The most common understanding of meditation is “to muse,” “to ponder,” “to reflect,” or “to consider” and when you look at meditation in this way it’s easy for me to see how running is meditation! When I run I often ponder and reflect. The author mentions a few times how meditation can bring us to spiritual enlightenment.
In my last post I mentioned how repetitive prayer can become a mantra. In this chapter of the book the author talks a great deal about mantras and the use of them while running. He talks about what he calls “seed mantras” which are basic sounds we make that express good feelings - like that groan you make as you stretch as you get out of bed in the morning, or the sigh that you have as you drink that first sip of coffee. These sounds connect us with feelings deep inside and maybe even positive memories. Then we have the mantras that we use to focus. Often when I am using the prayer form of centering prayer I will have a word for phrase that I use when I know that I have let too many thoughts enter into my mind. Some people always use the same phrase, I often choose mine each time based on what is happening in my life. The final type of mantra the author talks about is to customize your mantra – make it something that speaks to you. Is there a phrase from the Bible that speaks to you and you want to carry with you as you run. One of my favorites is “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). But since I’m running I prefer to use that one when I’m meditating. While running I have often thought of “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). Mantras are good and help us to keep before us what is important.
In this chapter the author also introduces us to Lectio Divina, which is a beautiful way to pray with Sacred Scripture. What if you were to read a few verses of Scripture before you took off on your run and let that Scripture soak into your being as your ran? What if you let that be your mantra? Not comfortable with Scripture – try a good spiritual book and read a section before you go out. I run in the mornings but I am thinking I need to lay out next to my clothes a piece of paper with the Scripture on it – so I can read it before I go or even carry it with me to read if my foggy morning brain forgets it.
For me this was a beautiful chapter on really letting your run be a spiritual encounter rather than an exercise routine. What a wonderful concept – one worth pursuing!
What mantra or Scripture do you, or would you use, when you go out running?
God bless you on your next run. Be safe and careful in the heat!
**> TOMORROW’s RUN:
Still planning to meet at 5:30am to run as usual. Due to the heat warnings I will have water available should anyone want to carry a bottle with them as we go out! See you in the morning! **