Walking-challenging-becoming, part 1

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My Airport Friends

I have so many friends at the airports, JFK and La Guardia, specially at US Air, Delta and TWA. I go almost every day to US Air or Delta to walk. Usually in the morning I go to Delta and in the evening I go to US Air. This evening I went to TWA. So many workers there like me, even high-ranking officials.

They ask me such funny questions, such as why do I walk on my toes? One worker will say he gets tired just watching me. This worker collects garbage. Another one will say, "I know why you are walking on your toes. I also do it to strengthen my ankles, but I do not do it for such a long time."

The other day I was walking quite fast. One black lady came and stood right in front of me. She said, "How is it that you are not saying hello to me?" I saw that it was my favourite friend, the lady who saved me when I lost my notebooks that had four thousand birds inside. She was so nice. She discovered the notebooks and returned them to me. I was so miserable on that day when I thought that I had lost four thousand birds.

A few days later I saw her while she was working. She was doing some official business and not paying any attention to me. So I finished my walking and as I left I said to her, "Good-bye." She looked up and said, "No, good morning."

I like to walk on the moving belt at the airport. Last week three or four little children jumped on the belt and started running in the opposite direction. They were only seven or eight years old. I was sincerely admiring them. A few minutes later, I tried to imitate them. I practically lost my balance and I was so fortunate that I was not injured. I said, "How did they do it?" Then I tried again for forty metres. When I came to the end of the walkway, I got frightened. I did not know how I was going to jump off the belt, so I turned around and started walking properly in the opposite direction. Those children have no fear.

At one terminal there are two ladies. They are high-ranking officials, but they are always very nice to me. They always scream at me, "Good morning! Are you praying for me?" One of them says that my prayer definitely works. About a year ago she begged me to pray for her. She said, "Do not forget to pray for me. Your prayer works." She is a Christian. I do pray for her.

19 March 1994

Caught By Security

Today I went to the Delta Terminal at JFK Airport. When I passed through the security check, I was caught for wearing ankle weights. Then my friend Adele saved me. She came and told the security guard, "Shame! Shame!"

I wanted to give her a gift, but she said, "No, just pray for me."

21 March 1994

Why Am I So Weak?

This morning I walked on my running track at Aspiration-Ground. First I did 50 metres two times wearing a vest that weighs 100 pounds. Then the boys put another vest on me. I thought that it was my 70-pound vest. I was supposed to walk 100 metres two times, but I was having so much difficulty. I could not understand why I felt so weak. I came back and rested in my chair. Then the boys told me that this vest was 112 pounds. No wonder I felt so weak! Then the boys put on my real 70-pound vest. What a difference! After this experience, the boys have marked the weight on the outside of the vests so that there can be no mistake.

Finally, I wore my 40-pound vest for two laps, plus I carried our little puppy Chela. He struggled the whole way!

6 June 1994

Aiming To Improve My Timing

Today I walked 100 metres on my toes in 54.49 seconds. I took 144 strides. Then I walked 100 metres on my heels in 26.86 seconds. This time I took 104 strides. I am aiming to do them both in 50 steps eventually; then automatically my timing will be better.

Today I also tried something new: I held my breath for 30 steps and then I breathed out for 4 steps. I feel that it did help. Nowadays I am getting tremendous power from my legs. I feel I can improve my timing to 18 or even 15 seconds for the heel, but toes will improve a maximum of 4 seconds.

21 June 1994

Hampered By Injury

Alas, today I am injured. I am unable even to walk. I cannot give God what He wants — perfection — and He cannot give me what I want — the capacity to manifest Him.

20 July 1994

Walking In Myanmar

This year during our Christmas trip I went out walking for a total of perhaps four or five days. Savyasachi encouraged me to walk on the street outside my guest house and a few times I went to the track to walk.

One day I was walking along the main road and then I got the inspiration to turn down a side street. Suddenly a Burmese girl, very nicely dressed, appeared. I could not see where she had come from. She passed between me and an iron gate. The gate was closed and there was literally no space for her to pass, but she did not dash against the gate. Perhaps she dematerialised!

On two different nights I walked around the parking lot of the Deluxe Hotel while the disciples meditated. Once upon a time I promised myself that every Thursday I would walk seven miles. I had such confidence in my promise. But I have not been able to keep it.

8 February 1995

Heavenly Visitors

This morning, around 9:00, I was walking in front of my house. The soul of Sri Ramakrishna came to me. Then the soul of his dearest disciple, Swami Vivekananda, came and stayed with me throughout the entire day.

15 March 1995

Nobody Was There To Help Me

This afternoon at 1:20 I left my house walking. Vinaya was following me in the car. When I reached my one and a half-mile mark on Union Turnpike, I handed Vinaya my gloves and hat. Then I continued on to Suradhuni's bakery, which is at my two-mile mark. I went inside to buy prasad, but neither Suradhuni nor Pratibha was there to help me, so I came out again and got into the car.

This morning I walked one and a quarter miles and this afternoon two miles. My pace was 18 minutes per mile. This is how I am desperately trying to lose weight. Yesterday I ate ice cream and that is why I am 161 pounds today. Otherwise, I am 157 pounds.

21 March 1995

Walking Around The Block

This morning I walked around the block near my house. If I go four times round the block and then up to my 100-metre mark and back, it makes a little more than a mile. Tomorrow I am aiming at seven miles. It is all Savyasachi's confidence in my legs. He insisted during the Christmas trip that nothing will happen if I walk in the street. For the past four or five years I did not dare to walk in the street.

22 March 1995

A New Friend

At seven o'clock this morning I left my house walking. I walked along Union Turnpike to Himaloy-Joy-Wings and back again to make four miles. I like walking on straight streets. On the way, I stopped at a deli and bought a Snapple drink and some cookies. At that store I made a new friend. I was chatting with the old man who runs the store. He told me he works from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. I asked him, "For you, no Sunday?" He said that he works seven days a week.

I began walking along the street in a leisurely way, drinking Snapple. After each two miles, I like to drink. I was walking and drinking and, at the same time, I was meditating and meditating. I was getting so much joy in my meditation.

Then I had the problem of my empty bottle. I did not want to carry it, so I was looking for a garbage container to dispose of it. At least four blocks I walked, but I did not see a container. At last I found one. When I threw the bottle inside, I felt so light.

28 March 1995

The Corn Muffin

This morning I walked six miles. I went along Union Turnpike past Cunningham Park and then I returned the same way. On the way back, I stopped at a store and bought one grape juice, one Orangina and one corn muffin. I wasted six or seven minutes standing in line in that store. When I came out, I was walking along, drinking and eating. I only ate half the corn muffin. Then I placed the brown bag containing the remaining half outside Suradhuni's store at 7:30 a.m.

Pratibha told me later that she did see it, but she did not know that I had placed it there, so she discarded it. Her intuition did not tell her that the Master came in the form of a corn muffin!

On the way back, I was meditating. Then I started singing Avatar songs. I get so much joy coming back. Definitely speed goes down, but relaxation is there.

30 March 1995

Progress In The Walking World

I have made tremendous progress in my outer walking. In former days, my ego used to come forward and I would watch to see who was going ahead of me. Now I surrender. I do not compete with anyone. Surrender is my progress.

6 April 1995

My Morning Encounters

This morning I saw Karabi at my 300-metre mark. Then at 600 metres I saw Nilima. After that I saw someone with a huge dog. Then at one and a quarter miles, I saw Hiranmoyi. All of them were walking like me. I walked altogether three miles.

7 April 1995

My Room Was Like A Furnace

This morning I went out walking at 1:20 because my room was like a furnace. I did not have even one experience with human beings, but I saw the bus twice. I mostly walked around my block. I came back home around 2:10.

19 June 1995

Do You Run A Sneaker Store?

This morning I was walking at St. John's University. Two women were also walking on the track. I was wearing some Nike shoes. One lady said to me, "I love your shoes! Are they comfortable?"

"They are very comfortable," I replied.

The other one said, "Every day I see you wearing a different pair of shoes. Do you run a sneaker store?"

I said, "No, no, I do not."

Then I asked Databir, "Do you have any brochure?" Usually Databir keeps brochures about our activities in his car, but today he did not have any. I wanted to show these two ladies that I was not the owner of a sneaker store!

20 June 1995

How Does She Remember?

Today I was walking near my house and I saw a lady talking to her friend. This lady was fatter than the fattest. As soon as she saw me, she took one step forward and said, "Hi!"

I also said, "Hi!" and I raised my hand.

Then the lady was telling her friend, "I have been seeing this gentleman for twenty-nine years. He has been working so hard for the improvement of the world."

She was speaking very loudly, so I was hearing everything. I have seen this lady perhaps four or five times, but she has been seeing me for twenty-nine years. How does she remember the exact number of years?

26 July 1995

A Discouraging Fact

Today a discouraging or disconcerting thing happened: I ran 100 metres in 17.50 seconds. Then I racewalked 100 metres in 16.50 seconds!

5 September 1995

My Adventures In The Snow

Yesterday the funniest thing happened. I went out for a walk at six o'clock in the morning. There was snow everywhere. At one point an old man opened up his gate. The gate was blocking the sidewalk. I approached the gate and then I started to cross into the street. The old man saw me and said, "No, no. The street is very dangerous. Please stay on the sidewalk. I am closing the gate." He begged me not to leave the sidewalk. Then he closed the gate. I was very happy.

I continued on my way. When I walk alone, I have very, very good meditation. I enter into the other world, my real world. Suddenly, I saw the soul of one disciple coming for blessings. Then I took three or four steps and raised my head. I saw that somebody was standing on my left side. I turned around and I saw that it was this same disciple. He was standing with folded hands. I said to him, "Your soul came to me just four seconds ago!"

9 February 1996

The Slippery Sidewalk

The other day I was coming back from my walk and I saw Karabi and Snigdha. They were running on the sidewalk. I greeted them and they greeted me very nicely.

On that day, the weather conditions made it dangerous to walk on the street. Since I saw these two girls running on the sidewalk, I was absolutely sure that the sidewalk was not slippery. Otherwise, how could they run? They were literally dancing when they ran. So I went about two hundred and fifty metres in the same direction, walking very confidently. Then, oh God, I lost my footing and I was about to fall down. These two girls passed the same way running only a few minutes before me and nothing happened. Then I came walking and I lost my balance!

9 February 1996

Permission from Coach Hart

Today I went walking at St. John's University. Coach Hart came up to me to say hello. I asked him, "Are you Coach Hart?"

He said, "Yes, Sri."

Then I said, "Has Agraha spoken to you?"

He replied, "No problem, no problem! You look fine, you look great!"

I am so grateful to Coach Hart. He is the one who has given me written permission to walk on the track at St. John's.

13 March 1996

It Is So Quiet Here!

This morning I went with my guards to the Armory to walk and jog. I was walking on my toes and doing sidesteps, crossovers and other exercises. The boys were watching me in silence very devotedly. One older lady who happened to be there came up and said, "It is so quiet here — like a library or a church!"

28 March 1996

Nature Will Help Me

This morning I went to our Runners Are Smilers race. I walked the two miles in 38 minutes and 56 seconds. Unfortunately, my knee was extremely painful. In the afternoon Saroja made a special compress for me. I gave her the recipe. It consisted of eggplant, cabbage, onion, cauliflower, squash, pumpkin, avocado, mango, mushrooms, ginger, garlic, tamarind paste, chili and a few spices. She blended them into a paste and then heated them together to make a poultice. I really feel that nature will help me.

30 March 1996

My Perfect Disciples

From time to time I go to Queensboro College to walk. I have two 'disciples' there. They are elderly Japanese ladies. They observed me for a few days walking on my toes and then walking backwards. Now they have started doing the same thing. They also walk forward and backwards on their toes. They have become my perfect disciples!

The one that is much older is a hunchback. She tries to imitate the younger one. The younger one can walk backwards ten metres or so. Then she starts jogging backwards. The old one tried to do the same, but she stayed in the same spot. She was jogging, but she was not going anywhere.

27 June 1996

A Frightening Episode

Today a frightening episode took place. Pulak took me to St. John's University to walk around 9:15. We were trying to enter into the sports ground through a particular gate. We saw that there were three or four police cars plus a special truck at that entrance. The policemen were standing outside their cars and they were blocking our way onto the track. They were quite serious. Something was definitely happening.

We went to another gate, but we were feeling very uneasy. I asked Pulak to go and talk to the boss of some construction workers who were also there. I said, "Go and ask that man if I can walk." Even though I have written permission from the University authorities to walk, I wanted to make sure.

Pulak went and spoke to the boss, who said, "Definitely you can walk or run. Do whatever you like. The place is under construction, but if you want to try, you can."

I entered into the stadium and began walking. I did one round, two rounds, three rounds. Then I saw that the policemen had raised their guns. Two of them were talking on walkie-talkies and a special truck had driven onto the lawn which is used for discus, shot-put and hammer. The policemen were all aiming their guns at the tent near the tennis courts. It seemed that something was going to happen.

When I finished my fourth round, I saw that two of the policemen, instead of aiming at the tent as they were doing previously, were now looking through their guns at the track where I was walking! God knows what they were doing. They were watching something. I was the only one walking there and there were a few innocent construction workers on the side.

I know that people can do crazy things, so I quickly walked away and came to the gate. The man who gave me the permission asked, "What is happening?"

I said, "I do not want to be killed. You can see that there are police with guns everywhere."

Then the construction boss himself left the place with me. When I came out, he followed me and brought four or five other workers.

This was the experience we had this morning. The men with guns were not even twenty metres away from me. I was in the third lane and they were right beside the track, on the outside of the fence. What were they doing? First I saw that they were facing the tent. Then, on my fourth round, I saw that they were looking at the track. I said, "This time it is too dangerous." This was my St. John's experience today!

27 June 1996

Health Is Our Religion

This morning I walked one mile in 16 minutes and 28 seconds. Afterwards, I became extremely tired. My sister always tells me, "Forget about everything else. Keep only your health. Your health is your only concern."

Our Indian scriptures say health is our religion. Health is the code of life. Village people walk two miles to market, but city people are in trouble. I strongly feel that after the age of 40 or 50, you have to spend a minimum of three hours a day doing exercise and taking care of your health.

10 September 1996

A Divine Coincidence

This morning I walked three miles and Savyasachi followed me in the car. I went along Main Street to Queens Boulevard. At one point on the way I blessed Nilima's soul for her anniversary of twenty-eight years on the path. Then, on my way back, Nilima came out of her car at the exact place where I had blessed her soul half an hour before!

27 September 1996

Make Me As Happy As That Man

Early in the morning I was inspired to go out walking on the sidewalk here in San Francisco. After I had walked for 33 minutes, whom did I see? Garima. Then I had such an experience. I saw one man. He was not a vagabond. He was quite well dressed, but he was lying down on the sidewalk, munching something so happily. I prayed to God to make me as happy as that man.

I came and stood right in front of him, not even one metre away. I said to him, "How I wish I could lie down in the street like you! You have peace, you have joy. How I wish I could exchange my life with yours."

He did not say anything. He was in his own world of happiness.

21 October 1996

The Sun Has No Strength

It is so cold outside for walking. Even 60 degrees has no strength. The sun has lost all its power!

How hard some of the boys are working to find a place indoors for me to walk. Unfortunately, they are not successful. What can you do?

20 February 1997

My Forgetfulness

This morning I walked all the way to my garage, in spite of my leg pain, to bring the car, only to find that I had forgotten to bring the garage opener. I had my license, but the opener was missing. So I came back to my house.

The second time I went there, I found that I had forgotten the keys to my car. So I had to come all the way back home again.

Finally, the third time I went to the garage, everything was in order and I was able to bring the car. This all happened because I had a high fever.

9 September 1997

"good Morning" In The Bahamas

The people are so nice here in the Bahamas. Everywhere I go, people wish me "Good morning, good morning!" When I am out walking, I want to enter into my meditation. But at least twenty times, different people tell me "Good morning!" If three ladies are passing by, each one has to say "Good morning!"

My answer is to smile. Again, how many times I have to smile! Sometimes I am walking so fast and I have to smile or say "Good morning." This happens on the path right in front of the hotel.

7 December 1997

The Little Girl With The Candy

This morning, when I reached my two-mile mark on Queens Boulevard, I was debating with myself whether to go back the same way to make four miles, or whether to continue on to Hillside Avenue and then come up 150th Street to make a little more than six miles. Then I remembered how steep the hill on 150th Street is. I said, "I do not want to climb up that hill. It is impossible." So I started going back.

While going back, I passed right in front of the courthouse. There I saw a little girl about three or four years old. She was a very nice looking child and she was wearing white. She came up to me and said, "Sir, would you like to have a piece of candy?"

She was practically giving the candy to me. She was such a sweet little girl. Her older brother was four or five metres behind her. He came running and said, "No, you have to give me a dollar."

She was so nice. She wanted to give it to me for free, but he demanded a dollar from me. I felt very sad for the little girl because her brother was so bad, but I did not see what I could do at that moment. I crossed the road and walked about ten metres. The little girl also went away. Then I turned around. I said, "I must give her a dollar since she was such a sweet little girl."

When I turned around, she came running towards me. She said, "I want to give it to you for free." This time she had four or five pieces of candy in a small box. What happened? Immediately I put my hands in my pockets. I pulled out three one-dollar bills. Quickly I gave them to her. Then the brother came. When the brother came, I gave him a dollar.

Now the pieces of candy were in my hand. I said to her, "Would you make me happy?"

She said, "Why, yes."

I said, "Please, you take the candy. I am on a strict diet. I will not be able to eat it." I became a saint there! Yesterday I took 1,300 calories. I ate Sicilian pizza, a kind of cake, a candy bar, all kinds of things. Yesterday I ate everything, but today I became a saint.

The little girl was so kind. She looked at me. When I gave her the three dollars, she was very sad. She said, "I do not want money from you." But I gave them to her. Then when I returned the candies to her, she took them from me.

Her name was Eva. Her brother said, "Eva, you cannot give candy for free." He was only two or three years older than his sister. She got three dollars from me and he got one dollar from me. Then everything was over.

29 February 1998

Lord Krishna's Blessing

While I was walking during the meditation at PS 86, during my third round I was seeing Lord Krishna playing on the flute. He went this side and that side. I was walking one way and he was walking the other way. How beautiful he looked, and how soulfully he was walking!

What was the reason? About an hour before, I invoked him to come and bless my dog Chela on Chela's birthday. He blessed the dog there at my house while I was feeding him. Chela's name was given to him by Lord Krishna. I gave him the name Dil, but Lord Krishna did not like it, so he changed the name.

Then tonight Lord Krishna came on his own while I was walking. I was in my highest, walking and meditating, and Lord Krishna was playing his flute, his soul-stirring flute. These are not my mental hallucinations. One day your third eye will also open up and you will see that everything is true. Lord Krishna was playing his flute and blessing us all.

Today was Lord Krishna's day. Many, many times when I walk, the spiritual Masters walk with me. Here in this school, they bless us all. That is why I am giving so much importance to the meditation when I walk. Please try to remain in your highest. That will be a great achievement for me and for you as well.

21 March 1998

The Water Fountain

Today I went walking at TWA. A shoeshine man was so happy to see me. I do not know how the shoeshine men survive. As I was passing by their station, I asked them, "Where do you come from?" One man said China and another said Ukraine. The tall, thin one who is from the Ukraine is not nice at all.

I have been going to walk at TWA for four years or even more. Today, for the first time, I drank water from the water fountain there. Necessity knows no bounds. It was all my fault. I thought that Pulak would bring some water for me. But Pulak did not bring any water in his car.

I said, "All right, I shall buy some." I borrowed two dollars from Pulak, but when I went to the counter, I saw that it was not open. At six-thirty it is supposed to open, but I went at ten minutes to seven and it was not open. What could I do? I walked for two rounds, which is 500 metres, and then I decided to take a drink from the water fountain.

The first two or three times I pressed the button, the water was not going inside my mouth. It was all going into my nostrils and eyes. How do people drink this water? It went everywhere else, except inside my mouth. It even went into my ear! I said, "How is it going there?" I could not make the water go into the right place.

In the meantime, Pulak had purchased some water, but he did not come upstairs to give it to me. When I got into the car to go home, I said to him, "Pulak, now you have water. Why did you not bring it?"

He said, "I gave you the money."

He was sure that because he gave me the money, I would be able to buy water. Tomorrow I will not depend on him. And I do not think I will use the water fountain again. I never had that experience before.

24 March 1998

A Neighbourly Smile

While I am walking, I see many, many neighbours. Today I was entering into Divine Robe when a car stopped outside. A man asked, "Are you Sri Chinmoy?"

I was talking to Govinda and from the car he called out.

What a smile I received from him!

24 March 1998

The Ascent And Descent Of Consciousness

How consciousness ascends and descends! This morning I forgot to take a towel for myself when I went out to walk. I desperately needed one, so one of the boys went out and bought me two small towels. Then I appreciated him and extolled him to the skies. He was very happy.

The next moment, his consciousness descended! I asked him to go and bring prasad. I looked at his face and I saw such hesitation on his face. Here I was appreciating and admiring him and the next moment he was showing such hesitation. I thought that perhaps he had no money, but I know that you all believe in credit cards. So I asked him what was wrong. He said that in his mind he wanted to go out for a run, and that is why he felt sad that he had to go to the store.

Previously, he developed such sympathetic oneness with me that he literally ran to get towels. Then when I appreciated him, his consciousness descended. His oneness only lasted for a few fleeting seconds.

Like this, everybody goes up and down, up and down.

28 March 1998

The Ice Cream Admirer

I am walking daily four or five miles, but because of what I am eating, I am not losing weight. For years and years I did not go near ice cream. Now I have become a great admirer of ice cream!

31 March 1998

Captured By The Goddess Of Sleep

Today Pulak took me to US Air to walk. Agraha accompanied us. Outside the terminal, the security men did not allow Pulak to park, so he had to circle round. Then he parked at one place and told the security, "Please let me wait here. It is a matter of two minutes."

The man was very, very nice to him and allowed him to wait at that place. Pulak waited for two minutes. Then the goddess of sleep descended on him. Meanwhile, I had finished my walk and Agraha and I were waiting outside the terminal for Pulak to come. Agraha was watching the time. So many minutes passed. We could not believe that he would take such a long time. Where could Pulak have gone?

Finally, after twenty-one minutes, Pulak appeared. As usual, Pulak said, "It cannot be twenty-one minutes! It is impossible. I just fell asleep for a minute or two."

We were wondering and wondering where he was. Even the security guard could not believe he was taking so long. How could he take such a long time? Pulak was 'meditating'.

8 April 1998

We Are All Brothers

This year I became a totally different person at our Masters Games. Previously, for various reasons, I did not go and shake hands with my old running friends or with the prominent athletes. This time I went up to so many and asked our photographers to take photos. As usual, my photographers were off duty.

During the day, I walked five laps on the track. While I was walking, a tall black man came up to me and said, "You are a celebrity. How can you mix with us?"

I said, "We are all brothers."

Then he looked at me with such joy and affection. I became very, very friendly to all the athletes.

I hope that at our Sports Day in August I can do a little running. Today what a struggle it was to do five laps walking!

It was a day of tremendous joy, success and achievement for all the athletes. They were so friendly and kind.

30 May 1998

Starting Again

I have just started walking again. For years I was lame. From the middle of July I started seriously, so it is not even one month. My goal is to go 15 minutes a mile for 4 miles. Today I walked for 4 miles at Jones Beach. My time was 1 hour 10 minutes and 35 seconds.

I feel like my India days. My shoulder movement, chest, everything is Indian feeling. That is how I used to walk — very smartly.

7 August 1998

"gurudev, Good Morning"

This morning I was walking on 150th Street. An Indian gentleman crossed in front of me, but he did not say hello to me, and I did not say hello to him. We did not acknowledge each other. For about ten metres we continued walking. Then God knows what happened to him. At my 200-metre mark, he came back running to say, "Gurudev, good morning!"

I gave him a very broad smile.

12 August 1998

Saying Good Morning

Most of the time people say "Good morning" to me first. On very rare occasions I say "Good morning" first. Sometimes the cars stop quite abruptly so that the people inside can say "Good morning" to me.

The other day, one man came out of his house just to tell me that our celebrations are coming.

12 August 1998

Young Again

Recently I went out to walk. One man said to me, "Oh, you have become young again!"

15 August 1998