Spiritual Experience No 073115

I was seated in a type of room that looks like a small theater or a college lecture hall. Next to me was a cute young black man in a pink shirt. He needed a pen and asked to borrow mine. I gave it to him. Then later, when we went on break he saved my seat. This was a cute relationship. We were somehow connected that quick.

The room was known as jury room 2; as opposed to another similar room filled with similar people, but their room was jury room 1. I\’m pretty sure almost no one in either room wanted to be there. We were there on penalty of punishment if we failed to show up on the day of our summons. It is amazing how obedient most people are when threatened with jail. I even made a joke to a colleague about not wanting to die in jail. My colleagues had coached me to just be calm and remember I am not in control.

I suppose many of the people are like me. I got my summons about a month ago. And ever since, I\’ve been wondering how to drive to downtown Houston for an 8 o\’clock start. I\’ve been frightened as hell because I don\’t ever go to down town Houston. The fear also produced a great deal of anger that I\’m going to have to drive 40 miles to get to jury duty and quite likely not let out until after 5 pm when it would for sure take at least an hour and a half to get home.

Fear would arise over and over during quiet times and in the night, or like when running. I could feel the steam building and building. I could feel almost on the verge of panic. Then, some lesson from A Course in Miracles or a prayer from AA Big Book would come in to my mind. The anxiety bubble would pop and I\’d forget it for awhile.

I was on a jury once and disliked it intensely. I vowed never to do that again. The next time I was called, I did something to make sure no lawyer picked me; but the judge gave me such a dirty look. I don\’t think I would ever try that again.

So I\’m scared to death of being on a jury and driving in Houston; and pissed about how late I\’ll get home. My small ego is having a field day with creating anxiety and hatred. The morning of, I turn my will over to the care of whatever higher power there is, I write down my ACIM lesson and grab The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I\’ve read this book once and I know it will help me with my false anxiety.

I look at the Houston Transtar map and see an accident on the highway I was planning to take. I quickly re-plot a route that is much longer but turns out to be free of traffic. I make it to the parking garage about 6:45 and note other people sitting in their cars; as I do until after 7. Then I walk down to the basement and through a series of tunnels to the jury plaza. I hand my paper in at the window and am told to go sit in room 2.

So I go sit. I watch the power point presentation about security and how to pay for parking and how can I be exempt. I read the juror hand book. Other people come in and sit. Everybody is pretty quiet. I open The Power of Now. First I read about Tolle\’s spiritual experience. I realize that Tolle is the same as Sam Harris, a guy I know named Larry, and numerous other stories I\’ve read. He didn\’t do any spiritual work. He was distraught one day and suddenly the universe opened up to him and he knew God. I am a spiritual seeker, but the emotional mountain top hasn\’t happened to me. And these books by these people seek to teach people like me how to have this experience. However, despite the lack of a mountain top, I realized I firmly stand on spiritual intuition as the basis of my life. I get through each and every day by trusting and relying on God. Divine help is my strength. These lessons from A Course in Miracles and these prayers from AA save my emotional bacon daily.

I pondered that for a little bit. I read one of Tolle\’s techniques. I totally agree with the statements on silence. So I shut my eyes there in jury room 2 and quiet my mind. I realize that I\’m more interested in being of service to the universe than playing games to piss off a judge to get out of jury duty. How may I best serve you? Thy will not mine be done. I realize that I\’ve put my life in the hands of the universe. Whatever my spirit wants to do, I will do. I sit there in the surrendered state for a brief few moments. I had achieved inner peace.

Suddenly the bailiff comes in and stands in the front of the room. He has a funny sort of smile on his face. He says something like,\” I have an announcement which I know will disappoint all of you. We called many extra people to jury duty today because we thought we would be having an extraordinary trial, that is, it would last more than 6 weeks.\” He pauses. The room full of people takes a collective gasp, \”Oh fuck, we all think.\” \”But, \” says the bailiff, \”that case just got settled out of court. So all of you are going to be set free in just a few minutes.\” Now everyone cheers. We high five. We are jubilant. A miracles has occurred. I look across the hall into jury room 1. Those people are not clapping and celebrating. They are lining up to go to various courtrooms.  In deed, in a few moments they let jury room 2 go. I am in my car and headed home, traffic free, by 9 am. And I did make it to my 5 pm AA meeting, a thing I worried I\’d miss.

But I have to tell you, I felt the miracle of creating my own reality at the moment I heard what the bailiff said. My ego didn\’t do anything. It hearkened to the ACIM chapter called \”You need do nothing.\” It was like, when my ego finally let go of it\’s plans and I achieved inner peace, another reality could arise.

When I myself quit projecting bad dreams, the world itself stops being a bad dream.

How to Live

 Frequently, I have negative thoughts early in the morning. In a sense, my spiritual activities and then exercise takes care of them. This morning, I could hear my ego murmuring about a work question: should I take that new position or not?

It is not time to decide. The decision is in the future. But mixed in with the decision is various ego issues like: am I good enough, will I be happy, I am happy now but I can\’t stand no promotional opportunity, I need to get ahead of colleagues, etc.  And then, my knowledge that I am not in the Now. I am not connected to my higher self. And I have no idea how to get that to happen. Any techniques hasn\’t worked. I just haven\’t let go.

But the books say your ego doesn\’t know it anyway. So will I ever know it?

So you can now imagine me becoming more and more upset by this drama. Reading The Power of Now is only making me more upset.

So I got on the treadmill. What an awesome choice. The Gulf coast is so freaking hot and humid. Even before the sun comes up it is 83F. My outside running is consequently slow. But my living room is 71F with a fan blowing right on me. Running in the coolness was terrific!

On my treadmill, I have index cards with parts of the ACIM text written on them. This morning, text 15.V.5 \”…You can place any relationship [situation] under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain, if you offer Him your willingness to have it serve no need but His….\”

Plus lesson 9, \”I see nothing as it is now.\” 

This translates into, I don\’t see this situation as it is now.And also, be willing to let today, my present moment, any choice I make, serve no need but His. For me, the present moment is not enough, there also has to be a Higher Consciousness I am turning over to. Somehow, running on the treadmill and thinking about serving no need but His, surrender happened. I was able to \”get\” it.

That was early this morning. Now, I can remember it happened. I can almost recall how the understanding felt. But I can\’t really put all the little bits of thought together and explain it to you. 

Why did I call this post \”How to Live?\” Well, frequently, immediately after my spiritual exercise and during my physical exercise, I get a moment of clarity. In that moment, my ego is gone. Life does not seem so frightening. That is how to live.

Surrender and do better

One way to get through a day is to remember \”I am a worn and no man.\” (see the 7th degree of humility) Remembering this, I survived 4 years in a monastery where I was in fact below all other precious but annoying little nuns.

Rule of Benedict, Chapter 7: On Humility

The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
\”But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people\” (Ps. 21[22]:7).
\”After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion\” (Pa. 87:16).
And again,
\”It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments\” (Ps. 118[119]:71).

Another way to get through a day come through the 3rd step of AA: \”Father, I offer myself to you, to do with me and build with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to the will, thy love and thy way of life. May I at last abandon myself utterly to you.\”

Another way is a daily phrase from A Course in Miracles. From the Manual for Teachers: \”The name of Jesus stands for love beyond this world. Jesus is the Word of God. The Word of God is the Atonement.\” or also,
\”I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.\” (text 2.V)

\”Into thy hands I commend my spirit.\”

What I am saying is that if I abandon my ego, turn my will and my life over to God, I do better. Otherwise, I am a stressed out worrisome mess every day. If I practice downward mobility in a hierarchical sense, that is, stop trying to protect and defend but merely serve, I do better mentally and emotionally. I may or may not do better financially, but that is not the point.

Now I will go to the park and run laps.

Embrace Limbo

My company has decided to sell the division which is located across the fence from where I am currently  sitting. I am in an engineering services division, but all my current work is for the division located across the fence. So it is quite possible I will be moved across the fence and work for un-named new company in the future. Or maybe some other opportunity will present itself. Meeting in Germany this week as executives decide how to divvy things up.

In the mean time, it will be a few months before any final decisions are made. And anyway, I am still me with my own particular outlook on work in general. The VP of the division I work for has a cubicle near mine. And every time he gets on the phone, he has to walk into the small conference room next to my cubicle in order to talk privately. Lately, that has happened alot. Frequently, he starts talking before he gets in the conference room. This activity is distracting for me, who is going to be waiting months while guys like him try to decide to do with \”us\”, the engineers working here. Managers continue to whisper amongst themselves. People say, \”Aren\’t you sorry you ever came here?\” Um, yeah.

I know the VP-ish activities are more about their own finances than anything. Capitalism and satisfying share holders is the whole cause here. In today\’s world, companies serve stock holders not communities or people. Should they? In the long run, they will figure out that they should.

For myself, I continue to drift in limbo. It causes me to shrink in. I have to focus on today and what is in front of me right now. It doesn\’t mean that if an idea surfaces which is a future idea I wouldn\’t act on it. But I must focus on what I can do and not what I can\’t do.

I also realize my dirty little secret is very alive in my consciousness. I work for money not for career advancement. I seek technical expertise not managerial expertise. I need to keep my mind busy with challenging work; while earning enough money to run my life. Moving up the ladder at any company is pretty much out of the question. It is more a matter of service.

In fact, service matters a great deal to me. Service is where my mentality at work overlaps with my spiritual life.I embrace that I decided for God and it has produced a strange limbo in this world. I have a growing outlook of this world as an ego project and that there is no place for me in it.. Job or no job, I am in limbo. I cannot produce goals because service today is the only possibility.

Tension occurs however between the ego wanting something to happen now; and my rational consciousness which wants to serve now. Very difficult to stay on track. Some would say I am trying to dis my human-ness. I think human-ness is an excuse for living littleness instead of living magnificence. Choosing spirit, I become less confused.

How may I best serve You. Thy will not mine be done.

ACIM text 2.V:
I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.

All my life is really about is \”Decide for God\” (Manual for Teachers 14) right now. Then, allow God to direct my thinking. And ask for this every time I notice I am thinking what God would not have thought. Worldly limbo is a preparation for God consciousness. Embrace it.

It IS a sacred journey. No other thing about it.

Monastic Intellect

This idea comes from the introduction, \”Talking Back\” Brakke\’s translation of Evagrius.

The goal of the Evagrian monk is not simply to avoid evil deeds, remarkably he seeks not to experience the first movements (initial thought impressions) that incite to sin at all…a \”monastic intellect\” is someone who is free even from the thoughts…The ultimate goal is to eliminate the thoughts themselves and to pray and contemplate God purely….A persistent representation of a corporeal object can \’imprint\’ the intellect, distorting the intellect in a way that prevents the clarity of vision required for knowledge of God and pure prayer.\”… Persistent bad thoughts causing impassioned representations to persist in the intellect damage the intellect, preventing the monk from becoming the \’monastic intellect\’ …Talking Back applies also to the more advanced stage of the monastic gnostic, in which the monk contemplates the material world and rational beings on his path to knowledge of God. … practices of biblical refutation and short prayers to God help to clear his intellect of evil thoughts and distorting representations and thus prepare him for the vision of the Trinity\’s light…\”

So really, I do want to know God. But I need something simple in my head that can be playing all the time or grasped habitually and quickly. If yes, proceed to \’monastic intellect.\’ I can.

Today I drove to work in relative calm. The radio off and a hokey prayer: In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The monastery was invented to take the place of the desert; where people were more urban and living in the desert no longer feasible. But from my monastic experience, I\’d say that it is not really much more of a desert than the life I have chosen as a \’monk in the world.\’

This morning, I also read in A Course in Miracles about my choice: \”It is impossible the Son of God be merely driven by events outside of him. It is impossible that happenings that come to him were not his choice. His power of decision is the determiner of every situation in which he seems to find himself by chance or accident. No accident nor chance is possible within the universe as God created it, outside of which is nothing. Suffer, and you decided sin was your goal. Be happy, and you gave the power of decision to Him Who must decide for God for you.\” (21.II)

I choose to the the Holy Spirit decide for me. I don\’t decide I want to find sin. I don\’t decide what I see is sin. I merely talk back.

3 days since my left foot became free of the boot worn for 5 weeks. Today, I can almost walk normally and the incision area is not tremendously painful. Wow!

Surrender

Well, as an invalid, I am having a good time. Work from home for several hours, then go have vitamin  D therapy:

I realized that I almost never just sit by the water and enjoy the sunshine. Well, for most of the summer, Texas is too hot. But now, it was nice.

I also have what I am calling the \”Invalid 550\” workout. It is easy on my arms since they are very tired from heaving my body around. And it loosens up the butt which is sitting too much. It took me 45 min yesterday so I swear I got some endorphins too.

50 each of: crunches (lower legs on ball), butt scrunch bridges (lower legs on ball), bicycles, leg lifts front, Russian twists, side curls, clams, side leg lifts, core activation, inner leg lifts, roll ups. Equals 550.

Yesterday I thought: to know God, you should be grateful. Not for what you have, but to your soul for who you are. Stop and think. What is the essence of a human being. Majesty. Power. Love.

Today I thought: Peace extends from deep inside yourself to embrace all. Surrender to your inner holiness. Surrender to the love existent within and all around. Stop and think. Feel that quiet truth inside. How still. How peaceful. Jut let go.

AAs Big Book says, \”Deep down in every man woman and child is the fundamental idea of God.\” Surrender to the idea. Be sober.

More Brunton

Some part of last night was spent thinking about what 6 weeks on crutches would be like. And some part was spent worrying about the surgery date being changed due to a personal crisis the doctor is having. But now I think, The Universe is in charge. Let go. There is nothing I can do.

But you see, I must firmly believe that there is a Higher Self or Spirit who is helping me with my life. This idea works if everything is seen as a spiritual growth experience and everything is for the spiritual quest. Most of all surrendering to this Higher Self is the learning. Believing in this Higher Self and its care for its creations is my foundation.

Brunton:
\”…even in this widespread longing for personal continuance we can detect the beginnings of what will one day grow into the nobler longing to live in the true immortality. For it is an unconscious perception that human existence does possess something within it which is unaffected by events in time and is therefore genuinely eternal, something which stands apart from all the miserable mutations of the flesh and the \’I\’. It is indeed an unformulated intuition which, hiding among the perishable elements of personality, affirms that there is an imperishable principle which cannot be brought to an end with the end of the body.\”
\”The view of immortality as belonging to the higher individuality of the Overself rather than to the lower personality will then replace the former one, which is ultimately doomed to suffer the anguish of frustrated desire whereas the true view bathes a man in increasing peace the better it is understood.\”

Rejuvenation

I amaze myself. I may at times have difficulty getting out of bed. Today was such a day since I knew I wasn\’t going to do 20 miles. But as I got up and thought about my cross training, I had positive thoughts: its not the end of the world, many runners in Texas use the summer to rejuvenate, put on the \”Haki-machi.\”

What is the Haki-machi? It is the Japanese head band. Mine symbolizes the warrior spirit.

Anyone who is willing to put on the Warrior Spirit cannot possibly be depressed. Or, anyone willing to turn their life over to Spirit cannot possibly be depressed.

I\’m totally willing. This amazes me. I seemingly have nothing to live for, except in honor of the Warrior Spirit. I guess that is enough. It is everything, the highest possible way to honor Creation.

Now I Go On Living

It is May 15, half way through May, almost. I just did an ultra marathon. I look forward to more. I look forward to reading the blogs of other ultra marathoners as they complete their endurance trials. Today, I went for a walk/run. My blisters are just well enough to allow this. The one on the bottom of my foot is still red, but wasn\’t painful. The left pinky toe still needs space, but my shoes have space.

I ran down the road from my hotel to a quiet cemetery and completed 2.5 laps of that. Then I noticed a road going up a hill behind the cemetery. I went up that too. It was marked every 0.1 miles, so I know I went up 1.1 miles and then turned around at the top. Then back to the hotel for a total of 92 minutes of walk/jog.

I dreamed of my old convent last night. Today, I looked at their blog. I have to admit I\’m more interested in running than I am in the genteel life with mostly elderly ladies. I\’m excited that my 52 mile run didn\’t seem to cause physical harm other than the blisters. I\’m excited to be going to Canada to run in 11 days.

I must have been adequately trained to do 16 hours of running and walking. So my body was not destroyed and the graph continues to build:

When I was out this morning, I thought, \”I\’d love to spend everyday going up and down this hill; even over and over, several times a day.\”

A Course in Miracles continuously reminds me to let go of everything I think; because these are ego thoughts. The grave yard I went through this morning was an example of ego thoughts. Clearly the Star of David tomb stones were separate from the Cross tomb stones. Really? Do you think God really divides his people? Religion can only be a separation exercise. Spirituality can only be ego edification: getting something for yourself. ACIM says that the ego fruitlessly but continuously seeks approval of Spirit, who doesn\’t know the ego exists. Only surrender frees one from the ego thought system. We can choose spirit instead of ego.

A runner at the Fair:

The Remedy for Everything

God is the only goal I have today.

That\’s it. As soon as I think that, my fears dissolve. That is, fear is not just fear. It is my goal of fear. Yes, all my fear is made by me to meet the goal. Once I am afraid, I have no chance of knowing God and knowing I am loved and cared for and safe.

But as soon as I shift my goal from fear to God, I feel fine. I have no goal in this world.

Today I had a bit of extra time. First I bought a new treadmill; a good one from an equipment supplier, not a box store. I need this to reduce my concrete running and to do hill workouts here in flat Houston.

Then, after a little \”work from home\” and lunch, I went out for a 9 mile jog in the park across the street.

An interaction with another person today left me with a low grade ego resentment. As I ran laps around the park, I sorted through my fear. After about 1 hour and 20 minutes, I realized I could give it to God. And so I did. It vanished.

Nothing can bother me if I stick to my goal: God is the only goal I have today.