Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham, is the type of book that can be a quick read as I did over the weekend. Or, I suspect, it will be one of those books that is re-read several times with more depth being revealed each time.
Sakyong Mipham is the Tibetan leader of Shambhala, a global community of meditation and retreat centres. He is also a 3:05 marathoner. Mipham believes that physical activity is essential for spiritual well-being and the reverse is true as well. Running and mediation are complementary – each supports the other.
In his book, Mipham incorporates his spiritual practice with running, presenting basic meditation instructions and fundamental principles he has developed. Even though both activities can be complicated, the lessons in this book are simple and designed to show how combining internal mindfulness with the physical movement of running can benefit both practices. While the book is not a detailed “how to” for neither mediation nor running, there are lots of comparisons between the two and many stories from Mipham’s personal experience.
Sakyong Mipham lets us know the running is not mediation, just as meditation is not running. However, using the principles of meditation during running, Mipham describes a way of bringing the mind into focus. The idea being that a runner who controls the mind is a better runner. Using the techniques of meditation to clear the mind during exercise allows the runner to be more present and focused on the task at hand. This would have much benefit for trail runners in particular.
I would recommend reading Running with the Mind of Meditation. There are some really helpful and useful tips for the mindful runner. Besides, as another reviewer said, “Who can resist a Buddhist monk who runs marathons?”