The Outer Running and the Inner Running
The very first time I heard the word “Meditation”, it caught my attention, but at that time I did not know its meaning. Later I found out that it relates to some spiritual practices. I was always under impression that these things were meant only for some special people and, by far, not everybody could practice it.
What attracted me in Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy is that he says that everybody can meditate and everybody has already had some experience of meditation. We could not be aware that it was a meditation, but we definitely have had this kind of experience. Simply looking at a burning fire’s flames or dissolving in the endless sky while looking at clouds can bring us to the experience of meditation – when we silence our mind and dive deep into our spiritual heart. Silencing the mind – the state where there are no thoughts – was totally new for me and I wanted to extend that experience.
Meditation is everybody's birthright.
We establish our oneness
With the entire world,
And our whole being is inundated
- Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 1
What really struck me is how these spiritual experiences can be applicable in our day-to-day life. Spirituality and meditation is not something isolated from our everyday life. Rather, they are a common, single flow. Meditation has indeed changed my life. And these changes still continue. It helps me to discover my inner self, the qualities of my soul, my role here on earth, what I am supposed to do. Meditation gives anwers to many of my questions.
One of the most unexpected discoveries that came to me after I started meditating under Sri Chinmoy’s guidance are my sport activities. I always liked sports, played volleyball and enjoyed different games, but I could never imagine myself doing such things as running for hours or even for days in a row… Marathon runners seemed to be supermen, and a marathon race seemed something beyond my reach. Something that I could never dare even to dream about. But after joining the path of Sri Chinmoy, I found out that many of his disciples have run marathons. Even those who did not seem to look very sportive have completed quite a few marathons.
There are many books by Sri Chinmoy where he gives advices on inner preparation and outer training for marathon. One of my favorites is The Outer Running and the Inner Running. These books helped me a lot, and I got rid of fear of the distance. Once I registered for the half-marathon race. There was one common start for two distances – marathon and half-marathon. The race started and, when I reached the point where those running half-marathon were supposed to turn back to the direction of the finish line, I felt a strong urge to continue and run the full marathon. This feeling inside was so strong, clear and powerful that I had no doubts: I continued and finished the first marathon in my life. Tears of gratitude filled my heart while running the home stretch to the finish. I knew it was nothing by God’s Grace that carried me through all the distance.
This was the very beginning of my ultra-marathon journey. After that first marathon I still cannot stop… I feel that my soul wants me to continue running. Half year later I found myself on the start-line of 10 day race and, since that, self-transcendence became part of my everyday life.
Transcending my own limits through sports is a very simple and clear way for me to realize that our capacities are truly unlimited, when we dive deep within and bring forward our divinity. One of my favorite aphorisms, that I often repeat as a mantra during my runs, is:
“We are all truly unlimited,
If we only dare to try
And have faith.”
— Sri Chinmoy
Aspiration-Body, Illumination-Soul Part 1