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  • November 18th, 2018
  • Historic Virginia Key Beach Park
    4020 Virginia Beach Dr.
    Miami, FL 33149

By Sakyong Mipham

“Running can be a support for meditation, and meditation can be a support for running. Running
is a natural form of exercise, for it is simply an extension of walking. When we run, we
strengthen our heart, remove stagnant air, revitalize our nervous system, and increase our
aerobic capacity. It helps us develop a positive attitude. It creates exertion and stamina and
gives us a way to deal with pain. It helps us relax. For many of us, it offers a feeling of freedom.
Likewise, meditation is a natural exercise of the mind—an opportunity to strengthen,
reinvigorate, and cleanse. Through meditation we can connect with that long-forgotten
goodness we all have. It is very powerful to feel that sense of goodness: having confidence and
bravery in our innermost being.
Just as in running, in meditation we leave behind our daily concerns—the daydreaming, stress,
and planning. We become very present. We enter into the now. By doing that, our mind builds
strength. Our nervous system begins to relax. We develop appreciation and awareness. Our
intelligence and memory become sharper. We are able to see the world from more than one
perspective. We are no longer imprisoned by emotional highs and lows. Love, compassion, and
other positive qualities become more easily accessible. Just as in running, when we finish
meditating, we feel refreshed, and much for the same reason: meditation is a natural, healthy
activity.

We need to exercise both our body and our mind. The nature of the body, is form and
substance. The nature of the mind is consciousness. Because the body and mind are different
by nature, what benefits them is different in nature 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 takes place. With this unified approach, we are happy, healthy,
and wise.
Even in the ancient world, it was understood that people are happier when their minds are
flexible and their bodies are strong.

Both physically and mentally, we are taking on a great load. In order to handle that load, we
need to attend to our well-being. Because the mind and the body are intimately connected,
relieving the stress of the body through exercise has an immediate effect on the mind: the mind
is no longer dealing with the discomfort of the body. If the body is relaxed and flexible, that is
one less thing for the mind to think about. The physical act of running thus provides some
mental relief, especially the greater the distance run.

After you run for a while, what do you find in there but your own mind? You work with that mind
by meditating regularly.

Running works with the periphery or the superficial level of thoughts, concerns, and worries.
Meditation not only deals with the periphery, it goes all the way down to the core. The path of
meditation can be used in simple and immediate ways. It will help you recover from a stressful
day or clear your mind before making an important decision.”