Running as a Spiritual Practice
A recent post by RunWiki about running as a way of meditation (an excellent blog and post!) got me thinking about how I would define the role and function of running in my life. I’ve heard it described as a moving meditation or a moving prayer, but those things don’t necessarily describe how running works for me. I find that some of my best runs don’t clear my mind but give me even more to think about, the way a therapy or counseling session gives people something to ponder and consider throughout the week.
Therefore, I would maybe describe running, in my life, as a spiritual practice. A spiritual practice is a discipline that people take part in in order to experience spiritual growth or advancement. Often, it’s described as walking a path or taking a journey and, in a way, the person practicing becomes a pilgrim on this journey. For this reason, I think spiritual practice is my word of choice.
I find, often, that even if I know my route and pace, my mind is drawn to all kinds of thoughts and ponderings. I may think about family, life, blessings, problems, solutions, or anything else. No matter where my thoughts go, however, each and every moment is an invitation to see my world in light of a larger picture. In the middle of a run, it doesn’t matter who I am anymore. It doesn’t matter where I’ve come from or where I’m going because I find myself in the midst of something wholly different. The world is experienced differently on foot than any other way of traveling.
Running takes discipline. It takes practice and patience. It takes examining what is around you and within you and gives you an opportunity to take a journey.
This journey doesn’t end and, in the end, why should it? Each step, each breath, and each thought is a journey and I plan on taking as many as I can.