Lately, Mario and I have been reading quite a few books on Buddhism. And interestingly enough, as I have moved from a more traditional approach to weight training to calisthenics, I have found quite a few people, mainly Al Kavadlo, who have been greatly influenced by Buddhism. At first glance, it may be difficult to see how Buddhism and fitness are anywhere closely to being related. But, in fact, they very much are. Allow me to explain…
We just finished watching Peaceful Warrior, and it’s kind of like The Karate Kid with a little more depth. “Socrates” (the Mr. Miyagi of the film), forces Dan, the main character, to embrace some key principles of Buddhism, which in turn help him to find himself as a person and as a gymnast. To relate this to running, I’d like to share three key points of the film that can help us as athletes, to find peace, even when things are a little rough.
1) Be present. In this very moment. Right now. It’s not about the run tomorrow, the race next week, or how many miles are left in the marathon you just started. When you fail to focus on the present, you miss everything else going on around you. Perhaps one of my favorite lines from the movie is “There is never nothing going on. There are no ordinary moments.” Be present and really pay attention. There is no point in worrying about a workout that may or may not happen.
2) It’s about the journey. The journey is what brings us happiness. Not the end result. When we reach our end goal, more times than not, we still want more. From my own experience, I find this very much to be true. It was always a dream of mine to qualify for Boston. I’ve done it, twice, and I still want more. I once read the following: “If you aren’t happy with what you have, what makes you think you’ll be happier with more?”. Enjoy the journey and be happy with where you are right now.
3) Everything changes. In the past few months, I’ve had quite a few reminders of this one. From the marriage of good friends to the loss of loved ones, nothing is permanent. With respect to running, my own fitness level has declined quite a bit from the beginning of the summer. Sure, it’s not what I had envisioned going into Chicago but this is where I am right now and that’s okay. Just as I am not 100% right now, I won’t always be this way. Everything is constantly changing and when we can come to terms with this, we will not let the setbacks define us. Instead, they will help us along our way. It’s all part of the journey.
I really enjoyed the Peaceful Warrior and if you are looking for a good movie, it’s available on Netflix for instant streaming. Here is the trailer:
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Running Update: Chicago is next Sunday. Here are my stats from my last long run this morning. I look forward to a fun race and hanging out with good friends after I cross the finish line. No expectations, but if you want to follow me along the course, my bib number is 7328 and you can sign up here for runner tracking.