Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Runner’s Hermitage

I am supposed to be tapering for a big marathon. Since the weather looks a bit messy for the race, I have been focusing more on just running and not worrying about time. So, I ran 3.5 miles this morning. It was clear at 4 am, 37F, damp from rain last night. I decided to go to my secret place, my hidden running room away from the world.

In the park by my house, there is a mile loop that goes down a dirt road and up a cement one. In the dark, I do it with my Petzl light. My world becomes very narrow as all I can see is a short path in front of me. In the dark, you can enter a strange timelessness. In the dark, you can lose your worldly bearings and normal boundaries of who and what you think you are. As you become as nothing human, you feel the force of Life as the predominant and essential component of your being.

In the hermitage, you can inventory your short comings; but there is a Who to heal them. In the hermitage, you don’t have to be what everyone expects you to be and return to the actuality of your truth. In the hermitage, you have no clothes or masks or façade. Your holiness is supreme in and of itself; it needs no exterior objective symbolism. Your holiness explains itself to you in impressions and realizations. I have been trained to think this image is holy:

But what about this one:

In the light of day, outside the hermitage, the runner is "just a runner." In the hermitage, I am still "just a runner." Holiness just is. It is in the narrow dark mystery of the secret running room. It is the the lighted expansiveness of day. A runner is spirit. A runner is Life. Life is the essential characteristic of my being. My soul speaks Life to me.

All human beings are holy; it doesn't matter what they look like or do. All creation is holy because God is holy; and there could be nothing else.

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