July 21: Conscious, Constant, Unending Patience

It is just a few minutes past 6 o’clock in the morning and Grahak, with his hands resting on his hips is walking up the ‘hill’ for the first time today. Until just a few minutes earlier he had been running smoothly and then, about 5o meters earlier, he simply down shifted his body into its lowest gears and slowed noticeably.

Practically nobody else in the city would dare classify this slight incline on this Queens sidewalk as a hill.  The change in elevation is barely detectable and yet when you bring your eyes down closer to the surface of the sidewalk, the change is noticeable, not dramatic, not Himalayan, but only really obvious from that vantage point.

Yesterday Grahak climbed this hill, going in the other direction 119 times.  In most other places climbing a hill usually means you can take advantage of the gained altitude and use it when you are then able to coast down the other side.  The strange thing about this hill next to the Grand Central is that there does not appear to be another side that ever leads downward to compensate for the effort of going up.

Surveyors could explain this better, gps devices could analyze the calculable  differences between distinct parts of the course yet ultimately if you are one of the 11 runners here this spot is indeed the hill.  No matter how fast you have been running prior to reaching the hill the moment you arrive there you stop and then start walking.

New runners usually adapt to this strategy immediately on their very first day.  Either they simply follow the example of the veterans or some part of their beings recognizes that is a really good idea to slow down right here.  It is a tactic that has been in practice for 16 years.

Out of curiosity I took out a calculator just to add up all the laps that the runners have completed here so far this summer.  As of this morning the total is just over 43,000 laps, and counting of course.  Grahak has the biggest chunk of that since he leads the field with 4,424. (5649 is the goal)

Practically every aspect of the race offers an important message and significant lesson to anyone trying to reach a new goal for themselves or change or transform some aspect of their lives.  When we loose hope and give up on anything difficult then we become our own worst enemy.

Yet not even trying at all means the ultimate victory of our own ignorance.  What these runners prove and demonstrate is the irrefutable importance of simply always going forward.  Slow down if necessary, speed up when you can, for the goal  always grows closer each day, when at least you try.

There is not a single human being on earth who does not need patience. And we who are seekers of infinite Light and Truth need patience more than others, for we are consciously, soulfully and devotedly aiming at the highest Goal. We want to climb up Mount Everest in the spiritual life. So naturally we need conscious, constant and unending patience. It is not like climbing up an ant-hill or even an ordinary hill; it cannot be done in the twinkling of an eye. The higher the goal, the more patience we need.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Speaks, Part 1, Agni Press, 1976.

Sri Chinmoy Running Up 150 st.
Photo by Shradha

It is a quiet Saturday morning and the mood will change a lot from the previous busy work week that churns and grinds for 5 days every week. The weather today will also be ideal.

Start Day 35

Stutisheel at Dawn

Any day you come to the race there are 2 extremes that are always very obvious to even the least knowledgeable observer.  One is when a runner is having a great day and the other when just the opposite is happening.  Everything in between the two can be uncertain or even fluctuate and have both ups and downs as the day progresses.

Yesterday Stutisheel apparently took one of those roller coaster rides in which everything started well and then just seemed to crash and plummet with the coaster tracks continuously spiraling downwards. It is also not to say that he appears bitter or saddened by yesterdays turn of events but nonetheless records may eventually show that he completed the least number of laps in a single day than he has ever done in the past 9 years.

This morning he appears cheerful and is walking briskly.  On any other day with the conditions as cool and fresh as they are today he would be flying.  I ask him what kind of experience he is having. “Self Transcendence. ……….Probably a good kind.”

“For the first time in my running career I got shin splints.   It is unique.”  (laughs) “It is unique in a way that I got it after 8 years of  running at the 3100.”  He is also surprised that it should happen so late in race.  “After 2000 miles very rare.  Usually after 30 days there are no major injuries.”

Right now over the past few days a few Doctors have been attending to the runners.  Kausal is here now visiting from Italy.  He has helped Stutisheel numerous times over the years. “I was amazed and astonished that he had no experience in treating shinsplints.  He had never seen that injury in past races. ”

“He is helping of course, and I don’t know but just maybe time is needed.  When it is dealing with inflammation, it is not like the twinkling of an eye.  It is not going away.  It is in process it is in progress.  It is okay, it is normal.”

“I like the best experiences, (laughs)……..therefore I am walking.”

“I went about 34 miles yesterday.  Probably it is my record.  I don’t know, but probably over the years.”

“For me it is also a new experience.  It is really hard to run and even harder to walk.  But it is not the worst case.  It is just some average.  So today I may be walking, maybe tomorrow I start running.  So it is okay.  It is normal.”

Click to play Interview

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Atmavir who had his birthday yesterday shows a poem.  He had a great day yesterday and ran 63 miles.

Arpan just 2 days from his birthday ran 52 miles yesterday

The 2 mile race will happen just across the street later this morning.

Singers also clap hands to the music

Databir and Abakash are also walking around the 3100 mile loop this morning and I ask them to recite the day’s prayer.

Abakash: “We want to turn our nothingness into fulness.”

Databir: “And ultimately our fulness into nothingness.”

Abakash: “We are just in awe.  Absolute awe of what these courageous seekers are doing.  They are inspiring humanity.  They are creating something that is beyond our imagination, and they are fulfilling Sri Chinmoy’s dream, so I am in awe.  I come out here and I do 2 or 3 miles once a week and they do 60 or 70 miles a day, for 6 or 7 weeks.  It is unbelievable.”

At this moment Arpan catches up with us.

Databir: “I just want to thank Arpan and all the runners, who are not only courageous enough to start it.  This incredible unfathomably long race.  By grace, and by their determination and sincerity they will do the race.  It is an incredible achievement for humanity.”

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Vasu ran 59 miles yesterday.

Pradeep also ran 59 miles yesterday his best in 2 weeks.

Runners come and go but the gratitude remains.

Visitors come most often with smiles

Sometimes the visitors have tails.

Abakash and Databir recite the Poem of the Day

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 Enthusiasm Awakeners…..Click to Play…..

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Hill-climbing aspiration
Is always necessary
For the fastest progress
In life.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 29, Agni Press, 1984.

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