Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

3/14/2004

Third Month of Exercises

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,One Year Manual,Personal,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:32 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Okay, so I’m still trying.

I may not be doing as well as I’d like on this, but I haven’t quite given up. Enlarging my spiritual life is very important to me, so even a little bit of improvement is worth the effort. I’m still managing to pray at least three times a day, though, I’d really like to be praying four times, like the The One Year Manual suggests. In any case, I finally made myself read the exercise for the month. So here it is…

Rythmic breathing. A simple extension of the first two exercises, really. It’s just what it sounds like, breathing in a even, rythmic pattern. Oddly enough, this one is easy for me. I’ve been “into” Zen for quite a while and rythmic breathing is one of the basic building blocks there, too. So, it’s basically just breath in for a certain count and then breath out for the same count. Regardie suggests using a mantra as an aid. Interestingly enough, he suggests, for the Christian, “My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” So, it would be inhale saying, mentally, “My… Lord… Jesus… Christ…” and exhale while saying, mentally, “have… mercy… on… me…” Now, I wish I’d read this sooner, because rythmic breathing I can not only do, but really get into. It’s very, very relaxing.
In fact, several years ago, I read Science of Breath, which is a book on nothing but breathing techniques used by the Yogis. It’s a fascinating book, really, and one I need to read again. I remember using techniques from this book to completely calm my heart-rate and breathing in just seconds after marching up several flights of stairs. And, I remember the stilling calmness I would get from just a few moments of rythmic breathing when I was feeling even the slightest anxiety.

Well, slowly but surely I march ever forward on the Path.

3/7/2004

Why?

Filed under: Life, the Universe, and Everything,One Year Manual,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:48 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Welcome to the long, dark night of my soul.

Okay, maybe that’s an exageration, but I can honestly say that I’m less than pleased with my life. And, invariably, when that happens it’s due to a lack of spirituality in my life. Honestly, I try to give myself credit for “improvement” whatever that means, but I’m just so results oriented that I have a hard time convinceing myself that anything less than perfection is “okay”. Sometimes, it feels like all the years of pronouncing tech Band-Aids “good enough” builds up, like a massive, obessive-compulsive static charge until I just implode. I know the solution is to “let go and let God”, or, as my Grandmother used to say, “Thy will be done, Lord. Not my will, but Thy will be done”. But, it’s so hard for me to do that.

Well, as someone said once, progress, not perfection…
I’ve been working at the spiritual program outlined in The One Year Manual, but it hasn’t been going well. Most days, I manage to pray three of the four times Regardie suggests, but I almost never get enough peace and quiet to work on the relaxation and “body awareness” exercises. Or, if I do get the quiet, I fall asleep! I haven’t even read this month’s exercise yet. I’m almost afraid to, since I’m sure it builds on the exercises that I haven’t been doing. I don’t know, maybe I tried to do too much too quickly. Maybe I should just be happy with the fact that I pray more often in a day than I used to pray in a week. Maybe.
I just can’t help thinking that God is trying to tell me something. And, not something I want to hear. But, then, when I think about that, I shock myself at my own arrogance. The hubris to think that God has a special message for me! On the other hand, so many people seem to think that he has a special message for everyone… Hell, I don’t know. All I know is that I’m not happy, but I don’t know how to let go of that. I don’t even have anything in particular to be unhappy about!

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually, so, just to keep things happy, here’s a prayer a friend of mine suggested to me…

The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

“O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, harmony.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sorrow, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.”

1/4/2004

One Year Manual

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,One Year Manual,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Snake which is mid-morning or 10:36 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

A quest to improve my spirituality.

I’m not sure how many entries I’ll make about this, but I hope to make more than this one. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to improve my spiritual life. Right now, I pray almost every morning and read from a daily devotional every morning. When I do pray in the morning, I use Judeo-Christian prayer with a Buddhist mala, which is a set of prayer beads. I don’t attend church, nor do I plan to in the near future. I just don’t have much use for organized religion on that scale these days. Of course, that may change. That’s all well and good, but I still feel like my personal spirituality is lacking.

So, a friend of mine suggested that I keep a prayer journal, or spirituality journal. He suggested that I write just things of a spiritual nature in that journal. Nothing about work, or family, or any other concern other than my spirituality. I mulled that over for a couple of weeks this year and somewhere in there remembered a book I’d read by Israel Regardie called The One Year Manual. Unfortunately, according to Amazon.com, it’s now out of print. (Though, RedWheel/Weiser, the publisher, says that it’s still available. ISBN: 0-87728-489-X) It’s a book of twelve exercises that are meant to improve one’s spiritual health. A book for starting to “walk the Path” as Regardie puts it. Obviously, each exercise is meant to be practiced about a month before moving on to the next exercise and each exercise builds on the last one. Also, Regardie suggests that praying four times a day, at the start of the student’s day, noon, the end of the student’s day and before retiring, is essential to the overall program. He lists four prayers, but I don’t particularly like them, so I’m finding my own. I have some I’m working with now, but I may change them further down the line. Regardie also suggests that the student keep a journal tracking their progress through the exercises. So, I’m going to do that.

The first exercise is about “body awareness”. The student is to sit or lay in a comfortable position and simply get in touch with what their body and surroundings are doing. The student should be as perfectly still as possible during this time, not responding to any thing, not even to scratch an itch. Simply to be aware of and acknowlege their body and surroundings. At first, these sessions should only last about 10 mintues, but they will eventually be up to thirty minutes. This should be done at least twice a day, no matter how long it’s being done. The purpose of this exercise is to develop both awareness and concentration. The goal is to be able be totaly aware of one’s surroundings and internal processes. Regardie says that it’s the first step toward “mindful living”, which sounds very comfortably Buddhist to me.

So, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll try to be brave enough to keep the Diary of a Network Geek updated with my progress.


Powered by WordPress