Quote attributed to Eric Liddell, Scottish runner immortalized in the movie Chariots of Fire.
Spiritual master and world-class runner, Sri Chinmoy, could easily have said the same.
Both of these incredible individuals emphasized exceeding yourself, not beating another competitor. They valued competition for the camaraderie it engenders, not to create winners and losers.
To both of them, every competitor wins when he or she feels the pure joy of self-transcendence and the pleasure of connection with the Divine.
Chinmoy put it this way:
Our goal is to go from bright to brighter to brightest, from high to higher to highest. And even in the highest, there is no end to our progress, for God Himself is inside each of us and God at every moment is transcending His own Reality.
Sri Chinmoy’s approach is unique because he emphasized self-transcendence as a balanced practice of the whole person. He found the joy of self-transcendence in profound peak experiences achieved in advanced states of meditation. He also discovered the exhilaration of self-transcendence while running marathons—becoming an inspiration to athletes whose goal is to continually surpass their previous achievements. And always did he embrace the path of divine love that “expands us and liberates us.”
Chinmoy was referring to more than a runner’s high. In fact, he spoke of the inner runner who proceeds by becoming, not merely the outer runner who succeeds by doing. He taught a path of interior exploration—the opening of inner capacities, and listening to the guidance of the internal spiritual force (the Wise Inner Counselor) that speaks when the heart becomes a “sacred reservoir.”
And how do we unleash that potential in order to reach the ultimate joy to which Chinmoy and so many great masters of wisdom have pointed?
Spiritual practices abound for achieving heightened states of awareness. My personal experience is that a burning desire for contact with Spirit and a yearning for union with the Divine are important pre-requisites for living a wholehearted, self-transcending life whose pervading flavor is joy.
Grasping after sensational experiences is a superficial path that does not result in permanent growth. However, peak experiences are both natural and healthy when they emerge from a grounded ego structure. Some of the methods that have been employed for centuries include: ethical training, stabilization of the attention, emotional transformation, motivation beyond deficiency needs, perceptual refinement, and cultivation of wisdom.
Our goal, then, is to create a balanced foundation in body, mind, and spirit so that we fulfill Sri Chinmoy’s example of dedicated self-transcenders who daily embrace a perspective of exuberant fullness.
Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Eckl and CherylEckl.com. All rights reserved.