Prayer Miles

Day 3 of Aravaipa Strong virtual 10 day race. I\’m going for 100 miles and a belt buckle. As day 3 comes to a close, I have 62.9 miles. Tomorrow will be a shorter day.

I haven\’t been to work or any fellowship meetings since. March 18, a little over a month ago. The people I see are those who use the trails or those in grocery stores. I have had about 5 telephone conversations. I have attended to 13 hours of Abraham Now. Since March 18, I have run 384 miles. You can see that the virtual race is only a melding in to miles I was going to do anyway.

I have for most of my life been a solitary, but never has the needle been closer to 100% for so many days. Never have I shut off the alarm clock for that many days. There has been hours of reflection on my life and my spiritual connection. Contemplative prayer and running are obvious threads running through my entire life. Here in isolation, the two threads entwine, back and forth. My isolation is not about staying busy but about existing as being and relishing how bare my consciousness can be. Who I really am becomes more and more obvious, but also has fewer words with which to explain it. Fewer words because my place in society is gone. There is no mirror. No position.

I watch my thoughts from the moment of awakening to sleep. I watch my thoughts as I run.

This morning, I didn\’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to do it. But I thought I would like to do prayer miles. Prayer miles are those miles done in contemplation. I chose a long bike path through a forest, strapped on my hydro-pak, and disappeared down the trail for 3 hours. Came home. Ate. Disappeared onto another bike path for two hours.

My life consists of many many prayer miles. All of my activities, working or otherwise, are prayer miles.

I\’ve changed during this period. I rediscovered the joy of drinking cold milk right from the gallon jug. Said good-bye to soy milk.

Outrage Transformed to Prayer

I have been working on my psychological issues the past month or so. I\’ve made progress in becoming conscious of how co-dependence feels. Now that I know how it feels, I know when I am sinking into it and about to NEED remediation. Since I am now aware, the remediation doesn\’t have to be unconscious reacting but conscious self care.

And so, there is the topic of inner outrage. I\’ve been listening to it. As I ran this morning, this is what I thought. I think at some point as a toddler, I became outraged at being in a human body. I think all toddlers have this problem. But at some point later, I became outraged at what horrible parents I had. Outraged that had to be turned inward, since I had no place to go. I came squirting out of my family with a diagnosis of PTSD. But, unconscious of how that was affecting me.

And, throughout my life, I\’ve looked out at the world and been outraged at the other humans. Very few of the humans were worthy of respect. Then sometimes I got caught. Some individual human became a parent figure and I began to live my life before them as a child. I was trying to do what I could to get their positive attention; then feeling massively bad if that didn\’t happen, or worse, criticized. Then, damage control kicked in with even greater attempts at approval. Hyper-vigilant is what I realize I am. Forever looking out for danger and enacting protective mechanisms of various sorts.

So, I can see this in my life now. And now, I am conscious of it. So I want to be free. I want to be me, the real me, not some doll that only lives to dance before others.

What do \”I\” want? What would I say if I wasn\’t reading it from a book? I asked this in my meditation this morning. I then remembered, I want to live a life of prayer. Then I thought about how I need to consciously make everything I do part of the prayer. It seemed possible. To live a life of prayer is what I call spiritual. Not saying words and asking God for things. More like awareness of the partnership, the communion.

Christmas in the World

I sit here in my quiet abode. At 8:30 am, I hear a fire engine. I realize I\’ll be hearing that siren for several hours. Annually, the city sends round the fire truck with Santa. This takes all morning.

I woke up pondering  quandary. I don\’t participate in Christmas because I am in ethical disagreement with the activities. This year, the last department meeting is combined with a Christmas party. Do I incur disapproval by not going? Do I go and be a good girl.

I close my eyes. Shakespeare crosses my mind,\”To thine own self be true.\” Sanskrit crosses my mind, \”Namaste.\” In the prayerful darkness beyond my eye balls, I bow before the Son of God and His magnificence. Not Jesus, but Life Itself extended from God and residing in us. This Life is our true self and true identity.

I don\’t know whether I\’ll go to the party. I will bow down. It is the only way for me to do life.

Now, to Brummerhop park for laps.

Here is  a bonus treat for today, a quote from Merton:

\”The world of men has forgotten the joys of silence, the peace of solitude which is necessary, to some extent, for the fullness of human living. Not all men are called to be hermits, but all men need enough silence and solitude in their lives to enable the deep inner voice of their own true self to be heard at least occasionally. When that inner voice is not heard, when man cannot attain to the spiritual peace that comes from being perfectly at one with his own true self, his life is always miserable and exhausting. For he cannot go on happily for long unless he is in contact with the springs of spiritual life which are hidden in the depths of his own soul. If man is constantly exiled from his own home, locked out of his own spiritual solitude, he ceases to be a true person. He no longer lives as a man. He becomes a kind of automaton, living without joy because he has lost his spontaneity. He is no longer moved from within, but only from outside himself.\”

Choose the Spark of Beauty

This.

This morning, I was studying chapter 17.IV in A Course in Miracles text. Here is the part that inspired me: \”Let Him [Holy Spirit] uncover the spark of beauty in your relationships, and show it to you…It is still up to you to choose to join with truth or with illusion. But remember that to choose one is to let the other go. Which one you choose you will endow you with beauty and reality, because the choice depends on which you value more…the spark of beauty or the veil of ugliness…\”

I thought about how I didn\’t hate my boss this week and how many people texted me on my anniversary. I decided to allow the love that had been present; which is to choose the spark of beauty I had been shown.

After this, did I become insane? Here\’s my story.

Earlier this week, I got an e-mail about a new 24 hour event in Houston in December. (I went in a 50k there last year). So, I would really like to walk 24 hours. And my new shoe design might allow for a \”Kinhin\” Zen walk for 24 hours. I\’m after the meditation side, not the distance side mind you. I mentioned it to a guy at work. He said he\’d be happy to hand me cups of water and drive my butt home. (Transportation could be an issue after being up all night.)

This morning was my usual Saturday struggle to get out of bed. The only reason to get up early is to run before temps rise above 90F. As a walker however, it doesn\’t really matter. So I slept until 7. Then, I did my spiritual study, prayed about the December 24 hour run. I heard rumbles outside, but I decided to go for a short walk in El Lago and test the shoe.

The first 50 feet out the door, I\’m thinking I\’ll drop down to the half marathon for the Nebraska race in 3 weeks. See, the modified shoe won\’t work in Nebraska on a hilly dirt course. Depressing.

50 feet later, another thought shot across my mind. Well, you could go to St Louis since you are already entered in that 12 hour run.

I shook my fist at the sky. \”G-d dammit, that is the exact opposite thought from what I wanted!\”

During the first mile of my walk in El Lago, I saw the faint trace of a rainbow. An omen? Was God speaking? It poured on me twice during the first 2 hours; but since this is Houston in August, it is always at least 80F. If you get wet, no big deal.

I thought about the 12 hour race in St Louis. It makes a ton of sense. Before dreaming of a 24 hour race, why not see how 12 hours go? And the course in Fenton (St Louis) is perfect for my shoe. The driving is about the same as if I went to Nebraska. I already know some people who will be walking in Fenton. No time pressure for a 12 hour time period. It fits the scope of meditative walking (not racing).

So, crap. I think I\’ll go to Fenton.

Today, I walked 4 hours in my shoe. I came home once to modify it and finally stopped at 4 hours cuz I needed to modify again and I realized that the thicker sock was tearing up one of my little toes. Fang (one of the heel spurs) was quiet today. The only problem was the back of the shoe heel wasn\’t short enough and kept banging into the bottom of my heel and hurting it (4 hours of that really was enough). So, I have 3 weeks to get the shoe right. I don\’t even have to decide for sure until that week so I can shift my hotels around. But, I think Fenton will be much better for me.

I\’ll try again with the shoe tomorrow.

Ready Freddie

Yesterday, I did a 25 mile jog/walk. In the evening, I did some free weights and another 25 min of elliptical. The last 25 mile run I did was 3 weeks ago. Last weekend, I had a 3 day training extravaganza. This week, I had a bit of a cut back recovery week (only 47 miles).

Thats the background. Today, I only did 10.1 miles, mostly walking with numerous fast pickups. I felt much better than after my last 25 mile run. I like looking at my garmin during a pickup and seeing 8 min/mile in the instantaneous speed box.  I\’ll probably do a bit more workout this evening.

All this is to say that I think I\’ll do fine at my 50k race in 2 weeks. I haven\’t done a 50k since last September in Silverton, CO.

I entered the Frisco 50 because I wanted to remember what it feels like to go that far. I don\’t have the mental fortitude to do it by myself. I am familiar with this course and the location is easy and cheap on Southwest Airlines. I am signed up for a couple of 12 hour runs in the fall, but before I buy any airplane tickets for them, I need to feel the 50k.

I think ultra running is a sport that comes from a different place than marathoning. My mentality for this is very different than when I am training for a marathon. I seek the quality of endlessness, not speed.

I am reading \”The Song of Prayer,\” a supplement to A Course in Miracles. Here is my psalm:

Let prayer but leave the ground where it begins
to rise to God and true humility
will come to grace the mind that prayed.

The only way I survived 4 years in a convent was to remember all day one line from the rule of Benedict: I am a worm and no man. The only way I survive in daily life as an engineer is to remember humility. When I place myself below, and take my dog out of the race and surrender to God, things go well. That is all I care about.

Dream of Endless Running

Running is freedom from ego bondage and the shaping of character. It enables being soul.

I don\’t take a day off running/exercise because it is a spiritual practice. It is training in non-decision; that is I already decided to pursue Spirit, so no more decisions are needed. It is being; that is, it is constant. It denies sloth and keeps the pattern of degenerative society at bay. It is a maintenance of solitude. It is a practice and prayer of eternity. My dream of endless running is eternal love.

It is Monday morning. I was up at 3:12. A line of ferocious thunder storms just passed over head. But, now, it is over and I can go out for a run. See you later.

Ordinary Person\’s Spirituality

I was born an ordinary person. I have no outstanding talents; I mean stuff way way beyond the norm. But I am above average in a number of ways and I\’ve managed to keep from deteriorating under the effects of dissipative American culture.

At the ripe young age of 22, I suddenly became interested in God. I am not highly gifted in spiritual attunement; but I am very persevering.

I\’ve learned that all my personal efforts to attain God consciousness may have prepared me somewhat, but that God or Spirit or soul/Self are really doing the work. My efforts are mainly ego efforts; combined with ego deflation. I cherish ego deflation as it gives me a new clarity for spiritual progress. My Vancouver marathon was ego deflation. My next marathon, Hawk marathon, will also be such.

The fact that I have to go to work and get along with others is ego deflating. Seeking stillness is ego surrender. Prayer is joining soul/Self in divinity. It is Grace to which I offer my ego for correction that I may live as spirit. This is my simple spiritual life. Over and over. Day after day. Nothing more but also nothing less.

There are some great prayers for surrendering the ego and thus passing into God consciousness.

From ACIM: This holy instant would I give to You. Be Thou in charge for I would follow You; certain that Your direction gives me peace.

From AA:

  • God, I offer myself to you to do with me and build with me as Thou will. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will. … May I at last abandon myself utterly to You.
  • How may I best serve you. Thy will not mine be done.

Jesus said, \”Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.\”

I also recently read of a meditation method which involves meditating on a blue cross, then a golden triangle, then a silver star. I noticed that in turning to these shapes in time of mental turmoil, I am immediately at peace. Turning to prayer in times of turmoil is an act of ego renunciation, surrender to Grace.

I am an ordinary person. While I am not really making much progress towards enlightenment in this life, I refuse to give up and am certain that the future brings God consciousness.

Vancouver marathon before and after:

Aslinger – Pre-Prelude

Today is Wednesday. The Aslinger Endurance run starts Friday night at 7 pm. I\’ll run all night. I hope to get to 50 miles, and stop there.

I thought alot last night and this morning about my fitness lifestyle. My time commitment goes far beyond what is needed for health or even marathon training. I realize most people can look at me and think, \”well she doesn\’t have a life.\” In addition, I am continually trying to explain that my training and racing is not about the speeds or distances or accomplishments.

I feel the pull before any workout, \”I wish I could go for hours.\” As I think about my desire to workout for an endless period of time, I realize that the quality of endless peace and self transcendence is what I am really after.Actually, my whole foray into ultra-running began with the idea of self transcendence thru running, as promoted by Sri Chinmoy. The endlessness offers me escape from myself (my restless personality) and the world, and draws me like a drug. Working out and the hope of transcendence of my ego are the center of my life. I revolve around the breaks from the ordinary work-a-day world. This is my prayer. This is my pathway to higher mind. My whole life has been about the pursuit of higher mind and working out is part of it for me.

So as I look at my upcoming race, I know what will happen. It is a one mile loop and it will shortly become dark but lit with street lights. I will just peacefully go around and around while my rational mind loses is grip. I\’ll stop at 50 miles (if that), because I want to be able to work out again soon. I go to the race environment to do this because I don\’t stick it out for 10 hours by myself; and the race environment provides needed support for my quest.

Paul Brunton said, \”The Quest not only begins in the heart but also ends there too. It is an endeavour to lift to a higher plane, and expand to a larger measure, the whole of his identity. It brings in the most important part of himself–being, essence, Consciousness.\”

Contemplation and Discipline

Few people, anywhere, are aware of the spiritual depth of silence, the depth of contemplation.

Today, I finally got a chair and a cushion set up in my new apartment in order to practice contemplation (Centering prayer for Christians or zazen if you are into Zen). I spend 15 minutes in each place and go back and forth.

It is a formal way of doing it. I haven\’t done it formally in over a week. I discovered that the formality is important because it defines the activity as prayer and not anything else. I realized it takes discipline to move your body into position and formally do the meditation.

As I start a new job and new life, I probably need to make a commitment to do a certain amount of formal meditation each day. I don\’t struggle with spending an hour or two in spiritual reading. I do struggle with the meditation. I think it is because my ego doesn\’t get to play the meditation game. In fact, silence takes my ego out.

There really is no gratification to contemplation; except afterwards I am glad I did. Usually nothing happens in my consciousness, but I know at a deeper level that I was in Communion. It must be this subtle Communion which brings me back day after day. Yet it is a fragile pull; so easily dismissed. But whenever I pause, stop my activities, and reach into the Inner, It responds with the call: Please come sit with me. So, I do.

\”I do,\” is the marriage promise for the contemplative celibate. \”I do,\” with nothing added and not attached to anything, is nothing other than a total yes to the Ineffable.

I do and that is it.