The Most Difficult of Silences….

….is when events in my world are disturbing. A true hermit might not have to deal with the activities of other, just their own thoughts which can be very difficult. For me, it\’s when work is in turmoil that I most hear my ego yammering away. In some ways it is fascinating to watch. It some ways it is a good tool for self examination and practice of guard of the heart.

Did I say guard of the heart? Yes. It is a monastic practice. Meg Funk says, \”To resist, refrain, to guard against people, places and things that would disturb peace of heart. To give not easy entrance to feelings-emotions,thoughts, passions (even good ones) if they are not God’s way.\”

After I wrote the above, I went to lift weights. I almost immediately felt good. I dropped into the peace of my heart and the zen of iron. Then, I walked uphill for a short while on the treadmill. Tomorrow\’s weather looks great. I\’ll do some running but not overly much. 

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Every Stress is for Pondering

So, I\’d really like to be a \”real\” ultra runner; but see that I\’m not. As I\’ve decided not to race this weekend due to heat, I feel a certain shame. See, I know people run Badwater (and back). I know people run the race I\’m not going to. Other people run 100 mile races. Other people run 3,100 mile races. I see that I can\’t get these things together.

But really, if I run 50, 60 or 70 miles a week, the glass is more than half full. But my ego can\’t stand to be \”less than\” anyone. No really. I feel this tension all the time as I consistently take my dog out of the race. Feeling the ego frustration is important for spiritual growth. It helps my \”be in the world but not of it\” situation.

So you see, my ego work is ongoing.

This morning I went out for a nice 6 mile run. I wondered if I am an old or a young soul. I wondered because it seems like I still have a long way to go spiritually. But I have had an interesting and different life so far. I was brought up in Berkeley, California, during the Vietnam war riots in Berkeley, Haight Ashbury drug scene in San Francisco, Black Panthers and women\’s lib era. My family had plenty of money, so I traveled all around the world, we had a ski cabin in Squaw Valley and we kept private horses. I went to both public and private schools; hence experiencing racial tension first hand. I\’ve even come to see that being from a non-religious and alcoholic home has benefited me in some ways.

But I did get tapped on the shoulder by a conscious spiritual call at the age of 22. There is no mistake about this. I\’ve really made alot of spiritual progress, but I don\’t think this lifetime is the \”big one.\”

I seek inner quiet. This practice seems useless as in it has no productive results; except I might hear an intuitive thought now and then. But this practice is also the only one where I am not interpreting or judging; or thinking thoughts related to fear, anger, self denigration.

And then I run. And I run. I am looking forward to tomorrow. I plan to get up early and run for about 3 hours, then work for about 4 hours, then do an afternoon ex-machine workout. And this too helps me to find inner quiet. Inner quiet is self transcendence, my main interest in life.

How do you get to be wise instead of shallow? How do I go deeper into my depths? This is my desire and I\’m certain it involves solitude and silent meditation.

Meditation Result

I got quiet. I approached my inner silence in a questioning mood. Immediately, a thought:

I am not done with silence; or the re-making of my physical body.

I will continue to run laps and lift weights; as a prisoner does while he waits for release.

I think the only way \”love\” crosses my mind is if I do it. But really, Love reminds me of Itself; and Silence is not done with me.

The ultra-runner contemplative has entered a half marathon this Saturday. I have lost 3 pounds in a week on The Zone diet. Its time now for my evening workout.

The Quest – Hawk Prelude

I read this morning something Thomas Merton said, \”All that God asks of them is to be quiet and keep themselves at peace, attentive to the secret work that He is beginning in their souls.\” (don\’t know where this is published.)

For some reason, I flashed on Oprah Winfrey. I don\’t have a TV and haven\’t watched her show in 15 years, but I am aware of her endeavors. She ran a marathon. She is always trying to lose weight. She has an interest in the spiritual. She has access to a ton of experts. I can relate to her search and realized it is a typical yearning which those of us raised in the 60\’s seem to have.

I also had a flash of insight for myself: I (my ego) failed at being special. I went to the monastery in large part driven to be like Thomas Merton, whose books I had read. After arriving at the monastery, my spiritual journey was twisted into an ego conquest. I wanted so much to be consecrated and bear the initials OSB (Order of St Benedict) after my name, to wear special clothes (a habit) and to have passed through the presumed gateway to Jesus known as monastic profession.

Now, I have a daily spiritual under current to life. But it is difficult to discern results. Any progress could be measured in a peaceful life. Last night I asked myself, \”How do I even know I have a spiritual life?\” Silence was the answer. That I experience Silence is the only thing I have. Anything else is engineering.

Silence doesn\’t have any results. It just is. Just do it and don\’t ask it for anything.

This morning I slept in and there was no morning workout. I am resting my body in preparation for Saturday and the Hawk Marathon. Surprisingly, I am eager; far more eager than I was 2 weeks ago when I went to Vancouver.

Deep in my imagination, I wish I could run 100 miles. Not just any 100 miles but these:
http://hstrial-saltflats100endu.intuitwebsites.com/home.html

Silent Solitude

When I was getting kicked out of the monastery, I was terribly upset that I would never have the close relationship with Jesus, as spouse, that the sisters professed to have. Hidden in the fear was the notion that I wouldn\’t be as good as them in God\’s eyes.

Now, realizing today, Jesus is a mental object for me. This mental object seems to have no reality in the tangible world whatsoever. I have either been faking it, hoping he would show up based on my faith. Or I had faith that despite his lack of reality, good ideas and beneficial situations were somehow spiritual gifts. I presumed that there was an accessible spiritual level filled with a tangible presence, a personality, which could be felt.

But now I admit that the spiritual level is for me a silent solitude which is a dark nothingness. No voices. No lights. There may be a sense of presence, but that sense could be merely a projection of my fervent wish for a tangible presence. Its funny that I hesitate to say it is darkness because I have before been accused of being in the devil because the devil is darkness and God is light.

For decades I have entered the silent solitude and looked for anything else. I read books and noticed that other people found something. So I continued my pursuit. Many people find nothing, give up, go have a beer and forget about spiritual pursuits. Yet I have persistently continued to enter that nothingness and say, \”Into your hands I commend my spirit.\”

I said before that this silent solitude need not be perceived as terrible; and reacted to with a desperate primal scream followed by furious worldly activity which roots the person firmly in the concrete world. I am coming to believe that I can live consciously in the reality of the silent solitude, the dark nothingness.  I am coming to identify with the reality of silent solitude and allow my investment in the concrete world fritter away. I see that if my loyalty is to the nothingness, then all my worldly fears have no basis. I prefer to live fearless, even if it is as nothing.

Such a plan to let go of tangible reality would be considered psychologically dangerous. The fear of what other people thin of me is probably one of the biggest barriers to freedom that I have allowed to govern my consciousness. Now, my decision is to live in spiritual silence and follow each intuitive thought. The hazard is the insidious underlying selfish hope: if I pretend to be nothing, maybe I\’ll fool the gods into giving me emotional pleasure and enviable knowledge this time. That knowledge of God which is better than what others have is what my ego wants.

I, the unknown spirit writing this, am starting to want a silence which is utterly pristine, unadulterated by spiritual achievement.

Imagine the Presence

I had the urge to blog this morning at 3:50 am, after I\’d got up at 3:20 and done some spiritual work. But, it was time for a workout, so I wrote my thoughts on a piece of paper to type in after I got to work.

Now, I am sitting here with what I wrote. Part of my brain says, \”Oh, that is stupid. Don\’t bother to blog it.\” That same part fears the nay-sayers who occasionally comment about how stupid God bloggers are. I\’ll keep it short, but I am going to say what I thought.

When I want to remember God, or realize that this world is an illusion, I think this: I imagine that all around me is the presence of a great love. It is a silent benign love who cares for all equally. When tapped into and believed, I see a world of love, not one of hate.

It is my choice to remember this great silent love. I live in it and am a part of it and so is everything and everyone. I have the ability to switch my reality from the material world to the world of benign love.

Simple but not easy. The choice and the power is mine. I can remember God or not.

Ultra Monk Day of Running

Today was a very ultra monk day.

First, I slept in a bit late. Then, decided I would run on the levy as I didn\’t think there would be too much snow; and I had a brand new pair of trail shoes which were a size larger than usual and hadn\’t yet had the toes cut out (as happens to all my shoes). As I backed the car out, I realized road running would have been out of the question because of a foggy mist putting an invisible ice glazing on the asphalt.

So, it was about 25F, no wind and a foggy mist: perfect for having the levy to myself. The levy was divided down the middle ice/snow; so I could jog along pretty good at the dividing line. The trail shoes worked good. I didn\’t bring the garmin because I didn\’t want to judge myself, just jog along for as long as I felt like it. I did 3 laps in 3h46. Pretty sweet.

I call this an ultra monk day because I was thinking inward towards whatever wordlessness is the actual essence of life. I think that God is the silence deep in the heart of everything; and that is what I get to experience directly when I am alone like that. When I am around others, I am always making adjustments for them; so I don\’t get to be Who I really am, that inner silent truth.

I got to think about what I would be like with no people around. My thoughts would not need to be in words. The depth of silence is so beautiful to me. Stillness and quiet on the inside seems like the ultimate experience and the highest gift of life itself. Love must be quiet in its original form. Existence beyond this consciousness of silent love is not necessary. Alone, I get to experience this, even while jogging. But especially jogging as I do it because it is so slow and unimpressive. It doesn\’t lend itself to dreams of glory or conquest.

For spirituality, I\’ve gone both directly to ____ but also gone to books. If I hadn\’t been taught anything, I\’d not know what to call God or the Holy Spirit; I\’d just have the consciousness unconsciously. I\’d be alive as one, not as a separate being. This leads me to wonder again about letting go of any books. I already can\’t stand to be taught and stopped listening to tapes because I don\’t want the voice of the teacher in my thoughts.

After running: I got my hair cut.

Tomorrow\’s weather: +60F with thunder storms…..

Silence in My Mind

When in doubt, just be quiet.

Want to know God? Just be quiet.

Want some thoughts different from those you see in others? Seek silence and solitude. Divorce society\’s masses of busyness and cacophonies of chatter. I relish this aspect of silence and solitude. Even while I spend my time running or working out, it is with my own thoughts. I so cherish the emptying of my mind from the contamination of worldly noise. For example, I haven\’t watched TV in over 10 years so I don\’t have any new jingles or images corrupting my thinking. My thoughts are in real time: whats happening in my own experience, not any fabrication from society.

From ACIM text ch 11: The witnesses for God stand in His Light and behold what He created. Their silence is the sign that they have beheld God\’s Son, and in the Presence of Christ they need demonstrate nothing, for Christ speaks to them of Himself and of His Father. They are silent because Christ speaks to them, and it is His words they speak.

If I want to see God in you, I think I need to see the silence in you. It is there. Silence is the higher order being, not exactly seen or heard with the human body. I am much happier when I am seeing the silent you rather than seeing the physical you.

I live in a mostly uninspiring location. Looking out the window of my office, I see a power plant coal pile. Outside the window of my apartment is a parking lot. But going within, I see eternity.

Just sitting alone in silence is the ultimate experience of my life. Quiet is the highest I can go.

I keep track of my food and exercise on livestrong.com. One of the features is a rolling mileage total for the past week. For February at least, my rolling total has been between 75 and 81 miles a week. That is a lot of running.

Stand Your Ground…

….on silence and on joy.

Miracle principal 4: \”All miracles mean life, and God is the Giver of life. His Voice will direct you very specifically. You will be told all you need to know.\”

ACIM text 7.IX.1: \”The Holy Spirit will always guide you truly, because your joy is His. This is His Will for everyone because He speaks for the Kingdom of God, which is joy.\”

Have the courage of your convictions.

I believe in silence because that is where I hear the Holy Spirit best. Above all else I want my primary life relationship to be with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is where my guidance and comfort comes from. The Holy Spirit is my connection to God. Above all else, I can\’t go through life without my connection to God.

If you feel joyful, know that you are living the Kingdom, that Heaven has manifested in your heart. Stand by the joy. Don\’t let your ego or anyone else\’s trounce on joy. Gandhi said, \”Be the change….\” Ultra Monk says, \”be the joy…\” The change we need is joy. The world needs people who choose joy.

If I don\’t seem to have joy, know that my ego has trounced on it. But I use spiritual means to return to joy. Joy is my natural state. Joy is my God given life. Joy is what I am in the real world; beyond the dream, beyond the ego illusion we call this world. If I am the joy, I have left the world; but yet I am still available to my brothers in this world to join with me in Heaven.

I have spent most of my life in the doldrums. But now that I have felt joy, I intend to stand my ground there.

Joy is a choice followed up with spiritual action. It doesn\’t matter which spiritual action as long as it is the one given you by the Holy Spirit. Hence, silence. Go to silence and wait there. Listen to the silence for the answers. Stand on silence. Silence gives you the Voice for God, the Holy Spirit. The Voice for God gives you the path to joy. Insist on joy. Follow the path.

I lifted weights this morning; left me quivering. I went early to work. Walking through the parking lot, I felt gratitude. I said thank you. Walking up the stairs, I felt the presence of the Son of God. I said thank you.

Joy is a thing more awesome than words. I am a 50 something mature woman athlete. I firmly state: I get to be a successful athlete because of my spiritual workouts. Yes, I also do worldly workouts; but it starts with spirit. Without strengthening the presence of spirit, I have no mojo for athletics. Mojo is merely a reflection of spiritual joy; which is a far greater commodity. Spiritual joy means everything. Experiencing spiritual joy in this world is the only thing that matters.

If I feel joy, then feel gratitude to the Son of God, then I am sharing my joy and gratitude with everyone. Shared joy and gratitude is Heaven.

This evening I hope to try something new. My new set of micro-spikes should be delivered today (FedEx indicates they are in KC). I will have them after work. I will then go to an easy trail and do a snow run for an hour or two, return home and finish off the workout until I get to 3 hours. Then tomorrow, I need mental fortitude to do another 5 hours of workout. The purpose of this is to reel in that 50 miles of health and happiness, not destruction.