Sri Chinmoy was an enthusiastic advocate of aligning a meditation practice with physical fitness, particularly with running. He constantly encouraged his students to strive beyond their present capacities, a pursuit he referred to as “self-transcendence.”
“Self-transcendence gives us joy in boundless measure. When we transcend ourselves, we do not compete with others. We do not compete with the rest of the world, but at every moment we compete with ourselves. We compete only with our previous achievements. And each time we surpass our previous achievements, we get joy.”
As the physical houses the soul, keeping the body fit through exercise complements the pursuit of inner peace. When conducted in the right frame of mind, sports infuse the individual with dynamism, enthusiasm and happiness, further enhancing the goals of meditation. Hence, an athletic practice is the perfect companion to each individual’s meditation practice, or in some instances, becomes the actual meditation itself.
Question: What is the relationship between meditation and sports?
Sri Chinmoy: In sports we need energy, strength and dynamism. When we meditate, we make our mind calm and quiet. If inside us there is peace, then we will derive tremendous strength from our inner life. That is to say, if I have a peaceful moment, even for one second, that peace will come to me as solid strength in my sports, whether I am running or jumping or throwing. That strength is almost indomitable strength, whereas if we are restless, we do not have strength like that.
Look at an elephant. An elephant has tremendous strength. It is not restless like a monkey, which is moving here and there. It is exactly the same for us. In our inner life if we have the strength of an elephant, then only in our outer life can we be peaceful. A lion is very peaceful. Then when something happens, he starts roaring. But its strength is the peace that it has. It has confidence. But a monkey and other animals that are very, very restless, what kind of strength do they have? Meditation gives us inner strength. Once we have inner strength, we are bound to be successful in our outer life.”
In light of Sri Chinmoy’s love of sports and his philosophy of self-transcendence, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team offers a variety of races in the New York area, open to all ages and fitness levels. Among these are an annual marathon in August, an annual aquathlon (swim/run biathlon) held every September, as well as annual 5 & 10K footraces.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team is happy to welcome new participants in our races, and thus encourage people to go beyond their present capacities in a friendly and supportive environment.
For more information about the international activities of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, please visit us.srichinmoyraces.org.