Satisfaction

Satisfaction with yourself and your life, that is the dilemma of my generation.

We began with Vietnam, women\’s lib, black panthers and peoples park. Then, we became white collar yuppies because money helped a lot. We raised kids in protective custody since those child molesters were out there. We divorced.

I never partook of family life, marriage and parenthood. But I got the money. I joined the running boom and never left it. Now, 3 decades after college, what of my life?

My life has shaped its meaning around a search for God and for self esteem. As I sit here now, I can consciously grasp admiration for myself. I came from an impossibly alcoholic and dysfunctional home. I made the best of college and was employed. I began a spiritual path.  I got sober. I lived four years in a monastery.

The real story is inside. Do I love myself today? Today, right now this morning, I realized that I need to feel satisfaction with and for and as that soul which has adventured through this world in its own way. I look at my life and all its emotional journeys and admire all that I have done and been. The thing about this morning is that I realized that being dis-satisfied with myself has been a lurking secret inside. A secret, a whisper. A tiny grain of self hate always lodged in my energy pattern, always irritating. But as soon as I felt it, it vanished. When I look consciously, there is nothing about me to hate. That soul which I am is fantastic. That soul which I am has had a great life. My life long spiritual life has brought me to this moment: satisfaction with the soul that I am. My own soul is good enough. My soul is loving.

To be satisfied with my own self, has always been an available choice or decision to feel good. The problem has always been that I didn\’t know it was up to me. I looked out at the world and was jealous of seemingly better people. I didn\’t know that I could at any moment, grasp my own inner being and feel love. And maybe this morning was my most conscious ever realization that I was secretly feeling dis-satisfied with myself but could just turn that around in a heart beat. My secret, now not a secret, was killing me. I\’m glad that I don\’t have to go out today and feel dis-satisfied.

I admire the inner me and all my life\’s exterior journeys.

Today, when I stand at the window at Starbucks and hand out wonderful drinks, the smile will also beam its way into the heart of the people I meet. I hope they feel good by osmosis. My smile will be genuine.

Me vs My Life

I finally had a moment of realization this morning. Years of meditation and spiritual study may or may  not have helped; but in a moment of total ordinary consciousness, I got it.

\”Me\” as stated in the title of this blog, is my self centered ego consciousness. \”My Life\” is what I now understand to be my higher consciousness. And I heard it as well as entered it today.

Its like this. I was reading a portion of the book Alcoholics Anonymous this morning, pages 62 and 63. It talks about how self centeredness creates all our problems; and that we can\’t be less self centered on our own power. Self will is of no use. Only a higher power can help.  Then, I did a few minutes of silent meditation. Then I made my lunch and was getting ready to leave for work.

I was thinking about how I haven\’t had a life. All I\’ve ever done was work. I was having an imaginary conversation with my boss explaining how I don\’t have enough vacation and never get to have my life. Suddenly, however, I heard another mental voice say, \”This is my life.\” Suddenly, it seemed that my higher consciousness had wanted the life my ego wants to get away from. I experienced my higher consciousness. It was vast.

This had nothing to do with oneness or love. It just had to do with realizing my higher consciousness IS living the life it wants. I can surrender and stop fighting. In stopping fighting, I give up ego self centeredness. In giving up, I gain that vast consciousness which is the content with my life.

What if I saw my life from this higher perspective: alcoholic home, several childhood trips around the world, horses, mountain cabins, Israel, men, monasteries, chemical plants, marathons.

Realizing the difference between ego consciousness and higher consciousness is great. I hope it gives me more access to higher consciousness each day.

The gurus and authors have said this too. But it was always something achieved outside of real life. Something obtained in a monastery, ashram or retreat. Mine is in the middle of a chemical plant.

I am really \”My Life\” not \”me.\”

Consciousness Itself

Most people think that running is about training for a race or a time goal in a particular race. They think of how dreadful all that running is. My adventure into ultra-running came about as an extension of meditation; a way to discover consciousness beyond daily striving.

A hot humid day in Houston, after about 3 hours of jog walk produces mindlessness.

I love A Course in Miracles because it is a text book. As I read it and practice it\’s lessons, a Teacher enters my consciousness. I don\’t need to travel to India or even around the United States. I receive inner peace right here. I \”look beyond\” right now.

My only mistake, seemingly, is not having the great emotional experience that others write about in their books. This experience distinguishes them from all others and seems to once again produce separation. It is my inner job to let this go.

I once was in a monastery and a Benedictine novice for 4 years. Within 3 days of my monastic profession, invitations printed and sent, altar flower arrangements in the cooler, I was suddenly kicked out. At the moment of being told to leave, I spontaneously (out of the blue) visualized a white bird suddenly having a golden ankle chain cut and it flew free into a blue sky.

When I want freedom at any time today, I think, \”Eternal Silence lives It\’s life in me. Stately Quiet Love has set me free.\” I suppose I am able to fall down in adoration before Stately Quiet. It is here that I am free.

I had a dream during my final retreat in the monastery. I dreamed that I was dust mopping the long hallway near the Novitiate. I finished my cleaning work and then I was sitting outside on a rock, looking up at a starry sky, waiting. \”Love is the predominant form of existence,\” is the word that I heard in this dream.

All this is important now since the same thing is happening. My universe is changing. The waves of emotion tied to thoughts about appearances and perceptions attempt to take me away. I must sit in quiet calm right now.

I can see how my life is merely a love affair of joy and Joy.

Unshakeable

HIS unshakeable being to be exact. I ran across those words in ACIM text this morning. Somehow, I thought, \”The only way to keep my life from being a shambles is to join a Higher Power, The Substrate, Unshakeable Being.\”

So, I:
1. open my thoughts to this Self.
2. surrender to this Self.
3. look beyond (ACIM forgiveness).

Well, I am writing this blog right now as I find myself totally entheusiastic about my race this weekend. That is because my heel does not hurt right now. Gahhh! When I feel good, I dream so much. Wow, I can hardly wait: 50k in a forest. Love it! I\’ve spent so much time being worried about this race; only to find that I feel good today.

I burned 720 calories on the elliptic and stationary bike this morning; then went for a 4 mile run outside. And I don\’t hurt. If I could just keep things like that.

A Fork in the Road Passed

This is where I was on Sunday, finishing a half marathon. The plan had been to go to a 50 mile race in Kansas this coming Saturday. But I\’ve been watching the weather for that area. It looks wet (snow, sleet, rain) and cold (30F to 40F) and windy (13-18 mph from the north) for that day. A 50 mile run takes me over 12 hours. I realized I have no desire to be miserable for 12+ hours. So I cancelled my trip.

I still have 3 days off work, so I might run a private marathon or two at home. Its part of my downward mobility project (see below).

Downward mobility is not necessarily a Christian value for me (since I am not really Christian), but de-constructing my ego and not-going-along-with-society certainly are my values. Do you know how hard it is to be of service at work and make sure not to brown nose about it?

This morning, riding my elliptical, I was thinking about how my colleague R was standing in for boss while boss is on medical leave. I realized clearly that R is the one being groomed to move up (and not me). But it also occurred to me that I had been honest with boss about how I didn\’t want to climb a career ladder but be a technical expert. I also know in my heart that I am more interested in my life activities more than my career. When I think about it consciously, I\’m perfectly willing to support R in his career.

That is the fork in the road. I passed it, maybe long ago.

My ego loves to compete at work. So dealing with the emotional urge is hard; partly because the ego goes under ground. You don\’t know how many resentful failure messages it sends out. Well, in the quietness of my morning meditation, these failure thoughts are easier to spot. And then I can re-center on the choice I made and decide if I still want that choice.

I am part of the massive American eating machine. I\’m only skinny because I work out alot. Like many Americans, I have no idea how to eat only as much as I need. It is true, I might be slightly better a food discrimination than most people but only by a fraction.

Pretty soon after waking up this morning, I thought 2 words: joy and happiness. That is a new thing for me to come up with those words before I even got out of bed. They are energy words for me. That is, just thinking the word gives me the feeling of the word. I feel energized without any change in my physical world.

Awesome! Energy!

On this side of the fork, who am I? I know I\’m on the road less travelled. I know I hear a different drummer. (re M. Scott Peck books). But what really does it mean in abstract non-material terms?

For most Americans, the downward mobility choice is a choice to stagnate and die. Is that the road I\’m on?

Life is momentary for me. I felt it on my elliptical this morning. I felt it in the word \”joy.\” When I run endless miles, it is seeking the eternal value of life. The road after the fork has nothing on it. It has no experiences because it is egoless but eternal.

Sounds boring right? That is how I\’m gett\’en out of here.

Tuesday, Richard Beck posted this:
http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2013/03/downward-mobility.html

It is about Henri Nouwen\’s The Selfless Way of Christ.

For some reason, it touched some deep part of me that was the reason I became a spiritual seeker or tried Christianity. The life of the monk is a hidden life; hidden in Christ. It is quiet. It is deep communion with spirit.

Here are some excerpts:

We are taught to conceive of development in terms of an ongoing increase in human potential. Growing up means becoming healthier, stronger, more intelligent, more mature, and more productive. …. In our society, we consider the upward move the obvious one while treating the poor cases who cannot keep up as sad misfits, people who have deviated from the normal line of progress.

 …

Three temptations by which we are confronted again and again are the temptation to be relevant, the temptation to be spectacular, and the temptation to be powerful.

Who am I when nobody pays attention, says thanks, or recognizes my work?

I think that question sits at the root of our spiritual malaise and weakness. We want people to pay attention to us, to recognize us, to give us our due. This is how our identities, worth and significance are grounded. We want to be relevant, spectacular or powerful. So we go through life fishing for such things, a grasping that keeps knocking us off center, spiritually speaking.

I\’m mindful here of something St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 4.11):

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.

 Nouwan observes, \”There is almost nothing more difficult to overcome than our desire for power.\”

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.

Marathons – A Sacred Task

Running races is not just about medals and accolades and ego glory. Finishing any challenging race can be a sign of the return to soul/Self.

Challenging races hand my guts to me on a platter. The cups strewn along the road by the aid station are symbolic of the many bits of ego which we find we cannot go on with and must dump without a care.

The marathon race itself is a result of discipline carried out over months and years. We trained, we watched how much we ate, we got out of bed instead of sleeping. All of this preparation cannot be completed by just an ego. Fulfillment of the preparation requires the assistance of some inner force, the soul/Self.

To be a finisher is to step into a new reality, shifted from the one that still had its guts foolisly stored on the inside.

Does everybody know this? Maybe not in the worldly reality; but on some non-ego level of consciousness it is truth for all.

Self Consciousness

This week: 18.75 hours of aerobic type exercise (of which 11.75 hours were running). 4 strength workouts. Yesterday, my long run was 21.6 miles of 9x1s on the flat. Today was 3h45 on trails.

Overall, my attitude is good. I continue to have no racing goals (although I keep toying with going in a quiet race on 10/31). The New Balance were comfortable for a long run yesterday, so I guess I\’ll stop using the Mizuno Wave Creation 11s. (crap).

I keep asking myself, why do I do this? And I don\’t really have a rational answer. Saying I want to isn\’t really an answer. But since I don\’t really know why I am alive at all, why should I know why I run? But I am sure that the future will bring the answer.

My long runs continue to be hours of answering my negative ego with a spiritual message. I do this continuously, not allowing my head to be wrapped up in worldly issues while I workout. This is a blessing as it carries over into my daily life. It is mind training for extended periods which I couldn\’t do for that long just sitting on a cushion.

On Saturdays and Sundays, after my morning run, shower and eating, I meditate. I sit still and keep my mind still. I am hoping for a thought which comes from the inside. I think I sense the Consciousness of Self. Self is silent. When I remember to attend to Self, I never want to stop.

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.

Inauguration Day

Today, decide to deny your ego and allow the Holy Spirit to rule in your mind. Then, having made the decision, celebrate by inaugurating Him. Swear Him in and have a ball!

There are certain events going on in the ego world today which seem of great importance. Use the delusion to enable LOVE to ascend to the place of supreme ruler in your heart. Imagine all the host of heaven crowding your inner temple of God and the hush as they watch you elevate your Higher Power, as you turn your will and your life over to Him. The most important thing in any life is to return to God. Making the desire for God real is my number one goal. I want to want to know my Self (Christ) above all else.

From ACIM:

  • …the Holy Spirit is part of you…He is both God and you, as you are God and Him together.
  • They are quite real as part of the Self you do not know.
  • …you who hold Him and whom He holds are the universe…
  • …this Self must be there…this Self you clearly do not know…even though IT functions…what functions must be there…it is only ikf you deny what IT has done that you could possibly deny ITs Presence.

Stop putting up barriers of unbelief against this Self. IT is there. Decide for IT. Deny your ego instead.

Jesus, I want desire to know my Self to be highest priority, highest desire, highest area of action in whatever I do. Please help me. Please help me hear.