So you are out for your daily run and “bam” God decides to run alongside you. What would you talk about? Or you are running along and you see God cross the trail in front of you? While I don’t think that would happen in a literal sense, I do think that you can see God all around you – not in the pantheistic sense, but in the sense that God created everything and therefore a part of Him is in that creation (similar to an artist).
Continuing the look at Running – the Sacred Art – the next chapter is titled “Seeing God While Running.” Warren Kay alludes to God as an artist who leaves their mark on every painting (creation) which is easily identified by someone who knows about God. Kay describes two types of seeing, with our eyes and with our brains. On a normal run or throughout the course of the day we may see thousands if not millions of images and details. Most of them we pay no attention to, how often do you see and comprehend the same buildings during your daily run or commute? Kay says that we often see things, but don’t let our brains interpret them. Using the example of an optical allusion, two people may see two different things – a rabbit or a duck – depending on their perspectives.
Go for a run with a watch and mp3 player, now run the same route without either. Did you see anything different? I think most of us do. What we see is shaded by who we are: pessimist, atheist, analytical thinker, etc. Do you ever take time to think about God or your spiritual being during a run? I like this quote from page 46:
We can’t see God directly in the trees, mountains, lakes, buildings, and cars. But if we know how to look, we can see God in them, because God is present in them. Just about everything has the potential to become a means for seeing God.
Kay encourages us to multitask while we run. Not in the podcast/music listening way, but in a contemplative way. His three tasks to “practice the spirituality of running” are 1) following commonsense running advice, 2) looking at the surroundings, and 3) contemplating the notion of the Sacred. These combined form what he has called contemplative running.
Combining his definitions contemplative running would be: running while self-consciously living in the presence of God. This type of running gives you the opportunity to “see and experience God’s good creation, which includes your own body.”
What do you think about this type of running?