Running Meditation


Running. It was boring, exhausting, and repetitive and didn’t do much to make a person look all that good.

Discovered by complete accident, I was once told, “To burn body fat it’s not how fast you run but how long you run”. So I started going further.

What makes jogging a 24-6 pastime is that it requires no fossil-fuel energy, starts a day off the grid and you’re in the elements. You don’t need new-age trainers, gyms, treadmills or anybody’s permission (check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program though mine would be skeptical).

Of late, I tell myself that I feel like running and then, to just keep on running. At times it seems to help put the past behind and free my thoughts.

Believe it or not there are many people who run all day.
They’re called Ultra Runners and though that sounds like the province of elite athletes or exceptional humans – perhaps not always.

To spare you the long story here’s all you need to know.
Slow down a little and stay on the ball of your foot.

But the long story is a great one. And the anthropological record suggests that humans are evolved as a running species.

The book that explains a lot of this is Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen written by Christopher McDougall. The main character, Michael Randolf Hickman, a.k.a Micah True or Caballo Blanco was beautiful. He believed what he did was “running meditation” and his motto was ”Run free”. This I know against all expectations to be true. Even though I am a terrible athlete and way past my prime.

(I resist attaching links because 24-6 is s’posed to be your “Exit Ramp of the Information HighwaySM” but here it is).

Exercise for mind and body should seem obvious but perhaps not as much to a western mind. Remarkably, there is a quality of experience when you realize you are your body.

Running at a modest comfortable pace becomes easy to maintain.

Your breathing becomes regular.

Your thoughts range as in sitting or walking meditation and you, by necessity, return to your breath.

Silly of me to suggest this is a spiritual equivalent of other ancient practices or the current vogue of “mindfulness” but damn if it doesn’t have some merit to it. There is a crossing over of ordinary consciousness and perceived physical limits. To “run free” is not the cliché theory of runners’ high but our more evolutionary human state.

Who knew, or did we forget?

Steven Mitsch