July 24: Give Yourself

“What I am trying to do is to try and support them.  Everybody comes here because they want transcendence, to reach a spiritual goal.  I put a little piece of myself to help them reach that goal.”  Mario is one of the unsung heroes of the race.  He comes most nights here to give massages to the runners, and far from just offering up a small portion of himself he has in fact contributed to the race an invaluable service and much much more.

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“I have good skills.  I am a registered nurse.  I was a professional cyclist and I learned how to massage professional cyclists.  So I use my skills to massage professional athletes.  So now I am giving my service to the Sri Chinmoy group.”

I have seen Mario here and at the races in Flushing Meadow many times.  He is simply one of those people who is extraordinarily good at what he does, is blessed with what appears to be inexhaustible energy, and then quite simply selflessly offers what he has and is unreservedly.  His skills have been much appreciated by all those he has treated, but in particular during the very dangerous spell of hot weather, his medical knowledge altered what could have been significantly much more traumatic outcomes.

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Curious as to why he is again here during the day when he usually comes only at night he replies that he happens to have the week off.  Instead of going on a well deserved vacation he instead opted to come here more often instead.  He has also brought his 2 kids who have also come here with their Dad a lot. Far from being bored or restless they immediately start to play with a soccer ball on the field nearby as if it was the most natural thing in the world to spend your vacation in a place in which 12 runners just keep going around and around.

There are many others who offer their services to the race.  Both in small ways and also in other contributions that stretch way out beyond boundless.  What the 12 runners are giving of themselves here each day cannot be measured.  Maybe then it is not so surprising that others see and feel, ‘if this is what they are giving, cannot I not give of myself as well?’  These decisions and commitments are certainly never carefully orchestrated bargains because the rewards of what you can possibly gain here are never tangible nor can they be analyzed.

Mario

“Everybody is working in the same way.  We are all on the same road.  So they are helping me also to get higher on my spiritual level and I am helping them.  Because they are doing something for me also.”

Because you are good,
You give yourself
Smilingly.
Because you want to be perfect,
You give yourself
Unconditionally.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 106, Agni Press, 1986

Photo by Shradha 47 mile race 1980

Photo by Shradha
47 mile race 1980

No, not a rehearsal for some chorus line appearing at Radio City Music Hall.  Just a good morning group stretch

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The bees have found their way to the camp as they usually do at this time of year.  Their preference seems to be Ginger Ale

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Sarvagata waking up.

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Yuri gives and gets a very warm greeting from Vajra.

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Start

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The full moon, just a little reluctant to leave this morning beams over the course briefly this morning.  It will miss the finish altogether in 2 weeks time and maybe wanted to enjoy it as much as it can as time quickly slips away.

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Everything at this time of day looks just a little magical.

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As the light gathers this silhouette gradually reveals that it is Yuri who did 106 laps yesterday.

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Just down the block here the hibiscus are blooming.

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But on the course other things of beauty are emerging as well.  Atmavir the race leader had 106 laps yesterday.  He is now just 28 miles ahead of number 2 Vasu.

atmavir-glowing

“I was very inspired and happy.” The other day Vasu had a chance to speak with other members of his mediation group back in St.Peterburg.  Using a video conference call he was able to see everyone individually as they also were able to see him and get a glimpse of this distant wonderful world that Vasu has taken up a somewhat nomadic residence in for the past 38 days.

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He did a most remarkable 116 laps yesterday which is a lot more than anybody else.  Like a few other runners here he simply appears to be gathering more and more strength each day he runs.  Yesterday he felt an incredible gift of inspiration while he was speaking to his friends back home.  He tells me the closeness was such that he felt them running with him on the course.  Encouraging him and also giving him strength.

“I felt so much aspiration and inspiration from everybody.  They love me and I love them.”

The weather has improved a lot in the last few days and I ask him if his friends also sent him the cooler weather, he laughs.  The rain seems to be gone for now which is also good for Vasu.  “My blister does not like the rain.”

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As we run together this morning Atmavir is right in front of us.  I ask him now that he is also getting closer in terms of mileage is he focusing on him at all.  “I like Atmavir.  I am trying to do my best.  I do not need competition.  I want to please the Supreme in his own way.”

Ashprihanal is also just 15 miles behind Vasy but he was not aware that he had passed him until much later.  “But Ashprihanal is faster than me.”  He knows that Ashprihanal is improving each day now and he could easily be passed.  He feels that whatever the outcome is it is all God’s will and God’s grace.  “Ashprihanal told me that somebody in heaven pushes a button for every runner.  So this runner can run fast and this runner must go slow.  It is just a game.”

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We see these 12 runners here, making this impossible thing, at least sometimes, look all so effortless.  There are also times when we can at least catch a glimpse of the hard fought reality of what they are doing as well.  Yet the world that they all come from is just a little harder to discern and to comprehend. Everyone after all have come from so far away.

Vasu tells me that he works in a Paper mill in Nizhny Novgorod.  A job that requires him to work 12 hour shifts regularly for 10 days straight.  He says that his training then takes place at night after he gets off work.  The kind of news that his endless smile and all his relentless miles can only hint off.  Which as of this morning he had done 2461 of.

vasu

But when asked if he is at least now thinking of the finish line or another mile marker he says no.  “I just am trying to be happy.  Think about Sri Chinmoy and meditate and pray and sing.  Sometimes I ask people to tell me stories about Sri Chinmoy to inspire me.  I feel that this is a big opportunity for us to make our inner progress.”

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The presence of Nicolay is also a very good reason he is doing so well

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Going on and on

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Ashprihanal starts today with the kind of speed we haven’t seen in a while.

ashprihanal-glowing

He did 113 laps yesterday

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Sarvagata is the runner currently in 4th place.

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Sometimes looking so strong and determined

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At other times looking less than invincible.  This is just a stretch.

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He did 91 laps yesterday.

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The path is always there whether the way is glowing or in darkness

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Pranjal always moving

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Who also see where he is going.   He did 114 laps

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The world here so small and yet so vast

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Surasa had 108 laps

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Getting some advice from nurse Bahula

surasa-and-bahula

From one world into the next

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Nidhruvi did 110 laps and is only a whisper…7 miles behind Yuri

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There is no looking back

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Sopan is not just a silhouette against the sun.  His battles are real and he completed 105 laps yesterday.

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It is a sport like no other

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Baladev keeping his own score.  He did 96 laps.

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We know where Ananda-Lahari is going

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He goes neither fast or slow.  Only moving at his own speed.

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The Swami does some laps

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Perfection is just a few steps away

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Utsahi works on some shoes

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Sarah will reach 2000 miles in the next 2 days.  She thinks when she gets there she will perhaps find a distance goal in which to aim for.  In the meantime she just wants to remain happy.

sarah-glowing

“You learn watching people what they are doing.  When you learn how to cook by watching how your Mommy cooks it is the same with my children.”  I have asked Mario to tell me why he has brought his kids with him.  “I want to put my children around me to watch what I am doing.  Why is Poppy helping these people?  Why is Poppy doing massage.  They watch me and little by little they get their own skills.  In the future you are going to have a wonderful massager over here.”  Points at his daughter. “This is my point of view.”

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He speaks candidly about the situation a few days earlier when he gave 3 runners Iv’s.  “They were in crisis.  They were completely dehydrated.  We tried to get them back to their normal stage.  We gave it to them just to recuperate because the weather conditions were extremely extremely hot, and they got dehydrated.  We have to help them as much as we can, and we have the skills.  We have the technology to help them.”

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He describes how he believes it comes down to genetics.  “Some absorb fluids in different ways.”  If you sweat more than simply said you have to drink more fluids to keep your fluid levels in balance.  “Every single athlete is different.  We have to think that way.  Every person is an individual and unique.”

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Prayer

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Recited by Vasu

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Give to all something:
Give to Heaven your earth-cry,
Give to earth your Heaven-smile,
Give to God your surrender-life,
Give to yourself your promise-light.
Thus
Give to all something.

Sri Chinmoy, Europe-Blossoms, Agni Press, 1974

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2 Comments to “July 24: Give Yourself”

  1. Francesco says:

    Gratitude

  2. Rathin says:

    Vasu reminds me a little of Vladimir who did the race nearly ten years ago- a tough Russian with a demanding job that would seem to leave very little time to train. If these road warriors can find the time, then why can’t the rest of us? It’s all about determination.

    Right now the Peace Run is winding its way around Australia. My legs are feeling sore after less than 20km a day. Meanwhile our Mongolian team member, Bayarkhuu, daily shows that determination which makes a great runner. He leaps out of the van with Peace Torch lit almost before we’ve come to a halt. He regularly runs 10km at a time, looking as fresh at the end as when he started. Already some are whispering in his ear about having a shot at some ultra races!

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