Blurring the lines between physical and spiritual training

Photo courtesy of zoetnet (Creative Commons)

Running each morning is an act of worship as much as exercise.

Yes, it’s a habit. Yes, it has become part of my morning routine. Yes, I feel incomplete without it.

But digging down deeper, I’ve realized there is more to the practice than just an endorphin rush. With each step, as my breathing settles into a rhythm, my mind begins to clear and a sort of peace settles in. Most days anyway. A song starts in my head, keeping time with my footsteps. I pray. I dream.

The route is decided before I head out, so there’s only enough alertness needed to watch for cars or creatures (like the skunk I’ve seen a couple of times). Running in the dark is preferable because it feels like a protective cover that increases the sense of peace.

The most satisfying runs result in extreme clarity of thought –ideas start flooding in and I fill the voice recorder capturing them – blog ideas, the solution to a problem at work, phrases to use in writing.

Normally a clock-watcher, the time seems to disappear for me on a run. As it fades into the background, I begin to notice the moon, sunrise, clouds, birds singing, deer, a fox.

When I open myself to the beauty of God around me and thank Him for that, He responds by unblocking my mind. I continue to be amazed at how a physical activity can become such a spiritual experience.

When has physical activity stimulated your mind and spirit?