I and Love

In solitude, in prayer, there is nothing wrong with stopping at the idea of love. Nothing more is needed than the simple remembrance. From there it is easy to attach to the generalized subtle presence of love. Just make sure not to add anything to it. Leave love as a no-thing.

This morning as I thought of my apparently meaningless and useless life, I also thought: The meaning of life is not out there but in here. Who I am is in the silence. \”I\” do not have a context. I want to know this \”I\” which is my truth.

My essence, the truth within me is the non-contexted \”I\” which I want to know. This \”I\” is no different than the generalized presence of love which I find in simple remembrance. If I was at all to agree with the concept of oneness, then it would be this. My truth and love are the same.

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God is Love

ummmm……..of course you\’ve heard this before.

But what I\’d really like to say is forget everything you\’ve ever heard about God anywhere. Just reflect on the idea of love. Love is all there is to God; nothing more. Love does not need to be prayed to and shouldn\’t be asked for anything since all has already been given. Let the idea of love be abstract, not attached to a person or event in this world. You\’ll have more success with it that way.

Here is my Spiritual Creed as it has evolved over the past couple of months:

If I am afraid, I am deceived.
I am spirit, grace means most to me.
Fear is lack of love. Atonement heals.
Expanding love is my reality.

In the holy instant, thou I see.
Thou art miracles come forth as love.
I am not alone. My love is here.
My love is the undoing of the dream.
The voice of love comes from deep within me.
I hear love speak quietly in my mind.

Giving and receiving are the same.
Full appreciation is my gift.
The innocent see perfection truly.
Love vision is where they put all their faith.
My mind holds only light and it shines out.
I see love\’s majesty in all others.

God is not symbolic. He is love.
Love\’s peace is always firm. On it I stand.
Into love\’s hands I commend my spirit.
And so my mind awakens from the dream.
Truth is my commitment. Joy I am.
Love is my intention. Silence seen.

Love based thinking is my one desire.
Inner peace is what I really want.

What was said…

…while I ran and had to remember later.

This morning, I ran a one mile loop at a place called The Sanctuary. It is a tiny place of nature. I ran 21 miles; 1.5 hours in a gentle rain. Thunder boomed overhead, but it was not a serious storm and I decided to defy it and keep running. It is a magic thing, long distance running is. I maybe don\’t feel like I can run 5 hours at the start. I only think it. But, as the day wears on, it materializes one lap at a time. I just keep going.

Then, I was laying on the bed this afternoon, pondering my quest for my soul. The most wisdom I seem to have is: I don\’t know. There is no glory in it. When in doubt be silent and wait. At least I\’m not destroying myself by watching TV and eating cake. I wish….I ask….

At last, trying to resolve the inner issue, Nature repeats what it said this morning:
Lap after lap, I watched the turtle dig its way into the mud.
An egg fell from a nest in a tree.
The deer were nibbling grass, and then ran away.
The squirrel did not budge from the branch on which it was sitting.
An occasional flower and brilliant green trees and grass.
Lots of water in the water fall.
A pretty little blue bird.
Muskrats.
Thunder.
Rain.
The runner kept running.

From my position on my bed, I thought to myself, \”Doing nothing, being nothing, is a very difficult thing. Seeking my soul, I seem to achieve nothing.\”

And again, a soulful reply, \”only love could have wondered about the turtle, or been sad about the egg, or noticed how delicate the young deer was.\”

And so I know that all is within me and looks out from me. There is no other place for it to be. I am it and it is me. We are that consciousness and there is no other.

Imagine the Presence

I had the urge to blog this morning at 3:50 am, after I\’d got up at 3:20 and done some spiritual work. But, it was time for a workout, so I wrote my thoughts on a piece of paper to type in after I got to work.

Now, I am sitting here with what I wrote. Part of my brain says, \”Oh, that is stupid. Don\’t bother to blog it.\” That same part fears the nay-sayers who occasionally comment about how stupid God bloggers are. I\’ll keep it short, but I am going to say what I thought.

When I want to remember God, or realize that this world is an illusion, I think this: I imagine that all around me is the presence of a great love. It is a silent benign love who cares for all equally. When tapped into and believed, I see a world of love, not one of hate.

It is my choice to remember this great silent love. I live in it and am a part of it and so is everything and everyone. I have the ability to switch my reality from the material world to the world of benign love.

Simple but not easy. The choice and the power is mine. I can remember God or not.

The Morning after the Miracle

A. I have been listening to a series of classes on the 50 miracles principles (see below) which was focusing on the miracle as an expression of love (1) and as natural (6). It was enlarging the definition beyond the standard course definition of a miracle as a perception shift. The definition of a miracle in ACIM has always been different than what the world thinks a miracle is (think parting of the Red Sea). But as a course student, I have always believed that I have not achieved the ability to do miracles.

B. Yesterday (Friday) I had started re-reading the ACIM text for the seventh time. The 50 miracles principles are the very first thing. So I had been praying for understanding yesterday morning.

C. During the day, I had these encounters:
– Very early in the morning, I had stopped to chit chat and tease a grumpy old mechanical engineer.
– I had spent 2 hours during the day working together with a grumpy old electrical engineer.
– I had left my ivory tower office and gone to the basement in order to see the company trainer. I wanted her to know I had accepted her apology for something. I did require prayer on my part to do this. I supposed it wasn’t mandatory and almost skipped it for now, but the trainer was very happy to know she was off the hook.
– At Target, I told a lady to go in front of me in the check out line.

D. And then, bota-bing, standing there in line, I realized I had been doing miracles that day. I knew that I had been naturally doing expressions of love (miracles). Part of this revelation was related to the fact that I often let others go first in lines, but had never accounted that as a miracle.

E. This morning, I was again reading the 50 miracles principles. I realized that they had come into my being:
– I believe in miracles now that I think of them as expressions of love; and not fantastic things and not a sudden land slide of money. I am free of my vague “Marianne Williamson” type definition of miracles.
– I don’t think of miracles as a special privilege from God (7). How many of us have been to Christian revivals and believe that only specially gifted people can do miracles? I am free from the belief that on Moses sized occurrences are miracles.
– We devalue small expressions of love (1).
– We don’t know that all love comes from God and that our true purpose is to be channels of that love (2).
– (9) I had experienced giving love and feeling more love as a result.
– (15) I believed I had used time effectively; and could envision a life focused on expressions of love as all I did each day.
– (26) I had experienced a few moments when my fear was undone. That is, I forgot my fear and approached people with love. I could envision a life free of fear.
– (27) I felt like doing expressions of love was somehow a result of the course, hence I must have the privilege of the forgiven. I believe I am forgiven and so are you.
– (18) I felt like I had honored the other people’s worth.
– (31) I felt like I had honored the other people’s holiness.
– (33) Being free from fear and freely expressing love, I was free from the ego imprisonment of this world. How much do our small egos force us into hold-back-gear and secretly cling to fear?

SO, conclusion: I know what a miracle is and I believe I can do that. I am a miracle worker. I see that my other fears will fall.

My spiritual life is no longer about personal enlightenment, but love. Oh, how grateful I am to Jesus for that shift!

For reference, here are the 50 miracles principles:

1 There is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not “harder” or “bigger” than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal.
2 Miracles as such do not matter. The only thing that matters is their Source, which is far beyond evaluation.
3 Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle.
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.
5 Miracles are habits, and should be involuntary. They should not be under conscious control. Consciously selected miracles can be misguided.
6 Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone wrong.
7 Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.
8 Miracles are healing because they supply a lack; they are performed by those who temporarily have more for those who temporarily have less.
9 Miracles are a kind of exchange. Like all expressions of love, which are always miraculous in the true sense, the exchange reverses the physical laws. They bring more love both to the giver and the receiver.
10 The use of miracles as spectacles to induce belief is a misunderstanding of their purpose.
11 Prayer is the medium of miracles. It is a means of communication of the created with the Creator. Through prayer love is received, and through miracles love is expressed.
12 Miracles are thoughts. Thoughts can represent the lower or bodily level of experience, or the higher or spiritual level of experience. One makes the physical, and the other creates the spiritual.
13 Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so they alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.
14 Miracles bear witness to truth. They are convincing because they arise from conviction. Without conviction they deteriorate into magic, which is mindless and therefore destructive; or rather, the uncreative use of mind.
15 Each day should be devoted to miracles. The purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to use time constructively. It is thus a teaching device and a means to an end. Time will cease when it is no longer useful in facilitating learning.
16 Miracles are teaching devices for demonstrating it is as blessed to give as to receive. They simultaneously increase the strength of the giver and supply strength to the receiver.
17 Miracles transcend the body. They are sudden shifts into invisibility, away from the bodily level. That is why they heal.
18 A miracle is a service. It is the maximal service you can render to another. It is a way of loving your neighbour as yourself. You recognize your own and your neighbor’s worth simultaneously.
19 Miracles make minds one in God. They depend on co-operation, because the Sonship is the sum of all that God created. Miracles therefore reflect the laws of eternity, not of time.
20 Miracles reawaken the awareness that the spirit, not the body, is the altar of truth. This is the recognition that leads to the healing power of the miracle.
21 Miracles are natural signs of forgiveness. Through miracles you accept God’s forgiveness by extending it to others.
22 Miracles are associated with fear only because of the belief that darkness can hide. You believe that what your physical eyes cannot see does not exist. This leads to a denial of spiritual sight.
23 Miracles rearrange perception and place all levels in true perspective. This is healing because sickness comes from confusing the levels.
24 Miracles enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and can therefore abolish both. You are a miracle, capable of creating in the likeness of your Creator. Everything else is your own nightmare, and does not exist. Only the creations of light are real.
25 Miracles are part of an interlocking chain of forgiveness which, when completed, is the Atonement. Atonement works all the time and in all the dimensions of time.
26 Miracles represent freedom from fear. “Atoning” means “undoing.” The undoing of fear is an essential part of the atonement value of miracles.
27 A miracle is a universal blessing from God through me to all my brothers. It is the privilege of the forgiven to forgive.
28 Miracles are a way of earning release from fear. Revelation induces a state in which fear has already been abolished. Miracles are thus a means and revelation is an end.
29 Miracles praise God through you. They praise Him by honoring His creations, affirming their perfection. They heal because they deny body-identification and affirm spirit-identification.
30 By recognizing spirit, miracles adjust the levels of perception and show them in proper alignment. This places spirit at the center, where it can communicate directly.
31 Miracles should inspire gratitude, not awe. You should thank God for what you really are. The children of God are holy and the miracle honors their holiness, which can be hidden but never lost.
32 I inspire all miracles, which are really intercessions. They intercede for your holiness and make your perceptions holy. By placing you beyond the physical laws they raise you into the sphere of celestial order. In this order you are perfect.
33 Miracles honor you because you are loveable. They dispel illusions about yourself and perceive the light in you. They thus atone for your errors by freeing you from your nightmares. By releasing your mind from the imprisonment of your illusions, they restore your sanity.
34 Miracles restore the mind to its fullness. By atoning for lack they establish perfect protection. The spirit’s strength leaves no room for intrusions.
35 Miracles are expressions of love, but they may not always have observable effects.
36 Miracles are examples of right thinking, aligning your perceptions with truth as God created it.
37 A miracle is a correction introduced into false thinking by me. It acts as a catalyst, breaking up erroneous perception and reorganizing it properly. This places you under the Atonement principle, where perception is healed. Until this has occurred, knowledge of the Divine Order is impossible.
38 The Holy Spirit is the mechanism of miracles. He recognizes both God’s creations and your illusions. He separates the true from the false by His ability to perceive totally rather than selectively.
39 The miracle dissolves error because the Holy Spirit identifies error as false or unreal. This is the same as saying that by perceiving light, darkness automatically disappears.
40 The miracle acknowledges everyone as your brother and mine. It is a way of perceiving the universal mark of God.
41 Wholeness is the perceptual content of miracles. They thus correct, or atone for, the faulty perception of lack.
42 A major contribution of miracles is their strength in releasing you from your false sense of isolation, deprivation and lack.
43 Miracles arise from a miraculous state of mind, or a state of miracle-readiness.
44 The miracle is an expression of an inner awareness of Christ and acceptance of His Atonement.
45 A miracle is never lost. It may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed of changes in situations of which you are not even aware.
46 The Holy Spirit is the highest communication medium. Miracles do not involve this type of communication, because they are temporary communication devices. When you return to your original form of communication with God by direct revelation, the need for miracles is over.
47 The miracle is a learning device that lessens the need for time. It establishes an out-of-pattern time interval not under the usual laws of time. In this sense it is timeless.
48 The miracle is the only device at your immediate disposal for controlling time. Only revelation transcends it, having nothing to do with time at all.
49 The miracle makes no distinction among degrees of misperception. It is a device for perception correction, effective quite apart from either the degree or the direction of the error. This is its true indiscriminateness.
50 The miracle compares what you have made with creation, accepting what is in accord with it as true, and rejecting what is out of accord as false.

Walking with Christ

This morning I was reading the chapter called Walking With Christ in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) text (31.II).

\”…you have come with but one purpose; that you learn you love your brother with a brother\’s love…\”

To agree with something a guy named Robert said, I say (based on the quote) that A Course in Miracles is a course in love. It is a different way of looking at love than is found in the ego\’s world of illusion. This love has no pain, fear, disappointment, compromise, hate, sacrifice, etc. Most of us do not know what this love is, but we do experience it in small un-noticed ways.

One of the main points of ACIM is that what I think I see is an illusion, part of an ego dream which was thought up by the ego and now exists for me as a dream world of fear and pain. My brother is not exactly the body I see, but the Christ beyond the body; and the Christ in him is the Christ in me. We are one in this Christ Self. So, knowing the oneness, I don\’t need to be afraid.

But obviously, I still have fearful and hateful thoughts about these people around me. And everytime I approach this topic of loving my borther, I become filled with hate. This feeling of hate, I define for myself, as an attempt of my ego to keep me from realizing I am one with my brother and that what I see is an illusion. If I look beyond, I will see Christ and fall down at his feet in gratitude, love and salvation. At that point, the world is over and I live in a reality of love.

When I find myself in the quiet early morning, attempting to be spiritual, but really thinking about someone at work and how much I hate them, I ask Christ for help and attempt to have a holy instant. And you know what? No matter how real those hateful feelings are, this is what happens:

\”Be very still an instant. Come without all thought of what you ever learned before, and put aside all images you made. The old will fall away before the new without your opposition or intent. There will be no attack upon the things you thought were precious and in need of care. There will be no assault upon your wish to hear a call that never has been made. Nothing will hurt you in this holy place, to which you come to listen silently and learn the truth of what you really want. No more than this will you be asked to learn. But as you hear it, you will understand you need but come away without the thoughts you did not want, and that were never true.\” (31.II still)

Then, I need to get on with my day; but I find that I forget all about the hate. Later, as I encounter whoever I was hating, I don\’t remember it at all. I find that I treat that other person with respect and try to be helpful. No matter what seems to be going on in my head, I find I behave well.

Thoughts, however, are real and they are shared in our one mind. Am I guilty because I had the thoughts? No, because this world and my body is still a part of the illusion. The hate serves to keep the bad dream going. The hate is not known in heaven or the part of my one mind that exists still in God. The thing is, I want the dream to be over, so I keep going through this process of bringing all my difficult thoughts to the holy instant and coming away without them.

It is difficult, but crucial, to learn that what my ego thinks is not true, ever, period. Learning this lesson and getting beyond my ego is the most loving thing I can do. Doing it is a miracle.

I Give My Mind to God

This thought came to me last night: what I want is a life of total reliance on God. Period.

Now today: Another Saturday. Another Saturday spent both running and in the aftermath of running. This morning, I ran 16.2 miles in the park and then another 9.7 on the trails. Considering this all took 5:45, I feel good. In a sense, this morning was a personal best. I had not done the trails before with that many miles already on my legs. I saw no less than 3 baby turtles in the sanctuary.

I run in peace in the sanctuary of my mind as well. My running stands in solitude, with my mind and my spirit, an incomprehensible mirror of the contemplative life, a doorway to another world. I am free. My running is my spirit. My life is devoted to God in contemplation and solitude; a way of life whose value has no worldly equivalent and whose truth cannot be grasped by the ego mind.

I let God guide me. I see that things do indeed change. I see them differently. I am a solitary contemplative, celibate, sober, A Course in Miracles student, long distance runner. The joy of these things is not understood by others; but I see that I no longer feel angry about that. The anger has been my problem. Slowly, I have given it to the Holy Spirit. Now, it is light and I see light all around me. I see beyond this world and no longer hold it hostage to my ego needs.

So, I will again go running tomorrow. For now, I will sit quietly, looking inward at the light of Christ, maintaining its presence as the one thing in my mind. I will drink clear water.

Fallsburg Marathon – Prelude

Packet picked up. #149 and a nice hoodie with full zipper. I know where the race is and how long it takes to get there from the hotel. There is a Panera Bread near the hotel, so we know where I will be eating for the next 2 days!

In Chicago at O\’Hare, there was a woman wearing a Philadelphia marathon shirt getting on my flight. She smiled at me (I had on a KC marathon shirt). On the back of her shirt, it said, \”CLASS OF 2009,\” and listed all the names (small print). I teared up! Just something about \”being here\” that is awesome. It has nothing to do with times. The environment of a marathon is sacred ground for those of us who love it. I say it. The marathon and the marathoners who love it are all one being, a unity of runners celebrating one eternal event: the marathon. We are marathoners.

In the monastery, the sisters renewed their monastic profession at certain times and certain liturgies. Racing is the runners liturgy. I am here to renew my marathon profession: I am dedicated to the marathon (and well any other running too).

It will be a hot one tomorrow, but it is in a forest!

Listening Christ Woman

Normally my weekends are spent listening to the haranguing of my ego and believing its frightening statements about what a piece of crap I am. This weekend, I spent in gratitude for a realization of my Truth.

The spiritual text I study is of dubious background. It comes NOT with any authorization. The denominational religious and the atheists both are aghast. They ask how I could be so dedicated to such unprovable and outlandish proposals.

Yet I am grateful that yesterday, I took an affirmative action in denying both the ego and the world. I decided that I was going to stop listening to the ego, especially as it attempts to defend or attack based on what others say. I decided to stop these thought attacks and listen only to the Voice of peace which I am able to hear whenever I stop for it.

So I reached a point of extreme buoyant happiness in gratitude for The Course. The Course has helped me with the continuously punishing inner beast, my ego. AND it gives me a way to look at the world which extends spirit into every person and situation I encounter. AND it gives me a way to connect with my hearts desire: that ineffable, intangible, higher order consciousness, present throughout the human mind. It goes by various names: Christ, Atman, Tao, Buddha, etc. It is much squabbled over by those who have never realized it. Those who have realized it merely watch and wait, speaking only to genuine listeners.

This weekend, I was challenged in my dedication by 3 different people. I am astounded at my own newly found confidence in my decision. Without anyone\’s approval and in the face of disapproval, I know what\’s best for me and I am doing it. Ultimately, it is my inner being which is deciding what I should study, how I should see things and what I should do. I stand on firm ground, strongly faithful to this inner quiet thinker.

I am the Christ woman. The Christ woman alone, lifting weights in the living room, is the Tao. The Christ woman, eating austere as a way of life, is the Sunnyasa renunciate. The Christ woman, running on the levy and nodding at the other runners, is part of a great Sangha community. The Christ woman at work is distributing aid to the poor. The Christ woman studying her text and reflecting is a deep listener. My life is founded on listening, nothing more.

Ye Ha! Go Girl! I am free!

Listening is my act of love and my way of loving Love. Selah.

The Book of My Heart – a love gospel

\”I love you,\” is the most obvious thing God ever said to me. That it has taken 51 years to hear is incredible.

We all want something out of life. The most useful name for what we want is \”love.\” But usually we don\’t realize that love is what we want and instead spend gobs of time seeking fame, fortune, success, victory. Inside this exterior seeking work is hidden our issues; needs for approval, self-esteem, self-worth, validation. Deeper inside the relatively superficial self layer is our fear. Oh, God, that fear is terrifying. Fear that I am really nothing; or worse than nothing: a worm, a piece of crap or that I am bad. That I might be truly bad terrifies me to see so I turn back to the world and work on my conquests hoping they\’ll hide my badness.

But if I make another choice and keep pondering the fear and what it could be hiding, I\’ll conclude (after months or decades) that it is not true. During my exploration of why I think I am a piece of crap, I am actually healing the infection and draining the pus by opening myself to whatever it is. As it reduces, I see something else. Slowly, I see goodness; mine and everyone else\’s.

At this point, I am free. I find myself off the hook, and I\’ve let everyone else off the hook too. I no longer need any identifying labels: I am a marathoner; I am a Boston Qualifier; I am an Ironman; I am a parent; I am a millionaire. I no longer need conquests to define me or give me an acceptable sense of self.

The only victory I ever needed was the decision to turn inward away from the world and accept my pre-existant intrinsic good.

As I say this, I hear the gufaws of the audience. I stand alone in the spot light held up to ridicule. \”Silly Spirit Flower,\” they say. \”We are not afraid. We already know we are good people. It is you who are so deprived. Quit telling us that our conquests are meaningless illusions, children\’s play acting. Our victories mean alot.\”

Spirit Flower looks into the crowd and finds the one pair of eyes which admits it\’s pain. \”Oh really?\” she says. \”Then why do you feel like a faker? If a marathon medal really meant anything, all my troubles would be over.\”

But I kept dropping the rocks of worldly validation until I finally spent enough time shining light on the fear. I melted its ice and became undaunted. I believed it less and less. Then, the inner good could be discerned, accepted, joined and loved.

All I ever wanted was to love myself; that inner good who is my true identity. My true identity is not window dressing. Sure I still run marathons, but my self love does not depend on how fast I was or even finishing. What ever I do, I do as that inner good. That inner good is my identity. Good is what I am, what I bring, what I give.

Life lived at the level of age group awards is futile.

Life lived as good is eternal.