Running Toward Stillness

In 2006 Stephen Legault experienced a period of tremendous upheaval, the result of bad decisions and a lifetime of anger and fear that left him in a deep depression, struggling to come to terms with the choices he had made. While running on a sun-dappled trail around Victoria’s iconic Mount Doug he realized that, like so many other people, he felt alone and afraid and was suffering, and that he had to do something about it. Having been toying with meditation for years and studying the teaching of the Buddha since he was a teenager, Stephen decided to address his suffering by dedicating himself more fully to a spiritual practice. One half of that practice was sitting still in meditation. The other half was running up and over southern Vancouver Island’s rocky domes of arbutus and Garry oak.

Illustrated throughout with colour photographs highlighting the tranquil beauty of India, the American Southwest, Canada’s West Coast and the wild landscapes of the Rocky Mountains, Running Toward Stillness is an invitation to run through the woods, along the seashore and on mountain trails in order to experience moments of sublime delight, to share the imperfect insights gained on the trail and while sitting in meditation, and to learn that while we all suffer, we can learn to understand the root of our suffering. Most importantly, we can share the knowledge that there is an end to suffering, that this wonderful gift can be ours and that we are one part of nature moving through the rest of creation.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Running Toward Stillness 1
Contents 9
Preface: Start Again 11
Part One: Lacing Up 15
Three Simple Things 17
Dreaming Freedom 23
Working It Out 26
Does It Love Me? 32
Socks 38
Trail Notes: Part One 42
Part Two: Uphill through Rocks 43
God in the Hills 44
Crossing the Divide 50
The Plain of Six Glaciers 54
Six Drawings 57
Breaking the Shell 61
Fucking with My Fifth Chakra 64
No Illusions on Jocelyn Hill 67
The Fractal Equation for Beach Glass 70
Running Toward Stillness 74
The 29th Day 79
Stepping into Fear 84
Needles 86
Philosopher Kings at the Royal Roads Cafe 91
Racing Waves 98
Faith 103
Hearts and Hope 106
Sanctuary 109
Praise 111
Trail Notes: Part Two 117
Part Three: Over Rolling Country 119
A Thousand Normal Things 120
Pulse 124
Running Toward the Sun 128
Morning Glory 132
Big as the Sky 135
Trail Notes: Part Three 138
Part Four: Striding Out 139
Namaste 140
The Electric Current of Spirit 147
Bubbles 151
Waves 155
Conduit 158
Running Toward Responsibility 163
A Cetacean Model for Patterns 171
Mystics on the Beach 177
Union 183
One Moment of Wildness 188
Three by Seven 200
Power Up 207
Discovering Dharma 216
Already Home 223
Harnessing the Third Coincidence 226
Terrain-ing 232
Holiday Shopping with the Buddha Claus 238
The Illusion of Forward Progress 241
The Soft Shall Overcome the Hard 244
Breaking the Buddha 249
Trail Notes: Part Four 256
Part Five: Downhill through Forests 257
Our Brief Lives Beneath the Oceanic Sky 258
Why Move Again? 261
The Path through the Woods 266
40/9 271
Entering the (Costco) Market 276
Water Tonglen 283
Lighten Up 288
The Prayer Tree 295
Bedtime Stories 301
Autumn Trails 305
Trail Notes: Part Five 310
Afterword: Start Again 311
Gratitude 315
About the Author 317
Follow the Trail 319