One Step Beyond
Ep 13: 'Still' Running
Welcome to Episode 13 of One Step Beyond. This time around, we discuss ‘Still Running: The Art of Meditation in Motion,’ a new book by Vanessa Zuisei Goddard. I first met Zuisei in 2006, at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mount Tremper, in the Catskills, where I was taught how to sit zazen - the form of meditation practiced there - by Zuisei herself. But Zuisei is also a runner, and for all that she has spent much of her life sitting zazen, she has never stopped moving. I would often see her running on the local roads and knew that that she held ‘running retreats’ at ZMM - and yet we never talked in detail about our shared love of this physical exercise.
In 2019, after two decades at ZMM, Zuisei resumed lay life, moving to New York City to become a writer and teacher. And when ‘Still Running’ was published this summer by Shambhala – with a front cover endorsement by ultra-marathon legend Scott Jurek - I knew instinctively that I had to read it and bring her on this show.
Zuisei’s wonderful little book is extra helpful because while it discusses Buddhism, each chapter ends with a physical practice that applies to anyone and everyone, of any domination and for almost any physical endeavor. For One Step Beyond, we spoke by phone, discussing life in a Buddhist monastery and beyond, and more specifically, the practices she describes in her book. You will hear me undertake and report back on some of these practices.
We also discuss the tradition of extreme running within Buddhism, as evidenced in the isolated Gompa Monks of Tibet, and the Marathon Monks of Japan. This gives me a reason to dig out an LP of Tibetan Ritual Music that I had owned for 30 years and somehow never opened; perhaps it was just waiting for the perfect moment.
You can find Still Running at all good book shops or through the publisher, Shambhala. If you order online, please consider supporting your local independent store in the process; you can do so in the US by using Bookshop.org
The Zen Mountain Monastery, which has been offering online programs in 2020 during the pandemic, is at mro.org.
The incidental music in this episode is:
‘Offering to the Savior Gompo’ and ‘Invocation of Gompo from the LP Tibetan Ritual Music by Lamas and Monks, recorded in Sikkim in 1961 for the Lyrichord label.
The 'Easy, Light, Smooth, Fast' mantra I cite is from Barefoot Ted as referenced in Born To Run. Barefoot Ted went on to make the Luna Sandals that we featured in Episode 11: Take a Step Outside Your... Shoes?
Join One Step Beyond on social media at:
Instagram is OneStepBeyondPodcast
Facebook is One Step Beyond with Tony Fletcher
Twitter is OneStepBeyondP1
And your host can be found here:
All links can be found at