Self Transcendence 36/52

Several of the runners in the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race are having trouble. Some who have finished it several times before are struggling. Yet they keep going; even knowing that on day 52, midnight, they won\’t be at 3,100 miles. It seems sad. Why don\’t they quit?

Because it is the inner miles and not the outer miles that matter. The actual number of material world miles, 3,100, does not judge the number of inner miles. Any one of us can cross a universe instantly.

I myself have always compared my state of enlightenment to what gurus write in their books. I wonder why I haven\’t had a bright light experience. (Well, I haven\’t taken LSD for one thing.) But when I look at my inner miles, I see I am OK.

I had an unusual week. Monday I had to fast all day and then drink some poison to clean out my colon. Tuesday I had a colonoscopy. Wednesday I met my energy healer in the energy plane and on the phone. Thursday my car got whapped by a chunk of metal on the freeway and I filed an insurance claim. Friday was pretty normal: I worked from home. While at home, I tried out my new pressure cooker. A pressure cooker is a decent analogy for cooking spiritual growth. That is, creating an environment where spiritual ideas can be cooked quickly rather than taking a lifetime to figure them out.

Today, I decided to give up heat related ailments and do my running inside on the treadmill. So also, I slept in very late. And I have time now to write this blog.

I am finishing a book by Paul Brunton. I have read 18 of his books in the past 8 or so years. He is a philosopher of both east and west. He best explains the nature of reality as thought and oneness. I am a person who thinks alot. I may look like I am training for a race, but actually, I am thinking about things. I am integrating my life experiences with what I know of truth. Rightly motivated exercise can be a pressure cooker for spiritual ideas, Thought. So can illness or calamity, but I prefer the consciously generated environment.

Only 16 more days of Self Transcendence retreat.


The Search for Happiness

I have been reading Paul Brunton\’s book Advanced Contemplation. I came on this chapter about happiness. Happiness is the American Dream. We think happiness is an inalienable right. And this situation has driven us crazy as well as made us sick and robbed us of integrity.

To preface this chapter on happiness, Brunton says, \” Outwardly we live and have to live in the very midst of cruel struggle and grievous conflict, for we share the planet\’s karma; but inwardly we can live by striking contrast in an intense stillness, a consecrated peace, a sublime security.\”

And in the first few lines he says, \”When people seek excessive entertainment and amusement what are they doing but confessing that few of them enjoy real happiness for long without some complimentary source of unhappiness.\”

And so for myself, things I\’ve been thinking about lately.

I am a person who has solved most of life\’s annoyances either because of a good salary or because I abstain from many social activities and norms. In fact the things that bug me are extremely small. What I know is my daily spiritual activities are my life\’s blood. This is where inner peace is born. The one thing I can do with my life is generate inner peace.

Inner peace is a situation which does not come from this world. It can be brought into the world, to the extent the practitioner is adept and matured.

Alcoholics Anonymous gives us the satisfactions of right living found in step 12 of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. \”Still more wonderful is the feeling that we do not have to be specially distinguished among our fellows in order to be useful and profoundly happy. Not many of us can be leaders of prominence, nor do we wish to be. Service gladly rendered, obligations squarely met, troubles well accepted or solved with God\’s help, the knowledge that at home or in the world we are partners in a common effort, the well-understood fact that in God\’s sight all human beings are important, the proof that love freely given surely brings a full return, the certainty that we are no longer isolated and alone in self-constructed prisons, the surety that we need no longer be square pegs in round holes but can fit and belong in God\’s scheme of things–these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes. True ambition is not what we thought it was. True ambition is the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly under the grace of God.\”  [underlines mine]

And so I venture out onto the trails of Seabrook.

Not This Not That

Just now, I hopped on my leg scooter and rolled out to the mail box. I don\’t go outside much these days so a trip to the mail box is a chance to pause and feel the sunshine. It is a beautiful morning. Houston has finally cooled off. I could hear birds. It was very peaceful. I know that others are out doing their miles. I am happy that this does not bug me. I am happy that I can be at peace.

During my convalescence, I have spent more time on spiritual study. I am continually integrating the concepts of the 3 traditions I am currently studying: A Course in Miracles, Conscious Contact (AA), Paul Brunton.  These three have the same foundational concepts but say it in very different ways; and my mind is integrating them. Monastic practices I learned in the monastery play a part in this integration, but they have to be separated from denominational Catholicism and Benedictine-ism.

I say \”Not this Not that\” because I realized this morning that I don\’t have to label myself in spiritual terms. I don\’t have to call my self a \”desert dweller\” \”hermit\” \”monk\” or anything. I get to just keep relating to Spirit and going where ever It leads. I don\’t have to prove anything to anybody. In fact, my current status as a handicapped person is an impoverishment in most people\’s eyes.

The good news is that we can have conscious contact with a power greater than ourselves and we don\’t need to leave our homes. We just need to devote ourselves to the quest; and we are guaranteed to succeed. What I want more than anything is the conscious contact, the living of the spiritual identity here and now; not in some ashram or convent or under some guru or after I die. Now.

It is always possible now.

This week I found out I am getting a raise at work. Logically, this baffles me because our company is having austerity, and because I am being transferred to another division so the people who applied for and pushed the raise are not the ones I\’ll be working for in a couple of months. But somehow, it was necessary for the Talent Management program to address my salary for the purpose of retention. I have to mix this occurrence with my metaphysics and accept that my thinking must have been changed by spiritual practice or the raise would not have happened. It is not the money but the recognition that reality is made of thoughts and my thoughts must have risen higher.

This week I am going to a Process Safety symposium. I am going as a semi-mobile person. It will be interesting how the accessibility goes and which people take an interest in me or not. I worry about stuff like what size of luggage to take and how to lug it around. How easy will it be to get in and out of the hotel. What will the shower be like? I am bringing plastic bags so I can wear my boot in the shower. It is doubtful that a bench will be available. What about the convention center? Can I access the plenary session? I am going to case the convention center the afternoon before.

By the way, my foot is doing fantastic. Now I just need to be patient and not stupid.


It is 4 days since my foot surgery. I am off the hydrocodone and my brain is functioning normally right now. My body hates hydrocodone. It threw it up yesterday, thank you very much.

A set of wheels makes a huge difference in the life of a one legged person:

Crutches are very difficult, but this little scooter makes many things possible.

I have tremendous access to support staff.

So I am always pondering greater issues of the spirit, wondering if I do indeed have a higher self. I realize I am an ego consciousness; but an ego that wants to be more than an ego. This desire could in itself be egotistical; or it could be a symptom of a true higher call.

During surgery, I was \”gone\” for about 2 hours. My body, while still alive, was completely an object in other peoples realities. Like, no less than 3 anesthesiology staff were pissed at me because I am hard to intubate. The results of their work, in the form of gouges in the back of my mouth, still hurt.

I do not know this world if the body connection is taken away. But, when it was restored, I came back. Am I the brain in the body or a spirit which returns to this body while this body exists? Some of chose on faith to live from the spiritual foundation. I myself find the spiritual foundation inescapable.

It is fitting that I would arrive today at a chapter on Grace in Paul Brunton\’s book \”The Wisdom of the Overself.\” Here are some quotes:
\”What is Grace? It is a descent of the Overself into the underself\’s zone of awareness. It is a visitation of power…the voice of the Overself speaking suddenly out of the cosmic silence….a mystical energy…an active principle….Such is its dynamic potency that it can confer insight into ultimate reality as easily as it can lift a dying person to life again…Grace manifests itself in two ways: first a sense of dissatisfaction and insufficiency with the exterior life alone, second: a yearning for inner reality.\”
\”Psychoanalytical professors are apt to regard what they call the unconscious mind of man as a bottomless well swarming only with shapes of lust and lewdness. They have yet to learn that it holds also an infinite fund of goodness, truth and beauty such as would overwhelm them with its grandeur could they become but momentarily aware of it.\”

My decades long obsession with spiritual matters is fruitful. I used to think it was a failure since I had not achieved that enlightenment described in the books. It has taken a long time to believe that the subtler and frequent awarenesses are true and permanent. I refuse now to de-value the still small voice.

Just as the healing of my foot is going on in a silent cast, so the transformation of my ego is going on in the cocoon of this life.

More Brunton

Some part of last night was spent thinking about what 6 weeks on crutches would be like. And some part was spent worrying about the surgery date being changed due to a personal crisis the doctor is having. But now I think, The Universe is in charge. Let go. There is nothing I can do.

But you see, I must firmly believe that there is a Higher Self or Spirit who is helping me with my life. This idea works if everything is seen as a spiritual growth experience and everything is for the spiritual quest. Most of all surrendering to this Higher Self is the learning. Believing in this Higher Self and its care for its creations is my foundation.

\”…even in this widespread longing for personal continuance we can detect the beginnings of what will one day grow into the nobler longing to live in the true immortality. For it is an unconscious perception that human existence does possess something within it which is unaffected by events in time and is therefore genuinely eternal, something which stands apart from all the miserable mutations of the flesh and the \’I\’. It is indeed an unformulated intuition which, hiding among the perishable elements of personality, affirms that there is an imperishable principle which cannot be brought to an end with the end of the body.\”
\”The view of immortality as belonging to the higher individuality of the Overself rather than to the lower personality will then replace the former one, which is ultimately doomed to suffer the anguish of frustrated desire whereas the true view bathes a man in increasing peace the better it is understood.\”

Business Transcendence

Here I am in Pittsburgh again; on business. I have spent the week leading 2 groups of guys in Hazard and Operability Studies. At the same time, I am always pondering my own spiritual path. I have always continued my studies of A Course in Miracles; and now mixed with the philosophy of Paul Brunton. The 2 philosophies are worded differently but the spiritual principles are the same. Therefore, I am a believer in certain ideas, but not in any religion.

1. \”I don\’t detect the Overself because it is beyond my consciousness. Being universal, it can\’t be experienced familiarly. But this principle is a permanent element within me. The general principle of Thought can be indirectly supposed. I have thoughts but the general principle is Thought.\”
2. \”The world I perceive is a product of my thoughts, but my illusion of the world is not solely mine. Each mind is confined to its own sensational world but each sensational world is rooted in a common mental ground provided by the World-Mind, the Overself, the general principle of Thought. \”
3. \” If Jesus was a man of sorrows, it was not because of what they would do to his body, but because of what they thought in their minds.\”  \”When we identify the I-thought, which always arises first, with the body-thought, which always arises second, we turn the scale of values upside down and limit the larger factor with the lesser one. Through this initial error we not only strengthen our sorrows and increase grief, but also fill hearts with unnecessary fear. But when we become conscious that we are conscious and that this is the most direct thing of our experience, we have reached the momentous turning-point of understanding the difference between both thoughts. For the making of this miracle–and it is nothing less — clear to our own understanding itself puts us on the right path to achieving it.\”

My spiritual ideas are related to identifying with spirit instead of body. My path is of ego transcendence; joining the universal Self and letting go of the small self. this topic comes up no matter what I study. Brunton does a good job of explaining how the world is my thoughts but also a universal world with other people in the same thought field. But it is not a sound bite. I\’m not going to try and explain 25 years of spiritual study in one sentence.

I also think it is time for the ordinary spiritual people to hold to their truth. We are members of ordinary society, not monk or nuns or famous authors or teachers. We are the transcending identities within normal society. We know the truth and we live it to free others. But our teaching is quiet. Our teaching is our presence. Embrace.

I came to Pennsylvania on Saturday and ran a half marathon in Erie on Sunday.

If you read this blog, you have seen my foot x-ray.

Two weeks ago, I decided that I was tired of having my achilles impaled on a sharp point of bone and went to an orthopedist. Surgery is scheduled for….OMG… Friday!

I have pondered over and over, why do I run. Then, why does my heel hurt. Metaphysically, the heel surgery can be a point of transcendence just as much as the daily miles. 6 weeks on crutches will be worth it. It is a death and then a resurrection; not to the same body but to a different state.

Mysticism – Brunton

In book 11, Brunton says: \”What the mystic seeks is a direct experience of the soul….he has the moral courage to withdraw from religious tradition and to deviate from worldly custom…Mystics who seek quivering ecstasies alone take the risk of becoming victims of their own emotional workings…They reach the divine center with their imagination or with their feelings, but not with their mind nor with their will….It is better to look for a different and better sign such as lasting intellectual conviction or improvement of outward conduct…\”

It is astounding how many mystical authors I have followed over the past nearly 30 years, how hard I have tried. I never had \”baptism of the spirit\” of the emotional extravaganza sort. And from all the reading, I thought that was what was supposed to happen.

I now am ready to give myself credit for emotional stability, and daily unending progression of mind into an increasing state of freedom from the worldly thought prison.

I can change my thinking. In quietness, I know there is a bigger picture; and a greater reality leaks into my own. I need to hear what Spirit is saying to me, not just read books. When will I get the courage to put the books down? Today?

Yesterday, I ran 21.6 miles; and followed that in the evening with various strength routines and another 68 min of cross training machines. It was easy to get started with the evening workout. The morning\’s 21 miles did not exhaust me at all. I found myself energized by this.

I also find that after 40 years of running races, for the first time, I qualified for membership in an organization called Marathon Maniacs. I\’ve never tried to qualify; but it was on my mind Friday so I checked to see what the qualifications were. And, yes, I got the bronze and I am a member. I somehow need this membership as inspiration for my next diabolical endeavor: In July, I hope to run 5 marathon races in 5 days.

I am off to the park now for a few miles. I don\’t know how many. I won\’t be watching the Superbowl; but see, I do know it is today.

Brunton\’s Mysticism

A quote from line one of book 11: \”Mysticism is simply an attempt to provide a system for those whom ordinary religion has ceased to help. It says, in effect, here is a practical means and a demonstrable method whereby you may verify for yourself the essential basic truth that there is a soul in man.\”

Very simply put. I can stand in a silence here.

Nothing Bad Happened

\”Thoughts create reality\” is something I heard decades ago for the first time. While Christian denominations don\’t teach this, many other philosophies do.

For the past 14 hours or so, I have been suffering a subtle worry, a nagging fear thought: what if someone breaks into my car during the night and steals my clothes? See, my valuable papers are here with me in the hotel, but I didn\’t unload my entire car. I kept hearing the nagging fear and I kept replacing it with my ACIM lesson for today: Let miracles replace all grievances. What I am studying in Brunton today has to do with Karma and how that works.

Grievances are the hateful fearful thoughts my ego mind continuously spews out. Miracles are expressions of love. You are a miracles. In letting miracles replace all grievances, I am seeing every person as the expression of love that they truly are. I am NOT allowing my ego to draw a veil of hate and fear in front of that truth. This practice holds for all people, known and unknown. Each one that I see as an expression of love walks with me to the real world where there are only expressions of love.

Allowing grievances unchecked in my mind produces bad luck, bad karma. Retribution is for the thoughts. Regardless of what actually happens, if my mind is full of unchecked fear, I am in hell already. As it is, I deny hell its place. I insist on heaven by insisting on miracle thinking.

So I had fear, miracles and karma on my plate; plus thoughts create reality. Was that fearful thought creating a car break-in and much anger or unhappiness or blame for me? Was the daily lesson correcting the thought?

I was resistant to walking down and looking at the car. But just now, I realized that my car was parked where I could see it from my window, if only I opened the curtain.

My car is untouched.

I said thank you to Whomever for the lesson. Its not that my material possessions are important but that I direct my thinking. Its not that I prevent my ego mind from spewing out hate and fear all day, but that I calmly answer it with a corrected thought. I get these corrected thoughts from my daily spiritual reading. Corrected thoughts are literally opening the curtain/veil of the ego\’s negative mentality and seeing the real world of miracles beyond.

Approaching Transition

Paul Brunton said, \”Islam – a resignation to and harmony with God.\” I found this in a chapter on dying and death and afterlife. I would say for myself that I would use the word acceptance rather than resignation. It has a more positive connotation for me.

My ACIM lesson today talks much about how we are not physical bodies. The physical is the ego illusion. Our truth is greater than that. And the lesson also talks about accepting God\’s plan for salvation rather than fighting it. In order to accept it, we must ask what it is and then quietly listen.

This acceptance and the idea of death as a transition fits well with my life today. The boys at work are taking me out for my \”last supper.\” It is a gesture of kindness and a ritual of moving on to get taken out to lunch. I struggle because I don\’t like eating out and I don\’t like eating with meat eaters. But this is also fighting God\’s plan for salvation given me. I know that I need to be as magnanimous as possible, just as I am each and every day.

I secretly dislike worldly activities and wish to be left alone. This inner friction leaves me with tremendous shame and guilt; while at the same time seeing that the spiritual path from which my feelings spring is necessary for the success of my life. It is such a dichotomy. People like me and want to offer me love. But the offering is in a worldly way I dislike. So I swallow my feelings and desires (really my ego\’s opinions) and go along with the gig.

I am transferring to another location in my corporation. It means moving to Texas. This move is a death for the group of people I\’m leaving. It is a transition to another picture of reality for me. I receive the death ritual (lunch with the guys) as graciously as I can. Doing things well it part of my ethos.

 I have purchased a new duplex in Texas. The first thing to be delivered next week is the new elliptical. I will fill the downstairs with exercise equipment and spend my time there. No couches. No TVs. Just cardio and weight equipment and a peaceful and endless time of working out.

Now it is rainy this morning and cold. But I am about to layer into my gortex and go out anyway. I need the invigoration and a wet windy run in the dark.