Running, religion and altered states of consciousness

Running, religion and altered states of consciousness

Running long distances usually creates a knee-jerk interruption of judgment and produces a feeling of euphoria, sometimes also called an “altered state of consciousness.” As an amateur runner who only averages about 10 to 12 miles per week, I still agree with this statement.

In fact, there are quite a few religious orders that use long-distance ultramarathoning (anything over 26 miles) as a tool to overcome body consciousness, to remove mental limitations and biases, and to open the mind to a new “floating” consciousness that views the world from a whole new objective point of view. In fact, there are reports of out-of-body experiences among some ultra-runners as well.

The New York-based Sri Chinmoy Order, for example, is well known for the fantastic running feats it encourages its members to undertake to transcend the mind’s notions of “physical reality” and “the limitations of the body.”

The Shri Chinmoy Marathon team regularly organizes and participates in 50K and 100K races.

The Running Monks present another amazing fusion of running and religious discipline.

In order to access higher levels of consciousness through running, a certain Buddhist sect in Japan allegedly ran (are you ready for this?) 100 marathons in 100 consecutive days!

Waking up at 1:30 in the morning, the monks pray and meditate for an hour. Then they hit the road and run 26 miles. After the marathon, they return to their normal daily duties and prayers, and then go to bed early in the evening.

The next day they do it all over again, for 100 days.

The monk who fails to complete the task is asked to “end his life with the belt of his robe,” according to Sri Chinmoy’s website.

I’m all for straining my body a bit to reach a slightly higher state of consciousness, humility and kindness.

But I don’t think I’ll ever get to the stage where I’ll grab my mantle belt just because I can’t run 100 marathons in a row. I hope not though.

#Running #religion #altered #states #consciousness

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