Part I — Question and answers

RS 1-15. These questions from world-class runners, were answered by Sri Chinmoy in 1982 and 1983. They were published on a monthly basis in a syndicated column entitled "Run and Become".

Greg Meyer: Why do I get more satisfaction from training than from racing?1

Sri Chinmoy: You get more satisfaction from your training than from your racing because when you train, you have more oneness with your inner life, which embodies infinite satisfaction. When you race, you are competing with others because you want to defeat them. The challenging spirit that comes in competition quite often suffers from anxiety, worry, doubt, hesitation and despair. When you are just practising, however, you are performing before the most intimate members of your family — your body, vital, mind, heart and soul. In fact, these intimate members of your own being are practising and performing with you, in you and for you. It is totally a family entertainment.

While practising, you are consciously working to transcend your capacities. At that time, you are listening to the message of the ever-transcending Beyond, and this message itself is complete satisfaction. But when you compete against others, you are more concerned with victory than with self-transcendence. Naturally, at that time hesitation, anxiety and doubt have a free access to your heart and mind, and you do not and cannot have satisfaction.

But when you practise, you and your aspiration, you and your dedication, you and your eagerness to increase your capacities work together for your improvement and perfection. And from improvement and perfection, you are bound to get abiding satisfaction.

Because of the feeling of separativity in the mind, we may get fleeting satisfaction when we defeat others. Your supremacy in the Boston Marathon this year, for example, undoubtedly gave you tremendous satisfaction. But perhaps quite a few times during your practice you have had more illumining and more fulfilling satisfaction, for practice carries the message of oneness and self-transcendence, whereas competition carries the message of division and supremacy.

  1. RS 1. Greg Meyer has held the American record for 15k, 10 miles and 20k. His most famous accomplishment was winning the 1983 Boston Marathon in 2:09:00, which at the time was the third fastest in the long history of that race.