Most of us like to think of ourselves as being self sufficient. That no matter what the task in front of us might be, we will never feel any need to turn to others for support or help of any kind. It really depends of course upon, just how wide the independence streak is, painted up and down your backbone.
By hook or by crook we try somehow on our own, to find a way to get the job done. In the 3100 mile race the demands are just so great it is also nearly impossible to find someone who is willing and able to help for all the hours of running that exist over the course of a long hot summer. Add to that, finding both the elusive chemistry of compatibility, an ever attentive disposition, and more importantly a sense of selflessness that allows you to slip invisibly into the life and needs of the runner.
In a car race it is impossible for them to take place at all, no matter the distance without a pit crew. In the grand scheme of things of course the Self Transcendence race could not even begin to exist without a very large and enthusiastic umbrella group that helps the unique machinery of the race to seemingly revolve almost invisibly. On an inner level all who are here and taking part are acutely aware of the inner support and energy that wells up constantly from within. If you think you can do this one on your own you will most likely be unpleasantly surprised.
Both Stutisheel and Surasa have experienced support for much of the day. The little things that snatch steps and seconds away are eliminated when you never have to stray even for a moment from the course. Dimitry is a part time helper for first time runners Sarvagata and Igor. He had no experience at this and yet he arrives cheerfully and willingly every morning. Slips away for part of the day to take care of other chores, and then returns to look after these 2 magnificent rookies from the Ukraine until the very end of their day.
“He is the most amazing helper that I have ever seen. He is just the best. He gets up early in the morning with me. Comes here with me and then feeds me.” He stays for a couple of hours and then as soon as possible in the evening he returns. “He helps me until the end of the day and than he comes with me back home. Then he massages me and puts oil on my feet. Takes care of my laundry. He is like a mother.”
“He is from the Ukraine. He has 2 daughters and a wife, a beautiful family. They love each other very much and you can see he has a big heart. He is calm, he is patient. Whenever I scold or scream at him he is so patient. The next moment I apologize. We are working for one goal. This is so precious when your helper understands you, and puts all of himself into being part of the team. He is just an amazing guy.”
Click to Play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Dimitry.mp3|titles=Dimitry]
A great wave of heat and humidity has rolled up and over the safe comfortable shores of the 3100. The sweltering tide does not look as though it will recede until early next week. Everyone’s numbers suffered from a little to a lot.
Tomorrow Atmavir will be celebrating his birthday here just like he has for the past few years.
While I am there this morning Ananda Lahari passes the 2000 mile mark. Anyone who happens to be present at that moment gives a shout of glee, rings a bell, or simply applauds. For the sideline folks who just happen to be present at that particular moment, the big round numbers always seem to be significant. Often as not it is not really very important to the runner, though a little part of them may enjoy the momentary encouragement.
After this happens he tells me a story. “The first year I came here to run the race. I was just passing 2700 miles, and they are like clapping and cheering. Great Great. Suprabha was just passing by. After we got by the camp she said, O, congratulations.”
“You know, I can’t say that I feel better, or more happy. I actually felt tired, sleepy, and sore. My consciousness was like the concrete, grey and hard.”
“Suprabha completely changed the topic of the conversation. Isn’t it great that Sri Chinmoy is coming every day and playing instruments. Then she just continued on running, she was faster at that time. For me this was like a lesson for my whole life. There is always something that you can be grateful for. We don’t need to be stuck in our problems. Because if we do we will loose so much.”
“I was not even aware what was happening here. This was the lesson, be grateful for as many things as possible. Then life is much easier, and more colorful. You will get much more from life. We can spend our whole life being blocked by problems. We can miss the beauty of life that is around us and within us.”
When I ask him how he feels the rest of his day will shape up. “It seems like it is going to be a hard day. I started just walking, barely walking. First I was kind of like stiff, I mean inwardly. But it is getting better.”
Pradeep told him, “there is only one schedule here. Gratitude schedule. Ashprihanal liked it so much, also I like it. The main thing is to do my best, and to be happy and grateful.”
click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ananada-lahari.mp3|titles=ananada lahari]
“Today is visa versa. Today the first laps are kind of difficult. I am totally lost. I do not recognize any reasons why my body responds like that or like that. The only thing I can say is that it is out of my control. So when it wants to, my body can run. When it doesn’t it doesn’t.”
I mention that he now has less than a week to go. “It all depends on God’s grace. Hopefully, hopefully. From one side I am waiting for that. From the other side I have no idea.”
click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/sarvagata3.mp3|titles=sarvagata]
Recited by Aranyani[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/poem9.mp3|titles=poem]
Click to play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/parvati7.mp3|titles=parvati]
A life of hope is so precious—
And so constantly needed.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 50, Agni Press, 2009.