The latest addition to the serialization of my book A Million Different Things: Meditations of The World’s Happiest Man, now in its 3rd Edition. Running, Conscious Awareness and Intersections of Ultimate Reality is the second meditation in Morning. <--Previous, What Does It Mean To Be Happy?
Running, Conscious Awareness and Intersections in Ultimate Reality
For fifteen years, I ran long distances four or five days a week. I ran mostly along a riverfront trail.
Running became my passion at midlife, a way to play and compete as Id done as a boy. Out for fitness and fun, I never expected, in the beginning, that increasing conscious awareness and a stunning view of ultimate reality would be another reward.
I ran early in the morning. Training for ten or more races each year, I averaged roughly seven miles a session, two laps around our island. I changed speeds and routes and listened to music through headphones, adding variety to a routine repeated thousands of times. I mixed methods, changing pace every time my tape or CD turned to a new song. Gradually, I began to run inside my head as much as through the muscles straining between my joints.
Silhouette of a Man Running
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Fueled by tidal waves of oxygen, thoughts and ideas whirled freely, playing, speculating, analyzing.
I felt the cushioning my knees relayed up my body, the adjustments of my feet to changing surfaces, how high my heels were kicking backward and the growing sting from that nail I forgot to trim, now lacerating the toe next to it.
Around me, one of the worlds great cities came awake, either as lights blinked on during the shorter days or in spraying, deflecting sunbeams washing the high-rises. More concious, more aware, I saw New York differently than before.
After a couple of miles, my body began to cruise as it achieved the interlocking coordination essential for distance running. Chemicals mixed and remixed, carrying nutrients to every limb and organ. Those entertaining my brain probably brought me closer to the ultimate reality of my animal nature than any other experience.
The last half-mile or so of my run was a cool down, my feverish body temperature edging back toward normal, other systems returning to set points. The tidal volume in my lungs subsided from the emergency delivery of oxygen to my demanding muscles, and the muscles themselves released the exceptional tension running demanded. My brain and its companion senses mellowed and coalesced magically, reintegrating into peace.
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Then, for as long as fifteen minutes of expanding conscious awareness, I was able to see the ultimate reality of the world in a way impossible at any other time. What I saw was an uninterrupted web of connections, nature entangled seamlessly, layered and interwoven, up and down.
In a small plaza raised up near the rivers edge where my wife and I watched evening settle over Manhattan, glasses of wine in our hands, I stood at the rail and looked across the river.
Conscious Awareness Flashes Ultimate Reality
I felt and briefly even saw the energetic connections as vibrations buzzed in front of me. My conscious awareness was so clear, it felt like ultimate reality was lifting its skirts before my eyes.
Some massive consolidations of power, buildings of all kinds, registered like containers where energy had been stored. Vibrant electricity crackled in and around a city built from blocks. Until conscious awareness relaxed again into a less hectic now moment, I saw normally invisible tangles and threads forming bridges between everything else. The fabric translucent and neutral to deep brown, curved and curling, vibrating in harmony, waiting and connecting.
After my vision of ultimate reality diminished, my neural pathways cooling, I gave myself up to the great adventure of asking and imagining. What were the implications of the unbroken, timeless connectedness my conscious awareness showed me, of what I knew must be there even after I lost my ability to see it?
What did it mean to act, to do something, anything, to ignite interactions?
Ive often joked that cats never get a day off. They have no choice but to be cats, without a pause, seven days a week.
Turns out, as I came to understand, we humans dont have any off buttons either.
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David Stone, Writer
The latest addition to the serialization of my book A Million Different Things: Meditations of The World’s Happiest Man, now in its 3rd Edition. Running, Conscious Awareness and The Intersections of Ultimate Reality is the second meditation in Morning. <---Previous: What Does It Mean To Be Happy? —>Next: Every Move You Make, Every Shiver Absorbed Into Ultimate Reality