Running made me free. It rid me of concern for the opinion of others. Dispensed me from rules and regulations imposed from outside. Running let me start from scratch. It stripped off those layers of programmed activity and thinking. Developed new priorities about eating and sleeping and what to do with leisure time. Running changed my attitude about work and play. About whom I really liked and who really liked me. Running let me see my twenty-hour-hour day in a new light and my life style from a different point of view, from the inside instead of out.
“Bhikkhus, there are these five benefits of walking meditation. What five? One becomes capable of journeys; one becomes capable of striving; one becomes healthy; what one has eaten, drunk, consumed, and tasted is properly digested; the concentration attained through walking meditation is long lasting. These are the five benefits of walking meditation.”
“Monks, these are the five rewards for one who practices walking meditation. Which five?
“He can endure traveling by foot; he can endure exertion; he becomes free from disease; whatever he has eaten & drunk, chewed & savored, becomes well-digested; the concentration he wins while doing walking meditation lasts for a long time.
“These are the five rewards for one who practices walking meditation.”
One important principle the way of the Buddha has to offer to the modern world is the concept of freedom. Paradoxically this true freedom comes not from getting what you want, but from refrain from wanting. This freedom means to make yourself free from desire, free from greed, free from dogma and false hopes. True freedom comes from letting go or, more precisely, not grasping. It is deeply rooted within our nature and so is absolute, something we cannot lose. But along the way and in modern society we lost contact with it. To regain this contact we need to go back to ourselves to find our inner core and self-acceptance.
When we learn to accept our self, our live and to our environment, we will become more harmonious and we will develop a responsive relationship with our self and with our desires. Only from there we will learn to make ourselves free. Running as a meditation, can help in learning to relate from our center to the center in everything. When we learn to relate from our center it takes away the limitations imposed on us by our egos and by our environment, that will make us more free, and enables us to enjoy life even more.
The process for finding our own freedom is a long and sometimes lone path, and the outcome depends on being mindfully in the right attitude. It starts with understanding the distinction between the conventional and the Buddhist understandings of freedom. This is critical since this freedom is not pursued nor won; but rather experienced by letting things go. All easier said then done, speaking for myself: most off the time I find my self moving like a pendulum in between states. Highly influenced by my reaction on things and events that happen around me, and how I deal with them.
Despite the pain in my right knee I finished fit and happy. If it was not for the knee pain I could have been faster. Until km 55 all was good. But since I could not run downhill anymore the last 15 km took way longer then expected. Still proud to have finished even slightly faster then last time. I did not do any extra training for this race, just my basic 5/6 rounds a week of 10 / 17 km. Quit surprised and happy to see that my base condition is strong enough to run a tough race like this one.
The http://www.allgaeu-panorama-marathon.de/ Ultra is one of my favorite runs; realy well organized, nice and friendly staff, all very supportive, Also a great track with sometimes spectacular views. The 70 km distance is good to handle and the hight meters (3000!) make it hard enough but still do able.
This was the third time I participated in this race, and definitely not the last time.
I want to be able to keep running as free and democratic as possible. I run because it gives me far too much that I couldn’t possibly not. It makes us more intelligent, de-stresses us, and makes us fitter. It gets us away from technology, allows our brains to rest, and encourages creativity. Running can be all that.
Running is not just a sport. It reconnects us to our bodies and the places in which we live, breaking down our increasingly structured and demanding lives. It allows us to feel the world beneath our feet, lifts the spirit, allows our minds out to play and helps us to slip away from the demands of the modern world.
“Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes no sense in a world of spaceships and supercomputers to run vast distances on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense. The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of their being – a call that asks who they are …” – David Blaikie