Warning

If you are reading this, then this warning is for you: Every word you read of this useless print is another second off your life. Don’t you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can’t think of a better way to spend these moments? Are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you’re supposed to read? Do you think everything you’re supposed to think? Buy what you’re told to want? Get out of your apartment. Move away from your screen. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Go out and fuck, move, run, breath in. Define your character. Go hungry; keep your existence lean. Wear away the fat, get down to the lean tissue and see what it’s all about. Find out what you’re made of and what you’re capable of. Test and define your character. Be who you are and not that copy of a copy of a copy. It’s all in your head. Be without mind. Explore solitude. Take away all clutter and distraction. Don’t try to blend into the world. Be on fire. Do not conform or live a life of false consistency. Be silent, be god, be a devil. Claim your humanity, prove you’re alive. Don’t become a statistic. You have been warned.

The 145 characters that construct me

145 chars

Write 145 chars about yourself, take a picture of your ego and post it online. For other people to see and to like. Look, I went out for a run!  In return like someones picture taken in front of a mirror.  Always in the know what your friends are doing. So busy trying to have even more online friends.  You have more online contacts then non-digital contacts in your neighborhood. Stay connected, share, like and change the world. Social media, the live of pretended friendship and fake intimacy. But who do you know ? for real ? Not even yourself any more. You are changed the moment you decided to play the game and became part of the mass, part of the lie.

“Life is more or less a lie, but then again, that’s exactly the way we want it to be.” ― Bob Dylan

People on social media don’t represent their own self. They stage, edit and censor a virtual representation of their selfe and their lives. They become the person as how they want to been seen by others; a staged self. A self created illusion of the self. A self based on a social status, strategically calculated from likes, friends and followers. Whats will next ? What’s the relation between you and them ? or between you and that what you really are ? Are you that what you wanted to be or did you become a construction of virtual images ?  Don’t make yourselve in the image of the commodity. 

Motivation, our hidden power

Every run starts with the first step, and to actually make that first step it takes a special kind of energy: our motivation.

Motivation is the inner willpower, the inner driving force, to achieve a goal and the hidden power behind the energy that moves us forward in life. It is the inner voice that says: take action! Do it now. I don’t think it is the same as enthusiasm although I see a relation between them. Where enthusiasm is an emotion which sets an idea in our mind it does start our actions, it is motivation that fuels our actions. It is motivation which gets us started and what keeps us going, it helps us to overcome obstacles and dealing with discomfort. Continue reading “Motivation, our hidden power”

Self discovery

When I became 40 years old,  I made a promise to myself;  I will try every year something that I never did  before.  Self discovery: do something new that would bring me totally out of my comfort zone. So in the last years I have learned diving (sport, technical and rebreather diving) and froze my ass of  on a SAS type survival course in Scotland. I started to run (trail and ultra marathons), attended a Sesshin in a Zen monastery, did a Mindfulness course, climbed mountains and ran trough the Sahara. I visited Morocco, stood  on Germany highest mountain top and dived 60 meters deep in the Red Sea. I had moments of great joy, deep concentration, inner peace but also moments of fear. I endured cold, pain and disappointment (hello MDS).

All these smaller and bigger adventures bought me in contact with the most interesting and nice people and showed me beautiful places. I have learned a lot, had to face my fears, moved my limits and was forced to go out of my comfort zone more than once. I experienced a lot  which  made me mental, emotional and physical stronger. But the most important is that all these experiences helped me to find out who I am. By reaching further, deeper and trying harder I learned who I am and it helped me to understand who I am.  It helped me to become happy with and accept the person who I am. And that is a big reward!

The essence of warriorship, or the essence of human bravery, is refusing to give up on anyone or anything. – Chögyam Trungpa

Go, give it a try; do something you have never done before, something  that is  out of your comfort zone. It could be running a marathon, learning something new  or traveling to an obscure destination alone. The experience will add to the essential process of self-discovery and it can help you to become happier and more comfortable with who you are.

Self-acceptance and Running

According to Shepard (1979), selfacceptance is an individual’s satisfaction or happiness with oneself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Selfacceptance involves self-understanding, a realistic, albeit subjective, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Running teaches you to relate to life, your body and to your environment. Running, on your own, dealing with yourself and your limits show’s you who you are, and not how others view you. Confronted with yourself and your limits, running strips away limitations imposed on us by our egos and by our environment. During the run, the runner is only dealing with himself, the perfect center of the universe.

Don’t show up as the person you think you are.

Fundamental to “centering” is self-acceptance, by accepting your limits. You are who you are, with your limits and with your stronger parts. There is nothing you can fake here, if you push it you feel, but you can’t fake, your limits. At that point there is no reason to relate yourself to others, or to envy one for what he or she is. You will become frustrated if you leave your center to relate your self to others since you can only push yourself to attain your own highest potential. By acknowledging this, your self-acceptance will grow and will become stronger step by step as you try to live up to your limits and if you are willing to leave your comfort zone.

Self-acceptance and dealing with your own limits leads to modesty and kindness. Kindness to others and toward yourself. You’ll never overcome your failings by hating your shortcomings, or by being angry with your self. We can’t exceed our limits by using anger but only with true kindness to ourself. You should work hard and reward yourself, and not punish, yourself to strengthen yourself in virtue. We should always try to work hard to reach our highest potential. Sometimes this means being hard, stern and disciplined with ourself (hey nobody said it is an easy job) but we should not be judgmental and punishing ourself. Kindness is necessary for understanding our self, our motivations and to understand the world around us.

Modesty in Buddhism is the quality of being unpretentious about one’s virtues or achievements. Modesty is to know your true worth without being proud or self-satisfied. Modesty helps us to see who we really are, and it helps us to be proud on our achievements without becoming vain or self-promoting. On the other side modesty teaches us also to deal with setbacks without shame or self-loathing.

For me running is like meditation, it can be a process for finding our own center, but success depends on holding the right attitude. When we learn to relate to our self, our live and to our environment, we will become more harmonious and we will develop a responsive relationship with ourself and with our surroundings. Running, like meditation, can help in learning to relate from your center to the center in everything. When we learn to relate from our center it takes away the limitations imposed on us by our egos and by our environment, and that makes live even more beautiful.

 

No mind -Mushin

In Zen the “no mind” (Mushin) is the state of complete awareness. That is, a mind not fixed or occupied by ego, thoughts or emotions and thus open to everything.

The term is shortened from “mushin no shin”, an expression meaning the “mind without mind” and is also referred to as the state of “no-mindness”.  Mushin is the essence of Zen and translates as the “mind without mind”, and it is also called “the state of no-mindness”.

Mushin is identical to the Japanese metaphorical expression “mizu no kokoro” or “mind like water”. This state refers to a ego-less mind that is in harmony with the all. It (ego-less mind) resembles a still pond of water without any ripples. A pond where the surface reflects a clear and perfectly undistorted image of the surroundings. Be it like a mirror.

Mushin can be archived when a person’s mind is free from thoughts of anger, fear, or ego. There is an absence of discursive thought and judgment, so the person is totally free to act and react without disturbance from thoughts. It’s a mind in a state off flowing, full awareness and not a state of relaxed, near-sleepfulness.

The mind must always be in the state of ‘flowing,’ for when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted and it is this interruption that is injurious to the well-being of the mind.

This pure state of mind, the state of flowing can only be experienced  by the absence of the ego or limited self. A mushin mind, is not an empty mind like an empty shell, on the contrary is a mind fully present, fully aware and free from disturbances.

“Mu” or “emptiness” in mushin refers to an empty mind in the sense that distractions, preoccupations, fears, worries, are absent and thus no more an issue for the mind. Mushin cannot be grasped with the intellect; it must be experienced. A Mushin mind has no Ego and no substance; it is pure Enlightenment and is the perfect realization of the self.

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Mushin – Run without mind

I like to reflect on the concept of Mu in my running practise; run without mind or ego. A way to experience the state of non-mind and non thought, without loosing contact with reality. In awareness, experiencing the relation between my inner self and the universe. Still free of any formal religious or secular moral precept.

Running with the Buddha mind or the mind of a cow: Mu.

 

Running and the practice of silence and solitude

Silence and solitude

Dismiss that which insults your very soul.
Walt Whitman

For me, running is a solo practice, I run preferably on my own; in my own tempo, on my own track. I don’t like to run with a group or in a group. Occasionally I run with a friend, and then I enjoy the companion; but its different than running alone. whenever I go out for a run I know that I will be spending a few hours alone, in silence and solitude. Its me, being on my own, free and with my own thoughts and feelings. No disturbances and none to ventilate and reflect my thoughts with. Just me and my mind.

Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.
— Henry Rollins

Especially on longer runs, which can take several hours, the feeling of being with myself is like a solitary retreat. Solitude or withdrawal is the state of being secluded or separate from others. Time spent in Solitude and Loneliness is something we find in most religious traditions. The Buddha taught that we must cease to yearn for happiness outside ourselves and begin to trust the potential that lies within us. This potential can be found, when we quietly remove ourselves for a few hours from the daily noise and disturbances that surrounds us. The disturbances which make it difficult to focus on our own mind, on our own thoughts and feelings. and by being with ourselves, in our aloneness, we notice how essentially connected to others we truly are and all the disturbances we are confronted with.

When a man knows the solitude of silence, and feels the joy of quietness, he is then free from fear and he feels the joy of the Dharma.
Buddha

By removing these worldly disturbances,even for a few hours daily, we are able to come at ease and we are able to reach a calm and relaxed state of mind. A mind where idea’s and pictures come and go. The mind wanders, the soul gets quit. The value of solitude is priceless. For whoever finds it, finds life, and the peace and joy in live. As the Imitation of Christ notes: the greatest saints avoided the company of worldly men as much as possible. For they preferred to be alone with God. Of course there is no need to remove ourselves completely from society, but we all benefit from a break, a break from nagging people, commercials, social networks, tv and whatever you are confronted with on your daily path.

Whenever possible I run in silence; or with an mp3 player so at least I am in charge of the noise that gets into my mind. Silence completes and intensifies solitude, silence is solitude practiced in action. When there is silence, we create the space for solitude. Silence. Interior and exterior silence, the silence of the senses helps us to recover psychological. It helps to reorder our minds, reduces stress and helps us to deal with our feelings and emotions.

“The stillness in stillness is not true stillness; only when there is stillness in movement does the universal rhythm manifest” – Taoist Text

By practicing solitude on a regularly base we are able to reach our inner powers of mind and we are able to get deeper in touch with our feelings. It will make your self to a more stable and stronger person, and so able to deal better with your daily live. And it is so simple, just go out and run, alone with yourself, relax and listen to your inner voice. Just one step at a time.

Enjoy your live !