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Running with the Mind of Meditation

Tibetan Buddhist lama Sakyong Mipham is head of a chain of "Shambhala Centers", enterprises devoted to mindfulness, meditative retreats, etc. He has also finished several marathons. Mipham's PB (personal best) is quite fast, a bit over 3 hours. His 2012 book, Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind, is likewise fast — though unfortunately repetitive and mystical, needlessly obscure and jargony, and in places selfish and boastful (jarring, especially for a Buddhist, to repeatedly roll out credentials from past lives, no?). It's also coyly oblique about Mipham's running history since 2008, when the last marathon of his appears in the Athlinks online records. (His interview in the August 2014 Runner's World magazine likewise glides by that topic.) Has he been injured? Lost interest in longer distances? Avoids official races?

But set aside those issues. Mipham, though not poetic in his language, often raises excellent themes including:

For example, near the end of Chapter 1:

... We need to exercise both our body and our mind. The nature of the body is form and substance. 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. When we give our mind and body what benefits them, a natural harmony and balance takes place. With this unified approach, we are happy, healthy, and wise.

And a few paragraphs later, in discussing the experience of ultramarathon runners, the lovely thought:

After you run for a while, what do you find in there but your own mind?

More quotes worth remembering to follow ...

^z - 2014-12-07