Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Need To Be More Of A Two-Legged Animal

...and, paradoxically, doing so would make me more human. 

(Because, you know, lately, the boogeyman has been checking for me under his bed).

I'm thinking about that five mile run I did on Wednesday. You know, once I worked myself past the initial discomfort and suffering, and just settled into the whole experience of running, it was... joyful.

It was flying. And you would think that the animal reference involves shutting down the front part of the brain, of getting back to some primal experience, when in fact it is nothing at all like that.

It is a sensual experience. You are, formerly just a disembodied and angry ghost, fully re-engaged in your body. But not thoughtless, not the unthinking Be-Here-Now we ascribe to the animal. But fully conscious of your internal and external states. 

The speaking part of the brain is not silenced. Instead, it participates in the experience in kind of a happy babble, like a three-year-old, commenting upon each event. Sights, smells, sounds. Especially smells, the smell of late summer, of growth slowly turning towards autumn, of pungent and fecund life all about you. And sights.

I recall running through a mid-to-young growth park and forest area on the northwest corner of the campus. Parkland, with trees spaced apart among the grass just right, sun and shadow perfectly proportioned, at least according to my evolution-honed senses and aesthetic.

"Oak tree!" I remember thinking to myself.

Now, it seems quite a silly thing to think. Yet at the time, this simple recognition evoked such a profound chain of thought that it is hard to now recount it. It involved such a connection to the world, such a deep affection with all the life around me, the sky, the sun, the air, the shadows, the palpable vitality of the flesh and the earth, that if I could but adequately describe you would possibly weep with joy.

Yes, and it was not simply hedonism, not simply just sensualism, the intellect was fully involved, engaged, enamored, chattering away happily, and in concert with the experience.

If I but had some telepathic way of relating this experience, you'd understand.

But I think, being human, you do.    


  1. Must have been quite a run...Not a runner myself, but do get into being with Nature...

  2. I can get the same feeling strolling or standing looking around me. No running necessary. I passed a guy running on the street the other and looking at him I could only shake my head. the guy's face was twisted in agony, his body looked tortured and each step was a clump. I'm thinking that that is not exactly the goal here. How can that be good for you?

  3. I didn't necessarily need the run to feel this. It's just the most recent reminder. And lately I'm needing to be reminded a lot lately. Helps me tolerate my fellow two-footed animals...