The Task – Sentience

I am a sentient being. Forget the moths smashed on car bumpers. I am a sentient being.

The Task is to enlarge on this idea beyond this world. The Task is a spiritual task, if I say that spirit is what I am beyond this world. God is more or less irrelevant to The Task.

Today I continued my personal multi-day (day 3). I completed 21 miles in run/walk mode and then made myself walk another 2.23 miles. In 3 days, I have covered 51.73 miles. This is not a body destroying quantity; but a mental practice. It takes a certain will to go out and do this; especially since it is a rather puny amount of running in ultra-marathon terms.

Today, after about an hour of running, I found myself on a paved bike path in a forest, bit of very green grass on each side, foggy skies. Suddenly, I wondered where I was. I wondered if I had somehow turned around and run back without paying attention. Then, I got my bearings and was fine.

Metaphysically speaking, this moment of disorientation was a moment of failed ego control. That is, my normal ego thought pattern which holds the world in place was gone. In the sense of self transcendence, this was a successful moment. For such moments, I keep ultra-running. For someone NOT about the Task, such moments are meaningless and to be blown off immediately. For a budding philosopher, it is a time for reflection on the boundaries and conditions and varieties of consciousness.

Advertisement

Colleen\’s Fat Ass – Reflection on a Cold January Night

The race, Colleen\’s Fat Ass ultra, began in a house owned by a taxidermist. I ran 28.8 miles, 9 laps, in about 6h50 elapsed time.

Here is my reflection:

Ultra running, for me, is not primarily about speed; not like shorter road races are. Ultra running is completely inexplicable; especially to the non-running public. While some non-runners might say, “Wow, you ran 50 miles. That is awesome.” They actually have no idea what that means or what it feels like or why you did it. The purpose of ultra running, for me, isn’t about a sense of accomplishment or honor or award.

I don’t speak for others, and most other ultra runners are far more accomplished than me. I am barely an ultra runner distance-wise. But in so far as most 50k’s (31 miles) are run on courses much more difficult than a road marathon, that additional 2 or 3 hours and additional challenge to legs muscles, is what turns the run into an ultra for me. Plus the resultant and dramatic physical destruction. Plus the seeming nonsense of the endeavor.

Potential ultra runners think ultra running will solve their sense of boredom with road marathons by adding an additional notch in their belt. For me, the idea germinated and has always grown in a desire to go beyond my rational ego mind by taking the body beyond its training envelope and beyond its logical capability. What I find in this beyond place is almost impossible to have a conversation about. Such conversation always seem to de-generate into a worldly discussion of distance and time and placing and schwag. This degeneration frustrates me because the worldly things mean nothing. However, when I meet another ultra runner, its possible to say nothing but connect on the thought level; where we have an entire sharing of meaning without a word having been spoken. The meaning of ultra running cannot be explained, but it can be shared by connections made beyond words

There is nothing to brag about for me; and that is what my ego hates. In fact, I don’t think I have officially “finished” an ultra in several races. So can I cut to the chase: Why would I value the result of a futile effort so much that I put up with the pain of it over and over? I just spent nearly 7 hours of a cold windy January night jogging in a tiny pool of light, having no idea where I was or where I was going or what for. On the trail, where my legs are far more challenged than on a road, it took me several hours to bring my body to the brink of destruction. The first lap found me lost and confused and angry as twice I lost the trail. I fell down once. I peed in a cold outhouse by choice because I didn’t want to go into the warmer restroom. Each lap I put a mark by my name on the chart.

As time wore on and my body wore down, I lived a very simple and elemental existence. Alone in the dark, my thoughts ranged as follows: I hope I don’t trip this time (I tripped 7 times at the exact same spot over something I never could see, but on the last 2 laps, I used an extra hand held light at that place. I never saw what I tripped over, but didn’t trip on the last 2 laps); I hope I don’t get lost (well after 2 laps, while the pink flags were still my security blanket, I was guided by the landmarks of the footing, various rocks and such); Should I eat my Power Bar now? (too late, it is frozen and I hope I don’t break a tooth trying to bite it); Is it time to pee? (I hate stopping, but oh well, it must be done).

I have NOT thought about the ego’s world: work, co-workers, money, retirement plans, health care plans, Boston qualification, age group awards, why I am not rich or famous or a vowed religious.

I did the journey to the ultra runner’s nether world and the secret of the ineffable. The nonsensical infinite timelessness of the intangible formlessness calls me over and over.

I keep answering the call.

Personal Multi-day – 5 Peace

I love this park!

This morning, I woke up at 3:50 and shut off the alarm which was set to go off at 4. And I slept until just before 8. Then I got up and did my spiritual study. At 9, I did a free weight and core workout (65 min) and went to the park. I ran 10.8 miles before the rain scared me off. After I got home, it was time for lunch. The multi-day is over.

I\’m glad I did this multi-day. I am amazed that I arrived at today without injury. It was more than I\’ve done before. I think I went to the edge of my energy capability. I realize what I am and what I am not. I enjoyed the time working out no matter that nothing was official about it. I know and that is enough.

I was totally at peace with going back to sleep. It is good that I follow such a message when it comes. As I lifted weights, I thought consciously how peaceful that was and how at peace I am. During running, I thought of my life as the reflection on top of a calm pool. Yes, I can see activities in the reflection, but I know I don\’t need to respond. I keep the water calm and look deeper into the depths.

I think running is part of my conversation with God because I am nearly always focused on conscious contact with God the whole time I am running. For example, my spiritual lesson for today contained this little stream of thoughts: “I walk with God in perfect holiness. I light the world, I light my mind, I light all minds, which God created, one with me.” I could jog quite easily to the gently flow of these thoughts. I kept my thinking inside the stream of these thoughts. Gandhi said, \”…be the change…\” Well, keeping my mind in the light is the way I am the change. Running is a great time to train my mind to stay where I want it and not wandering down dark and frightening corridors. I look beyond the fearful reflections of the world which are on the surface of the pond and attempt to distract me from the depths underneath. yadda yadda…..thanks for coming with me.

Personal Multi-day – 4 Emptiness

Today I got out of bed ok. I thought I better start out running early because of t-storm prediction and what was on the radar. I got to the park about 5:20 and it was still mostly dark. My first lap felt extremely slow. After 2 laps, I had to go to the shorter lap because of the fireworks barricade. Then, I quickly lost count and just ran for time.

Was it stupid to run for 5h56min? I don’t know. I don’t know what I accomplished. There was nothing romantic, euphoric or seemingly wonderful. Except whenever I got myself into the moment, I felt infinity. It was hot. I peed a lot. I worried about drinks. I worried about weather. I watched the clock in order to make sure I walked the 2 minutes. My legs hurt after a long time. I think my slow speed makes me look bad.

Well, not that bad: some teenage boys that I passed after 5.5 hours asked me if I was training for Ironman.

Sitting here now, I wish I had an answer. I am staring myself in the face. I ran 5h56min today and I have no answer as to why. I’m feeling depressed, empty. Fear lurks: What if I wake up in the morning and my legs feel ok and I do it again? Emptied, not hungry at all, I sit here.

There is a war going on outside. Some people call it our country’s birthday. How fitting that the people of this land think that large numbers of explosions celebrate a nation under God. Oh yeah…and getting drunk.

I read the blog of a man named Anton. He ran the Western States 100 mile race in 15+ hours and came in second. The 3,100 mile race goes on and on with 11 runners running 55 to 72 miles each day. I am a 51 year old lady contemplative who thinks running is a conversation with God.

What I did today is never done by the masses of people. Those who do run that long usually do it for t-shirts and medals and “official” times. A small few do it in the name of “training” for some future race. A tiny one or two or three do it just to do it.

The spirituality of running is not in the suffering or the record book. It is in the endless time for contemplation, just being, just running. I only know the point after I ask God; and then sit in silence. I asked today and the reply was, “Enjoy being empty.”

Hands off. Let it go. I have no purpose or point. I have a pair of shoes, a bottle of water, a bag of Gu and a little park with a dirt path where I can go around and around. The endlessness of it is tremendous, sacred, holy to the bone.

Personal Multi-day – 3 Commitment

Day 3 of Personal Multi-day: solo race against myself.

Today I met what I came here for. It was a challenge to get out of bed this morning. Not because of tiredness or soreness, but because of a recalcitrant ego. My ego is worried about the why of this personal multi-day and thinks it can win out by with excuses, and saying it doesn’t matter. No one will know. I will know. I am accomplishing something in the mental and spiritual realm, precisely because it appears so valueless in the material world.

I faced a little battle of no vs. yes. I weighed the excuses vs. the plan of action. I listened to the insidious question of “Why?” The question is allowed to defeat the soul or answered by the will in support of the soul. My life blood, my vitality, is dependent on the outcome of this mental and spiritual struggle.

It must be spirit who ascends above the ego in the darkness as I choose to get out of bed. To get up and work out for a third pseudo-50k-of-sorts, for no recognition, is antithetical to the ego. How is it that some transcend these ego cesspools and some sit in them? How did I want the spiritual sunlight enough to get out of bed and work at the foolish task of endurance?

1. Somewhere I developed the desire for spirit above all else in life.
2. I surrendered to the call and began to follow it wherever it went.
3. I have tremendous gratitude to spirit for the feeling of Presence I find whenever I stop to consider it.

Way way back, as a pre-teen, I knew I wanted “something more.” I could see light from somewhere beyond my ridiculously shallow and tormented existence. I felt the pull at age 14 as I looked at pictures of B.K.S. Iyengar and tried to stand like a mountain, or swam laps by myself, or rode my bicycle in the Berkeley hills. I could hear a call even though I had no idea what it was or where to find it.

Back to the present. First thing in my kitchen this morning, I considered downing some vitamins and protein; but realized, “I am not going to die.” That is, my endurance task for the day was no longer so daunting that I had to carefully plan calories and electrolytes. I could mainly just go do it. As I completed the first 30 minutes on the ex-machines, I felt the inner doors of power flow open. I gave them permission to open. I allowed higher power to flow into my consciousness. The acceptance of this higher power is not magic powers but an attitude of connectedness to a power which provides all for all.

After 2 hours on the machines, I loaded up my hydropak and drove to the park. I had to park a ways away, due to a parade in Parkville, hence was carrying 50 oz of drink. It was starting off a humid 77F. I began my 8x2s at a slow pace. After 6 laps, 16.2 miles, I decided to just keep jogging instead of going back to do another hour on machines. I was in the running longevity zone: aches and pains were stabilized, I put more water in the hydropak and had 2 Gu stashed on me. I felt I could run forever. I felt oneness with ultra-runners all over the globe. This decision to keep running could have been a function of a heat deranged mind, but I just felt like I could gently keep going. I approved myself for another 80 minutes. When I finished, after 4h24min, it was 88F. I had done 21 extremely slow miles.

The sock combo worked great again and I had no heat rash on my legs: excellent. Oh…I love the new Nike swim bikinis under my shorts.

I have never worked out for 6+ days in a row before. I have never had my current level of fitness before.

More about commitment: my pondering during my run. What I am doing with this personal multi-day is keeping a commitment to myself. I thought about my monastic education. As a novice prepares for vows, one of the things they talk about is the commitment to monastic profession. It is a public vow and it is thought that the publicness of it helps the person keep it. At this point in my life I am aghast at the teaching. If I want something in my soul, I’ll battle avarice and sloth (ego characteristics) to the death in order to obtain my soul’s desire. It seems so cheap and fake to think other people’s eyes would have anything to do with how I honor my soul’s requests. The blood and guts of my life is to defeat ego and support soul. And that is what my personal multi-day means to me.

Personal Multi-day – 2

First off this morning, I wrote:

How many days, decades, lifetimes have been spent waiting for You?
We who sit, know He sits with us.
I am alone, yet part of many.
We quietly devote ourselves to The Awareness.

The great texts point us to It.
The Master said, \”He is within.\”
I prostrate before The Master in gratitude.
I kneel before The Awareness in love.

Poignant.
Passionate.
Compunction.
Postulation.

There is no greater thing than to lay down your life for your Friend, The Awareness, Love Itself.

Do you think I do this to get something?
Can you not see there is no reward?
Except for The Knowledge, the richness palpating a hidden place within.

___________________________________________

And so, I completed another pseudo-50k-of-sorts today. 2 hours on ex-machines. Run 16.2 miles in 3h09, faster than yesterday by a smidge. Then 1h5min on machines; went 5 min longer on the nordic track since I ran faster.

I have broken new ground: never worked out for 6+ hours two days in a row. I\’m aware of those achieving greater feats of endurance. I\’m pleased to see my own personal progress: back in December, I thought just the 16.2 miles for 3 days in a row was alot.

So, eat, sleep, get out of med in the morning and try again. I swear, this is happening courtesy of a power greater than myself.

Personal Multi-day – 1

Ok so, I have five days off work. I decided to stage my own personal multi-day endurance event. I wondered what I would do. I wondered what for.
.
It is not for anything. I\’ve decided that right up front. My event is not for finding the holy grail or achieving enlightenment. It is just an environment of sorts, just a place to be…period.
.
Today, I worked out on my machines for 2 hours. Then I went to Parkville and ran 6 laps, or 16.2 miles, in 3h12, or 11.8 min/mile. Then I came home and jellified myself by doing another hour on the machines. That nordic track seems harmless enough but it is a jelly maker for sure.
.
After eating and napping, I realized that I had worked out for longer than it takes me to run a 50k (31 miles). It was a pseudo-50k-of-sorts. So that is my plan: 5 x 50k in 5 days. That is an endurance event beyond the box of what I have done so far.

Running the Heart Sutra

Walking on the tm tonight, I felt the need to retreat into nothing, yet work out in the nothingness. I believe I can go nowhere in my ultra-retreat. This is the heart sutra:

Body is nothing more than emptiness, emptiness is nothing more than body. The body is exactly empty, and emptiness is exactly body.

I have a new paradigm: the work out paradigm. Some people live in a paradigm were they run only for fitness or when they are training for a race, a goal, a purpose. People view aerobic activity as something only done within limits: those of injury, time, “balance” or “got tired of it.” But what if you lived in a paradigm where you could work out without injury for endlessly long periods of time. Is this heaven for you? It is for me. I finally see it. I have developed a method for continuous working out as long as fuel goes in. I like this. It is not a punishment or some method for “digging deep.” It’s just enjoyment of a state of being. It used to be “challenging myself.” Now it is the enjoyable norm.

So, in emptiness, there is no body, no feeling, no thought, no will, no consciousness.

In the solitude of working out in my living room or running endless laps in a tiny park, I get to the place of no consciousness; only being. In the state of pure being, Oneness is found and the innocence of Life is found.

In the old paradigm, you see a person running and running and think they are hurting. In the new one, it is painless, unlimited happiness. My 5 day ultra-retreat starts Wednesday after work.

Finish the Ultra-retreat – Day 20

Shame on Microsoft: Explorer 8, uploaded today, won\’t let me copy and paste into Blogger.com!

The ultrarunning part of my retreat is over; now I will focus more on meditation and writing and thinking deeply. I simply must think deeply. I have this thing inside me, a force or a spirit or whatever, but I love it and I simply must be more and more quiet to experience this presence. I totally believe that it is in an egoless silence that I am able to touch my soul. Since the silence is egoless, the soul touching experience is very subtle, sublime, quiet. But I think I am addicted to it.

Yesterday, I ran 23 miles. Here are the results for the ultrarunning retreat:

Week 1: 88 miles jog/walk plus 24 miles walking = 112
Week 2: 112 miles jog/walk plus 19 miles walking = 131
Week 3, 5 days: 93 miles jog/walk plus 8 miles walking = 101
Total 344 miles

Today I woke up with fatigued legs. But, after coming home from the city and working in the yard for an hour and a half, I went for a 4 mile run. All systems felt well. No injuries from the ultrarunning. I am going to try to ease up to be fresh for the Psycho Psummer 50k next Saturday.

My ultra-retreat produced a quantum leap in my running. My running expanded to a higher orbital (check your college chemistry to figure what an orbital is). The self transcendence started as an idea in my mind. The expansive self transcendence idea is a universal idea, not specific to running. The quantum leap also shows in the expansion of love in my mind. The self transcendence came about from spiritual work, not the running itself. My spiritual work has been focused on love and giving up my ego in order to love. I changed my mind and then I could see a change in my running.

Self transcendence running is love because it is just about being. It was running for pure existence and pure existence is love. Love has no goal, no personal best, no Garmin or heart rate monitor. Love relentlessly pursues existence. Love is a phenomenon of peace. Peace is quiet; hence we return to that addictive quiet soul touching moment I mentioned first off in this blog.

A girl running around and around a park is a phenomenon of peace.

I rededicate my life to God. This rededication to God is a dedication to love; I absolutely insist on seeing only the love of God present in everyone. God is love, only created love and all we are is love. If you point to sin, I will tell you to take a deeper look at the lies your ego is telling you and stop believing they are real. Love is all there is.

Ultra Retreat, Day 17 – Surprises

Day 17 of the retreat. I got in 15 miles.

100 days to Heartland Prairie 50 miler.

By surprises, I mean things happened which were out of my control. I usually figure they are gifts from God. Like yesterday, I locked my keys in my car; but a man I know gave me a ride home to get my spares and a ride back to where my car was. Or in the hardware store, the man gave me a lesson on what parts I needed and how to put them in. Or the really hard time I had getting some documents sent to a potential employer. Or the human resources lady I talked to yesterday. Or the recruiter I talked to this morning.

Today, I have a decent grasp on letting go and letting God. I have intuitions and other more obvious things put in front of me: just do them and let God worry about the rest.

Today is the anniversary of my death. On this day in 2001, I went running on a hot humid day with no water. I was actually planning to run until I dropped. Since I was in the country, I hoped nobody would find me and revive me. But after much screaming at God and 8 miles, I decided to go back and try life one more time.

Self Transcendence Race: Yesterday I covered 15 miles. This morning another 15; and I\’ll probably do more later.

How am I transcending? I am giving my fear to God. I am living more and more in a God reliant world and less in a world I can control. Transcendence is my journey, but in this race, I have no finish line, no mile markers, no awards. In my silence, blisters come and go. Tendons complain and then stop. I drink water. I have come to appreciate the purity of water. I think there is no better substance on earth. To drink it is to drink God direct.