Question: How can an athlete establish peace inside himself to give him strength?

Sri Chinmoy: An athlete can have the same kind of peace as a seeker who is consciously praying and meditating for world-peace. An athlete can have peace on the strength of his oneness. Before he starts his competition, he can just take a fleeting second to feel: "No matter who is first, I will be equally happy, for whoever wins is my brother or sister. If I did not run or jump, there would be no competition, so that person could not be a winner. Again, if I win, it is only because others have also run and jumped.”

Now, if I have won the race, then naturally I will be happy. But when I look around and see that my friend or my brother, who has not done well, is unhappy, at that time do I get real happiness? I am being extolled to the skies because I have won, but my brother who has lost is doomed to disappointment. I sincerely love my brother, so how can I be happy? How can I have peace?

I will only have happiness if I can identify myself with his failure-life, if I can enter into his heart and feel the same sadness, suffering and shock that he is experiencing. I have already identified myself with my success-life, and I am very proud and happy. Now, if I can immediately enter into my friend’s sadness and be implicitly one with his suffering, then I will be really happy. At that time my victory will give me joy and my sincere identification with the other person’s defeat will also give me joy. This joy and happiness, you can say, is peace. Because of my victory I am getting happiness, which is peace, and also on the strength of my oneness with my friend's loss I am getting peace.

Then I will offer my achievement to the Source, who has given me the capacity to win, and I will offer my friend’s sadness and failure-life equally to the One who alone can give victory and defeat. If an athlete can offer the results to God, then no matter whether he is first or last, he will be cheerful. This cheerfulness, along with his oneness with the winner’s or loser’s life, will definitely give him peace of mind.

This applies not only to athletics, but to everything that we do on earth. Oneness, oneness, oneness! If we think of oneness before we do something, if we can maintain this feeling of oneness while we are acting and also at the end of our action, then there will always be peace. From the beginning to the end, we have to sing the song of oneness.

Let us say we are running in a marathon. There are thousands of other people going to the same destination. Someone else may be first and I may be last. But if I have established my oneness with the other runners, then I will be equally happy because they are all part and parcel of my life. I will not feel miserable that one part of me has reached the goal before another part.

Without oneness, no matter what we do, we are unhappy. Even when we are successful, the joy we get does not last. Immediately somebody will bring the news that another person has done better, or doubt will enter into our mind and we will feel that tomorrow somebody will defeat us. At that time, we bring imaginary unhappiness into our lives. How can one have peace when he is thinking that his achievement is not the best or that somebody else will do better? But if we have established our oneness not only with the past and the present but also with the future, then we are bound to have peace all the time. If somebody does something better than we do, we feel that person is only an extension of our own lives. Yesterday I did something with one name and form and tomorrow, under the name of somebody else, I will do the same or better. I do not have to worry that tomorrow my capacity will be eclipsed. No, tomorrow, again it will be I, with a new name and form, who will accomplish something better than what I did today.

Yesterday I could lift 40 pounds, today I am lifting 60 and tomorrow I will lift 70.1 know that I am the same person who is doing the lifting, so I am not unhappy each time my previous record is surpassed. But if division starts, then I will be in trouble. There is always so much division even in our own being — especially between the mind and the heart and between the body and the vital. When I lift something, if there is division, immediately my mind will try to take the credit. Then the vital will say, “No, it was my determination,” and try to take the credit. The body will say, “Who lifted it up?” The heart will say, “It was I, part of my existence.” And the soul will say, “You know, if I did not remain inside the body, all the rest of you would be dead — heart, vital, mind and body." So every part of me will want to take the credit for my success.

But because there is oneness, the soul is not telling the mind, vital and body, “Because of me you have won.” The body is not telling the other members of my life, “No, because of me you have won.” The body knows that if the vital does not offer determination, I cannot succeed. Again, the vital knows that if the mind is not properly controlled, I will not be able to lift. My soul, heart, mind, vital and body could have revolted, but they did not, because I have already established my oneness with them. Each one separately could have fought against each other, but they are not fighting because we have established oneness. So we have to always feel oneness the way the body, vital, mind, heart and soul of an individual feel oneness with one another and work together to reach the goal. In this way we are bound to have peace.