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Monday, September 10

Zen Time

The ABCs and running series: Today's topic “Zen Time.”
Being aware of what your body is doing and it’s place in the universe will help you connect with your inner self.
While running, you can either tune in or tune out. (Or as a writer at Runner’s World penned; “associate or dissociate.”) When you tune in – you’re not only paying attention to your body, but to the moment - and that’s the key.
I personally can’t do a full run in the Zen mode – (Type A personalities have difficulty clearing the mind.) But I schedule Zen breaks in my regular runs. I scamper through a local orchard, where I can escape distractions.
So, next week - pick a day and run for the delight of running – no watches, GPS devices, ipods, cameras, or cellphones. And get ready for sudden flashes of enlightenment.

“Just our awareness of our sensations, of our experience, with no object or idea in mind, is the practice of not preferring any particular state of mind. Such intimacy with our activity and the objects around us connects us deeply to our lives.”
Darlene Cohen
Zen teacher at the San Francisco Zen Center

Tips to be present in the moment:
  • Read this little book before you go," The Zen of Running"
  • (pdf version online) by Fred Rohe . Some of the ideology in this 1975 book is very 70s (running barefoot to get in touch with Mother Earth) but it has a lot of timeless wisdom like; “Every time you run, you create the quality of your own experience.”
  • Actually feel the way your foot strikes the pavement – and how you roll then rebound to the next step. Listen to your foot falls.
  • Be aware your breath. Are you breathing through your mouth or nose? Feel your chest wall rise and fall. Smile
  • Focus on your hips and the power generated in your thighs.
  • Experience the weather – can you feel the warmth of the early morning sun on the backs of your legs?
  • Relax your grip, spread your fingers – wave.
  • Have some fun – tap into your inner child. Just run!
  • Watching television. (Diehard treadmill fans.)
  • Listening to music.
  • Worrying about work, your weight, the rest of the day...
  • Fixating on mileage, speed, personal records.