The Tree

Yesterday I was running in a park near me. The park is alongside the Missouri River and is an idyllic place. I’m sure that the park has been there for more than a century. I myself have been running there for over 35 years. Some years it floods, but it always returns.

Yesterday, I was noticing how some of the trees grew at an angle in order to get more light and get away from their neighbor. Makes sense. Then I noticed a particular tree that had grown radically sideways and then up. At the base of the tree, there were three trunks, from one tree. Two of the trunks had grown basically up. The third one, went up a few feet, then went sideways for several feet, then the leafy branches were spread out in an open area.

The tree seemed like an analogy of my emotional growth. As a young person, I grew away from my dysfunctional and painful upbringing. I now live in the sunlight, but I still own the sideways part of my being. My roots and the first part of my trunk seem like the noble spirit that I was born as. The sideways part is the twisted emotions. The sideways part is not a problem. I can receive nourishment from my noble spirit, my original being, through the twisted part. And so, I live in the sunlight, receiving spiritual support even though there is a history of emotional problems. I am healthy and soaking up the sunlight directly.

That’s amazing.

You know, psychologists go on and on about how humans are social creatures. but in reality, we each need to grow apart in order to find our own sunlight.

Galveston Marathon

So, I haven\’t blogged in awhile. I guess I got tired of posting marathon race reports. On January 1, I ran the Texas marathon. On January 29, I ran the Sugar Land marathon. On February 12, I ran the Galveston marathon. That brings me to 76 lifetime marathons. Here is a picture of a over heated me at Galveston:

I bought the picture and then scanned it for here. Not a great scan. What I most like is that my arms do appear to have muscles. Yes I lift weights. I have always been fascinated with muscles. I must have been a guy in my previous life. As a woman, my muscles will never be too impressive but I keep working at it. As I remember being a teenager and fascinated with my back muscles, I remember other things about those years. It is a wonder that I survived my early life without many more bad things happening to me.

In January, I passed my 58th birthday.

Mr Trump was inaugurated. The news continues to be almost solely about his administration; and the crazy doings of a very strange man. Unfortunately we are looking at \”normalization of deviation\” and nothing will be integral again. There haven\’t been any statesmen in Washington for a very long time. Our country will be going down.

I got the new Annotated Edition of A Course in Miracles. This new edition is really fantastic. The person who wrote it got the original shorthand notes of Helen, the original scribe of A Course in Miracles, and then published this edition directly as the notes say. Much new material. A fantastic work.

Speaking of work. I continue to diligently hack away at problems with my manager. I have a fantastic coach for this effort. I have learned alot about emotions. But in general I am unhappy. I continue because I must grow. My boss wants me to be a bonsai but I am a tree and cannot put up with the pruning any longer. I am 58 years old with 35 years experience in this field. I can\’t just go get another job at this level in this field. However, in the not too distant future, I will quit and go do something else. Also, my boss will be retired in a couple of years anyway. I am needed to do what I do. My problem is what would be known in psychological terms as \”differentiation of self\” or less technically as \”taking back my self.\” Living my equality, not begging for it.

I remind myself that I didn\’t come into the world to be unhappy at work every day. But A Course in Miracles continually reminds me that it is my own thoughts which are the problem. I have hope for my thought patterns and am working through the work book again. I still can\’t figure out why I am alive; but the spiritual work I do has been with me since the age of 22. My struggles at work are really a butterfly trying to get out of a cocoon. I need to be free and I don\’t need anybody\’s permission. White bird must fly or she will die.

Out of Egypt

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog, knows I used to live in a Benedictine monastery. I was there for almost 4 years, then suddenly pushed out the day before I was supposed to make my vows. This part of my past is continually on my mind. Why did this happen? Why did I go there in the first place? What was I wanting at a deep level?

I wanted contemplation. Check. Mission accomplished. I learned alot about silence, solitude, spiritual reading, listening.

I wanted to validate my life with religious profession. Nope. Not accomplished. And my ego has been bitter about this ever since. Daily I compare myself to the nuns and try to make me look better.

Recently, I was reading my journal from 2003, the year I got kicked out. I got kicked out in August, so there is a good deal of before and after writing. Clearly I was hugely depressed before getting kicked out. Lets call this mental torment \”Egypt.\” For the years since leaving the convent, my mental state has had periods of difficulty; but overall, my spiritual curve is trending positive. Furthermore, for you calculus fans, there is more and more area under the curve. That is, I am continually integrating and expanding.

This morning, reading Emmett Fox\’s \”Sermon on the Mount\” he said something about how regretting the past is to dis God\’s activity of salvation, and bringing Israel out of Egypt is just such an example of God\’s activity of salvation. Sudden bingo for me. If the convent was Egypt, then God, in a sudden turmoil of spiritual activity, brought me out of it. There was a few days of turmoil and then long years across a desert. This is a new thought for me. A new connection and a new synapse that signal a mental change.

I don\’t know if I am across a desert yet. It seems like it as I ponder my 2015 life story. This life I see is tremendously successful. At work, my Starship idea has been adopted for the plant and I am heavily involved with Creative Thinking teams. In my running life, I am first celebrating the end of my 55th year with a 55 hour run. Then in June, I am going on my first ever running expedition in the Utah desert. And in between January and June are several happy races on trails for which I intend to sign up.

But I wonder about my spiritual life; at least until today when I realize where I am at in graphical terms. I did leave the nuns in Egypt. Should I stop looking back? I need to stop looking back with an ego mindset. I could look back with a miracle mindset.

Reading Fox\’s book, I realize my ego measures itself against the explanations to determine if it is good. To know my thoughts are doing this is a great thing. It allows a bit of distancing from the activity. And in turn, an extreme gratitude for the presence of Spirit which taught me. From there, just keep walking, and be in awe of that power greater than myself.

God is in charge of the journey.

Dis-satisfaction

This word came to me this evening, triggered by something Paul Brunton wrote in \”The Quest.\”

It was a moment of clarity. Something I\’ve known but it hit home with greater force. I have a comfortable material world life, but not a wildly successful one and I\’ve never been able to put as much energy into it as seemed necessary for the outstanding material successes. Well, duh, that\’s because I don\’t want material success as much as I want spiritual enrichment.

Spiritual enrichment does not feed the ego; in fact is a cause of ego dis-satisfaction. If my ego was satisfied, it would be a sure sign I didn\’t have true spiritual enrichment. Yes, there can be a false ego spirituality which is highly satisfying. I\’ve been there. But in my isolation from the material world and society due to spiritual discipline and pursuit; my ego is dis-satisfied.

I have a comfortable material life in part to enable spiritual pursuit. That is, I am not overly distracted by either poverty or affluence. If my career was more successful, it would take up more time. If I had a family, or even a hubby, I\’d have no time for individual spiritual pursuit. Even the monastery contained annoying community activity which took away from solo spiritual pursuit. As it is, I have time for reflection and meditation and study. I totally believe that spiritual study, pondering and meditation is not a group activity. And the true adept will out grow any group.

Spiritual pursuit is not \”for\” happiness. Spiritual pursuit is anti-thetical to ego desires. So of course, happiness for the ego is not part of the package. Joy beyond ego is gained, but this cannot be felt in a worldly way. It exists on a different level.

What is is silence.