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Apr 08
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Acharya Dale Asrael Reviews the New Book

miksang photo by Charles Blackhall

Letter to the Shambhala community from Acharya Dale Asrael, in anticipation of the forthcoming book by the Sakyong

I have just finished reading an advance copy of the Sakyong’s new book, Running with the Mind of Meditation, and I feel excited about the potential it holds. This book was not written for runners alone, and it is not just for meditators. While the theme is based on running, the underlying message is relevant to many kinds of training, showing how any genuine activity can be a vehicle for discovering wakefulness.

The Sakyong’s presentation is simultaneously personal and far-reaching. He states, “My meditation teachers taught me that with aggression you may accomplish some things, but with gentleness you can accomplish all things.”

Then he writes, “Gentleness allows us to have more skill and more options in how we can overcome negative habits and ingrain positive ones. Gentleness allows us to utilize all the aspects of what is happening in the environment … the distinction between being wise and being foolish is not so much who you are, but how you utilize what you have.”

As a jogger in her sixties, I am learning some important elements of running from this book. As a long-time meditator, I found that reading Running with the Mind of Meditation has refreshed and simplified my understanding of what practice is.

Acharya Dale Asrael

One of the book’s most prominent themes, however, goes beyond these specific applications. The Sakyong defines stages of training based on the four dignities of the Shambhala warrior, which beautifully illustrate how skills can be built while simultaneously cultivating inner values. These stages of development can apply to a wide range of activities, including meditation, and reveal an approach to learning that respects both strengthening and deepening, challenge and relaxation, perseverance and joy.

As practitioners, we know that synchronizing mind and body is the key to being in touch with ourselves and with the world. The Sakyong writes, “True confidence is grounded in the unity of mind and body.” “The two are not meant to be separate … Embodiment takes place when the mind completely fills the body and they are synchronized. It is the feeling of being full and alive. The feeling is rich and powerful.”

This book has inspired me to look deeply and ask myself a penetrating question: How synchronized am I, really? Reading Running with the Mind of Meditation has renewed my aspiration to embody my life more fully as I live it, to both enhance my own experience and help me become ever more available to others.

~~

To order your copy of the book and access many more resources, visit: runningmind.org

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