I once met a man who told me he was very religious. He observed no holidays or food restrictions and he treated each day as the day before. He said he was “religious in his heart”. It took me years to fully comprehend the extent of this epiphany.
When I run or hike outdoors I undoubtedly understand this man.
I look up past the trees at the vast sky be it ominously grey or abundantly blue and I appreciate that there is a higher being controlling it all.
I refer to myself as deeply religious but mildly observant.
Sometimes I run super slowly and my instinct is to beat myself up about it.
I tend to clog my mind with negative questions such as: Why am I so lazy? Why don’t I push myself harder to go faster?
Then I look down at my healthy body. I recognize that my organs function properly.
I pick up my pace just a little bit and become fully aware of the feeling of my heart as my heart rate raises a notch.
I consider this process to be equivalent to praying.
I acclaim and give credit to a higher being (in my case I believe in Gd) but to others it can be whatever deity or representative they choose.
To me, organized religion serves a purpose to some level and I take from it what I need. But when I truly believe in Gd is when I am cognitive of the ability that my body and mind has, the method to which they function. I observe my surroundings and I give thanks for the moment.
So the next time you are tempted to criticize your workout or poor diet or you haven’t met your personal goals, take a breath, think about the higher level that is and give yourself a break. Then go out for a run!