One of the benefits of shifting my life away from chasing race results, and money, has been increased time for reading great books. The three themes I’ve been enjoying are biography, philosophy (Old Path White Clouds; Beyond Religion) and behavioral psychology (Thinking, Fast and Slow).
When I attended the class on contemplative parenting, the teacher mentioned a book on running and meditation. I’ve often felt that exercise is the closest that I get to prayer – so I bought a copy of the book to see what I could learn.
The book makes an interesting observation that exercise doesn’t settle the mind; it merely exhausts the mind. Specifically, the author notes that exercise is episodic in the nature of the assistance it provides, while meditation is cumulative in the benefits it provides (each session building upon previous work). All the explanations, tips and stories are shared in the context of athletic training, which made it easy for me to relate.
I’ve noticed that my daughter tends to copy me and, at three, the #1 issue she’s facing is learning to direct her energy into feelings other than anxiety. When she gets excited, she is frequently overwhelmed. Given that she likes to copy me, and is educated by folks that meditate daily, I figured that learning about mediation might benefit us both. At a minimum, meditation could become a useful back-up plan in case circumstances limit my ability to exhaust my mind!
I’m approaching it like I was coaching myself to my first ever 10K; daily short-duration sessions with very modest expectations.
If you’re an athlete searching for serenity then the book (Running with the Mind of Meditation) may interest.