February has come, mid-winter doldrums have set in, and you're running resolutions are starting to slide. Sound about right? Take heart! The days ARE getting longer. (Spring is just seven weeks away!)
Temporal milestones like New Year's Day often serve to make us more introspective and inspire us to review our life progress and to decide how to proceed. But experts suggest that folks are more likely to persevere and prosper if they launch goals at a time that is personally meaningful to them.
Neuroscience has shown that the repetitive motions and complex cognitive functions of running can trigger neurotransmitters, chemicals that boost the brain’s connectivity, thought patterns and decision-making—human qualities that are often compromised by the stress of life, especially in these troubled political times. Meanwhile, spiritual traditions remind us that turning our attention outward, from self-concern to the welfare of others, is the key to peace, love, and sanity.
Japan has one of the most extraordinary running cultures on the planet, unlike anything I’ve ever come across. Thousands of professional runners compete for corporate teams in some of the most competitive races in the world. The 135-mile Ekiden Relay Race is the nation’s premier sporting event. The legendary ‘Marathon Monks’ run a thousand marathons in a thousand days in their quest for spiritual enlightenment.
The physical and mental balance of sitting practice is an empowering tool for your own health care as well as your emotional and psychological wellbeing. To gain strength in your sitting posture is to open a gateway to hearing and feeling the flow of information from the inner world. Persevering in the pursuit of stillness and calmness can give us the power to organize and reshape our thinking, emotions, and behavior. Even a brief sit in the morning will help you contact and preserve your inner calm at the start of a busy day.