Question: During training an athlete sacrifices a great deal of time, and yet on the race day he may not do well. What attitude should he have at that time?Sri Chinmoy: If one is a spiritual athlete, a seeker-athlete, then every day is a golden opportunity. No one day is special. Every day, every hour, is a golden opportunity to become a better instrument of God. It is a life-long process. Therefore, every time one practises, one has to devote and surrender oneself to the Will of the Supreme.
If someone is not a seeker, but an ordinary athlete with abundant capacities, then he should feel that life is not a matter of self-giving or sacrifice. Life is only a matter of giving and taking. When he is training, he is giving. Then, on the particular day when there is a race, he is receiving world recognition. So the athlete gives and gives for a few months and then there comes a time when he receives appreciation, admiration and adoration from the world. So how can there be any sacrifice? It is all give and take.
An athlete may practise seriously for three or four months and then during the competition, if he does poorly, he may think, "Oh, I made such sacrifices for so many months. Now what a deplorable result!" But it was not a sacrifice. He was only giving for a period of time, and now he is receiving the result in the form of an experience. The seeker who recognises his inner oneness with the rest of the world will not feel sad and miserable if he does poorly. He will say, "I did what I could during my practice, and now the result I am taking as an experience. Whether I was first, last or in between, the result has been given to me by my Lord Supreme as an experience." The experience of both success and failure is absolutely necessary for everybody in every walk of life.
From the spiritual point of view, there is no such thing as sacrifice when there is a feeling of oneness. I pick up a fruit with my left hand and put it into my right hand, and then with my right hand I eat it. If you want to separate the parts of my being, you can say that the left hand made a tremendous sacrifice when it gave the fruit to the right hand, and that the right hand made a tremendous sacrifice when it put the fruit into my mouth. If there is a sense of separativity, there is always sacrifice. Otherwise, it is all oneness. It is all part of God's Cosmic Game that I do this and you do that. There is no "I", there is no "you". There is no winner or loser. It is all a oneness-reality.