Letter 4/9/20

UPDATE 4:10 pm — /success. 60 minutes on the elliptical this afternoon burned calories but didn\’t at all annoy the left toe.

A lovely day, chilly, sunny, windy. I went for a 6.2 mile walk this morning. A slow walk. A slow walk to anticipate an upcoming event. I signed up for a 100 mile virtual race. I\’m pretty excited to earn a belt buckle and remember this period of self isolation. For a real race, I\’d be tapering in order to be very fresh on race day. But now, I still want to go outside and enjoy hours of walking because walking is part of how I stand self isolation. But, I have one tiny injury problem that needs to heal before I unleash myself on 100 miles. Hence, slow walking.

Doing massive quantities of miles is a dream of mine, carried out with varying results over the past 18 years since I heard about ultra running. And every time I am off work, either between jobs or on vacation, the time has been used to do miles. Heck, every vacation has been to races. I love this. However, I have a fat short big toe which always gets blisters if too many miles are done. Since my last day at work in March, through today, I have jogged 264 miles, 95 miles just this month. So today, I decided that whatever exercise I took, it would be non-aggravating for the toe. Success so far.

Would you walk 100 miles to get a buckle? Well, I am.

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Beginner

Isolation can change you. If you are intentional, the outcome is different than if not. By \”not,\” I mean, merely being busy, just using up time. I have been using up time in some ways. Yes, indeed.

But also, my mornings start with spiritual reading. At the moment I am reading \”Silence: A User\’s Guide\” by Maggie Ross. I have had the book a long time and did read it years ago. Reading it again, i am in a new place and realizing new things.

This morning I read some astonishing information about meditation, as well as information about the self-conscious mind versus the deep mind. About meditation, she mentions that life transfiguring meditation is not about 15 minutes a day but a whole life of transfigured perception. You are not trying to get anything out of meditation but discovering your own unique unfolding truth. Letting go of ideas of myself which came from the outside and waiting in complete openness for the emergence of the deep mind.

Quotation: \”Many teachers limit themselves to various techniques of meditation–in effect making meditation in itself something of a panacea, a goal, even an idol, and therefore a dead end. The primary reason for this limitation is that both teachers and students are unwilling to pay the price, which is not monetary. They are unwilling to let go of their ideas of themselves; unwilling to let go of a sense of belonging to a special in-group; unwilling to wait in the dark in complete willingness; unwilling to turn away from noise and static in their minds whenever they notice it in order to reach into the dark; unwilling to seek solitude and silence; unwilling to radically simplify their lives in order to sustain the context in which the riches of the deep mind may emerge. Willingness to change one\’s life is not the condition of entry in to the silence; rather, once entered, the silence itself elicits such changes. It is the same with so-called asceticism: it is not the condition of entry, but rather the condition for sustaining the process; it arises organically.\”

So, my own thinking this morning. Not in a hundred years or more has so much of humanity been forced into isolation. In my isolation without TV and very little news, I have more silence than ever and less outside influence than ever. My life of \”stay at home\” is necessarily simple. I am with me. I can now see my idols. I can become without idols and let the deep mind speak to me. My whole life has become really nothing. I am forced to admit that my life is a human life with value from the deep mind; or my life is nothing. What is my intention for meditating or spirituality at all?

I am at a kind of bottom. My self-conscious mind is at the moment without possessions. I have nothing to show for me. I am nothing to the world at the moment. Only my inner being can have meaning. I can only listen.