The day dawned warm and sticky on this Fathers day in New York. For many years it has always been a special day, in which Sri Chinmoy was honored by his students here in Queens and also all around the world, wherever his students gathered. Since his passing the tradition has continued and events are taking place throughout the day.
As the runners arrive this morning they can be heard to spontaneously call out “Happy Fathers Day,” to one another. There is a lightness and joy in the spirit at the race this morning that is not matched by the heavy thick stillness of the air.
Countless people have been inspired by Sri Chinmoy over the years and many continue to feel a deep inner connection with him. He asked little of people and yet gave so much. How one related to him was up to the individual. It was easy for many to feel a hearts closeness with him. He could be a dear friend, or older brother, but for most of us, whose connection was soulfully deep, it was unquestionable but to look upon him as a Spiritual father.
This race of course was his creation, and all who are part and parcel of it know that he saw it as a powerful way to express his vision of Self-Transcendence. His continued presence and influence here is unmistakable.
He no longer drives his little red car around the course each day but in your heart you can still feel his infinite affection and appreciation for all those who are aspiring to challenge their limitations. Not just the 11 runners here but all aspiring seekers everywhere.
For those who want to run today, and are not up to putting out 70 grueling miles a Father’s day marathon is being held just across the street. It is a tradition that goes back many years and has its own challenges. It requires all runners to make 30 plus loops around Jamaica high school.
Registration takes place simultaneously as the 3100 begins for the day. There are several International visitors here today and as some very familiar locals.
Start of Fathers Day Marathon
Surasa has some questions about shoes this morning. She asks Ashprihanal about when one should throw out a pair of shoes. She has been plagued by shin splints for nearly a week now and suspects that it might in part be shoe related. He suggests to throw them out when the black rubber is worn away on the bottom.
Petr is now but one heart beat behind Ashprihanal. The number 3 man is Vlady, who will in less than hour this morning will cross the 500 mile mark. He has been consistent and cheerful for all of the past 7 days.
Start Day 8
Dharbasana has been averaging 57 miles over the past 7 days. Yesterday both he, and the other new runner, Surasa, had mileage days that were not great. 41 miles for him and 45 for her. It is a quantum leap to go from any shorter distance to 3100 miles and the adjustment is far from easy. Arpan is giving him some deep massage here in his calf. It is not a pleasant experience, and yet it is one that will loosen tight muscles.
Ananda Lahari Zuscin, 35, from Kysak, Slovakia seems to enjoy the experience of the 3100 more than anyone else. He has been bothered for a while now with sore feet but it is a condition that is typical for him as his body adjusts to the race.
On this humid day, in which most are showing some of the ill effectst of the humid weather, he instead looks cool and fresh. His physique has been described as almost perfect for the event. He is here now for the 6th year in a row. “I am happy that I am here.” He admits however that it is difficult to enjoy it in the typical way most of us enjoy life because as he says, “You are almost all the time in pain.”
He went through a different struggle last winter in trying to find the financing to be able to come. Money was in short supply for him and he eventually had to borrow enough to be able to afford it. “I feel that it is good to do this race. It is hard to explain.”
He says that if one were to describe all the discomforts that a runner at the 3100 goes through here than most people could not possibly comprehend participating in it at all. He says that what the race does for him, like no other experience has had before, is how it transforms him.
“I learn that I need to be in the heart and stay there.” When one does this than the discomforts of running and also the discomforts of life itself remain at a manageable distance. He says as well, “I learn to conquer my limitations.”
“This race definitely helps us because everything comes forward. If you are in an extreme situation than you have to deal with it. When I live a kind of easy life. Watching TV, doing little, than you don’t have to deal so much with your limitations and ignorance. But here you are forced. If you are able to be happy under extremely difficult situations than it is easier to be happy when the conditions are easier.”
Sri Chinmoy once remarked that Ananda Lahari was the runner who smiled the most. He recalls that Sri Chinmoy once said that it is very important to smile. “If you are not able to smile than you can even force it.” His suggestion, he recalls, was that eventually a sincere smile would come. I ask him if he were to teach others how to do what he does, what should they do? “Learn to be in the heart, and feel love inside the heart.”
He says that Sri Chinmoy taught several techniques on how to do it and he himself feels that he is constantly still working on this and trying to improve himself. He says one visualization technique he uses is to imagine breathing in and out directly from the heart. Or even just focusing his attention there. He said for him that this was the easiest exercise to realize that there was much more to his being than just his mind.
He also suggests picturing that there is a flower within oneself or even that you are a child playing inside a flower garden. He says that a more advanced technique is to focus on one’s inner cry. This comes however he says only when one recognizes that they indeed have an inner thirst and inner hunger for something higher within oneself. “For this I am very grateful that I feel this inner hunger, inner cry, or love of God.”
I ask him, that since it is Fathers day is there any difference for him being at the race. “Yes it is sweeter, it is easier for me to run. Yesterday I was much slower.”
Just across the street the marathon runners are speedily going by in comparison to the 3100 mile runners. They are in their own ways inspiring each other. Those who will be finished in hours are inspiring those who will be finished in weeks, and vice-versa. “It is like oneness,when you see that other people are running also here. It is very nice.”
In a time of 3:41:46 Dipali will be the overall winner of the race. She will have finished, when Arpan who is still a few laps behind, will ask her how she did. He tells her he knew somebody would run that time, he just wished that it was him
Maral is trying like everyone today to be not too affected by the high humidity. He is hoping to squeeze under the 5 hour cut off.
Shakti works on her latest art project which is a baby deer.
There are always countless things taking place in and around this little block in Queens. On this Fathers Day Sunday the place is jam packed with activity.
On the field across the street there is a soccer game going on and the picnic people will soon be rolling in with their feasts.
On the lawn in front of the high school this baby Mocking bird is learning just how difficult it is to fly. He spreads his wings wide from time to time, and then briefly give several vigorous flaps but just can’t quite get lift off.
The bird is at the stage when he just doesn’t quite get it. He appears healthy and Mom and Dad worriedly fly here and there around him. He is far from abandoned.
He is there however at a time of the day when the influx of the large and rambunctious Sunday crowd could pose a threat to him.
To the rescue comes officer Wasque who is School safety Police man at Thomas Edison high school. Not surprisingly he is a careful and attentive Dad himself. He takes the little bird and puts him in a safer place until he gets airborne at last.
Back at the camp Nikhad has his hands full as the only counter, for a while any way.
“There is only one Father. His name is Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme, Supreme. I am his heart’s dream. He is my life’s dream.”
Song composed by Sri Chinmoy
Performed by Enthusiasm Awakeners
A spiritual father
Is he who kindles
Our inner hunger,
And at the same time
And immortalises us,
The divine in us.
Excerpt from God-Compassion And God-Justice by Sri Chinmoy