“The main quality I felt this morning was gratitude.” Just before dawn, and with just a few precious minutes to spare, Atmavir slipped alone into the quiet hallowed garden which is the Aspiration Ground. It is the local place close by that was once the main gathering place, in which the students of Sri Chinmoy used to meet on a regular basis with their late spiritual teacher. It is a sacred place still, in which his presence continues to be intimately felt and experienced by all those who continue to value his teachings.
For the past 5 summers Atmavir has offered up himself wholeheartedly to his personal battle ground, the 3100 mile race. Here conflict of all kinds takes place but which is mostly unobservable by those who watch from the side, for it takes place mostly in minds and in muscles.
From one vantage point, it is hard to imagine that there is stillness or silence or peace of any kind on the path they run on, which is so incredibly hard and as well now so hot. The churning parade of sliced open shoes never slows or stops. Both mentally and physically it can be metaphorically viewed as a tumultuous raging sea, in which your life boat is simply somehow trying to find passage to that safe and secure shore called the finish line.
Yet as well for the past 5 summers he has spent his birthday here. Today he turns 33. A secret ritual he has maintained as well each year on his soul’s day, is to come to the Aspiration Ground. To reconnect himself with both the drive and the vision that has compelled him to come back so many times and confront this unconscionable task. It is in those sweet brief moments of meditation, in a place sheltered by trees, where bird song fills the air sweetly scented by both flowers and of incense. It is here in this sheltered sanctuary, so uniquely separate from the turbulent world close by that he can easily remember why he continues to run here. To continually battle the foes within and also to simply offer it all up, in silence and with love.
He starts day 39 with 700 miles more to go. His least favorite friends will be constantly with him for the next few days, heat and humidity. He tells me how peaceful and beautiful it was for him when he was meditating. Does he find any charming qualities here at the race? “It is more inner beauty here.” Laughter
“It seems as though it is very hard race for everybody, not just for me. I got a very beautiful message a few days ago. It was from Pratishruti. The real ball master from Smolensk Russia. She was cheering me up. There was a very simple poem.”
Perfect happiness is
Sri Chinmoy, The God Of The Mind, Agni Press, 1989.
“Very simple but very powerful. I felt very happy. It is always like that. We always expect something.” He also received quite a few emails. One contained a quote from Sudhahota Carl Lewis. They asked him why he was always so successful. He said, at the beginning I was not. I failed many times. I lost in many races, and also at the same time won many races. But I always learned something, either winning or loosing. From other runners or from that experience. So it was a beautiful email.”
“This is just my soul’s day, if it is hot any way I will enjoy this day.”
click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/atmavir1.mp3|titles=atmavir]
He just managed to make 128 laps on a day sizzling with heat and humidity.
Ashprihanal received a shirt this morning from friends in Helsinki. Clearly he starts the day tired and knowing that his last few days of running may in fact be his hardest. Galya, a two time runner of the race has come to celebrate with Atmavir. Tomorrow is his birthday as well.
Just as they have done for 5 summers his fellow runners sing the birthday song for him. Together the family all slowly moves as one. No hurry and no rush. The road is long and hard for them all.
“The problem with Stutisheel is that he is getting older.” Really the last week has been a non stop barrage of difficulties for this icon of the race. He has seen a record setting pace snapped away from right in front of him.
He describes himself now as, “more wiser and more slower. Actually I don’t know. It is just that I am becoming slow. That’s it.”
“Definitely there was a crisis a few days ago. Outer and inner. Now, thanks to many good people I am back to my normal inner poise. So I feel happy. The body has its own schedule I think. It cannot do the miles that I want it to do.”
“Yesterday I received a letter from a friend in Kiev. He said he had a dream. In the dream I was very cheerful, very happy. I said to him that I fully realize what my mission is in this lifetime. And the 3100 mile project is just a little part of it. Which I completed successfully. Can you imagine?”
Click to play interview[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/stutisheel2.mp3|titles=stutisheel]
With just a little prompting from Andy Cable I was reminded that Pete Stringer also has a birthday today. He is a long time friend of the Sri Chinmoy marathon team and still a great runner. Happy 70th from all of us.
Poem of the Day
Recited by Kakali[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/poem-kakali.mp3|titles=poem kakali]
Click to play[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/parvati8.mp3|titles=parvati]
When we learn something,
We are not inferior,
For we have the wisdom to learn.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 44, Agni Press, 2005.