Solitary Endurance

“Their joy is in the innocence they see.” (25.IV) This morning, I needed the Holy Spirit to give me a perspective on joy that was totally different than what I could think of by myself. From there, I was able to go running with the idea of peace: “Those who offer peace to everyone have found a home in Heaven the world cannot destroy. For it is large enough to hold the world within its peace… In you there is a vision that extends to all of them, and covers them in gentleness and light.” I went out into the park filled with peace (and this is how I celebrated 9/11, with a silent peace in my head).

What is the joy in the life of a solitary? I have never been able to accept that joy was really the temporary feeling of achievement in the world, or any of the entertainments people take part in. This morning, as I was not-going-in-a-race, I wondered about myself. Why do I run? What are the depths of my running? It is hard to notice the depths of my being while I am paying attention to others; even if I am having fun serving, the silence of God gets lost. Listening to the silence, immersing my consciousness in quiet, and stilling my ego, are what fill me with peace and strengthen me.

When I am unhappy, it is because I have denied my ego some worldly accomplishment. Maybe the practice of denying the ego comes from my monastic years; it is not part of A Course in Miracles (exactly). But what seems joyful to most people seems like ego feeding to me; and I deny myself those worldly pleasures. I don’t think of worldly pleasures as sin, but as distractions from God because they let the ego’s noise supersede God’s quiet.

I have been a runner over 30 years. I ran in a skirt while I was a nun. Yes, I’ve been in many races; but logged 999 times more hours just running. When I heard about what happened to people at the extremes of endurance, I heard about a state of mind I wanted. So I entered ultra-marathons. But I know, I’ve been working at endurance as my pathway to my soul since I was 14 years old. So I now am learning to run the hours alone, without the venue of a race and its associated ego traps.

This morning I ran 10.8 miles on the flat path and 9 miles on the trail. I ran for 4h17 min.

I did get the feeling about endurance which I love. To me it is a feeling of eternity, like my mind opens up or expands for a moment. During these moments, I also get the feeling I touched some greater depth inside. This feeling is my lure for long distance. I think it is why people run 100 miles or 3,100 miles or whatever. We want to touch our deepest inner being and stay touched; but our bodies aren\’t really up to it and we have to stop.

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