Craig Virgin: How do I cope with the pressures of winning or, on the other hand, the disappointment of losing in a sports competition?1

Sri Chinmoy: You can cope with the pressures of winning if, a few days before the race or even just before the start, you can imagine the pleasure of rejoicing in your victory. Imagination is not wishful thinking; it is not a baseless reality. Imagination is reality itself in another world. We bring it down to this world the way we bring down fruits from a tree.

To cope with the disappointment of losing, you have to ask yourself whether the mind is disappointed or the heart is disappointed. You will come to realise that it is your mind that is disappointed and not your heart. The mind creates division; the mind is division itself, and division is another name for pain, devastating pain. The heart, on the other hand, creates oneness; in fact, the heart is oneness itself, and oneness is another name for joy, spontaneous joy. When you live in your heart, even if your worst rival wins the race, you will not feel miserable. To your wide surprise, you will find that his joy quite unconsciously and unexpectedly will enter into you and widen your heart. Then you will feel almost the same joy that the winner feels.

It was your heart that was speaking in and through these illumining utterances of yours: "Running is the people's sport. When was the last time the average person played ball with Reggie Jackson? Yet millions of people run in the same races and rub elbows with the top runners. In what other sport can the average player run the same course and go through the same trials as the top stars?"

You have already established yourself as a supreme runner. No matter how many races you lose from now on, even if you lose every race (which is absurdity on the face of it), no disappointment on earth will dare to challenge the flood of joy that you have received from and offered to the world running community as a result of the innumerable races that you have won in a variety of distances.

Some good runners, unfortunately, are not sharp. In your case, you are sharp, very sharp; bright, very bright; quick, very quick. And something quite rare in the running world — you have intuition. Your intuitive faculties remarkably add to your success in racing. To our great joy and satisfaction, your body, vital, mind and heart speedily and breathlessly follow your intuitive flashes. You have brought considerable name and fame to America, your beloved country. For that, America's great speed is richly proud of you and America's deep pride is unmistakably grateful to you.

  1. RS 2. Craig Virgin has the distinction of being the only American ever to win the World Cross-Country Championship, with back-to-back wins in 1980 and 1981. A fine track and road racer as well, Craig dominated his sport in the USA in the early 1980s. His personal best in the marathon, 2:10:26, gave him a second place finish in the 1981 Boston Marathon.