As well as being a fitness pioneer, Sri Chinmoy conducted peace meditations at the United Nations for 37 years. Here are some of his writings on how meditations can benefit athletes:

Inner peace gives us inner strength

Sri Chinmoy finishes a marathon, 1983

When we meditate, we make our mind calm and quiet. If inside us there is peace, then we will derive tremendous strength from our inner life. That is to say, if I have a peaceful moment, even for one second, that peace will come to me as solid strength in my sports, whether I am running or jumping or throwing. That strength is almost indomitable strength, whereas if we are restless, we do not have strength like that.

Look at an elephant. An elephant has tremendous strength. It is not restless like a monkey which is moving here and there. It is exactly the same for us. In our inner life if we have the strength of an elephant, then only in our outer life can we be peaceful. A lion is very peaceful. Then when something happens, he starts roaring. But its strength is the peace that it has. It has confidence. But a monkey and other animals that are very, very restless, what kind of strength do they have? Meditation gives us inner strength. Once we have inner strength, we are bound to be successful in our outer life.

Through meditation we can find peace, and once we have peace of mind, impossibility cannot exist for us.

An infinite source of power

Because of our limited mind, because of our doubting mind, because of our suspicious mind, we have limited ourselves and we always think that we cannot go farther, deeper or higher. We are stationed at one place. There is no hope for us to come out of this mental prison. But no, we can come out on the strength of our prayer and meditation and fly in the sky of Infinity.

The physical mind has to be transcended by inner prayer. When you can transcend the limitations of the mind, at every moment you can perform so-called miracles. In the inner world, however, there are no such things as miracles. They exist there as realities. We bring them down into the material world to prove that there is something called inner power.

We can draw upon the cosmic energy by entering into our deeper consciousness, the all-pervading consciousness, which is here, there, everywhere. It is the inmost consciousness that touches the springs of the cosmic energy. If we can have a free access to our inmost consciousness, the cosmic energy is bound to come to the fore. If you go deep within, it comes like a spring, a never-failing spring. And when it comes, it permeates the whole body.

This article was written as part of the Sport and Meditation series.

Video: Sri Chinmoy in silent meditation.