Thursday, February 4, 2010

Can You Actually Pray While You Run?

I learned as a child that God sends his angels to watch over me as I sleep. I learned from a priest a few breathing techniques to prepare oneself in meditative prayer. Many religious processions pray as they walk around town to the church or a pilgrimage site. A teacher of mine told me to offer all your thoughts and actions to God. Every little work you do - from washing the dishes, to driving to work, to playing a game - can be a form of prayer to God. Why not running? Absolutely, one can actually pray while running.

When I need to do long drives, I usually pick a Saturday early morning and try to catch the break of dawn. To me, it's a spiritual experience to catch the the first break of sunlight when you can actually see the rays of the sun directly as the sky starts to brighten up. The moment stirs me to pray and give thanks to a God who made all this possible. I think it's that "misterium tremendum" feeling - a feeling of awe that lends you to surrender any need for explanation. I just want to remain here as long as possible.

I try to start out my long runs before dawn so I can experience the same feeling as I run. It's simply inspiring. This is what I look forward to when I need a motivation to get up from bed. Even how hard starting out may be and painful the run ended up to be, I never ever regret going out for a morning long run. One of the things I've learned to do from this experience is to embed in my mind the same high feeling in any run I do at any time of the day. One of the best way to do this is to pray as I run. When I start praying as I run, I gradually capture and repeat the spiritual experience of the breaking of dawn. Like in meditation, I become aware of my breathing, my feet pounding the pavement, and the road ahead of me; and place myself in God's presence. And yes, I can actually pray as I run.

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