Salad Wars, Part III: Inner Answers

This is about eggs and God and a three-hour run in the Marin Headlands. But I’ll get to that in a moment.

In my work as a writer and editor, I have a wonderful client. At age 79, he still works full time and drives 40 miles each way from his home in San Francisco. He’s been the CEO of a $100 million company and a college president, professor and dean. For several years in the 1960s, he worked closely with Martin Luther King, Jr. When Dr. King died, he was at the family’s side, accompanying Coretta Scott King and her children to a secluded location where they could grieve apart from the public eye.

My assignment is to write an oral history of the company of which he is president. At our last meeting, over lunch at a Burmese restaurant in Palo Alto, when I finished my formal questions, he asked about my work as a writer. “Are you able to make a living at it?”

I said, “You know, for five years it was extremely hard, and there’s a kind of spiritual story behind that. I got pushed to the edge, I really did, and I finally realized–I had a sort of waking realization of what my life was about. I suddenly knew that I am here for just three reasons: to love God (at this point, he reached across the table and shook my hand), to serve, and to live simply. And that’s the essence of happiness, those three things. But that’s what I return to over and over, you know?”

He said, “Well, you should convert to my religion, Judaism, because that’s what we believe.”

Later, I told him how, immediately after I had that realization, jobs began raining out of the sky. Same Craigslist ad I’d posted for years – but now I had so many clients, it was scary.

We discussed the spiritual life, and he said, “The Jewish religion is very much as you just said…. I’ll leave you with that. So you should convert to Judaism and you’d be very happy.”

I laughed, “I think I’m already converted to a brand of what you believe.” (I’ve been “converted” to my chosen path for 40 years. I began my spiritual search in 1967.)

He said, “Well, good for you. I believe very strongly in God, very strongly in lots of things but particularly in God…. I’ll be 80 in February, I’ll die soon, and then we’ll see. I’m firmly convinced there’s an afterlife. God intervenes in my life all the time. All the time. Every day. All you have to do is look. A personal God. A personal God. It’s astonishing. I mean, it is truly astonishing.”

I said, “I know. In the argument between the fundamentalists and the atheist-scientists, neither of them approach religion scientifically. You know, if you want to be scientific about religion, what do you do? You look for experience, right? It has to be an experience. So then you have to use the tools appropriate to your field of investigation.”

He said, “Absolutely.”

I said, “And those tools are meditation and prayer.”

He said, “Exactly. By the way, all you have to do is open your eyes and see God’s purpose.”

I said, “Just because the proof is subjective, so what? It’s proof nonetheless.”

He said, “Right. Exactly.”

I said, “You know, and it’s not entirely subjective, because things happen, like when I arrived at a new understanding and jobs began falling out of the sky. Objective things.”

He said, “Either the world is one set of amazing coincidences, or there is a God. And it’s much harder to believe the first one.”

I’ve shared our talk because it deeply inspired me. My friend is a man of deep courage, humility, and kindness. He is very magnetic. It is a joy to be in his presence. In my life, I’ve achieved a fraction of what he has, and yet my successes have also come by prayer. A main thread of my book, Fitness Intuition, is that the human heart is a bridge between earth and heaven. Turn the heart toward the body, and it can give us answers about pace, distance, frequency, and intensity—the four prime dimensions of training—not to mention diet, sleep, and choosing the best running shoes. Turn the heart in another direction, and it can give us answers for the larger issues in our lives. These aren’t merely ideas; they are experiences, which, like my friend, I’ve had, without exaggeration, thousands of times in the last 40 years.

There’s a wonderful book that I can recommend to thoughtful runners: Out of the Labyrinth, by J. Donald Walters, which counters the arguments of the reductionist scientists who affirm that there are no higher realities than the material. Walters argues from a more ancient tradition in which consciousness is held to be the ultimate reality, of which matter is only the most outward manifestation. It’s a great book, very readable, though it deals with serious intellectual subjects. I wish I’d had when I was in college and searching desperately for meaning. Another wonderful book by Walters that presents substantially the same ideas, but at a less intellectual level, is Hope for a Better World.

But my point is, a higher consciousness is present everywhere, and it is not difficult to prove it. God is both infinite and infinitesimal. He is as concerned with the smallest details of our lives as with running 200 billion galaxies, each of which may contain 200 billion stars.

And that brings me to eggs.

I had reached a point in my training where I was fed up. In running, and at the gym, I was desperate for a change, because I simply wasn’t making progress. Was it because I’m old (65)? Or because I was doing something wrong? I had no idea. But I was sufficiently fed-up to ask God for answers with a full and open heart. With utmost frankness, I said, “I hate the way I’m training. There’s something wrong. I simply don’t have the energy that I should have. I need answers, otherwise it isn’t worthwhile.” I was then inspired to pick up a book that’s been on my shelf for a couple of years, Challenge Yourself, by Clarence Bass. That book gave me insights about weight training that have proved wonderfully effective. For the first time in years, I’m making real progress, in my running and at the gym. For running, I was inspired to—sit down and hold tight—eat raw eggs.

Yep, raw-egg smoothies. (Here’s an article on the ins-and-outs of raw eggs.) For about 10 years, I’ve felt that something’s been missing in my diet. I’m positive that others may not have the same problem, and may not benefit as I did from eating raw eggs. (Answers to prayers are always individual. And they seldom come unless I ask strongly, with intense energy and concentration.)

During the last year, I’ve tried to build my long run to 20 miles, to improve my endurance at all distances. But I’ve become “stuck” at 2½ hours. Before I left the house on Saturday, I asked where I should go running, and whether I should do a long run, or do speedwork instead. I always ask God to guide my training, because I’ve found that if I follow the intuitive suggestions that come, it’s more interesting and meaningful. And in my mind’s eye, I saw a run across the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands.

The run went extremely well. I ran for 3 hours with a sense of ease throughout, even though I climbed 1000’ to the top of the Headlands. It was obvious that the eggs were giving my body something that it had been lacking. For months, whenever I was deep into a long run, my legs had felt fragile, but today they were strong and more than equal to the task. Deciding between doing speedwork or a long run, I had felt intuitively that the long run would provide a “proof of concept” for the experiment with raw eggs. I felt so strong, I even ran a mile at a fast tempo pace during the return across the bridge.

My aim is not to persuade you to eat raw eggs, but to add my testimony to that of others who’ve made the experiment and found that a conscious universe is intimately concerned their welfare.

My wonderful client told me on several occasions that he attributes all of his success to prayer. Even at his age, his energy is strong and he is full of life. Into his mid-70s, he was still running marathons, but health problems now limit him to lifting weights and walking on the treadmill three times a week.

Here’s a raw egg smoothie recipe, adapted from one on the Mercola Web site:

  • 1-2 raw organic range-fed eggs
  • 1 tbsp organic coconut oil (optional: add ½-1 tbsp organic coconut butter)
  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I use Diamond brand, from Whole Foods)
  • Frozen cherries (from Trader Joe)
  • Frozen pineapple (Whole Foods or TJ)
  • ½ banana
  • Sweeten with stevia powder to taste.

P.S. The thought occurs: Was my poor endurance due to a protein deficiency, which the raw eggs filled? I doubt it. In my search for a solution, I tried milk, cottage cheese, and protein powders, without anything like the results I got from eggs. Go figure. In general, I find that whole foods work better than white powders. Thus, buttermilk and dates speed my recovery more than Hammer Nutrition’s Recoverite powder. Recoverite does work, but I find that it works better if I also focus on whole foods after training hard.