Sri Chinmoy was a spiritual leader that used meditation and sports to help people achieve their best life. I have cut and pasted some of his teachings to help motivate and inspire your inner and outer journey.
Question: As a meditation teacher, why do you encourage sporting activities?
Sri Chinmoy: I encourage and inspire my students to organize and participate in triathlons, long-distance races and short-distance races precisely because I feel that the world needs dynamism. The outer world needs dynamism and the inner world needs peace. We are all seekers; so we pray and meditate in order to have peace. Again, we feel that if we can be dynamic, then we will be able to accomplish much in our outer life. To be dynamic we need physical fitness at every moment, and running helps us considerably to keep physically fit. Also, running reminds us of our eternal journey in which we walk, march and run along Eternity's Road to our eternal Goal.
How Meditation helps Sports
Question: Does inner running help our outer running?
Sri Chinmoy: Our inner running definitely helps us in our outer running. Through prayer and meditation, we can develop intense will power, and this will power can help us do extremely well in our outer running. Meditation is stillness, calmness, quietness, while the running consciousness is all dynamism. Again, the runner's outer speed has a special kind of poise or stillness at its very heart. We can bring this stillness to our outer life. Poise is an unseen power, and this unseen power is always ready to come to the aid of the outer runner.
Question: Does an athlete who has spiritual purity have greater capacity than an athlete who does not care for the spiritual life?
Sri Chinmoy: Suppose there are two athletes who, on the physical plane, have the same standard. If you are pure and the other is impure, what will happen? If you really have the same standard, then definitely you will be able to defeat the impure one. As soon as you touch the shot, you will be able to control your vital thoughts, mental thoughts and physical thoughts. But when the other one holds it, he will look around to see if others are looking at him. When he is thinking of the audience, some of his strength goes away. As soon as he identifies himself with the audience, what he gets is their worries, anxieties and tension. But when you are throwing, as soon as you hold the shot, there is only you and God. You are not allowing your vital to come forward. You don't open the physical door. You don't open the mental door. Purity is your bodyguard. It does not allow any wrong force to come. You have no idea who is good, who is bad, who is your enemy. Your purity-guard is very strict. It will not allow anything wrong to enter into your mind. So if one athlete has the same capacity as someone else, the one who is purer is bound to win, because he will not allow himself to be attacked by outside forces at the time of competition.
Question: Does the spiritual life actually change the physical form?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, the spiritual life does change the physical form if while practising spirituality you care for the physical. There are many spiritual Masters who practise spirituality and also care for the physical. I am one of those. Even while I was in India I took regular physical exercise as well as meditating. Again, there are many Masters who don't care for the physical.
The spiritual life does have the capacity to change the physical, but if we do not consciously use the spiritual life to help the body, then naturally the body will respond only to a limited extent. It depends on the seeker - whether he wants his spiritual life to enter into his body-consciousness or whether he wants to have two separate existences. I feel that the two should go together. But again, it is useless if the body becomes strong, but one is not aspiring. The body and soul have to go simultaneously on the spiritual journey.
More about meditation and sports tomorrow...