Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Running with Bliss

When a friend of mine gave me an audio recording of the late Joseph Campbell this past year I had no idea at the time how much it would profoundly affect my life. The weeks became months as I left the CD in my player of my vehicle during my daily commute. At first I thought it would be a viable option whenever I could not find some music that suits my mood. Seemed like a reasonable alternative to the limitless audio choices and a definite alternative to countless commercials that plague the morning commute hours on the airwaves.

What I quickly discovered was that this Joseph Campbell recording became my first choice when in transport, not just an alternate to advertising.

The recording is composed of various sessions and interviews that took place over a period of years during Joseph’s lifetime. The subject matter ranges from his more well known admonition “follow your bliss” which speaks to the importance of doing what we are passionate about, to the origin and significance of myth in various cultures and the joy one can experience with the fullness of age.

One thought in particular that stuck with me was his idea, which was really more of a warning to those who consider themselves spiritual teachers is the danger of pride. According to Joseph one may begin to believe that they are in fact a spiritual teacher to which he responds "Well you’re not. All you can do is offer people clues."

The implications of this concept found their way into my personal life when I realized that perhaps his idea had even a broader context than Joseph himself intended. As I pondered the idea over countless miles of my daily mobile meditation (yes, running) I began to wonder if a running teacher could exist? If so, who would it be? The fastest runner? Not likely. The most successful runner? Nope. The winner of the last big race? No. None of it made any more sense than the spiritual teaching concept. The problem being there is no one pathh to find one’s spiritual bliss or running your personal best.

If there was such a program everyone would follow it. All people can do is offer clues. Hints. Pieces of advice that worked for them, or perhaps, for others. But the path that we all must follow can only be the one that we create. We must constantly refine our plan, adjusting to life changes. Our situation is constantly evolving and as such our goals must evolve as well.

I think most importantly the best we can hope for is to find pointers and advice at times when we need input during our lifetime. A subtle hint redirecting us when we feel lost and overwhelmed, or perhaps just the acknowledgement by another individual that we have accomplished something.

Follow your own path, wherever it leads you. And if that path involves running 26.2 miles at a time, do it according to your own plan. Thats the only plan that will work for you.

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