Monday, July 16, 2012

physical exercise vs. meditation

This reply is in response to an article on the The article may be found at:

I once had a friend tell me running is a substitute for meditation. In both activities one’s relationship with their mental chatter changes. At the time I wasn’t sure how to express my disagreement to his statement, despite being a practitioner of meditation and avid exerciser.
So, thanks for writing this article! I think I can now handle this type of discussion in the future. I really like the point you made in that no one solves their frustrations, lack of enthusiasm, or subtle discontentment through exercise. This I feel is the key difference between meditation and exercise. In exercise, we push ourselves and reap the physical and mental benefits. But in meditation we learn something of ourselves. We learn of our weaknesses, our poor habits, our wandering mind. We learn something of wisdom and contentment and smiling (although its hard to say exactly what that is we learn).
However, I strongly, strongly believe in exercise as being an ingredient of health and happiness. I’m glad therefore that you mentioned exercise and meditation as going hand in hand, even being supplements to each other. I personally feel that a light workout and some quiet stretching before meditation in the morning does wonders. It’s funny, I have known this for a long time – the complementary nature of meditation and exercise – but it is clicking now in a different light. Perhaps because I write about it.
Thank you for listening!


Skyler said...

I must say i agree that they are similar, I always feel calmer after a run. Would you agree then that other artforms such as music, or painting are a form of meditation? Like excersise

Jared Levenson said...

Yes. Unquestionably so.

I feel that all artistic pursuits, whether it be music, sports, writing, cooking, etc, share moments of 'rapture', if you will, moments where time passes and one becomes emerged in 'flow'. It's hard to write about flow, but yeah, I believe strongly there are many ways to experience it.