Prayer is my Passion

My passion for life is prayer. More than being a runner or a solitary or a vegan or an engineer or anything, my theme, ethos, essence and ontology is to stand metaphysically in God’s presence and speak with Him the Word of Love.

A little over ten years ago, as I was driving my truck and listening to Christian radio, I heard myself think: I want shamelessly follow Jesus. I thought, “I want to live a life of prayer.” At that time, I thought you had to live in a monastery, so off I went. Then, back I came; by the design of God. I was told, “Just let the world be your monastery;” and so I did and have. I live a life of prayer “out here.”

Living a life of prayer takes study and discipline. No one hangs out their shingle and tries to make money at it. Most professional pray-ers work in various storefronts. It is there amongst whomever God sends them that they complete their work. This morning as I was running, I consciously held in my mind the Word of Love. A I hold this thought, all minds partake of the thought. Holding the Word consciously makes it present and perceptible in the illusion of our reality. The general human thought field is shifted by a little and the scenario of our world illusion is shifted by a little. When I go running, I pray. When I go to work, I pray. Going to sleep, I pray.

Unknown people in all corners of the universe are quietly holding the Word of Love consciously in their minds. All people hold the Word of Love, even if unconscious or unknowingly. The Word of Love is every where. I’ve been taught to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem. The practice of prayer is my answer to that teaching. Making money, seeking an easy life, spending time on entertainment are things which don’t matter. Answering the Call of God matters. God is my ontology, my essence and my ethos. I’m passionate about God. Together, we stand in silence speaking the One Word. I exist thrilled and enthralled, captured by the One Word, with all of me given to it presence.

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Day 3 – 61 hours of juice fasting

I am juice fasting as a duty to my body. It is rejuvenation. It is transformation. It is space and silence and listening.

When I was driving home at lunchtime, I really wanted to eat. But I prayed for Jesus to come into my fast. The word \”prayer\” has been on my mind. At lunch time, I pondered the subject. I have no answers. I get the most from prayer if I just stop and sink into it wordlessly. There are no new prayer techniques that are going to be more entertaining for the ego. God is satisfying but not at the ego level; and it is the ego I experience most of the time. So at lunch, I was able to pray and patiently wait. Prayer in this way becomes communion; but not ego gratification. This may be a lesson I am learning about the fact of God\’s presence.

Coming back from lunch, I searched the internet looking for \”something.\” I found that fasting is for sale. Everything is for sale nowadays. We need to stop buying, but “they” want us to keep buying. I will have to practice my fasting and come to my own conclusions. Like most things in this life, I’ve read everyone else’s book. I know the techniques. Now it is up to me to journey forth and find my own gold.

Back to the nagging doubts: I guess because my bowel is empty, I want to eat. I guess because I am tired of the juice, I want to eat. I may switch to Master Cleanser for a few hours, because this does not turn me off. The distilled water is delicious.

Well, there was another change at work: one of the top dogs was fired (we have been downsizing for months). Change scares me and I want to eat. But change is also transformation. Fasting is about transforming inside: so I go back to my inner searching, investigating fear and seeking Presence. Both are there. They are the gold. They are satisfying.

May I always subsist, abide and love this Communion with Them, which is so greatly on my mind and contained in “prayer.”

Distilled water is the water of life.

Juice fast – 47th hour

I wanted to pray, but I don’t know anything.
I can barely read or focus on anything.
My only possibility for prayer is silence.

Is prayer asking or talking or yearning?
Is the word, “prayer,” an expression of my deepest yearning for the Divine Presence?
His one Word of Love is my only thought and my only reality.

What really could be more fulfilling than allowing yourself to offer your innermost precious essence to the divine?
And know that the divine has offered Theirs?
And all precious essence is one.

I am the nectar of divine Life.
I am the sweetness of divine Love.
The scent of lilac drifts into my senses. It is communion.

It is quiet. I gasp. My heart beats.
The Gift of Presence is found in the depths of desire.
There is no one here but God.

Reflections – Fasting 122 Hours

There is a difference between a secular solitary and a monk eremitic. The secular solitary is alone just to be alone. The monk is alone to be alone with God. By secular, I do not mean atheist. By monk, I do mean spiritual; the monos who is one heart with God. The secular solitary may say prayers. The monk is the prayer.

I am a monk. The point of my life is God. I am not traditionally consecrated into a religious tradition. I am a monk in the world; self styled. I learned about being a monk from Benedictines. I learned about it from books. Most of my monastic practices are traditional: lectio divina (spiritual reading) and contemplative prayer. Anthony was an early Christian who famously started the tradition; leaving the city and going out in the desert to live with Christ and fight demons. But most Holy Rules for monks advocate the structure of a monastery. I am the variety who left the monastery and went to the Poustinia to live on my own. The lack of religious validation is a cross I seem to bear; a relic of my Benedictine teaching. I have no trappings, like religious garb, or title, or hairdo. I look very ordinary and do not generally speak publicly of who I really am.

You might say, “But you are an engineer.” I would say, “I don’t have a desert cave or a monastery, so I work for a living.” You might say, “You are a runner.” I would say, “I am running to God. I run in the Spirit.” Alone, I am not constantly busy, not even reading all the time. Often, I just sit and contemplate. I spend hours in lectio. I listen. I am silent. I am being still and waiting.

I live in a Poustinia. Poustinia is the Russian word for desert. It was traditional for Orthodox monks to go to a hermitage. A Poustinia in the West is a place for someone to go and seek God. It is a place of silence and solitude and prayer. Although looking like a house, inside it is the Mount of Carmel, the Mount of Tabor, the cave of Jesus tomb, the cave of Elijah, the Bodhi tree of Siddhartha, a Tibetan mountain peak, an ashram of one in an Indian forest. The Poustinia is the agony of the cross where Jesus cried, “My God my God, why have you forsaken me?” The Poustinia is the river of baptism and the mount of transfiguration where God cried out, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him.” The Poustinia is a prostration at the foot of the cross, and before the Glory of God. The Poustinia is the wild shouting, “Hosanna” and “Maranatha.” It is the place where I have chosen to go.

My Poustinia is also in my heart, my consciousness; my inner temple where God dwells eternally. I go to work and the store and the marathon and other places, but my life is always hidden in the inner temple, known only to Christ. The light of Christ shines out. If it was me that lived in the world, not Christ, there would be no light for others and I would be a dreadfully sickened person. This is not so.

In the Poustinia, there is the darkness of Mother Theresa, the great faith of pilgrims crowding Lourdes. There is Eucharist and Adoration and Reconciliation. There is no football or election campaign or financial crisis. The monk’s material needs are minimized, being filled by God. Music is a type of veil, hiding the soul from God; or a covering which prevents the mind from being totally exposed to the divine light. The news is a distraction, diverting thought from the divine Presence and from prayer. TV is programming; filling the mind with something other than Christ. The monk’s food will often stray into nothing but spiritual texts; eating the words and being satisfied with God. The Poustinia is not often ecstatic. Usually it is just a desert, just a silent place, just faith. With the darkness of God’s silence and the blinding light of faith, the monk waits and watches and listens and prays. This is the life of a monk in the world and what I have embraced as my vocation.

This leads into my response to your question, “Why am I telling you about being a monk?” There are cosmic and eschatological reasons for the eremitical life, the silent life. At a minimum, the conscious contact of one person with God is a gift for all; whether they know it or not. Christ is a cosmic consciousness remembered for all and given to all. It is because I feel the inner light of Christ beaming out to all creation. I wanted to offer Christ consciousness as a gift; and remind us of spiritual realities beyond normal day-to-day life.

One person alone praying seems so worthless. No evangelization is attempted. The works of charity do not take place in the physical world. Purpose is carried out metaphysically and spiritually; perhaps not seen but deeply known. No trace of the hermit’s healing hands are found, but surely they were there. No sound of the hermit’s prayer was heard, but surely a blessing was received.

In my silence and my fasting, I have found the well of praises for Christ my life. These praises gush forth uncontainable. My dam has broken. My reservoir empties. Peace be with you.

Holiday – Holy Day

I am enjoying a day off. I have a day off because of an extra gift from my boss; that today is MLK holiday is coincedental.

Since I did my long run (22 miles) yesterday, and I had no fellowship meeting on the schedule, I slept in and spent extra time studying A Course in Miracles, meditation and reflection.

Here are a few ACIM gems:

  • …if you will merely sit quietly by and let the Holy Spirit relate through you, you will empathesize with strength…you choose neither to hurt it (any relationship) or heal it in your own way…step gently aside and let the healing be done for you…
  • The power of love, which is its meaning, lies in the strength of God that hovers over it and blesses it silently by enveloping it in healing wings.
  • Humility is strength in this sense only; that to recognize and accept the fact that you do not know is to recognize and accept the fact that He does know.
  • …the nature of miracles you do not understand…yet they have been done through you…so there must be Something in you that does understand…
  • …your relationship with Him (the One Who speaks for God, Host of God, Christ, Self) is real…to acknowledge Him is to deny all that you think you know…
  • The Host of God has called to you, and you have heard. Never again will you be wholly willing not to listen. This is a year, in which your listening will increase and peace will grow with its increase.
  • This year invest in truth…Have faith in Him…

OK…sorry, I could go on and on because ACIM is full of candy and sweet things for contemplation. Someone asked me to pray for them today. What they get is my willingness to \”sit quietly by\” and let the Holy Spirit help them. A request for prayer is a request for me to allow Love to heal; and the Holy Spirit picked the person who needed a miracle.

In my morning meditation, I took my consciousness to the inner Light. I sat and looked. I was in a place where I was willing to believe that each time I go and ponder the Light, I love it and want it a little more. I was willing to let go of the need for some emotional event to prove that the Light is real. I considered it more like a long slow conversation of non-words. All I needed to do was go there and sit quietly. The relationsip would grow and I need not understand how or have expectations. The Light is the \”Something\” in me that does know. All I do is give some attention.

All I want is to want the Something. Since Something is benign and peaceful; it is hard to detect and hard to want. This is why I seek solitude; for listening. I do not know but I am devoted.

Lament for God

Sometimes I say A Course in Miracles text is full of candy and treasure. It fills me with hope and joy and helps me cast out my ego’s negative thoughts. Sometimes, I have to ponder for several days, waiting for God’s Voice to filter through my defensive fog. Sometimes, I feel The Voice’s words bouncing off my closed mind and I wonder what I have to do to let Meaning in?

I cry out to God as I did last night in this letter to Jesus:

“Jesus, if I could sit and talk openly to you, I might express pain and sorrow: how little I know and how futile things seem. I don’t have brilliance or originality; though even as I write that, I know my truth is that I am brilliance and originality. These ideas are woven by God into my very being, inescapable. I know my truth is that I was created by God; but I don’t feel deeply appreciative of that. I wanted a thought of the deep connection with God. I wanted to feel the punch, the pull, the irrepressible Thou. I have nothing I can feel; but I want Something More.
I want to complain: all this study and I still don’t know anything. How do I use my God Mind to think something higher?\”

And so I retreat into silence. I sit and contemplate the light. I look inside at Brilliance Itself. I am ignorant and do not understand what I see. Someday, someday, someday.

This is what the Course says: don’t try to reason it out, just let go and experience God. And so I sit before the Light and listen to the gentle whisper of The Voice. The Light is penetrating me.

Value

I voluntarily got up at 4 today….long silence as you give me that look ….ok, I didn\’t know what I wanted to do today, but if I get up early, it leaves my options open.

I sat down first for spiritual study and meditation. Wow, I discovered some strong feelings and gave these to my Higher Power. At 6 I lifted weights and at 6:30 bundled up for a 2 hour run.

It was 15F (maybe about -10C), a 20+mph north wind, and just an inkling in the south eastern horizon that the sun would come up today. I live on the south end of town. I decided to run north through town and around a loop in the fields north of town, then back. After about 15 minutes, I have the front of my jacket and three layers of fleece half unzipped as I am warm enough and I want to let out the moisture.

On Sunday in a small town, hardly anyone is up. Four old ladies in a Prius stop to ask me where they can get breakfast. Clearly they are not from here and we have no quaint diners. I send them to the grocery store which has a breakfast of sorts in their deli.

After about 40 minutes, I get to the top of the hill at the very north of town and get blasted directly by the wind. I snap up my hood and turn west on a dirt road through the fields. The sunrise is quite spectacular. I pass an elderly horse in a barren field; he has no windbreak.

Just before starting this run, I heard an interview on NPR with M. T. Anderson who wrote \”The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing.\” It sounds like a creative book. I just started reading Barak Obama\’s book \”The Audacity of Hope\” last night. Mr. Obama seems to have thought deeply and identified the principles of our culture. I start to wonder about my own life, \”The Astonishing and Audacious Life of Spirit Flower.\” Is it astonishing? Do I have values? I’m about to turn 50 years old. What do I stand for? So many things that I’ve tried have gone by the wayside. What has endured the test of time and can stand as my life’s foundation? As I remember some of my childhood images, I come up with the following opening line for my biography: \”Spirit Flower\’s life was defined by long distance running and spirituality.\” That is, running and spirituality make me a full spectrum contemplative; and contemplation is my principle value.

A value is a principle or a quality considered worthwhile (akin to purpose). My value to others, or humanity in general, relates to whether others consider me to have worth in usefulness. Within my own heart, I must consider my life to have worthwhile qualities. Not everyone needs this; but I would kill myself without it. If my efforts at living result in others considering me valuable; that is secondary. I struggle with this issue a lot because I compare myself to others who do have fancy titles and identifiable purposes.

My life is defined by long distance running and spirituality. These are indispensable and have been my modus operandi since early teens. Other than running and praying, I spend my time earning money at my job, and worrying about my running and praying plans. I have as few social entanglements as possible. My life as a spiritual seeker and athlete appears incredibly selfish. Yet, I pursue it with an irrepressible type of conviction which seems to come from my soul; and there are people who value me. Therefore, I must assume that I have values and I am valuable, despite appearances. My value is not tangible; but it can be known.

I have value and purpose. How do I know? These can be seen if you consider me a living icon. An icon is an enduring symbol. A religious icon is an enduring symbol of the Gospel and the life of Jesus Christ. I am an icon for how to be spiritual and be an athlete; as a way of life. These are opposite ends of the scale, but they provide a life of thoughtful contemplation beyond the solely material way of life. They both aim at higher consciousness and human transformation. These intangibles are my personal concerns.

People see me and say they admire my spirituality. People come up and ask about running, or my other health practices. I am available to be seen in the world and I am connected metaphysically to all mankind. There are Japanese contemplative monks that run ultra-marathons. There are ultra-marathoners who discover God in the process of a 100 mile race. I am a contemplative in the world who trains as an athlete. Spirituality is approached as training and running is approached as contemplation. Every mile run or weight lifted is a meditation. Every meditation is building spiritual endurance and strength. Every time I go out in the world, someone observes something about one or the other of these practices; hence, I am an icon. People are always enriched in some way; perhaps astonishment, perhaps audacious hope, but their soul will put it into action for them.

Praying Afternoon

I spent the afternoon in prayer. This means that I found a comfortable position for sitting for a couple of hours, sipped distilled water now and then, closed my eyes, and gently thought the name of Jesus over and over. I say this name as Christ, with Christ, to Christ and in Christ. We, in our innermost Truth, are the Christ; created One by the Father to be the Son of God, in-dwelled by the Holy Spirit, and joined ineffably to Love beyond our wildest dreams. I hope to call all people to Our Father, who sits on the inner altar; where we can be joined in peace. I don\’t want or expect anything for myself other than the knowledge of The Presence, same as all may receive.

This prayer is a non-worldly prayer. Its efficacy does not exist in the ego\’s material world and hence cannot be perceived or judged. My ego bitterly resents my prayer and strives to thwart my actions. Today it did not succeed. NOTHING other than the name of Jesus interested me.

Living Metaphysically, Accepting Love

From A Course in Miracles (ACIM):

  • Do I want the problem or do I want the answer?
  • …ask and you will receive.
  • …you believe asking is taking…
  • Ask to learn of the reality of your brother (Christ, Love), because this is what you will perceive in him, and you will see your beauty reflected in his.

This morning, as I reflected on the above, I started by asking Jesus what should I ask for. I felt anger at Jesus. I poured out my stuff. Then, I began to ask for what the ACIM Text (in several places) suggested I might ask for. I knew I was just parroting what the Text said to ask for; it wasn’t really from the depth of my being. I parroted because maybe that would keep me safe and I would “get” what was promised; even though I didn’t really want it or believe in it. Then, I pondered the world of takers and how I also am a taker. I pondered how I believe I need to take to survive and, living in fear, I hate “them” who take from me causing me to take from “them.” I prayed some more to Jesus. I wanted to get in touch with my fear of God. I began to list out my special hate relationships: specific people, groups of people. Eventually, the realization hit me: God is my Source; but I hate God because I believe I have to take from God in order to stay alive. Wow…wow…wow!

Now I could ask Jesus for help with something from my heart: I want to know my Source is pure love freely given and I want to freely love both back to Source and outward.

I did not yet know who the next president of the US is. I don’t myself vote. I hadn’t listened to the news last night. But, my time for prayer was over and it was time to turn on NPR and get the news. I turned on the radio and out came a symphony. For some reason, KCUR was not on the air. I listened to the symphony and started to chuckle. The Holy Spirit was helping me. I wasn’t quite ready for the news.

As I listened, I realized that “the real world of God/Source” is this symphony. I appreciated the symphony. The symphony is always there, but we cover it over and dissociate from it. The symphony is God’s reality, Heaven, not the ego world I normally experience. I can live in the symphonic reality, which is my ever present Source of Love, freely given because I/we are loved. I went to the bathroom and took a huge dump. All my crap came out.

Then, suddenly KCUR came on the air introducing the next president and immediately fed in Barak Obama’s acceptance. I got chills. I got tears. I said, “Praise the Lord. The era of the old white man is over.” “The old white man” is a symbol. For me, “the old white man” was my terrible father who hated women, the oppressor, the taker, MY EGO\’S god. This era being over symbolized the healing of my hate and my acceptance of Love, God, Heaven.

Since I don’t vote, I realized that it was my brother who had thrown out the old white man. This morning, I had asked to know my brother. The prayer was immediately answered by my brother electing Obama, a symbol of unity and love. Within every brother is Source and Love. Within me is Source and Love. My brother had clearly shown me who he was. I had trusted my brother to show me who he was. We are one and this has been shown.

This reflection is how I live metaphysically: I take my own inventory of fear and hate. I give the hate and fear to Jesus. Then I honestly pray for the true. Then I am healed and everyone else is healed.