So my running is going great, I’m getting into better and better shape, running faster, healing an injury, reaching my weekly running goals, etc. – but I fear I am falling into a trap. The trap is this – if I achieve big things in running, I will be happy and feel good about myself. Essentially, I’m hoping that a certain running outcome will satisfy my ego and bring lasting happiness.
I have been here before. And the truth is – there is not one single achievement that will bring lasting happiness and satisfy my ego. Why? Because our human experience is that everything comes and goes. Thoughts, emotions, and sensations – arising and passing. I wish it were otherwise. I wish that the feelings of joy and satisfaction when I broke 15 minutes in the 5,000 meters would have lasted forever. I wish that my feelings of ‘I am a good runner’ would have lasted, but the ego is insatiable! And of course, this is true for life. There is no job, partner, income, house, experience, party, etc. that will do the trick and bring us lasting happiness and settle our ego.
So we must find refuge in the present moment – in our moment to moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions and sensations. Even when they are crappy. So what does that mean for running? It means enjoy the journey and the process. You certainly don’t need to enjoy all your runs. It’s ok to get out the door and squeeze in an 8 miler just to hit your weekly mileage. But just don’t trick yourself into believe that if you do great things in running you will be a great person. We are all amazing humans!
Oh, and just to be clear – running has tremendous power to bring joy and happiness – but sometimes we can veer off course (pun intended).