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Running is an addictive drug

Drug. For me, running was an addictive drug. It got me high.

Once I developed a taste for that high I needed it. It was a craving I couldn't control. I needed more, faster, harder. I was pushed into running by my wisdom because it was a mistake I needed to make. I don't know what TH's excuse was. TH created a cult to support his two drug habits, booze and running. He then exercised the expanded droit de seigneur spiritual teachers are so fond of. Understandable, but creepy. Power corrupts.

Quitting. In 1991 I ran the Seattle Half Marathon at just under a seven-minute pace. I was happy with that time, to put it mildly. I thought I might hit 7:15. I never thought I'd break seven minutes. My knees hurt for days afterward. Especially my left knee. I had to have my meniscus repaired. My body was beginning to break down under the stress of running. Just like my liver started breaking down from booze. I decided to quit running. Take the pledge, break the habit. It was a tough choice. I was a hard core addict. For years all my best moments happened running. Just like I couldn't imagine having a good time without booze when I first struggled to quit that. Quitting running put me through the agony of detox.

Running and walking. I have a long history of running abuse. I started running in Kenya in the 1960s. It was a bad idea. My wisdom, in the form of a cobra, gave me fair warning. Running was never a good idea. Walking is right for me. Walking is uniquely human. Running we share with other animals but we're lousy at it. Four legs run better than two. Two legs walk better than four. We didn't become human until we stopped running. Walking upright is the natural human pace. In the Mesolithic Era we'd become human but not modern human; we were still part of nature. Modern humans were always separate from nature. The atavistic urge to return to nature is a betrayal of our humanity, a sin.

Pride. These days pride is considered a good thing. We used to know better. Mythology is full of stories of humans being brought down by pride, like Icarus. The Church taught that all Seven Deadly Sins were just variations on the theme of the first and worst sin, pride, superbia. In the spiritual quest, pride is valuing anything over love aka god aka wisdom. Anything.

I steal wisdom wherever I find it. Listen to the wisdom in this talk. Substitute whatever you like for god if that word bugs you. Whether you believe in god or not is irrelevant. What's relevant is what you do with your life. Bishop Robert Barron is doing good work.