When the Common Becomes Sacred…

woman having tea ceremony at Buddhist temple near our home in Korea

“I had run 165.7 mile–a new American record.  No other North American had run farther in 24 hours.  I had done what I set out to do.  It was time to rest. Then I would eat.  And then run again.  They are simple activities, common as grass.  And they’re sacred.  Pilgrims seeking bliss carry water and chop wood, and they’re simple things too, but if they’re approached with mindfulness and care, with attention to the present and humility, they can provide a portal to transcendence.  They can illuminate the path leading to something larger than ourselves.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in deadlines and debt, victory and loss.  Friends squabble.  Loved ones leave.  People suffer.  A 100-mile race–or a 5k, or a run around the block–won’t cure pain.  A plate filled with guacamole and dinosaur kale will not deliver anyone from sorrow.  But you can be transformed.  Not overnight, but over time.  Life is not a race.  Neither is an ultramarathon, not really even though it looks like one.  There is no finish line.  We strive toward a goal, and whether we achieve it or not is important, but it’s not what’s most important.  What matters is how we move toward that goal.  What’s crucial is the step we’re taking now, the step you’re taking now.”

–Scott Jurek reflecting on running and eating after setting a new American record in the 24 hour race (24 hours running around a 1 mile–approximately– course.

The path I ran or walked several days a week in Korea–winter,spring, summer, fall–it was more than exercise for my body but a form of worship to the Creator. It was sacred.


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