Many of Sri Chinmoy's students consider sporting activity or a fitness regime to be an indispensible part of their spiritual journey. Firstly, it increases the capacity of the body to aid the spiritual seeker in his search:
"If we are physically fit, then we will be more inspired to get up early in the morning to meditate. True, the inspiration to meditate comes from within, but if we are healthy, then it will be much easier for us to get up at five or six o'clock to pray and meditate. In this way the inner life is being helped by the outer life. Again, if we are inspired to get up early to meditate, then we will also be able to go out and run. Here we see that the outer life is being helped by the inner life...If someone does not get any exercise at all, then the physical will remain unlit, lethargic and a real hindrance to the aspirant."
But sporting activity is not merely a preparation for spiritual search. It provides an opportunity for self-transcendence, to overcome our limited perceptions of what we are capable of, and expand our horizons further and further. Many inspiring sportsmen frequently speak of reaching the end of their 'human' capacity and having to call on something higher and deeper within themselves in order to reach their goal. Running is a prime example, as described here by Sri Chinmoy:
In our running, every day we are aiming at a new goal....every day we are running towards a goal, but when we reach that goal, we want to go still farther. Either we want to improve our timing or increase our distance. There is no end. Running means continual transcendence, and that is also the message of our inner life"
Sri Chinmoy himself was a prolific long-distance runner, and the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team he founded continues to clock up inspiring feats in many disciplines - the team's members include:
- Suprabha Beckjord (USA), who has finish the 3100-mile Self-Transcendence race (the longest road race in the world) a total of 13 times
- 10-time Channel swimmer Karteek Clark (Scotland)
- Ashrita Furman who currently holds more Guinness World records than anyone else on the planet. Ashrita, who started breaking records in 1978, has broken 270 records at one stage or another and currently holds over 120.
However, the goal for all of us, elite or beginner, is progress rather than success - in performing any activity we try only to better our previous achievements, competing against ourselves rather than against others. People of all ages and capacities participate in races organised by the Sri Chinmoy Centre in the knowledge that everyone is only out to have fun and challenge themselves.
The Dublin Centre holds a 2-mile timed run on most Saturday mornings, and members of the public are most welcome to participate. Get in touch with us to participate...