I’m running every day now. It really is amazing how quickly I picked up this habit. There’s a point one reaches in their own development where when you decide to do something, its virtually garunteed that you’ll go through with it, without resistance from within. I’m not totally there yet, but running every day is, I think, a good land mark along the way. I am appreciative of my journey and my place on that journey so far. I do recognize that I am procrastinating on my essay, but I am appreciativeo f how far I’ve come.
Running every day, though, has included some very good benefits. Doing it soon after waking up allows me to wake up faster, have more energy during the day. Yesterday, in my three hour lecture I noticed I had higher concentration for more the lecture. I’m also able to relax a bit more. And I love the boost to my mood and self-esteem that regular excersize gives.
Here’s the thing, resistance is within. It is not within the act itself, but it is actually within. It’s not the act of running (theoretically) itself which I don’t like, its the feelings associated with it. I’ll get sweaty, I’ll be in pain, it won’t be fun, and so forth. And on and on and on our brain chatters on. I use two ways to reduce that sort of thing:
1. Make it a routine. Routines are like habits, once they set in, its harder to get out of them than you think. So you don’t have to psych yourself up to go running or working out or whatever every day for ever, just for the first week or so. Set a time so that one naturally leads to the other. Waking up naturally leads going to the washroom and brushing your teeth, which, for me, naturally leads to running now. "Habits are like a cable. We weave a strand every day and soon they cannot be broken."
2. Learn to control your mind chatter. Ever pay attention to the thoughts you’re thinking? Here’s a quick meditation: Find a quiet place and focus on your breath or your heart beat for a few minutes. This part is just to calm down a little and slow the pace of your mind, you’ll probably think here, too. Then, start to notice your thoughts. Just notice them first, without judgement. Its kinda hard to do in the beginning, to notice your thoughts and think them. One way might be to turn the volume of your thoughts down a little bit in your head. Just imagine your thoughts becoming quieter and quieter and they will. Sometimes you’ll start thinking something and that reminds you of something else and then something else and you’ll suddenly think, "how did I start thinking about this?"
There is a saying that the mind is like a drunken monkey. And it really is. With practice, you can start to notice your thoughts more and more and notice the really quick reactions to situations or thoughts that you have. Running might bring up the image of sweat and pain, for you, or it might bring up the image of you feeling great, running with a smile on your face, having lots of energy and really enjoying the rest of your day.
If you’re interested in this sort of "mindfulness meditation", I also recommend reading The Power of Now. My mindfulness expanded greatly after reading that book.
Life is good. 😀