Friday, August 22, 2008

Of Pain and Suffering

While browsing through a bookstore yesterday, I came across a book called "What I talk about when I talk about running" by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Since I have always loved running long distances myself, I instantly started browsing through it. One very interesting thought was presented in the prologue of the book itself.

The author had spoken to several marathon runners and had asked them the same question: what do they think about while they are running? Obviously, one thought which would cross an individual's mind when undertaking a strenuous task such as running a marathon is the constant pain that never leaves one's side after having run a few kilometres.

The marathon runner's answer made for interesting food for thought, in the perspective of marathon running in general and for life in particular.

The runner replied: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

What a profound idea. If I keep telling myself about the constant pain, I'm only adding to the suffering. The pain is gonna be there anyway. However, if I tell myself that every step that I take takes me closer to my final destination, in that case I choose NOT to opt for the suffering and accept the pain that in any case was part of the deal.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have just done that!I am in a job for a year which more or less I hate. But till now I was constantly reminding myself it. But now I have stopped doing that and have decided to enjoy it however tough it may be. And it has worked. I am still doing the old job but I am much happier than before

trash-u said...

so what do you think about while you are running???

>>and whn was the last time u were runnin!!!

Shekhar said...

anon: Cool ! Like a friend of mine and I were discussing the other day, the idea is not to get so emotional, demotivated and frustrated that we make the problem to be more than what it actually is. Perhaps the clue is to accept reality as it is... if the job sucks, well ~shrugs~ it sucks !! So what?? You could perhaps look for a better opportunity elsewhere, but that doesn't mean that you will give anything less than 100% to what you are currently doing. Excellence lies in pursuing whatever you're doing with COMPLETE dedication. (PS: Bahut gyaan baazi kar raha hoon; iska 50% bhi agar main kar loon to khud bhi bahut successful ho jaunga :D )

trash-u: To answer your first question....Lots and lots of things. In fact, running has almost always been a form of meditation for me. The mind tries to focus on just one thing, i.e. just placing the next step ahead of the previous one. But (obviously), the mind wanders..A LOT!! I think about pending work, about problems to which I haven't been able to find simple answers, (mostly) career plans... and then, all of a sudden, I realize "Dude, I'm running.. and I'm supposed to focus on this." And there I am back to thinking about putting the next step ahead of the previous one...

To answer your second question...sadly, haven't run for almost a year now.

Naagpreti said...

Have you heard about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quarter-life_crisis

Anonymous said...

"This is the story of two men who run...not to run..but to prove something to the world. They will sacrifice anything to achieve their goals...Except their honor"
-Chariots of Fire

Shekhar said...

naagpreti: Nah!! Reading about this right now...

anonymous: I LOVE THIS MOVIE !!

Anonymous said...

Yea I liked the soundtrack (Title, Eric's theme, Abraham's theme) by Vangelis a lot! :)
Some of the scenes like Abraham beating the college record at Cambridge, Eric Liddell running with head upright (sort of Rigor Mortis in medical terms), sermons by Eric and when Eric beats Abraham for first time were awesome.