Sunday, January 18, 2009

This Week's Long Run

Running Matters (to a lunatic perhaps, and to which station I claim):

How much self transcendence is involved in the long distance run? Or the weight lifting and nutrition and time commitment necessary to be an endurance athlete? Or the patience required to just go along for several hours?

[This channel will be on hold for 4 hours while the runner goes running.]

Four plus hours and 22 plus miles later, am I still spiritual?

I began with humility and trepidation. The Presence of Holiness attended the lacing of the shoes and the layering of clothes, the filling of water bottles and the storage of energy packets; like a priestess preparing for the sacred liturgy in the temple of the long road.

I am a solitary runner. Today, in secret, I ran along and along; a mystery as I ran. The secret rock ritual, the secret pee, the hidden spat of anger at the stupid UA tights which were twisting around my leg; these little things are the mystery. To what purpose did that leaf hit me in the chest? For Whom have I endured the humiliation of the north wind and its inhumane lashes? I am shown to be the puny weakling that I am. My high tech gear does not prevent the wind from ravishing me to the bone.

I am a spirit and the mystery of running disembodies me. Today, alone in the park, down there, up there, down there, up there, put a rock on the post, squat to pee, take a package of Gu; around and around and around; I was nothing and nobody, a mystery. After three hours, I can’t think. I’m done praying, the song in my head has faded away, and simply run. I am moving forward, but my mind has begun grasping at straws.

I completed 6 laps plus ¾ of a lap. My butt was dragging that last partial lap. My body was not in pain, but my mind was having a tough time. At that point, any mind can rationalize shortening the run, not going all the way. This resistance is the self transcendence wall. Endurance takes you beyond your self; if you can somehow keep going. Each step is my affirmation to live, to be alive; to not live dead on the couch for the next 30 years. This is my way. Voluntarily strengthening the mind to go the last mile is why running matters. Distance running is optional; but so is self transcendence.

A shower, spirulina, chlorella, royal jelly, water, a salad, coffee.

I am having a hermit day. This means that I am not involved with people; taking a break from life. I did have my usual morning spiritual practice; but then I spent 4 hours on a long distance run. When I was in the monastery was when I first heard of hermit days. They allowed each person one day a month to be alone. This breach of community and reprieve from the liturgical work was justified in the eremitical tradition of monastic history. You were supposed to go into a silent desert (your cell) and spend time alone with your lover (God); and praying for the world. I did spend additional time in meditation those hermit days; but no more than I do every day in my current life as a solitary. I used hermit days to go for long runs. Of course back then, a long run was only about 10 miles; now as you can see, it is a bit more. My life in the world comes to fruition. The training leads to a marathon. The meditation leads to helping others. Now, when I pray for the world, it is my voluntary choice; not because I’m a nun and required to. My lover (God) still comes around, but His intensity is much more demanding. My self transcendence leads to voluntarily entering the inner Heaven; where the spiritual wind is as ravishing as the north wind I experienced on my run. The only difference is I have no protective clothing against the inner spiritual wind.

Candy from ACIM:
  • God offers thanks to the holy host who would receive Him (Christ), and lets Him enter and abide where He would be.
  • And by allowing Him to enter, the remembrance of the Father enters with Him, and with Him they remember the only relationship they ever had, and ever want to have.

    Now, I think I will retire to a reclining position.

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