Running Inward | Observing Helps Us Sort Life Out


You are not your thoughts.


I recently wrapped up a half marathon. I've never been much of a runner, but started running earlier this year and have been running consistently for about seven or eight months now.


After wrapping up the half marathon last weekend I've done a couple of recovery runs this week. I had a thought while I was running with my daughter yesterday, who's 11. We are not our thoughts. We are not our bodies. We are something different. As humans, we have this unique experience that we can step back we can think about our thoughts. We can think about what we're feeling. We can not only experience "the thing," but we can realize we're experiencing the thing.


This was applicable to me recently on one of these recovery runs. I decided to have no goal for the run. I've been training–getting ready for this half marathon–and there are always goals: run this amount in this way; take this route or that route. I'm blessed to have been a part of that and was able to do that.


For this run, I just wanted to run, trust how I was feeling, and just go for it. I ran into another runner along the way who told me she was going eight miles that day (she's training for a full marathon coming up soon and so that's super exciting and not something on my bucket list). It inspired me to just kind of keep going. I ended up the day running about 10 miles ( 9.8 miles). It was just from listening to how I was feeling and reacting.


The sensations that I was feeling–the pain in this knee; the heaviness of my legs; the pain radiating up from this ankle–I can not only experience those but I can choose how to react to those. It's such an odd thing to me to think that these things are going on but also our mind is processing the information. Take it for what it's worth, but just having that awareness of the pain or the sensation, the tiredness, or the thirstiness doesn't create a catastrophic event. You can still analyze and figure out if you're in real danger.


After all, that's what pain and fear are for. They're to keep us alive. While that was useful when we were hunting and being hunted by animals in the wild, now that we're relatively safe–probably the safest time that humans have ever existed–we can take a step back.


We're privileged to know that we're not in danger.


So, we are not our pain. We are not our thoughts. I put it to my daughter this way: I can't see my eyes because my eyes are doing the seeing. So if you're observing something, you are something different than that thing.


Something to kick around.

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