Running is a spiritual event


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It has come to my attention by way of learned Apache and Navajo teachers - running can be a very spiritual event. 

Walking too, has a spiritual component. 

 

I am not referencing a euphoric high effect, though I am told that can happen from running enthusiasts.

 

I am talking about an actual belief in the power of healing (physically as well as non-physical attributes)

associated and connected with native culture/beliefs.

 

Would someone more adept at this point of view assist me in explaining it, perhaps with better terminology.

I am neither native, nor a runner so an actual participant might allow the rest of us additional insight

 

von

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Spirituality is where you find it or declare it.  In loose terms you are talking about a path of the body sacred.

 

Running and walking are both calming practices.  They are forms of meditation, calming and soothing mind and spirit, releasing stress while enhancing the health of the body.

 

Consider the fruits of other religious cultures.  Yoga means to "yoke".  To attach oneself to God.  Stretching, slow deep breathing, etc.  It's a path to health and enlightenment.  A product of Vedic traditions.

 

Taoism has given the world Qi Gong and Tai Chi.  Slow graceful movements that stretch muscles and joints with calming deep breath.

 

Of course there are other traditions.

 

 

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  • 9 months later...

This year I opted to invest some time to see if I can personally appreciate this concept. 

 

After LOTS of time walking (can't run) - I understand this notion more fully.

With the help of the Native Health Initiative...the group Running Medicine was able 

to provide me with a much greater understanding of the spiritual side of running/walking.

 

I am grateful to them for their generous (and unconditional) support. 

 

I NOW appreciate and believe there is merit to setting aside (daily) running/walking as a 

spiritual enrichment.

 

Truly this is a new, remarkable and valuable lesson from the Native community.

 

Von

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On 11/7/2022 at 12:56 PM, VonNoble said:

This year I opted to invest some time to see if I can personally appreciate this concept. 

 

After LOTS of time walking (can't run) - I understand this notion more fully.

With the help of the Native Health Initiative...the group Running Medicine was able 

to provide me with a much greater understanding of the spiritual side of running/walking.

 

I am grateful to them for their generous (and unconditional) support. 

 

I NOW appreciate and believe there is merit to setting aside (daily) running/walking as a 

spiritual enrichment.

 

Truly this is a new, remarkable and valuable lesson from the Native community.

 

Von

 

 

Could you elaborate…?

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On 11/7/2022 at 6:56 AM, VonNoble said:

This year I opted to invest some time to see if I can personally appreciate this concept. 

 

After LOTS of time walking (can't run) - I understand this notion more fully.

With the help of the Native Health Initiative...the group Running Medicine was able 

to provide me with a much greater understanding of the spiritual side of running/walking.

 

I am grateful to them for their generous (and unconditional) support. 

 

I NOW appreciate and believe there is merit to setting aside (daily) running/walking as a 

spiritual enrichment.

 

Truly this is a new, remarkable and valuable lesson from the Native community.

 

Von

 

In my own terms, I would call this grounding.  Still, I think we are in agreement.

 

Jonathan

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/14/2022 at 8:33 AM, RevBogovac said:

 

 

Could you elaborate…?

 

I would be happy to try to do so.

 

Prior to my retirement, I participated in local walking events to raise money for charities,

and also the Volkswalk organized events organized throughout the United States.   

For me it was never competitive.   It was relaxing, enjoying nature, but really just a

relax and escape from the pressures of life.   Nothing more. 

 

However, at the invitation of the indigenous peoples of the area, I attended a very different

event.   I showed up on time, in my normal walking attire but there were no bib numbers

to attach to my shirt.  No water bottles to be had, no energy bars.  No sign in table.

However, there were scores of little ones and other silver haired people,and lots of people

who did not look like "running" would be the first word used to describe them.    

 

It was a very, very diverse group.   Some wearing expected types of athletic attire, quite

a few wearing anything but athletic attire.   And we waited.  And we waited and we waited.

 

We were not told to line up (linearly) to start the event but rather to form a very large circle. 

We complied .  Someone then let a prayer in a native language.  I have no clue which 

language as there were people from more than one tribe present.   That was followed by 

other ritual/traditional goings on...and an introduction or various leaders of different groups.

 

Are we ready to begin the walk now ?  NOT EVEN close.

There was a time for the beginning of the walk on the flyer, we were more than thirty minutes

passed that.....and still in our circle.

 

The next thing to happen was extremely busy, get the heart pumping exercises.  Which we did

for more than (20) minutes.    Once we were all sweating in place, by some signal I failed to notice,

the event began.  Some running like the wind, some walking quite slowly, all smiling.   it seemed 

to me there were no groupings, much of the time folks were silent.  A few singing occasionally in

a native language.   Others chatting with great animation.   It was everything and also nothing,. 

It fluctuated. 

 

Along the way, being a slow walker this day, others walked with me briefly, until they passed me

by...gradually arriving to me....and gradually moving beyond me.  While with me, along side me

they told their story in a few sentences  Not their life story.  Just their today story.  Their this

moment story.  They didn't ask me about mine (grateful of that) - so I listened.   Children ran

among, between and were boundless in their activity.  They stopped to explore, bring things

back to share with anyone.  One handed me a rock of no distinction they skipped away.  There

was no reason to explain the gift, I guess.   If it was a gift.   I don't know why.  It didn't matter.

I carried it the rest of the way thinking they might come back for it. 

 

There was no plotted or marked course.   I had no idea (other than my watch) how far I

had walked or how long.   And eventually we returned to the field where we began.   People

went to the vehicles and brought snacks.  Some I recognized.  Some I was clueless.   And

there were water bottles.   Warm from the sun.   Hot even.   No plates.  No napkins.   No 

invitation to join in, although I  was certain, no one cared if I did (and obviously no bother

if I did not join in.) 

 

None of it familiar.   No one engaged me in discussing spirituality.   They simply were as they

have always been.   I was welcome to join.   To enjoy silence.   To observe.  To learn to "be"

or to "do" at my own pace.    If I initiated conversation or asked questions there was usually a 

very long pause between us, but the response were friendly, deliberate but not, at first, easily

understood by me.  

 

I left completely unsure of what the heck had transpired.

In actuality in subsequent meetings online with a couple of the regular attendees, I was

encourage to take the same steps on my own walks.   To modify what I had experienced,

what had perplexed me, and allow the walk time to just let my thoughts percolate.

 

Not being FROM this approach, I did not really experience the same thing I could CLEARLY

see was happening around me.    Over time, I realized there was a different understanding

of walking in nature.   To me there were trees, cactus, sky, sun, breeze, earth, sand, others.

 

To them, it slowly came to me, these were all one.  There were no labels, no distinctions, no

separation.    The perimeters I viewed as "taking a walk" were not present.  We walked.   We

all walked in the classic sense the word you would use in a dictionary.   I might even muster

saying i would pray/meditate while moving my arms and legs.

 

But that would be different. it would be taking your normal spiritual practice on the road as

it were.    These people make no distinction of this moment is spiritual or this activity is the

holy time......and that one is regular time.

 

All moments seem to be spiritual or that is my take away.  

And moving at what ever speed is available to you, is necessary.   As much as breathing is

necessary.  Very overweight oldsters were lighter on their feet when moving with the group.

The collective energy somehow elevated the community.  They are bonded but the group

walk/run movement.  It was, actually, healing to them biologically as well as emotionally.

 You could see it.   You could see it as a way to face mistakes and transgressions and walk

to what only could be described as beauty.  In the physical surrounding you and inside of you.

 

As I became more familiar over the next few months with their practices, the prayers seem

to note beauty is life, life is beauty.  If you disturb it,  you just need to move through it more,

faster, ...soak it in and revive through moving, smelling, hearing, even hearing silence.  You

just become part of the ever moving ever changing scenery from then to now and push

yourself forward, each move time replenishing, refreshing, forgiving, centering, elevating. 

 

It is difficult to explain which is why this is so verbose.   I'm wondering if someone more

familiar or more learned could help me with summating it more succinctly.

 

The net result (I still am not part of "it") but i am moving more because of trying to 

understand it.   I get there is something there.   I appreciate that there is, but I am stumped by

what it is exactly.   

 

Von  

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