Question: Recently sports writers have been talking about a feeling in all kinds of athletes where everything slows down. What is it all about?

Sri Chinmoy: If I understand your question correctly, it is like a smooth sailing. In the beginning, all kinds of personal effort is necessary. For years an athlete may work very, very hard, with tremendous intensity. Then, during his race, he feels that he is not moving at all; but actually he is moving — like smooth sailing. At that time, he may not realise that he is not the doer. Somebody else is doing it in and through him.

When Bill Rodgers is running a marathon well, he is coasting. He may be running for 20 or 26 miles, but he is maintaining the same speed or even increasing the speed, but with no effort. So something is definitely doing it in and through him, otherwise he would have remained at the same spot.

When you start a machine, you hear all kinds of noises. It takes time to warm up. But once the machine is operating at full speed, you do not hear those same noises. That is like coasting in marathon running. At the beginning of a race so much personal effort is required, but then, when it becomes smooth sailing, sometimes you do not appreciate it because you have the feeling that you are doing nothing.

At that time, definitely Grace has descended and God has added something new to your capacity. Because God is pleased with you, he has given you the thing that you asked for, let us call it a mango, and He is bringing you an apple as well. God says, “Since I am pleased with you, I am giving you both a mango and an apple, and now you will be the happiest person.” Although you did not ask for the apple, God is giving it to you. Then you will offer God your tears of gratitude.

Receptivity increases only in one way: by increasing our gratitude to God. There is no other way to increase receptivity. You can offer gratitude to God not only for what you have, but for what you are going to have. What you already have, what you are right now, how can you deny? What you are going to have or what you are going to become, you may not know. But you can use your imagination. The more gratitude you can offer to God, the more you can create positive thoughts, positive ideas and positive goals for yourself.

In my case, when I lifted forty pounds for the first time, I offered gratitude to God most sincerely. If you see that I make rapid progress when I enter into a new field, it is all because of my sincere gratitude to the Supreme. I know I cannot do it. I cannot do anything. If I have done anything in my aspiration or dedication or manifestation, it is all due to gratitude. God gave me a little capacity and because of my gratitude, God is increasing the capacity.

So if you want to increase any good quality in your life, just increase your gratitude to God. If you are an artist, offer gratitude; if you are a cyclist, offer gratitude; if you are a singer, offer gratitude. As an individual, you have capacities in perhaps seven or eight areas. For each thing, try to offer gratitude to the Supreme.

This morning, if you had a good meditation, if you did not suffer from doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, jealousy and so on, then offer gratitude, sincere gratitude. The following day, your meditation will be better.

We can offer gratitude to God not only for the positive things in our life but also for our weaknesses. We can say, “God, I am so grateful to You that I have only one weakness, it is limited, whereas there are many people on earth who have countless weaknesses. In their case it is unlimited.” If you can offer gratitude to God because you only have one weakness, then God will take away that weakness. But if you blame God for your weakness, if you find fault with Him, what can He do?

Some seekers attack God. They say, “I have done so much for You, for years and years, how is it that I still have these weaknesses? How is it that You did not remove them?” What can poor God do? So our gratitude-heart can be of great benefit to us. The more gratitude we can offer to God, the more He will increase our receptivity and capacity in so many different fields.