Plotinus Beauty

This morning, I was studying Plotinus\’ Enneads 1.6.2. I put together these pieces.

Beauty – something, a quality seen, heard, or sensed or felt and known. We think: beautiful.
Beauty – \”…all the loveliness of the world which comes by communion in Ideal Form.\”
\”…minds that lift themselves above the realm of sense to a higher order are aware of the beauty that derives from Soul.\”
\”This, then, is how the material thing becomes beautiful – by communicating in the thought that flows from the divine.\”

Plotinus leaves the door wide open for the spiritual aspirant. Step through the door. Touch the thought that flows from the divine. This communion is more that what is found in church. Turn off the TV. Put down the drink. Stop. Listen.

Not everyone is a spiritual aspirant. But, if you hear the call:
1. answer it.
2. Reduce the world.
3. Take up a practice.
4. Balance your worldly needs with communion.

I have had a long term interest in self transcendence. Another way to express that is to become beautiful; as in communicating in the thought that flows from the divine.

Somewhere, I heard about the book \”Into the Silent Land\” by Martin Laird. It is about Christian contemplation. It is the sort of book where you can read one paragraph and then shut your eyes and let your spirit soar. \”…Our greatest need is to be silent before this great God….A spiritual practice is not a technique but something that disposes us to allow some thing to take place….God is already the ground of our being. It is a question of realizing this in our lives….why most of us spend our lives ignorant of this….\”

How blessed I am to have entered the spiritual path. I admit it seems to have reduced a family live or sexual relationship or co-habitation. This causes me to see the world differently: not as me and my family but as us.

I simply boil the beans and rice.

I go running. I am actually in training. I own tickets to Calgary and am entered in the 2014 Calgary marathon. My body is different now that before surgery last September. I am up to 10 miles. My task now is to get the weekly mileage up. I think I can. It is wonderful to jog around Seabrook and also El Lago. Now I will go do that.

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The Task – Listening

It is Saturday in the middle of a hot summer. I slept in, so no early morning coolness for a run. I don\’t know if I will go outside at all.

As I did my evening reflection last night, I pondered the great silence and the frustration I feel as a human being. The best answer is just to kneel in awe at the great silence, realizing it is so much more magnificent than me; and the ceasing of my activities and thoughts produces the best me.

This morning, having slept late, I also took my time with morning spiritual study and inner listening. I wonder if a trek in the hot sun would be an enactment of a Saharan quest. Like many, I have the desire to trek through the desert, as Jesus, coming out with some greater wisdom or higher consciousness. But we cannot trick God. An hour on the treadmill in my living room might produce just as much. But if I go outside, the fat people in their graden will see me and wonder. The guy who always weed eats will see me and wonder. The guy who runs with a younger stud on roller skates will wonder. The two people who walk their dogs will wonder.

In a practical sense, I am taking it easy this weekend because next Friday night I have a 50k race. This race is a trek: under the full moon in northern Kansas corn and soy bean fields.

Running in the sun won\’t produce God. It could reduce ego.

The Task – Decision….

…again resolved today: I will pursue the spiritual path to where ever it leads me. Being a spiritual athlete is true. I accept my path. Fitness is part of self transcendence and, hence, part of the spiritual path.

My waffling around of late has had more to do with work. Work is part of the path; but where is the line between spiritual work and ego work? Where do I make my stand? Where do I say, \”I am afraid of letting the bosses see I am not totally committed to this company,\” and must give time and energy to running and prayer. And so I face my fear: if I am not committed, will I get laid off?

And so I come to my soul with the fear, consciously. And so I let spirituality be the foundation and everything else is for spiritual growth. Material world losses can lead to spiritual growth as much as material world promotions. It all takes discernment: what is my soul saying to me? Surrender to my soul is what makes possible the idea that all is for spirituality.

And then I must return to my decision. I choose spirituality despite my ego\’s qualms and fears and attempts to seek security in the material world. No, I want spiritual connection more.

My weekly rolling mileage total is 63 miles. I went to see my LMT on Monday, so my legs feel great right now. New shoes also help. I am thinking about this weekend and the opportunity to run. I am thinking about my upcoming personal multi-day, which starts next Thursday for 5 days. My personal multi-days are also my personal self transcendence race. I am still working with The Zone diet and learning to plan meals which are exact ratios of protein/carb.

Check out the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence blog by Uptal:
http://perfectionjourney.org/2011/06/22/june-22-there-is-some-purpose/

Thoughts While Running in a Forest

This morning, I ran for four hours around a 1.05 mile loop in a forest. It was a roller of an easy trail, augmented by 9 flights of stairs and a steep hill. It was cloudy, cool, misty and very green. I wasn\’t going very fast, but still my legs got tired.

The one park I run at alot had a 5k race so I stayed away from it. The levy where I sometimes run had a 5k race so I stayed away from it. The result was the quiet forest.

Why would I just run laps like that? I wanted to keep speed on the easy parts and maximize hills. I am actually training for an endurance event: The Silverton 1000: http://silvertonspecialevents.com/silverton_special_events_033.htm

I am hoping to run 100 miles in 72 hours. I have a hotel, where I plan to shower and sleep for about 6 hours per night. The plan is to run/walk 40 + 35+ 25 miles over the 3 days. that leaves me the morning of the final hours to make up a few miles if needed.

While I was running in the forest this morning, I continue to reflect on my motivation for endurance. It is the same form of motivation which causes me to go to work and do a fantastic job. It is the same motivation that gets me up an hour earl each day in order to do spiritual study and reflection.

I\’ve been accused of not making \”enough\” spiritual progress so far in this life; or not letting go of my ego enough to become enlightened. The Catholics and Christians¬†I know would think I\’m wrong. The other types of spiritualists and Buddhists I know would think I\’m wrong. What I know is I\’ve made a ton of progress in this life. I may still be reading text books and doing basic meditation; but so what. At least I am learning the ideas so I\’ll be ready on my next incarnation.

I\’ve had many teachers; but no single guru.

My commitment to the path, with or without emotional gratification is astounding. I am in charge of my spiritual path. I am not a follower. You realize that doing your own thing is highly frowned on by the various cults. Because I am on my a self-directed path, I am accused of not making true progress or of just entertaining my ego. I have tried the various cults and found them lacking.

Is my path ego entertainment or Self directed? Results will tell, but maybe not in this life.

My main reflective interest is the power within me which drives the endurance. Who is it? From whence does it come? I love it.