I Need To Be Here

Sometime yesterday, 39 year old Asprihanal Aalto was sitting in a Doctors office hooked up to an Intravenous drip.  On the previous day he had run more than 65 miles giving him a total mileage of 1677 miles over the space of 24 days.

The weather here has been horrendous for almost a week.  Other than having a freezing blizzard of snow, the combination of high heat and humidity are conditions about as intolerable as weather can possibly be for ultra distance runners.

In any other event, in any other place, today he would be sitting on the sidelines and wishing the other runners the best of luck as he headed back to Finland. Being glad at least that he had been able to complete this race 9 times before.  Taking his licks he could justifiably say a case of bad luck had somehow knocked him out of his 10th attempt.  This however is not the reality, far from it.

Today he has come back here to run once again. From the very start he runs as if nothing had ever happened.  As if he had not been stricken for almost a day by diarrhea, dizziness, and vomiting.  At the 3100 mile race our conventional sense of logic and practically just don’t stick to a surface polished shiny bright with limitless possibility.  The mind simply cannot grasp what happens here at every moment.  You can’t possibly comprehend the miracles popping up with blinding brilliance like July 4th fireworks.  If your eyes cannot believe, than maybe perhaps your heart can at least reach up and embrace this realm of impossibility.

I have a short discussion with Asprihanal this morning about Nelson Mandela and some speech that he once gave relating to fear.  He had listened to a talking book and was inspired by something he had heard said about this subject.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.” Nelson Mandela

Sometimes it is possible for me to almost take for granted just how remarkable these athletes really are.  For 25 days I have had the privilege of being able to try and share some of the things happening with them in this little protected universe of the Thomas Edison block.

There are many things that I see happening that I cannot believe, little alone understand.  Just one, in a long list, is how this slight almost frail looking Finnish man can find the courage to come back out here again after the day he had yesterday.   I know I will never ever understand, and he has more than 1400 more miles yet to run.

Fear beckons danger.

Fear is self-enslavement.

Fear is the eternal loser.

Fear is helplessly founded upon stupidity.

Fear secretly travels with the mind and openly travels with the body.

Because you fear, God the Satisfaction does not hear you and God the Perfection does not near you.

If fear knows how to grow quickly, then love knows how to glow soulfully, convincingly and perfectly.

ecerpt from Silver Thought-Waves, Part 2 by Sri Chinmoy

Today marks the 26th day of running at the 3100 mile race.  For those who have problems with math or calculating or predicting outcomes it does not take much effort to realize who has any chance of making the 52 day cut off.  Which unlike other years will not be extended.

Surasa is content with her experience and has no illusions about completing the distance.







Start Day 26







“I don’t think it ever happened that I had a whole day off.  Never ever. This is the first time.”  Asprihanal’s experience yesterday is once again a glaring reminder that there are always new experiences to be had here.  Even if you have like he has, run the race 9 times before.  He tells me that he has had bad days when he was only able to walk perhaps 20 laps but this was the first time he had not been able to complete even one lap during an entire day.

He says that receiving the Intravenous was all that he needed to get himself back in shape.  To somehow reassemble all the scattered pieces of his shattered Humpty Dumpty existence and once again be as good as new.  He describes a night of vomiting and diarrhea that simply depleted him beyond a measure, that he could re balance his fluids and electrolytes on his own.  If he had tried to even walk yesterday he says that he would have simply passed out.  “That was the problem.  I couldn’t walk, I was so dizzy.”

He says that not even for a moment did he have any doubts about returning.  “It’s all good I am fine.”  He isn’t really sure about what exactly created the experience.  The culprits of heat, humidity, high laps, bad toe, perhaps bad food, rank high on the list but though they have been identified they are eluding capture any time soon.  “Who knows what it was.  It wasn’t anything bad. Because now I feel perfect.”

“I am glad to be here.   I need to be here.  If you are sick you are sick.  There is nothing wrong with being sick.  It is a part of life.  We all have problems sometimes.  So I take it a little bit easy today.  Problems, are they really problems. They are just ways to go forward.  This is the right place to be.”

Complete Asprihanal interview


“If I can do another 60 miles today I can get to the half way point, and today is the half way day.”  Dhrabhasana, like many runners, first thing in the morning, checks out the running totals on a sheet placed every morning at his table.  In a few laps he will reach 1500 miles which is a wonderful round number, but the one he will need by midnight tonight is 1550.

His running has been superb as has been his attitude.  He says, “I have been on target so far.  I am feeling pretty good today.  We have had 3 extremely hot days and yesterday I was just completely wiped out from it all.  so I had to walk the last 20, 25 laps.”  He ended the day completing 60 miles.

He says that when people try and follow the race from afar all they really see is a number.  “But there is  a vast difference in how you get those numbers.  One day it might read 60 miles and it was an absolute breeze.  It felt effortless.  And the next day it will read 60 miles again and it was the greatest struggle of the race.  The result will always look the same.”

He says that for him yesterday, day 25, was the hardest day of his race so far.  He believes that the toughness of yesterday was primarily based on the severe conditions he had to endure the previous 2 days.  Temperatures blasted the course anywhere from 38C to 42C.  He says, “those are just numbers, but it just felt hot,” and he laughs.

“Today it looks and smells like rain.”  In the morning the conditions are as thick as butter and the sky is a heavy leaden gray.  Despite this the rain does not make even a hint of an appearance at all.  Luckily perhaps, the overcast skies relieves the runners from even greater temperatures, though there is no cure for the over bearing humidity.  He describes it as, “it is very moist, damp and thick.”

He realizes at this half way point that, “I just have to remain extremely consistent, and keep hitting the same kind of mileage without pushing myself too far beyond my capacity.  I have to be very aware of how my body is feeling, and how I am feeling.”

“It is very easy to say, go and do 60 miles a day.  But it is a completely different reality when you are amongst it and doing it, and doing it day after day, back to back.  So it is an extremely delicate balance, of how you are feeling at all times.  If you are feeling something coming up then you have to back off.  You have to play a subtle balance with how you feel.”

We talk about the 2 runners who were unable to run yesterday, “It makes you respect the race a whole lot more.  Yesterday I literally felt as though I was on screen saver mode.  There were very few chemical processes going on.  I felt like my eyes were barely open.  The only thought I had was to get to the next corner.  There was no other thought.  There was very little life energy going on.  I knew that I had just to keep moving.  Go forward don’t stop.  When you are in that kind of state it is very easy to forget about eating and drinking, and looking after all the bare necessities.  Fortunately I have Nandana, who is the food Guru in my world” (his wife.)

What propels him on, despite all the outer difficulties, is he says, “There is a real inner determination, and on the strength of my prayer and meditation life.  I feel that I have been equipped with the necessary tools to use in a time like this.  And when I am completely shattered, there is very little thought processes.  Little golden wisdom nuggets of Sri Chinmoy pop up…… ‘Go forward’.  ‘Stop I must not stop, keep moving’.”


Complete Dharbhasana interview

Sincerity is the heart’s

most sacred song.

Poem of the day by Sri Chinmoy

About a week ago Karnayati was sad that she was going back to Ottawa and that she would not be able to continue to help out at the race.  She told Vajra that and he said, “That’s okay.  When are you coming back again.  This thought cheered her up almost as much as being able to be here at 6am and count laps.

“I am really happy I came back. Because last year I was only here for the first week.  There is a progression in every sense.  In the inner sense and the outer sense.  This heat is unbelievable.  The humidity is over the top.  But what you see and feel is the increasing peace, harmony, oneness, love, that spreads around from the runners to the helpers. to the track, and it just gets increasingly lovely.  I am glad I came back and I still would like and come for the whole thing next year.”

Karnayati interview



Enthusiasm Awakeners

Song composed by Sri Chinmoy

Performed by Enthusiasm Awakeners

Enthusiasm Awakeners



“I am grateful to my Beloved Supreme, for out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity to love Him more than I love myself.

I am grateful to my Beloved Supreme, for out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity to feel His Need more than my own need.

I am grateful to my Beloved Supreme, for out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity not to drag Him into my desire-world, but to implore His Presence in my aspiration-world, and also to offer Him my earth-bound will and desire-life, and soulfully declare, “Let Thy Will be done.”

I shall be extremely grateful to my Beloved Supreme the day He makes me a chosen instrument of His.

I shall be extremely, extremely grateful to my Beloved Supreme the day I can feel that my soul-bird lives only for Him inside my body-cage here on earth and there in Heaven.I shall be extremely, extremely and extremely grateful to my Beloved Supreme the day I can declare to the world within and to the world without that I am what He has and I have what He is.”

Excerpt from Everest Aspiration Part 1 by Sri Chinmoy



3 Comments to “I Need To Be Here”

  1. Bigalita says:

    You “impossibility-challenging”runners are absolutely amazing and sooooo inspiring. To see your smiling faces here on this website, despite the extreme heat and humidity – and to feel your peace and gratitude for being chosen to run for our Guru, I think it makes us all – all of us couch potatoes – realize that by the infinite Grace of the Supreme everything is possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing us all what Self-transcendence and unconditional surrender to God’s Will really means and that it is truly possible. You are running for all of us, not just disciples, but for all of humanity – to challenge and transcend the body’s lethargy, unwillingness and ignorance.
    Sending you fresh ocean breezes from the vast Pacific Ocean at my doorstep here in Los Angeles and my heart’s gratitude for your dynamic cheerfulness and inspiration.
    Gratitude, Gratitude and Gratitude
    Bigalita
    Bigalita

  2. nirmala says:

    The outer running is a burning desire to achieve everything that we see here on earth. The inner running is a climbing aspiration to receive from Above a vast compassion-sky and to give from below a tiny gratitude-flame.

    The outer running is an extraordinary success on the mountain-summit. The inner running is an exemplary progress along Eternity’s sunlit Road. Success is the ready and immediate acceptance of the challenges from difficulties untold. Progress is the soulful and grateful acceptance of the blessingful joy from prosperities unfathomed.

    Excerpt from The Outer Running And The Inner Running by Sri Chinmoy

    Try to Value Everything: Wow to get the diagnose not to have enough gratitude, no other doctor would point to this, very rare indeed, even it is only a tiny gratitude-flame we can offer.
    From 16. July 2009 Try to Value Everything

  3. nirmala says:

    My mind wants
    God’s Power-Tower.

    My heart needs
    God’s Peace-sea.

    SriChinmoy

    July 16th 2006

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