My guest on the show today has been studying Buddhist meditation for over 30 years and has been running for close to 20.
Blending these two disciplines has helped him to achieve many of his running goals over the years.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Eric Wilden.
Finding His Inner Athlete
Eric didn’t begin running until after he finished graduate school.
Growing up Eric was bullied for not being involved in sports which resulted in him avoiding any athletic pursuits.
At the age of 30, Eric found himself living in Boulder, Colorado studying at a Buddhist based school.
He was living in a trail running mecca and yet still had never run a step.
During his time in graduate school, Eric gained 25 pounds.
Shortly after graduation, Eric met his wife and got married.
It was at this point in his life that Eric decided to lose some weight and get healthy.
After some convincing, a friend of his got him to run on the nearby trails.
While in Colorado, Eric began running but never really went all in.
That all changed once he and his wife moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Once Eric began running non-stop, he was forced to acknowledge that he was, in fact, a runner.
After the birth of his second child, Eric made the decision to do a 366-day running streak.
That year he went all in, running every day and also completing his first 5k and marathon.
It was when running truly became a part of his life that Eric realized what the sport did for him both physically and spiritually.
As Eric gets older he makes rest and recovery just as important as the act of running.
We only get one body and we need to take care of it.
Eric was only 12 years old when he first discovered meditation.
He came across a couple of books that would get him interested in Buddhism and wanting to learn more.
His interest only grew over the years which resulted in him moving to Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 23.
Salt Lake was the home to a large Buddhist Zen center where Eric would hone his meditation skills while continuing to learn.
Meditation and running blended organically for Eric very early on.
Evolution has made it so that minds are always moving and not easy to shut thoughts out of.
Meditation, much like running, takes practice to evolve.
Eric has noticed that people are often too hard on themselves when learning to be more mindful.
Practice and Patience
Learning to be mindful goes against a person’s natural inclination.
Some tips Eric has found when learning to be more mindful are:
- You can CHOOSE to be distracted.
- It is possible to listen to music and still be mindful.
- Turn off the noise for whatever length of time makes sense for YOU.
- It takes practice, much like running, so stick with it.
Each person has a seed in them that if cultivated will grow.
When a new runner begins, each step is one step further then they were the day before.
The same goes for meditation.
Start with one breath and each day you will be a little further along.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Eric Wilden has been studying Buddhist meditation for over 30 years and running for 20. Blending these two disciplines over the years has helped him to achieve many of his running goals. Click To Tweet
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