The 4 young men were on the playing field for much of the morning. When they first arrived they did a long routine of strength and conditioning exercises but it was not clear what sport they were preparing for. It was obvious though that the slightly older of the 4 was a coach to the rest. His shirt was bright orange and the others attentively listened and watched his every move.
He seemed very knowledgeable about what he was teaching. Eventually it became obvious that he was showing them how to pitch. They gathered round him as he demonstrated how his fingers neatly hugged the seams of the ball, his arm swinging effortlessly up and over his shoulder, and than the snap of his wrist as he released the ball.
His voice with its thick New York accent sailed much further than the trajectory of his pitches. Eventually one of this students strode up onto the mound with enthusiasm, a smile, and a warm and limber right arm. He started firing the ball across the plate. The catchers mitt sizzled as the ball smacked loudly against the leather. A clear and confident sound not unlike the tidy comfort you sometimes get when a car door thunks closed, neat and tight.
I had no reason to believe that the young men practicing at America’s favorite pastime would take any interest at what was happening just outside the fence beyond them. That they would even notice the endlessly circling parade of runners going around and around in the still morning air.
I would have thought they were thinking only of fast accurately thrown balls evading the powerful swipe of a big wooden bat. Maybe allowing their dreams to drift them away from a little patch of green here till they landed under the bright lights of some giant stadium with the fate of the game resting on their young energetic shoulders.
Yet at one moment I was near the fence when the coach came over and spoke through the fence to Sarvagata. “We wit you man. Running 3100 miles is no joke.”
No big announcement is made at the starting line this morning. It all looks much like it has on the previous 26 days. Yet today, as the now 11 runners strode forward for the 27th time into the joys and pains of another long long day of running, the future can no longer be blank or faded.
For what distinguished this day from all the many that have already swept by and the many more yet to come is that this day is the precise middle point of the race. There are now no more unlimited tomorrows but instead a very precise and, stingy for some, number of days that are available ahead. This subtle yet unavoidable reality hoovers in the air like a relentless scent that cannot be disturbed by any breeze. For this morning marks the official half way point.
For some, who gratefully find themselves flying confidently towards the inevitable finish line, it makes not much difference what day it is. Yet for those who are struggling or perhaps still trying to tap into some yet undiscovered reservoir of speed and strength, no longer blind to this stark bare truth can they be. If you do not have 1550 miles on the board you are not halfway.
Halfway along the path, the Goal and the runner meet to fulfil each other’s needs.
By reaching the Goal, the runner fulfil his task, the task of realising the highest possible Truth.
And by reaching the runner, the Goal makes the manifestation of the highest Truth not only possible and practicable but also inevitable.
The Goal and the runner fulfil themselves as they fulfil their respective roles in the life of aspiration and in the life of manifestation.
Sri Chinmoy, Fifty Freedom-Boats To One Golden Shore, Part 1, Agni Press, 1974.
Start Day 27
Pradeep and Grahak performed a play this morning that was warmly received by the Enthusiasm Awakeners singing group. It required Pradeep to stand in front of the girls and act puzzled. Then simply Grahak runs behind him and says something to the effect, “Pradeep, what are you doing?” Which then seems to jog his memory and he replies, “O, that is my name.”
Grahak: “Pradeep had this idea that he would forget his own name.”
Pradeep: “It was simple but sweet.”
Grahak: “I was thinking that it would be funny if I just ran past and didn’t say anything.” (laughter)
From here we move onto the less amusing aspects of running 3100 miles.
Grahak: “I can’t seem to string together 2 good days. ( Over the past 4 days he has swung back and forth from 70 plus to 60 plus mileage. He is still the race leader but now by only 47 miles) I am getting tireder and tireder. Hopefully I can regain some strength and consistency. Pradeep is running well today. Aren’t you Pradeep?”
Pradeep: (laughter) “Yeah but I am dealing with some uncomfortable difficulties, (both have rashes) and some Achilles things. I can’t do really good mileage but it is getting better.”
We pass by the board
Grahak:”Day 27. Once we get into day 30 that will be nice.”
Pradeep: “Over the top.” (what then follows is a brief discussion over whether or not this is appropriate description. Then they both agree upon simply calling today halfway.)
We pass by the playing field and at this point it is not clear what the young men are training for. Pradeep remarks how he always enjoys seeing whatever takes place there most days.
Grahak: “One thing about this new field is that there is a lot less nature but a lot more people playing games.”
I then ask Grahak how he feels about Sarvagata who is getting closer and closer to him each day.
Grahak: “I am kind of resigned to the fact that he will pass me. It doesn’t worry me. Having him behind me has made we do way more miles than I would do otherwise. It has really been inspiring me. I think it has been the same for him having someone to chase. He is an incredible athlete, the mileage he is doing.”
Pradeep: “I have to say it is inspiring for all of us. 2 great athletes, Grahak is also great. To see them inspiring each other to get the best out of themselves. It is really something. It is inspiring every one here.”
Grahak: “I don’t know how many miles each of us has done. In the morning you can see how far everyone has done. If you look at his laps on the sheet, every day he has done like 75 miles, and more. That is the type of mileage that only one person has ever done before consistently, and that is Madhupran. It is just amazing.”
“I can have a good day but then I will have a bad one the next day because it is so tiring. Sarvagata is so consistent. When he gets going in the evening he just runs at an incredible pace. He runs up all the hills. The thing is he is a really nice guy as well, and his wife. Any time you have troubles, they help out.”
Pradeep: “Yeah I had some Achilles problems, and he really took time out to show me how to treat them, and he got his wife to get me some things I needed. It is really nice. It is really inspiring. Grahak also.”
“You can say at this moment Sarvagata has more strength, but if you can see what pain Grahak can put up with, it is also unbelievable. ”
They both are suffering with rashes. “I know what I have going on and his is worse. Of course you never know for sure but I am pretty sure.”
Grahak: “Yeah, I have had pretty bad pain the past few days. ……..But what can you do?”
I then ask them about the more uplifting moments they might be experiencing as well with just 26 more days ahead.
Grahak: “Well, just having nice meditations as you are running around. Feel like that you have a lot of aspiration, and the world has aspiration. When you connect with that it feels really nice.”
Pradeep: “Same for me I guess. Every day there are these really nice windows. You have some glimpses of something very deep inside yourself coming to the fore. Or something really sweet among the runners.”
“Yesterday we were having so much fun about something and I can’t remember exactly. But it is so satisfying. We are out here struggling to reach together a goal, and we have this bright fun now and then. It is kind of……you used the word existential before. To me it fits. It satisfies me. Apart from the meditative glimpses that you get. ”
click to play
Some unexpected things are here and there
A day grows hot but you still must go on
Share the road with others who have their own work to do
It is also the time of summer school so there are times when it gets a little crowded.
Weave through the world and yet it still belongs to you
There will always be tomorrow
Yet just here there remains but 26
|Poem of the day Recited by Shobhavati
| Enthusiasm AwakenersClick to play
MY EVOLVING JOURNEY
I started my journey
I now march forward
I shall march continuously