Born in India in August 1931, Sir Chinmoy was one of the world’s first spiritual leaders to espouse the virtues of meditation in athleticism.
Famous for his slogan: “Run and Become, Become and Run,” Sri Chinmoy believed that participation in endurance sports could help facilitate inner self-transcendence.
The Connection Between Sports and Meditation
Sri Chinmoy believed in an inner dimension to sport and athleticism.
Prior to moving to New York in 1964, Sri Chinmoy spent 20 years in spiritual practice. However, as an athlete, he believed that physical action and dynamism are just as crucial to spirituality as meditation.
Central to the philosophy of Chinmoy was the idea that the outer (physical) life demands dynamism. Accomplishing anything in the world requires physical action. However, what he also understood, is that clarity of mind directly influences how much a person can physically accomplish.
Achieving Self-Transcendence Through Sport & Athleticism
Sri Chinmoy would often demonstrate how the inner self could affect the outer self, by using the example of two runners. When comparable in terms of physical fitness, he believed that a runner with a pure mind would always outperform a competitor burdened by poor mental discipline. This is because a runner with an impure mind fixed only on winning will often be prone to anxiety and self-doubt.
The Importance of Inspiration in Sports & Athletics
To achieve purity of mind, the spiritual leader advocated meditation as a way to banish negative emotions. More specifically, he encouraged athletes to focus on exercise as an experiential form of meditation in of itself.
Appreciating exercise as a contemplative practice, Sri Chinmoy believed that exercise could be used as a vehicle for personal transformation. As he saw it, the prerogative of an athlete should not be to win. Instead, sport should be used as a tool to achieve personal joy through self-transcendence, while inspiring others to pursue their own dreams.
Notable Achievements of Sri Chinmoy Students
Sri Chinmoy is famous today as the founder of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. As the world’s longest certified footrace, the 3,100-mile race serves to dispel pre-conceived notions of maximum human endurance and limited possibility. However, his students don’t just race.
Challenging Impossibility in Every Sporting Discipline
Driven by their desire to achieve self-transcendence and inspire others, athletes that follow his practices are some of the worlds most accomplished.
English Channel Swimmer Karteek Clarke, has swum the English Channel eleven times. Meanwhile, I, Ashrita Furman, am the first person ever to hold 100 Guinness World Records simultaneously.