Monday, March 28, 2011

After the Retreat the Countdown has Begun

Yesterday I returned from a refreshing weekend retreat that I co-led with Karunabandhu in Strodehne an der Havel. In all nineteen of us stayed from Friday until Sunday afternoon at the youth house and enjoyed a peaceful, as well as a quite intensive time together. The theme of the weekend was generosity and everyone contributed to the harmonious and pleasant atmosphere, and wholeheartedly joined in the programme of meditation, communication exercises, talks, discussions, ritual and periods of silence. There was of course time to go for walks and explore the surrounding countryside too. The weather was pleasant enough too. 

With the half marathon now less than a week away I am reducing my training quite considerably, but I did go for a brief interval training on Saturday: 7 x 400 meters. Just a couple more runs before the big day on Sunday. I'd like to beat my personal best time of course, and ideally I'll run under 1 hour and 45 minutes. We'll see...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Meditating for Japan

This morning I got up early to get to the Buddhist centre for 6.30. I suspect many others around the world have  also experienced a sense of helplessness in the face of last week's earthquake and its consequences. While meditating last Tuesday I had the idea of offering a meditation at the Buddhist centre exactly a week after the earthquake struck. So I lead a Metta Bhavana meditation this morning at 6.45am ,in which the seventeen of us,who turned up systematically worked to develop loving kindness towards all beings, and thereby also gain a sense of solidarity with all beings, even though there might be little we can do that will be of direct help to those suffering the terrible effects of the earthquake.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reading about Running among other Things

Claudia bought me a book at the start of the week by Haruki Murakami called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which I am consuming avidly at every opportunity. Even though Claudia gave me the German edition, I am getting through it at a good pace. I have to admit that I had never heard of the author before, but am interested in learning more of his work, although I guess the subject  matter will be different. What I Talk About... is a collection of reflections and memoires about his life, especially his daily running, accounts of his first marathon and a 100 km ultra marthon, and how all this relates to his work as a novelist. From what I have read so far, he seems a very 'sympathisch' (what DO we say in English? Likeable?) person and I can relate to a lot of what he writes about running. (Photo of Haruki Murakami by wakarimasita of Flickr)

Unfortunately I don't make as much time in my daily lif e as I would sometimes like to have, to read as much as I sometimes want to. One of the benefits of teaching English at the TAZ (a German daily newspaper) has been the regular reading of English books, which we discuss each week. Our most recent book is The Other Hand by Chris Cleeve about a young Nigerian refugee, which is also gripping, though in a completely different way. Over the years that I have been teaching this group, we have read a wide range of books, from The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole to The White Tiger and The Room.