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Editorial Reviews. Review. "A straight-ahead, sober, and thoughtful dual guide to the joys of running and Buddhist meditation." Library Journal. About the.
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Love, compassion, and other positive qualities become more easily accessible. Just as in running, when we finish meditating, we feel refreshed, and much for the same reason: meditation is a natural, healthy activity. They become strong, radiant, and resilient. We even have a type of meditation in Tibet called heat meditation, in which yogis who are able to use the power of their mind to control their body heat meditate in subzero conditions for months, wearing only a cotton shawl.
Likewise, it is unlikely that we are going to attain enlightenment by running, even though some have tried. Rather, these activities go hand in hand.
We need to exercise both our body and our mind. The nature of the body is form and substance.
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The nature of the mind is consciousness. Because the body and mind are different by nature, what benefits them is different in nature as well. The body benefits from movement, and the mind benefits from stillness.
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When we give our mind and body what benefits them, a natural harmony and balance take place. With this unified approach, we are happy, healthy, and wise. Even in the ancient world, it was understood that people are happier when their minds are flexible and their bodies are strong. In the modern world, we are faced with conditions that challenge this mental and physical balance.
We sleep less now, so we are often tired. The quality of the air in our environment may be poor, so we become even tighter and more tired. Often we are stressed from the moment we wake up. Even our food is constantly being manipulated. Both physically and mentally, we are taking on a great load. Because the mind and the body are intimately connected, relieving the stress of the body through exercise has an immediate effect on the mind: the mind is no longer dealing with the discomfort of the body.
Running with the Mind of Meditation : Lessons for Training Body and Mind
If the body is relaxed and flexible, that is one less thing for the mind to think about. The physical act of running thus provides some mental relief, especially the greater the distance run. In teaching my first meditation and running workshop, I was struck by the number of participants who were ultra- marathon runners. When I considered their experience, it made sense.
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After you run for a while, what do you find in there but your own mind? You work with that mind by meditating regularly. Running works with the periphery or the superficial level of thoughts, concerns, and worries. Meditation not only deals with the periphery, it goes all the way down to the core. The path of meditation can be used in simple and immediate ways. It will help you recover from a stressful day or clear your mind before making an important decision.
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If you get distracted by a bus or something, notice that, and come back to the feeling of the breath. Sitting meditation is still important because the body and mind need stillness and movement, like training and rest. We are a very active rush-rush culture, and sitting meditation balances this.
In addition to that, training the mind in stillness is easier and allows more strength to develop so that when we are in a more chaotic situation, the mind is ready and strong. How has meditation changed your own running? For the first one, my goal was logging miles and I relied on music to get through my run. In , I was more interested in the experience of running, the feeling of it, even if it was painful or hard, because I was less afraid of that pain. I knew I could handle it. What questions did runners ask at the sessions? There are no guarantees but others have experienced this.
One Shambhala instructor, John Pratt, ran a very fast time, which was not his intention, but he won his age category. The distractions and thoughts are a natural part of the technique. In Shambhala meditation, the outside world is included.
Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind
Some other practices focusing on shutting out the senses, but we include distractions, all sounds and sights. So notice the thought, then go back to your object of meditation.
How long and often do you have to meditate for it to be effective?