I hope that I’m not alone in my belief that running can serve as a spectacular form of meditation. When I floated this blog idea past my friend, RM, she jokingly(?) replied that running is simply pain — worse yet, pain we willfully inflict upon ourselves. The opposite of a Zen-like state. But I disagree with her sardonic answer, whether or not she really meant it.
The Ritual of Running
When you think about it, running is a ritual. We choose specific garb. We amp ourselves up for the act, getting into the right mindset to head out onto the track. Often, we choose familiar courses when we run. When possible, we run on a specific schedule.
Several of us have dedicated “Running Jam” playlists. But runs themselves have rhythm: the plodding of each footstep, the motion of the arms, the regular cycle of inhaling and exhaling, the beating of our hearts. That seems pretty Zen to me.
This natural rhythm can’t help but attune you with your body and the ‘here and now.’ You are in the moment with every step you take, aware of your breathing, your balance, and yes, even your pain.
Running as a Tool for Inspiration
Often, when I suffer a creative block or have a weighty decision on my conscience, I find that a good run helps clear my mind. It seems to become more receptive to new ideas, inspiration, or resolutions.
Lost in the steady plodding of my footsteps, in harmony with body and surroundings, my mind is free to wander. When I’m out running, I can’t send any emails or return any calls. There are no video chats or domestic distractions. For a few brief, glorious moments, deadlines do not exist. No one expects anything of me, so my mind can relax. Sometimes, it finds marvelous things when it wanders.
Give it a try.
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