For a grueling 45 minutes, I’d fidget in my cold, aluminum chair listening to outdated Bible passages and sermons about the perils of birth control and homosexuality. More than anything, I remember the smell. The stale perfume of musty holy water and frankincense, it hung thick in the air like suffocating cobwebs.
Needless to say, the experience never resonated with me – and it certainly didn’t bring me closer to God, the universe or anything resembling truth.
In more recent years, I’ve found something that has. While it may sound ridiculous to some, the gym is my new church – and, for me, it’s a million times more effective. As Marquis De Sade once said, “Your body is the church where nature asks to be revered.”
As I’ve said before, our body is the vehicle through which we experience life. By keeping that vehicle in good condition, you’re honoring life and expressing gratitude. The act of sweating, running and lifting is prayer in motion – and, in this case, actions may speak even louder than words.
You don’t need a building of wood or stone in which to worship. Instead, you need only go outside your front door and take a run through nature. Through breath, you connect to your surroundings – and feel a sense of overwhelming and pervasive oneness.
When I run or lift weights, I find myself hypnotized by the rhythm of the movements. A set of repetitions – be it squats, crunches or bicep curls – turns my attention inward. Each exercise becomes a meditation that quiets my mind and centers my being.
This isn’t to say that church doesn’t work; it just hasn’t for me. Exercise, on the other hand, is truly sacred.
Is exercise sacred for you? Let me know in the comments below.