8 am this morning, the windchill was something like -23 when we began only my second half marathon in Ottawa, Canada. The first was in the mid nineties with Manatita at the Hillingdon Half in West London.
It was so cold I was reluctant to take my jacket off and stow it for after the race, but sure enough, I had enough layers on that I didnt feel any different without it, just the mind. I looked across and saw a lady with frost in her hair as we were standing at the start line – a race for which I have to add I was on time for, thanks to Utsahi who got up early and drove me here and despite spending 20 minutes looking for the location. Continue reading →
Everything seems to move in cycles and with the end of the year I feel a new impulse to return to the roads and trails and begin the long journey that will end again in New York in August.
Today is the third or fourth day in a row that I have run and though i am running slowly, right now its important to establish a streak and to make running again a regular habit.Right now I am in Ottawa in Canada and this is the coldest capital city in the world and as i write it is snowing outside and way below freezing. Currently 7F (-14C) it’s not too cold today – not as cold as it has been recently.
However the river Rideau is frozen over for long stretches and today I walked from side to side across the thick ice.
Running is not so easy in these temperatures as the paths along the river are not ploughed. Streets are pretty clear though which is good when cold but when it warms up and the snow melts and then re-freezes at night, the city gets an icy glaze that is difficult to navigate. Not so many runners are to be seen these days.
This morning I opened my book up (The Divine Hero by Sri Chinmoy) and the section was called Protection-Prayers. Guru talks about inner attacks and outer attacks and that thoughts are attacking us at every moment and if they are not someone else’s thoughts, then they are our own. Very interesting.
Guru talks about feeling oneness with the world and that this dissolves the feeling of insecurity. He shows through examples that we need the left arm to enable the right arm to do things just as much as we need our legs support us and our head to carry our brain and our eyes to see etc. We need all the parts of the body to enable one part to do its job. This section is about teamwork and how, if we identify with the team, we can identify with what all the members of the team have achieved and claim that as our own.
I have felt the difference before in my life of the power that is there when I am able to make that identification and that claim. There is a sense of belonging, of connecting with something, with entering an energy field we can say and that energy field feeds us in a way we want or need. This is not just a sense of belonging to a group but an identification with the highest that we are able to experience right now, and this is the way that that is manifesting. If I feel that the Guru is the vehicle for God to manifest on earth then I can say that identifying myself with that is creating my connection to God.
There is a nicely chosen aphorism in the book:
Oneness is the perfect expansion
Of our inner reality.
Let our heart’s oneness only increase
To make us feel
That we belong to a universal world-family,
And this world-family
Is a fulfilled Dream of God.
So then I went back to the beginning of the chapter and saw that it was about insecurity. Guru opens the chapter by defining our ususal conception of security saying that “In the unaspiring life there is no such thing as security… Here on earth when we want to establish security in our own capacities and talents, we come to realise that it is impossible. Then we become a perfect slave to someone else in order to gain security.”
Insecurity for me means a loss of balance and stability in where i anchor my sense of self. I guess we have to have the experience of security before we can know what its like not to have it, rather than the more common or normal state which is insecure. Security means inner joy and confidence and these do not rely on outer material but arise from within and emerge from our aspiration and willingness to grow into our own self-transcendence.
I wondered what else Sri Chinmoy said about the topic and I found this poem on insecurity at Sri Chinmoy Poetry.
You are insecure
Your belief is not sustained
By the inner faith.
You are insecure
Your faith is not sustained
By the unconditional surrender.
You are insecure
Your surrender has not
Breathed the life of oneness supreme.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
From The Essential Rumi
translation by Coleman Barks
with John Moyne
Mantras are words or sounds that are chanted or repeated to produce particular efects as realised by ancient peoples and passed down through Indian and Tibetan teachings, for example, and are still part and parcel of spiritual practice today in many traditions.
Here in this video clip the effect of sound on materials can be seen to have a clear and startling impression.