This time last week the London Marathon was taking place. Over 37,000 people took to the streets of London to run, walk or hobble the 26.2miles. The participants ranged from ‘elite athletes’, the average ‘fitness’ person to ‘fun runners’. Some actively competed to win the race or to get their own personal best time and others just wanted to finish the run and were not concerned about the time.
Many people believe that competing in such a race is not only a demonstration of their fitness but that it is a good thing to do for the body. That it is a way of keeping the body healthy and toned and in good shape, that it is a good workout for the heart and lungs. Even when the body says very loudly to some people that it is not good for them, they go back the following year and try again!! One celebrity runner collapsed last year at 23 miles and rather than realising this was a message from the body to say “no more please”, she returned this year determined to finish the course this time and did so.
From an esoteric and energetic perspective, marathon running is extremely harming for the body. In order to push the body through that sort of endurance exercise one has to shut down and ignore all the messages the body is giving that say, “please stop,” “this is hurting me”, “this is harming me, my muscles are sore, I can’t breathe, my legs are weak” and so on. Indeed for some, running a marathon is fatal, as the heart is pushed too far and runner collapses from a heart condition and indeed a young woman did lose her life this year running the marathon. How many deaths will it take? How many people need to collapse exhausted? How many injuries are required? ……before people realize the harm that running a marathon does to the body?
The awareness that running a marathon may not be so good for the body is even reaching mainstream press. More evidence is accumulating of the harm of such endurance exercise and the detrimental effect it can have on the heart and in particular, right heart function. This report highlights that people who undertook endurance exercise showed evidence of right heart strain. Even Prof Sharma who is medical director for the London Marathon and therefore presumably pro-marathon running states that “my personal feeling is that extreme endurance exercise probably does cause damage to the heart in some athletes. I don’t believe that the human body is designed to exercise for as long as 11 hours a day, so damage to the heart is not implausible.” However, the more one becomes aware of the body and honours it, it becomes quite clear that even lesser forms of exercise than ‘extreme endurance’ are not beneficial for it.
Marathon running is a totally loveless form of exercise. In other words, someone who runs a marathon has to shut down the natural loving messages from the body and override them with the mind in order to keep going against everything the body is saying. The more attuned we become to the body, the more aware we are of how our every choice affects it. The consequences of those choices are either healing or harming and very simply marathon running is very harming and not at all healthy or healing.
Why do we put ourselves through such intense and harmful forms of exercise??
Many people feel it is a great achievement to run a marathon and that is their motivation. However, the need for achievement and recognition comes from an inner emptiness – that is part and parcel of being human. Until that is, we waken up to who we really are and realise the fullness of our being with and in love. It is only the love that we are within that can truly heal the inner emptiness – all other outer forms of stimulation and achievement are simply temporary fillers that do not fill at all….but simply keep us distracted from feeling the emptiness. The more we connect to the love that we are, the more we can catch ourselves looking for these outer fillers and identifiers and realise how false they are. Also, we become more aware of the importance of listening to the body and honouring it’s feelings and not overriding them with the mind.
This takes time and practice and I know in my own journey it is all too easy to get caught by engrained ways of being and behaving. It takes effort and conscious choice to say no to those behaviours that are not self loving and which are actually harming, but the more we do it, the easier it becomes. There is much more to being self loving than one might think initially and the most frequent word to be used by someone developing self love is no…..no to late nights, no to alcohol, no to caffeine, no to dairy/ gluten, no to judgement, no to emotions, no to gossip and no to aggressive forms of exercise – like marathon running!!
I use to think it was good to be tough, to be hard, to push my body beyond any pain factor – following the old but untrue adage that ‘no pain, no gain’. Whether it was in the gym or on a mountain bike or climbing up a hill – no was not an option, giving up was not an option, I was determined to make it up to the top of the hill no matter how painful it was or how tired my muscles were or how short of breath I was! How crazy is that! I totally disregarded the messages from my body, driven by my mind to get to the top! All for what? To say I had achieved something? I had reached the summit? So what?? All of that need for achieving, to be recognized for something, no matter what it is, comes from not knowing who we are in-truth. When we know who we are, there is no need to do or achieve any of those things. The focus completely changes. The purpose and motivation completely changes. Everything is the same and yet everything changes. Love, connection with people not need for achievement, recognition or acceptance becomes the true operator, the desire to express with the energy of love and gentleness in whatever one does at work, at home, at play and with people everywhere.
This begins with us being self-caring and self-loving for we cannot truly care for or love another if we do not care or love ourselves. We need to realize our own preciousness, our own beauty and delicateness and begin to treat ourselves accordingly by being gentle with ourselves in thought, word and deed eg being self-accepting of our self-perceived flaws and stopping the self-critical and judgmental ways, being gentle in exercise and not pushing our bodies harder and harder in the gym, going to bed early and not burning the candle at both ends, eating nourishing and healthy food and drink and stop the poisoning with alcohol, gluten, dairy, junk food and sugar, honouring the feelings of the body and not overriding them with the loveless mind.
It is time to realize, accept and embody that we are already precious, we are already beautiful, we are already more than worthy of our own love and affection without ‘doing’ anything or going anywhere or climbing any mountain or running any marathon. For if we do not love and accept ourselves, why should we expect another to do it for us? The greatest source of love is within, in your inner heart is the true source of love, strength and wisdom that no amount of outer fillers or achievements can surpass. So why not invest a little time coming to know the true you, that is already pure love, that needs not and cease the endless route of looking for love, for recognition, for achievement, outside of yourself?
How mad is it that we have become so separated and disconnected from our true nature of love and the wisdom of the body, that we can believe we are being healthy in running a marathon, when the truth is the complete opposite – we are in fact being extremely harming, completely loveless and in total disregard of the body!! Marathon Madness….