Patience

I like to consider myself a patient person. For the record, I’m not so much.

Even desire for healthy outcomes when pursued without patience becomes unhealthy activity. For instance, there is overtraining in an attempt to run farther and faster than my body is ready for. Overtraining comes as a result of a sense of inadequacy and a desire to improve hurriedly. Sheer will and determination can get us through a lot, but stubbornly pushing one’s body farther than it is ready for leads to injury. My still aching left foot is a testament to this fact. Right now it’s not bad enough to stop me from running, but it’s not healed enough to allow me to run as far as I’d like either. An ultramarathoner is certainly not made overnight.

There is impatience with understanding and life itself. The call from deep within my guts to deeply understand my place in this existence of ours is true and undeniable. Frazzled seeking and half-hearted commitment to the truth right before me is no way to deepen any understanding I have.

To live in the Great Way
is neither easy nor difficult,
but those with limited views
are fearful and irresolute;
the faster they hurry, the slower they go,
and clinging cannot be limited;
even to be attached to the idea of enlightenment
is to go astray.
Just let things be in their own way
and there will be neither coming nor going.

Obey the nature of things,
and you will walk freely and undisturbed.
When thought is in bondage, the truth is hidden,
for everything is murky and unclear,
and the burdensome practice of judging
brings annoyance and weariness.
What benefit can be derived from distinctions
and separations?

(From Verses on the Faith Mind by Seng-Ts’An)

The Great Way requires incredible patience and confidence which I sometimes lack. Here I am, currently sore and exhausted, feeling rather beaten down and inadequate. And so what!? Those thoughts and lackluster feelings can go just as easily as they’ve come to me lately.

Alright, here I am now, trying to let all that go…

In the end I run because I enjoy running— I thrive on the invigorating sense of freedom that comes when out there hitting my stride and watching the world go by. Sometimes that sense of wildly pleasurable peace in motion comes at a relaxed 10-minutes per mile, other times it comes when I’m pushing so hard my breathing is maxed and all I can do is focus on each strained stride. I’m inspired by ultramarathoners who cover remarkable distances in absurd times, yet I’m so far from any of that. What I am now is a guy running along here in the upper midwest on a regular basis trying to be content while steadily challenging myself to keep going.

All this running and the energy it uses up can be rather selfish, but I’m hoping it’s not in the end. I’m looking for myself out there when I run and test my limits. I’m learning about my capacity to endure suffering and am continually grateful for the opportunity to be running around like a happy fool. I’m planning on making this into more of an activity for others in time.

As long as I’m able, I’ll keep running and will turn it into something more than selfishness and impatience. I’m trying to settle into my life with running. I’m not trying to escape. I want to develop the courage to embrace my life as it is, I really do.