June 26: My Choice

How often is it that we feel that we have so many countless possible choices popping up all around us and then we fail to select any one of them and thus are unable to begin anything new in our lives.  The decision of any of the 12 runners to come or not to come here has to be categorized as one of the most fundamental and difficult ones that any person might have to decide in their lives.  Not coming means a summer safely removed from intense  physical suffering but also one in which true inner satisfaction and self fulfillment  is almost entirely eliminated as well.

Time and again when asked, each and every runner here usually feels that eventually there was no conceivable other option than to come here and run.  Almost as though the decision had already been made long ago.  Coming ultimately from a place deep within in which the mind is deaf to, but the heart has an intimate connection with and hears, and then tries to respond and act upon each and every soulful request.

When we allow ourselves to be caught up and enmeshed in all the world’s usual whims and wants than by default we scarcely have any real choices either.  Mainly it becomes only which temptation to give into.  To succumb to this fate  though is an almost virtual commitment to ignorance and allowing ourselves to be imprisoned by our own foolish desires.

It may not seem easy to move from darkness into light and yet if we believe and accept the simple truth that it is from light that we have come into existence.  Than it is into light that we must once again return and become one with our source.  It is only then that our journey’s victory may eternally and triumphantly be declared.


My success-choice
Has made my life

My progress-choice
Will make my heart
Always laudable.

Sri Chinmoy, My Bondage-Life Is My Self-Invention, Agni Press, 1993.

This morning an election is taking place at the high school down the street.

Local folks are going to make some decisions about whom they want to run for Congress this November.

Pradeep has kept his mileage steady for the past 2 days.  His friends back in Den Haag are probably breathing a little easier at his health food store.

Stutisheel after 9 days has completed 550 miles and has not lost his love for the Self Transcendence race in this his 9th year

Start Day 10

The Runner in first place is almost shockingly strong and seems to be in almost complete in tune with his running.

“It wasn’t so bad because it didn’t rain all day.”  Ananda Lahari.  My own recollection of the intensity of yesterdays  weather is somewhat out of sync with his always  buoyant optimism.  “During the rain I don’t get wet because I have a rain coat and I change my shoes.”  At this moment he is running with Baladev and I ask them both how many pairs they have.  Ananda Lahari has 7 pairs and Baladev has 10 or 11.

As we run we pass the Enthusiasm Awakeners girls group singing. “They are an inspiration.  I like listening to Sri Chinmoy’s songs and their determination and dedication that they are coming every morning is also very inspiring.  I am doing pretty good so far.”  (laughter) He does not mention that yesterday he had one of his best mileage days so far in the race.

He had been in New York earlier in the spring running the 10 day race and at the time it seemed almost certain that he was not going to come back for the 3100 but he says, “it changed.  It just came the feeling that I should come.”

He points out one of his favorite spots on the course which he calls the meadow.

Of the race in Flushing Meadow he says he loves it but is not a big fan of the often chilly wet weather at that time of year.  He adds, “your clothes get wet and you are sleeping only in a tent.”

Describing what the difference is between the two, he says, “the length.  It is like comparing a 10 day race and a marathon.” He mentions as well that the course and conditions here are a world of difference from Flushing Meadow in the Spring.

Of the hot weather, “you just have to learn how to deal with it.”  When it first happened here a few days ago, “I didn’t handle it very well.  I didn’t have a good sun block and the sun was burning me like anything.  Also maybe I wasn’t taking enough minerals.  I was just knocked down by the sun.”

With other runners the topic of being in a bad mood is something they are aware of and can discuss.  For Ananda Lahari this is an experience he seems refreshingly able to avoid.  He says, “I am not able to judge it.  I find that I am kind of like a red neck.  I can try and be philosophical but actually I don’t know how it is. But there are hard days.”

I mention that Pranjal yesterday had said that he didn’t think about thinking.  Ananda Lahari laughs at that and says, “he is the best.”

We are moving nicely around the course and he describes how for him the place is filled with his memories of Sri Chinmoy.  How he met and was offered prasad here and there many times at different places around the course.  At one place he says Sri Chinmoy once told him, “I am proud of you.”

Click to play interview

ananda lahari

Pushkar is running well.  Quite possibly he could pass Vasu and move into 3rd tomorrow

For last year’s race champion one cannot help but get the impression that his race is still building and that he grows stronger each day.

“I actually love it.”  Snigdha is someone who is able to put on many hats and has many different ways of connecting with the race here.  Unfortunately for the past few days she was sick and unable to come.  Her voice this morning hints more than a little about what she has recently had to deal with.  “It is amazing when you come back, in 5 days how much you miss.  You look at the runners they have all lost 5 pounds.  They have all been out here running while you have been in bed.  Having the race go by is really a magical experience participating in this race.  I encourage anyone to come even if it is for one day.  Just to see what is going on. ”

Snigdha seems to be involved with the race in a major way, and not just with time and effort but as well on every possible way.  “It is really really a wonderful what happened to me.  A few years ago when I retired I didn’t know what I was going to do with my day.”  Her husband Sandhani who is one of the race directors mentioned to her that Rupantar was doing many many jobs.  “We know how hard he works.”

She then got inspired to volunteer as a shopper for the race.  His immediate reply was, “that would be absolutely great.  It is just such a wonderful team that I am working with.”  She mentions all the girls on the cooking crew and compliments them all on how hard they work to cater to each and every runner and how tireless they are in their selfless service.  “They go out of their way to do everything for them, and it is absolutely amazing.”

I am curious how it is possible to keep up with it all because she does sing here everyday as well early in the morning.  “Sometimes you get tired, and sometimes you are not in the mood to run out to Costco (shopping), or do your daily routine.  But that is normal.”

“Once the race starts you are swept away by the magic.  And as much as the runners get out of it the helpers get something that is very very solid. ”

Click to play interview


Snigdha recites the poem of the day:Click to playpoem
Enthusiasm Awakeners:Click to playparvati 


Life is a constant tug-of-war. One side is the side of darkness; the other side is the side of light. In this tug-of-war, you will be surprised to see how many times you have been on the side of light, pulling your ignorance towards its transformation.

You may feel that at times you took the side of darkness. No, always think of how many good things you have done and how many good things you plan to do. Those good things are like the ocean, and the bad things are like a few drops.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 30, Agni Press, 2001.

2 Comments to “June 26: My Choice”

  1. nirmala says:

    …accept the simple truth that it is from light that we have come into existence…
    yes the mind is not ignorance, but inside the mind ignorance lives, the heart is not light, but inside the heart the light lives, the mind identifies itself with ignorance and becomes ignorance-sea, the heart identifies itself with light and becomes the light-sky. We have so many divine soldiers inside us to help us. Thank you for the mouse picture, in his uncertainty certainty is shown.

  2. nirmala says:

    oh sorry, I forgot to mention that this I typed into my typewriter like this on 13.1.80 and here one more: learn to love your disturbing and disturbed mind with your soul’s light and you will see your mind starts listening to your heart’s necessities.

    All my love to all


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