Running is, as running does…

I never understood why Forest kept running and running, heck I never understood why people ran at all. But, running has become a huge part of my life over the past few months.

My health has not been so good lately, and I decided it was time to do something about it. I thought of a couple ways I could, and I started doing it. The first few times I barely jogged a 1/2 mile, it would kill my legs and I honestly felt defeated half of the time. I knew I had to overcome that self-defeat and kept pushing. I got myself up to a mile, a mile and a half, to being able to complete 3 mile runs.

In September I ran my first 5k and finished in a little over 30 minutes, 31 minutes and 33 seconds to be exact. I was blown away by my time, blown away by the fact I could hold my own against people who were way more fit than I. I was happy beyond belief, though, to have even finished.

On Thanksgiving day I ran my second 5k, and finished in 28 minutes and 22 seconds. I had shaved nearly 2 minutes off of my PR from the first race. I felt emboldened, as if I finally was getting somewhere. But, where exactly was I going, and how was I getting there? Am I running for health, or for some other reason.

As I go over and over it in my head, and I hate to admit it, but it’s become another infatuation of mine. My life is pure, unadulterated samsara, my habitual patterns continue and continue. At the same time, I feel in a weird way that I am running away from something. I still have yet to figure that part out, but sooner or later it’ll catch up… it always does.

So, at this point, has running really done anything for me? Absolutely, it has. A while back I saw on Facebook a video someone had posted where Sakyong Mipham spoke of his love for running. He talked about how it is like a meditation for him.

Lately, I have not been meditating, circumstances in my life made it virtually impossible. After watching the video though, I started looking at my running a little bit differently. I tried to keep my pace even. I have tried to focus not on the running so much, but on the rhythm of the running. I’ve worked on synchronizing my breath with the pace I am running. It’s amazing how these minor tweaks have turned an exercise for the body, into an exercise for the mind.

As my body has become more at ease, slowly, but surely, my mind has been calling me back. I could go on and on with the pity party that has been my life as of late, but I know there is work to be done. Meditation, and the Dharma, are calling me back. While my body and mind seem rather dry, I am gently dipping my toes back in the stream. My body has never been something I felt would lead me in the direction of tranquility, but is telling me to keep going. To keep running, because not only does it feel good, but because it helps.


  1. Keep it up, Nate! I’ve been running for about 16 years now, and have made it a conscious part of my meditation practice for at least the last 5 years, and it works. Bringing mindfulness to my breathing and body during runs has made the running more enjoyable and, I believe, helped keep me relatively injury-free even through a marathon and several half-marathons. I do set goals for myself and I am always pleased when I mark a new PR, but I never let those become ‘driving forces’ during the run – as that would bring my mind to mere arbitrary numbers in the realm of desire and away from the present breath and physical sensations.

  2. right on. keep running. (i’ve been doing the same thing, keeping in mind what Sakyong Mipham was saying, in my running sessions. and i listen to dharma talks too sometimes.)

    the main thing is i need to be doing more. thanks for a little inspiration. i need all i can get.

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