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Thread: Zazen and Running

  1. #1

    Zazen and Running

    From a number of posts I can see that some of us at Treeleaf are runners. On Saturday afternoon I sat Zazenkai and then the next morning I went for a two hour run (2hrs 9 mins & 11 secs - to be precise - these things matter to runners :roll: ). As I plodded through the streets, on that early Sunday morning , out into the countryside, along the river and back up that big hill (which defeated me at 1hr and 54 mins ), I was struck by the simularities between the two experiences, i.e:

    - the time it takes to settle into ones stride
    - the feelings of elation (oh - this is great - out into the fresh air, time to myself)
    - the feelings of despair (oh - bloody hell, another hour to go and I feel dreadful)
    - the persistent thoughts that run around in my head (what is this pain in my right side?)
    - witnessing the beauty of the world (cheerful fellow runners, nature, birdsong, the smell of wild garlic in the woods)
    - witnessing the grottyness of the world (traffic, noise, dogs mess, rubbish)
    - and best of all stopping, that wonderful afterglow of no longer having to run or sit .

    Anyway - just noodling.

    Best wishes

    Jools

    ps - I will let you know my half marathon time at the end of the month - anything under two hours would be good :wink:

  2. #2

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Anyway - just noodling.
    Ok. No problem. Don't hurt yourself.


    G,W

  3. #3

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Agreed, the similarities are striking!

    There's also the whole issue of ignoring but not ignoring pain - you have to know when your body is just complaining, and when you're going to do damage if you keep going, just like when you're sitting. I've had to learn to be a lot nicer to my knees by doing more stretching and warm up for both activities.

    Plus if I fixate on the finish, it seems to be a lot harder than if I just run while I'm running and finish when I finish.

    Good luck with that half marathon!! I've got my second 10k of the season on Saturday, I'm trying to break the one hour barrier.

    Skye

  4. #4

    Re: Zazen and Running

    I've just started running myself and also see some of the similarities, although the thoughts that came to my mind mostly were, "Does my 8 year old daughter and running partner know CPR?" :wink:

  5. #5

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hi,

    Nishijima Roshi told me in a video interview on his life that I did (and have around here somewhere and need to post) that he was a runner as a young man in school, that he finds the balance in running ... just running to run with clear mind ... to be much the same as Zazen. This was this inspiration for his description of Zazen as a philosophy of "action" and balance.

    I suppose that Zazen is sitting still running.

    Gassho, Jundo

  6. #6

  7. #7

    Re: Zazen and Running

    GLenn
    Does my 8 year old daughter and running partner know CPR?"
    :lol:
    :lol:

  8. #8

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Jools, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on "zoning out" during running. I find that my mind sometimes drifts off while I'm plodding along, and its kind of nice to escape for a while. I can't decide if its a good or a bad thing, or if it even matters as long as I'm still moving forward...

    Just did a 7k along the seawall here, lovely sunset and lots of people out. One of the warmest nights yet, maybe Spring is finally here?

    Skye

  9. #9

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Sign me up on the runners list. I call it power kinhin, and as far as I'm concerned a marathon counts as a Zazenkai (it takes me that long!) It's not like I drink Gatorade from Oryoki bowls, but running is a great form of meditation: simple, requires mindfulness, demands earnest effort regardless of your mood or distractions, and you can't shift blame as it is your practice and yours alone.

  10. #10

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hello,
    I'm plankton and I'm a runner :?
    I enjoy running (well more of a slow jog to be honest). Unfortunately so much so that I have been know to get a bit of cabin fever if I donīt get out for a while. Not good for attachments (or my wife). There is also that runnerīs high to be careful of.

    Saying that, I do agree with a lot of the comments made. Some of the aspects I find simpler in zazen are more complicated with running and the other way round. I have found that both have helped each other and so become more balanced in sitting or running.
    (I'm not sure how it would work in the Zen Hall. Maybe we could get head cams and run in small circles for a few hours? )

    All the best to everyone with races coming up and "break a leg".

    philip

  11. #11

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Maybe we could get head cams and run in small circles for a few hours?
    In some traditions in Soto (known as Cao Dong in China) they do run around the Dharma hall instead of the slow walk.

    Apprently, the place where Dogen had a great awakening here in China, they jog or do a fast walk and have some complicated ceremonies done quickly.

    G,W

  12. #12

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hi Guys

    sorry for the delay in posting - busy at work and home.

    Will: & maybe Dogen was a proto jogger !!

    Skye: good luck with the run & as for "zoning out", yes I to do that on occasion - normally when listening to music. Sometimes running can be so unpleasant that it is good to escape. Ran tonight - 35 mins - lovely sunny evening

    Glen: your daughter doesn't need to know CPR - just a sharp stick to prod you with

    Aswini: fearsome monks & I felt a little sad that they were so driven

    Jundo:
    just running to run with clear mind
    - funny, I often run to clear my mind.

    Al: thank you. Yes, I take your point. I often run to escape & with weight training you need to be in the present

    Alberto: Too right, when you are grinding up those hills, far from home, it is only self determination or a mobile phone that will get you home. :P

    Philip: Good luck with you big run coming up. I guess running (like zazen) can be termed as a healthy addiction.

    I helped a friend run 100 miles last year (time 23hrs 45 mins). I only ran 22 miles (in two 11 mile stages), but it was a horrible off road course & running at night through woods & down rocky hills is really grotty. By the end of the race this chap was in a really bad way - never again.

    Thanks again everyone & happy plodding

    Jools

  13. #13

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Interesting observations Jools and everyone!

    I can relate to how it takes time to settle into it before "the noise" disappear and the minds calms down.

    I am not much of a runner but sometimes I ride my bike to the forest as fast as I can and then go for a joggin tour. Every time I hope it will be peaceful and serene but soon discover SO many distractions out there! Sometimes I see an animal or a bird but most of the time the beautiful flowers (the white and blue ones that come out when the snow melts), pine and birch tress and moss on the rocks along the path that is covered with birch bark. I decide not to stop for them and come back for a walk another time but often find myslef jogging on place in front of a fantastic tree trunk, not even realisiung I am doing that (very much like zazen indeed)! :wink: Then I" wake up" and go further :-).

    I love all about it: the pain in the muscles when the season starts and the body is not used to running yet, the trees around, the sun dancing between the branches of the trees, the sound of my own breathing, the sound of the wind in the tree crowns, the painful bike ride back home when it seems there is no energy left to put the helmet on and hit the road and I just wish someone sent a helicopter to bring me back home.

    Good luck to all you, jogging enthusiasts !

    Gassho,

    Irina

  14. #14

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hi Irina

    lovely post - thank you: Good luck with your waking cycling .

    Best wishes

    Jools

  15. #15

    Re: Zazen and Running

    running at night through woods & down rocky hills is really grotty. By the end of the race this chap was in a really bad way - never again
    Great Iīll try and remember that Sat night :shock:














  16. #16

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Been doing 2.5 hours pram pushing kinhin today round the lanes where I live. Longest time I've been on my feet in 2 years and felt (and still does) like I'd done a marathon (but no where near ) Been sea kayaking lately a few times too as it's been like a millpond, paddling kinhin, really good for focusing on good efficient technique (not that mine is).

    The opportunites seem endless As did the walk :lol:

  17. #17

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Ahh - Phillip - mea culpa ops: , I will just remove my foot from my mouth. I wish you the very best on your ultramarathon. I hope you have a good team looking after you - who pace you & make you eat & drink. My friend was in a bad way because (a) he had run a 100 miles, but (b) he didn't keep hydrating himself once he had finished the race. Anyway - the very best (& your mad )

    Longdog - you'll be sore in the morning & sea kayaking - a beautiful hobby

    Cheers

    Jools

  18. #18

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Longdog: I kayak also. Thanks for bringing boating up in this discussion. I find nothing is like the feeling when you hit the correct stroke and get the notion that you are gliding above the water. As to technique, I was recently taught that I have been using almost twice as many strokes as I should be...My instructor showed me that the key is to allow the boat to glide longer. We raced, counting strokes, he was much farther ahead without using a power stroke, using about 60% of the number of strokes I was counting. He demonstrated that the action of dipping the paddle retards forward momentum. The trouble is teaching yourself to wait between strokes, and learn to glide.

    Jools: When I am on the water, I get the same sensations as you describe in running. I can only describe the rhythm that I slip into as mesmerizing. When I am gliding across the water on the lake in the middle of the night or very early morning, when the water is like a glass mirror...I get a moment when I am experiencing what I have heard others describe as "the realization of the reality of a moment"...what a former physics professor told me was impossible...being able to know both position and speed simultaneously.

    Hmm...I had posted a response to Harry's thread earlier about "just sitting". Maybe one of the problems of the answer "just sit" is the fact that we are physical creatures. There are many passionate thoughts here in this thread about the core joy that comes from experiencing the correct movement of the body...which could be interpreted to mean that mind and body are also in harmony when engaged in such pursuits.

    By the by, I also get the same sensation when I am driving and in tune with a particular country road. A true sense of Here. And Now.

    Sport is not a multi-billion dollar industry by an accident of marketing...It taps into something core to our being.

    Steve

  19. #19

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hi Steve (& welcome )

    I recognise the experience you describe - its rare for me to experience that moment of clarity, but when I do that second of recognition makes it disappear :?
    Like grasping a soap bubble.

    I have heard modern pyschology call this being in the "flow".

    Kind regards

    Jools

  20. #20

    Re: Zazen and Running

    I know when I run, that I concentrate on my breath. If I don't, I start to breathe too fast, then I only run maybe half as well. Just the concentration alone on breathing, tends to make me feel better if i was down about something earlier.
    I don't know much, but it would seem this is one reason why running is zazen. Correct me if i'm wrong, though, I'm still learning. Internet is slow today so i can't see any more vids on the blog, for now. :roll:

  21. #21

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hi CW

    No I think you are right, there are many simularities between Zazen & running - mainly the discomfort. But zazen is "just sitting" and running is well "just running".

    Kind regards

    Jools

  22. #22

    Re: Zazen and Running

    I finished my race on Sunday, 18:01:59 after it all began. I found it very hard to get my head relaxed with "just running" for quite a few hours. Thoughts were a constant, how is the back pack? Is it rubbing anywhere? Do I have enough water? Where is that energy bar? How did that rock effect my foot? Am I going too fast/slow? et cetera.

    Strangely it was only when the tiredness and discomfort had kicked in towards the last 25k " just running" or "just walking" really kicked in. During the middle part of the race we had lots of rain and strong winds, sometimes over the tops of the mountains. At times it got a bit serious for some runners and so things needed to put into perspective. Towards the end thoughts like hill, puddle, slope, pain, breath, wind and everything else just became noticed. Each moment and each step was a step and moment. Lots to see and feel but just being there (if that makes sense?). Either way it helped with the discomfort, finish and enjoyment.

    Anyway it's all over for me now. I'm looking forward to just running without training for a while. Think I might have to sit zazen in a chair for a few days though. ops:

    all the best,

    philip

    P.S. thanks for the music downloads Will, they were good to take along

  23. #23

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Congratulations Philip

  24. #24
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Zazen and Running

    That's 18 hours??? How long was the race? A marathon, or longer?

    I can't imagine running for 18 hours...

    Kirk

  25. #25

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Quote Originally Posted by plankton
    I finished my race on Sunday, 18:01:59 after it all began. ...
    all the best,

    philip

    P.S. thanks for the music downloads Will, they were good to take along
    9 Bows in your direction. By coincidence, I just complete 18 hours on the sofa.

    Wonderful achievement! (Achieved without achieving too!!)

    Gassho, Jundo

  26. #26

    Re: Zazen and Running

    I can run for about half an hour, tops.... but I start getting tired at around half that time...
    Meh, I've been slacking... :lol:

  27. #27

    Re: Zazen and Running

    I have heard that an advantage of endurance sports is a very bad memory. That way you forget how bad it was and keep going.
    Probably some truth there.
    kirkmc the race was 101k or a little under 63 miles. I didn't run the full distance and was at more of a shuffle towards the end.
    not quite Mount Hiei monk style but enough for me.

    Anyone else got an event planned?

  28. #28

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Quote Originally Posted by plankton
    I have heard that an advantage of endurance sports is a very bad memory. That way you forget how bad it was and keep going.
    Probably some truth there.
    kirkmc the race was 101k or a little under 63 miles. I didn't run the full distance and was at more of a shuffle towards the end.
    not quite Mount Hiei monk style but enough for me.

    Anyone else got an event planned?

    A marathon in San Diego in 3 weeks. I called a marathon a Zanzenkai, but by that measure you did a full sesshin!

  29. #29

    Re: Zazen and Running

    I did a 10k trail run last weekend, that's about my limit right now. I'm still working on running the whole distance without walking, which is an interesting psychological battle when it feels like you can't possibly take another step or draw another breath. But you do.. and then go through it all over again...

  30. #30

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Philip - well done mate. A fantastic achievement. Hopefully, now you have it out of your system you will never do it again When my Pal did the 100 miles - the 22 miles I paced were bad enough - quite insane to be running down scree slopes, with a torch on your head at 3am. The link for this years race is below if you are tempted.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/henk.vande ... ars100.htm

    Phil - as you know you are going the sore for days, so lots of fluids, food & pain killers. Watch out for that post race dip in mood & lowered immune system - but I bet you know all of this - anyway heartfelt congratulations.

    Skye - well done on your 10k - I hope it went well. Do you want to share a time?

    Alberto - good luck on your full marathon

    Heres the race I am doing next weekend - only 13 miles. Good distance to keep family & home life in balance http://www.plymouthhalfmarathon.co.uk/p ... pageid=500
    Did my last long run tonight (1hr 35 minutes - approx 10/11 miles).

    Kind regards

    Jools

  31. #31

    Re: Zazen and Running

    "Only 13 miles" he says lol. I prefer running in km it's too long between mile markers

    I did the Sun Run 10k in 64min and the Pacific Spirit trail 10k in 65min. No shin splints this year, so here's hoping that's over. I do need some better shoes though, my right knee and ankle really take a pounding. I'm fairly pleased since I only started training again about 6 weeks ago.

    I might have to check out the local chapter of the Hash House Harriers: http://www.vanhash.com/site/
    "The Drinking Club with a Running Problem!" proudly hashing since 1938....

    Skye

  32. #32

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hi Skye

    10 minutes miling after only 6 weeks - not to shoddy at all, you should be proud of that ( in a non attached kind of way ).
    Shoes - I swear by Nike Air Pegasus - not too expensive.
    Don't over do it or those shin splints will come back


    kind regards

    Jools

  33. #33

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Thanks for the link jools, think I might stick to marathon distance for a bit now. I could be tempted with the 101 again but not solo next time. The organisation was very good and every town had a crowd of well wishers which was nice. Hopefully better weather conditions though. I'm also a keen cyclist and there are one or two sportives that have taken my eye. I think they are popular in the uk? Your race looks fun though, good to run with a large crowd. (there were 3180 runners in the 101 can you believe).

    Break a leg Alberto is it your first?

    Well done Skye. I would recommend getting your feet and stride measured at a good running shop if you haven't already. I run in Montrail Continental Divide shoes. They are fantastic for me but I run mainly up and down off road so probably a bit to clumpy for lots of road use. They are like wearing slippers though.

    Kev (if you see this) How is your brother doing?, Is he mending well?

  34. #34

    Re: Zazen and Running

    Hi Phil

    Yeh his shoulder is mending well but his head is unmending with not being able to spend silly amounts of time running, cycling or swimming :lol: I'm just worried he's going to go back to soon and make it worse. He's already sneaked on the turbo trainer and the dog is getting more walks than it wants :lol:
    :lol: just found out he's been on his stepper too :lol: He needs some zazen!

    On the shoes front, I'm now a big chap, and severe over pronator (size 12 flat feet) and Brooks Beasts have been fantastic. I don't get shin splints but some anterior compartment syndrome thing in my shin muscle where it swells, the circulation, cuts off and my shin kills and my feet become floppy. The Beasts have really helped, plus going slower helps too (the later not being a problem!).

    Kev

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