thought. Behold, gifts. Behold, compassion. Behold, altruism. Behold, help is here. Behold, I go before you always. Behold, seek and you shall find. Behold, mercy. Behold, these things shall be added unto you. Behold well-being. Behold abundance. Behold, I am with you always.

Be still and know that I am God.

Behold. I saw but I have no words for it. I couldn\’t grasp it. But it was and is. Behold.

The place of beholding is called liminality, the threshold. Behold is to see beyond. This place can be found somehow. And then sit at the threshold and you will know everything. Behold is a verb. Behold is a command. Self forgetfulness is beholding. Beholding is not an experience, because you were transfixed in thoughtless awareness when it happened, but ever transfigured afterward. Transfigured meaning software and cell biology updated.

You live in a new word. Behold!

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.

Drop the Rocks Day

It is Sunday. Normally I go running on Sundays. But it is cold and wet outside. I will go out for a bit, in a bit. But I decided, there is no need for me to do any set amount of miles. I can burn the calories for today quite easily inside. Drop the rocks.

So I spent more time on spirituality. It occurred to me that my daily spiritual study is pure enjoyment for me.

Meditating on this:

Matthew 5 New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23237A" data-link="(A)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.9em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>

He said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23238B" data-link="(B)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23239C" data-link="(C)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23240D" data-link="(D)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23241E" data-link="(E)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23242F" data-link="(F)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the pure in heart,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23243G" data-link="(G)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
    for they will see God.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23243H" data-link="(H)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
Blessed are the peacemakers,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23244I" data-link="(I)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
    for they will be called children of God.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23244J" data-link="(J)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23245K" data-link="(K)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23245L" data-link="(L)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23246M" data-link="(M)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23246N" data-link="(N)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> 12 Rejoice and be glad,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23247O" data-link="(O)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23247P" data-link="(P)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23248Q" data-link="(Q)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>
14 “You are the light of the world.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23249R" data-link="(R)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23250S" data-link="(S)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23251T" data-link="(T)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> that they may see your good deeds<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23251U" data-link="(U)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”> and glorify<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-23251V" data-link="(V)\” style=\”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;\”>your Father in heaven.

Jesus was Gay

Wicked me. The first instant I saw this picture, I didn\’t think of Jesus but of gay guys.

I found it on the page of a religious order and it is supposed to be about Advent. As a heterosexual, I like it because John looks hot to me.

In other news, I am tapering for my 55 hour race in 3 weeks. Nothing I do now other than heal up will help with that endeavor. So I only have 45 miles and 13+ hours this week. I have done some procurement: a sleeping bag, a hot food thermos, shoes. I entered a race in February, 50k on a trail.

Yesterday, I did some fast running. In the evening I had a great hour of durability, or work hardening. Using 2 floors of my house, I carry 10 lb olympic plates up and down stairs. On the top landing, I do 5 shoulder presses and 5 calf raises. On the bottom floor I do 2 kettle bell side to sides, 3 pushups with jump up, one arm kettle bell row, 3 side to side on step platform, 2 sets of 5 exercises on trx, 5 tricep pull downs, 3 more step platform side to side, repeat. I get about 20 laps done in an hour. I\’m happy to say, I am able to run up and down stairs at this time. I think durability workouts are very good for me.

I\’ve been going through my journal for the past year. I was noting the number of times I have something positive to say about my spirituality. It is much more than I remember. Often, I wake up with a bad attitude, but by the end of my spiritual study, I feel happy. My Course in Miracles lesson today is: \”God is the only goal I have today.\”

And I went to the park with a full Nathan plus 20 oz. I didn\’t really need all that but I wanted to carry the weight. I did 14 laps/ 10.5 miles. Yup, doing laps prepares my mind for doing hundreds of laps.

Surrender and do better

One way to get through a day is to remember \”I am a worn and no man.\” (see the 7th degree of humility) Remembering this, I survived 4 years in a monastery where I was in fact below all other precious but annoying little nuns.

Rule of Benedict, Chapter 7: On Humility

The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
\”But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people\” (Ps. 21[22]:7).
\”After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion\” (Pa. 87:16).
And again,
\”It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments\” (Ps. 118[119]:71).

Another way to get through a day come through the 3rd step of AA: \”Father, I offer myself to you, to do with me and build with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to the will, thy love and thy way of life. May I at last abandon myself utterly to you.\”

Another way is a daily phrase from A Course in Miracles. From the Manual for Teachers: \”The name of Jesus stands for love beyond this world. Jesus is the Word of God. The Word of God is the Atonement.\” or also,
\”I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.\” (text 2.V)

\”Into thy hands I commend my spirit.\”

What I am saying is that if I abandon my ego, turn my will and my life over to God, I do better. Otherwise, I am a stressed out worrisome mess every day. If I practice downward mobility in a hierarchical sense, that is, stop trying to protect and defend but merely serve, I do better mentally and emotionally. I may or may not do better financially, but that is not the point.

Now I will go to the park and run laps.

Memorial Day 2014

I am nearing the end of 5 days off. As usual, silence and solitude have provided a mental grinding post. This working away of the ego is the finest part of Desert Spirituality; but it is also the most dreadful.

After one day of solitude, I looked at my Black Berry and saw a troubling e-mail from a colleague. My ego suddenly wanted to take off on a rampage. I could see my sudden need to practice my spirituality very intensely. Truly, perfection of spirit, renunciation takes place on this inner field and because our egos get upset. The field seems sort of like ego vs spirit. But, really, the ego was never real and spirit is not really on the same playing field as the ego. I needed to work the aspects of A Course in Miracles known as \”holy instant\” and \”looking beyond\” or be miserable.

A Course in Miracles assures us that our thinking is undisciplined and gives us tools. I picked up my tools. The tools worked. this morning, I experienced a moment of knowing I shared the One Life with my colleague. It didn\’t have to be more than an instant of allowing my self to be spiritually healed.

And then continue to practice the mental discipline.

I am getting ready for my first marathon since surgery. It is a road marathon. I am not looking forward to the \”racers.\” But to give myself a chance in the race environment, I have been going easy during these 5 days. That means only 3-4 hours of workout each day, not all running. I\’ve still put in 60 miles in the past 5 days. Not sure really how that happened. Didn\’t seem like it.

I\’ve also been writing a paper on ammonia refrigeration. It surprises me how I got 5 pages written this weekend. I am grateful that finally my thoughts coalesced into sentences and paragraphs. Key points were focused on.

I did not celebrate memorial day other than take my day off work. I realize others must think I\’m wired wrong; but I am not proud of the stars and stripes. I don\’t agree with our middle eastern wars. I think our people are soft and the civilization we were decades ago is gone.

I\’ve been reading the works of Keith Akers (The Lost Religion of Jesus). Very astounding works; but definitely would be dissed by main stream Christianity. But his works do verify my own supposition that Jesus was a radical and would never have agreed with churches as they exist now, and in particular not with the Roman Catholic authorities. It fits with my vow to shamelessly follow Jesus; even if it looks like I\’m against Christians.

Long Weekend – Non-Valentine\’s

I don\’t participate in Christmas or Thanksgiving for matters of conscience. What about Valentine\’s Day? I don\’t have a boy friend, so nothing to decide. But I have refused candy and cookies since I continue to abstain from the great American eating machine, the culture of excess and super-size.

Don\’t super-size me.

In fact, I\’m going in a half marathon on Saturday. I\’m coming in at a slim 132 lb for a 5\’8\” female frame. Personally, I think I would be normal weight were this 40 years ago.

It is a 3 day weekend for me. This weekend is my Friday off. I\’m going to do what I do every weekend: study spiritual texts, sit in silence, run. I somehow have become once again interested in what Jesus said and did. I continue to seek reconciliation with Jesus apart from religion. And so, I have found a new author who looks at Jesus outside the traditional methods.

If I did in fact make a vow 15 years ago to shamelessly follow Jesus and live a life of prayer; then I am continuing to fulfill the vow. Shamelessly following Jesus is radical; not your normal church going Christianity, which is anything but shamelessly-following-Jesus. To be in a church is to follow the agenda of men. This I cannot do.

No, I am not a Christian.

Yes, I am against Christianity.

This leaves me as a shameful sight to Christians; anathema. But I shamelessly step up to the plate and say: Jesus was worthy of following but he was not what you say. Love is worth it. I suppose I love Him; and so I do what I do.

The Hero

Now that I am home from my business trip, I have taken my study of Q back up. Q? Q is a source for the Gospels of Mathew and Luke separate from Mark. There is no historical document of Q. There is only passages in Mathew and Luke which are identical enough to say they copied them from somewhere, but they don\’t appear in Mark. There are some interesting silences in the Q material.

Any true Christian should do a several years study of the Bible from the critical point of view: Where did it come from? Don\’t just take it point blank or according to what the church authority says.

My point today is that I was reading how Q\’s Jesus story relates to the typical prophet\’s story found in the Old Testament, particularly Wisdom 2-5. The person who makes a decision to adhere to God ALWAYS undergoes persecution and death. Then the adherent often rises; but frequently the adherent\’s sayings live on in the survivors. This \”Wisdom Story\” is not an individual\’s story but a community story.

The Wisdom Story happens over and over and crosses cultural and time boundaries.

So from a neuro-philosophy point of view, I wonder: is the Wisdom Story just a part of human brain wiring? If so, do I have to believe it? Do I have to follow it?

What was really the truth of Jesus?

What I have to go on today is many written materials, and my own experiences of Spirit. Is the Spirit spiritual or is the Spirit my own Higher Self? What I do know is that my foundational belief is that there is a higher consciousness and that I can rely on it activities. Its relationship to me is a beneficial one. It doesn\’t have to be my Higher Self. It could be OUR Higher Self.

I have clearly decided for God. No I don\’t have any proof and am willing to admit this is entirely neuro.

A Priori

Haha, that is a fancy term used by scholars.

I am studying a long complicated book about Q, one of the sources of the New Testament Gospels. Mathew and Luke are derived from Mark and Q. Q and Mark are separate. I\’m up to page 94 of the analysis and maybe only  1/10th through the book.

I had to stop and ponder. About 8 years ago, when I last did serious scripture study, I had to decide that only about 20% of the Gospels have any source in Jesus; the rest being the agenda of the male priestly portion of humanity. This morning, I am again amazed about the volume of arguments from numerous scholars; and how impossible it is to discern what Jesus actually said and did or who he was.

More startling is that reading the analysis, I realized that mankind is based on some common suppositions (my synopsis):

  • Mankind believes in God.
  • Mankind believes it is bad/ sinful.
  • Mankind believes in a Messiah/ Savior.
In these beliefs there is a tremendous amount of dogma. There is a mostly frightening rendition of an angry God. The beliefs plus dogma seem hopeless. It can\’t be that joining the Roman Catholic Church is your only out. Or even saying \”Jesus is Lord\” is your only out.
My interest in spirituality is for today, this life; not after I die or some other life. My interest is in spirituality today, conscious contact now. Evolution requires that humanity transcend these beliefs.
I think I need to return to the hermitage and just listen.
It is yet another hot humid day in Houston. I guess I\’ll go walk around Brummerhop Park, practicing to keep my mind silent.