August 6 This is What I am Supposed to Do

a37Ananda-Lahari tells me this morning, his 54th day on the course, that he walked all day yesterday.  I ask him if the reason he walked was due to lack of inspiration or due to lack of energy.  He answers quickly.  “Inspiration I have always.”

He is here at the race for the 5th straight year.  Over the years he has been much much faster and slower than he will be this year.  He has a personal best of 49 days and 14 hours.  It is a time that is almost 7 days faster than his current pace.  This year he is likely to finish on the 56th day, a slightly quicker time than he did here last year.

ananHe is one of those very rare individuals in which the outer results seem to be secondary in importance to the inner achievement.  It is something that most of us like to strive for but so often fall into the obvious trap of wanting to see the results of our efforts all line up in our favor.  It is simple human nature to set goals and try to achieve them.  Ananda-Lahari is someone who is not oblivious about wanting to surpass his previous achievements, but more significantly, he wants to be satisfied and content within himself all along the way.  There is an outer goal he has worked hard to achieve here, but there is for him an inner goal that cannot be reached with footsteps alone.  It is reached with joy, positiveness, and prayer.    As he says, “I believe there is nobody here who is not trying to do their best.”

by Shraddha September 1981
by Shraddha September 1981

Keep trying!

It so often happens

That the last key opens the door.

Likewise, it is your last prayer

That may grant you salvation,

And your last meditation

That may grant you realisation.

Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 17 by Sri Chinmoy.


Ananda-Lahari tells me about his experiment with running fast.  He had done something similar last year when he spontaneously would run very fast loops particularly in the evening.  He felt as though his child like love of running had come forward and just enjoyed the feeling of speed and being up on his toes.  It is also something that he has done this year as well but it is a strategy that appears to have had created some serious consequence for his body the next day.  He says, “I pushed too hard and also maybe I was not too careful, and my body is too fragile for this so my body just crashed.”

a19He says in the beginning it was giving him much inspiration when he ran fast but despite the warnings of some of his fellow runners to slow down he did not.  “He says I wasn’t careful.  I am just coming back now to the running world.  My legs are still soar.”

He feels that the standard of the race is continuing to go higher at the 3100.  Today he started the morning walking and as the day progresses he will start to run a little more each lap.  He feels that nobody really likes to walk in this race but if circumstances dictate it than so be it.  He says, “running is more natural.  Then of course you make more miles.  The race is very long and it may seem that a few days more or less doesn’t matter.  But every day is like a 24 hour race.  There are many 24 hour races here.  If someone finishes in 45 days or in 55 days there is a 10 day difference in between.  That is really a big difference.  And if someone is walking that means he has some problems.  Even if you are having a comfortable day here still you have to do it for 18 hours.  In my case when I run I have less problems with my feet.  When I walk a lot I get blisters. “

a4He says he has been really inspired by the many different music groups who have come and performed on the course for all the runners.  “You can hear them only for a few seconds.  But those few seconds can be very intense.  All of a sudden you come to the place where they are performing music just for us.  There is something they create, some kind of atmosphere.  This can make a special moment for us.  It is really great.”

a18He feels that this year he has made inner progress.  He says, ” I pray a lot during the race.”  He says that he uses the purification power of prayer during his regular day to day life as well.  But it is only at the race that there are no distractions in doing it.  His mind is not encumbered by all kinds of normal problems and activities when he runs here.  He says, “you can concentrate on listening to your inner self.”  He says here there is almost limitless amount of time at his disposal to work on his inner life.

When I ask if his mileage really matters at all he says, “it is also about miles and making progress at running faster.  Definitely I would like to do better miles.  I definitely believe that this (running the 3100) is what I am supposed to do.  This is a great opportunity for practicing a never give up attitude.  We don’t have to be perfect, we just have to try our best.”  He believes that it is possible that he can correct some of the things he is doing and get a better result in his timing.  He tells me, “I am happy with my effort, but I am not happy with my miles.  I have such gratitude for this race.  I love to be here.”

flower 2

Later is always too late.

Do whatever you are supposed to do

Today, here and now.

Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 25 by Sri Chinmoy.

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