For Health

I used to be very competitive. I would push myself to accomplish some future goal or the other. In particular, I would compete with myself when working out. I would run to get faster or practice sports to get better or do push ups to get stronger. After meditating for a while, these motivations just didn’t seem right. Why was I creating this scenario of a fight or competition with myself or anyone else? What was I trying to win?

It has taken me some time to unravel all of this sports training. I’ve been through a long period where I haven’t been motivated to workout regularly, but a new motivation is coming to the surface. I want to exercise to be healthy. Instead of trying to win, I just want to be healthy. It’s amazing what this new goal has done for my state of mind. Instead of thinking about the finish line when I’m running, I’m thinking about how my body feels. Instead of writing a workout schedule for the week, I workout on days that it makes my body feel good.

The awareness of my body sensations clues me in to when my body feels weak and sluggish. It helps remind me that it feels good to exercise. I’m not just putting in miles to feel better in the future. I’m running to feel good right now. This awareness of my body is also giving me feedback on my eating habits. I know right away that eating junk food makes me feel crappy. I’m not saying that I never eat junk food. I have quite a sweet tooth! But I do enjoy the sweets in this present moment more frequently. I found that I often eat dessert because I’ve enjoyed it in the past, but when my bowl of ice cream is gone, I’m not sure I even tasted it. What a waste!

So the bottom line is that I’m getting more enjoyment out of my exercise and sweets than I did before because I’m present with my what I’m doing. Meditation has helped me remove all of the unnecessary motivations. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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