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Spiritual significance of running

I wrote an article for Sri Chinmoy Races ‘The spiritual significance of running.’

I feel slightly embarrassed in the sense that my personal experiences of running are pretty lame.


Running uphill.

I once did the Menston four-mile fun run. I would have won the under seven category except for half-way around; I stopped to take my number off my front and put it on my back (so it wouldn’t flap in my face). I got pipped on the line and finished 2nd. It was an early lesson in marginal gains. Put your number on properly.


Me on the left

Aged 14, I ran for my school – Bradford Grammar School. In those days, I doubt very much I was meditating on the spiritual significance of running – rather cross-country seemed a less bad choice than having to play rugby. Once I came last in a race, so I used this as an excuse to give up cross-country running and take up being a teenager instead.

When I joined Sri Chinmoy’s Path, I took up running for a short while. It was great for a few months, but then I got a knee injury for a few years, so I took up cycling instead. Continue Reading →


Eid in New York

Eid in New York

I was in New York in August. Opposite my breakfast diner, the police closed off a street so Muslim worshippers could celebrate Eid on the road. There probably wasn’t enough room inside the small mosque.

It was an interesting sight. These tough redneck, NYPD officers and a hundred Muslims praying in the street. That’s America for you.


Kant, Pettinger and Kierkegaard

I was amused to see in Oxford Blackwells my new economics book in between the great philosophers Immanual Kant and Søren Kierkegaard. I’ve always fancied myself as something of a philosopher.

But when I studied PPE at Oxford University, I was hopeless at philosophy. I couldn’t read a page of Kant for love nor money. One of the few rebelllious things I’ve done in life is when I worked out you could more or less fail philosophy, but still pass on to the second year of PPE where you could concentrate on just economics and politics. So I stopped going to philosophy lectures – never read a philosophy book and scrapped a third on the philosophy 1st year exams. Then I dropped the philosophy to a great sense of joy and relief.

In my second and third year, I did start going to lectures in economics and politics!

When I joined Sri Chinmoy’s path, a disciple told me that in his youth Sri Chinmoy read all the western philosophers. But, now he prays to God to be able to forget all this dry philosophy! I was so happy to hear that – because I don’t feel any joy in western philosophy. But, I hope there is a little joy in my philosophical economics book!


No news is good news

I go through phases of watching news. Not watching news.

I got inspired by this article “I went on a news blackout the day Trump got elected”  (at Guardian). Ironically, I’ve never read the Guardian since.

Also, of interest – “News is bad for you

A lot of news these day, is not actually news, but opinion designed to provoke strong reactions.

“The web shatters focus – rewires brain” at – though ironically I had difficulty reading because the web page was trying to load so many adverts and pop-up boxes


Greed isn’t good – Stories II by Sri Chinmoy

I am reading “Stories II” (2016) by Sri Chinmoy – a collection of instructional and spiritual stories. I am interested how many of the stories have a theme of human greed (we could say – a close brother of human stupidity). One thing I like about these stories is that greed and avarice usually lead to some form of cosmic retaliation and karmic boomerang. Whether it leads to the illumination of the unfortunate, greedy person is not always clear, but it reminds us there is nothing to be gained by a selfish attitude – Generosity, oneness of spirit and kindness are the qualities we should try to cultivate. Continue Reading →


Belphegor’s prime

Belphegor’s prime is 1,000,000,000,000,066,600,000,000,000,001: a palindromic prime number with 666 in the middle and 13 0s on either side. It is named after Belphegor, one of the seven princes of hell.

Source: QI

In the western world, the number 13 is often considered an ‘unlucky’ number. But, Sri Chinmoy felt thirteen was a divine number (or words to that effect) – a number with special significance in his own life.

Many significant events in his lifetime became associated with the number 13. For example, his arrival in the West (New York) April 13th.

There are always so many ways of looking at the same thing.

In this case, we might think 13 and 666 are numbers representing ‘ignorance’

Alternatively, we can see the Creator’s hand in every aspect of life – hiding a few secret jokes, even in numbers.

If you take 13 as a divine number, you can see Belphegor’s prime as an example of how World ignorance (represented by 666) is perfectly surrounded by the divine.


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