Confused Contemplation

I have been missing from my blog for a day or two. I have been quite busy with my employment project: recruiters and interviews taking up all my time! But, I\’m sure I\’ll land a GREAT job in the next few weeks.

But the busyness has kept me from silent contemplation, at least yesterday it did. Today I got in 6 \”laps\” for a total of an hour and a half.

Thoughts from today\’s silence:

  • In silence I find…well…silence. In the void, we kiss.
  • I find time, thoughts; but most precious of all is surrender. In silence I get to be nothing.
  • Books on silence make promises for silence. Silence itself obeys its own rules and doesn\’t honor the books.
  • Silence has its own ways and gifts for each one that comes to it.
  • I should go to silence wanting only silence; with no expectations. Any requests or expectations of silence are ego conniving.
  • Silence is honorable; adorable like the Host in the Monstrance. In silence, I am the monstrance.

Oh la la!!!!! I love silence.

Many years ago, at least 12 if not 30, I came to believe that God could be found in silence. My trip to the convent was based on this belief. I still have it. I am only now realizing that my God comes to me as He chooses and not the same as the monastic gurus. So I am only now really letting go of my preconceived notions and letting God be who He wants. It is so freeing because I wasn\’t getting what everybody else said. I have to work for a living, but at any other time, I seek silence as much as possible.

Why do I seek God at all is another long story!

Personal Statistics:

  • Yesterday I had a fabulous 7 mile run. It was the first run in a long time where my legs felt really bouncy and I ran in the hilly park at 9 minute miles. Thunderstorms were just on their way out, so it was a little drippy, cloudy, and about 70F.
  • Today I ran 10.5 miles in about 11 minute miles. I felt great for about 6 miles and then began to feel a little leg tiredness. Tomorrow is a rest day.
  • Today is the anniversary of my transition from monastic hell to this world of real people who really love me. Six years ago I was informed that I was getting kicked out of the convent. I\’ve been reading my journals from when I was a novice. I was totally insane with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was inflamed by the monastic social structure. (I got PTSD from a difficult childhood).
  • August 8 is my sobriety anniversary. I will have been sober 24 years.
  • Just about 6 weeks until Skinny Bear ( ) and I do the Patriot\’s Run. I sure hope I can swing that somehow.
  • I\’ve been unemployed 6 weeks. 40 more weeks of unemployment benefits left.
  • I mowed the lawn today.

The Morning After Gratitude

Last evening I was so full of love, peace, gratitude. This morning, I had for Jesus a large ear full of how much I don\’t believe He is helping me. There was an even huger portion of how I am not good enough and nothing good will ever happen to me again. I told all this stuff to Jesus realizing they are ego thoughts and they are meaningless. The ego never happened so these thoughts never happened; but I think they happened so I talk to Jesus about them. These are thoughts which need healing; which means I need to let go of my ego and this ego world. I need to allow God\’s Love to return to me and believe in the divine light in me (and you); and let Jesus handle the details.

At one point, as I pondered the letting go of my ego thoughts and anger at God for not sending me what I want when I want it, I realized, I would rather die than be healed. I would rather stick to my ego and ignore/deny God\’s glory than open my eyes to It and be in awe of What It Is, which I am a part of and made by. Of course! My ego would die if I stopped believing it and instead believed totally in God\’s Love. My ego would rather have me kill myself than give it up. So I asked Jesus for a miracle, a change in my perception; a miracle of acceptance of love and of the truth about me. The ego fights Love very vociferously, pouncing on me whenever it thinks I might escape its prison. That is all that happened: I was aware of Love and my ego fought it.

It was a stormy morning here. It was still stormy at 5 so I did my meditation. At 6:15, it was still stormy and I was sleepy so I went back to bed. This idea must have been intuitive guidance because I had a meaningful dream and a loving dream. I rarely remember dreams. But this one was one of those gifts.

Then, I went for a 2 hour low impact jog. It was cloudy and cool, 72F. I said hi to Merry and a couple of others whose names I don\’t know. The park was very quiet. God was speaking in green trees and silence.

After my run, I thought, \”How do you know that there is anything to be worried about? Why do you think that everything is not being perfectly handled better than you can?\” I realized my message is to let go and let God. My message is to just follow the guidance. Trust Love.

This time of unemployment is one of intense spiritual and emotional growth; a gift. Now if I could just remember that. It is so habitual for me to think God is punishing me. There is no evidence God is punishing me. More likely I am punishing myself because I don\’t like myself. There is no evidence for not liking me; everyone else does. I still have more inner healing to do before I think I\’ll be ready to jump back into my profession.

I am love and I live in Love. I don\’t need any other thoughts.

Live Strong

If anyone wonders why I love A Course in Miracles, check out tomorrow\’s lesson for me: \”Be in my mind, my Father, through the day.\”

This thought will save my bacon. I am going to drive 5 hours to a one hour job interview and then drive 5 hours back. It seems like a futile exercise. I might not even want the job if it is offered. But I have invited God into my mind. It affirms my current out look on life: I am looking for the position God wants me to have where I serve Him, not myself. As such, the interview tomorrow is part of what God wants me to do. It is already part of my job of being of service to God and not myself.

If I fill my mind with God, then my mind won\’t be filled with my ego. Unless I displace my ego from my mind, I will have to spend all day listening to it tell me how stupid I am, worthless and I\’ll never get a good job. Do you think I want to spend all day thinking that? NO!!! So instead I choose to have God in my mind.

When my goal is to be of maximum service to God, and I do not consider my life to be mine, then all things are much more pleasant. If I consider God to be my Author and the Author of my life, I can let go and let God manage everything. My life is not my problem. The only problem I ever had was listening to an ego yell at me. I\’m done believing the ego. I prefer to have God in my mind. I\’m perfectly happy to go along with God\’s gig.

Today I ran 5.4 miles, walked 60 minutes and sat in silence for two hours. I am glad I learned to sit. It makes me much happier than watching TV would. I bought a Lance Armstrong yellow hat that says \”LiveStrong.\” After reading the latest book, I am a Lance fan; but more importantly, I am going to live strong in God. (never give up – as Jo would say)

Ultra-retreat Day 8

I got up at 3 am to do my morning meditation and then do the running starting at 5:30.

Thoughts from morning meditation:
– I can believe I am cared for, or be bitter.
– I can walk in love and gratitude, or fear. I can believe the Holy Spirit is my guide, or not. If I chose to follow the Holy Spirit, I can walk in love and gratitude. Otherwise, I’ve chosen to follow the ego and live in fear and hatred and anger.
– Dear Jesus, please purify my thinking.
– God placed “something” in my mind.
– I’ve decided to hear only one Voice, the Voice for God.
– I have to believe I hear the Voice and am guided by it, or else I am dead meat for the ego. If I believe I hear the Voice and am guided by It, wouldn’t I be grateful, happy and in love?
– My ego thinks these ideas about the Voice are stupid, Pollyann-ish, and naive. It is hard to choose the Voice because the world says it can’t be, you are wrong.

However, while I was out running, I was remarkably able to distinguish between the Voice and the ego’s attack thoughts. I was remarkably able to realize that God would not think like that and the change the thinking to the day’s lesson, or ask the Voice what it would be saying. I was remarkably capable of staying awake and keeping my thoughts from going unconscious and dwelling in hatred, fear or resentment.

While running, I wondered about my “crazy” plan to do a private self transcendence race. I realized I need to be patient. The running is changing me, but I don’t know how yet. I realized I fear it is sinful or somehow defying God to run like this everyday. Like, who do I think I am running with impunity. But, these fears eased as I chose to listen to the Voice and to walk in love.

I came home and right away mowed the lawn. Then, yipee, I got a shower. Yesterday, I had patched the tub and had to let it dry 24 hours; so my body was a little yucky.

After the shower, I was somewhat procrastinating getting busy with my job search. Then I thought, “Be excited about your own future and the good God has for you.” If I believed that wonderful things were sitting and waiting for me to do my part, wouldn’t I rush to do my part? Yes, so the problem is ambivalence: do I really believe I will be guided and helped? Then, I got busy and ended up spending nearly three hours working on one application without even realizing how long it took.

During my hour of silent meditation I thought: During meditation, if you listen only to the Voice, but you seemingly hear nothing, that is authentic. The Voice for God speaks quietly in my heart.

I have been eating a lot today. I may in a few moments go out on the back porch and walk on the treadmill. It is hot out there, but cooler than outside and I have a fan.

Ultra retreat day 7, am

Lesson 213: All things are lessons God would have me learn.

A lesson is a miracle which God offers to me, in place of thoughts I made that hurt me…”

Text 5.IV and V:

– …hold nothing against him (your brother), or you hold it against yourself…

SF\’s reflection: This is very valuable to remember when I want to resent my former boss or anyone that has a job.

– I (Jesus) place the peace of God in your heart and in your hands, to hold and share. The heart is pure to hold it…My (Jesus’) judgment is as strong as the wisdom of God, in Whose Heart and Hands we have our being…The Thoughts of God are with you.

SF’s reflection: This is very valuable because I need to remember my holiness and the presence of God. I am not alone or uncared for or unloved.

– The ego’s purpose is fear…

SF’s reflection: I need this information when I am afraid. Feeling fear means I have forgotten God and am listening to my ego berate me and hurt me. I don’t need to be beaten down.

– The ego is the symbol of the separation…the symbol of guilt…a fearful thought…

SF’s reflection: Feeling the ego’s fear and accusations of what a bad person I am, I remember that none of it is true. There can be no separation from God; that is insane. I need Jesus’ help to return to my right mind, but the opportunity is there.

– Whatever you accept into your mind has reality for you…you must learn to think with God.

SF’s reflection: When I think there are no jobs and that nothing good will ever happen to me, it is because I chose to believe the yammering of the ego world. I am not thinking with God and it is time to choose again.

– The ego believes that by punishing itself it will mitigate the punishment of God.

SF’s reflection: The ego came into being as a thought that wanted to be separate from God and therefore individual. The ego also feels guilty for fabricating this dream of individual existence apart from God. The ego part of me believes that losing my job is a punishment I’ve accepted in order to avoid God’s punishment. I’ll never see the free gifts of enlightenment and well being offered during this time as long as I believe the ego.

SF’s reflection: We are not separate from God, but are dreaming that we are. The ego makes the dream in order for it to have existence separate from God. The ego feels guilty for stealing its existence from God and its thought system proceeds from this guilt. The world is my projection of the guilt I feel. Oh man, it is so easy for me to think my job loss and the economic downturn are self punishment for guilt. But really, they are for learning that God loves me and “Something” cares for me. I am always safe in IT’s hands. It is easy to say, “Jesus loves me;” but to mean it, to really know it, that is different. It is easy to talk about how meaningless money and material stuff is as long as you can pay for yours; but to live the journey of letting go and finding the Higher Thing, that is something different. I am given the gift of finding the Higher Thing. I bow before it. It is actually the holiness of everyone in the world, the Sonship. We were all created by God, though not physically, but God is present in each and it is this I bow before.

If I am learning anything from being unemployed, it is: God loves me and will help me. I cannot lose hope in God. There is a storefront for me. I am not limited. I cannot keep assuming that only bad things are going to happen. I have to remember I’ve always been cared for in the past.

110 days to Heartland Prairie

Results for first week of ultra-retreat:
– Miles at jog/walk speed in the morning = 88
– Miles walking in the afternoon = 25

Today, I did exactly the same route as Friday, only 15 minutes faster; without pushing anything.

Daily schedule for week two (hot weather):
4 to 6 Study ACIM, make juice
6 to 9:30 Weights and jog/walk
9:30 to 10 Shower
10 to 1 eat, take care of business, write
1 to 2 Silent meditation
2 to 3 Chores
3 to 5 Walk
5 to 8 eat, write, study

No, I don\’t know where I am going or what good this exactly is. But I have concluded that I will have help from a bigger mind than mine. I am always cared for and I am right now. I have no limits on what it is I\’ll be doing in the future. But, I need to give that bigger mind a chance to correct a few flaws in my thinking before I move on.

Ultra-retreat Day 6

I was up at 3 this morning. During my spiritual study, I said to Jesus, “I believe I am an idiot.” That is, I am unemployed and spending my time running 4 hours a day. That is idiotic. The gift however, is the processing I do in this spare time. Part of the beauty of an “ultra-retreat” is to listen to all the junk in my head so I can get it out; stop giving it power over me. The retreat is a picture frame of what we all think, but don\’t have time to do anything about, so we push it down to the unconscious.

At 4:10, I left for Parkville and ran 10 miles once I got there. Then, I zipped to the grocery store and made it to the fellowship meeting by 8 am.

The fellowship meeting was on fear. So many there discussed financial insecurity and how we deal with our thoughts and trust God; and let go of the material things. God is doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Coming home, eating, I had this to say, “Dear Jesus, I am in your hands. I have fear of the unknown. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know which doors are open. I feel like a failure.”

Then I went to the door and put on my shoes. I thought, “God hates me.” This thought was an honest deep down disclosure, honestly said to Jesus. I think everyone thinks this, but few are able to consciously experience it.

Then I went for a 7 mile walk/jog. I was thinking about the high price of going to the Boston Marathon. I was thinking about the security guard job I could get at a children’s hospital. I am wondering what is really important to me. Why would I go to Boston, other than I can, or to have a souvenir which I could show to everyone. I need to go deeper into who I am. This brought up the other part of today’s lesson, “I am not a body. I am free. I am still as God created me.”

I was thinking about the meeting on fear. I realized the fear didn’t start at the material level. It starts at some other level. I thought about my thought, “God hates me.” I realized I am very close to where Jesus wants me to get when I am a serious Course student. The only real fear is fear of God. I think God hates me, and I made the gut level admission. From there, its not too hard to admit I am afraid of Him. This is the root of the fear. But I went toe to toe with Jesus, looked him in the eye and told him I think God hates me. Jesus can shine his light on this and heal it.

I assume I am afraid of God. It makes logical sense. But I haven’t felt it. It is still disassociated. Studying the Course, I know that Jesus will take me by the hand and gently lead me through the fear. The main thing is that I be willing to go with him. God doesn’t hate me and there is nothing to be afraid of; the fear of God is my insanity.

If I was not experiencing the “economic downturn” as one of the unemployed, I wouldn’t be doing the work to dig out my fear. What I see in the world is the projection of my fear. I am on the way to having it healed. This is a good thing. Because of this possibility, I think I chose, at the spiritual level, to be laid off. I am willing to go through the fear so others don’t have to.

This is the Course: look at the world and realize it is a projection/illusion of your own thoughts. Take responsibility and give it to Jesus. He will help you have different dreams. Spending all this time looking at my thoughts and giving them to Jesus is the truth of how I am spending my time while I am unemployed. This unraveling of ego thoughts is necessary in order for me to live at the level of spirit instead of ego. I want to listen to the Voice for God instead of the ego. All this thinking is a practice in discernment.

“Miracles are everyone’s right, but purification is necessary first.” (ACIM Text 1.I.7)

Ultra-retreat – 5

I am adrift outside the boundaries of my former life, society, social acceptability, the limits of “training.”

From the ACIM Test (Ch 5, I and II):

– The Holy Spirit is the Christ Mind which is aware of the knowledge that lies beyond perception.
– The Voice of the Holy Spirit is the Call to Atonement, or the restoration of the integrity of the mind (from the idea of separation from God).
– The Holy Spirit is the Mind of the Atonement (Jesus is in charge of the Atonement). He (Holy Spirit) represents a state of mind close enough to One-mindedness that transfer to it is at last possible.
– The Holy Spirit is the spirit of joy.
– The Holy Spirit is God’s Answer to the (idea of) separation.
– This Call is so strong that the ego always dissolves at Its sound.
– The Holy Spirit is in you in a very literal sense.
– The Holy Spirit is the radiance that you must let banish the idea of darkness (this world).
– The choice for the Holy Spirit is the choice for God.
– The Voice for God is always quiet because It speaks for peace.
– He is your remaining communication with God…
– I (Jesus) have enjoined you to behave as I behaved, but we must respond to the same Mind to do this. This Mind is the Holy Spirit, Whose Will is for God always. He teaches you how to keep me as the model for your thought, and to behave like me as a result.

The Text for A Course in Miracles is 669 pages; yet here in a couple of chapters, I find almost everything I need for release from the darkness in my mind. Almost all I need do is turn my self, my thinking, over to Jesus and listen exclusively to the Voice of the Holy Spirit within. When I say ACIM is saving my bacon during my period of employment transition, I mean that I am learning to listen to the quiet Voice. Listening to the Voice, I change my thinking and I change the dark world, my ego projection of hate and fear. It becomes possible for me to have a happy dream of Christ Self instead of the ego terror. But, I must stop and learn these new ideas; to put on the Mind of Christ as it were. I must let my mind be taught and put the effort into new lessons. To me, this is salvation: salvation from doom and gloom, and entry into a world of light and peace and joy.

Starting at 6:45 this morning, I went for a 14 mile jog/walk. It was like walking in warm water, humid and 80+ degF. I picked a trekish sort of route, 14 miles in one loop. It was mostly flat and I was jogging very slow. My body was happy with me. My quads had been shot from the hills the previous 4 days, but today they were not stressed.

My mind was on the lesson the whole time: “I am not a body. I am free. I am still as God created me. I am the Holy Son of God Himself.” I thought of myself as a miracle worker: seeing Christ, the Son of God, in everyone. I keep turning my life over to Jesus’ guidance. There is no other positive thing to do: keep the lesson in your mind and listen for Jesus’ guidance. The world is a scary place and I feel powerless over it; unless I am trusting in a Higher Power. It is not that I personally am the Son of God; but all of us are the Son of God. As I say the words to myself, my mind reaches out and connects to the Mind of Christ. This is a comfortable mental condition. This condition keeps me mentally safe and trusting Jesus to guide me.

I found my stride and entered the sea of mental mantra. I allowed my mind to be as on an ocean, adrift with nothing in sight. I stared at the infinite horizon and extended my consciousness into the Mind of the Son of God. To do this is not a solution to worldly problems. It is an impractical place of contemplation, of pure existence. Nothing more. The last 3 miles of my run were on a flat dirt road bordered by foot tall corn. There was not a tree for miles; just me and the sun. It was perfect.

Ultra-retreat – 4, evening

It is a question on my mind: Why am I doing this? Who do I think I am? Am I not just ruining myself?

Well, yes: First, I am unemployed and happily collecting a government handout, so for the first time I have time! Second, I have been intrigued for several years by the 3,100 Mile Self Transcendence Race. Those runners develop endurance during the first several days, that sustains them to go 50 to 70 miles a day until they finish the distance.

I want to see what I can do! I want to see what will happen to me. I want to know what I think about. I want to get to the root and ground of my being. I hope to build up to 20 miles a day (5 hours of jog or walk). Then, how long? I don\’t know yet.

Besides the running, I am spending time in spiritual study and meditation; and mostly alone. I run the ragged edge of complete stupidity and glorious transcendental experience. Who knows where I will fall off.

I went for a 40 minute walk this evening. After about 20 minutes, the brilliance of wordless communication illuminated my consciousness.

My ultra-retreat: I intend to destroy, to de-construct my self. That is, return to and become that primitive psyche which ought not be disclosed publicly by the responsible manager of a corporation. The so-called primitive is what I yearn for: cleansed, purely good, pristinely elegant, de-conditioned, peaceful and free.

If I look now, having spent the day on my lesson (I choose the joy of God instead of pain), the most painful thing I can imagine is the educated, obedient, properly religious mind which has been so sought after. This zombie like citizen was the only offer made. It is not me. It is worthless.

To be a full time ultra-runner is to be contemplative. To face the silence of contemplation is to let go of all limits, everything but IT, Life, Self. And then take one more small step further, across the gap…disappearing into…

Ultra-retreat – 2

I got up late (5:30) because it was another ferocious thunderstorm outside, and I felt like a shorter run this morning was necessary for healing of fatigue. After studying ACIM, I’m not so sure I need to believe these physical limits. “I am not a body. I am free. I am still as God created me.” I have a plan to get back on schedule.

Lesson 208: The peace of God is shining in me now.

I will be still, and let the earth be still along with me. And in that stillness we will find the peace of God. It is within my heart, which witnesses to God Himself.”

I was looking at the fear my ego offers and the peace Jesus offers. My ego thinks I am in a predicament: no job. What if I question the ego’s opinion? You see, my true position in life right now is safe and neutral. Any fear I feel is an ego projection. My ego continuously tells me to be afraid of the future. I’m coming to see however that the ego’s main fear is that I will realize its fears are false and turn exclusively to the peace Jesus offers.

I read in the Text (Ch 4): God is inevitable…you will merely know God…the Unalterable…

The name of God, the Unalterable, can evoke an image of a wall, rigid judgment, a feeling of fear that God will keep you away because you are bad. This is the image the ego throws up. More quiet and arriving second is the Holy Spirit and Jesus\’ image: total Love. Love asks you to come without any ego specialness but as the innocent and pure idea of love which you truly are. Of course the ego fears God, because you cannot return to God with the ego.

Instead of dwelling in fear and listening to the ego repeatedly shriek, “What will happen to me?” I admit that my thoughts are literally killing me. When my ego cries out in fear, it is not fear of physical insecurity, but really a fear that I might start to disregard the ego entirely because it lies to me. The ego is terrified I might throw my entire trust and mental investment to the Holy Spirit and Jesus. “Jesus, I need to live in the sunlight of the spirit.” To heal, I turn to the lesson. I feel the peace. The thought of peace keeps me safe. It gives me a place to go in my mind that is not destructive. A place which returns me to God. I don’t need to fix the fearful predicament at the illusion level, that is this world. I can just disregard it and return to God. The ego offers me a list of people to hate in conjunction with its predicament. I can choose to forgive, that is, see everyone only in the sunlight of the spirit and not at the level of illusion. I choose to see everyone as the innocent and pure idea of love which they truly are. This job of forgiveness is my real profession anyway.

I choose not to dwell mentally in fear, but dwell mentally in Jesus’ lesson and its light. I read the prayer and feel its light. I rise up to it.

Ultra-retreat – 1

I got up with the alarm at 4. It is rainy today so I don’t know how the workouts will go.

Prayer for lesson 207: “God’s blessing shines upon me from within my heart, where He abides. I need but turn to Him, and every sorrow melts away, as I accept His boundless Love for me.”

From the Text (3.VII.5.5): “Your creation by God is the only Foundation that cannot be shaken, because the light is in it. Your starting point is truth and you must return to your Beginning.”

From the Text (4.I.4.6): If you are willing to renounce the role of guardian of your thought system and open it to me (Jesus), I will correct it very gently and lead you back to God.”

I realize that in undertaking an ultra-retreat, I am going against my ego. My ego is terrified of this and is fearfully shrieking about money. Jesus offers to teach me about Love, about my Beginning; if I am willing to let him. Money is my ball and chain. It is my anchor to thinking the world is real. I live in an ego fabrication where most people work because they think they need money and health insurance. Jesus offers a different world, the world of the spirit where these things are meaningless. Obviously, I don’t know how to live like that, but Jesus offers me a path.

In my ultra-retreat, I am at least giving Jesus a chance. My plan is to essentially un-make my prison and learn a better way. My ego offers terror. Jesus offers Love and escape from terror. The problem is that to follow Jesus, I have to give up my ego thought system. I am willing but I haven’t the ability without Jesus.

It is a self transcendence race.

Return to the Beginning: where I remembered God and lived only in His Love. Surrender to Jesus as my Teacher. Realize that God abides in my heart and spend the time in contemplation necessary to grasp the Great Reality which exists within.

There is a line of thunderstorm approaching my location. It will pass and so will my fear. God Love is the only true reality. It and He is the Beginning which I seek.

Probably more later.