From Last to First
- Inspired by recent contributions to the inspiration group, I've been wanting to also share something.
A while back, I wrote a short book about my life with Sri Chinmoy. - Needless to say it was an instant best-seller, and sold out a few hours after reaching the book shelves. So until the 2nd reprint, I'm going to offer a few extracts here. (However, to find out all my secrets of meditation, levitation and how to turn up to an afternoon function just in time for prasad - you will definitely still have to buy. These secrets, I don't give away for free...)
Even if you did manage to get one of those rare first editions, I can't read my own writing without a compulsive tendency to change most, if not all of it - so it might still be worth re-reading...
Extract One - From Last to First.
At school, a particularly vivid memory involved coming last in a cross-country running race. It was pretty dispiriting to come last. I looked at my parents (and especially my Dads portly figure) and put it down to bad genes and quickly retired from running around muddy school fields. My teachers weren't impressed at my lazy excuses, but coming last made my retirement much easier.
I did a bit of cycling, but never really got into racing I wouldn't want the experience of coming last again. A few years later, with my first tentative self-exploration into spirituality, I came to the conclusion that competitive sport must be bad because it was all about name, fame and ego. So I gave up any interest in competing, but when I joined Sri Chinmoy's path, I was surprised to learn that Sri Chinmoy himself was a great sportsman and encouraged his students to take part in running and other sports. Sri Chinmoy also had great admiration for sportsmen; he saw their athletic discipline as being a step along a spiritual path of self-improvement and self-transcendence.
As a new disciple, I tried running with great eagerness. But, it left me with a very bad knee injury, which prevented me from doing any sport for about three years. When the knee finally healed, I gingerly got back into cycling, thinking it would be better for my knee.
After a year or two of just riding the bike, I thought, `Why not enter some races?' To my surprise, I found myself doing quite well, and soon I was winning a few local time trials (cycle races against the clock). In British time trials, a large portion of the field are often veterans, people over 40. So when you come 1st out of 120, it's not always quite as impressive as it sounds, but nevertheless, it is still very nice to win and I really enjoyed competing with myself and trying to get fitter. Since I started racing in 2004, I've had quite a few first places and good positions in national championships. I believe on a few occasions, Guru referred to me as our 'Cycling champion'.
Who would have thought that spirituality, meditation and a Spiritual Guru was the catalyst for winning cycle races?
I've definitely revised my opinion on the importance of genetics in sport.
p.s. Rather like an Oscar winning speech without the Oscars, I'd like to squeeze in this opportunity to thank a few people in relation to my book:
Anandashru (Auckland, New Zealand) for proof reading my book. (Being sent down the mines at the age 13, we never had the luxury of studying grammar or spelling up in Yorkshire. An educational loss, I (and many others), are still recovering from today.
Pragya for publishing it and dealing with all the difficult stuff.
Mahiruha for all the literary inspiration from a fellow Tolkien enthusiast.
Priydarshan for much encouragement to write.