On the art of unrunning

Regular readers will know I am not exactly keen on the idea that spirituality is associated with the need to sit still and concentrate for any length of time. Quite apart from the objection that I don’t have hours spare in the week, I also have sneaky suspicions that all the reported spiritual benefits are only the result of meditation-type techniques. Other religions seem claim spiritual intervention or experiences when still & relaxed so there’s nothing to convince me that an experience of the Christian God is actually anything more than the side effects of a particular physical state of being. Tricky. There’s also my general worry that by not being any good at this sitting lark, I’ll therefore never make the grade as a Proper Christian. Answers on a postcard as to what a Proper Christian might be.

Last week I had a very interesting conversation with a very calm and wise person who helped me see the inability to sit still in a new light. She asked me how far I ran the first time I went. She asked me how much of my running was habit and practice. At this point the penny dropped. I know this has been obvious to lots of people but I realise that what I am being asked to do is learn to unrun. So on one end of the scale I’m off and running a half marathon. On the other end of the scale I’m finding stillness and peace. But whilst I can get to the first end easily, because the steps are practised and they flow, it’s harder for me to move in the opposite direction. And it will never get easy if I don’t put time into practise. Suddenly the physical process makes sense even if my internal jury is out on the spiritual process.

The very next day I met with @rosamundi who carefully took me through the steps of praying the rosary. I’ve only just touched it again and said a tentative few Hail Marys but this could well work out as a useful method of unrunning training. As long as I get past the bit of my brain that’s quizzically looking at me with an unfamiliar thing in my hand.

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