Running to Stand Still

A copy of the January 2008 issue of Outside magazine happened to fall into my hands recently, and between all the glossy advertisements for trucks, sports drinks, and expensive vacations, on page 68 was a thoughtful little essay by Monique Ryan, "Running to Stand Still", subtitled "Meditation doesn't mean sitting. True practice can work on the trail, in the surf, or on the slopes." Yes, it's also a review of a course at a yoga and health center, with URL and pricetag "From $775" at the end. Nevertheless, the article soars above that. A key thought:

... I've come to understand that awareness isn't something you obtain — it's a way of living. It's a practice.

Ryan concludes:

I also ran. I worried that the adrenaline kick would make a quiet mind impossible, but Rosenberg kept saying awareness is something to bring into every waking moment. So off I went in the early evenings on wooded trails, trying to run mindfully but inevitably falling into my pattern of thinking about everything except that which was right before me.

Then it happened. On my last evening at the retreat, I bolted two miles up to a ridge, stopping to take in the autumn forest. I closed my eyes and found my breath. In, out. In, out ... I can't say how long it lasted — ten seconds? a minute? — and I can't say how it felt, because I didn't feel anything. I was just there. Right there. For the first time ever.

(cf. Engineering Enlightenment (1999-10-09), Achieve New Balance (2002-07-17), Light Mind (2002-08-22), Aikido Spirit (2003-12-09), Nothing Happens (2005-10-08), ...) - ^z - 2008-07-05

(correlates: Comments on Projectile Precision, ChicksWithPicks, PracticeMakesProgress, ...)