Still Running: The Art of Meditation in Motion

Photo by Andrew Slifkin

"In running and in life, being free from pain does not mean escaping from it. It means having the willingness and ability to feel all that we feel — to feel pain without moving away and to feel pleasure without grasping. It means understanding, once and for all, that although pain is inevitable for us human beings, suffering is completely optional."
Vanessa Zuisei Goddard

Still Running

Still Running:
The Art of Meditation in Motion

Author: Vanessa Zuisei Goddard
Publisher: Shambhala (August 11, 2020)

In the introduction to Still Running: The Art of Meditation in Motion, author Vanessa Zuisei Goddard discusses the concept of "zazen", or seated meditation, as the main path to liberation in Buddhism, but then quickly expands that definition by explaining that zazen isn't just a practice done in silence on a meditation cushion, but something that can be brought into our everyday lives.

"I learned that, unlike religious traditions that deny the body or see it as an obstacle to union with the divine, Buddhism offers that our physical being is the vehicle of our awakening. Because it is indivisible from mind, the body is the means through which we realize our interconnectedness with all things — our 'interbeing,' as the Vietnamese Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh calls it. So whether we were doing yoga, qigong, or taiji, we were meant to engage each of these forms of body practices as moving zazen."
Vanessa Zuisei Goddard

She then goes on the explain the evolution from stillness into movement: "First we need to learn to move into stillness to make contact with our basic clarity and wisdom. Then, from that stillness, we must move out into activity, letting that clarity inform the way we live day to day." From here, running becomes an analogy for any activity in life, as long as it is done with attention and compassion. Goddard's insights are remarkable: "Running zazen - which I call still running - can show us that fundamentally there is no difference between stillness and movement, body and mind, self and other. And this, the Buddha said, is the realization that leads to the end of suffering."

The book, published in August of 2020, is broken down info 14 chapters: Practice, Intent, Commitment, Discipline, Bod, Effort, Breath, Mind, Pain, Creation, Stillness, Movement, Silence, and Credo. Each chapter concludes with a sidebar on putting that chapter's ideas into practice. Practice, of course, is at the heart of Zen.

"To practice means to perform an activity or skill repeatedly in order to improve our proficiency in it. Spiritual practice is the constant and deliberate turning of our attention toward the fundamental questions of a human life. Who am I? What is life? What is death? What is reality? What is truth?"
Vanessa Zuisei Goddard

Still Running is a book about running, and has lessons for both new and experienced runners alike. There is practical advice about focus and form, but also about freedom. It is a guide for both movement and stillness, and how to take these lessons into the fullness of life.

About the Author: Vanessa Zuisei Goddard is a writer and Zen teacher based in New York City. For the last ten years, Zuisei has been leading retreats and workshops to teach running as a form of moving meditation and as a tool to increase mindfulness, awareness, and presence. Find her online at

Author: FearlessYoga Team


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