There are for me many times when I wonder what it would be like to actually do the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race myself. It is an absurd if not even crazy question but still it is one that forces me to examine more seriously just what I am doing with my own life.
Part of this question, in fact 99% of it, is based on whether or not I even have the physical capacity to do it. The answer is an unequivocal no. To even cover 60 miles in one day might likely send me to a hospital. Just the same I run quite a few laps here every morning and every one is a joy and a celebration.
The real question, raised by wondering about participating in the race myself, is for me a real curiosity about whether or not I had the capacity to stay as happy and as positive as these runners. Because as far as I can see, being able to maintain this kind of joy is perhaps even more important than piling up the necessary miles. There really can’t be anything in life more stressful and difficult than running 3100 miles. Yet again and again I see faces filled with spontaneous joy and light.
Everyone here has been running now for almost 2 weeks. Just about everyone has completed 700 miles or more. It just has to be tough, it has to be really hurting, and everyone must be really tired. The scary truth is they have only literally just begun.
We all in our own way try to do the right thing in our life in the right way. Even if we do the correct thing with reluctance at least it is better than not doing it at all.
To do something like the 3100 than, with all your body, heart, and soul, has to be an accomplishment of unprecedented potential. To be able to surrender yourself in your entirety, without any pangs of attachment, whispers of desire, or shimmering visions of glory. To toe the starting line with all the baggage of what your mind demands of you and gradually simply cast it all away until it is just your spirit unburdened, journeying towards its transcendence goal.
The flu bug has enacted its mischief yesterday. Ashprihanal was knocked out of the days top mileage spot by Igor and Sarvagata. They both ran 68 miles yesterday and still managed to go home by 10:30 last night.
“I am fully enjoying the race.” Stutisheel is as experienced as it is really possible to be, when it comes to taking part in the Self Transcendence race. In this his 8th summer here you might like to think that he couldn’t possible learn or accomplish anything that he has not achieved before but that would be just plain wrong. He has an unswerving dedication to this race and obviously many things in his life are being touched and transformed by being here.
He confesses, “a good thing about this race is that you don’t remember the worst parts. In the beginning for me was terrible. The first couple of days now. But now they are gone and from day 6 I have had a pretty good flow of energy, and just enjoying it.”
He describes the beginning of the race as a transition period for him. “I cannot run as fast as I would like and as much as I would like.” Also during this period he experiences such pain in his legs in the evenings that he can barely even feel them. “Because it is all one pain.”
Ultimately, “I know that I should go through it and that is it. Just to be patient.”
His time away from the race is all so fleeting. It is while resting that pain can be its most mischievous and relentless. One thing he has done since 2004 is to put cabbage leaves on his knees every night. He also applies different oils and creams to both his legs and feet. “I become quite oily during the night.”
For the last 2 years he has had a fellow Ukrainian running with him in Galya. This year he has 2 new ones. I ask how this affects his own race here. “From the very beginning I felt that there were many more capable runners from my country and Oneness Dream Boat Shore in general. That could do this race. When the time is right they will appear.”
When he describes Galya, “my personal record was blown away. But I was so happy because he set a new standard. And these guys, Igor and Sarvagata, they are now running very good. I am very happy that they push the Ukrainian record even higher. So for me it is not a matter of competition. It is about being here with nice people and do the maximum of what I am supposed to do. And that is it.”
I then ask what he hopes others might learn from his experience here, and from his books and lectures. “A very precious thing is inspiration. Inspiration that you can go beyond everything. Beyond what is commonly though about. Beyond your own conceptions. It is such a blissful feeling.”
“Of course the key thing is self transcendence. But on a deeper level or more intimate level, it is all about pleasing your inner pilot. When you have impulses from within to do more. To do even one more lap, two more laps, of course it is not easy. Because every time you are widening your limitations, it is absolutely not easy. But afterwards when you have done it you are just in bliss. So I am very happy to share this bliss with others.”
click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/stutisheel2.mp3|titles=stutisheel]
“This is absolutely my favorite race. I think because it is the opposite of sprinting.” Karabi has come to count quite a few times in the past few weeks. For me it is strangely ironic to see her sitting here surrounded by piles of clipboards when in my minds eye I see her as a top notch sprinter who competed in all the groups sports days.
“It takes so much more of everything, to complete this race. Sprinting you have to have everything but for a short period of time. You have to put everything into it. But this you have to have everything but for a long period of time.”(laughter)
“I come here 5 days a week. I can never fathom how they can come out here every day. I think about what they have to do each day and I just can’t imagine.” Her thoughts throughout the rest of the day often turns to the runners here. “It is something you think about all the time. As long as they are out here. It doesn’t matter if you are not here physically.”
“I think for Sri Chinmoy he saw it as something that could inspire not only the runners, but also everyone, for the rest of their lives. It is like an eternal journey, that the runners take us with as well. If you identify with it. Because if you identify with the runners than they are taking you on a journey. I think Sri Chinmoy thought it was an eternal journey for the runners and an eternal journey for us as well, and anyone who wants to identify with the runners, and be part of this.”
click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/karibe1.mp3|titles=karibi]
Click to play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/poem2.mp3|titles=poem]
Click to play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/parvati10.mp3|titles=parvati]
When I go beyond myself
I see everything in God,
Everything for God
Everything as God.
Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 12, Agni Press, 1981.