Friday, February 5, 2010


I’ve been reading a lot of Buddhism recently. For years I’ve found running to be a perfect form of moving meditation; there’s nothing like a good run to get those alpha waves going. I used to have a regular Zen meditation practice, but I’ve found it hard to keep up with it. The kids demand constant attention and by the time I get them to bed I’m half asleep myself. Zen practice is all about mindfulness anyway, so instead of sitting on a cushion paying attention to my breathing, I put one foot in front of the other and concentrate on my running. Running is ideal for meditation because it is a repetitive physical activity that requires a measure of focus while not demanding too much in the way of technique. In a way it’s like sitting in zazen, although I find sitting still and not moving to be much harder than running. A Zen master once likened the mind during mediation to a man sitting on a chair in an empty room with all of the windows open. You just sit there in the room and see what wanders in. When you’re running you’re confronted with a lot more in the way of physical stimuli than when you’re sitting still-cars are a biggie-so you really do have to be present in the moment and use those incoming sense impressions as training aids.

When I’m running I try to integrate my awareness of my surroundings with an awareness of my body moving through space, breathing in and out. I don’t discriminate between good and bad thoughts and try to remain in the moment. The practice is pretty effective at clearing the mind and allowing solutions to problems to well up from the subconscious. Give it a try some time.


  1. I found meditation (and things like a body scan for 45 minutes) to be much more demanding than a run, because running is DOING and meditation is BEING. I wish I could have kept it up as it is so beneficial, but I've been trying to do so of late.

  2. That's why I try to do the two together, but maybe that just makes me lazy.