Category Archives: Spirituality

The Spiritual life

Basic Downs Loop

Its a miracle that this blog still exists after all that happened to the site last August and since. Its been a long time since I posted anything so this is a synopsis of the situation. I had a problem develop in Athens a few years ago whilst trying to maintain my 100km a day goal at the end of the third day. I had to take an enforced rest due to my foolishness and every race Ive participated in since then has featured a 24 hour period where I was incapacitated or disabled for some period. This happened in a susequent Athens event, Norway and last year in Hungary.
After Hungary which was in May and which I walked for the whole 6 days, I decided to rest it and ended up running about once a month due to my job as a postman I was still able to maintain “runner status”.
This year I will be able to take part in the Italian 6 Day in Policoro if I get my act together. To that end I have started running again to try and get into some kind of shape and to see how my knee will respond. I will probably go and see a physio to try and prevent a re-occurrence of anything untoward. Thats the current plan…

Most of my runs are a 5 mile loop plus running home from work occasionally. The plan is to keep it at that level and to increase the frequency of the runs back up to five a week plus the long run. I havent been keeping track of my runs for a few years now but that is a good thing to encourage sustained activity.

Ashton Court

Bristol is not a flat city. Built on the banks of the tidal river Avon, there have been people here since the Old Stone Age – some 60,000 years ago there were people living near here and to get almost anywhere in the city, apart from a north-easterly direction is going to involve some hills.
There are a few races that take advantage of some flat land – the recent 5k around the harbour and the Towpath series and of course my beloved Bath to Bristol cycleway, the BBC. Mostly though its hills that slope down to the river. Heading west the river passes through the Avon Gorge on its way to the Bristol Channel underneath the spectacular suspension bridge, an icon in the landscape. The bridge lies just to the east of the Downs which are a high point which everyone has to climb from somewhere to reach except for those lucky few people who live on the east side.
Its around here that I come to run if I am not heading out on the BBC, a loop around the downs and then over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and up to Ashton Court. There is a Golf course through which a bridle path has been made which goes up to the southern boundary of the grounds near a quarry and then passing around the quarry and re-entering the park one can run along bike trails through the woods.

In September there is a 10 km race here, the Ashton Court 10 km and the grounds are a pleasure to absorb.
Heading home via the Downs I was feeling stronger than I had for some time and as my weight is about 180 lbs – a little lighter than normal.
This was a two hour run yesterday and even though there were two hills that I attacked and subsequently felt, I was happy with how it went and look forward to developing this base over the summer.

Solstice Run 2009

staple_hill_img_04371Disappointed at not being able to get to new York for the 3100 this year. That’s life I guess.
Haven’t really done much running since October. There were the two mile races in Canada and the Ottawa Hyperthermic Half and a few runs here and there but not much really until the last week or so in Vancouver. Now I’m back in Bristol but not in as good a shape as Mark. Last week I made it to Warmley on the Bristol to Bath Cyclepath (BBC) – about 16 miles and I felt close to my limit there.
Yesterday went to Bitton and back which is 20 miles and again felt close to the edge and was tired for the rest of the day but happy to have done 20 and not feeling any semi-injuries. Today was a rest day – I seem to be running pretty much every other day at the moment. As I get back out there everyday I will start to record the mileage again.
With the first summer off for 6 years I will be enjoying shorter runs and indeed have been up on the Downs looking at the Welsh hills to the West along the Clifton Gorge. I havent planned anything yet but there is a 6 day in Sweden not to far away and also would like to be in good shape to run the Self-Transcendence 24 hour in Tooting Bec in October but, as I said, nothings planned yet.

The Barry 40 2009

The 2009 Barry 40 Mile Race

It has been a long road to Jenner Park for me and this year Mark Collinson mentioned that he would be going and we could make some arrangement together. So fresh from my Hypothermic Half Marathon in Ottawa, I agreed that it would be a great opportunity. Continue reading

Ottawa Hypothermic Half 2009

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

Self-Transcendence 2 Mile Race Ottawa

Sparse field this morning but it was seriously cold.The route is a 1 mile out and back alongside the canal. Underfoot was snowy but not icy.

The New Year 2009

bridge_iceEverything 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.

river_through_trees1Running 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.

Insecurity and Oneness

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.

Sri Chinmoy

Philosophy of Dreams – Swami Sivananda – Part 3

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Philosophy of Dreams – Swami Sivananda – Part 2

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