Exercise and Inner Peace.

A lot of people have fitness goals, and that’s great. But my approach to my own personal regimen is different. I’m not a competitive athlete and I don’t care how much I lift or what I look like. I have no goals when I exercise. I’m only in the moment. I feel that fitness isn’t a goal, it’s an action… it’s what you do. To me, coming from a Taoist standpoint, the act of exercise is, in itself, fitness. You’re not “trying to be healthy,” you’re simply engaging in health.

When I go jogging, it’s just one foot over the other. When I’m lifting, it’s just the weight completing its range of motion, then back. When I’m tired, I stop. The more I do that every day, the longer I can do it. But really, all I care about is jogging one foot over the other, and lifting the weight correctly and safely.

In working out, when you’re ready, then go. Enjoy every millisecond of each rep and every step. When you’re tired, simply pause or stop.

That’s how I work out. It’s a mindfulness meditation. A Taoist qigong, the cultivation of energy and stillness.

I don’t care how much I lift, how many miles I can run, or what I look like. But oddly enough, the more I do it throughout time, the more I can run and lift. And it comes naturally without even thinking about it. But that’s not where my focus is. All I care about is how I feel inside at every moment. It makes me happy. My heart is pumping, blood is flowing, cortisol cycling out. I’m boosting my energy, increasing circulation, and optimizing my organ systems. Most of all, I’m calming my mind and spirit. When the spirit is calm, I can make better decisions, especially lifestyle/diet decisions. The calmness also makes it easier for me to be happy and content. It’s harder to feel angry when I’m content. It’s easier to spread compassion when I’m happy. My family benefits from that compassion. My community. Everyone around me.

That’s why I work out. Doing it for looks or for being macho is not my style. I just wanna feel healthy and happy inside. Isn’t that what we want in life? By concentrating on every micro-moment of each movement, I feel centered. I want to feel centered at every moment even after I exercise. Because when the chaos is all around you, someone must be the centered pivot of inner peace. It might as well be me. And you.

So find an exercise you love, that excites you, and approach it this way. You’ll find you’ll love to do it more and more, and you’ll also find yourself feeling healthy, peaceful, and happy.

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