My friend Ka (aka Fiesta Estrellas) is many things: an artist, a poet, an astrologer to name but a few. A few years ago she had a 9mm herniated disk (L5/S1), which she chose to heal naturally, through things like diet, exercise, acupuncture, but most of all, through learning to listen to her body for what it needed to heal. Her healing was slow; it took over a year. That process of healing she likened to what others might experience learning to train for running a marathon. She says:
“Many people embark on the journey/goal of running a marathon. More and more are interested in pushing themselves to states of peak performance. Yet, how do we train for a marathon other than running a longer distance, over time; in effect, we run further and longer than the marathon itself. That’s how we train! That’s how we get ready for something that can seem so long, and like such a tremendous feat: We aim even higher than [the] actual goal.”
For Ka, this is a metaphor for healing, and I thought this is a great metaphor for the Journey of Enlightenment.
If a marathon is representative of physical peak-performance, then enlightenment is its spiritual/mental/physical counterpart (total enlightenment includes body-mastery). Training to do a marathon requires running a longer and longer distance over time, until the body is trained to complete the 26.2 miles; enlightenment requires similar steps through meditation, contemplation, spiritual practices, etc., until being enlightened is the natural state of personal expression. Both marathons and enlightenment are tremendous feats—each attainable through aiming high and doing the training necessary to achieve them. Both are mental and physical journeys, requiring intent, focus, practice, determination, and persistence.
“There’s got to be some kind of distraction while our muscles are working so hard; and while, in the beginning it’s so challenging, before we realize it, we’ve [got to] just keep going, and we keep going…The whole movement itself becomes sort of like a sitting meditation. We might not be able to wrap our minds [around] each and every step, but at some point – we trust our steps.”
The Journey of Enlightenment is the same way! In the beginning there are so many distractions. It is challenging to deny disruptive, unhelpful thoughts and to affirm loving, peaceful, beneficial thoughts and behaviors. But the more you do it, the easier it becomes; life smooths out and begins to reflect peace rather than tumult; life becomes the meditation, just as running becomes the meditation. Every step counts; continuing to take every step—whether you can wrap your head around it or not—matters. Then at some point, even without understanding, we begin to trust the steps…and then the steps themselves become easier!
Finally, Ka says:
“Of course, not everyone can run a marathon. But, I guess that’s up to the runner and the runner’s body to decide. What do we risk? What are the costs involved? Why do we do such things? What is self-development all about? Can we really improve the lives of others, just by being and becoming our best selves?”
I know I sure have no aspirations to run a marathon—but could I if I wanted to? I’d like to think so. If I properly focused my mind and body, I think there is nothing I couldn’t do. But marathon running is not my aspiration, enlightenment is.
Could you run a marathon…heal yourself…or become enlightened if you wanted to? What is the risk of thinking, “maybe someday”? What would you have to give up? How would you have to change? What could you gain?
My answer to Ka’s final question is an emphatic yes. Yes, we can improve the lives of others just by being and becoming our best selves. Aspire. Choose your journey. Take the steps. You are worth it.
Read Ka’s original post here: https://fiestaestrella.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/how-to-train-for-a-marathon/
Read about Ka’s Healing Journey here: https://healingmydisc.wordpress.com/