Cross!


“There is more ‘religion’ in five Kilometers of a cross-country race than in a 1000 church services”

I am ever astonished to this day how consistent devotion of practice and belief in oneself leads to divine action, to high performance. While so many others, particularly in my age group and beyond, long ago hung up the training and embraced resignation, I am yet blessed with the passion, the values, and the tribe to experience each day with vibrancy and elegance.

Saturday morning began with a simple Pre-race Ritual, grabbed my racing flats, and headed out the door, on foot mind you, down the trails and roads to a local and ever popular cross country race. Its not that I felt ‘ideal’ that morning yet I know enough about racing and encountering my ego’s inhibitions not to let that determine how I would be or how I would run. Its always about running free, with courage.

After a bit more of a warm up I was informed about other fast runners showing up, defending champs, high school studs, et. All. One’s performance however, one’s experience in the ancient discipline of running across hills, thru streams, across muddy fields, over stumps, in other words; cross country, is about your own experience and what you make it. I don’t kid around when I race. Those who finish ahead of me I hold no grudge against or consider more or less than myself. I bow to whatever suffering they had to go thru to be ahead of me.

So as the gun went off I embarked with as much nerve as I did when I was a twenty year old top collegiate runner. After all, age is not a matter of chronology. It was a awesome course…All dirt and mud, thru cottonwoods and around sage, lots of turns, plenty of hills and uneven ground, even around a autumn corn field or two. Does it get any better on a fine fall morning? Are people actually inside sleeping or gaming or stuffing their pie holes when they could be experiencing what I and the many others of all abilities are this morning?

In a short while I found myself and one other, a young tough college kid from Adams (Adams State College all time leading national cross country champions http://ascgrizzlies.athleticsite.com/sport.asp?sportID=4) pushing the pace out front. I felt go(o)d. Heart pounding, thighs burning, the breath smoothly taking in the pran, mind steady..Zazen steady. This is what it means to be alive. All your senses on full. Your spirit integrated with each foot fall and scent in the air.

Oh yeah..how’d I do? Second overall beating the defending champ by more than a minute. First in my age group (30-49) by a long shot. Time on this gnarly course: 17:19…I’ll be working on the that little benchmark.

wolves


One insight on life is that we have a choice to face one of two directions. I don’’t particularly prescribe to dualistic thinking nor even make pronouncements on what is right or wrong. I do think and feel though there are consequences and one must chose the direction, the path of consequences they want to walk. I know this…if one wants to tear themselves asunder they will try the futility of two directions at once.
I feel the wisdom below reflects what choice, what path a person decides to follow…it is reflected in how one spends their time, who they hang out with and call friend, the music they listen to, the food they eat, the media they plug in to, how they speak to and of people, how they approach work or school, all. In my mind there is no part going this way and part going that way. Its one or the other.
Are you experiencing stuckness in your life? Perhaps you are trying to feed both at once, attempting to go two directions at once.

Its one wolf or the other.

-teacher haku

Two Wolves

One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson
about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, “My son, the battle is between
two “Wolves” inside each of us.

One is Evil.
It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, sloth, guilt, rebellion, resentment, inferiority,
lies, false pride, self righteous, and the ego.

The other is Good.
It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, discipline,
generosity, truth, cooperation, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute
and then asked his grandfather:
“Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”