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Moving with the Mind of Meditation / Running and Meditation -Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

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People have been asking me about the relationship between mind and body and I am currently about to run a marathon and I'm in training. People think it's kind of unusual for a Tibetan lama to be exercising, let alone running a marathon, and what the relationship between body and mind is and running and meditation. So for myself it's not that surprising; I mean I think there is a tradition of body and mind and I think in the West sometimes the body and mind have been split up. So when people think about meditation or spirituality, they think it's very much distancing themselves from body per se. But the way I've been trained and brought up and the way I understand this topic and kind of the whole experience, is that they are actually meant to be united. When we meditate, for example, even sitting meditation, it's a whole body experience, a whole mind experience. So people said, "Are you, can you meditate while you are running?" And I said "Of course, I hope so. I've been trying it, it seems to be working okay." So you know it's a matter of just taking the principles, because basically you should be able to practice meditate anywhere. Because the way I would think about it is that you're using your mind. Once you're using your mind you're the way you meditate. So when you're running, obviously there is more focus on movement in running. And when you're running, there's a sense of purpose and focus, which is like meditation. Traditionally, you might use the breathing, you might use a visualization. And in running you have the orientation, you're going, and you also have your feet and your arms and there's a whole body experience. So like for example when I'm running, I always try to keep my center kind of in my heart. And then try to have my... I realize my movement of my being is coming, even though my legs are down there, but my center is coming from here, the movement is coming from here. And then try to keep the keep a.., my visual field, like roughly 10 feet out, so that I'm looking down slightly and keeping my eye on the path. And that’s like a breathing meditation when you're sitting, and you're focused here and then, the only difference is you're moving and you're breathing a lot quicker. But I think, you know, it is the same thing. You're dealing with pain. You're dealing with thoughts. You're dealing with all these elements. And that's how you regard it. So some people prefer maybe to use running as a way to kind of think about things and escape. I know I prefer myself, I mean you can do that, and sometimes when you first start running you have a lot of thoughts. Just like in meditation, when you first sit down you have a lot of thoughts. And then once you begin to move, you begin to balance your mind and body. So I think it's the same with any kind of sport or activity. If you're riding a horse; it's the balance. If you're skiing or if you're playing golf, whatever it may be; there's the kind of mind-body coordination. And that's inherent; because the notion of meditation is that you're synchronizing your mind with your body. You're using the present moment as your gauge, as a way of being present and of being here, being in the moment, being in the now, as they say, right present. The other day when I was practicing my interval training, I realized that, that it was very important to be completely present and as soon as you let your mind go too far into the future, like how long do I have and things like this, automatically sometimes you get to be tired. The present moment can be this very full moment. In fact, the present moment, as you're running, if you can be there, because it's the totality of what you are doing, time goes by very quickly. So I don't feel like I'm running a longtime. You get tired and I think you come in and out of it. People might talk about it as being in the zone. So I think there's that element, but I think it's the same, you know mind and body. I feel like just for general health these days, you need to do something. And I know that even, apparently the sort of new surveys say that people should try to get like 30 minutes of exercise or some sort of aerobic thing everyday. I think we live in a very kind of stagnant culture, where we're going from the car to the computer. There's just a lot of sedentariness. And one of the things that meditation has really shown me, is that breathing is really important. You know, we're meant to breathe as human beings. Running obviously exemplifies that, to one extreme. For whatever it is we can breathe and move. And the more we breathe, the more we feel alive, the more the mind feels inspired, the more it can engage. So it doesn't surprise me that people go to work, go to the gym, go do something, because it's they’re missing that element. And I think that's something that's been there for, you know, centuries, you can read old meditation texts about it. About the unity of mind and body. It's called shinjang. Shinjang means processing or training or developing. You have shinjang of mind, which is basically meditation training and processing the mind. The more you train and process the mind, the more it becomes settled, like the more useful. In fact, they say, the more processed the mind becomes the stronger it becomes, the more flexible it becomes. Same with the body. I think if you train the body, it becomes stronger and more flexible. And I think this is true even as you get older. If I have talked to people, you know, I was talking to somebody the other day, who is turning 60, and he was saying that because they thought that as you are get older, you're getting older. So maybe you should do less. So they started doing less, and they found that found they got worse. And now they’re starting to do a little more, and they’re feeling better. And it is just, you know, I think it's what people think should happen, and what's really happening. So I think the meditation tradition has known about this, it's saying even as long as you can you keep that movement. So I definitely encourage people to have something. It doesn't have to be as extreme as what I'm doing, even though I'm teaching the middle way. Good luck

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 28 seconds
Year: 2007
Country: United States
Language: English
License: All rights reserved
Views: 1,281
Posted by: hmaclaren on May 24, 2010

The Sakyong, Jamgön Mipham Rinpoche. From -Archive –Video, at November 2008. © Copyright 2007 Mipham J. Mukpo.
Shambhala, Meditation, Mindfulness, Buddhism. Produced By Centre Productions, Creative personnel James Hoagland, Johanna J. Lunn and Ethan Neville.

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