When I was on the plane this week watching the other passengers file past down the aisle I saw a familiar black mesh bag. The young man was carrying the bag gently like it contained something special. Which it did.
I was brought back to a time a decade ago when I had boarded a plane carrying a similar mesh bag. At the time my bag carried a little ball of Border collie fur that would become my running Buddy. I talked with the young man and he said ‘Yep, taking him home – he’s just 8 weeks old…” I looked through the mesh to see a small black face peering back at me. A beautiful little puppy off to start a new life.
The eastern philosophies believe that many things have sprits, not just humans. The rivers, the mountains, the trees and stones have spirits. When you watch Japanese anime you can see the often manifestation of spirits, and daemons, in cats and snakes and other animals. It is believed that everyone has a spirit guide, often several for different times in their lives.
If you asked a trail runner why they love the forest paths they may get a faraway look in their eyes.
I think we love the forest because we sense its sacredness, we sense its animistic spirituality. We may not be able to verbalize this with our western religious constructs, but we sense it.
I have often said that I draw power and energy from the forest trails. Buddy, my border collie, is unencumbered by my cultural constructs and is a pure animistic conduit for the sacred energy of the forest trail. I see it in him.
Having him with me on my trail runs expands my pleasure and expands my feeling of the sacredness of nature. Is a companion to share the trails with, a co-dependent? Do I gain a greater love of the trail run just by having his love of the trail run piled on top of mine?
Or is it something more? Could we consider that he is a conduit? Could we consider that he is my spirit guide? It is through him that the spirits of the streams and rocks and trees find me?
When Buddy is out in the woods he does not simply run through them. He immerses himself in them. He rolls in them and bathes in them. The woods to him are filled with a three dimensional aura of nature that he pulls in through his nose and ears and feet.
I declare him not just my running partner. I declare him my spirit guide. It is through him and his approach that help me tap into the sacredness of nature. It is calming and maybe a bit transcendent to run with your spirit guide.
Do you have a spirit guide to lead you through your runs?