Jogging and being present ....
I went for a jog recently. I find jogging relaxing believe it or not. Particularly when I stay in the moment. That for me means not needing to beat a personal best time over a distance or pushing myself harder to get up a hill that the previous time I encountered it I may have found difficult to get up. When I stay in the moment and I'm shuffling - then I shuffle. I don't beat up on myself because the previous time I may have been going faster or stronger. I simply stay with where I'm at.
That is different to where I would have been mentally a few years ago. Back then I would have been timing myself and then seeing with each next jog if I could beat that time. It would indicate some sort of improvement. I would have been more into a challenge back then asking questions like "how can I get stronger, faster, fitter, lose more weight, gain more muscle?" Much of this thinking requires comparing myself in time. This is how I was yesterday or the previous time I jogged and this is where I am today.
I find being in the moment doesn't require this type of thinking. I simply go for a jog. Why then do I go for a jog? Because in the moment it seems like a good thing to do. No doubt that will be based on what I've learnt from previous experiences (the past), however right here, 'right now' determines how I act on it. If it feels the right thing to do then I go for the jog. If I don’t want to go for a jog then I don't go for a jog. Nothing more, nothing less.
Mind you my ego will kick in and say things like "well you've only gone for a jog once this week you fat slob". Yeh, well that's what egos do. I simply thank it, forgive myself and get back to not going for a job. I'll talk more about forgiveness in a moment.
If I do go for the jog what makes it all the more enjoyable is simply engaging in the jog with all that the present moment affords. I'm either jogging well or being a bit sluggish. It's either hard or not hard, though I don't find it hard which is why I choose jogging. I guess I'm saying here is that I may pick up on my energy levels being a bit sluggish or, conversely, high. But it doesn't matter. Whatever is happening in the moment is what I go with.
When I'm out jogging I then notice my thoughts. Where is my head at? This is often best noticed by being aware of things like, have I jogged a certain distance and not noticed anything physically? For example it could be that the last 50 metres didn't even register in my mind because my mind was somewhere else. It might be thinking about an issue I had the previous day. When that happens I remind myself that the previous day is the past and has no relevancy on right now.
The relevancy factor can be a stumbling block. We are often taught to problem solve difficulties in our lives and if yesterday bought an issue out for us then perhaps we should reflect on it to find solutions. I'm not going to argue whether that is a good thing to do or not. All I can say (and this is very powerful for me) is that I simply note I am going over the past, I am reflecting on a previous event and when I realise that I let it go. Bye bye now. Not easy sometimes because that event may be bringing up uncomfortable and familiar feelings for me which can be difficult to just let go. When that occurs I try to be kind to myself and forgive myself. Yes forgiveness.
It's interesting how forgiving yourself for not being able to let a feeling go or for not being quicker in letting an event go from your mind that is from the past, helps! The process of forgiveness allows me to affirm that I am human and that I am perfect as a human as a result! I'm where I should be right now. Not only physically and mentally and emotionally but most importantly, spiritually, which is my connection to the world around me. I am a physical being in the form of a human being doing what human beings do. And that is perfect.
When I'm out jogging I also have gratitude. I find giving gratitude results in me being able to better stay in the present moment. Now I don't do big concept gratitude. That's the sort of gratitude where you are thankful for your life or all that you have or your beautiful partner or the promotion you recently got. No it's simply saying things like "Thanks legs! Thanks lungs. Thanks arms swinging in the breeze. Thanks eyes for seeing where I'm going". It will be picking up on whatever I can notice, be aware of right now in this present moment. "Thanks trees, thanks road, thanks bird flying by, thanks clouds, thanks wind, thanks hot sun". The list is endless really. I keep it simple too.
The other day (the past I know!) I found myself thanking 'resilience'. Then I thought that I would only be thanking resilience because I was aware I was jogging up a steep hill and I had noticed that I had progressed far and got to where I was right now. So that means I must have been comparing myself from where I was a short while ago (the past) to where I am now. So to an extent my mind is not in the present moment when I am thanking resilience! So I don't mention resilience now. I'm fairly sure resilience involves focusing on other than right now. Hence I keep it simple. "Thanks itch on my nose, thanks beads of sweat on my face".
It is amazing how when you keep life really, really simple your sense of happiness, joyfulness and being immersed in the present moment increases immensely! There is also far more clarity to life. You see things a lot more clearly. Problems seem to be less of problems. Progressing from one moment to the next is so much easier. Though I wouldn't necessarily like progress because there is no progress in right now! It's just that 'right now' seems so much more complete. The true meaning of life. Right now. It's immensely big if you let it in fully. It is what life is all about. Right now. So my suggestion to you is to give 'right now' a go! Have fun and maybe go for a jog, or maybe not.