Magical Moments in Jamaica, N.Y.
- Magical Moments in Jamaica, N.Y.
Saturday, March 3, was the 28th Anniversary of Sri Chinmoy's first
official marathon race which he completed in 4:31:34 in Chico,
California. Some people in Jamaica, Queens, celebrated this auspicious
day by running a marathon around Jamaica High School. After starting
at 6:05 a.m., we were deeply immersed in running the marathon when the
2 mile race was held two hours later around the same course. Sri
Chinmoy arrived for the start of the 2 miler and was being driven in a
car following the lead runner, Kalpanatit, who happened to be in town
For those of you who do not know this very talented runner who is by
far the fastest runner in the Sri Chinmoy Centre, Kalpanatit is 26
years old and among the elite runners in the U.S. He runs for the Nike
Team and competes on a very high level, usually in the mile and other
races around that length. Currently he is competing indoors for the
winter which is quite intense in a competitive and strategic sense.
We were treated to watch Kalpanatit run the 2 miler around the school
as Sri Chinmoy, his teacher and `coach', enjoyed the race from the
point car the whole distance. At dinner a few days earlier, Kalpanatit
did not really want to talk about this race coming up today. He seems
to take each race quite seriously even if there is no real competition
for him there. I sensed that he was going to attempt to break the
course record, which happens to be his own previous time of 9: 14, I
believe. This would be a challenge for him even though just last
weekend he ran in an indoor 3 kilometre (1.86 miles) race in 8min 04
seconds (the equivalent of approximately an 8min.30 sec. 2 mile time!)
As I was about halfway through my marathon and just jogging at a
steady but rather slow pace compared to the 2 milers who were fast
approaching, Kalpanatit came zooming past me as I was running up the
short but steep hill on the backside of the course. He seemed to be
laboring a bit and very seriously trying to keep a fast pace with no
one to push him but his own self-challenging will. Vinaya's white Jeep
Cherokee, carrying Sri Chinmoy, came slowly past me as they followed
about 20 metres behind Kalpanatit . It was a thrill to see Sri
Chinmoy sweetly offering his inner encouragement and enjoying the
experience of the speed and grace of such a fast and `deer' student of
his as he covered the distance of 2 miles in 9 minutes and 23 seconds.
Although he did not break his own course record, his time was still so
much faster than anyone ever runs to win this race all year long. He
is usually about a minute or more ahead of the next fastest time even
when he has a difficult race. Talking to him later that day,
Kalpanatit said he had trouble getting into a comfortable rhythm as
his breathing was not deep or smooth enough. It could have been the
cold air and the hills which made it more difficult to breath. He is
used to training in Oregon where it is much warmer. He also has been
racing indoors where there are no hills, no wind or cold air to breath.
Although his time and his achievement may look effortless to us as we
watched him float past as if carried on a convection current of
magical airstreams, Kalpanatit worked hard every step of the way,
enduring mental and physical challenges from start to finish.
His efforts were appreciated by us all, but mostly by his proud and
happy spiritual father and mentor who has always encouraged us all to
run the fastest in our own lives in a physical and metaphorical sense.
To utilize our own unique capacities in our lives to their fullest
extent is the surest way to progress in the inner and outer worlds. To
feel oneness and joy in someone else's achievement as they manifest
their own unique qualities such as Kalpanatit does in running, is a
magical and almost mystical way to share in the joy of such a
tremendous effort and achievement.
After the race, as usual, Sri Chinmoy offered a prayer and also taught
it as a song. The words are (unofficially):
"I chose God-Obedience to become God's Heart-Rose."
After the prayer, song and prasad were over and everyone left the
course but a handful of us slow marathoners who were manifesting more
perseverance and patience than speed, I could still feel the magical
energy of those few short moments just past. It is when a great runner
and his great Teacher connect in an intense moment of physical and
spiritual aspiration along with many others who are uplifted and
energized by this and also try their hardest to manifest the speed and
joy of competition and oneness at the same time.
'Oneness' is the magical word here and in this setting it is more than
just a mere word but a truly transforming and uplifting experience
which is at the core of Sri Chinmoy's philosophy and personal
manifestation. If it were not for his own personal efforts in every
aspect of his life and endeavors, whether it be running and other
sports, music, art or writing, many of us would not attempt the
endless personal challenges in trying to manifest our own divinity to
offer and share something meaningful and valuable to the world at
large. Each moment is indeed truly magical when we accept the
challenges of aspiring for and manifesting the highest Truth within us