“We have to make choices. The masses of people they are making a choice to live a comfortable and mundane life.”
For the moment we are walking at a gentle pace. Minutes earlier Swamaji Parameshanandaji of Bharat Sevashram Sangha, had been almost sprinting around the course. It is not often that he ever moves around the loop other than with intense purposeful strides. His face always soft, still, and focused. Perhaps an occasional thought drifting out into the chaos of the mundane world but when he is running he reflects something else, that is poised, quiet, and at peace.
Any morning he is on the loop he does quite a few laps. I am not sure if he even counts them all this morning or even on any day or on any year that he has come here to run. He used to live just a few blocks away but now he lives somewhere out on Long Island. Getting up in the silent darkness of the suburbs and taking a long rumbling bus that takes at least an hour just to be here at 6. This morning the sun flickers across his orange running clothes. Shadows cast by high green tree leaves dance across this moving figure. One seeking to escape from the mundane world as fast as he can.
“Me coming from Long Island I know that being in the atmosphere of the runners. It is the best satsang.( the company of the highest truth) “Even the ground is charged. So the energy is coming from the ground and the atmosphere. So how can we better live our lives. Enjoy it, and at the same time move towards our salvation. This is where we have to be very conscious about it. This consciousness is in harmony with divine consciousness. I want to be part of that consciousness. I want to just merge into that consciousness.”
“This is a beautiful example. By running here I am exerting my body. After some time the mind is sublimated. Because you can’t be thinking thinking all the time. If you think of the same thing all the time it makes you mentally tired.” He suggests that once the mind is quieted you are then able to release a surge of energy. Once you are no longer caught up in your thoughts.
As to how he has ended up being here, “being at the right place, at the right time and meeting the right people is God’s grace.” He feels that this capacity to recognize these precious and pivotal moments in our lives is one we all should try and develop. “I take full advantage of it. That is wisdom.”
As to why there are not more out here to experience this transformative atmosphere, “they are not ready.” Each person is moving at their own pace towards the goal. “We have to respect them for that.” We can pray that more people find inspiration but he adds, “that is the way it was meant to be.”
He said it is great spiritual figures like Christ, Krishna and Sri Chinmoy, that stimulate that world to seek out the higher parts of themselves.
“Everybody who is part of this team is going to get the benefit from the sacrifices that they make. This is so beautiful.”
Click to Play Interview:
Wisdom we cannot invent;
Wisdom is discovery.
There is only one discovery
Which makes us feel
That God has always been
With us, in us and for us,
And that wisdom is self-discovery.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 26, Agni Press, 2002
Some discussion occurs around the board this morning. Misha jokes that Yuri should have 696 miles instead of 666.
Yuri arrives and no doubt is more than delighted with his 666. He is firmly in 2nd place.
Yesterday Sarvagata had one of those remarkable days. Which as he was describing it earlier, he was taking the elevator. He had the most laps of anybody and was also the most he had run in one day this year, 130 laps.
It can get hectic quickly as the time dribbles away before the start.
No day goes by without the exciting chore of laundry being done.
Jayasalini taking even more precaution by doing her morning stretches after having some shin problems earlier.
Ready to go.
Start Day Eleven
The day begins overcast and mild.
There is no heat in sight for several more days.
“It has been 10 days now but it is still only beginning,” says Pranjal.
Yesterday he had a good day of 117 laps or 64 miles. He is 5th overall and sometime late yesterday afternoon he completed 1,000 km, one fifth of the race. But of this he says, “just imagine in one month I will still be here.”
“The race is very hard and very long. Your really have to work on quieting your mind. This (the mind), is the main tool which can really help you or really kill you. Sometimes it is even more important than the body itself. The strength of you mind is really really hard and really really strong.”
One of the tricks he uses is to simply imagine all the things he has yet to do over the course of his life. Put into that kind of perspective he tricks his mind as looking upon the race here as just a small part of his whole life.
“Then I try to divide the day into some parts.” He suggests it is not fixed by more fluid. It could be the first 6 hours or simply focusing on what he will take to eat or drink when he comes through the camp. He also quite often uses 3 hour blocks as one of his tools.
“This is how you can survive this race much easier. You can use the power of your mind this way. Otherwise if you focus on just running an 800 meter loop in the heat for days and days, it will just kill you.”
For Pranjal he still has 4,000 km yet to run a distance that will take him likely another 40 days.
Sarah’s running has been so consistent. Another day of 116 laps or 63 miles. With her 637 she is 40 miles ahead of last year. Her face looking so content and so often.
Coming through the camp
The sidewalks are less hectic, now that school is over for the summer.
One can never understand why some runners have the experiences that they do. Something significant and important is definitely taking when a runner is injured or has something particularly difficult to overcome. Vasu is having just such an experience right now. He has a triple whammy, a bad blister, shin, and Achilles tendon all happening simultaneously.
He had 85 laps yesterday or 46 miles. Today he is combining walking along with light running and also practicing twirling a stick to keep himself amused.
He also recites the daily prayer.
Click to Play:
So much yet to emerge and blossom.
Yesterday Sopan started listening to an audio book to keep himself entertained. His 113 laps or 62 miles gives him 628 miles. One more than last year this time.
Yesterday Jayasalini had a good day.
She found a strategy for now to get through her own physical issues. Her face now showing the tremendous effort she has put in here to attain 616 miles in 10 days.
The combination of walking and running is helping. She did 110 laps or 60 miles. The daily magic number.
Her lime green shirt shining bright. Her dedication to the race brighter still.
Teekshanam had 100 laps yesterday and went home last night with 600 miles completed over 10 days
Kodanda playing on the course early this morning.
Originally playing in the middle of the soccer field he moves closer to the fence.
Click to Play:
Some musicians play a little more quietly but also beautiful…Misha
Ananda-Lahari arriving in camp.
There are many ways to look at Ray K
You can focus on those very sore feet that have completed 423 miles in 10 days.
Or the very content and happy possessor of those same feet.
Never red traffic signals down here. Here it is always green and grow.
It doesn’t become too clear until much later just how special a day it is for William here.
He started day 11 with 608 miles and so sometime this morning he will have reached 1000 kms.
It all has to be calculated out precisely but it is likely that he will establish a men’s age 60, Scottish, UK, and a world record for the distance once it is ratified.
Stutisheel is running phenomenally.
His 125 laps yesterday were outstanding.
Baladev came back from a slow day previous and then ran 117 laps yesterday.
He has 645 miles is 43 more than last year.
The sun will shine briefly later.
Yuri moving through some early morning traffic.
Yuri ran 118 laps yesterday. His 666 is 11 more miles than last year.
It is hard to get a perspective on many things. Even we closely watch, observe and listen. But Sarvagata running 130 laps yesterday is extraordinary. Another 71 mile day.
There are many ingredients to this performance. Having a family member as your helper is always good. His cheerful sister Sarvadhara, is ready and willing to help any time of the day or night.
If you listen to yesterday’s conversation you can understand just how committed he is to being here and doing his best.
Yes he has been here running each of the last 3 years. But before that as well he watched and observed and felt its pull back in 2010. From the closest place possible a counting table.
A joy to watch from any perspective.
Nidhruvi is enjoying herself this morning just as she does most days here. while we are running together there is a thick mist and it is fogging up her glasses. It amuses her that Rupantar predicted rain but it certainly hasn’t happened so far.
I ask would it bother her if it rained, “yes, in a way.” But she adds, “there are so many challenges any way it just makes it more difficult. What can you do”
For some reason I thought she resembled Surasa and when asked if she had been thinking about her she laughs. “There are so many things to do, how can I think of somebody else.”
She has 605 miles after 10 days and I ask her how she is doing. “So far okay. I have had many hard days. Yesterday was very rough tough day. (110 laps) Every time you think it is getting better something else comes.”
“My goal for this race is to stay totally happy and cheerful and totally surrender.” She is trying not to develop or become focused on the idea that, “I have to do it.” ( complete the distance.)
Ultimately she feels that she is not the doer. That it is all being done in and through her. By offering the race to the divine she feels that she also cannot be attached to the result either. “I am trying my best and trying to get this heavy burden off my shoulders.” She want to remove the whole notion of, “I have to, I have to, I have to.”
“I am just trying to surrender. If it works out it is fine, and if it does not work out my way that is fine too.” She tried to feel this way last year when she came here to run for the first time. It conflicted with the obvious urge, “your goal is to really finish it.”
This year she says, “Now I am more relaxed because I have done it. I have it in my pocket.”
“I am going to try and take it this ways, to take it more easily. Not to put so much pressure on me.” She adds that just to get the minimum 110 laps per day is not easy.
Click to Play Interview:
Song of the Day
Click to Play:
What do we mean by the word ‘wisdom’? Usually we mean something superior to knowledge, something deeper. In the spiritual world, the word ‘wisdom’ is not used in that way. Here wisdom means Light, illumining Light, transforming Light. That which illumines our unlit consciousness is wisdom. That which transforms the finite consciousness into the infinite Consciousness is called wisdom.
Sri Chinmoy, Life-tree-leaves, Agni Press, 1974