Question: If sports people would like to meditate, how should they do it?

Sri Chinmoy: Every morning, when they get up, before they enter into the hustle and bustle of life, they can pray to God to give them a peaceful day, a happy day. They can utter the words, "O Lord God, today do grant me a peaceful day." That is one way, the way of prayer.

The other approach is through meditation. You can try to make the mind absolutely calm and quiet. Focus your concentration right on your heart. Try to feel that only in your heart you exist and there is nothing else. Here you are envisioning your own inner existence, your own divinity. Do not have even an iota of thought. The mind must be calm, quiet and absolutely silent.

With prayer, we use words to approach God. We say, "My Lord Supreme, do make me a choice instrument of Yours so that I can please You and fulfil You in Your own Way." When we are in deep meditation, on the other hand, we feel that God is doing the things that are necessary to be performed in and through us. He will act in and through us. We just try to be a perfect instrument of His.

While I am praying, I feel that God is high in Heaven. My prayer is going up to Him. While I am meditating, the elevator is coming down. God the compassionate One is descending into my heart and He will do the needful. This is how we feel God.

Question: Is it true that by praying and meditating anybody can become a better athlete?

Sri Chinmoy: It is definitely true. It is like having another friend on your side in a tug-of-war. If the other person does not pray or meditate, then he will be all alone, whereas you will have your prayer-friend and meditation-friend on your side.

So many world-class athletes pray and meditate. Just last week, the great Olympian Carl Lewis came and meditated with me for about an hour or so. He has been my friend for several years. During the last Olympics in Los Angeles, he came and meditated with me at the hotel room because he felt the need. He knows that his prayer-life has helped him considerably. He has prayed and meditated with me many, many times.

When you pray and meditate, you increase your inner strength, inner capacities. If your capacity is increased from your prayer-life and your meditation-life, then you should do it. It is like having two extra friends to inspire you. We all want to have friends. Friends can be of great help to us in our hour of need. During sports, we desperately need friends to come to our rescue. So here, prayer and meditation are two excellent friends to help us.