July 21: What Concerns Me

“I am taking it as an expression of the Supreme’s concern and love.”  For the better part of the past 7 days Yuri has forced himself to slow down, to drink more often, and take more breaks.  To behave in short, in a manner that he has never before had to do in any previous event.  But then he has never run the 3100 mile race before or experienced all the steamy torture and torment of a New York summer either. That he is not in any way resentful or disappointed in this extraordinary situation is a mark of the true courage and strength that he has within him.

His outer strength he impressively demonstrated for 4 straight weeks.  Making daily mileage totals for a first timer that were not just good but excellent.  But when the 5th week arrived it literally changed the map for everyone here, and for 49 year old Yuri Trostenyuk from Vinnitsa Ukraine he has had to make adjustments in his life here like he has never had done before.

yuri-wide

All the runners have struggled over the past week here.  It has been 7 extremely challenging days in which the unbearable weather has apparently tried to dismantle and shatter the hopes of all the runners.  The power of nature is a force to be reckoned with particularly when it decides to unleash its might against the puny plans and wishes of mankind.

For Yuri at least he can be satisfied that he has banked a lot of miles before his troubles started.  He has now in front of himself just a little less than 1000 miles more to go, and 17 days in which to do it.  Normally a very doable thing.  It is almost just a simple mathematical equation that is easily solvable, that is if his body heals and he can average 58 miles in the time remaining.

yuri

When asked if he is concerned about what lies ahead, “I am not concerned about difficulties.  What I want to do is make the Supreme happy in his own way.”…………….”But I would really like to finish the distance this time.”

WHAT CONCERNS ME

Failure does not concern me.
What concerns me is God-satisfaction
In God’s own Way
In my aspiration-life.

Sri Chinmoy, Transcendence-Perfection, Agni Press, 1975

Photo By Bhashwar

Photo By Bhashwar

Today the weather is a marked departure from the previous days.  Not so hot and not so humid and even a little cloud cover

pre-camp2

Clipboards ready for the counters when they come

pre-clipboard

Teekshanam will help me with Yuri’s translation this morning.

pre-yuri

Yuri then readies himself for another long day.

pre-yuri2

Start

start

The sky is all marbled brilliance

sky

Jowan is here early to take pictures

jowan

There is always lots to see when you look closely

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Yuri tells me that every morning, “I feel very well.  But later in the day in the afternoon my well being degrades a little bit and my pulse speeds up.  This is because of the high heat and temperatures.”

yuri2

“The last few days if they have not been difficult then they have been challenging from a physical point of view.”

I have seen him talking with both Vasu and Sarvagata.  “They have been telling me that pleasing the Supreme is the first thing, all the rest is secondary.”

“I continue to try and remain inside my spiritual heart.”

Yuri3

He says he is receiving lots of encouragement from his friends back home.  “They are supporting me very strongly.  This race is akin to an acid test not just for the individual but also for the entire humanity.”

“One of the inner experiences that I had was that I had to open a door to enter them.  But now these experiences are just outside and they are surrounding me.  It is like not have an intermediary.  You are already part of the inner world.  You are one and the same.  It is very valuable for me and also very new for me.”

yuri-and-teeshanam

I ask him if he feels that he is somehow now living in a dreamworld.  “It is almost a breathtaking experience.”

As for his friends back home, “there is not a single moment, there is not a single second that he regrets being here.  It is the highest experience that I have had in my life, and that is why I am here.   I am very very very happy person.”

yuri2000

Yuri

Atmavir holds a 21 mile lead over Ashprihanal

wide-atmavir

He ran 100 laps on his birthday yesterday

atmavir2

A little after noon Ashprihanal does a lap with Sahishnu,  He did a little better yesterday with 84 laps.

ashprihanal-and-sahishnu

Hope never dies here

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Ananad-Lahari also did 84 laps.  ananda-lahari2

Beauty comes and goes

flower

Baladev did 86 laps

baladev

Feet continue

feet

Sopan did much better yesterday.

camp

He did 94 laps.

sopan2

The hard and the soft side by side.

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The girls for just a moment converge together and then quickly slip apart.

girls

Surasa moves almost like a precise clock.

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Another 111 laps

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Nidhruvi and Silvy.

nidhruvi-and-silvy

And just to let her sister know, she did receive her emails……And yes she ran 112 laps yesterday.

nidhruvi3

There is a lot of other sports going on today.  Always Sunday basketball and also a handball tournament on the corner.

pranjal-handball

Pranjal who did 107 laps yesterday probably didn’t notice much.

pranjal

Vasu pays little attention either

vasu-handball

He had a good day of 112 laps.

vasu4

Just about noon

wide-camp

Sarvagata is now just 8 miles behind Vasu

wide-sarvagata

He ran more laps than anyone yesterday 112.

sarvagata

Time and distance passing by.

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In the corner of the field something is going on.  Corrina and Kevin who are doing a special project on the race check it out.

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It is Ashrita practicing on the worlds largest pogo stick

ashrita

“Corrina, my research partner and I are trying to explain how this race happens.  What compels them to do it what keeps them motivated.  How does the community come together to support it.  It is a fantastic and mysterious kind of thing.   It is so powerful.”

corrina-and-kevin

“Our method in academic terms is ethnography.  But you can’t just parachute in and understand it.  We are trying to be very reflective and understand how we position ourselves.  One of the things I think is really important is not just sit on the sidelines literally but to try and do something.  Try and emulate it.”

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Kevin has made a rather brave decision to run all day himself.  He started at 6 with all the others but thought it would be more respectful of the runners to run in the opposite direction of them.  His goal is to complete a 96 laps before the end of the day.  A number which symbolically works out to be 52 miles.  2 marathons and also the number of days the runners have in total to complete the race.

“We are here to learn and research and ultimately write and explain what happens here.  We are not here to interrupt.”  He made a point prior to running to ask the runners if his presence would create a problem.  “Everyone is very very flexible, but I don’t want to influence anything.  I know even if I do one full day it is still not going to capture the whole race.  But at least I can have a small glimpse.”

kevin copy

He tells me that Corrina and have talked a lot about how the project over the past 35 days.  He says that they are not trying to analyze everything just yet or simply connect the dots.  They instead want to remain in the moment.

“We have been really surprised.  We are kind of surprised at the drama that we see.  Every day people are going through things.  Like Yuri having this traumatic medical situation.”  He mentions a number of other things but adds, “but at the same time it is very calm.  There is a calm that sets over here every day.  You come and very little has changed.”

kevin

“You see a continuity but at the same time all these mini dramas happening all the time.  One of the things that has really surprised us is how deeply personal we have experienced this race.  I think it is impossible to come to this race and talk with people and not feel some deep energy.  I think about it all the time.”

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He discusses all the things as a grad student he and Corrina have to face and feels that besides creating a great research paper that they both will get something personal out of it as well.  “I want to bring back a little bit of this spirit and bring it back into my own life.  That is not a very scientific thing to say.  It is transcending the boundaries of the research.  It is also what I am feeling personally as a subjective being.”

kevin7

“We get back to Manhattan which is far more hectic and we still feel this immense calm.  That no one else seems to have on the streets.  It really effects the Kevin and not just the researcher.”

kevin

Prayer of the day

prayer

Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati2

 

parvati

If you do not have concern
     For God the man,
How can you have concern
     For man the God?

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 40, Agni Press, 2004

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3 Comments to “July 21: What Concerns Me”

  1. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal

  2. Vandya says:

    This blog is my daily spiritual IV. It brings me so much inspiration and joy, and at the same time makes me very grateful and proud to be part of this incredible family. Thank you Utpal! Thank you everyone!

  3. Kuladhara says:

    A like this one a lot. Thanks!

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