On Life

I spend much time wondering why I am alive. When I observe others, they seem to have responsibilities or purposes or accomplishments which point to their reasons for living. My seeming lack of success is paired with my general feelings of competitiveness, and the friction of not wanting to play the corporate get ahead games at work.

Reading Plotinus on Essence.

There came on integration. I have the life force within me. What I have thought of as competitiveness is really the life force which cannot be contained. Ever notice how a weed will break through concrete? The life in me cannot be contained. Instead of fear and anger at others, just see the life force.

While running, I thought about the Course in Miracles teaching that this world originates from a tiny mad idea. And the Genesis creation mythology about Adam and Eve. I decided that in order to know The Good, you must not believe you are bad. As long as I think I am bad, then the life force will seem evil. this seeming evil is what we call ego. Ego is just the life force either misdirected or misperceived.

I don\’t need to be alive for a reason. I am simply life itself. My most recent running mantra is built on Plotinus: One, Being, Soul, Now.  These are emanations. I am Now. Life is now.

Is there a God to pray to? Is there a Love to surrender to? These are questions not to be answered. And please stop reading books and memorizing answers. Or going to church and following some authority figure.

Let go of human badness. See only life. this is both a contemplation of Essence and a looking beyond this world.

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Winding Down

I am a big fan of the Sri Chinmoy 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race 3100 Mile Race. It takes place over 52 days. Today is day 47. 4 people have finished.

I love to check every day to see how many miles people ran and read the inspiration in the blog. I send my mind off into mental running and run forever. This year, I had some days off in July, so I got to do actual miles myself. I went way farther in July than any month ever in my life.

But the race is winding down. 4 more people to finish in the next few days. I won\’t have that inspiration when the race is over.

I am a person who is continuously thinking about my life and what it is for. I keep trying to eliminate busyness so I can ponder my depths. I can\’t say I ever find anything. But also, I keep turning outward into the world and being busy with stuff out there. My ego keeps trying to win at something in the world; like career advancement or signing up for races.

My ego will never know God. My ego is a spiritual materialist.

But I. Am I more than an ego? Despite my reading to the contrary, I believe I am more than a small self but a soul or higher connected being. I believe there is an unsuspected inner resource. Something more.

The thing is: I know I am making progress but my ego doesn\’t know.

I am more than 55 years old. I won\’t be leaving a legacy as I was taught 20 years ago in corporate seminars. I have a great job and where I live is nice too. But as the days pass, these things don\’t satisfy. My ego wants more. But there is no more.

The answer has to be inside. That is just all there is to it.

Character Passion Life

Sherpa John had these on his blog:

\”Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.\” ~John Wooden
\”Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.\” ~Walter Anderson
 Yesterday I was invited to coffee with the big boss, along with several others in my area. The boss said, \”If you are not passionate about what you do then get lost. Get out of here.\” Interestingly frank way of saying that. I know that I am damn good at what I do. I\’m the best in the company at facilitating HAZOPs. But am I passionate? I can\’t say yes because if I had health care, I\’d retire. I like what I do and I\’m good at it.period. Passion is a modern buzz word for an unrealistic expectation of how you should feel about work.
Then the next question is, am I passionate about anything? I love endorphins. I love finishing races. I love finishing my weight workouts. I love hearing people talk at AA meetings. I love small moments of clarity while I am studying spirituality. I love my Prius.
But my passion for career or spiritual achievement does seem to have been beaten down by years of small results. I mean I had a goal of God. I have steadily gained in inner peace during my years of spiritual work. But I can\’t say I got the brass ring. Most people think I am passionate about spirituality. I myself feel very subdued about it.
I am not passionate about logistics. But every event of my life has logistics. This ruins almost everything. I spend too much time planning travel routes and means of avoiding crowds or waiting, and not any time enjoying the moment.
I am in perpetual sadness over logistics. My character is determination and steady forward progress. Love is when I sit quietly with no stress. The sweet spot in each day is when I get over the inertia and begin to exercise. Once I get going, it takes about 15 minutes to warm up and feel good. If I was ever to appreciate life itself as a gift, then it is during exercise when I feel good about it all.
If you think by now that I go through life half depressed, you are right. I should take drugs if I want to get a higher happiness quotient. But that is not my plan, so I more or less spend most of my time in survival mode. That might sound sad. I suppose it is. But trying for more is to buy into society\’s psychobabble about how we should be passionate, translated as happy and energetic, all.the.time.
Happiness occurs when I sit quietly and let the world go. Being happy with quietness is a skill that can be learned and doesn\’t depend on any outside circumstances of expectations. This happiness with quiet is true connection this the God concept, or Spirit, or what ever you want to call life itself. Life Itself.

The Nature of Things

1. Almost all stories and teachings that I have read about how to connect with God require an altered state of consciousness. That is: meditation, adoration, drugs, brain injury, fasting, long distance running, isolation and silence.

2. Sometimes God comes as a spontaneous gift of revelation. Nothing can be done to make this happen.

So, the normal waking awareness is not enough for divine Union. At least, that\’s what we all believe. I personally think that divine union experienced as a result of one of the items in #1 above are yielding a false god; more likely just brain chemistry in action. God is really dopamine.

3. My main fear is of other people.

I live in a totally man made environment. There is very little about nature in my daily life. All of my daily challenges come from encounters with others. Most people don\’t like to identify this fact so clearly or admit that fear of others is the main driving force.

I\’ve spent my adult life chasing God. I\’ve claimed that the use of spiritual practices has made me a person of great inner calm. At this point in my life, I have rejected the dopamine God.

I am alive and very emotionally stable; but I have no actual purpose for being alive. Unless you say that faith in the eventual spontaneous coming of Revelation is what I am living for, then I don\’t have a purpose.

If I see my purposelessness as a horrible thing, very sad, then no wonder I try desperately to find a purpose in serving God. It seems ridiculous that a human race would exist with consciousness but utterly no higher reason for being alive. So, yes we are driven to find the higher. We can\’t stand being nothing. (Especially Americans).

Should I go participate in public service so that I can feel good about my existence? haha, no I\’ll just go consume some more.

Life vs Living

Life and Living are two different concepts. I thought about this while on my treadmill this morning.

Life or Life Itself is an abstract concept. We can imagine a pure energy which seems to create living things and even animate us with consciousness. Many of us humans never think about this except to think that Life is God. Maybe it is; but not in the Biblical sense or religious sense.

But living is the daily process of getting out of bed, looking after our survival needs and, hopefully, finding some joy along the way. Many of us humans hate living.

My point is that I can return my thinking to life itself, assume a quiet mental stance, and then living doesn\’t seem so bad.

In my opinion, the only reason we have religion, philosophy, psychology, history, etc. is to find a way out of the horrible process of living, or at least explain its difficulties.

If it is an illusion created by me, then I can change it.

Returning to life itself means letting go of my thoughts about living, or at least lowering their priority and believability.

It is the last day of January. I\’ve had a fantastic fitness month. I completed 90 min this morning, with more to come later. But here is my graph so far:

So fantastic. It is not really for health. It is something beyond that. But I am not sure what.

Lesson 220-224 in A Course in Miracles:
Peace to my mind. Let all my thoughts be still.
God is with me. I live and move in Him.
God is my life. I have no life but His.
God is my Father, and He loves His Son.

Re-group

Last night, in the Charlotte airport on my way home from Germany, I saw a young female sailor in her whites with a big back pack and carrying her cap. I felt a slight swelling of tears. That was my wish a long time ago: to be in the military. I stood at the recruiting table in college and yearned; but back then, women didn\’t get to do anything interesting. I wanted the uniform and the way of life. I couldn\’t have it.

The same thing happened when I stood at the doors of The Church. I realized that within those doors was a mysterious religion governed by men. I couldn\’t go in. I went and became an Episcopalian. I eventually breached The Church and even entered a convent and went to school at a seminary. But in the final analysis when I decided to walk away, the all male hierarchy was something I couldn\’t devote my life to.

The customs agent was making small talk with me as she checked my passport last night. She wanted to know what I did. I proudly said I was an engineer. She seemed to perk up and wanted to know what kind. I even more proudly said I was a Process Safety Engineer.

So, I got home without any problems last night. I slept ok but got up at 6 am. I have been drinking tea and reading A Course in Miracles Text: The laws of chaos, chapter 23.II. I am doing laundry and I am dressed in running clothes. I reflect on my life as it continues on. I realize that Germany was good for my career, but not a dopamine reward experience. And then a breakthrough thought….

My convent life was really about leaving the world physically. A Course in Miracles is about leaving the world in your mind; because you learn it is an illusion. So, I have been on an intentional journey away from dopamine rewards (ego) and the result is that the world means nothing. Again I decide today that only God consciousness means anything to me today.

And so a person gets out of bed in the morning. I look forward to a practice of God consciousness and the ACIM practice of looking beyond. And whatever else, training or working, is not the focus. The focus can only be God.

The young woman in the sailor suit? I hope she gets her dreams. and I know that my dreams were yearning for Something. I now define Something as God consciousness. God is all I want.

Again

I have been in Texas a little over 10 months. Just today (Saturday) I realized: my past is over. There may be people in Missouri, Kansas or California who remember me. I work for the same company as when I was last in Kansas City. But I am here now. I am in Texas.

I am not plagued with the quest for enlightenment which drove me both into the convent and out of it; and drove the first 8 years of post monastic life. Enlightenment as a quest is part of the mental programming I somehow received.

Here is Texas, I am free to decide \”whatever.\” I don\’t have to seek God.

This morning (Saturday) I had an unusual thought: start the day from a projection of what I want; not a material want but a way of being.

So it is Sunday morning and I am about to head out for my usual long distance walk. I\’ll use trees today as I slept in and it is hot outside.

But I had a genuine moment of clarity. Life is easy. It is only hard if you see it that way. I have a picture of a chemical plant on this blog for a reason. I like it there. I like my colleagues. I accept a successful career, fitness endeavor, economic outlook. None of this has to be corrupted with religious teachings or even the idea that the other people are bad.

And so, if I accept success, I don\’t have anything to preach about or a soap box to stand on. And so I am free. Free to do miles. Free to be alive.

I am just a girl with a blog. Nothing special.

ORW – Prelude

I\’m getting ready to go to Ottawa Canada to run a half marathon. Tomorrow, Saturday, I fly. I\’ll be met at the airport by a running maniac friend and we will zip into town in time to watch the evening races. I\’ll be meeting some new people and cheering them in their 10k. On Sunday, I run a half marathon at easy pace with a new internet friend.

Today, Friday, I took a day off work. I slept for 11 hours! And then, after running errands, and after the Houston weather had got to 85F, I went for a 2 hour jog. Yes, I can run in heat and humidity.

Now I have done some packing and eating and soon will do the evening workout.

I marvel at the status of my life. There are so many places where a path had to be chosen and radically different outcomes ensued. I could\’ve stayed in California instead of moving to Missouri. I could\’ve stayed a drunk rather than get sober. I could\’ve skipped the monastery. I could\’ve skipped Texas. I could\’ve got fat and sick. I could\’ve stayed a Catholic, or become a Buddhist.

Have I learned anything? I have learned peace; even in the midst of a busy city existence. I have to find the secret of the desert monks in the midst of cars, airports and a huge chempark.

I find this existence in my living room as I ride my elliptical. I find it in the tiny park across the street where one lap in 0.28 miles but trees provide shade. At the back of the park is a swamp. Birds with long legs find their lunch. Snakes perch on fallen logs.

In the desert, I find Christ within. I find love in all the other people I meet. I find that deep well of the Hidden Christ in the silence within.

Growing a Year

I have a persistent notion that if I could just go far enough or long enough or quietly enough, I could find God consciousness.
And so every month and year, I build this chart. The blue is the hours of workout. The red is miles. I have internal measurements which I strive for.

One reason I don\’t taper for races (and consequently hardly ever \”race\”) is that the taper reduces the hours and miles. I\’d rather have 80 hours and 250 miles a month  than a fast race time.

Day by day, slowly but surely, each month is formed, grown and then past. Another month starts.

This exercise is actually pointless. It is just something I like to do. Like endurance runs, who cares but me.

I do not understand life at all. I\’ve sought for spiritual depth. When I was young, I tried to find a husband. I spent most of my career saying I don\’t want to live in Houston. But I really like it here. This week, I spent some time on top of one of our units. I could see miles and miles of chemical plants. I love this sight.

This morning, I wanted to give my feet a break from running on concrete. So I did my workout indoors on my ex-machines. I had a great time. I had ear plugs in my ears and I turned my thoughts to A Course in Miracles. I could shut my eyes some of the time. The Versa Climber is especially a great machine for working the body endlessly.

I don\’t have to find God consciousness. It is quietly there all the time. I just remember it.

Why Be Alive

This morning, I had a new thought decision. I\’ve decided I no longer will say \”I don\’t want to be alive\” or \”I\’m not here for any particular purpose\”; I\’ve decided to choose why I will live. I am free in that regard.

See, my whole life, I\’ve compared myself to others and seen them doing much more worthy things. Or they had religious validation. Or they were more enlightened. Or they were part of families and caring for others. It is true that I have no particular place in society and no one else cares if I am here or not. If I disappeared, hardly anyone would notice. I interpreted this situation as meaning that I don\’t need to be alive and have no reason to be here.

This is not correct and it has been corrected. My purpose in life happens to be more abstract than others. I have the gift of life; but I happen to believe that the biggest part of that gift is not in this world. I\’ve decided to stop trashing the gift, accept it and choose to move forward with it.

Did I tell you? I just started reading the Course in Miracles Text for the 8th time since July of 2007. I always find new things I missed before. My goal is to read very slowly and savor each thing said.

Here is a map of my next race:

I will be running a 50k (31 miles) along an old railroad bed across the southern Missouri countryside. I\’ll probably take about 7 hours to do it. It is a small race; a few compatriots going 50k or 50 miles. It is nothing like Boston. And here is where my philosophy departs from this world into the abstract.

I have qualified for Boston but never entered. I could have been there this year. I look at the thousands of people and know it is one of the last places I\’d ever want to be. And with my attitude, I realize that Boston is just a media hype. Without the marketing and media, it would just be another big city marathon.

I\’ve run marathons and longer races under hot and humid conditions . I don\’t know why everyone is crying so bad about how hot Boston was. It didn\’t crack 90F for instance.