As a boy I loved to run just for the sheer animal pleasure of it. There was something magical about moving my body – the feet flying, the churning of the legs, the pumping of the heart, and the rapid breathing – that was immensely appealing to me. I had always been a walker and running became for me a natural extension of this form of exercise.
As a middle-aged man, my running shifted to the treadmill in our home. This regular form of exercise was transformed into spiritual practice. I picked up some helpful material from Roger D. Joslin's Running the Sacred Path. Here are a few practices I adapted:
- Prepare mindfully for your run as you put on your socks and shoes.
- Stretch before you run, focusing your attention on each muscle. Ask God to bless your time and bring strength and renewal to your body and mind.
- Give thanks for your feet and all the things they make possible in your days and doings.
- Use music to lift your spirits and bring even more elation to your running experience.
- Spend the last part of your run opening to the Divine presence.
I no longer run, having shifted to regular walks around the city and on the treadmill, but I feel that I have made the most of this sacred experience. It has been a spiritual teacher for me over the years.