June 24… Do The Right Thing

“You feel you are at the forefront of something significant happening.  You don’t know exactly what it is but it feels like a kind of miracle offered to the world.  Guru is achieving something for the world through the runners.”

Pradeep has been visiting the race for the past few days.  He ran the race in both 2011 and 2012 so he has a deep personal connection and understanding of the 3100 mile race. “It makes you feel humble and grateful to be part of it.”

“It inspires people and it transforms the runners.  It transforms the helpers and all that creates its own spinoff.”

“One of the things I felt after the race was much more courage to do the right thing.”

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“In the normal world we feel that we are physical beings and every now and then we have a spiritual experience.  So we experience the body and sometimes we experience love, happiness, or joy.  But in this race there comes a point where you realize that it is the other way around.  We are joy.  We are this infinite energy.  That gives you such a deep understanding of yourself and of life.”

“It also gives you the courage to do what is necessary in other fields.  That is whey the race is so beautiful for the runners.  You feel Guru so strongly here.”

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“When you meditate sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  But here after a while you feel a presence which is just cradling you.”

“Everything has its own right time.  Sometimes there are possibilities in your life and they need time in order to blossom.”

It has been 4 years since Pradeep last ran the race.  When asked if he might ever consider running again. “I do.”

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The soul only whispers to us
To do the right thing
And become the right person.

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June 23… Run Soulfully, Cheerfully, and Gratefully

Last year when Surasa, not only won the women’s division of the 3100 mile race for the 4th time, she also set a new world record.

Back then, at age 56, certainly no one would have been surprised if she had immediately then just simply decided to not ever leave her quiet office job in Vienna and come again and spend a long hot summer running around Thomas Edison high school.  Even at the end of May she was not convinced in fact that she was prepared and strong enough to do it.

“Then something changed.”  With 14 days to go before the start inspiration came and she booked her flight to New York

“I am feeling good and I am feeling at home.  I am happy to be here again.”

“Each year I am saying this is the last time.  But then I get inspired and I come back again.”

“This race is always in my mind.  It is so strong when you have to do it.”

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At the same time it is never completely easy for her to come to the starting line.

“You think when you do this race you must be very strong.  When you see some weakness in the body then it becomes very difficult.  Then you start to doubt yourself.  This is not a good thing.”

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In order to avoid pressure Surasa says that she never sets any goals.  “I don’t want to have the pressure of just focusing on mileage.”

When asked how she stays so happy she says, “I don’t recognize it.  It is normal for me.”

“I have a prayer.  Many times I say I just want to run, soulfully, cheerfully, and gratefully.  This is my goal that I can do this.”

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The outer running reminds us
Of the soul’s inner running
With Eternity, Infinity and Immortality.

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June 22… Race of the Heart

I ask Shamita a tough question.  She has been running for 3 days already and other than some digestion problems yesterday, she is doing great.  She starts the day with 185 miles and I am curious just how possible it is for her, or any of the other runners for that matter stay cheerful.

“I feel you enter a sphere where this is possible.  I cannot explain but it just happens to you here.”

Even though this is the 51 year old Viennese runners first time at the 3100 she has lots of experience running multi days.

Shamita says in other long races by the 4th day you are in this sphere.  “You can recover from every race very very quickly.  The most important thing is the joy.  It really gives you wings.”

“If it doesn’t get too hot I will be very happy.”

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As for her coming here and running the race she confesses that she never really thought about it.  She was a pioneer in the ultra world since the 1980’s, and even 2 years ago ran 640 miles in the 10 day race and got 2nd place.

But the idea of running the 3100 never was too far off her horizon.  “Slowly you grow into this.  You prepare mentally, emotionally, and of course physically.”

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“I think mainly this race is a race of the heart.  If you can shut down your mind, not allow it to disturb you, and then amazingly you can really feel the difference.  As soon as you go out of your mind.  A huge flow of energy is there.

(She pauses and smiles) Of course this is not always so easy.”

A good thing is that I am just trying to enjoy running.  I force myself not to think about what day it is, what lap.  Just be here.  So far I have managed.  Let’s hope it goes on like this.”

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When ask if these races change you.  “This is the reason why I do them.  I hope, definitely.  For me this race gives me the same feeling as from 10 years ago when Guru was still with us.”

“It is like he is here. Totally.  All this light.  His presence is so visible.  It is amazing.”

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The speed of a heart-race
Is unfathomable.

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June 21… Something Within Me

“This is my 12th race.”

As 41 year old Ananda-Lahari starts his 3rd day of running here he has so far completed 154 miles.  Not very much when you consider he still has just a little less than 3000 more miles yet to go.  But when all the other miles from all those other years are added up the number is staggering.

The full distance he has completed 5 times but that when added to all the other years, well it is just unbelievable.

“For sure I wanted to do it as many times as possible.  But I had no idea what it meant to do it so many times.”  For Ananda-Lahari he feels as though each race is a lifetime.

What sets apart this race from all the others is that as of this morning he is leading the race.  Something he doesn’t give much importance too.  “If you imagine you are running a marathon and you run very well the first 100 meters.  It is a nice feeling but the marathon is 42km.”

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“I think when I started these races I was like a baby.  Very fragile and I don’t think I could handle much.  I think I have become stronger.  Again life can surprise you.  You never know.  For sure my body is stronger.”

“One of the most important things is to have gratitude.  I want this gratitude so that I can really value my life.”

“Most of us are just living.  Getting up and going to work.  Spending time with friends or family.  It just goes on and on.  Time goes on.  We don’t realize until our life is almost at the end.  And then when ask……what was it for?”

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“This race forces us to live in the moment.  Not to think of tomorrow.  The race is so long and it is hard, you can’t just think of tomorrow.”

“We are all just instruments.  I would like to feel this more.  That it is not my effort but that it is something within me.  That everything is done through me by my soul.  By the divine in me.”

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Photo by Jowan 2007

Those who run after happiness
Will never be happy.
Happiness is something
That has to come to the fore
From within.

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June 20…Happiness At Every Moment

Yesterday 54 year old Volodymyr Hlushchuk on his first day in the Self Transcendence 3100 mile ran 74 miles.  He has been waiting for this opportunity for more than a decade and he is grateful and glad that it has at last arrived.

“For many years I have been looking forward to taking part in this race.”  It was back in 2004 that he had first applied but was turned down.  “After that I submitted my application many many more times.”

Volodymyr gradually realized that as much as he thought he was ready each time he applied he wasn’t. “I needed to grow a little more.”

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This year he says he simply surrendered and didn’t even apply.  However it was not unnoticed that he did a personal best in the 10 day race just 6 weeks earlier with 643 miles.  After which he was taking it easy and simply preparing himself for next years 10 day race.  “Then all of a sudden they invited me to the race.”

To his surprise he suddenly felt, ” I am not ready.”

The race director told him though that he thought that he was ready.  Volodymyr took this very seriously, as if his late spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy was requesting this of him in and through the race director.  “I realized then that I must run.”

Still he was surrendered and inwardly asked for help from his late teacher asking for him to please run in and through him.

He laughs as he describes this experience now on his 2nd day.  “Basically Guru is running in and through me.”  Beaming with joy he adds, “I don’t know how this is happening.”

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When asked what his goals might be he says that he is only trying to find happiness at every moment.  “To see Guru in front of me.”

So far he feels as though he is being guided along very directly.  Knowing spontaneously when to run and when to rest. “Through my soul he is showing me how to orchestrate all this.

“With this approach no matter how far Guru wants me to run I am happy.  I feel good and everything is good.  Therefore I have no plans in the mileage or in what place I may get.”

Translation courtesy of Lyalya

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The heart needs happiness
At every moment
So it can move forward,
Dive inward
And fly upward.

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June 19th… To See That Ordinary People Can Do Extraordinary Things

At 6 a.m. this morning the 3100 mile race started for the 20th year in a row.

For Ashprihanal his appearance here for the 14th time is something truly historic and significant.  This 45 year old runner from Finland set the record here last year and could so easily have left it at that, but he did not.  Last year as well he equaled Suprabha’s incredible record of running the race 13 times.

Something spoke within him.  The champion enters the ring once more.  His joy and delight writ large across him.

This morning he is sharing this special moment but as well with a Joy Day taking place in Austria.  You can hear them cheering in the background.

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Stutisheel is running the race for the 12th time.  “Every day is new.  Every breath is new.  Every 3100 is new even if you have done it before.  It is a new challenge, it is something big and I am looking forward to it.”

Stutisheel feels calm in these few minutes before the race.  He says what worries he might have had all came and past earlier in the week. “But now I am pretty good.  I am at peace.  I am focused.”

He wears a headband that Sri Chinmoy gave to him in 2006.

Link to his website:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stutisheel-your-ultra-running-coach/

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Sahishnu said before the race started, “The real reason for the race is to inspire other people in other walks of life.  To get them out of their comfort zone and to try and achieve a little bit more, and to also discover other capacities inside themselves.  That is the ultimate goal.”

“To see that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.  You can say this about a lot of other ultra races they are a long test, but this is a long long long test.  It is like running from Los Angeles to New York with a also a side trip to Trenton New Jersey.”

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Why start?
Just start and see.

How to start?
Just start and feel.

When to start?
Just start and reach.

Sri Chinmoy, The Wings of Light, part 5, Agni Press, 1974

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Photo by Jowan 2007

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June 18th… You Will Be Changed For The Better

It is a warm Saturday afternoon in New York.  A group of 12 runners has gathered to have some Pizza, get further instructions, and to enjoy the last few precious moments of relaxation before they embark on the hardest task imaginable, run 3100 miles.

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It is a pleasant and almost tranquil hour as all the discussions and nibbling takes place.  No one is rushing and no one hurries, all that will come soon enough.  Also what will come soon enough is the torment of a hot and humid New York summer.  Which is actually just one of the devilish ingredients that make the epic journey in front of them all that much harder, if not impossible.

Yet they all will try as hard as humanly possible and even when they have done as many laps as they think they can they will somehow do more.  Find strength and courage and determination that is not at all about muscle or of mind.

Instead it comes from an inner place within themselves.  A source that continues to surprise all who search there.  Because what can continuously be revealed is that what we all have, what we all can do, and what we all can become is so much more.

Ashprihanal running for the 14th time.

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Shoes off

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A smile

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The girls

girls-1240804 Read the rest of this entry »

My Guru’s Smile

In February I heard Uddipan speak about those very precious early days, when he and his family first became students of Sri Chinmoy.  It all took place more than 20 years ago, yet he made it sound timeless and fresh.

His experience is one that is instantly recognizable to all those who have found and continue to maintain a deep inner connection to Sri Chinmoy.

Please click on the link to see a short film on his talk….*apologies for the poor sound quality*

Do you know
What you will eventually see?
You will see
The invisible power of love.
Something more:
You will see
Inside the invisible power of love
The Hour of God
Which unites earth’s crying heart
And Heaven’s smiling soul.

April 29th….The Finish Line

“It’s been amazing.  It has been like everything.”

Gautami and her sister Manoshri have both been running the 10 day race.  With just a short time now left they are running together and sharing with me some of their experiences over the past 10 days.

Gautami: “It has been a mixture of everything, everything possible…..experiences, emotions.  It was great for sure.”

Manoshri: “There were ups and downs.  There were times when you felt you were just so tired of running.  You don’t want to run any more and you take a rest and wake up and life is good again.”

Gautami: “For me definitely the pain tolerance improved.  (laughs)  I walked with shin splints for 3 days and nights.  I almost overcame it.  I still feel it but I have been running on it for 2 days.”

“For me it becomes a meditation when I run.  It is not just a silent meditation it is dynamic meditation.  You feel lots of gratitude at times.  Many times I actually cried with gratitude.  There is a silence you have in the mind.”

“There was one day when I had so much pain, and the wind was really blowing.  I actually visualized that my body was the wind.  It was a really cool experience.  The pain just all went away.”

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The girls received constant help from Mom

Manoshri:  “You go through hard times when you almost want to give up.  But you feel, I should keep going.  But when you go through this you feel so much stronger.  You develop qualities like will power and determination.  Then you feel so much satisfaction.  You feel stronger and happier.  It helps you to become a better person.”

Kobi is the men’s champion in the 10 day race with a personal best of 750 miles.

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He surpasses his previous best by 52 miles.

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The finish line is at once
  Blissful to see
But painful to reach.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 01, Agni Press, 1998

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Photo by Bhashwar taken at 24 hour race 1980

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April 28th….It’s Like A Miracle

“I am very happy to run this race.”  Last year Tatiana Arnst was here for the first time.  She did however see very little of the running part of the race, for she spent hour upon hour helping others in medical, giving massages.

Now after 5 days she has completed 215 miles.  But the number of miles she completes here in 6 day are secondary to something that cannot be counted.  “It is a special experience.  It is very very important for me, in every aspect.  For my outer progress and for my inner progress.  For everything.”

“I am very happy.  It’s like a miracle for me.”

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Nipura and her kitchen crew have done an incredible job.  Take a step inside the kitchen on their last day preparing hundreds of delicious meals and snacks.

The crew comes from many different countries and not all appear in this picture.  They are Maria from Hamburg, Gerda from Salzburg, Harikanta from Moscow, Madina from Kazakhstan, Surudhuni from NY, Prageeti from New Zealand, Shvastanee from New Zealand, and Kshema from Ukraine.

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Miracles
Do happen
In every human life.

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