Monday, May 07, 2007

Karma, Exercise, and Faith

So, I'm doing my laps at the Y, listening to my iPod, and Instant Karma comes on. And I reflect on how similar karma and exercise are.

I'm not talking about Dharmic Karma, I'm talking pop-UU, My-Name-Is-Earl, no-death-required karma. That vague idea we have that if we do good, then we will attract good. Which may not be the most theologically sound, but I like it a damn sight better than The Secret and its injunctions to visualize yourself gripping the wheel of the expensive car you want, no requirements necessary.

I have begun a regular walk/running routine. There are no instant results, dadnabit. Wouldn't it be great if you could do an hour of exercise and the next morning, you'd lost a pound and could see greater definition in your calves?

But I continue on, in faith rooted in reading enough to know that the general consensus among health professionals is that exercise is good for your heart, good for your body.

So, too, with semi-instant karma. If I do good things, I allow myself the fun notion that this will create a good energy that will somehow bounce back to me. I don't expect a new car, but someone braking to allow me to pull out of the parking lot in front of them is nice.

With exercise, I have found -- like most -- that whereas my butt does not immediately reflect the workout, my spirit does. I have a general sense of well-being, at least for an hour or so afterwards. And my workout gives me time to focus on my personal spiritual growth, a post for another day.

Again ... so, too, with semi-instant karma. Even if no one brakes to let me pull out, my spirit is more positive, and I am more relaxed as I wait for the light to change. Doing good feels good. Again, that whole thing about general sense of well-being.

Both affect my identity. Running proves to me that I am doing something for my health, I am being a good role model for my children. I am no marathoner, but still, I am a runner.

Doing good for others, or for the natural world, proves to me that I am trying to be a better person. I am trying to make the world just a little bit better. I am not someone who has given my entire life to serve others, but still, I am a good person*.

*Odd. That phrase was harder for me to write than "I am a runner."


Christine Robinson said...

Exercise is good for body and soul. Congrats!

You haven't given a huge piece of your life for others? That's not what I see on this blog...

Mary Ann said...

I am a good person*.

*Odd. That phrase was harder for me to write than "I am a runner."

That couldn't have anything to do with Don Imus, could it?

Congratulations on the fit stuff!