A Marathon Challenge

In our Auckland meditation centre a number of those who love fitness and running are planning a visit to New York this August. Their goal is to enter our own marathon race upstate, roughly 1,000 competitors attempting to complete eight laps around a five kilometre lake perimeter circuit in the energy-sapping summer heat. Sri Chinmoy’s reassuring ‘Run, you can easily challenge the pride of frightening distance’ has yet to persuade our older vets to front up to the start line. For those with creaking joints and long memories of frightening distance, 42 kms seems daunting and unattainable now, the photo albums of past triumphs and elated finishes enough to remind everyone of their yesterday’s sufficient glories.
We’ve plied the reluctant with local proof that age does not mean infirmity, newspaper accounts of 80 and 90 year old marathoners battling away and finishing the epic distance still vertical and smiling – humbling the pride of distance. But the tottering steps, occasional grimace, the media coverage of relatives swooping to carry some heroic octogenarian finisher to a nearby chair provides grim evidence of the marathon’s toll.
But whatever the goals, it’s good to have challenges, to still be dreaming and attempting to manifest our own impossible dreams. Several of our runners here are completing 13 half marathon public races this year; another has a goal of teaching 700 people the basics of meditation; someone has an ‘Aspiration-Chart’ weekly target glued on a bedroom wall, 3 hours of meditation daily; yet another heading out on successive 1500 km truck drives to bring humanitarian aid school packs to disadvantaged children in flood-stricken distant rural towns.
As the years go by, getting older need not be a reason to pause, but instead provide reason to accelerate, intensify, embrace new challenges. These days that are passing by will not come again. “Do one thing every day that scares you” encouraged First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt; and in the Buddhist mantra the same message….’If two roads open up before you, choose the harder road’. Sri Chinmoy’s own central teaching of self-transcendence is not constrained by age, disability or circumstance, and always enlivened by attitude and aspiration. ‘Challenging frightening distance’ is a metaphor for all kinds of new endeavors, and points to the greater marathon and final goal summarised in his remark that “We are all truly unlimited if we only dare to try and have faith.”
For inspirational quotes on health, fitness, jogging, visit: https://nz.srichinmoycentre.org/sri_chinmoy/body_mind_spirit