Inner Inspiration for Swimming and Self-Transcendence - by Sri Chinmoy
A small collection of questions and mantric aphorisms by Sri Chinmoy on the inner significance of swimming and self-transcendence
"When we are inspired, we try to swim the English Channel. When we are inspired, we go from one country to another country to inspire people and to be inspired by them. I feel that when we inspire humanity, we automatically become good citizens of the world. This is my philosophy."
Across the ignorance-sea
To reach the Golden Shore
Of the Beyond.
Question: Does swimming also help us to enter into a higher consciousness?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes. Swimming has its own symbolic value. I always say that we are sailing in the Golden Boat with the Golden Boatman towards the Golden Shore. The spiritual significance of water is consciousness. We are all eager to be in a good consciousness. As soon as we are in water, consciousness enters. So swimming has its own very special reality and divinity. While we are swimming, we can imagine that we are crossing from ignorance-sea into the sea of light and wisdom.
Every evening I swim in the sea
The goal will be all yours.
The mind's thought-barrier
Is the source of impossibility.
Let us pray and meditate
To go far beyond
The extremities of the mind.
We have to believe in a higher Power.
Only by believing in a higher Power
Can we go beyond and beyond
Our limited, human capacity.
What gives life its value,
If not its inner cry
No thrill is as illumining
And as fulfilling
As one's own self-transcendence-thrill.
Question: Does the triathlon have any spiritual or symbolic significance?
Sri Chinmoy: I have the deepest admiration for those who participate in triathlons. Swimming reminds us of our spiritual life. Right now we are swimming in the sea of ignorance, but we are praying to our Beloved Supreme and meditating on Him to be able to swim in the sea of Light and Delight. When we are running, we are reminded of our birthless and deathless journey along Eternity's Road. Then, while we are cycling, we are reminding ourselves of evolution, of how the world is evolving in cycles. When we think of our planet, we think of a wheel turning; our life also is evolving like a wheel. So cycling reminds us of the process of evolution and of how everything goes in cycles. Once upon a time, in the hoary past, we lived in an era of truth. Now we are living in an era of falsehood. There was a time when truth reigned supreme, but now we see at every moment and every place that falsehood is reigning supreme. Our goal is to bring back again the golden age in which truth will be our inner guide and will reign supreme. So cycling reminds us of evolution, inner and outer. I appreciate and admire the athletes who have tremendous capacity in these three major events: running, cycling and swimming. Each event is so significant.
My heart swimming
In silver light,
My soul swimming
In ecstasy's height.
If I am inspiring people and people are inspiring me, then we become good human beings. When we are inspired, we try to do many, many good things for mankind. When we are not inspired, we do many, many bad things. Inspiration is a divine element inside our life. When we are inspired, we try to climb up the Himalayas. When we are inspired, we try to swim the English Channel. When we are inspired, we go from one country to another country to inspire people and to be inspired by them. I feel that when we inspire humanity, we automatically become good citizens of the world. This is my philosophy...
What humanity wants is joy, and inside joy is peace. If we are happy, we will not go and strike others; we will only go and shake hands with them or embrace them. But if we are miserable, we may go and strike others to get rid of our misery. People who are happy will never do bad things. Only unhappy people are fighting, dropping bombs and killing one another.
Humanity at large.
English Channel Song
The words to the song Sri Chinmoy wrote in 1985 for his team`s first English Channel swimmers, which have served as a powerful mantra and visualisation during many swims:
"I am swimming the English Channel today,
I am becoming my Lord's Satisfaction-Ray.
Within my heart and before my eyes
Ecstasy-bird speedily flies.
France and England,
England and France -
Dancing their rare oneness-dance."
From Sri Chinmoy's talk after the first 2 successful English Channel swims by members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, 11th of September 1985
"The English Channel frightens the human body.
The English Channel challenges the human vital.
The Engish Channel puzzles the human mind.
The English Channel invites the human heart.
The English Channel treasures the human soul.
In the outer world, the world of separation, the Channel separates England and France. In the inner world, the world of union, this Channel unites England and France. When it separates, it separates most powerfully, and when it unites, it unites most significantly.
In the world of aspiration the English Channel teaches humanity how to reach God’s Feet quickly. In the world of dedication the English Channel teaches humanity how to bring down God’s Heart soulfully.
In the world of imagination the English Channel is singularly charming. In the world of reality the English Channel is unimaginably frightening. But she or he who braves the Channel, in the world of reality is an immortal friend of the Channel."
(The English Channel)
I am the ceaseless surge of unique delight.
Two are the flames that kiss the highest height
And the deepest deep no one beholds save I.
One is in Paris, the other in England's eye.
My breadth is the hyphen white between the twain.
Their union is hid in dull Time-brain.
The rapture flood of their diamond amity
In years thirty and five the world will see.
He and She my left and right, with them I shine.
He is the Supreme and She the Mother divine.
To lift the doleful earth to heaven's height
Their human birth and forms of endless Might.
Sri Chinmoy wrote this poem in his twenties, when he was still in India. (poem source)