On Sunday mornings, as a child, when other members of the family were still sleeping I liked to go out running, whether there was rain or sunshine. I didn't have the proper outfit and running shoes but I remember I enjoyed to feel the roots of trees under my feet wearing some very thin gym shoes. Walking along the cliff coast, looking down, to my right there was the roaring ocean, to my left large cornfields. There were so many thoughts rotating in my mind that I was only able to stop when I was running. When I got tired I went down the wooden stairs and walked back in the shallow waters of the sea looking for thunderbolts that were often to be found. Once they dried in my hands they lost their magic, but proudly I brought them home to show my brother and sisters that I greeted with some happy, "Rise and shine". Some people said they were the fossilized remains of cuttlefish. God knows, I was just happy to find some. I tried to imagine how rolling thunder would materialise into these rather tiny pieces...impossible.
However, only when I became a student of Sri Chinmoy I rediscovered the joy of running. I began with 400 meters running up and down a tiny city hill. Running every day made me improve very quickly and soon I would be dashing for an hour through a nearby forest. Someone had told me that if I would run for an hour every day I would be able to run any distance I desire. I heard from others that they were running marathons, but I had quite some respect of such a distance. I liked running fast, but I especially enjoyed the after effect - a feeling of inner peace, joy, freshness, extra energy and that I had done something nobody could take away from me. I was happy.
I had been training for about two or three years when I began to win races at the monthly Joydays. This was a new experience for me that was somewhat frightening. Suddenly there was nobody in front of you, it was rather as if a tiger was behind you. Before a race I would pray to Guru to run in and through me and I was always among the first seven or better.
It was my second time in New York in 1993 when there was a Sports Day in some small stadium. It was a joy to watch all the disciples doing different disciplines. New disciples like me were not allowed to participate but at the end there was an open 7 mile race for everybody. Guru was there too sitting in a chair that disciples had brought for him. I don't remember how many people were at the start but once I ran I noticed how fast I was running, but what I had not been calculating - there were hundreds of people watching. Somehow I couldn't deal with this situation, I absolutely didn't like it to be watched and did something really stupid. In the middle of the race I stopped and took off my shoes. I really don't know why I did that. Not only did I lose time but it also hurt as I was running quite fast. After some laps I felt a burning sensation under my feet but I felt so light that I continued running. It was as if I was running for my life. Inwardly I pleaded with Guru: please, not too fast, not too fast, but I was in a kind of flow where you cannot slow down and the end came sooner than I expected - second place over all!! I couldn't believe it, but I was so happy!
Afterwards there was an award ceremony and Guru himself presented me with a colorful something where in golden letters was written: "Second Place Champion" and five golden soul birds surrounded the number "62". In the past I didn't value such things but coming from the hands of one's own master it accompanies me daily sitting on a board near my shrine.
I was deeply inspired by the latest issue of "Inspiration Letters" so that my colorful something now got a place directly on my shrine after I held it close to my heart to help me get back to physical strength. For the last couple of weeks I had to be extra patient - because of a persistant cold and the constant coughing I had two broken ribs. It was not difficult for me to accept because I had been thinking of the possiblity of breaking them just a few days before without knowing why.
For quite some time Guru's book "If I Could Start My Life Once More" was in my mind and now that I feel better I ran again after a very long time of walking or not going out at all. It is rather a hobble but 22 years ago it also started with 400 meters. And who knows, perhaps I can revise the book...
My heartfelt thank-you to all contributors of "Inspiration-Letters".