Question: I find that sometimes I go through a period of making very good progress in sport; and then after some time everything falls apart and my training goes downhill.
Sri Chinmoy: It happens to everyone. Life is not always smooth sailing; it goes up and down. The main thing is to get satisfaction. In sport, when you touch a peak you are very happy. When you are unable to reach your peak, you should not feel that it is your fault. It is not that you have deliberately injured yourself. You have not said to your body, "I fed you so many times; now I want to starve you." If you are deliberately enjoying your lack of speed or lack of enthusiasm, then you are to be blamed. But if circumstances have led you to this condition, please try to maintain your equanimity and peace of mind. Feel that you are going through a phase that may last for three or four weeks, but that eventually it will pass. Try to think of the summit which you reached two or three weeks earlier, and try to remember the joy that you felt. Then you will see that the joy you got from your previous achievements will carry you through, and very soon you will not only reach but transcend your previous height. You are not fooling yourself; you are only bringing happiness into your system, and this happiness is confidence. Again, confidence itself is happiness.
Try to feel that your problem is just a small obstacle, a hurdle that you will soon overcome. Then you will be able to diminish the frustration that you now feel. Once you diminish your frustration, again in a week or so you will be able to regain your capacity. But if you maintain or increase your frustration, then the problem will linger. It may go on for two or three weeks.
Question: Always when I become very interested in the physical and playing sports, I injure myself to the point where I have to stop completely. Why does this happen?
Sri Chinmoy: What actually happens in your case is that when you enter into the physical world - playing tennis or other things - you do not give value to the physical as such. You remain in the mind. A portion of your existence you throw into the game and another portion you keep totally in the mind-world. It is like cutting yourself in half. You are keeping your body on the first floor, but your consciousness is always on the upper floor, in the mind. If you can direct more of your mental energy into the physical when you play, this will not happen. You want to play; you want to win. But actually the concentration of the mind, the real concentration, is not in the physical itself. You know that you are playing tennis, but the concentration that the body needs from the mind is not there. There is a gap. The body without concentration from the mind is helpless. So, when you play, do not think of your mental work. Your mind may not be aware that it is thinking of the wrong thing, but it is one thing not to be aware of doing the wrong thing and another thing to concentrate consciously on the right thing. Inside you and all around you there are many beings. Because there is a gap between the mind's concentration and the physical activity, these beings can attack the physical. They need not actually be wrong forces, but they may create unfortunate experiences in life.
Question: How can running help me overcome my spiritual weaknesses and impurities?
Sri Chinmoy: While you are running - especially when you are tired - you are much more conscious of your breathing. You are more aware of when you are inhaling and when you are exhaling. While running, when you inhale, you can consciously invoke divine energy to energize you. This divine energy energizes the willing reality in you and illumines the unlit reality in you so that you can become a perfect instrument of God. When you breathe in the divine energy, automatically it changes or transforms undivine forces into divine forces.
Each time you breathe in, if you can repeat just one time God's Name, or 'Supreme', or whatever divine name or form comes to mind, then that spiritual thought will increase your purity. Either it turns into purity within you or it grants purity to you. Then, when you breathe out, feel that a new eagerness and a new promise are going out from you to the Universal Consciousness. This new promise is nothing short of your sincere willingness and eagerness to become a good and perfect instrument of the Supreme.
Question: Should we run even when we are extremely tired?
Sri Chinmoy: As a rule, when we are extremely tired it is not advisable to run, for it will not help us in any way. At that time, running will be nothing but fatigue and self-destruction, and it will leave in our mind a bitter taste. But sometimes, even when we are not extremely tired, we feel that we are. At that time we are not actually physically tired. We are only mentally tired or emotionally tired, but the mind convinces us that we are physically tired. Our human lethargy is so clever! It acts like a rogue, a perfect rogue, and we get tremendous joy by offering compassion to our body. We make all kinds of justifications for the body's lethargy and make ourselves feel that the body deserves rest.
So we have to be sincere to ourselves. If we really feel extremely tired, then we should not run. But we have to make sure that it is not our lethargic mind, our lethargic vital or our lethargic physical consciousness that is making us feel that we are extremely tired. This kind of tricky cleverness we have to conquer.
With our imagination-power we can challenge the tricky mind and win. We weaken ourselves by imagining that we are weak. Again, we can strengthen ourselves by imagining that we are strong. Our imagination often compels us to think we cannot do something or cannot say something. We often use imagination in a wrong direction. So instead of letting imagination take us backwards, we should use it to take us forward toward our goal.
Question: How do you run through inner pain?
Sri Chinmoy: Inner pain is a joke. Outer pain I believe in. Sometimes I can't place my foot on the ground without getting such pain! But inner pain, which comes from frustration, depression, jealousy and insecurity, is a joke. Inner pain should be discarded like a filthy rag! Outer pain you cannot so easily ignore, but inner pain must be discarded.
If you have inner pain, if you are jealous of someone or are in an undivine consciousness, then the outer running will actually help you. When you are running and perspiring, when you are struggling, at that time the inner pain goes away to some extent. Otherwise, if because you are depressed you don't go out to run, then you are just a fool. If you feel depressed while you are running, you can sing loudly and deliberately try to sing wrong notes. Then laugh at yourself. Some of my friends used to do this. They were good singers, but deliberately they would sing wrong notes while they were walking, and it would make them laugh. In that way they got rid of depression.
Question: If one is in generally good health, what would cause pain and aches in the body?
Sri Chinmoy: It is one thing to have good health and another thing to deliberately maintain good health. Unless you are consciously keeping good health, at any moment you may be attacked by some forces. It is like having a large amount of money without knowing about it. If you are not conscious of it, you may easily lose it. If you are not conscious that you have a flower, you are likely to lose it. Anything that you have must have some place in your awareness. You may have good physical health, but perhaps in two months' time you have not thought of your body once, let alone tried to increase the strength of your legs or arms or to get some extra capacity.
Unless you touch something every day, it does not shine. Often I have told people to touch the furniture in their homes every day. As soon as you touch something, it gets new life. If you are aware of something, immediately it shines and gets a new luminosity. If you have good health, if you touch your health every day, it gets new life. By giving attention to something, you give new life to it.
Question: When I run I sometimes get a slight knee pain. Should I stop running at that time?
Sri Chinmoy: If you get just a slight pain in your knee, and if the pain is bearable, then you should continue running. At that time, feel that if you run a hundred metres more, the pain will go away. Then, after you have covered a hundred metres, feel that the pain will definitely stop if you run another hundred metres. If you do this five or six times, then most of the pain will go away. Even if some pain remains, the mind has already taken away your awareness from it. Your mind has forgotten about it. But if the pain is absolutely unbearable, what can you do? You simply have to surrender to it and stop running, at least for a while.
Question: How can we spiritually heal injuries?
Sri Chinmoy: It is a matter of inner capacity. One kind of capacity is to heal the injury by bringing down peace and light from above. Another kind of capacity is to ignore the pain altogether. During your meditation, if all of a sudden you have intense aspiration, then you can bring down more light from above to cure your injury. But you have to do this consciously during your meditation. If during the day you casually say, "Oh, how I wish I didn't have any pain!" that will be useless. But while you are meditating, if you suddenly remember your pain, that is the time to pray and bring down more light.
Again, you can increase your capacity to tolerate pain. Now you have pain, let us say, but still you run; whereas if you had had the same kind of pain four years ago perhaps you would not have been able to run. Again, sometimes the pain is unbearable and it is absolutely impossible to run. Then what can you do? But if it is bearable, try to run according to your own capacity. At that time, don't think of how fast this person or that person is running. Just go according to your own capacity and remain cheerful. All the time think that you are running only against yourself. Again, if it is beyond your capacity to ignore the pain, in addition to praying and meditating, you can also go to the outer doctor. Light is also inside the doctor.
Question: Sometimes I feel pain in my foot, and I start worrying that if I keep running, I might get a stress fracture. This happens even if the pain is not that bad and I know that probably nothing will happen.
Sri Chinmoy: If it is unbearable, excruciating pain, then something serious might happen. But if there is just a tiny pain in your foot, this kind of fear is only false anxiety that is coming to your mind. If you are worried, you can take rest for a few days and see if the pain goes away. If it leaves in just a day or two, you will know that it was nothing serious. In this way you will become more confident that nothing will happen to your foot if you run.
So if the pain is not that serious, you do not have to worry. Your foot is not going to give out. It is only that fear has entered into your mind, and the mind has created false anxiety in you, a false alarm. You should not cherish these fears.
Morning running is purity's beauty. Evening running is simplicity's luminosity.
Don't take a late start. You may lose the race altogether. Keep your love-devotion-surrender Always on the alert. Then you cannot have a late start.
Run! You can easily challenge The pride of frightening distance.