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Running without pain

From the March 19, 2012 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

I was almost out the door. It was a very beautiful sunny day in the summer of 2011, and with my running garb on and ready to go, I looked forward to a run. But right as I was starting to head outside, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my leg and had to stop what I was doing.

Since winter of that year, I had enjoyed getting in a run two or three times a week. Up to this point, I hadn’t experienced a moment of pain. In fact, I’d barely felt any soreness since I’d started running again. Needless to say, I was surprised. 

However, at this moment it was enough pain that I needed to stop what I was doing. Yet, I knew I had a choice. I could stay inside and pray, or I could push on. For me, both sounded like good ideas, as prayer is something I love to do in general and is always my first place to turn when I don’t feel well. Option two sounded great because I couldn’t wait to run!

I stopped and thought about staying inside to pray. There was certainly wisdom in the idea. Taking time to get quiet focus on divine Love’s healing power sounded very good to me. 

But quite suddenly this thought came to mind: Do you think Jesus just stopped what he was doing and sat in his “office” when things weren’t going well? Then I almost laughed, because how could I compare my practice of Christian Science, let alone running, to the healing ministry of Christ Jesus, the Master?  

But then I thought about how much Jesus must have loved helping people and healing them. I also thought about what I love to do and all the activities in which I love participating. I felt for a moment that they were natural activities and loving my work, even an activity like running, was not unlike the love Jesus had for his work. 

For a moment more, I decided to see where this train of thought was leading. I asked myself if Jesus’ healing ministry was just about healing diseases. Was I thinking about running as just a physical activity to feel better, to get into better shape, and so on? I could see, at the very least, it was an opportunity to take my thought up a metaphysical notch or two about running.

Then I decided, why not pray while I run—the best of both worlds. So instead of going to my office to pray, I started to fearlessly walk toward the back door and the back steps where I warm up. Despite the pain, I continued to stride toward the door and decided to put even more trust in the idea that it was God’s healing love, the Christ, that was leading me outside.  

I warmed up, thinking about how I was not stretching my muscles or my body, but I was stretching thought. I felt I needed to open my thought wide to accept and feel the light of God’s love and warmth. I trusted that I could feel only Soul’s harmonious, peaceful influence, and that Soul is the direct source of my identity and desire to express God’s activity. 

I knew instantly that this was what I always needed to focus on when running—God’s power. I resolved that moment that every time I ran, I’d focus on what I was really doing—expressing the action of divine Mind.

I felt a much greater sense of joy about that day and that moment. My focus was renewed and clarified. It became clear to me that my stretching and running were not about me, nor a physical body or activity, but about expressing the qualities of God, such as agility, joy, vigor, zest, and love. I then turned on some tunes on my MP3 player and started running. It’s funny, but there’s no other way to put it, I just felt bouncy, light as air. It felt wonderful. And not only that, but there was no pain—it had completely disappeared.

As I ran I continued to affirm that all my activity, even the joy and love I felt for running, was not my own doing, nor my own will, but it was divine Love’s light and divine Mind’s activity animating me in a most wonderfully calm and buoyant way. 

My run that day was a definite turning point. According to the app on my phone (which tracks my speed and distance via GPS) I ran the first mile faster than I ever had—and it felt effortless. The whole run was the longest and fastest I’d completed in the last year, up until a couple months ago. And I have not had a single moment of pain since. 

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