In 1985, spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy was joined by the mayor of Oxford to inaugurate the first Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile in Cutteslowe Park in England. A measured 1-mile course that allows runner to track their progress against an established value, this inspired a number of other “Peace Miles” in cities across the globe. Sri Chinmoy also founded events such as the Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race and the Self-Transcendence 6- and 10-Day Races, which rank among the most difficult ultramarathons in the United States. In fact the 3,100-Mile Self-Transcendence race has captured the imagination of media outlets around the world, and the New York Times even described the race as "the Mount Everest of ultramarathons." During the 1980s, Sri Chinmoy shifted his personal training from running and took up weight lifting and created a program called Lifting Up the World with a Oneness-Heart, which recognized the achievements of people such as Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Sting, Yoko Ono, Muhammad Ali, and Helen Hunt.
Sri Chinmoy on forgiveness and the past
The Dot Exercise for Increasing Focus and Concentration
Meditation requires a great deal of concentration. Many find such concentration difficult at first, but practice can help them develop this skill over time. As with anything that takes practice, individuals should devote time every day to concentration exercises in order to build deeper and more fulfilling meditation.
One powerful exercise for developing concentration involves drawing a small dot on the wall at eye level. Before beginning the practice, wash your face and eyes with cold water. Then stand and face the wall from a distance of about 10 inches and focus all your attention on the dot. As you breathe, imagine that your breath is actually coming from the dot, and, in turn, you are supplying breath to the dot.
As you breathe in, you receive breath from the dot. As you breathe out, the dot receives that same breath. In time, you will come to realize that two persons are present, the self and the dot.
In ten minutes, if your concentration is very powerful, you will feel that your soul has left you and entered into the black dot on the wall. At this time try to feel that you and your soul are conversing. The soul is taking you into the spiritual realm for realization. And you pull the soul into the physical world for manifestation. At this point, you have achieved deep concentration. By practicing this you can develop your power of concentration very easily.
Doubt and the Relative Ease of Disbelief over Belief
It is easier to disbelieve than to believe because disbelief is an act of descent, whereas belief is an act of ascent. Descending is easier than ascending.
It is easier to disbelieve than to believe because disbelief is an act of breaking, and belief is an act of building. Building is more difficult than breaking.
It is easier to disbelieve than to believe because disbelief is an act of our self-centered mind, whereas belief is an act of our self-giving heart.
Why do we disbelieve? We disbelieve because we are afraid of oneness, afraid of the vast. We feel that when we enter into the vast, we lose our identity, we lose our individuality, we lose our very existence. But we forget the undeniable truth that when we enter into the vastness, it is nothing short of the enlargement of our divinized consciousness.
When we disbelieve God, when we disbelieve the reality, God remains the same. But what happens is that ignorance gets the opportunity to envelop us more powerfully and more completely. When we believe in God, God's compassion gets the utmost opportunity to work in and through us most powerfully.
The deeper we enter into the spiritual life, the more we become aware of the capacity of disbelief and belief. Disbelief is nothing short of destruction. Belief is nothing short of a new creation. Each time we believe in something, we see the face of a new creator within and without us. And when we go one step ahead, when our inner faith looms large, then we see in us a perfected man and a liberated soul.
The Global Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms Program
Spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy began his Peace-Blossoms program in 1986. Since then, numerous landmarks have been identified around the globe to remind individuals of humankind’s common search for world peace. The program’s name comes from the idea of peace blossoming like a flower and spreading across the world. The Sri Chinmoy Centre inaugurates Peace-Blossoms sites in cooperation with local governments and national officials. Once a site has been designated, an inspirational plaque marks it as a seed for world peace.
Over the years, Sri Chinmoy has designated more than 900 landmarks, capitals, and other significant locations as part of the Peace-Blossoms network. In addition, more than 150 nations have dedicated themselves to peace through the program. Chosen landmarks range from places of natural beauty, such as the Niagara Falls, to manmade wonders like the Taj Mahal.
Individuals can learn more about the Peace-Blossoms program and its origins at SriChinmoy.org. The website also has an extensive list of official Peace-Blossoms sites around the world, so that interested parties can find those closest to them.
The Important Interfaith Work of Spiritual Teacher Sri Chinmoy
The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run and Youth Education
The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run takes place in countries around the world. Each year, participants in the event visit schools in more than 100 countries to give students the chance to hold the torch and talk about their own aspirations for a peaceful world. To facilitate this experience, the Oneness-Home Peace Run has created curricula for teachers to use when encouraging youth to think about the important issues facing today’s world. The comprehensive Living in Harmony curriculum, developed by the director of the Oneness-Family School in Washington, D.C., outlines lessons for building leadership skills in children and helps them begin to think about the concept of harmony.
Activities for students slowly broaden the focus of discussion questions. First, youth think about what harmony really is and what it could mean for the world. Then, they brainstorm how to create harmony in the classroom, their schools, and ultimately the world.
Teachers can also access curricula for workshops designed for older youth on the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run website, PeaceRun.org.
Spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy honored the validity of all faith traditions in the world and affirmed the underlying unity of these religions. He regularly participated in interfaith events throughout his life to champion religious tolerance and explain his stance on unity and oneness. One of these events was the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, held in Chicago to celebrate the centennial of the first event in 1893. At the first parliament, Indian monk Swami Vivekananda spoke about his all-embracing form of spirituality. At the second parliament, Sri Chinmoy opened the convocation with a powerful silent meditation.
The fourth Parliament of the World’s Religions took place in Barcelona in 2004 as part of the Universal Forum of Cultures. Before an audience of 7,000 individuals, Sri Chinmoy offered a silent prayer for the oneness of all religions.
During the time that he worked with the United Nations, he also participated in a number of interfaith events, including observances of the World Day of Prayer, Interfaith Prayer breakfasts, and World Gratitude and International Thanksgiving Days. He also introduced the first international interfaith conference at the United Nations in 1975. This event included such major spiritual leaders as Mother Teresa, who later became a close friend of Sri Chinmoy.