Sri Chinmoy’s spiritual path is not one of outer renunciation. Rather than letting go all earthly facets of life, instead ours is to let go our attachments to them.
Defying the British stiff-upper-lip, lifting the lid on ailments and exploring what can be learned from physical challenges.
One of my colleagues – an especially hard-working and time-pressed one – consciously avoids the word ‘busy’. As an exercise I tried the same for a week and found it surprisingly awkward. That was an education.
“What do you want?
I want good health.
Meditate on a vegetable garden.
Meditate on a dancing child.”
– Sri Chinmoy
My running life has had a chequered past. I know I’m not alone in having detested cross-country at school, but that’s no true prediction of one’s relationship with the sport anyway. Who wants to be clambering through mud and weeds in the dead of winter, clad only in shorts and a polo shirt? Very few.
It is often said that while meditation is simple, it may not be easy. In our growing culture of ever-quicker fixes, those new to meditation are prone to giving up early, convinced they lack the aptitude. In truth, few take to it naturally right away.
It was early on a summer Sunday I took myself walking through small enclaves of meadow and marsh, pondering how my love of England has grown as I’ve grown – from the petty resentment and boredom of teenhood where everything disappoints, to the middle of life with twenty years’ spiritual practice behind me.
Do little people still read Dr Seuss nowadays, or am I showing my age? I loved taking time in those imagined worlds of the Cat in the Hat, Fox in Socks, Green Eggs and Ham – where everyone talks in rhyming couplets and looks a bit fuzzy round the edges.
My family is in the midst of an almighty clear-out. There’s nothing like the buzz of giving things away, especially to people who even recognise what they are and thus how they could be useful.
I always try and take a short retreat in winter with the Sri Chinmoy Centre. These Christmas Trips have always been a significant source of inspiration for me, but this time the contrast is extreme.
With all the workings exposed, the wheels give out an honest and percussive rhythm. A driver appears at the open cab in cloth cap and overalls, trailing a great billowing cumulus behind that muffles the edges of the present day.
Do you ever stop to think what an achievement it is that you and I – metaphorically or metaphysically – are sitting here? Perhaps you do. Perhaps I ought to do more often.