Rule of Life for Urban Solitaries – Musings

Many many people live alone. Some of these solitaries are interested in spirituality and seek the greater wisdom of the universe.

Your life in the hermitage is post-career and non-family. Your purpose is now depth. You are making yourself a magnificent receiver and savorer of Higher Consciousness. Your work is listening and savoring the interesting and inspiring thoughts that come to you. The thoughts come from The Texts or they come from your own Higher Consciousness.

Do you need a rule of life? Following rules doesn’t work. A rule should spring organically from what you are already doing. And then it is written out as the life you love and plan to continue because it brings you into close contact with that Great Spirit, that Great Consciousness with which you seek to align yourself.

  • Don’t eat the food of the masses because you want to purify your body. In this, you are humble enough to love yourself and nurture yourself and the spirit that graces your accumulation of conscious cells. Accept the yearning of all these entities to know themselves and the Great Consciousness. You won’t be enlightened. You will be nourished.
  • Minimize social media and the news in order to purify your thinking. How can solitude be experienced if the phone is constantly tugging you to check it?
  • Maintain and relish a state of non-relationship. You don’t need to talk about yourself or anything else with others. No one will understand. Society always seeks to mainstream it’s monks by saying we are social animals and will be mentally ill if we don’t have relationships. This threat of mental illness becomes a demon to address in your hermitage. Stare it down and it will leave.
  • Meditation for long periods for no reason, no goal. Find the emptiness not present in active society. Meditation is not for getting but for quiet. It is an experience of endlessness. Only in a quiet mind can this experience be obtained in modern urban life.
  • Study Texts. It feels good to savor the meanings already discovered. If it feels right and good, begin a project of copying the texts in neat penmanship. In the meditation of copying, the body and mind are integrating truth and a path forward can be found. You can no longer be taught by a superficial pastor. Only a Master will satisfy. You do have access to a Master’s teachings.
  • Spend hours on your feet, outside; and then lift the weights. This behavior is contrary to modern life. Endless miles join with endless silence.
  • Voluntary poverty to drink your spirit to the dregs of life. Self-inflicted non-comfort. Your hermitage is cold in the winter and warm in the summer, but not too much of either.

A tiny bird sits on a bare branch, enduring the cold north wind. Consciousness is here and wants anyone to know it. Embrace the Presence. Why not you? Every monk starts from nothing and always is just that.

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On Celibacy

            The word celibacy probably never graces your mind or your tongue. As a modern person, you are probably used to casual sexual references and behaviors all around you. Sex is constantly delivered by the media today. Our society fixes energy in sex. Most people seek and participate in sex, and couldn’t imagine a life without sex.

            As a non-participant in the physical action, the celibate person lives in a different world. The dance of obtaining consent and the frenzy of coupling doesn’t exist. Celibacy is a kind of silence, a kind of fasting, a kind of life outside the pale of human biology. A celibate person has the potential to be the most authentic and deep lover on the face of the planet because they embody a unique form of silence: a radical way of loving which dissolves modern sexual violence.

            Celibacy is abstinence with a spiritual or intellectual purpose. Yes, celibacy is a kind of moral purity, but more importantly, it is a silence to be contemplated. Celibacy is a purity of thought and conduct which provides extreme human dignity, the deepest form of love.

            Celibacy exists in the heart and mind which has sold all material sexuality to obtain that love that connects souls not body parts. Grace your mind and tongue with this word. It is a holy word whose concept will rocket your love into cosmic dimensions.

            Celibate silence is hidden beyond obsession. Stop and imagine it.

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On Emptiness


            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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            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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            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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            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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            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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            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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30 Day Process – Day 30

Yes, it is true, if you stop looking at the news, then the news stops being on your mind. For me, that means that now my mind is free for other thoughts. There will always be thought. Which thoughts do I want to think? I assess myself. 30 days is enough to detox. It is not enough to build something new. The dilemma is to keep building the new way without going back to the old way. I am on a cusp. I am in a clear and open space. What thoughts would come to me apart from societal conditioning? Is it possible to obtain thoughts that are outside of mass consciousness? Of course. So, go get them.

For the 30 day process, there were four practices, apart from news fasting. Two of them, focus wheel and segment intending, I didn’t use that much. I realize now why not. I viewed segment intending as a tool for dealing with difficult people and situations. I don’t have situations with difficult people. My life is somewhat only one long segment. I viewed focus wheel as a tool for working on a known objective. I don’t really have a material world goal. I have created exactly what I wanted. So I have only half heartedly used these tools. My desire is for God, so how do I use these tools?

As I am clear of news debris in my thoughts, it is time to go deeper. Keep exploring the depths of my soul, the divine presence and consciousness. Can I think, or receive, a thought which is not directly someone else’s? My studies of philosophy indicate to me that the subject is a shambles. Philosophy has been dominated by European white men, mostly competing with each other over trivialities. My new thought should be an expansion or evolution.

I went to the monastery to be a contemplative. It seemed like the main desire I obtained from living in a monastery for nearly 4 years was the desire to live an eremitic life. I had to achieve a point in life where I didn’t have to work. And now it is a thing of courage. Is being a hermit a genuinely worthwhile activity? I am currently listening to a philosophical lecture on the meaning of life from an MIT professor. My ideas clearly don’t fit his definition of worthwhile. Do I dare try it? Would I go crazy? Ha! I haven’t been any crazier than the time I spent in a monastery. That was the worst emotional experience ever.

What is the meaning of life when bad thing don’t happen? That is my story. Bad things don’t have to happen for one to find meaning in their life. I find meaning in epiphanies, which aren’t necessarily sourced from externals. In the hermitage, I can realize that I am beloved of God. I can also realize that so is everyone else, and grant them that reality. Non-trivial, don’t you think?

My life continues to include physical fitness. In fact, I am incredibly grateful to love 10 mile runs, being in my sixties. Or the small weight workouts I use to break up my academic days. You don’t know how grateful I am to have arrived at this point in my life without the 30 or more pounds that my peers are carrying around.

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Emptiness – Day 17 of 30 Day Process

I decided to do a 30 day spiritual process. I have been doing the spiritual practices, but the main difference between my normal life and this retreat is that I discontinued any news media. That, and some interesting daily reflections and realizations.

Let me first address the news fast. Most people fast by not eating. I am fasting by not scrolling through any news, or listening to the radio. No NY Times. No Atlantic. No Apple News. No Google News, etc. I’m not getting dopamine hits from outrage. Every time I pay attention to news, I feel some small outrage at what is wrong with some people or institutions. That outrage is a dopamine hit in my brain. Humans like dopamine hits, and so we continue the behavior. Point: dopamine hits are not bad in themselves. We need them. But dopamine from poison or dopamine from upliftment? I’ve been getting dopamine from other sources than the news. What I’ve been thinking about, however, is the future. I’m like an addict who has been in treatment for 17 days, dry for 17 days. Will I go back to my drug of choice when I get out of treatment? Honestly, I can’t imagine life without my drug of choice. My mental feeling is better without the poison that is today’s news, but I can’t imagine living without it.

Taking the situation to a deeper level: spending time on the news, or needlessly scrolling and looking for a hit, is artificially filling the emptiness of my inner life, destroying the emptiness. As I thought this, or had this realization this morning, the emptiness of my life came into focus. My life has always been pretty empty. In America, an empty life is a stigma. We are supposed to be filling our lives, but I have been steadily emptying mine. I want to have the emptiness, not destroy it. Not only is it who I am. but it is my non-physical reality. I need it.

I lived in a monastery for nearly four years. The nuns had very empty lives compared to the non-cloistered house holder. But since their lives were overlaid with a daily schedule, a Rule and a religious profession, they didn’t really have to face emptiness. I have no overlay, no template, no title or name. I simply have an empty life.

Now that I consciously have an empty life, I am able to fully embrace it. This is the art of being myself. I find spiritual fulfillment in: emptiness? The secret of my soul is emptiness. My energy vortex contains an energy called emptiness.

“Some children may be extraordinarily happy with a single basic toy if they have been able to develop their imagination and creativity, while others will be bored by a hundred sophisticated toys if they constantly need new objects to derive pleasure from” (Happiness – a philosopher’s guide, Frederic Lenoir, page 49).

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Thanksgiving Day 4

Well, rest day. I slept in and then lolly gagged buying running shoes at an early black Friday sale. I also was musing about whether it would be possible to get a philosophy degree on-line. I found an interesting philosophy page which discussed the writing of essays. Reminds me that this blog is very bad in regards to organized thought. I had a nice spiritual study and then made it to the trail at 10:20.

My ACIM lesson was, \”I am in danger nowhere in the world.\” I wasn\’t really clicking with this lesson until I sat quietly. Then it came to me: I am always wrapped in Love\’s embrace.\” And this is what I took with me to the trail. Today, I remembered my garmin and everything. I decided to go to a small loop and be sure to measure it. Yes, it is 0.75 miles. So this loop will be my mental training loop for the 55 hour race over New Years.

Today, I was clearly not interested in long hours of miles. I was thinking alot about my pacing and timing for the 55 hour race. I decided that a good experiment would be for me to try at least one day, if not two days, of 40 laps on this 0.75 mile loop. I thought tomorrow and Thursday would be good. So I kept today short, just 2 hours.

Consequently, the groceries, the car wash, the AA meeting and the house cleaning got done. The AA meeting was about drinking and holidays. I kept quiet since I don\’t want to discuss my particular outlook on holiday activities. As a general rule, for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is assumed that you must participate. If you have no family then you should join another gathering or volunteer at a soup kitchen. If you don\’t participate then you are not grateful. Christmas is worse. You must participate in the \”reason for the season\” or you are a scrooge and ungrateful to God.

My radical plan for Thanksgiving is to walk around a park 40 times.

Also, I started a new book on the philosophy of Dune. It is an easy read and interesting. Combined with Plotinus and my general yearning for depth of thought and spirituality, I again muse about the nature of life. Do I think at all? I see that my mind is often caught up in resentments. I can think about something else whenever I realize I need to. That is a practice of solitude.

I first heard of \”solitaries\” about 2 years before entering the monastery. After leaving the monastery, I continued to pursue solitude. I don\’t know what I will find here. I don\’t know if only gaining solitude on nights and weekends is enough. I stand outside the tribe. This is my contemplation.

Memorial Day 2014

I am nearing the end of 5 days off. As usual, silence and solitude have provided a mental grinding post. This working away of the ego is the finest part of Desert Spirituality; but it is also the most dreadful.

After one day of solitude, I looked at my Black Berry and saw a troubling e-mail from a colleague. My ego suddenly wanted to take off on a rampage. I could see my sudden need to practice my spirituality very intensely. Truly, perfection of spirit, renunciation takes place on this inner field and because our egos get upset. The field seems sort of like ego vs spirit. But, really, the ego was never real and spirit is not really on the same playing field as the ego. I needed to work the aspects of A Course in Miracles known as \”holy instant\” and \”looking beyond\” or be miserable.

A Course in Miracles assures us that our thinking is undisciplined and gives us tools. I picked up my tools. The tools worked. this morning, I experienced a moment of knowing I shared the One Life with my colleague. It didn\’t have to be more than an instant of allowing my self to be spiritually healed.

And then continue to practice the mental discipline.

I am getting ready for my first marathon since surgery. It is a road marathon. I am not looking forward to the \”racers.\” But to give myself a chance in the race environment, I have been going easy during these 5 days. That means only 3-4 hours of workout each day, not all running. I\’ve still put in 60 miles in the past 5 days. Not sure really how that happened. Didn\’t seem like it.

I\’ve also been writing a paper on ammonia refrigeration. It surprises me how I got 5 pages written this weekend. I am grateful that finally my thoughts coalesced into sentences and paragraphs. Key points were focused on.

I did not celebrate memorial day other than take my day off work. I realize others must think I\’m wired wrong; but I am not proud of the stars and stripes. I don\’t agree with our middle eastern wars. I think our people are soft and the civilization we were decades ago is gone.

I\’ve been reading the works of Keith Akers (The Lost Religion of Jesus). Very astounding works; but definitely would be dissed by main stream Christianity. But his works do verify my own supposition that Jesus was a radical and would never have agreed with churches as they exist now, and in particular not with the Roman Catholic authorities. It fits with my vow to shamelessly follow Jesus; even if it looks like I\’m against Christians.

The Way of the Sage

As I\’ve mentioned before, I am reading Plotinus\’ Enneads. In 2.9.9, he mentions \”…the way of the Sage…\” \”…the Sage intent upon the sublimest, upon the realm above…\” There are seven Enneads and this reference to Sage appears less than one quarter of the way in the book. But that is all that is said in this location and seems the first reference to the way of the Sage in the Enneads so far.

In my life I have chased: divine union, enlightenment, God, He, and etc. You name it as it seems to go by various names.

Is the Sage wise? Does the Sage win the much sought after spiritual boon?

Maybe the Buddhist, one who chops wood and carries water, is the highest being.

Who is Heidegger\’s Dasein? How do I become aware of That? Unfallen? (A Heidegger term now, not a Biblical term).

I work for a living. Every weekend is a chance to be alone more fully. I get 3 days every other weekend. It is during these times that I turn my attention inward. Seeking. Listening. Even running or lifting weights.

For this I call myself a monk. A monos. One alone.

To be alone in thought is not a dopamine reward experience. So I never feel holy or enlightened. It is at best a battle with thought demons in the modern desert (a quiet suburb).

Whats going on in my mind, where my inner eyes gaze, defines whether I am a monk, or merely anti-social. A barrage of ego criticisms battering me. Waves of silence washing me. Both at once as I merely sit.

It is not a self improvement program. If you got nothing, you probably figured it out.

Plotinus bothers me somewhat as every time I post, I get 60 hits from robots. Very few actual people look at this. I like to separate the people from the robots.

A week ago perhaps, I first heard of Plotinus. Now I find myself immersed in this Greek philosopher. I am fascinated to see the underpinnings of western religion without the Christian overlays. I can move on from A Course in Miracles since I see it as the same thing as this earlier philosopher but in a more fanciful mode and with Christian semantics. Plotinus would propose the same principles of The Unity and of humans as thoughts and this world as an illusion and looking within; but in far cleaner prose. Although, without 30 years of spiritual study, I don\’t suppose Plotinus would make any sense to me.

Sunday Musings from 6th Ennead, 9th Tractate:

Section 7 explains the \”preoccupation by the impress of something else, we are withheld under that pressure from becoming aware of The Unity, a mind gripped and fastened by some definite thing cannot take the print of the very contrary.\”

Herein is explained much of what I\’ve tried to do with my life. I went into the monastery seeking contemplation. I came out with tools for contemplation. Out here, I may have to work for a living, but I am much better able to seek solitude during my off hours. In solitude, I look toward The Unity and away from the distraction of the world. That was the purpose of the monastery too.

In section 6, it says The Solitary…. In this, I see that being in solitude as much as possible, I come closer to \”neither knowing nor anything unknown.\” In solitude, I can turn inward. Not looking at the world, I know less about it; and am more like The Solitary towards which I look.

I cook my beans and rice as I always have; knowing nothing of fancier processed foods. My world changes some but I intentionally keep constancy as a divine quality.

But there is a terrible effort to balance. I can\’t leave the world totally. I must interact at points. For the most part, work can be kept in a box. Other interactions are brief and can be seen as like meeting like. I have no family of relationship so I don\’t have the agony I see most others experiencing.

The Truth is true. So reading Plotinus this morning, I became aware of a foundation on which many theologies are built. Religion only goes on to hide the foundation. The Unity is more than a foundation of course, but it is also the thing found by the founders of theologies.


Heidegger fans will recognize the concept. I was thinking about it in my solitude this morning. \”The world\” (society and its norms) have to subside before something else has space to grow. This is why I spend time alone and in quiet. But today, I thought of \”world\” as a verb. That is, to create your own reality, you need a dynamic concept; so world becomes \”to world.\” Stagnation is the world. Creation is \”to world.\”

Silence and solitude is not outcome based. It purpose is not to produce enlightenment or anything. Silence and solitude produces \”is-ness;\” from which a different basis of life can be found. The general pre-occupation of society with TV, food, position, money, fear and anger can dissipate in silence and solitude. Beliefs about who and what I am, or what is my usefulness can be adjusted based on an inner idea as opposed to outer peer pressure.

And so, I venture forth to the park again today. It is cold for the Texas coast. I am wearing long sleeves.