In running, every step you make and every push forward changes you - it transforms you into a different person. Every single run adds something to you and then it also takes something away. You are not the same person you have been at the starting line and by the time you come to the finish your inner self has been reinvented and reimagined. Not in a big way, of course, but more and more so after every single time. Especially after hard sessions, challenging ones when you get to learn who you really are on the inside, your true self always comes through during these runs.
Running, being so challenging physically and mentally, can take you places you could have never imagined. I believe that at some point it can raise you to a whole new level of being and give you a better understanding of life. Perhaps, it can even completely rewrite who you are if you do it long enough and often enough. Physical training, tough and painful, that requires you to go over your limits, is the path of Zen, the path to completeness.
Every now and then you can get a glimpse into the beautiful light when everything suddenly makes sense and your thoughts just disappear, there is just your heart beating in unison with the Universe. These moments don’t last for very long but the echo of them stays with you for quite a while even after you stop - the memories of being at peace utterly and completely. That, perhaps, is the touch of light Zen philosophy talks about… but whatever it is - it’s out there, ready for us to reach out.
We can all experience it through letting our mind drift, like going into meditation but during a run, and letting go of all thoughts but the sensation of the motion. It gets easier and easier to step into the mode once you get hold of it for the first time and then you learn to recognize it. It doesn’t always depend on conditions or the level of difficulty of your run. I noticed that the easiest way to have a chance to get there is by asking yourself to work harder, not always, but in most cases. It’s like stepping over an invisible line, something inside you opens up in that moment. And you feel the warmth of it, the bliss…
And every time it changes you. Every time you come back to your body you are not the same person. I am not entirely sure what happens but by the time you stop everything seems clear to you and the world… the world just makes sense.