Interesting experience while running

Ian, modified 1 Year ago at 8/26/22 12:30 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 8/26/22 12:29 AM

Interesting experience while running

Posts: 11 Join Date: 7/15/20 Recent Posts
I took to running up hills during the pandemic. With the closure of gyms, I felt running up a hill would be somewhat comparable to doing squats. Force driven through the bending of the legs. I quickly found its most prominent feature was its ability to focus the mind on the breath. The mind clings desperately to its awareness of respiration when you bring it just to the edge of difficulty. Basically running at a pace which you can more or less sustain indefinitely, but anymore would result in running out of gas. This pace is often very slow, especially when the slope is steep, but when the slope is at least a mile long, you become very intimate with the condition of your breathing. The increased concentration feels pleasant and results in a fantastic clarity of mind and ability to shut everything out (especially when combined with music) except the cycle of your breath, which in a way is in pain, but the pain is sustainable and as you relax into it, and takes on interesting qualities which in turn motivate you somehow to experiment, perhaps pushing harder, or focusing even more intently. Often there are streams of thoughts, but they are thoughts which you somehow don’t mind being lost in. As if the bilateral stimulation creates a natural inclination to insight; productive to allow the thought stream in some way. 

Recently, I’ve been using the Koan Way course by Henry Shukman on the Waking Up app throughout the day, sitting and listening to several sessions in a row. I really respond to its emphasis on bringing love and appreciation to the present and the bare fact of experience. In the past few days during my sessions I’ve had a state of awareness of a kind of change in geometry of experience.The solipsistic nature of experience was brought to my attention, that my conception of the world and my life exist basically only as thoughts, and that my actual experience is this kind of shifting egg-like sphere of everything I’m aware of in any given moment. The focal point of awareness can shift throughout this sphere, go deep into thought narratives which can cause emotions and physical sensations to arise in other parts of the egg. The weird thing to me is the sense of size is ambiguous, and my body feels somehow connected and of a piece with its environment. Sometimes feeling just as large as my awareness of sound, say. So this egg-like awareness had arisen several times in meditation, and it felt really good just to steep in, especially while reclining. And several times throughout the next day I would suddenly become aware of it during daily tasks, working, running errands, talking to folks, etc. Each time I had this shift in a more spacious awareness (nothing nearing infinite or empty, just somewhat larger) and also easefulness in interacting with others, socializing always having been a very constricting activity for me. It felt akin to a dream becoming lucid. 

When I went on my intense hill run, the egg awareness came up and because my body was working so intensely, the egg had an intense quality, its geometry being emphasized by the effort and the elevated concentration levels. I was able to explore this region with a bit more clarity. I could  observe the wideness of attention encompassing what felt like the whole egg, full of different stimuli and energy, narrowing down to the experience of thoughts in some hollow unnamed portion of the egg. Following a thought path about my life leading to various emotional and physical changes in the body. At one point I observed so directly a sad thought leading to the associated physio-emotive rising in the stomach that I laughed and it dissipated immediately (this took me by surprise and I’m not sure how I feel about it). Throughout this whole process, I felt the ordinariness of my experience take on a magical quality. As if what I was doing and what I was experiencing was somehow important, as if it was the only thing happening in the universe at this moment. The more I focused on this egg, the more my sense of self felt like an avatar, a character in a video game. Everything that I care about, find frustrating, struggle and seek are  particularities unique to this character, which is kind of funny. They manifest in this egg as physical sensations and thoughts, lots of narrative chatter. Then I attempt to look at what is experiencing this character, where is this observer within this egg? It feels like an unanswerable question and looking too intensely makes me somewhat uncomfortable, but overall it’s a very pleasant place to be that leads to immense relaxation and release in the body. I am left with gratitude, for having received this life, for these teachings, and the bare fact of experience. 

Just thought I’d share!
Rousseau Matt, modified 10 Months ago at 1/8/23 4:54 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 8/27/22 6:02 PM

RE: Interesting experience while running

Posts: 136 Join Date: 5/1/22 Recent Posts
I am getting more and more interested in combining  regular western  style exercise with mimdfullness or possibly  mantra. It's  good to kill 2 birds with one stone. I love running to . But  I am the kind of person who likes to listen to some hard music while running typically.        However.  I am thinking  of trying to just be mindfull of the breath and feelings of the feet. The RIGHT HERE NOW while running.    If  meditating on mantra during a sitting. If I run later,try concentration  on the mantra etc.  It's probably  a good practice that will aid my sittings.  But sometimes I don't like putting in the extra mental effort on non meditative things because  it's an added burden and honestly it slightly decreased the fun