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Lions Roar : November 2017
I BEGAN TO RUN simply as a way to get exercise. Running strengthens the heart, removes stagnant air, revitalizes the nerves, and increases aerobic capacity. It creates stamina and gives us a way to deal with pain. It helps us relax. It offers a feeling of freedom. I soon discovered that running offered experi- ences similar to meditation. In both running and meditation, we leave behind our daily concerns and enter into the now. We build strength and relax our nervous systems. We develop appreciation and awareness. Our intelligence and memory become sharper, and we are able to see the world from more than one perspective. Since we are no longer impris- oned by emotional highs and lows, love, compas- sion, and other positive qualities become more easily accessible. It is not a matter of choosing which is better— exercising the mind or exercising the body. These activities go hand in hand. The nature of the body is form and substance. The nature of the mind is con- sciousness. Because the body and mind are different by nature, what benefits them is different 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 take place. A lifetime of meditation has demonstrated to me that once you begin to respect yourself and what you do—not in an egocentric way, but with appre- ciation and self-worth—then any activity becomes meaningful. Running with the mind of meditation is taking the attitude that your experience is worthy of your attention. Each phase of the practice focuses on a way to be fully engaged in your run, even on the treadmill. 1. Be Mindful In the first phase, the focus is on being mindful—of your breath, posture, thoughts, and feelings, and the attitude you’re bringing to your run. Examine your SAKYONG MIPHAM is a Buddhist teacher and the head of Shambhala. His new book is The Lost Art of Good Con- versation (see review page 74). ILLUSTRATIONSBYCAROLEHÉNAFF HOW TO PRACTICE Running as Meditation SAKYONG MIPHAM says that when we run with the mind of meditation, we train the mind and body together. LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2017 29 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE