Book Review: Running - The Sacred Art: Preparing to Practice
Posted Feb 07 2012 12:01am
Here is a different kind of book review for you this time. As you have seen I am trying to get a little more spiritual this year in regards to my life. Really trying to do so in all aspects of my life and that includes running. So when I bought a few devotionals to start the New Year off on I also saw this title on Amazon.com. The title was Running - The Sacred Art: Preparing to Practice (Art of Spiritual Living Series) by Warren A. Kay and Kristin Armstrong ($17). It sparked my interest and I ordered it.
I have to say I’m not exactly sure what I was looking for in the book or expecting from it. I guess at a high level I wanted to maybe understand how I could tune things out while running so I could tune God in. Maybe it was a how to zone in more and be reflective about things and or use the time to think about life, what I am learning at church or to pray.
The publisher describes the book as:We run for exercise, relaxation and sometimes to indulge our competitive spirit. Now Warren A. Kay takes you on an exploration of an often-overlooked facet of the sport: running as an intentional spiritual practice. Kay's approach is more than just "blissing out" on a run. He combines penetrating reflections on God, creation and the role of Spirit in our lives with practical, concise tips for starting your own spiritual running journal. He helps turn your ordinary runs into extraordinary opportunities for spiritual growth. Whether you've logged thousands of miles or are new to the sport, you'll find the guidance and inspiration you need in this unique book.
Experience your daily runs as:
Sanctuary--running time is sacred time
Prayer--open yourself to conversation with God
Meditation--reach inside yourself to find spiritual comfort
Sacrament--experience the Divine in the physicality of running
Pilgrimage--a run is the journey and the destination
The book is intended for those more familiar with running and looking for that spiritual side of life. It certainly is not a primer for how to run or get into running. The book assumes that you already have the physical aspect ready to go and you now want direction on a more spiritual path to run. But I wanted to read it where I really took in what was being discussed. The book is a pretty quick read at roughly 220 pages. So I broke the book out over a week’s time frame. The book does a very good job at describing and discussing it core topics such as prayer and meditation and pilgrimage. I actually learned a lot from this small book on some of the religious and spiritual elements. I enjoyed that some of the details were presented here along with how other cultures and or religions have look at them as well. So to me the book is truly more about the spiritual aspect with the running being the activity or medium through which to do these things. The book does try to show how you can use your time while running to be more spiritual and or commute with God. For the most part I got what the authors were saying and could see many of the activities being done during a run. If I have to break my description down to one sentence it would be. The book explains more about how to be more spiritual and why than physically how to do it. At least that is how I felt after finishing the book.Overall I liked the book but got the feeling it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for. Having said that, I will take away a lot of new information and understanding of what I could be doing spiritually while running. I think this is as it should be is explain what is possible and then it is up to the individual what they do from that point on. So if you are looking for at least some framework or discussions on what you could do to be more spiritual on a run check this book out. I think at his point I will now look for a book that is more about the physical nature of the run and kind of getting into that spiritual mode. I’ll let you know what if anything I find.