A Moment’s Peace at the Olympics

At the 2012 London Olympics, I participated in an event “A Moment’s Peace” – it was an event run to celebrate the true Olympic spirit – promoting the ideal of peace, unity in diversity and the hope for creating a better world.

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The London 2012 Olympics was a special time. There was so much good energy and positive feeling across the country. I attended the mens Olympic road race and felt a unique atmosphere amongst the crowds watching by the side of the road. After watching the road race, I went to this ceremony at University College London. The ceremony involved unveiling a bronze sculpture of Sri Chinmoy holding an Olympic style peace torch. Tegla Laroupe said:

“This statue embodies the same spirit of oneness, brotherhood and friendship which has infused the origins and traditions of the Olympics, both ancient and modern, and which to this day gives the Games their unique appeal,”

I have written an article on the inner significance of the Olympics at Sri Chinmoy Races.

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One night in 2012 – Remembering the London Olympics

One night in 2012 is a documentary about the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. It is available on iPlayer for a short time.

The London Olympics of 2012 seems a long time ago now. But, I do remember the wave of optimism and positivity which swept across the nation for those balmy three weeks. The nation caught the Olympic spirit, and it was a wonderful occasion.

Part of the success of the London Olympics was putting ordinary people at the heart of the movement and organisation. It wasn’t committees or powerful people, but volunteers freely giving their time which made the event  special.

The Olympics is also a wonderful opportunity for the world’s nations to come together and – through sport – remember we have much more in common than that which divides. Continue Reading →

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Wildflowers by the roadside

I am continuing with my cycle training this month, but am paying as much interest to the wildflowers by the side of the road.

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A field of wildflowers near Charlbury.

I caught a glimpse of this field through a gap in the hedge. Continue Reading →

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Wildflowers at Aston Rowant

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Wildflowers at Aston Rowant nature reserve

I often do hill climb intervals up the Chiltern ridge. There are numerous different climbs, which make a varied and testing training route. Today I tried a quiet road, which I had not been on before. After 500m, the road petered out and became a farm track, so I stopped the hill climb interval mid-flow. I was going to do a u-turn and search out the next hill, but felt inspired to take a rest and went into a nearby field. The field happened to be a nature reserve with a profusion of wildflowers; I have rarely seen such a rich diversity and carpet of wildflowers in Britain.

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The site is just next to the M40 motorway. I have been on the motorway hundreds of times, but you never get to see any wildflowers, just some green fields from a distance. Continue Reading →

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Loch Lomond meditation

Around the turn of the century, the great yogi Swami Vivekananda visited Britain. He gave lectures and taught the basics of yoga and meditation to British seekers – Vivekananda was one of the first to bring the great spiritual traditions of India to the West. He stayed several months and it included a trip to Loch Lomond, where he chose a spot on the lake to meditate.

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Loch Lomond, with the sun temporarily disappearing behind a block of mist and cloud.

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Constable’s Hay Wain in Flatford via Todmorden

Last week I was in Yorkshire. When in Yorkshire, I often like to cycle into the picturesque Yorkshire Dales – picture postcard villages, limestone crops and sweeping meadows.

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Littondale, Yorkshire Dales.

But this time I was drawn to the rugged industrial towns and moors of Calderdale – the windswept moors above Haworth and the old industrial towns of Todmorden and Burnley.

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Just out of living memory, this part of the world was at the heart of the industrial revolution – with cotton and steam transforming the world. Yet, this once brave new world now stands forlorn as industrial history; derelict buildings stuck in the wrong age; the odd chimney retained as a tentative tourist attraction for towns struggling to cope with relentless economic change. Continue Reading →

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Indian stories by Sri Chinmoy

stories-1-coverThe Works of Sri Chinmoy: Stories, vol. I

‘Stories Volume I’ is a collection of Indian based stories written by Sri Chinmoy.

In many cases, they are based on traditional Indian stories from the age of the Mahabharata and Puranas. It also includes stories about the Moghul Emperors, and great Indian spiritual Masters of the recent past, such as Lahiri Mahasaya and Troilanga Swami.

The stories are told with great simplicity and directness, but at the same time contain profound spiritual lessons.

In recent years, I have tried to get into the Mahabharata, but have often found it difficult due to the sheer volume and complexity of the stories (plus a never ending list of characters with difficult names!). This collection of short stories is a very good way to gain an insight into some of the main characters, such as Sri Krishna and Arjuna. After reading this collection, I now have a bit more confidence to delve into other Indian spiritual classics. I would recommend this book as a very good introduction for those seeking to gain an accessible insight into the spiritual history of India. Continue Reading →

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12 hours of cycling

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Last weekend I rode my first 12 hour time trial championship. It was the National TT championships. I finished in 2nd place.

This is photo by Vilas, who helped me through the day, passing bottles e.t.c.

It is a different challenge to ride a 12 hour race, compared to short five minute hill climb. You can’t compare. One thing I like about 12 hour time trial is that it is a different kind of self-transcendence where you are riding an unknown distance. The most successful part of the day was when I was able to relax, get into a good rhythm and the feel the ‘flow’ of constant cycling.

Sri Chinmoy once said cycling reminds us of evolution – the constant movement to seek progress and transcendence and move into a better cycle. I like that metaphor.

“While we are cycling, we are reminding ourselves of evolution, of how the world is evolving in cycles. When we think of our planet, we think of a wheel turning; our life also is evolving like a wheel. So cycling reminds us of the process of evolution and of how everything goes in cycles.”

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