From space the Google map can easily take in the entire course. From this vantage you cannot see any pain, nor fatigue, nor heat, nor damp. You are not aware of any challenge of any kind. In fact, what you see from way up here is almost unreal. The buildings and cars look like toys frozen in time, on some child’s playground. They say every picture tells a story but this one speaks so little.
Every day here is so different just as every moment can feel like the highest heaven and the next,….you can well imagine. Today it seemed almost from the start that things were going to be a little off balance.
As usual the final minutes leading up to the 6 o’clock start, seem to vanish. The tired bodies have barely arrived and feet prepared than once again they are called to the start. This morning as the time was teetering, on the brink of 6, there were some notable absentees, which had never happened before.
There is a flurry of phone calls in the seconds before the start. Not only is Rupantar not here, Ashprihanal and Stutisheel have not been picked up. The panic, if you would dare to call it that, is short lived. Things are set to right within minutes.
All missing persons arrive shortly. Ashprihanal is calm and composed despite his late start. He says that it has never happened to him before. I look at the clock and see that he is starting a little less than 3 minutes after the rest. He does not neglect his moment of silence before starting off. He ran over 76 miles yesterday.
Vlady of course has, what one might charitably describe, a relaxed attitude towards the 6am starting time. This is not a bad thing. As a first timer he has come well prepared and has fit into the tight little group very well. He is averaging 61 miles a day.
I visited the race kitchen for the first time, and by all accounts it is the best ever. Early in the morning there are just two girls here. Sukhada is very carefully and lovingly filling granola containers. Nirjharini is pouring an essential, and very familiar to all, hot black race beverage.
Purna-Samarpan has clearly found the ideal environment for himself. He has. after 11 days, adjusted well to the life and the life style. He does not seem in any way disappointed in his mileage, in which he is averaging 49 miles a day. There is a much larger experience and a goal that has called him here and he is pursuing it with his whole heart. His feet will help him to arrive at quite a different destination.
We had talked in the day before the start and he was calm and focused on the task ahead. Today, on this his 12th, he seems no different. He tells me that he is enjoying the race and the experience in every way. He tells me that it was about 6 days ago now that he surpassed the previous most mileage he had ever run in a race. He is very noncahalant about it. He says, “It was in the 6 day last year. It was 300 and something.”
He admits though, “It was a bit hard to get to that point.” When I ask him what his current mileage is he is unsure of the total just as most runners are here. They tend to only think of daily lap totals and not miles. He says, “I don’t really know, 540 or something.”
I ask him about the leaves that the runners place on their feet. He is able to recite 2 botanical names for them but does not know their common name. He says that he had never ever used them on his feet prior to the race but had used one in a healing tea some time ago. He says, “I don’t have any blisters. That is a miracle. My feet are getting stronger.”
He is having a problem though with the tissue under the ball of one of his feet. It seems to be affecting the nerve there and comes from the constant pounding the foot takes on the hard concrete. He tells me that one morning there was hardly any sensation in his toes on that foot. He was not concerned and felt the right thing to do was to back off. On that day he ran just 36 miles and the rest seemed to help. Vajra has seen it all and is advising him on his condition which is not bad considering the distance he has covered.
He seems genuinely thrilled with the experience he is having. Also, since he surpassed his previous best days ago, “Every step now is a new personal record. I recognize that.” When I ask him to describe in his own way what it is like to be here, he says, “It is like being on an island, it is a family here.”
“Now, while running 3,100 miles, you have to deal with fatigue—when you are tired, exhausted, dead. As long as you are in the mind, you will always have fatigue, tiredness, weariness and everything. But the moment you enter into the heart, there is no fatigue. What you will find is constant energy.”
“When you are doing something for the Supreme and you are in the heart, you can work hours and hours, day and night. When we love something or someone, this is what always happens. Yesterday is an illustration. In spite of being tired, your best friend made such beautiful decorations for your birthday. Her tiredness disappeared because of her love. But if she had been in the mind, she would have only worked for a short time and then given up. Then she would not have created such beautiful things.”
“If you are in the heart, there is a constant supply of energy and sweetness. We all have to develop sweetness. Sweetness is not masculine or feminine. People say that only girls can have sweetness and not men, but sweetness is not something masculine or feminine. Sweetness is a reality which is constantly supplying us with newness and freshness.”
“While you are running this long distance, you are seeing hundreds of cars passing by and so many people are making noise. But you should feel that you are not running around that big block; you are only running inside your own heart-garden where there are beautiful flowers, plants and trees. If you can not only see but feel that each time you are going around you are only running inside your beautiful heart-garden, then you can bring sweetness into each and every step that you take.”
Excerpt from Run And Smile, Smile And Run by Sri Chinmoy.
God alone knows
When the Kingdom of Heaven
Will finally descend on earth.
In the meantime,
God is begging His aspiring children
To try to create
At least a tiny island
Which He can call Heaven on earth.
Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 93 by Sri Chinmoy.
2 responses to “June 25 Like Being On an Island”
“…God is begging His aspiring children
To try to create
At least a tiny island
Which He can call Heaven on earth.”
This island is perfect. Every corner is so beautiful. The leader is flying, no wonder, it is He who is running in and through him. I enjoy every entry of yours, Utpal.
wow. this post is super excellent….