From the beginning of our lives movement is the process that takes us from the crib and into the world. It is the simple act that carries us into our lives. To me there is nothing as pure as putting one foot in front of the other. Throughout my experiences as an ultrarunner the fact that movement is an art has become ever more clear. To spend hours upon hours on trails, feeling the flow, is to live life truthfully.
The fact that our society has stripped away this art is horrible. In our day to day lives we see this stripping away again and again. Just this weekend my family and I went to Disneyland. While there we saw that you could rent motorized scooters (Rascals) to get around. Of course the token fat people were using them, but there were also many people who seemed to be perfectly capable of walking on their own. Actually, there were times when those renting the scooters would get up and walk fine. This fact was shocking to my family and I, we were surprised that people who were perfectly capable of moving on their own just wouldn't. This is evidence of a larger problem in our society, the fact that so many people choose ease and laziness over dedication and commitment. Disneyland seems to perpetuate that fact extremely well. With turkey legs, fast food, sugary treats, and so much more Disney seems to feed right into the problem (pun intended).
In our lives the many conveniences of transportation that we are privileged to have are often taken for granted. The cars, planes, trains, and ships that we employ on a daily basis did not exist a very recent time ago. In all honesty cars and other forms of convenient transportation strip away our original humanity. What I mean by that is that in the beginning we ran. We ran to feed ourselves, to live. With the advent of revolutionary transportation systems we have forgotten our origins. Not only forgotten, but rebelled against. We now treat running with dread and as an impermanent distraction. Not nearly as a way of life. On a smaller scale, we originally walked too, yet now walking is confined to the habits of the "healthy." Even when the "healthy" are truly not that healthy.
As humans we have been turned from a society that loves the outdoors, to one that treats it as another resource to be exploited and avoided. We live in the squalor of ignorance. Ignorance to the simple fact that what we are searching for is right outside our door. The open spaces and beneficial challenges that nature brings can not be overstated. Our ancestors understood that, using what we now call pagan religions to worship the land that they called home. Now what we call home is stripped from the land and held in a selfish grasp. The world that we now occupy has mangled the original art that we as humans could produce.
Far before language, writing, and society one thing bound us together as a community, our ability to move. We moved together to live and to survive. Over the years and generations we evolved into an intelligent species that could communicate on an extremely high level. We shared stories, we told tales to our children, but whatever tales we told they all related back to our exploration of, interpretation of, and movement within our world. All of the great ancient literature that we have today relates back to these simple topics. Literature such as the Odyssey, the Iliad, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, and the Aeneid tell the simple story of a journey. That topic that has enraptured our species since time immemorial. Even religious scripture is bewitched by the art of movement. The Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching, and so many other seminal religious texts convey this tale of movement in our world.
So why should we be so arrogant as to ignore the wisdom of our ancestors? Instead of solely relying on the means of transportation that we have now, why not return to the original means of transportation? Now don't get me wrong, I am not calling for every car and plane to be destroyed and for our society to walk everywhere. By no means. I agree that the transportation systems that we have now are incredible. However, what I am saying is that our society must be able to let go of our obsession with these contemporary means of transportation and make a conscious effort to return to originality in some form or another. We must truly try to incorporate into our daily lives some form of basic movement. We must run free in my opinion.
The art of movement is as simple as they come and it is more beautiful than any of you have ever seen, I guarantee you. In truth, I strongly believe that everyone should find the joys of running, but if not that then at the very least of walking. If you are too unhealthy to even walk, then there is an even deeper problem. In the truest essence you must get outside and move. For me, I run and to me that is as pure as it gets. Maybe you will move in a different way, whatever you do incorporate it into your daily life and make it pure. The purity of a hard run not only teaches through suffering, but is the most basic form of movement that we can ever attempt to do. Watch children move, they don't walk, they run! So in your life I hope that you can see the art of movement. The flow of the body and the mind melding into one being, one consciousness, one existence to be present in this chaotic world. So that you can see the benefits of what this art can bring.