A View From the Four Fields

On May 1st my feelings and thoughts were so extreme that the blue sky was the bluest I’d ever seen. It was worth staying alive merely to see and continue enjoying that blue. Today, three quarters through my first run in over six months I stopped and whizz-checked through the Four Fields of Mindfulness. Visually everything around me looked as though I’d hiked up the contrast on Photoshop. Every drop of rain felt like I was being tickled. It was funny. It’s hardly surprising really – the act of running outdoors is by definition working therapeutically on the body and perception field. So much so that I also noticed that with them and the feelings fields hiked up (endorphines will do that), my thinking mind was calm, flat, ordered. What a revelation!

This all came from my meditation this morning, which led to me remembering my training over previous years with my good friend Fabio. The point of training outside was precisely to be this in-tune with the body and mind – why be cooped up in a sterile gym, which is entirely about control, rigidity and sterility, when you can interact with the natural world around you. So I resumed running, and I realised I’d let go one of the greatest tools I’d ever had for enjoying the world, other people, and life. I enjoyed listening to a woodpecker in Greenwich Park in the rain with other runners today, for goodness’ sake!

Next week it’s time to restart with Fabio. And tomorrow’s a full day with Alistair. Right now I’m off to photograph a climate change march. These are good things and they make me happy.

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