I have been counting at the Sri Chinmoy 24 hour race since 1999. Usually, I just come for the first 10 or 11 hours, then drive home and do a cycle race on Sunday. It’s a good shift, but I always feel a little bit like a part-timer compared to those who stay from start to finish.
This year, an injury meant I had no cycle race and was free to attend the whole 24 hours.
The first 11 hours went quite quickly and I enjoyed the experience. The main job of a counter is to concentrate on being ready to mark down the times of the runners – as they come around the 400m circuit, every 2-4 minutes. It might sound easy, but as the hours go by, it becomes a challenge to keep focused and always on the look out for the next time the runner comes round the track. Continue reading “Counting at the 24 hour race”
Sri Chinmoy was born 27th August, 1931 in Shakpura, Chittagong, India (now part of Bangladesh).
For disciples of Sri Chinmoy, August 27th is a special day, which we mark with a race, meditation and musical performances. This year, there were perhaps 1,000 people from all over the world who came to meet in Jamaica, Queens, New York.
August 27th is one of the few days a year where I feel I have no outer obligations or responsibilities. The phone and computer is switched off; it is simply a day for meditation and being at peace with the world.
I start off by meditating at 5am. Usually, getting up at 5am to meditate would be a difficult task, but the energy of a spiritual celebration seems to help reduce the need for sleep. (Plus jet lag from UK works in favour of getting up early.) Continue reading “Sri Chinmoy’s birthday August 27th 2016”
In New York, it can be harder to appreciate nature – eye level is dominated by high rise buildings and a mass of electrical and telephonic wires. However, we were driving up through Queens after a hard days work selling books, when the sky suddenly caught the eye. We had to strain the neck to glimpse beyond the concrete blocks, but it rewarded with a beautiful patchwork of clouds – nature’s spontaneity created by the Supreme Artist. Continue reading “Jharna Kala sky”
I was interested in this new project in the US, Camp Grounded. A place where Americans pay over $500 for a weekend of digital detox. Participants pay the money to have their phones, watches, computers and electronic devices taken away from them for a few days. Instead, participants are given a feast of activities, such as camping, arts and crafts, star gazing, meditation, home cooking, typewriting. The aim is to recreate the joy of life without the distractions and addictions of modern-life. Also, participants are not allowed to talk about their profession, so people can’t define themselves by the work they do.
When I joined Sri Chinmoy’s path (back in 1999), I read poetry series like the Dance of Life and didn’t always appreciate them. I preferred reading question and answers, and talks like ‘Everest Aspiration‘. Many years later, I dipped back into the poetry series Dance of Life and, at this point of time, the poems seemed to hold much greater understanding and resonance. Sri Chinmoy said he never wrote an autobiography, but in many of these early poems, I feel he wrote autobiographical incidents about his life. These autobiographical incidents were also visionary – in that many seemed to occur and develop after he wrote them in 1973.
Last week, I helped organise the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run on the day it was in Oxford. In the morning we visited the Oxford Mindfulness centre at the Warneford hospital in Headington, within the Oxford University Department of Psychiatry.
An interview from Cycling Weekly, 2011. I talk about my spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, meditation and carrot cake. I don’t think I mention my vegetarian diet, but I like the joke by Rob Hayles to the side.
From a concert by the music group, Ananda – performing the songs of Sri Chinmoy. Lord Mayor’s Chapel, Bristol, 13 December, 2015.
The entrance to the concert was through a modest wooden door. In a street filled with the brilliance of commerce, it would have been quite easy to walk straight past. But this reserved entrance, hid an unexpected sanctuary of peace – within the chapel a generosity of light and calm.
A small crowd gathers, patiently in the ancient wooden pews; a few intrepid souls, perhaps wondering what is to come.
One day the Lord Buddha was meditating. An elderly man came in and started abusing the Buddha most ruthlessly. The Buddha remained absolutely silent.
How long could he continue his abuse? After a while he stopped and was about to leave the place. But the Buddha said, “Just wait, please. I have something to ask you. Tell me, when you offer gifts to a person, if he does not accept your gifts, what do you do?
“I just take them back.”
The Buddha said, “Well, you have been trying to offer me the gifts that you brought with you. Since I have not accepted your gifts, you are taking them back with you.”
The man felt sad and ashamed of his conduct. He begged forgiveness of the Buddha. The Buddha forgave him and eventually he became a close disciple of the Buddha.
– Story from AUM Magazine, January 1974. Originally written by Mano Ranjan Ghose. Translated from the original Bengali by his younger brother, Sri Chinmoy.
There is a saying kindness is its own reward. Hatred is its own punishment. Also, whatever you give out, comes back to you like a boomerang. In this story, the Buddha’s silence illumines the person filled with anger.