Reasons for ………………..
Reasons for living of course.
“Why do you run?”, a close friend asked me. “Because i can”, i answered. “That’s daft”, she replied, “sure everyone can run”. “Think about it i said, there are many who can’t run and many of those who wish they could – i run for them, in their honour” “You run for others so”, my friend commented admiringly. I should have left it at that.
The next time we met, running was still on her mind, “Does it give you pleasure”, she asked me out of the blue, “Running”, she clarified as i looked at her, “Does running give you pleasure”. “Not really”, i replied, “pain, pain mostly, mostly running gives me pain, pain in the running and pain afterwards” “So you run for pain”, my friend stated as she sought to get her mind around the concept, “but i thought you said you ran for others. Surely running for others gives you pleasure?” “I run for those who can’t but I offer up the pain”, i said, “for the sufferings of the world, like a masochistic monk”
“Why do you run?”, one of my in-laws asked me at a recent family wedding. “To clear my head”, I replied, “to put a temporary stop to the incessant murmurings of a wandering mind”. “Like meditation”, my in-law replied, getting into the flow of things, “for your health, your mental health”, and she nodded approvingly. In reply i quoted one of my heroes, Sakyong Mipham, a Tibetan lama, “running is running”, he says, “meditation is meditation”, “In Tibet they compare the mind to a wild horse, meditation tames the mind, running only tires it out so that it becomes quiet for a time”.
“So you run to become tired!”, my in-law declared, in a moment of enlightenment, “pretty much”, i replied as she shook her head slowly and rejoined the movers and shakers on the dance floor.
“Why do you run?”, a young work colleague asked me recently – what is it with the fascination with ‘why’. “To explore the boundaries”, was my leading response, “What boundaries” bounced back immediately, like a contrived echo. “The boundaries between possible and impossible, between life and death”, i smiled. My work colleague’s eyes opened widely and he nodded slowely. “Of course”, he said, “I understand”, and he has avoided me ever since.
Perhaps i should have spoken about the joy, the pleasure of activity, of fun, as a child takes pleasure in playing, about comradship encountered and friendship developed, about bananas, goodie bags, free water, doughnuts and tea and cake and biscuit spreads to make the tables and your stomach groan. Perhaps i should have spoken about free t-shirts and bling – wonderful colourful medals, the buzz of anticipation, the excitment of the build-up, the overcoming of fear, the achievement of doing something you have never done before, the flood of endorphins which washes you home afterwards, the happy tiredness, the swopped stories, the seconds knocked off Personal Bests – but everyone knows about them – whats to tell?
Keep running my friends
Life is for living.