Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Running Meditation

Running Meditation, Portland, Oregon, May 2008, Nikon D40 with 18-200mm VR lens, Focal length 50mm, Exposure 1/13 sec @ f4.8, ISO 800, exposure bias -1/3 stop, no flash, circular polarizing filter © Steven Crisp [Click on the photo to enlarge]

Step 2. Nurture Peace in Yourself
{continuing the series, by Susan Skog}

"The first step is to come home to ourselves. You don't need to become a Buddha. You need to become yourself." -- Thich Nhat Hanh

It's hard to stay peaceful if we're overwhelmed by life. Find some peace, calm, and stability in your inner world so you can be kinder in your outer world. Do whatever soothes you, daily. Spend time in nature, meditate, sing, dance, play, chill on the couch. Do yoga, read by the fire, eat good chocolate while watching an entire sunset. Disconnect from conflict and just breathe for a while. Center yourself and tap into the peace you already carry within.

For me, it is not the cushion, but simply time alone.

Walking or running, especially in nature, usually does the trick. I notice that a few things happen.

Sometimes I work out problems -- things that didn't seem clear or resolvable before, now I see a way ahead.

Sometimes my mind is elsewhere, and I am just part of the rhythm of my breath and my steps. During those times, I may just feel the eventual euphoria called the runner's high (which is pretty nice by itself).

But many times, I have little "aha" moments. When my mind is clear and not focused on anything, and then a new idea, disconnected from anything else, just pops into my head. It's a creative inspiration, and then my mind can take that and run with it.

Othertimes, what I'll call "deep thoughts" appear and I spend time examining them. Not looking for answers to questions, but twirling the issue around so that I can see all sides of it. I like to challenge my own biases and cultural prejudices, and see if I can examine it from another's point of view. I like to blend the "us vs them" perspectives, and help uncover how there is only "all as one".

So this is my approach to nurturing peace within myself. What's yours? Whatever works best for you -- just give it time.

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