"Nothing is impossible if we can get beyond the barriers created by our own minds."
Sri Chinmoy and the Concept of Self-Transcendence
"You can always do more" says spiritual athlete Sri Chinmoy. "Today's goal is only the starting point for tomorrow's new dawn. At every moment we are transcending our previous achievements.........our goal should be our own progress, and progress itself is the most illumining experience."
This 73 year-old meditation teacher is himself a perfect example of his teachings. Originally a sprinter, Sri Chinmoy began making his transition to longer races in 1978. Within 9 months he ran his first marathon, and a year later had completed 7 marathons and two ultra-marathons (longer than 26.2 miles), plus a dozen or so other events. He was then 48 years old.
Back in his native India, Sri Chinmoy was the decathlon champion for 12 years in the spiritual community in which he lived from the age of 12 to 32. He was also the area's fastest runner, winning the 100 metre dash for 16 years in a row!
LINK:our USA web site has a gallery of early Sri Chinmoy pictures.
Sri Chinmoy says that we all have unlimited potential. Nothing is impossible if we can get beyond the barriers created by our own minds. To bring our capacities to the fore we need faith, discipline and the determination never, never to give up! Life is not made for failure, but for progress. We should never give up, no matter how many times we try and fail. Eventually nature itself must surrender to our determination.
Sports, says Sri Chinmoy, bring dynamism and power into the body. Physical fitness is also of great importance in our lives. If the body is in good condition, we can perform all our life's activities well. So it is important to run or do physical activities every day in order to become strong, healthy and dynamic. If we are physically fit we are better able to keep ailments and other uninvited guests from entering into us.. This synthesis of outer fitness, accompanied by inner fitness through meditation, is present throughout the teachings ond activities of this spiritual master, sport philosopher and champion athlete.
In the act of competing, we are always competing to beat ourselves. The other athlete is necessary, but only in so far as to bring out the best in us. Success and failure are simply experiences that come to us along the way. We can go beyond them. Sri Chinmoy says:
"The determination in your heroic effort will permeate your mind and heart even after your success or failure is long forgotten."
And on competition:
"We compete not for the sake of defeating others, but in order to bring forward our own capacity. Our best capacity comes forward only when there are other people around us. They inspire us to bring forward our utmost capacity, and we inspire them to bring forward theirs. That is why we have competitive sports. The seeker-athlete never tries to compete with others, but only tries to transcend his own capacity."
"Transcendence", for Sri Chinmoy, indicates a natural evolutionary drive that is part of the earth itself. All levels of the earth creation, he teaches, are striving consciously or unconsciously to improve. When this striving is conscious, as through meditation, progress is made more quickly. Physical fitness is the quickest and simplest means to bring the qualities of endurance into an individual's consciousness. However, the philosophy of self-transcendence can apply to any area of life's activities, from the physical to the cultural and spiritual.
Sri Chinmoy has excelled in many sports including football, volleyball, table-tennis, tennis (which he played for two hours daily until in his early sixties), and weightlifting. He has also majored in the art forms of painting, music, poetry and writing. To date he has written over 1,450 books, painted over 200,000 paintings and composed over 18,000 devotional songs. He can play over 100 musical instruments and has performed around 700 free concerts around the world. The list of his achievements is endless.
Today, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team are at work in over 300 centres in more than 50 countries throughout the world, providing the public with over 500 races a year. The Team's longest race is an elite invitational 3,100 mile event. They are also famous for the Self-Transcendence 2-mile races held on a one-mile loop in many countries throughout the world. Acting on the inspiration of Sri Chinmoy, the Team tries to to bring forward the inner capacities of the runner such as cheerfulness, courage, endurance, and the determination to transcend their own capacities.
I would like to finish this article with two inspirational sayings of Sri Chinmoy:
"Every day, when morning dawns, we should feel that we have something new to accomplish. We are running and every day we are advancing. If we are aspiring, we are always in the process of running. When we start our journey in the morning, we should feel that today is the continuation of yesterday's journey; we should not take it as a totally new beginning. And tomorrow we should feel that we have travelled still another mile."
"Determination can change your mind.
Determination can change your heart.
Determination can change your life altogether."