On Emptiness

VACUUMS

            We live in time and space. Both of these are vacuums, dimensions of emptiness and nothingness, silences.

            It is me that creates the dream of my life. Find an area of your life which you can allow to disintegrate, be a vacuum. It is in these empty places where new life can form.

            Obsession can be dissolved into a vacuum. Take your life and all its thoughts to zero, a vacuum a silence. My life, null and void. How free it is.

            In our society, for your cultural editors, a vacuum is terrible. But you have just learned that becoming zero for a little bit frees you to feel better for a little bit.

            Play with the idea. We can’t escape our humanity and our lives. But we can recreate our worlds. A vacuum provides a new beginning. Be awake. Make decisions.

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MENTAL QUIET

            What would your mind be like if it was quiet? No really. Stop and imagine your brain is working exactly as you want it to. Accept a moment’s peace.

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HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR SOUL?

            Well, first I must ask, were you looking? Maybe drugs caused you to think you knew God. This is a temporary illusion. The hallucinogen induced illusion of God may have led to deeper introspection while sober. Or it may have led to an inability to escape from deep addiction.

            I know that my soul is my truth. My soul is what gets out of bed in the morning and finds some meaning in a world which I perceive as negative. The path of my soul can lead me forward into amazing love for life and miracles of connecting with all that is. Walking this path is a conscious activity. Choose a methodology.

            Or simply pause a moment right now and ask for your soul to speak.

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INTERIOR EMPTINESS

            Aside from obsession, addiction and worldly stress, there is a pervasive quiet consciousness. Pervasive consciousness is everywhere. Quiet is found in inner emptiness. Making an interior empty space, you have a place to commune in silence with the pervasive quiet consciousness.

            Do this habitually. Do this when your head is yelling at you. This interior emptiness is yours. No one can take it from you.

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QUIET INTERCHANGES

            There is a thing to appreciate about spirituality which is different from every day unconscious living. Receiving inspiration is usually a quiet interchange of thought. Quiet interchanges, non-physical to physical, take place beyond the loud veil of mental obsession. The reception of thought from non-physical is a mode of living different from the busy active one, or of the busy one. The thought from beyond, received in the quiet interchange, is the better replacement for the drug euphoria. It fills the dopamine receptors and obsession dissipates.

            Ponder “quiet interchanges.” Sit and allow them. Make that neuro connection now.

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ELEMENTAL EXISTENCE

            Here, now, we are calling on elemental existence. Way deeper than an average understanding of God is a wordless silent nothingness of being. Lay it bare. It is underneath opioids, food, sex, money, dopamine in all its causations.

            Feel some inner truth or strength. Give it a brief amount of thought, time and space.

            Every addict wants to escape their life, to get out. Freedom from the world’s prison is in finding an inner expansive feeling. The expansive feeling is mostly thoughtless but it results in inspiration.

            Follow the inspiration.

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Reflection 10.5 — Form vs. Content

            I have a life. At the moment, I might be saddled with an active addiction or an active despair. Maybe I just got out of treatment and am hopeful for my future. Maybe I have been “clean” for a long time, but despair for life itself still lurks under the surface of consciousness.

            Sure, the outer life of the sober person is tons better than the active addict. The outer form is great. But many of us don’t speak of the depression because we feel ungrateful for the blessings if we admit unhappiness.

            Everyone has an inner life under the surface of the worldly clamors. Noise is covering the inner life, which is quiet. Quiet is my real life. Quiet is content not form. It is here where I must be most honest about my ego. Feel quiet.

            I ask myself, what is my inner life like? The interior life is not the committee meeting in my head but the silence underneath the meeting. Regarding this inner content, what is the meaning for me? The meaning is the real content of my life. Contemplating the quiet, I recognize that it is a bit undefinable, but that I can connect with it and appreciate it and immerse myself within it.

            Choose to feel that silent content over and over. Then go do the dishes.

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Behold

Behold is a word I rediscovered in my current spiritual reading (\”Silence-a user\’s guide\” by Maggie Ross).

Look! Stand is awe! Wordless. In your meditation, don\’t try for enlightenment but for beholding that which is silent and vast and non-physical. Quiet the mind for the purpose of beholding.

Jesus said,\”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me\” (Revelations,3:30, English Standard Version).

Has there ever been a more metaphysical saying? That great presence which you seek is standing at the door of your consciousness. Quiet the self-conscious mind and behold with a deeper awareness, a clarity, a now consciousness which has no words.

Behold, the bird in the tree. Behold, the tree. Behold air. Behold the sun. Behold, water. Behold, cells in your body. Behold, food. Behold, consciousness. Behold, earth. Behold, love. Behold joy. Behold, thought. Behold, gifts. Behold, compassion. Behold, altruism. Behold, help is here. Behold, I go before you always. Behold, seek and you shall find. Behold, mercy. Behold, these things shall be added unto you. Behold well-being. Behold abundance. Behold, I am with you always.

Be still and know that I am God.

Behold. I saw but I have no words for it. I couldn\’t grasp it. But it was and is. Behold.

The place of beholding is called liminality, the threshold. Behold is to see beyond. This place can be found somehow. And then sit at the threshold and you will know everything. Behold is a verb. Behold is a command. Self forgetfulness is beholding. Beholding is not an experience, because you were transfixed in thoughtless awareness when it happened, but ever transfigured afterward. Transfigured meaning software and cell biology updated.

You live in a new word. Behold!

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.

Self Transcendence 21/52

Three weeks into this retreat. I can\’t say that some big burden like fasting is added to my life during this time. Mostly I look at the race statistics and videos and blogs; then think about what does self transcendence mean to me today.

What race? This one: 3100 Mile race

I had alot of excitement during the last 21 days what with a big work event, then going to a triple marathon last weekend. This weekend, I am quietly at home. I got up at 4:30 this morning and got in almost 10 miles of jogging before hanging it up. Already the real feel was 102F.

Right now, I am leaving space for God in my life; for somehow making a spiritual connection. I need a vital spiritual experience. But I also need a nap.

At least I did the weed eating already and groceries have been bought.

Peace permeates my soul. It turns out that spirituality is not some huge emotional trip. It is silence. It is miles. I got no answers to anything. Let the balls fall down.

The Balance Sheet

Freedom from bondage. Bondage of ego that is.

Downward mobility. As detailed by Henri Nouwen in The Selfless Way of Christ. How does a high paid engineer follow Christ really? I am and can continue to let go of power, prestige and infamy. I do my job and try to help others.

I did something nice for some colleagues this week. They did not reciprocate. My ego noticed this and started in on a mental tear. I realize I am hopeless in the area of doing something without selfishness. Every time I do something good, my ego whips out the balance sheet to see if I profited.

Self centered in the extreme. Driven by a hundred forms of fear. Each day is a new beginning and I seem to arrive at each morning sober. I have a daily reprieve.

Last evening, I listened to a sober lady tell her story. She has 41 years of sobriety. In a few short months. I\’ll have 30 years. Sobriety in AA, conscious contact with a power greater than myself, is the best thing. A sober life is an amazing thing.

I am at an odd place in life. Or at least different for me. My outer world is stable. It is a chore to go to work each day, but overall, I have a very nice job and I like it. Everything is paid for. On days when I maintain my humility, I can be happy.

So this gives me time and space to continue to probe spirituality; to wonder about self transcendence.

Laps.

It is now hot on the Gulf Coast. Today I did my laps under the trees. I thought about how I started ultra running and doing laps because of the Sri Chinmoy 3,100 mile Self Transcendence race. I thought about my short monastic life. I thought about the vehemence of my first ten post-monastery years. I was not able to pray today. No mantra was transfixed in my mind. But eventually, yes I did pray. I thought a question mark into the universe.

No answer came. But the trail was mostly in a forest. It clouded up a bit towards 2 pm. I felt good. Jog walk jog walk jog walk….. think….. muse about the past. Trying to put the pieces together.

A monastic contemplative goes into the silence. Can I reach silence and still go to work 5 days  week? I have to.

Laps are utterly meaningless; except for the silence.

Lesson 254

\”Lesson 254: Let every voice but God’s be still in me.
1 Father, today I would but hear Your Voice. In deepest silence I would come to You, to hear Your Voice and to receive Your Word. I have no prayer but this: I come to You to ask You for the truth. And truth is but Your Will, which I would share with You today.

2 Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions. When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go. We do not want what they would bring with them. And so we do not choose to keep them. They are silent now. And in the stillness, hallowed by His Love, God speaks to us and tells us of our will, as we have chosen to remember Him.\”

It is Friday afternoon. I am drinking coffee. It is quiet here in my house. No \”entertainment.\” My head is not raging at me. I don\’t think I want to go anywhere. And for some reason, I\’ve not quite put the energy together to do any workout. Maybe after some more quiet time, I\’ll feel like walking.

I have been reviewing my journal for the past year. And also thinking about some successes for the coming year. There are some obvious themes which characterize my thinking. The themes should be obvious but until I looked back and saw it written every day, I didn\’t exactly know how frequently I thought that. A Course in Miracles would just say \”These thoughts do not mean anything.\”

My life doesn\’t have any big problems. So my spirituality is not about trauma. I\’m discovering a spirituality of quiet all on my own. Of course, I\’ve read books on silence etc. Now I\’ve got quiet in all of my own life (not just when meditating) and my ego doesn\’t have any big deals to yell at me about. I realize that creating another project to occupy me is exactly what my ego would want. But to sit here quietly and not start anything; that is the challenge.

When you study scripture\’s origin and the community from which Jesus probably came and scrutinize Paul\’s Christianity, you are left with nothing true about today\’s Christianity. You stop trying to prove anything by quoting scripture because you know it is wrong. Eventually, you observe the void, feel the null. No emotion is left.

It is 2014 and the internet is everything. So the monastic order in which I was formed has a face book page and tweets and videos. I look at the pictures frequently and know the people in them. I may not be there physically but the sisters are in my mind everyday. What does this mean? Is it good or bad? They are doing something new. The Roman Church is have a \”year of consecrated life.\” I have qualms about that. But because of it, the sisters started wearing traditional habits on Sundays. It is yet one more example of why I don\’t belong there. I go running on Sundays, not sit around in my habit.

I can completely write volumes about my universal non-special concept of God. I\’ve lost my vehemence to do so.
So back to silence. Listening to the quiet Voice for God and doing nothing.

For the Record

Whenever I have days off from work, I also have the idea that somewhere in the silence and miles, a spiritual break through will occur.

Something at least note worthy did happen this morning. A few weeks ago, I read Sam Harris\’ book \”Waking Up.\” It annoyed me when he has long explanations about \”…this self is nowhere to be found…\” or \”…the self does not survive scrutiny…the feeling of being a thinker of thoughts inside one\’s head…\” or \”…look closely for what you are calling \”I\”, and the feeling of being a separate self will disappear…\”

I finally realized my confusion this morning. What Mr Harris calls \”I\” is what A Course in Miracles calls ego. What Mr Harris finds beyond the \”I\” is what A Course in Miracle calls Self.

I need to stop beating myself up with other people\’s techniques and experiences. Because, yes in fact, I am able to look between the thoughts. The fact that there is no emotion or objective sense of enlightenment is what makes it real. The problem is that the stream of thoughts called ego doesn\’t approve and can\’t use the silence. My ego most emphatically wants an objective and be able to lay a claim, \”I did this,\” or \”I am that.\” A Course in Miracles explains all this. I now understand that Mr Harris is saying the same but in words from his experience.

I realize that my frustration is an ego function. The Self between the thoughts never cared about this. It was my ego who read other\’s experiences of enlightenment and judged itself less than for not having had such a wonderful experience. My ego says that God doesn\’t love me because I can\’t point to some fabulously engaging emotional experience called enlightenment. I have endless difficulties with this ego; but any moment of silence produces calm. Living from the calm is what ACIM teaches.

Is my intuition my Self speaking? Is there a Spirit which is not Self? Personally, I believe that if there is a Self, then there is a Creator. ACIM gives the Spirit as a communication medium. Obviously, many books are written on this subject. What matters to me is intuitive thoughts.

For any who thought I missed Thanksgiving Day 7, I\’ll just mention that I had a nice jog outside in the park. I went to an AA meeting. I had another nice workout indoors which included strength training. Today, I will do an indoor workout. My feet and legs feel good, but I also feel like keeping them that way. Cross training, development of durability, will be most important for the next 7 months; or indeed for the next 30 years.

For any who wondered about what I said regarding philosophy studies and writing essays. The \”teacher\” replied that he got tired of grading student essays and has stopped doing it. So it won\’t be learning to write essays that sharpens my thinking. Maybe that was never necessary since it was really the unproductive Silence that I need more.

Easter Multi-day 2014

This was a great weekend for doing miles here in Seabrook. So, that is what I did. An experiment of time and distance; except, I knew I wasn\’t in the mood for more than 5 hours on any given day. I wanted to sleep in also.

Friday I did 4.5 hours and 18.5 miles. Plus a 40 min strength workout.
Saturday I did 4h26min and 19.2 miles.
Sunday I did 4h01min and 17.1 miles. Plus I\’ll probably do some strength this evening while I listen to the TED radio hour.

My foot did really well. Yeah, that foot which had surgery in September 2013.

What amazed me is that I am not all torn up that I\’m not celebrating Easter. I was practicing my Course in Miracles lessons. I did feel connected to my higher power. But I cannot for the life of me remember what was so important about Easter. This shocks me. I spent so many years as a Roman Catholic and also in a Benedictine monastery.

The God I worship doesn\’t seem to need special liturgy. If God is love, then there is nothing more to be done.

Voluntary poverty is to dismiss ego possessions; live with no kudos, no approval, no dopamine rewards, no special liturgy. Just be nice and pay your taxes.

Voluntary simplicity is to possess nothing. No honor, no rewards, no legacy, no other people. Just walk in silence.

If all you have is silence, you have made a good start on walking with God. My adult life is characterized by the quest for inner silence and God consciousness. This yields nothing in this world. It is about as silly as doing miles every day on a boring path in Seabrook, Texas.

Tomorrow begins another work week. But I am going to be a little slacker on the miles this week. I\’m going in a real race next Saturday.

Adoration

Sitting in silence yields nothing. The ego gets no rewards. The ego cannot steal any inspiration. No dopamine reward cycle. This is the hard part of solitude and silence: it is not an emotional reward. There is no drama. Nothing to say.

But as I type, I realize I am in adoration of the Great Silent Altar within. I\’m not sure if I have felt such adoration before. I feel the power.

No specialness. That is what is at this altar. Silence offers no specialness. Anyone willing to leave their specialness behind can come and adore.

Societal programming is about teaching children to seek specialness. Religions are about specialness. Religious professions, ordination, sacraments are all specialness. The requirement of a guru is specialness.

What if you could just come and adore? No sacrifices required of you or anyone else. What if Jesus was not the epitome of specialness but just a man in total adoration.

Anyone at any time can be in total adoration. It is very quiet in total adoration.

This is the purpose of the Lenten desert. Adoration.

I like A Course in Miracles because it is open to all. We all have access to The Teacher.

I have had one of my best running weekends in years. 17 miles of jogging on Saturday and 11 miles of sprint/ walk today. It is true that I had some big mileage last year, but none so well carried out. Today\’s big miracle, beside doing miles the day after a big long run was that the Nimbus 15s are back to feeling good.

My heel is 4.5 months after 6 weeks of non-weight bearing. Slowly, annoying random pains are going away. My arch doesn\’t feel like the inside of a shoe bears a sharp knife edge pointing up. The forward heel spur is manageable. The scar doesn\’t have so many random sharp pains.