Message to Sudhahota Carl Lewis
from Sri Chinmoy
Sri Chinmoy sends this message at a time the champion athlete was experiencing some difficulties in his indoor competitions.
Dearest Sudhahota, I wish to offer you a soulful and a blessingful message. The soulful message is coming from my heart and the blessingful message is coming from my soul. Of late you have been experiencing sad realities in your sprinting career. My heart of sympathy and my heart of oneness are experiencing the same sadness that your own heart is experiencing. To us, so-called failure is nothing but an experience. Just because we are seekers, we say that either God has given us this experience for our own inner improvement, or that for some unknown reason God is tolerating this experience, which the hostile forces have maliciously given us. In any event, whether our Beloved Supreme approves of this experience or whether He just tolerates it, we abide by His all-loving Decision which, for us, is nothing but His all-encompassing Compassion.
For me to give you suggestions or advice is like a tiny flame giving advice to the sun. But a tiny flame is also a solid and concrete portion of God. In this world, when the tiny flame has established its inseparable oneness with the mighty sun, at that time the tiny flame is quite anxious to offer its capacity to the sun. So, from an absolutely practical point of view I would like to say a few things.
For the past few weeks, in the 50 metres and 60 metres you have been coming in second. For us, the thought of your being second in this event is far beyond our imagination. But to me the 50-metre and 60-metre races are of no importance at all. When the world speaks of sprinting or the fastest sprinter, it speaks of the 100 metres. When we talk about Jesse Owens being the fastest runner, we never think of 50 yards or 50 metres or 60 metres; we think only of 100 metres. Go to any obscure country and ask who is the fastest. Immediately they will say the name of the person who is first in 100 metres. In this respect, your name has covered the length and breadth of the world. The whole world knows you as the best, the superlative sprinter.
When I came to America and heard about 40, 50 and 60-metre races, it amused me more than it inspired me. If people want to value only the shortest distance, then there will have to be a 10-metre or a 2-metre race. Or some silly people will say that whoever comes out of the starting blocks first is the fastest sprinter. But if this person has to run 70 or 80 or 100 metres, perhaps he will be nowhere. Some runners are still behind even up to the 90-metre mark. But when it is 100 metres, they defeat their rivals.
The General Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Nolini Kanta Gupta, who passed away recently, was my boss when I lived there. His middle son was the fastest in 40 metres. But luckily for me, there were no 40-metre races, and in the 100 metres I always defeated him. He would be as much as 4 or 5 metres behind me. Then, after a few years, he gave up his running career and I continued with the 100 metres.
So please feel that 100 metres is the real race — not 60 metres or 10 metres or 2 metres! Please concentrate only on your 100 metres. Let the world mock you. As you have something to do, the world also has something to do. Let the world say whatever it wants to say or feel whatever it wants to feel. If you have already decided not to do any more short distances before the Olympics, then do not surrender your adamantine will to public criticism. People may try to instigate you to run more short distances, but if you have already decided not to run anymore, do not surrender to their unforgivable instigation.
If you want to continue and say, “I shall accept the challenge! I want to prove that I can do it,” then that is another matter. But the only thing is, the Olympics are fast approaching, and I personally feel that the time has come for you to concentrate on the 100 and 200 metres and on the long jump. Who knows, perhaps God is giving the runners who are right now defeating you in shorter distances just a few drops of Nectar, whereas He has decided to give you a very large quantity at a later time. Or perhaps He is giving them some crumbs and plans to give you a big loaf. Anyway, you please make your decision. If you feel it is inadvisable to run the shorter distances, then do not listen to the critics.
In case you are tempted to do 50 or 60 metres, I wish to offer you some advice on a very practical level. Of course, being a spiritual man, everything I say comes from a spiritual plane. When running 50 or 60 metres in competition, before the starter fires the gun please try to feel that you have to run 10 metres less than the other competitors. If the race is 50 metres, then convince yourself that you are running 40 metres. If it is 60 metres, make yourself feel that you are going to do 50. If you feel that they have to run 10 metres farther to reach the goal, then naturally you will feel that you will win. When you feel that your task is easier than their task, you will get an extra surge of joy — we use the spiritual term ‘delight' — that will help you succeed. You will have a very strong, cheerful, inner frame of mind and be able to run much faster. Then, by God’s Grace you will be able to always do a miracle on the track.
But even though you make yourself feel that you are running a shorter distance than your rivals, you will not come to an absolute halt after you have covered that distance. In the 100 metres, for example, everybody advises the runners to maintain their speed even after they have passed through the tape. That is absolutely the right thing to do. Similarly, if you convince yourself that you are running only 50 metres whereas your rivals are running 60 metres, after 50 metres you cannot let your speed drop. You have to continue your speed right to the end.
Also, while you are running, try to feel that you are being chased rather than being pulled by something or someone. That way you will go faster. If somebody is chasing you, your speed will be faster than if somebody in front of you is pulling you toward him with a rope. If you feel that a magnet is pulling you to the finish line, you will run fast; but you will run faster if you feel that somebody is chasing you and you are running for your life. Imagine that a ferocious tiger is right behind you and at any moment is going to devour you. You know how fast a tiger can run! So you will run for your most precious life, and you will run the fastest. If the image of a tiger is not pleasing to your mind or heart, then think that your house has caught fire and you are running to the nearest telephone booth to call the fire department. When you see that your most valuable house is being burned to ashes, definitely you will run the fastest.
If you cannot think of a tiger or a fire, then try to feel that you are one or two metres ahead of everyone else right from the beginning. Before the race has started even, when you are taking the set position at the starting blocks, please try to feel that the other five or six runners are behind you. Then, when you start, feel that they are not running with you but are chasing you because you are trying to eat something most delicious and they want to deprive you of it. If you can feel that your rivals are behind you, chasing you, then you will be able to run much faster than if you see that the others are all on a line with you. So if you can feel that your competitors are a little behind and chasing you, and that you are running for your life, this will give you more inner intensity and outer determination. All this that I am saying also applies to the 100 metres.
About your long jump, people are enjoying a kind of malicious pleasure and accusing you of taking drugs, which is totally false, absolutely false! Unthinkable criticism has always been the order of the day, and there are always people who will say things that have no foundation. On the one hand, you have accepted the challenge and are doing absolutely the right thing. On the other hand, if you have to prove yourself to others in this way, then you are just surrendering to their whims. Today you have accepted this challenge.
Tomorrow they may say something else very painful about your running and jumping, and again you will have to prove that they are wrong. Instead of proving to them that they are wrong, just think of your promise to the world at large that you will do something incredible. Only dream of those incredible things and do not surrender to the stupid criticism of humanity. In the future, if they bring up the same stupid subject, please do not listen to them!
A great spiritual figure, a spiritual giant named Vivekananda, came to America around 1893. He used to say, “The elephant is going to the marketplace and the dogs are barking.” You have to feel that you are the strongest elephant and that the dogs are barking at you. You don’t have to pay any attention to these human beings whose criticism is as useless as the barking of dogs to an elephant. (Joking) If they start barking, then ask your dearest brother Narada — instead of beating his drums — to take his stick and beat the heads of those foul critics.
In the Indian caste system, some people are called untouchables. When I read in the paper that some people are calling you untouchable, I say, “They are using the wrong word. They are saying ‘untouchable’, but what they mean is ‘unreachable’.” You are unreachable in the long jump. I understand 35 or 36 times consecutively you have been first. If this is not the supreme glory, the Himalayan height, then what else is? Even if you never break Beamon’s record — which I am sure you will do, without fail, in this lifetime — you are still a champion. For nobody has ever been able to jump more than 28 feet as many times as you have.
Now I am giving you some suggestions on the practical plane for the Olympics. When you start the long jump, please try to run for the full length; do not shorten your distance. It is absolutely important to have your proper distance. When you are about to start, of course you will pray and meditate the way you have been doing. But at the same time, try to feel that you are hearing people repeating your name: Carl Lewis. Like a thunderous noise, most powerfully, feel that you are hearing your name repeated.
Another thing: when you are about to start, try to feel that you are representing not only America but all of earth. Feel that a competition is going on between earth and Heaven. Since you took birth on earth, you are representing earth and demonstrating earth’s capacity to the cosmic gods and goddesses. Try to feel that the whole earth is behind you and that you are getting blessings, love, concern, determination and oneness from the entire earth. Do not think of the people you are competing against or the person who is second. You have to convince your entire being that the whole Olympic stadium is for you. The members of the audience are eagerly supporting you and helping you in every possible way with their inner will and determination.
You have to feel that there is not a single human being who is against you, because you are not representing any particular country or race, but the entire earth.
So, while running, feel that the whole earth in a thunderous voice is repeating your name: “Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis, Carl Lewis.” Then, when you are about to approach the board in the long jump, feel that the whole earth — all of humanity — is standing up. You do not have to see whether you have covered 9,10 or 11 metres. Only feel that millions of human beings are standing up to honour you because you have broken Beamon’s record and brought supreme glory to earth. This is what I advise you to do when you do the long jump.
As for your training, again I wish to tell you that every second of your life is of paramount importance now when the Olympics are fast approaching. So do what inspires you most inwardly, and do not surrender to the foul criticism of the outer world. The entire world knows what 100 metres is. So please pay all attention to the 100; the 50 and 60-metre events are of no importance.
The world cares for speed, so we have to prove that we are absolutely the fastest. How I wish all human beings would run faster than the fastest, with unimaginable speed, towards Eternity’s ever-transcending Goal. Once we reach the highest transcendental Height with our fastest speed and consciously begin serving our Supreme Pilot at every moment, at that time we can and we shall create an absolutely new creation. At that time there will be only one reality, one song: the song of self-transcendence. There will be no boxing ring where might is right. There will be no destruction. In order to prove our supremacy, we will only have to transcend ourselves the way the Absolute Supreme is transcending Himself. The supreme secret or goal will be to transcend our own capacities. We will not try to defeat others. We will try only to constantly transcend ourselves. In this way we will get supreme satisfaction and offer supreme satisfaction to the inner world and to the outer world.
This is what our Beloved Absolute Supreme expects from His creation, and He will be fully satisfied only when that type of reality manifests itself on earth. It may take thousands or millions of years, but He will not be fully satisfied until He has created that type of creation. Let us pray and meditate to become consciously part and parcel of His new creation. Let us try to become one, inseparably one, with His Will and, when the God-Hour arrives, to become the choice instruments in His tomorrow’s creation.
So, dearest Sudhahota, you are a runner, sprinter and jumper and I am a talker. Along with my marathon advice, I am offering you my soul’s transcendental blessings and my oneness-heart of sympathy. I am also offering you my oneness-heart of divine pride for what you have already done for mankind and for what you will be doing for the success and progress of humanity in its outer running. There shall come a time when humanity will see, through you and other world-class runners, that the inner running and the outer running must go together to create a new world that will be full of divine glory and divine satisfaction.
Published in Carl Lewis: The Champion Inner Runner
Sri Chinmoy lifts a seven-month-old baby elephant weighing 701 lbs. using a standing calf-raise machine with shoulder platform, at Elephant Special Tours, in Mae Sopok, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand. The total weight of the lift, including apparatus, is 785 lbs.