Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

4.01.2011

Applicable to More than Running, I Think

I think perhaps the thing I love most about distance running is the quiet, meditative aspect. Letting my body slip into an automatic gear that takes no thought can free my mind to either wander creatively or focus clearly, and something about the endorphins or other chemicals cycling through the brain seems to facilitate thinking in a way that sitting around doesn’t.

But, while running can be a great solitary activity, it can be even better when shared. Particularly if your goal is to challenge yourself to work harder and expand your limits. Anytime you run faster than an easy pace and push yourself for an extended time, you’ll have periods when you feel good and other times when you’re hurting. It can be quite difficult to not back off your pace and slow somewhat when it gets hard. But if you’re running beside someone stride for stride or, even better, in the middle of a group, you can take breaks from concentrating on not slowing down and instead make it your goal to not lose a step on your companion(s). You can let them pull you through the rough patches, in other words, because maintaining someone else’s pace is generally much easier than fighting to maintain your own. Then after a bit you’ll feel good again, so you can return the favor when it gets hard for them. You take turns pulling each other along, offering encouragement when it’s needed and companionship when it’s not.

There are the odd times when you might actually have to slow down for each other, of course. Even worse is getting attached to a group that pulls each other down instead of up, which can happen, negatively feeding off each other to go ever slower instead of faster. But with a committed, positive group, you learn to look to each other for help when needed and it becomes automatic to reciprocate as much as possible. You all make each other better. The key is to have that understanding from the start, to get everyone in agreement that’s your goal, so when you find yourselves drifting away from it there’s nothing jarring or out of place about a reminder to maintain the proper focus. So while many of my favorite runs have been solo meditations, the best ones have always been in the company of others as part of a team.

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